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ton, from the Period of his first Achievements in
India, down to his Invasion of France, and the
Peace of Paris in 1814. By George Elliott, Esq. - 315
Art. I. Mémoires pour servir à l'Histoire des Expéditions en
Egypte et en Syrie. Par J. Miot. Deuxième Edition. Revue, corrigée et augmentée d'une Introduction, d'un Appendice, et de Faits, Pièces et Documens qui n'ont pu paroître sous le
Gouvernement précédent.' A Paris. 1814. 'WHOSOEVER, says Sir Walter Ralegh, in writing a mo
dern history, shall follow truth too near the heels, it may haply strike out his teeth. There is no mistress or guide that hath led her followers and servants into greater miseries. He that goes after her too far off, loseth her sight and loseth himself; and he that walks after her at a middle distance, I know not whether I should call that kind of course, temper or baseness.'-Jacques Miot, a commissary in the French army of Egypt, published some memoirs of that army in the year 1804. He dedicated it to General Murat, from whom he had received acts of kindness, and who had not then rendered himself infamous by his cold blooded butcheries at Madrid. When M. Miot wrote these Memoirs he was afraid of his ! teeth ;' and therefore, as any one else would have done under such circumstances, took care of his tongue. But though he suppressed the damning details of those atrocities to which he had been an eyewitness, and was neither sparing of eulogiums upon the army nor upon the First Consul, still the book gave offence; much as it concealed, it divulged too much, and the author became obnoxious. He found it necessary in consequence to quit a service in which he had no longer any hope of advancement; and now, ten years after the publication of his first edition, a second comes out with alterations and additions, and the motto Lalérité appartient à l'Histoire, that is,—the teeth are no longer in danger. The book is not the work of a sycophant seeking to obtain favour from the Bourbons by reviling a fallen tyrant: he guards against this imputation in bis Preface.
* To call Buonaparte an adventurer,' he says, 'is doing little honour to the nation which acknowledged him for its sovereign, and is at once to wound the pope who consecrated him, the kings who have treated with him, and that emperor who gave him his august daughter. The warrior who for a moment. gave the law to Europe, who so often led the French armies to victory, whatever reproaches may be addressed to him, cannot have been an adventurer. I abstain from those judgments YOL, XIII. NO, XXV.
which posterity does not always ratify; who alone can weigh in her equitable balance the faults and the talents, the successes and the reverses of Buonaparte : but it may be believed that with moderation, a virtue unhappily too rare among conquerors, he would have legitimated his brilliant fortune and established his dynasty upon a basis not to be shaken.'
This language is not belied by the work. Laying both editions before us, we shall endeavour from these Memoirs and the other publications which have appeared upon this subject, to give a succinct account of the proceedings of Buonaparte and his army in the Egyptian expedition.
In what motives that expedition originated there is here no room for inquiring. Suffice it to say that preparations were made as secretly as possible, but upon a great scale, at Toulon, Genoa, Civita Vecchia, and Ajaccio : and that on the 10th May, 1798, Buonaparte arrived at Toulon and addressed a proclamation to the troops, saying, 'Soldiers, you are one of the wings of the Army of England. You have made the war of mountains, of plains and of sieges ; a maritime war remains to be made. Europe has her eyes upon you. You have great destinies to fulfil, battles to wage, dangers and fatigues to overcome; you will do more than you have yet done for the prosperity of the country, the happiness of mankind, and your own glory. The Genius of Liberty, who has rendered the Republic from her birth the arbitress of Europe, wills that she should also be the arbitress of the seas, and of nations the most remote.' Of the thousands who volunteered for the expedition, Denon says that almost all were ignorant of its object. “They deserted wives, children, friends and fortune to follow Buonaparte, and for this reason only, that Buonaparte was to be their guide.' M. Miot affirms that every thing indicated Egypt for its destination; that the French troops had already acquired in Italy the habit of enriching themselves at the expense of a conquered country; and Egypt, being a virgin province, offered to their hopes a mine so much the more abundant to be ransacked.' This is one of the passages not to be found in his first edition; the remainder of the characteristic picture is in both.
· Ilow vast a field was opened to our agitated and impatient spirits ! Here were speculators looking greedily on to increase their fortunes; some of them are dead of grief and vexation; others, whose hardier nature (le moral) has resisted disgusts and privations, think themselves fortunate in having returned safe and sound. Every one founded the most brilliant hopes upon this important expedition, and the generalin-chief frequently let drop words which were equally Aattering to the ambition of glory and to the love of riches. As for regret at quitting France, full of enthusiasm, and drunk as it were with the tumult which usually accompanies the departure of an army, we conversed at table in our mirth of the dangers and privations which awaited us : dangers presented us a means of acquiring promotion ; and for privations,--we should have no wine,—but we were drinking it now; perhaps we should have no women,- but as yet we had no lack of them. All would not see their country again-but every one hoped that he himself might be fortunate enough to rejoin his family. We were hurried along, seduced by that appetite for glory or for change, which makes us always seek the better, sometimes only to gain the worse.'
On the evening of the 19th, the whole armament, to the sound of martial music and amidst the loudest acclamations, filed out of the harbour, passing successively before the L'Orient, on board of which were Buonaparte and the ill-fated admiral Brueys. The road was covered with ships. 'Never,' says Denon, could any national display give a more sublime idea of the splendour of France, of her strength, and of her means. They who remembered the naval power of England had also a deep sense of her weakness; for every thing depended upon their escaping the English fleet; and even when the pomp and the stir of this great arinament most excited the imagination, there were Frenchmen of cooler minds who congratulated themselves that they were not to sail in it. The Genoese convoy first effected its junction; then that from Ajaccio, under General Vaubois ;--they were relieved from some uneasiness respecting Desaix with the Civita Vecchia squadron, by finding it awaiting them at the isle of Gozo. The weather was delightful, there was music upon every deck, the men gamboled and danced and sung; the captains dreamt of plunder, the general of conquest and of empire, the savans contemplated worthier objects, and Denon began his graphic labour by taking a view of the islé of Elba as they pastit,-little thinking that his hero, who was now playing the part of Alexander, would one day be banished to its rocky shores.
Our fleet,' says he, spread terror and dismay wherever it was descried; Corsica felt no other emotion than that which is inspired by so grand a spectacle ; Sicily was appalled, and Malta in a state of stupid consternation.'
The surrender of Malta had been preconcerted with the French knights of the order. Dolomieu, one of that order, Junot, and M. Poussielgue were now the negociators; and when Buonaparte had got possession of La Valetta, and was surveying its strength with Caffarelli, the latter said to him, General, it was very lucky that there were people in the town to open the gates for us. When I saw,' says Denon, ' a small boat carry at. her stern the standard of the order sailing humbly beneath the ramparts on which it had once defied all the forces of the east, and when I figured to myself this accumulated glory, acquired and preserved during several ages, melting away before the fortunes of Buonaparte, I thought I heard
the ghosts of Lisle-Adam and La Valette vent their dismal lamentations, and fancied that I saw time make to philosophy the illustrious sacrifice of the most venerable of all illusions!' The names of Lisle-Adam and La Valette might have excited better feelings in a Frenchman. General Vaubois was left here with 4000 troops, and a good number of adventurers who were already sick of the expedition. On the 19th June the armament proceeded, and in four days crossed what French sailors call the Great Sea ; that open part of the Mediterranean which lies between Malta and Candia. On the 26th, while they were manoeuvring to collect the transports which had been dispersed by a gale during the night, they discovered through a fog the English fleet steering in search of them towards the northern coast. Had that fog cleared upor had Nelson been provided with frigates, those eyes of the fleet, the want of which he was deploring day and night, wbat years of suffering might have been spared to Egypt, to Europe, and to the world! The next day the Junon frigate was sent forward to concert measures with the consul at Alexandria, and learn from him how the inhabitants were disposed. Denon, who was in this frigate, describes, with that feeling which belongs to the poet as well as the painter, the picture when the Junon was ordered to pass late in the evening under the stern of the huge L'Orient, that sanctuary of power, he says, dictating its decrees amid three hundred sail of vessels in the still silence of the night. Four hundred persons were on the Junon's decks, and the sound of a bee's wings might have been heard. At day break on the 29th the white flat line of coast was seen edging the blue horizon of the sea; not a habitation, not a tree, nothing but the sands of the desert. One of the sailors pointed to the cheerless prospect, and said to a comrade, 'Lookthere are the six acres which have been allotted you;' and the jest was answered by a burst of general laughter. M. Denon the while was philosophising-besides the national mixture of monkey and tyger, he was savan and sentimentalist; he admired the disinterested courage of the thoughtless beings who were going to suffer as much misery as they inflicted; he called to mind the history of the places wbich now came in sight, made drawings, indulged in a few scoffs at scripture, and amused himself by imagining how the Sheik of Alexandria would be surprised on the morrow.
The French, however, had not the pleasure of surprising him, Their capture of Malta and their approach was known, and Nelson had been off Alexandria the preceding day. The consul and his interpreter came off at midnight in great terror, the sheik having, with more humanity than is usually found undera turban, suffered them to depart. The Junon returned with him to the fleet. It blev a fresh gale; the convoy was mingled with the ships of war; a sail