Page images
PDF
EPUB

INTRODUCTION.

The Correspondence, of which the following Letters make a part, was intercepted at different periods, by the Turkish and English ships of war. It consists of Official and Private Letters, whose contents, perhaps, like those of a thousand others, which have, at various times, fallen into the hands of our cruizers, would have remained a secret to all but Government, had not the French, by holding out, first, a false account of the motive of this famous Expedition, and then, by spreading the most absurd and exaggerated accounts of its success; rendered it necessary to undeceive Europe, (still trembling at the tale), by proving from their

own statements, that what began in wickedness and fraud, was likely to terminate in wretchedness and despair.

The Publication being thus determined upon, the next step was to make such a selection from the voluminous Correspondence in the hands of Government, as, without gratifying an idle curiosity, or indulging a prurient inclination for scandal

a

and intrigue, should yet leave nothing to be desired with respect to the real situation of the Army in Egpyt; its views and successes, its miseries and disappointments. For this purpose, every thing that was not illustrative of one or other of those objects was suppressed: all private Letters, unless intimately connected with the end in view, were passed over; and even those of Bonaparte (which have been so shamefully misrepresented, and commented upon by those fervid champions of decency, the Opposition Writers *), though not strictly and ab

* 'The following paragraphs are taken from the Morning Chronicle. We might have produced a hundred more of the same kind, but these we think will be sufficient to convince the reader, of the “ superior delicacy" of that paper. When he has considered them well, he will not be disinclined, perhaps, to felicitate the French ladies, on the letters of their lovers and friends, having luckily escaped such « delicate," and honourable hands!

" It is not very creditable to the generosity of Office, that the private letters from Bonaparte and his Army to their friends in France, which were intercepted, should be published. It derogates from the character of a nation to descend to such gossiping. One of these letters is from Bona. parte to his Brother, complaining of the profligacy of his wife; another from young Beauharnois, expressing his hopes that his dear Mamma is not so wicked as she is represented ! Such are the precious secrets which, to breed mischief in private families, is to be published in French and English !"

Nov. 240

“ After the public have been so long agitated with anxiety and speculation respecting Bonaparte and his Expedition,

solutely private, yet containing nothing that could materially interest or inform the public, were laid aside with the rest. We trust that we have not admitted any thing that can raise a blush on the cheek of our readers, either for themselves or for

us.

We might here close our Introduction, but as the Egyptian Expedition has awakened curiosity, and been the theme of much wonder, and applause, and error, and misrepresentation; we do not think we shall render an unacceptable service to the reader, by enlarging a little on the subject.

The French have long turned their eyes towards Egypt.' The sanguine disposition of their Consuls in the Levant, had ministered with admirable effect, to the credulity, and avarice, and ambition, of this restless nation, by assuring them that Egypt was the Paradise of the East, the key of the treasures of the Indies; easy to be seized, and still more easy to

they are at length to be gratified with the scandal and intrigue of which the private Letters from the General and his Officers are full.”

[Nov. 25. The private correspondence of Bonaparte's Officers, is a curious specimen of public intelligence. It reminds us of the weak and impolitic Ministry who persecuted WILKES. When their fund of malice was nearly exhausted, they gave out that he had written an indecent poem, which certainly has as much to do with the question of general warrants, as Madame Bonaparte's chastity has to do with her husband's Expedition through Egypt !"

[Nov. 26.

[ocr errors]

be kept! There was not a Frenchman under the old regimen, who was not fully persuaded of the truth of all this; and certainly they have lost nothing of their ambition, their avarice, and their credulity, under the new.

What plans the Monarchy might have devised for gaining possession of this « Paradise,” we know not. It could not hope to effect it by force.But the present rulers of France, who have trampled on the powers of the Continent too long, and with too much impunity, to think it necessary to manage them now, could have no apprehensions of resistance to their measures, and were not likely to be scrupulous in the choice of means, to effect whatever purpose they had in view.

Egypt, however, though said and believed to be a rich country, promised no immediate supplies of plunder; and the project for seizing it would still have remained in the port-folio of Citizen Talleyrand, had not a circumstance happened that made its speedy adoption à measure of necessity.

Every one knows that the Directory long since engaged to make a free gift to the army, of a thousand million livres, at the conclusion of a general peace. This engagement, like many others, it seemed to have forgotten; till the necessity of attaching the troops to their interests, and thus enabling them to perfect the Revolution of the 18th Fructidor, made it necessary for the Triumvirate to renew their pro

1

mise, and to revive the languid expectations of the arıy.

None contributed more to the success of this fatal day than the army of Italy, which, to the eternal disgrace of Bonaparte, was permitted to overawe the councils, and to assume to itself the -whole power of the state.

Such a service could not be overlooked: their claim to a portion of the milliard became doubly valid, and as the war in Italy was now supposed to be at an end, thousands of them returned to France to claim it.

Here began the difficulties of the Directory. They had no money to give; but it was not expedient to confess it: and the expedition to Egypt was, therefore, brought forward, as an excellent expedient for quieting the present clamour, and providing for forty thousand veteran troops, inured to plunder, and impatient of controul ; who were too sensible of their merits, to be quietly laid aside; and too urgent in their demands, to be cajoled with empty promises.

Hence arose the expedition to Egypt. The plunder of the Venitian docks and arsenals, had fortunately furnished them with a vast quantity of naval stores, and with several ships of the line, frigates, &c. With the former, they fitted out the vessels in the port of Toulon; and they collected transports from every quarter. While these prepa .

« PreviousContinue »