Emperor of the French Napoleon I.

The Bonaparte letters and despatches, secret, confidential, and official; from the originals in his private cabinet (Volume 2) online

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Online LibraryEmperor of the French Napoleon IThe Bonaparte letters and despatches, secret, confidential, and official; from the originals in his private cabinet (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 38)
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PART FOURTH..— (Continued.)


To His Majesty the Emperor of Germany, King of Hungary
and Bohemia, Archduke of Austria, eye.

Head-quarters, Milan, 11 Vendemiaire, year 5 [October 2, 1796].

Sire, Europe longs for peace. This disastrous war has
lasted too long.

I have the honour to inform your Majesty that, if you do
not send plenipotentiaries to Paris to commence negociations
for peace, the Executive Directory orders me to destroy the
port of Trieste and to ruin all your Majesty's establishments
on the Adriatic. I have been hitherto withheld from the
execution of this plan by the hope of not increasing the
number of the innocent victims of this war.

I beseech your Majesty to consider the calamities which
threaten your subjects, and to restore peace and tranquillity
to the world. I am, with respect, your Majesty's &c.


To the Chief of the Staff.

Head-quarters, Milan, 11 Vendemiaire, year 5 [October 2, 1796].

I learn, citizen-general, that several Genoese merchants
have left Genoa with great noise and fled to Milan, affording
occasion for the surmise that they had been informed that
the French designed to bombard Genoa. You will be
pleased to order them to leave Lombardy immediately and
to return to Genoa ; having it at heart to deprive the ill-
affected of the means of disquieting the good people of



Genoa, to whom the army of Italy owes essential obli-
gations, as well for the corn which it has procured for us
in moments of distress, as for the friendship which it has at
all times testified for the Republic.

Now that they have just closed their port against the
English, and expelled the emperor's minister, who had fo-
mented the rebellion of the imperial fiefs, they have more
particular claims to the protection of the French Republic.


To Citizen Garrau, Commissioner of the Government.

Head-quarters, Milan, 13 Vendemiaire, year 5 [October 4, 1796].

We are in the greatest need of money both for the army
and for France : I think, therefore, that it is necessary for
you to take measures this evening for collecting all the
sums possible upon the credits of the chamber, the capitals
of the archduke, and the credits known by the name of
Rivelles : these three objects may be a great resource to us,
and you know that we have no need to spare any thing.


To General Bonaparte.

Bologna, 13 Vendemiaire, year 5 [October 4, 1796].
Citizen Salicetti will inform you in detail of the fermen-
tation which has taken place in the Romagna conceruing a
proclamation of the court of Rome and the vain hope enter-
tained that the King of Naples is able and willing to assist
the pope to keep up the war. This fermentation alarms us
much. We are on the borders, and Castel-Bolognese is
enclosed in the papal territory : we are threatened, and
without arms or any means of defence. In these perplex-
ing circumstances, we can have recourse, we know, to none
but you, citizen-general. You have been our deliverer ;
be also our defender. A single battalion of your brave
soldiers would be sufficient to overawe the wretches who
might have hostile designs against us, and to inspire us
with the courage necessary in case of need. Refuse us not
this favour, citizen- general, and you shall daily have fresh
proofs of the gratitude and attachment which we owe you
on all accounts. For the senate of Bologna,

De Bianchi.


To General Bonaparte.

Head-quarters, Leghorn, 13 Vendemiaire, year 5 [October 4, 1796].

I have just received, general, positive information of con-
siderable and regular assemblages forming in Tuscany, the
inhabitants of which are training in military evolutions.
I am also assured that they are most actively engaged in
the fabrication of arms and cannon. I have communicated
this information to citizen Miot, our ambassador to the


To Cardinal Mattel.

Head-quarters, Milan, 14 Vendemiaire, year 5 [October 5, 1796].

The circumstances in which you have found yourself,
sir, were difficult and new for you : to this I am willing to
attribute the essential faults which you have committed.
The moral and Christian virtues which all the world agrees
to ascribe to you, make me strongly desirous that you should
return to your diocese. Assure all the ministers of religion
and the religious of the different congregations of the special
protection that I shall grant them, whenever they shall ab-
stain from intermeddling in the political affairs of nations.


To the Sovereign Pontiff.

Head -quarters, Milan, 15 Vendemiaire, year 5 [October 6, 1796].

I have the honour to communicate to your Holiness a
manifesto which is circulated in the Romagna, for the pur-
pose of inquiring whether it is official, or whether it is pub-
lished by the enemies of religion and of your Holiness.


To Citizen Faypoult, Minister of the French Republic at


Head-quarters, Milan, 15 Vendemiaire, year 5 [October 6, 1796].

I learn, citizen minister, that citizen Gosselin, commis-
saire ordonnateur of the army, is at Genoa. I beg you to
cause him to be apprehended and brought to Milan.


b 2


Report concerning Brescia.

Brescia, 15 Vendemiaire, jear 5 [October 6, 1796].

The city of Brescia affords no means of resistance to the
enemy ; all therefore that is done is to guard the gates, in
order to be forewarned of his arrival and to withdraw to
the citadel, where all the artillery has been mounted.

The provision of articles of consumption is inconsiderable,
as may be seen by the annexed statement.

The hospitals are not so bad as those of Verona, but,
with the exception of the wounded, the others are absolutely
destitute of things and medicines.

A wretched, filthy paillasse, swarming with vermin, one
coarse sheet for each bed, seldom washed, no blankets,
considerable crowding — such is the spectacle presented
by the fever hospitals of Brescia : it is heartrending.
The soldiers justly complain that, after conquering
the wealth of Italy at the expense of their blood, they
are debarred not only from the enjoyment of comforts, but
from receiving that care and those attentions which their
situation requires.

Bread and rice are the only tolerable articles of food ;
but the meat is hard. I earnestly beseech the general-in-
chief to turn his eyes towards the companions of his glory,
who are solicitous to recover their health, merely that they
may go and gather fresh laurels.

Keller mann, Junior.

Report on the State of the Citadel of Brescia.

15 Vendemiaire, year 5 [October 6, 1796].

The citadel of Brescia is seated on a tolerably lofty
knoll. It consists of works raised one above another, most
of them surrounded with ruins and partly filled up : yet
there is still a portion in a tolerably good state, which is
sufficient to secure the place from sudden surprise and even
to stand a siege of a few days. That part of the citadel
which overlooks the country and the city is, from the depth
of the ditches and the steepness of the rocks, secure from
escalade ; but all that is on the left of the gate and faces
the convent of the Capuchins is extremely exposed, because
the ditches are filled with rubbish nearly up to the coping,


and you may descend into them without the least obstacle.
It is indispensably necessary to station there an officer of
engineers with a fixed appointment, to superintend the
clearing of the foot of the ramparts and bastions, the repair
of the drawbridges, the walling-up of the posterns, which
are closed by a mere door easy to be broken open : there is
even one, the door of which is broken. I have recommended
to the commandant of the place to have four or five walled
up, likewise to close and wall up the gates leading to those
for sorties, that he may have nothiug to guard but his ram-
parts, and to have embrasures made for the purpose of
removing thither, in case of need, small pieces destined for
battering the faces of the bastions most exposed to escalade.
The interior of the citadel exhibits nothing but ruins : the
lodgings of the soldiers are totally out of repair. The
most excessive filthiness prevails in the rooms, in the corri-
dors, and in the courts. The soldiers are in want of straw;
they have nothing but the refuse of the prisons of the city :
the unfortunate sick on their passage are sent to the fort to
sleep ; they ascend to it, and these hapless conquerors of
Italy, in recompense for all their hardships and their
wounds, find none but damp, unwholesome lodgings, rotten
straw full of devouring insects, no accommodation what-
ever, not even wood for cooking their meat. These most
severe privations, which they endure here, they endured
yesterday, and they will again endure to morrow as they
pursue their route : nevertheless, M. le Commissaire will
forsooth provide for their wants !

The fort contains a very handsome workshop for arms,
and kept in good repair, as well as that for cartridges.

There are ovens for baking six hundred rations at once.
The hospital is not prepared for the event of a siege : no lo-
cality has been assigned to it ; there are no medicines.
There are three abundant cisterns.

The artillery of the place consists of thirteen pieces of
different calibres ; three others are about to be mounted
immediately : this number and their distribution appear
sufficient for the defence of the place. The weak part
alone, which I have mentioned above, needs three pieces to
prevent escalade.

The ammunition is not sufficient. The provision for
consumption is calculated to supply 1700 men for ten days.
The wine, however, is bad. There is no straw, wood, can-


dies, oil, not only for siege provision, but even for daily

The garrison is weak, but there is a tolerably large num-
ber of workmen, who might be armed with muskets, in case
of need.

Kellermann, Junior.

To General Bonaparte.

Rome, 15 Venderaiaire, year 5 [October 6, 1196].

The different bulletins of Rome, which I send you here-
with, might induce a belief that the league between the
King of Naples and the pope has been signed, but the car-
dinal secretary of state has assured me that this affair is
not concluded: however, they are evidently agreed.

The pope is sending Monseigneur Albani to Vienna, and
it is believed that Cardinal Doria will be sent to Spain.

Means are foolishly employed to inflame the minds of
the people against the French : none of them are allowed to
remain at Ancona or Civita Vecchia.

M. Grews [? Crewe] agent of England at Rome, de-
manded permission for the entry of three English ships
into the ports of the Ecclesiastical State — refused for the
present. *$

The Neapolitan troops are not yet leaving the frontiers :
the court ol Naples has not given the least intimation to
any one of the treaty proposed by the Directory.

A report is in circulation that I am to be detained as
an hostage for whatever may befall Cardinal Mattei.

Accept, citizen-general-in-chief, the assurance of my de-
voted attachment.


To General Bonaparte.

Genoa, 16 Vendemiaire, year 5 [October 1, 1796].

The state in which things are here and the general situa-
tion of our affairs determine me, general, to write to you
once more on the measure projected concerning Genoa.
Perhaps some of the reflections which I am about to submit
may have already occurred to you : if that is the case, we
are already agreed about our results.


We have recently sustained disasters in Germany, and
these reverses have unfortunately had in Italy a moral
effect equivalent to a real diminution of our forces. Nay,
more — it is known there that our army is not numerous,
which it ought to be for guarding one hundred and thirty
leagues of country, while Mantua still holds out, while the
Barbets are organizing an Italian Vendee, while Rome is
preaching up a crusade and withholding the remainder of
its contribution, while the successes of the archduke may
enable him to pour down a third army into the Tyrol.

The colleges guess very nearly what is our design. At
the moment that I am writing to you they are assembled :
they are on their guard against a surprise. Ever since the
evening of the day before yesterday, they have caused the
posts of the Spur and the Diamond on the great wall to be
reinforced. The guard at the Lantern Gate has orders
to be continually under arms ; and the guns which defend
it are provided with artillerymen and ammunition.

Thus you will not take them by surprise : they are in
expectation of an event. They do not absolutely fear it,
because they know the means which you can employ
against them, and those which they have to oppose you.
They will attempt resistance, and that is a great deal too
much at this moment. They are strong by circumstances ;
you, on the contrary, are weak by circumstances. The
French artillery of San Pietro d" Arena is in their power,
and you have none to supply its place. Efforts are making
to inflame the people ; in forty- eight hours they will be led
to believe that the French are contemplating a perfidy.
They will be against you.

Since I know that they will not suffer themselves to be
intimidated by a first proposition, it is my duty to apprise
you of it : I owe it to your glory, and above all to that
which serves us for a common rule — to the welfare of the
Republic which we serve.

In this state of things, when we know, as I have told
you, that the minister for foreign affairs is himself nego-
ciating the affair of the Genoese with M. Spinola ; when 1
have informed the Directory of the vigorous manner in
which the Genoese government has closed its ports against
the English, at the same time apprising it that I was
writing to you, and begging it to answer me ; when, lastly,
the decree of the 29th Messidor is three months old, and


so many more important events have since occurred, — ought
we to attempt so hazardous an enterprise without fresh,
express, and formal orders ? My opinion, general, is for the

It ought to be so, because, considering the present dispo-
sition of people's minds at Genoa, considering your inability
to save your artillery, I cannot help concluding that this
enterprise will miscarry. Citizen Lacheze, whom I send to
you, will give you important explanations on the subject,
which I may spare myself in this letter.

I shall say nothing about the difficulties of transport and
approach which the season already multiplies, and which
you might justly have reckoned as nothing in the hypothe-
sis of instantaneous success, which only six days ago I
admitted myself, but which no longer exists.

If you persist, you will have Genoa and Mantua to
besiege at once. I think it, therefore, indispensable,
general, to change the plan. It will be better, taking ad-
vantage of the perturbation in which the colleges are, to
endeavour to obtain successively some interesting points,
than aim at obtaining all and lose all at once.

In short, the Directory or the minister for foreign affairs
will answer, and then we shall know what has been done
with the envoy Spinola.

Poussielgue will perhaps have set off when you open my
letter ; but as Lacheze will probably be back in sixty hours,
I will await his return before I do anything.

I am not naturally timid, general, and you know that I
am more solicitous than any one else that France should
obtain from Genoa all the reparations which are due to her ;
but I have thought that I was rendering a service to the
Republic, and I should not have shown that confidence and
attachment which you have a right to expect from me, if I
had not written you this letter from the point at which I
am placed. You know my sentiments for you : they are

for life and death.


To General Bonaparte.

Rome, 16 Vendemiaire, year 5 [October 1, 1796].
The Italian bulletins annexed will make you acquainted
with the stupid ideas upon which people feast themselves in


Rome. The fanaticism of the populace of the Ecclesiastical
State is fostered every where even to madness.

I have reason to helieve, what you ought to know much
better than I do, that the treaty with Naples is nearly
settled and arranged in Paris with M.de Belmonte. If that
is the case., the court of Naples is playing with Rome in a
most treacherous and cruel manner, which is not necessary,
the Directory giving to the King of Naples all that he can
gain by betraying the pope. Is it possible that an idea
can have been conceived of setting Ferdinand IV. on the
throne of Rome ? In making a show of having a for-
midable army, the court of Naples has had no other view
but to obtain better conditions of peace. M. Aeton knows
what that show is worth. A sentiment of fear has un-
doubtedly induced him to increase the appearance by a
junction with the pope, with which the embassy of M. del
Vasto threatens us.

The court of Rome, in despair, would clutch at a red-hot
iron : it gives way to the blustering impulsion of the Nea-

I know not what to think, what to conclude, amid such
a chaos of complicated affairs.

I beg you, general, to accept the assurance of my attach-


To the Chief of the Staff.

Head-quarters, Milan, 15 Vendemiaire, year 5 [October 6, 1796}.

You will cause the commissary of war Flague to be
arrested wherever he may be, and brought to Milan. He
is accused of having sold a barrel of quinquina. It is pre-
sumed that he is at Leghorn.


To the Commissioner of the Government.

Head-quarters, Milan, 18 Vendemiaire, year 5 [October 9, 1796].

It is expedient, I think, to assemble a congress at Mo-
dena and at Bologna, and to compose it of the deputies of the
States of Ferrara, Bologna, Modena, and Reggio. The depu-
ties shall be nominated by the different governments, so
that the assembly may consist of about a hundred members.


You might make the distribution proportionate to the po-
pulation, favouring Eeggio a little. Care must be taken to
have among these deputies, nobles, priests, cardinals, mer-
chants, and persons of all classes, generally reputed to be
patriots. This assembly should determine : 1, the organi-
zation of the Italian legion ; 2, there should be formed a
kind of confederation for the defence of the commune ;
3, they might send deputies to Paris to demand their liberty
and their independence. This congress ought not to be
convoked by us, but only by private letters : that would
produce a great effect, and be a source of distrust and alarm
for the potentates of Europe ; and it is indispensable that
we neglect no means of replying to the fanaticism of Rome,
with a view to make friends for ourselves and to secure our
rear and our flanks. I should wish this congress to be held on
the 23rd of this month. I beg you to pay particular atten-
tion to this point : I will manage to be there at the time.
We are here without a sou, and everything is expensive.
Procure us some money.


To the Chief of the Staff.

Head-quarters, Milan, 19 Vendemiaire, year 5 [October 10, 1796].

Be pleased, general, to give orders for the arrest of the
officer who commanded the post of the Ohiusa in the affair
of the 11th Thermidor, and bring him before the council of
war for trial, as a traitor or coward, for surrendering that
post without reason, and without being forced to it.


The Executive Directory to General Bonaparte, Commander-
in-Chief of the Army of Italy.

Paris, 14 Vendemiaire, year 5 [October 5, 1796].

It was you, citizen-general, who first called the attention
of the government to the monuments with which the con-
quest of Italy is to enrich the French Museum, and you
desired that scientific men and artists should be appointed
to collect those precious spoils ; it will therefore be gratify-
ing to you to concur in the execution of a measure useful to
the commission which we have appointed for that purpose.
We are informed that the members who compose it are in


a state of destitution, which the national generosity cannot
but be solicitous to relieve, and on the subject of which
they have hitherto neglected to interest it from mistaken

We request you, in consequence, citizen-general, in con-
cert with our commissioners to the army, to cause the sums
necessary for the subsistence of the members of that com-
mission, and which the utility of their services demands, to
be delivered to them.

L. M. Eeveillere-Lepaux.

The Executive Directory to General Bonaparte.

Paris, 15 Vendemiaire, year 5 [October 6, 1796].

The Directory, interested, citizen-general, in accelerating
the moment when the demolition of the Piedmontese for-
tresses shall be completed, wishes to add to the zeal of the
general-in-chief Kellermann, and to the means which he
is employing in this important operation for France. It
entreats you, in consequence, to comply cheerfully with the
application made to you by that general for a company of
miners. Your present situation leads us to presume that
this succour afforded to the army of the Alps will have no
influence on the last efforts that you are about to make to
ensure the conquest of Italy to the French Republic, and
from which we hope for the most glorious success.

L. M. Reveillere-Lepaux.

The Executive Directory to General Bonaparte.

Paris, 17 Vendemiaire, year 5 [October 8, 1796].

Your courier of the 11th Vendemiaire is just arrived,
citizen-general, at the moment of the departure of the one
whom we detained to be the bearer of the present despatch.
In perusing your letters, the circumstance that particularly
struck us was the application made by you for reinforce-
ments : we ourselves acknowledge the necessity for them,
and we shall immediately give orders for drafting a few
more troops from the Coasts of the Ocean and sending them
to you. This succour must be distant, notwithstanding the
celerity which we shall enjoin in this matter : meanwhile,


the summary of the orders given by the minister of war in
the first decade of this month in matters concerning you,
in virtue of our preceding arrangements, is as follows :

Four thousand men shall march without delay from the
Coasts of the Ocean for Italy ; 6000 shall likewise be im-
mediately drafted from the 15th and 17th divisions, for the
same destination, with the exception of 2000, who are on
march for Toulon, where they will be attached to the navy ;
2000, taken from the territorial divisions of the South, are
proceeding to the army of the Alps.

Depend upon it, citizen-general, that we shall place at
your disposal all the means in our power to repair the losses
of the army which you command, and to enable it to finish
its glorious campaign with the reduction of Mantua, and
the destruction ot the new troops which the emperor may
have it in his power to send to its relief. We must conso-
lidate at any rate the conquest of Italy, not for the
aggrandizement of the Republic, but in favour of peace.
3 We shall reply forthwith on the other subjects of your



The Executive Directory to General Bonaparte.

Paris, 17 Vendemiaire, year 5 [October 8, 1796].

An arrangement had just been concluded with the repub-
lic of Genoa, when a despatch relative to the situation of
that country arrived from citizen Faypoult. This despatch
leading us to presume that you have directed troops upon

Online LibraryEmperor of the French Napoleon IThe Bonaparte letters and despatches, secret, confidential, and official; from the originals in his private cabinet (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 38)