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in a negociation for peace between
, Philipburg, and Ingolftadt,
to fupply each garrifon with provi fions and ftores; and, that the fquadrons which formed the blockade of Flashing, Breft, Cadiz, and Toulon, fhould return into their own harbours, or at least retire from the refpective coafts. This plan, or in the language of the French, projet, was objected to by the British government, as repugnant to the obvious and established principle of an armistice, by which neither party ought to acquire frefl advantages, or new means of annoying the enemy. Lord Grenville, the British fecretary for foreign affairs, then offered a counter-fketch, more nearly correfponding with that principle of equality, on which alone his fovereign would confent to treat. It prohibited all means of defence from being conveyed into the ifland of Malta, or any of the parts of Egypt, but allowed the neceffaries of life to be introduced from time to time: it provided for the difcontinuance of the blockade at Breft, Toulon, and other French ports, but tended to prevent all naval or military ftores from being conveyed thither by fea; and the fhips of war, in thofe ports, from being removed to any other ftation. The French government, not fatisfied with thefe propofitions, offered this alternative: If Great Britain would agree to a feparate negociation, her fcheme would be adopted. But, if she should infift on a general négociation, the French projet must be accepted. Lord Grenville infifted on the terms that had been already offered by Great Britain. Mr. Otto now delivered a fecond projet: by which, among other alterations, fmall thips of war were to be allowed to go out of the French
of two years, the English obtained poffeffion of an ifland, happily fituated, having a fpacious harbour, ftrong by nature and art, and of vast importance to Great Britain, whether as giving her the command of the Mediterranean, in time of war,. or as the means of exchange, tend-. ing to peace. About this time Curaçao alfo, an ifland fituated near the continent of South America, was furrendered by the Dutch to the English, as Surinam also had been, the year before, for temporary occupancy, rather, as they underftood the matter, than permanent poffeffion.
French ports, and fix frigates were to be permitted to fail to Egypt, difcharge their cargoes at Alexandria, and return without being fearched. After a fruitles conference on this new plan, Mr. Otto, on the fifth of October, intimated, that as fome important events had completely changed the ground on which the propofed truce was to have been established, the general negociation was at an end: but, he added, that the first conful was difpofed to receive any overtures for a feparate treaty with Great Britain: to which propofal the British government, true to their ally, gave a decided negative.
In the mean time that inland, on the fituation of which the negocia tion fo much turned, had fallen into the hands of Great Britain. Brigadier-general Graham had for fome me fuperintended the blockade of La Velette, the chief fortress of Malta; but, its conqueft was not cumpleted before major-general Pigot landed with a reinforcement. Provifions being very fearce, two irigates failed out of the harbour, on the twenty-fourth of Auguft, with a part of the garriton, and one of them foon became a prize to the English, Vaubois, the governor, alarmed at increafing difficulties, called a council of war, in which it was determined, that as only. hread remained for the fupport of the garrifon, which had no hope of fuccour, no dilgrace could be incurred by a furrender. A capitulation was figned on the fifteenta of September, allowing the conveyance of the French troops, as priloners of war, to Marfilies, and providing for the protection and tecurity of the inhabitants of all dekuptions. Thus, after a blockade
On the fifth of October, the Britifh fleet, from the Mediterranean, confifting of twenty-two fail of the line, twenty-feven frigates, and ten finaller veflels of war, with eighty-, four tranfports, having on board about twenty thoufand men, appeared off Cadiz. The fleet, under the command of lord Keith; the land-forces under that of fir Ralph Abercromby, appeared before Cadiz, where an epedimic difeafe raged with great violence. The governor-general, Thomas de Morla, fent a letter to the English admiral, ftating to him the fituation of the inhabitants, and the univerfal odium which must attend an attack on the city, in fuch circumftances. The Don's letter is not unworthy to be inferted here at full length: "To the English admiral-The affiction which carries off, in this city and its environs, thousands of vic-. tims, and which threatens not to fufpend its ravages till it has cut off all who have hitherto elcaped, being calculated to excite compaflion, it is with furprize that I fee the fquadron, under the command of your excellency, come to augment the [P4] confternation
confternation of the inhabitants. I have too exalted an opinion of the humanity of the English people, and of yours in particular, to think that you would wish to render our condition more deplorable. However, if, in confequence of the orders your excellency has received, you are inclined to draw down upon yourself the execration of all nations, to cover yourself with difgrace in the eyes of the whole univerfe, by oppreffing the unfortunate, and attacking those who are fuppofed to be incapable of defence, I declare to you, that the garrifon under my orders, accuftomed to behold death with a ferene countenance, and to brave dangers much greater than all the perils of war, know how to make refiftance, which fhall not terminate but with their entire deftruction. I hope that the answer of your excellency will inform me, whether I am to fpeak the language of confolation to the unfortunate inhabitants, or whether I am to rouze them to indignation and revenge. "May God preferve your excellency. oat. 5, 1800.
"Thomas de Morla."
defence of the place, the danger of infection being also taken into confideration, the British armament withdrew from Cadiz.
The importance of these alertes, on the French and Spanish coafts, it ought to be obferved in justice to thofe who planned, and those who conducted them, is not to be meafured by the damage done to the enemy only, but by the divifion and diverfion, thereby occafioned, of his forces.
We return to the Mediterranean and the principal theatre of the conteft there, Egypt: but, in our way, we may take notice of as great a political fingularity, as any to be found among all the revolutions and changes that marked the conclufion of the eighteenth century. A new commonwealth was eftablished, confifting of Corfu, Cephalonia, Zante, and the other Ex-venetian iflands near the coaft of Greece. It was ftyled the Ionian republic. It was, like Ragufa, to pay a moderate tribute to the Porte; and its independence was guaranteed both by the Turks and Ruffians.
The victory of Buonaparte, at Aboukir, where nine thousand Turks were flain,* did not retard, for an inftant,either the preparations or the march of the grand vizier from Damafcus. The Turkish army, at Aboukir, was only a detachment from a much larger force, which drew nearer and nearer the Delta, and alarmed the French for the fecurity of Brulos and Damietta. On the twenty-fourth of September, eighteen Turkifh fhips anchored before this laft place, and they were fucceffively augmented, by the end of October to fifty-three. This fleet was commanded by fir Sidney Smith, on board the Tygre. The * See Volume XL. 1798.
To this letter the British admiral and general replied, that as the fhips in the port were to be employed in joining and increafing the naval force of the French republic, and prolonging the calamities of Europe, an attack was to be averted only by a furrender of thole vellels. This propofal being rejected by the governor, with indignation, the British general began to make arrangements for a defcent; but, when it was found that the precautions of the enemy, and the ftrength of the works were adequate to the
toaft was founded; the pafs to Da mietta was marked by buoys and gun-boats, and gun-boats were planted acrofs the line of entrance. The Turkish army took poffeffion of a tower at the mouth of the Nile, and formed it into a poft, defended with a piece of artillery. Thus protected, the army amounting to four thousand men, made good its landing, the first of November, and began to entrench themselves on the point, fituated between the right fide of the Nile, the fea, and the lake Menzala.
Buonaparte, perceiving from the movements of the grand vizier's army, as well as thofe of Mourad Bey, had, about the middle of Auguft, 1799, immediately before his departure from Egypt, dispatched a force, not lefs than fifty thoufand ftrong, under general Deffaix; of which fix thoufand feven hundred were French infantry and cavalry, towards the Syrian coaft, to observe and oppose them.
their preparations against a more numerous and formidable army, which was about to pour on them across the deferts of Syria.
While the Turks were engaged in attempts to expel the French from Egypt, the grand fignior concluded a treaty with the British monarch: the principal article of which was, that the Turks fhould continue the war against the French republic, even after the recovery of Egypt. Towards the end of November, an attack was made on the French poft, at the mouth of the Damietta branch of the Nile, by Seyd Ali, at the head of a Turki detachment, and by fir Sidney Smith, The Turks who with the fleet. landed, foon routed, by their impetuofity, the first line of the French; but the remaining force of the enemy changed the fcene, and repelled the Mahomedans, of whom two or made thousand were killed, Near the clofe of prifoners. 1799, the grand vizier, whole army had refted for fome time at Gaza, having crolled the defert, formed the fiege of El Arifh. It was conducted by major Douglas, and other British officers: and the fort was taken by ftorm, on the twen ty-ninth of December. Three hundred of the defenders were put to the fword, by the brutal fury of the aflailants, after the French had laid down their arms. Buonaparte, senfible that fuch a lofs as that which had been fuftained at Aboukir, was but trifling to a great nation, and whofe pride and intereft were equally wounded by the invasion of the fineft province in their empire, difpatched a letter to the grand vizier, fraught with fentiments of conciliation, and expretlive of a ftrong defire of peace. This letter, written at the moment of victory, the
The Turks had no fooner eftablifhed themselves in the poft juft mentioned, than general Verdier, who was encamped between Leibe, and the coaft, marched against them with the detachment, under his command, of one thoufand French, without waiting for any reinforcement from the main army, attacked, and deftroyed three thoufand, and made eight hundred pri. foners, among whom was Ifmael Bey, the fecond in command; and took thirty-two ftand of colours, and five pieces of artillery. This divifion made part of an army of eight thoufand Janiffaries, which had failed from Conftantinople. The veffels remained fometime longer on the coaft, which they were at laft obliged to quit, on account of bad weather. The French continued
the most proper, undoubtedly, for making peace, was fent by the hands of an effendi, made prifoner at Aboukir: " Alas, faid Buonaparte, why do the fublime Porte, and the French republic, after having been friends for fo many years, now find themfelves at war? Is it because the boundaries of the two states are to distant from each other that they fight? Is it because the courts of Germany and Ruffia border on the territories of the fablime Porte, that they have united themfelves with it? Your excellency cannot be ignorant that the French nation, without exception, is extremely attached to the fublime Porte. Endowed, as your excellency is, with the moft diftinguished talents, and acquainted with the real interefts of courts, can it have efcaped you, that the Ruffians and Auftrians have confpired, once for all, against the fublime Porte, and that the French, on the contrary, are ufing every poffible effort to counteract their wicked defigns? Your excellency knows that the Ruffians are the enemies of the Muffulman faith, and that Paul the First, emperor of Ruffia, as grand master of Malta, that is to fay, chief knight, has folemnly fwore enmity to the Mufiulmen. The French have abolished the order of Malta, given liberty to the Mahometan prifoners detained there, and have the fame belief as themselves, that There is no God but the true God,' It is then very ftrarge, that the fublime Porte fhould declare war on the French, its real and fincere friends; and contract alliances with the Ruf⚫ and Germans, its declared,
n the French were neceffae fect of the Meffiah, they
were the friends of the fublime Porte; now, that they are, as it were, united by the fame religion, that power declares war against them! The courts of England and Ruffia have led the fublime Porte into an error. We had informed it. by letters, of our intended expedition into Arabia; but thofe courts found means to intercept and conceal our papers; and, as if I had not proved to the fublime Porte that the French republic, far from wishing to deprive it of its domains, had not even the smalleft intention of making war on it; his moft glorious majefty, fultan Selim, gave credit to the English, and conceived an averfion for the French, his ancient friends. Is not the kind treatment the ships of war and merchantmen belonging to the fublime Porte, in the different ports of Arabia, experienced at my hands, a fufficient proof of the extreme defire and love, of the French republic, for peace and amity?. The fublime Porte, without waiting for the arrival of the French minifter, Defcorches, who had already left France for Conftantinople, and, without inquiring what were the motives of my conduct, declared war against the French, with the most unaccountable precipitation. Although I was informed of this war, I difpatched Beauchamp, conful of the republic, in the Caravel, in full coof ence of terminating it; and while I was expecting the anfwer of the fublime Porte, by the fame conveyance, I found that he had been thrown into prifon; and Turkish troops difpatched to Gaza, with orders to take poffeffion of Arabia.
"Upon this I thought it more adviseable to make war there than in the territory of Egypt; and I