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The lives of 50,000 men are at stake, who may be destroyed without any motive, fince, according to the folemn treaty made with the English, Ruffians, and Turks, all hoftilities had terminated.
I have not powers ad hoc for the ftep I have taken; but there is no neceffity for claiming what would be confidered as a right between nations the leaft civilized. The demand appears to me fo juft and fo fimple, and bendes fo urgent, that I have not thought it neceflary to wait for the orders of general Kleber, who, I am certain, would not confent to the smallest modification of the treaty, though his fidelity in executing it has rendered his poftion much lefs advantageous.
At the moment we concluded the convention at El-Arisch, under the fimple pledge of English good faith, we were far from fufpecting that obftacles would be started by that fame power, the moft liberal of thole with whom we had to
Lord Keith's Anfwer.
Minotaur, April 25.
I have this day received the letter which you have done me the honour to write. I have to inform you, that I have given no orders or authority against the obfervance of the convention between the grand vizier and general Kleber, having received no orders on this head from the king's minifters. Accordingly I was of opinion, that his majefty fhould take no part in it; but fince the treaty has been concluded, his majefty, being defirous of thowing his refpect for his allies, I have reeeived inftructions to allow a palfage to the French troops, and I loft not a moment in fending to Egypt orders to permit them to return to France without moleftation. At the fame time I thought it my duty to my king, and thole of his allies whofe ftates lie in the feas through which they are to pafs, to require that they fhould not return in a mafs, nor in hips of war, nor in armed fhips. I wished likewite that the cartel fhould carry no merchandife which would be contrary to the law of nations. I have likewife afked of general Kleber his word of honour, that neither he nor his army fhould commit any hoftilities against the coalefced powers; and I doubt not that general Kle ber will find the conditions perfectly reasonable.
Captain Hay has received my or ders to allow you to proceed to France with adjutant-general Cambis, as foon as he arrives at Leghorn.
Kleber, Commander-in-Chief, to the to fuch infolence by victories-pre
pare for battle. .
"I inform you, that I have received pofitive orders from his majefty, not to confent to any capitulation with the French troops which you command in Egypt and Syria, at leaft unless they lay down their arms, furrender themfelves prifoners of war, and deliver up all the hips and ftores of the port of Alexandria to the allied powers.
"In the event of this capitulation, I cannot permit any of the troops to depart for France before they have been exchanged. I think it equally neceflary to inform you, that all veffels having French troops on board, and failing from this, with paffports from others than thofe authorized to grant them, will be forced by the officers of the flips which I command to remain in Alexandria: in fhort, that hips which fhall be met returning to Europe, with paffsports granted in confequence of a particular capitulation with one of the allied powers, will be retained as prizes, and all individuals on board confidered as prifoners of war.
(Signed) Kleber. The general of division, chief
of the ftaff,
Letter from General Menou to Sir Sidney Smith, informing him of the Affaffination of Genera! Kleber, and of his having taken upon him the chief Command.
J. Menou, General in Chief, to Sir
Head-quarters at Cairo, 1 Meffidor (June 19), Year 8, of the French Republic, one and indivifible.
Have received the letter which you did me the honour of writing to me, under date of the 9th of June, from on board the Tigre, off Rhodes. Since the French army is deprived of its leader, by the atrocious affaffination of the generalin-chief Kleber, I have taken upon myself the command of it. Your allies the Turks, not having been able to conquer the French near Malarich, they have, to be revenged, made ufe of the dagger, which is only reforted to by cowards. A Janiffary, who had quitted Gaza about forty-two days ago, had been fent to perpetrate the horrid deed. The French willingly believe the Turks only to have been guilty. The account of the murder fhall be communicated to every nation, for all are equally interested in avenSoldiers! we know how to reply ging it. The behaviour which you,
fir, obferved, with regard to the convention concluded at El-Arisch, points out to me the road which I have to purfue. You demanded the ratification of your court: I must also demand that of the confuls who now govern the French nation, for any treaty that might be concluded with the English and their allies. This is the only legal way, the only one admiffible in any negociations that may ever take place. As well as you, fir, I abhor the flames of war; as well as you, I wish to fee an end put to the mifery which it has caused. But I fhall never, in any point whatever, exempt myself from what the honour of the French republic and of her arms requires. I am fully convinced that thefe fentiments must allo be yours. Good faith and morality must prevail in treaties concluded between nations. The French republicans know not thofe ftratagems which are mentioned in the papers of Mr. Mories. They know not any other behaviour than courage during the combat, magnanimity after the victory, and good faith in their treaties. One hun dred and fifty Englishmen are prifoners of war here; had I followed only the dictates of republican magnanimity, I would have fent them back, without confidering them as prifoners, for they were taken on the coaft of Egypt, not with arms in their hands, and I am fully con
to reprifals against your country men; but they fhall be fet at li berty immediately on the arrival of citizen Baudet at Damietta, who fhall there be exchanged against Muftapha Pacha, and feveral other Turkish commiffaries. If, fir, as I have no doubt, you have fome influence over your allies, this affair will foon be fettled, which interefts your honour, and evidently endangers one hundred and fifty of your countrymen. I have the honour to repeat to you, fir, that with en thufiaftic pleasure I fhall fee the termination of a war which has, for fo long a period, agitated the whole world. The French and English nation are deftined mutually to efteem, not to destroy one another; but when they enter into negociations with each other, it must only be done on conditions which are equally honourable to both, and promotive of their welfare. Receive, fir, the very fincere affurances of my esteem and high re fpect. I have the honour to be, &c. (Signed) Abdallah Bey J. Menou.
Letter from Sir Sidney Smith to Ge
neral Menon, Commander-in-Chief of the French Army in Egypt; originally written in French; dated Jaffa, June 22, 1800.
municated the intelligence to the grand vizier and the Ottoman minitters, in the terms in which you announced to me that fad event; and nothing less than the certainty and detail, with which you communicated it could have induced their excellencies to credit the information. The grand vizier has declared to me, formally and officially, that he had not the flightest knowledge of those who have been guilty, of the affaffination; and I am perfuaded that his declaration is true and fincere. Without entering into the particulars of this unfortunate event, I fhall content myself with anfwering the articles of your letter that relate to our affairs.
If the grand vizier has detained in his camp the aid-de-camp Baudet, difpatched to him at Jebil-il-Illam, it was becaufe his excellency did not think proper to fuffer any perfon to quit his camp at the moment when he faw himself furrounded by his enemies. Baudet was detained at Jebil-il-Illam in the fame manner as the Turkish officers deftined to ferve reciprocally with him as hoftages, were detained at Cairo.
This aid-de-camp was fent to the Ottoman fquaaron to be exchanged, according to your defire; and during that interval his excellency the captain Pacha having arrived here, the exchange was poftponed in confequence of his abfence from the fquadron. When his excellency fhall have joined the fquadron, the exchange may be carried into effect, fhould you think proper, as the aidde-camp Baudet is off Alexandria; but I cannot perceive why you make the release of one hundred and fifty English, who were fhipwrecked at Cape Brulos, depend upon a tranfaction relating only to
yourself and the Porte. I expect from your good faith and your juftice, according to the regulations fettled between both nations relative to the reciprocal exchange of our prifoners, which we are authorized to enforce, that you will allow captain Buttal, his officers and crew, to return.
Your promifes expreffive of the hope of reciprocity on my part cannot apply to this circumftance, and I think it fuperfluous to offer you in return the affurance of my good offices in favour of any perfon who may be reduced to the painful fituation which I have myself experienced. I am convinced that the grand vizier will fanction with his generous and dignified approbation all the humane proceedings which we may adopt with refpect to one another. The tricks of warfare are unknown to us both, and while I fhall continue to behave to you with the fame candour and the fame good faith which I have manifefted to the prefent moment, I fall earneftly employ all my means to prevent any perfon on whom I may poffefs influence from purfuing a contrary line of conduct. Be af fured that the hoftile difpofitions, which have been recently announced, and which have acquired extent and publicity, may be appeafed by the opportunities furnifhed to both parties by the present circumftances of mutual correfpondence and communication, and that we shall at length be united by the ties of fincere friendship. In the mean time we shall profecute hoftilities against you with the means which we have hitherto employed against you, and we shall endeavour to render ourselves worthy of the efleem of your brave troops. ૨ ૩
The hoftilities which you have committed without waiting for admiral Keith's anfwer, who was unacquainted with the convention concluded for the evacuation of Egypt, have furnished us with a rule for our conduct. I had not demanded of my court the ratification of the convention; I merely was defirous to remove some obftacles that might have oppofed the return of the French to their country,
As general Kleber did not, in the late preliminaries which were agreed to, give us to understand that it was neceffary the treaty which was to have followed them fhould be ratified by the confuls, this condition now introduced by you in your preliminaries has the appearance of a refufal to evacuate Egypt, and the grand vizier has commiffioned me to require of you on that head a clear and precife anfwer. You wish, as I do, for a termination to the war which defolates the whole world:
It is in your power to remove one of the obstacles in the peace by evacuating Egypt according to the terms agreed upon with general Kleber; and if you refufe, we fhall exert all our means, and those of our allies, in order to compel you to accept conditions which may not prove fo advantageous. I cannot fupprefs my regret at being forced to fulfil that duty; but the evacuation of Egypt being an object of fo much intereft to the caufe of humanity, the mode of accomplishing it by correfpondence and conference is ftill open.
As the admiral, under whofe orders I am, is at a confiderable diftance, I am authorized to agree to fuch arrangements as the neceffity
of circumstances may dictate; and although, from the nature of events, I am not warranted in offering any new propofition, I am, however, ready and difpofed to receive all thofe which you may think fit to make. I can declare to you offici ally. that I fhall exert all my efforts to prevent any rafh proceedings, and to oppofe all vexatious mea fures, from whatever quarter they may arife.
I fhall literally adhere to all the inftructions of my court. I know its principles to be founded upon the most punctilious equity and the moft perfect good faith. My con du&t fhall be conformable to its principles, and all my exertions thall be directed to the performance of my duty, by promoting its interefs.
As it is not yet decided in what direction I am about to act, I beg you will tranfmit me your answer in two difpatches, the one addrefled to Alexandria and the other to Jaffa, at the camp of the grand vizier.