« AnteriorContinuar »
hofpitals, where they fhall be under the fafeguard of his highnefs the vizier, and shall be attended by the French officers of health, who fhall remain with them until their health fhall allow them to fet off, which fhall be as foon as poffible. The 11th and 12th articles of this convention fhall be applicable to them, as well as to the reft of the army; and the commander-in-chief of the French army engages to give the moft ftrict orders to the different officers commanding the troops embarked, not to allow the troops to difembark in any other ports than thofe which shall be pointed out by the officers of health as affording the greatest facility for performing the neceffary, accustomed, and proper quarantine.
XXI. All the difficulties which may arife, and which fhall not be provided for by the prefent convention, fhall be amicably fettled between commiffioners, appointed for that purpose by his highnels the grand vizier and the general-in-chief Kleber, in fuch a manner as to faci litate the evacuation.
XXII. Thele prefents fhall not be effectual until after the refpective ratifications, which are to be exchanged in eight days; after which, they fhall be religioufly obferved on both fides.
Done, figned, and fealed with our refpective feals, &c. January 21, 1800.
Defaix, general of divifion; Pouffielgue; plenipotentiaries of general Kleber.
And their excellencies Moustafa Rafchid Effendi Tefterdar,
Mouftafa Raffiche Effendi Riefful Knitar, plenipotentiaries of his highness the fupreme vizier.
Camp of Salachich, January 30.
Have figned, citizens directors, the treaty relative to the evacuation of Egypt, and I fend you a copy of it. That which bears the fignature of the grand vizier cannot reach this place for a few days, the exchange of fignatures being to take place at El-Arisch.
I have given you an account in my former difpatches of the fituation in which this army was placed. I have informed you alfo of the negociations which general Bonaparte had commenced with the grand vizier, and which I have continued. Though at that time I had little dependance on the fuccefs of these negociations, I hoped that they would fo far retard the march, and relax the preparations of the grand vizier, as to give you time to fend me affiftance in men or in arms, or, at leaft, orders refpecting the dif agreeable circumftances in which I was placed. I founded this hope of affiftance upon my knowledge that the French and Spanish fleets were united at Toulon, and only wanted a favourable wind for failing: they did indeed fail, but it was only to repafs the Straits, and. to return to Breft. This news was moft diftrefling to the army, which
learned, at the fame time, our reverfes in Italy, in Germany, in Holland, and even in La Vendée, without its appearing that any proper measure had been taken to ar reft the course of the misfortunes which threatened even the existence of the republic.
Meanwhile the vizier advanced from Damafcus. On another quarter, about the middle of October, a Beet appeared before Damietta. It difembarked about 4000 Janizaries, who were to be followed by an equal number, but time was not left for their arrival. The firft were attacked, and completely defeated in less than half an hour: the carnage was terrible; more than 800 of them were made prifoners. This event did not render the negociations more eafy. The vizier manifested the fame intentions, and did not fufpend his march any longer than was necessary for forming his establishments, and procuring the means of transporting his troops. His army was then estimated at 60,000 men; but other pachas were following him, and were recruiting army with new troops from all parts of Afiá, as far as Mount Caucafus. The van of this army foon arrived at Jaffa.
Commodore fir Sidney Smith wrote me about this time, that is to fay, fome days before the debarkation of Damietta; and as I knew all the influence which he had over the vizier, I thought it my duty not only to answer him, but even to propofe to him, as a place for holding conferences, the fhip which he commanded: I was equally repugnant to receiving in Egypt English or Turkish plenipotentiaries, or to fending mine to the camp of the latter: my propofition was accepted,
and then the negociations affumed, a more fettled afpect. All this, however, did not ftop the Ottoman army which the grand vizier conducted towards Gaza.
During all this time the war continued in Upper Egypt, and the beys, hitherto difperfed, thought of joining themfelves to Mourad, who, conftantly purfued and conftantly defeated, alluring to his cause the Arabs and the inhabitants of the province of Bennissoeuf, continued to keep fome troops together, and to give disturbance. The plague also threatened us with its ravages and already was weekly depriving us of feveral men at Alexandria and other places.
On the 21st December, general Deffaix and citizen Pouffielgue, whom I had appointed plenipotentiaries, opened the conferences with fir Sidney Smith, on board the Tigre, to whom the grand vizier had given power to treat. They were to have kept on the coaft between Damietta and Alexandria, but a very violent gale of wind having obliged them to get into the open lea, they remained out at fea for eighteen days: at the end of this time they landed at the camp of the vizier. He had advanced against El-Arisch, and had poffeffed himself, on the 30th December, of that fort. This fuccefs was entirely owing to the remarkable cowardice of the garrifon, which furrendered without fighting, feven days after the attack. This event was so much the more unfortunate, as general Regnier was on his march to raise the blockade before the great body of the Turkish army had arrived.
From that moment it was impoffible to hope to protract the negociations to any length. It was ne
ceffary to examine maturely the danger of breaking them off, to lay afide all motives of perfonal vanity, and not to expofe the lives of all the Frenchmen intrufted to me, to the terrible confequences which farther delay would render inevitable.
The most recent accounts stated the Turkish army to amount to 80,000 men, and it must still have increased: there were in it twelve pachas, fix of whom were of the first rank. Forty-five thousand men were before El-Arilch, having fifty pieces of cannon, and waggons in proportion: this artillery was drawn by mules. Twenty other pieces of cannon were at Gaza with the corps of referve: the remainder of the troops were at Jaffa, and in the neighbourhood of Ramli. Active foraging parties fupplied the vizier's camp with provifions: all the tribes of the Arabs were emulous of affifting this army, and furnished it with more than 15,000 camels I am affured that the diftributions were regularly made. All thefe forces were directed by European officers, and from 5000 to 6000 Ruffians were every moment expected.
To this army I had to oppofe 8500 men, divided on the three points, Katich, Salachich, and Belbeys. This divifion was neceflary, in order to facilitate our communications with Cairo, and in order to enable us to grant affiftance fpeedily to the poft which fhould be firft attacked: in fact, it is certain that they all might have been turned or avoided. This is what Elfii Bey has recently done, who, during the negociations, entered with his Mamalukes into the Charkie, in order to join the Billis Arabs, and to re
join Mourad in Upper Egypt. The remainder of the army was diftributed as follows: 1000 men, under the command of general Verdier, formed the garrifon of Lefbe, and were employed to raise contributions of money and provifions, and to keep in obedience the country between the canal of Achmoun and that of Moes, blindly directed by the fheik Lefkam. Eighteen hundred men were under the command of General Launfee, to fupply with provifions the garrifons of Alexandria, Aboukir, and Roletta, to retrain the Delta and the Batrira. Twelve hundred men remained at Cairo and Gaza, and they were obliged to furnish efcorts for the convoys of the army; and, finally, 2500 men were in Upper Egypt on a chain of more than 150 leagues in extent: they had daily to fight the beys and their partifans. The whole formed 15,000 men. Such, in fact, eftimating them at the highest, may be reckoned the number of the dif pofable combatants in the army.
Notwithstanding this difproportion of forces, I would have hazarded a battle, if I had had the certainty of the arrival of fuccours before the feafon of a debarkation. But this feafon having once arrived without my receiving reinforcements, I fhould have been obliged to fend 5000 men to the coafts. There would have remained to me 3000 men to defend a country open on all parts, against an invafion of 30,000 cavalry, feconded by the Arabs and the inhabitants, without a fortified place, without provifions, money, or fhips. It behoved me to foresee this period, and to afk myself what I could then do for the prefervation of the army. No means
Health and refpect,
of fafety remained; it would be all the Eaft, and I expect to return impoffible to treat, but with arms to France with the army at the latest in our hands, with undifciplined by the middle of June. hordes of barbarous fanatics, who defpife all the laws of war: thefe motives affected every mind; they determined my opinion. I gave orders to my plenipotentiaries not to break off the negociations, except the articles propofed tended to the facrifice of our glory or our fecurity.
I finish this account, citizens directors, by obferving to you, that the circumftances of my fituation were not foreseen in the inftructions left me by general Bonaparte. When he promised me fpeedy fuccours, he founded his hopes, as well as I did, upon the junction of the French and Spanish fleets in the Mediterranean: we were then far from thinking that these fleets would return into the ocean, and that the expedition of Egypt, entirely abandoned, would become a ground of accufation against thofe who had planned it. I annex to this letter a copy of my correfpondence with the grand vizier, and with fir Sidney Smith and my plenipotentiaries, and all the official notes fent on either fide: I annex alfo a copy of the reports which have been given relative to the capture of El Arifch.
The French army, during its flay in Egypt, has engraved on the minds of the inhabitants the remembrance of its victories, that of the moderation and equity with which we have governed, and an impreffion of the ftrength and power of the nation by whom it was fent. The French name will be long refpected, not only in this province of the Ottoman empire, but throughout
Kleber, Commander-in-Chief, to the Divan of Cairo, and to thofe of the different Provinces of Egypt.
OU have for a long time known the conftant refolution of the French nation to preferve its ancient relations with the Ottoman empire. My illuftrious predeceffor, general Bonaparte, has often declared it to you fince the circumftances of the war have induced us to vifit this country. He neglected no meature to diffipate the apprehenfions which had been infufed into the Porte, led as it was to conclude an alliance equally contrary to its interefts and ours. The explanation fent by him to the court of Conftantinople, failed in re-establishing fo defirable an union; and the march of the grand vizier against Damafcus having opened a more direct mode of communicating, he commenced negociations, and confided to me the talk of terminating them at the mo ment when affairs of fuperior intereft obliged him to return to Europe, I have this day concluded them, and restore this country to the poffeffion of our ancient ally. The re-establishment of the commerce of Egypt will be the firft effect of the meafure. The treaty fhall be the firft claufe of a peace, which is become neceflary to the nations of the west.
Sir Sidney Smith to Citizen Pouffielgue, Adminiftrator-general of the Finances.
On board the Tigre, March 8, 1800. Loft not a moment to repair to Alexandria as foon as I could complete the provifioning of my fhips, in order to inform you in detail of the obstacles which my fuperiors have opposed to the execution of convention fuch as I thought it my duty to agree to, not having received the inftructions to the contrary, which reached Cyprus on the 22d of February, bearing date the 10th of January.
As to myself, I fhould not hesitate to pafs over any arrangement of an old date, in order to fupport what took place on the 24th and 31ft of January; but it would be only throwing out a fnare to my brave
and conciliatory difpofition, which facilitated our former agreement, in order again to fupport my reafonings refpecting the impoffibility of revoking what has been formally. fettled after a detailed difcuffion and a mature deliberation. I then propose, fir, that you should come on beard, in order to confult on what is to be done in the difficult circumftances in which we are placed. I view with calmnefs the heavy refponfibility to which I am fubject; my life is at ftake-I know it; but I fhould prefer an unmerited death to the prefervation of my exiftence, by expofing both my life and my
I have the honour to be, with perfect confideration and high efteem, fir, your very humble fervant,
(Signed) Sidney Smith.
antagonists, were I to encourage Letter from Citizen Pouffelgue to Lord
them to embark. I owe it to the French army, and to myself, to acquaint them with the state of things, which, however, I am endeavouring to change. At any rate, I ftand between them and the falfe impreffions which have dictated a
On board the Conftance,
13 Germinal (April 19.)
T the moment of quitting
ceeding of this kind; and as I know AEgypt to return to France, in
the liberality of my fuperiors, I
I depend much on your abilities
virtue of the convention figned at El-Arifch, I learned at Alexandria the obftacles which your orders had raised to the execution of that convention, although it had already been partly carried into effect, with that good faith which the candour of the contracting parties must have infpired.
I refolved to proceed directly to you, my lord, to request you to revoke your orders. I wish to explain to you all the motives that thould induce you to adopt this