Sunday, October 7, 2007

Missionary Writes Directors from Palestine

From: Copies of original letters from the army of General Bonaparte in Egypt, intercepted by the fleet under the command of Admiral Lord Nelson. With an English translation (London, J. Wright, 1798-1800, 3 vols.), vol. 2, pp. 210-212


St. Jean d'Aere (19 Fructidor), September 5th.

JH. ENG. CALONES BEAUVOISIN, Adjutant-General, employed in the French Army, in Egypt, to the Citizens, Members of the Executive Directory in France.

Citizen Directors,

CHARGED by General Bonaparte with an important mission in Palestine, I received orders from him, on my departure from Egypt, to transmit to you by every mode of conveyance that appeared to me most safe, the printed papers which you will find inclosed(1). Perhaps they have already reached you; but as our communications with France are becoming every day more and more difficult, I embrace, with the greatest pleasure, the present opportunity of sending you the news of the army.

Our situation in Egypt is, to the present moment, highly brilliant: and if the success of my negociation had answered the expectations of the Commander in Chief, I should have been enabled before my return to him, to give you, in advance, some unquestionable assurances of the future, more brilliant still,--the business, however, is not yet decidedly given up, and, perhaps, it may be in my power to recover the ground which I have lost(2).

I am obliged to be laconic. I entrust my letter to the Captain of a Ragusan ship, which will sail in a few days. I most anxiously hope that it will reach you. May you, while you read it, be convinced, Citizen Directors, that at 800 leagues from our country our hearts are more strongly attached to it than ever.

Accept, in the name of all my comrades, and of the brave Commander of the French army, the expression of all our sentiments, and the assurance of our sincere and respectful devotion.


The only Frenchman at this moment in Palestine(3).

[British Translators' Notes]


(2) We lament that it is not in our power to give the reader any satisfactory account of the purport of this most curious letter. The writer seems to be one of those revolutionary missionaries who have always preceded the march of the French armies, and served the double purpose of corrupters and spies. His particular object, as has been observed, we have no means of knowing. It is some consolation, however, to be assured, that let it have been what it may, it is completely frustrated; for soon after the date of this dispatch, Beauvoisin was thrown into prison by the Governor of Acre.

His brother (such, at least, we conclude him to be) has experienced a very different fate. "He has been condemned )in the words of the honest Dogberry) to everlasting redemption." Le Citoyen Beauvoisin, (says Bonaparte) adjoint, ayant quitte le poste qu'il avoit a l'avancee, et tenu des propos popres a decourager le solat, sera destitute, et renoye en France par la premiere occasion!!!

(3) It is worth observing, that this line was written at the very instant that the Jacobins of this and other countries were assuring the world, that the French troops were masters of the whole of Palestine! Sic transit, &c. &c.

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