Monday, October 1, 2007

Bonaparte Orders Preparations for Commandeered Maltese Ships

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. 172-173.


Head Quarters, Cairo (4 Fructidor), August 21.

BONAPARTE, Commander in Chief, to Citizen MENARD, Commissary of the Marine, at Malta.

I SEE with pleasure, Citizen Commissary, by your letter of the 2d instant, that the Dego(1), and the Carthaginoise, are ready for sea. By this time, Rear Admiral Villeneuve will have anchored with his squadron in the port of Malta. I flatter myself too, that you will apply yourself to the equipment of the third vessel, and that before the expiration of a month, it will be in a condition to augment the squadron of Admiral Villeneuve. I intreat you to use more zeal and alacrity in this instance, than in any other.

I have written to France for an hundred thousand livres for you; and I am now writing to General Vaubios to exhort him to assist you with every thing in his power. I hope that you will soon be re-inforced by the ships at Toulon.

Let slip no opportunity of sending us news from France. The small vessels which ply along the coast of Africa might reach us, I should think, without difficulty.

I salute you,


[British Translators' Notes]

(1) Two sixty-fours, belonging to the Maltese, which the French, as Rear Admiral Peree says, have confiscated to the profit of the Great Nation. The latter vessel seems to have retained its original name, but the former, we see, has been nicknamed by the modest "hero of Italy," after one of his early victories.

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