Napoleon Series Archive 2015

"Jaffa" Wilson

Sir Robert Wilson’s History of the British Expedition to Egypt (1802) was the first work to report on the events at Jaffa in Britain and was the original source of all British reporting on the subject. In fact, Wilson was nicknamed “Jaffa” Wilson, owing to the charges he made against Napoleon.

“In the British Press, a paper distinguished for the accuracy of its reports, of the 28th of March last, I observe an account of the proceedings of a meeting held in Southwark, for the purpose of inviting Sir Robert Wilson to become a candidate to represent that borough in parliament. In these proceedings a Mr. Hall took a prominent part. Among the resolutions moved by him was one on the propriety of proposing at the next general election, a gentleman of undoubted political integrity, and another declaring that Sir Robert Wilson is the individual they look forward to. Before the resolutions were put, one of the company “requested some information respecting the politics of Sir Robert Wilson, as he had published a work concerning the poisoning of the troops at Jaffa, by the order of Buonaparte.” Mr. Hall, who seems to have been the mouthpiece of Sir Robert on this occasion, expressed his wish to satisfy the mind of every elector on that subject. “The book in question was opposed to him on his trial for the escape of Lavalette; but Sir Robert had with much maniless and candour declared he had been deceived. He had written it from no corrupt motive; and the information he had then relied upon had since turned out erroneous….The error committed by Sir Robert in publishing the above book Mr. Hall felt confident had been completely obliviated by that event which all Europe had viewed with admiration—his generous, true Englishman-like conduct towards the unfortunate Lavalette.”

New Monthly Magazine, May 1, 1818. p. 301

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