Research Subjects: Government & Politics

Friends and Enemies: The Underground War between Great Britain and France, 1793-1802
Chapter One – Aims, Acquisition, Analysis and Action

By Christopher John Gibbs


We receive little intelligence from France, on which much reliance can be placed, respecting the general disposition of the Country, or the events in the inland and southern Provinces, except what comes thro' Swisserland. It would therefore be extremely material that you should exert yourself to the utmost to procure constant and detailed information from thence: and it will generally be as early as any other that we shall receive...respecting the general situation of the Country. It is hardly necessary to add that expense for that purpose will be considered as very well employed.

-        Lord Grenville to William Wickham, 9 December 1794[5]

The 'intelligence cycle' consists of five steps – planning and direction, collection, processing, production and dissemination. While this cycle had not formally been conceived in our period, the efficient intelligence organisations of the 1790s nonetheless operated along similar lines. The process acts as a cycle because the intelligence garnered from the collection and analysis of information will require the organisation to constantly reconsider its aims and operations, shaping the collection and analysis of new information ad infinitum. Planning concerns the creation of aims and a consideration of the means by which intelligence relevant to those aims may be gathered. Collection involves the acquisition of information and processing refers to the ways in which raw information is transformed into formats conducive to the production of effective intelligence. Production involves analysis of the raw information collected in order to turn it into useful intelligence 'products' which will assist the organisation and its associates in the pursuance of their objectives. Dissemination refers to the communication of intelligence products to the masters, customers and allies of the organisation.[6] In this chapter we shall study the vital steps of planning, collection and production as they were carried out in France, Britain and Ireland in our period. Processing and dissemination shall also be touched on in the course of my analysis.

Aims and Purposes of the Participants

To achieve anything an organisation must first determine their aims and objectives. It must survey its environment, determine what it desires and formulate a policy that will help it to achieve those ends. Collecting intelligence, undertaking covert actions and operating counter-intelligence and security services are but a few of the means available to governments and other groups. It is our purpose here to identify who the various actors were on our stage, to discuss their contexts and aims, and to explore why they chose to engage in intelligence and clandestine operations. 

The French Revolution was an earthquake that shook Europe to its foundations, impacting on kings, nobles and commoners alike throughout the continent. The thin stretch of water separating those two little green islands from the rest of Europe as usual served to shelter their inhabitants from the worst of events and intentions there, but even so they were not completely immune from the tremors which radiated from the fallen Bastille. Pitt's government faced a number of challenges in the 1790s. It had to prosecute and win the war against Republican France and defend itself against radical agitation at home, which it suspected was inspired and encouraged by French and Irish agents and radicals. It also desired to retain Ireland, and to do so it had to prevent the Irish from rebelling, or, failing that, to suppress any uprising as quickly as possible and prevent the French from assisting it.

British war aims were complex and they varied as the nature of the situation shifted. The British fought France on principle against the republican and revolutionary political and social ideology; to defend itself and its possessions; and to limit French territory and power to what it considered to be acceptable limits. All the senior members of the government would have preferred to see a monarchy restored in France, however they differed as to what form this monarchy should take and how far they were willing to go to achieve this aim. The Secretary at War William Windham was a firm supporter of pure royalism and the rights of the Bourbons as the only legitimate rulers of France. He loathed the Jacobins (which he erroneously considered all French republicans to be) that he believed were "endeavouring, to bring the world-robbery, murder, atheism, universal profligacy of manners, contempt of every law divine and human."[7] He therefore argued that the British should devote the majority of their efforts and resources to supporting the counter-revolution, overthrowing the Republic and restoring the Bourbons. Secretary for War Henry Dundas disagreed. While he was concerned about French politics, he placed greater importance on protecting and enlarging Britain's empire and commerce. Concerning the protection of the colonies, he stated that "Success in those quarters I consider of infinite moment both in humbling the power of France, and with a View to enlarging our National Wealth and Security."[8]

As Foreign Minister, Lord Grenville had to consider not only France but the state of affairs and the balance of power in the whole of Europe. Britain had long felt that France's size and strength was a potential threat needing to be curbed within careful limits. Pitt held to something of a middle course. He believed that a constitutional monarchy was the ideal form of government for the French, and distrusted the successive republican governments. However he recognised the legitimate problems that had plagued the ancien régime and was somewhat doubtful about the ability of the surviving Bourbons to address these problems and successfully rule France. Therefore while he and Grenville believed that "Destroying the present system of France (was) desirable in itself and most likely to terminate the War", he also stated that such a desire "by no means precludes us from treating with any other form of regular government, if, in the end, any other should be solidly established".[9] Pitt also shared Dundas's concerns about the colonies and trade and Grenville's of the general state of Europe, particularly the Low Countries. He also had to defend Britain against invasion, which in 1797-98 looked like a distinct possibility.

The end result was that Britain formulated a mixed policy and pursued a diverse course in its war with France. Mori sums up its central aims as being "indemnification for the past and security for the future".[10] To successfully fulfil its aims it was critical for the government to know of events and affairs in France and particularly Paris. This required spies and espionage and for this purpose the British sent agents to Paris and sought alliances with French agents who were willing to provide them with information. They also sought to establish regular channels of communication between their agents and London. Secondly, in desiring to defeat France it was perceived that it may be possible to support the counter-revolution in weakening France, tying up French troops and perhaps even toppling the Republican government from within. Windham's extreme hatred of the Revolution and his contacts with pure royalist émigrés led to his heavy involvement in the affairs of north-west France, where anti-republican rebellions were sporadically occurring in Brittany, Normandy and the Vendée. He pushed strongly for British support of the rebels as he perceived this to be the best and most direct way to restore the Bourbons. Therefore throughout the period, particularly in the years 1794-96, the British sent agents, arms, money and supplies, assisted royalist leaders in travelling to and from France and on two occasions used their ships to transport to and support royalist forces on the French coast.

Grenville's position put him in direct contact with the many British diplomats and agents on the Continent. He therefore had responsibility for obtaining intelligence from France. His interest grew beyond mere espionage when in October 1794 he learned from the British minister in Switzerland that there may be French conventionnels willing to make peace and restore the monarchy. He sent his trusted associate William Wickham to investigate, and thus began, almost by accident, another connection between the royalists and the British, as Wickham, with the backing of Grenville and the Home Secretary the Duke of Portland, sought to co-ordinate three separate Anglo-Royalist underground plots to overthrow the Directory. Grenville was not as devoted to the pure royalist cause as Windham, but he perceived that the opportunity to work with both French royalists and constitutionalists was an effective and relatively low-cost way to both defeat France and reinstate the desired monarchical form of government. Both these operations were given financial and political support by the Cabinet, however they were not given exclusive priority. Pitt and Dundas in particular believed it necessary to utilise more conventional military forces, diplomacy and allies such as Austria to defeat France, protect the British Isles and look out for British interests. For these reasons support for the royalists and covert actions was limited. Ultimately Pitt would naturally have preferred to achieve all his aims – a return to monarchy in France, an expansion and protection of British territory and a satisfactory peace and balance in Europe. However the difficulties of being unable to commit wholeheartedly to a single strategy and purpose would become more and more apparent as the war dragged onwards with victory remaining well out of reach.[11]

On the home front the government had to deal with a surge in radicalism and popular protest, inspired by the French Revolution and democratic agitators such as Thomas Paine. There was considerable disaffection with the current living and working conditions of the lower classes and the lack of political and civil rights. Many of these grievances and concerns were legitimate. However the war with France and unrest in Ireland complicated matters because it was feared that French and Irish agents were pushing the radicals towards open rebellion, at the very least weakening the state and tying down troops and resources desperately needed elsewhere. It was also feared that radicals would support a French invasion. In the House of Commons Windham queried the reform proposals of Henry Flood, asking "would he recommend you to repair your house in the hurricane season?" He stated that "This is no occasion for an infusion of new blood, which, instead of being salutary, might prove fatal."[12] Such concerns led Pitt to take a hard-line stance against radicalism, effectively equating their mass meetings and calls for political, social and economic reform with sedition and disloyalty. The Prime Minister eventually refused to countenance the legitimacy of any political belief or action that challenged the existing constitution or ascribed power to any body outside of the recognised authorities. Speaking to the House of Commons concerning the Two Acts of November 1795[13], Pitt said that

the sold object of the bill was, that the people should look to parliament, and to parliament alone, for the redress of such grievances as they might have to complain of, with a confident reliance of relief being afforded them, if their complaints should be well founded and practically remediable.[14]

Across the Irish Sea in British-ruled Ireland the authorities at Dublin Castle were also concerned by the growth of radicalism and unrest. Both Catholics and Protestants were forming societies and calling for reform and it was believed that this might turn into a desire for outright revolution. French influence was again feared and the British were determined to do all that was necessary to retain their grip on the island. The Chief Secretary for Ireland Viscount Castlereagh believed in a rather novel and remarkable threat: "a Jacobinical conspiracy throughout the kingdom, pursuing its object chiefly with Popish instruments".[15] While Castlereagh's judgment had more to do with the convenient association in his mind of the two pet British hates than any base in reality, the threat was real enough. Irishmen and Irish production were crucial to the strength of the British armed forces and the maintenance of the empire and it was imperative that a successful rebellion be prevented. The government decided to crush the reform movements. The desire to stamp out radical groups in both islands necessitated a ramping up of the security and intelligence services. Spies, police, security chiefs, the army and local authorities were all employed in the tasks of gathering information, of observing, uncovering, and arresting radicals and rebels and of generally keeping the peace. In this they were to be very successful.[16]

Many of the Irish had been excited by the events of the French Revolution. They equated the plight of the peasants and poor in France with their own miserable condition and were inspired by the ideals of liberty, equality and democracy. The desire for reform and the creation of a more just and representative administration began to grow quickly, among not only the downtrodden Catholics but also many Protestants as well. The Catholic Defenders had been created in 1784 and the Protestant Society of United Irishmen (UI) followed in 1791. Initially they focused on encouraging parliamentary reform, but were persecuted, driven underground and forced to concede that the government had no intention of instigating significant reform and truly emancipating Catholics. By 1795 thoughts turned to open rebellion and the creation of an Irish republic in which all Irishmen would be equal and a representative government would have full control over Ireland's affairs. The efforts of nationalists like Theobald Wolfe Tone and Thomas Russell began to unite the Catholics and Protestants in common cause. In 1791 Tone wrote that "The proximate cause of our disgrace is our evil government, the remote one is our own intestine division, which, if once removed, the former will be instantaneously reformed."[17] Plans were made to spread the UI throughout Ireland, garner adherents, support, and supplies, and prepare for an uprising. This required considerable secret and underground activity.

Some of the UI leaders thought that the French Republic would be willing to assist the Irish in their fight for independence. Therefore agents were sent to France to establish contact with senior politicians and generals in an effort to obtain French aid, encourage a French invasion and co-ordinate operations between the two countries. In February 1796 Tone informed the French government "that it is in the interest of France to separate Ireland from England; and that it is morally certain that the attempt, if made, would succeed".[18] Agents were also sent to Britain to encourage radicalism and spread disaffection amongst the Irish and British radicals serving in the army and navy. In the end, the French did not do enough to help, the UI waited too long and missed its best chance to rebel, and when the insurrection did finally erupt in May 1798 it lacked co-ordination, resources and leadership and the British were able to put it down without too much effort.[19]

The French Republican government also faced both external and internal challenges. In our period of 1793-1802 it was at war at one time or another with all the major states of Europe. Britain and Austria were its most implacable enemies. Its war aims were mixed and a number of different policies and strategies came and went throughout the years. Essentially the republican governments desired a France with secure frontiers, preferably as close as possible to those advocated by Danton in January 1793: "The boundaries of France are drawn by nature. We shall attain them on four sides – the Ocean, the Rhine, the Alps and the Pyrenees."[20] From 1796 the Directory also began to harbour more expansionist desires, with the victories of Generals Bonaparte, Pichegru, Hoche and Moreau pushing back the Austrians and their allies and capturing territory that the French decided to either retain or transform into satellite republics.

The French also had a wavering desire to encourage and support republicanism and the principles of liberty and equality elsewhere. Ireland was one state that appeared ripe for such assistance. It was perceived that Ireland could be the British Vendée – a means of interfering in the internal affairs of the rival state. Freeing Ireland would also deal a severe blow to the British. At one point in 1797-98 the Directory contemplated an invasion and total defeat of Britain itself, but for the most part the French realised that this was highly improbable. Rather they hoped to limit British naval power and influence in Europe, retain their colonies abroad and convince the British to accept a republican and expanded France.

Like the British, the French pursued both military and covert means to achieve their goals. Agents were sent to liaise with and encourage Irish radicals and explore the possibilities of supporting an uprising. Arms and propaganda were also sent, eventually followed by three military expeditions – one in December 1796 and two in mid-late 1798. All failed. Agents were also sent to England to encourage the local radicals and stir up trouble and dissent. However the French were not primarily driven by an ideological crusade, and carried out most of their efforts with the military, fighting the various armies ranged against them in order to protect their borders against enemy invasion and secure their desired territory, order, government and peace settlement.[21] Napoleon Bonaparte summed up these aims well in his first statement to the people as First Consul in November 1799: "To make the Republic loved by its own citizens, respected abroad, and feared by its enemies – such are the duties we have assumed in accepting the First Consulship."[22]

\Within France the Directory was trying to establish a stable, moderate, representative government that sought the support of the majority of the French and avoided the extremes of both left and right. France was riven by factions, divides and conflicting ideologies and this task proved to be exceedingly difficult. Paul Barras recounted that the primary aims of the Directory were to "wage an active war against royalism, revive patriotism, repulse all factions with a firm hand, stifle all party spirit....(and) secure to the French Republic the happiness and glory she yearned for."[23] The greatest threat indeed came from the monarchists. They existed in significant numbers both within and out of France and desired the return of monarchical government, although there was disagreement over what form that monarchy should take. In the north-west the army had to defeat open rebellions in 1793-96 and 1799-1800. Royalists also posed a particular threat in Paris, Lyon, the Midi and Franche-Comté.

The royalists planned a number of underground plots to overthrow the Republican government, many of which received British assistance. Therefore active royalism could not be tolerated. The plots needed to be discovered and those involved eliminated. This required an active police, intelligence and security service which could protect the government, gather information and hunt down royalist agents. The Directory did manage to defend France and defeat all the plots against it, but it suffered considerable damage to its prestige and legitimacy in doing so and ultimately failed to secure peace, eradicate the royalists and unite the French in its support. Where the Directory failed, the Consulate that followed it in November 1799 succeeded. Bonaparte utterly defeated Austria and persuaded Britain to agree to an advantageous though tenuous peace. With the collapse of the Cadoudal/Pichegru operation in 1804 the last major Anglo-Royalist plot was defeated. Royalism no longer had any significant support in the country and the majority of both the left and right were persuaded to support the government or at least live peacefully.[24]

The last major party we shall consider here are the French royalists. They believed that the Republican government was illegitimate and/or inappropriate to govern France. It was therefore in France's best interests to remove it. This group can loosely be divided into two separate factions. As we shall have some chance to observe in Chapter Three, the various factions spent as much time arguing and interfering with each other as they did in acting against the Republic. The 'pure' royalists (purs) were committed to the restoration of the Bourbons and the elevation of the comte de Provence (the oldest brother of the guillotined Louis XVI) to his rightful throne. Essentially they wished to turn back the clock, bringing back the majority of the elements of the ancien régime and punishing those who had caused the Revolution and voted for the death of Louis XVI. In a declaration made in July 1795, Provence haughtily instructed the French people that "You must restore that government which, for fourteen centuries, constituted the glory of France and the delight of her inhabitants", that ancient constitution of which even the Bourbons were "forbidden to lay rash hands upon it; it is your happiness and our glory".[25] These purists included the princes and their 'courts' and close associates, their British supporters such as Windham and Edmund Burke, and a number of agents, rebel leaders and other people within France.

The 'constitutional' royalists likewise favoured the restoration of monarchical government, but they desired it to be limited by a constitution and possibly a certain degree of popular representation. Many had approved and even participated in the first Revolution of 1789 but had disagreed with the second republican one of 1792 and the violence and extremism that followed. The constitutionalists were a diverse group of varying opinions as to how France should be governed. They included among their number the Lameth brothers, the Swiss journalist Jacques Mallet du Pan, General Jean-Charles Pichegru and the deputies Terrier de Monciel and Vincent Marie Vienot, comte Vaublanc.  Provence was naturally the leading candidate for the throne, but there were those who supported the duc d'Orléans, a Spanish Bourbon or even some other figure who could garner sufficient trust and support. They opposed the Directory and abhorred the disorder, war and disunity that persisted under its rule, but many later agreed to support and even work with the more firm and successful Consulate.

The royalists had few military resources. The prince de Condé's émigré army in south Germany was small and ineffective, and the royalist landings on the west coast in 1795 were a disaster. The rebellions in the north-west had considerable local support but they failed to constitute a major threat to the government and the regions were eventually pacified by Hoche. They therefore had to seek other means to achieve their aims. Their plans centred on a variety of underground and covert plots and actions, including insurrections, subversions, assassinations, coups d'état, kidnappings, the dissemination of propaganda and plans to secure a royalist majority in the legislative councils followed by a coup. The royalists sought the support of the British and the Austrians, and often sought to co-ordinate their activities with those of their external allies. As their plans were secretive and constituted treason, the royalists relied heavily on agents, spies, espionage, networks and bribes to gather the necessary intelligence and support and carry them out.[26]

Information Collection

Shulsky informs us that "intelligence comprises the collection and analysis of intelligence information".[27] All operations, be they military, political, commercial or scientific, require good information to be successful. Sun Tzu wrote that "what enables the wise sovereign and the good general to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men, is foreknowledge."[28] This is especially true in the case of undercover operations, which heavily rely on intelligence. This is because they are carried out by means of secrecy, subversion, observation and deception, requiring detailed and accurate information to be carried out successfully. Outright force may occasionally be used and the ability to use force decisively may be the primary aim of an undercover plan, as was the case with the royalist operations of 1795 and the United Irish plans of 1796-98. However it is not a significant part of the repertoire of a clandestine agent. Where force alone will not suffice, as was the case with the French royalists, the British government and the Irish republicans in the 1790s, perhaps clandestine operations will.

Dulles states that "Clandestine intelligence collection is chiefly a matter of circumventing obstacles in order to reach an objective."[29] This can be achieved in a number of ways. One of the most effective is to establish a group or network of agents working together to gather and communicate intelligence to their controller and other recipients. As we shall discuss later, such networks can also be utilised in carrying out active plots and military operations. The longest-serving and most influential group of our period was the Paris Agency. Known as 'La Manufacture' and 'Les Amis de Paris' it was created in 1791 by the Spanish ambassador Fernan Nuñes to provide intelligence for the Spanish government. The comte d'Antraigues took over as the recipient of their letters in 1793. He used the information they contained to produce his own reports for his master Simon de Las Casas, the Spanish ambassador to Venice, and which he also sent to the comte de Provence, the British minister at Genoa, Francis Drake, and the Austrian, Russian and Neapolitan courts. This gave the Agency and d'Antraigues tremendous influence. For most of the major European governments their intelligence became the primary source of information concerning the affairs of Paris throughout the period of the Terror and on into the early years of the Directory.

Quite how Nuñes recruited the original members of the Agency is unknown. Nonetheless the founding three were the chevalier Despomelles, Pierre Jacques Lemaître and François Nicolas Sourdat. To their number were later added the abbé André Charles Brottier and Thomas Duverne de Presle in 1794, and Charles La Villeheurnois two years later. Apart from reporting to d'Antraigues the Agency also came into contact with William Wickham and the Swiss Agency in 1795 and established a direct line of communication with the British government via Jean François Dutheil, the comte de Artois's representative in London. Two further short-lived groups of royalist agents were later created in Swabia and Paris in 1798 to replace the Swiss and Parisian agencies which had been destroyed by the Republic the year before. A final group of agents was established in Paris in 1799, but it too had collapsed by 1801.[30]

Networks covered a greater area and were more flexible than fixed groups, though they often incorporated the latter as an integral part of their organisation. The afore-mentioned Wickham had been appointed as Britain's chargé d'affaires in Berne, Switzerland in December 1794. His real mission was to collect intelligence from France and to consider the possibilities of instigating and assisting in operations to restore monarchical government in that country. To this end he established an intelligence network whose wires spread into many parts of France, with hubs located in Paris, Lyon, Brittany, Rouen, Bordeaux, and Berne. By contrast the French republican networks in Britain and Ireland appear to have been loose and sporadic and their nature and history has proven difficult to reconstruct.[31]

Agents fulfilled six primary functions: they acted as messengers, spies, informers, experts in the 'tools of the trade' such as ciphers and secret inks, analysts of information and as active agents in the field who could carry out a wide variety of tasks ranging from the mere dissemination of propaganda to the dastardly deed of assassination. Sun Tzu identified five types of spies – local, inward, converted, doomed and surviving. In order these were local inhabitants, members of the enemy organisation, double agents, deception plants and active agents.[32] We are primarily concerned for the moment with the gathering and transmission of information, though we shall come across all these types in our travels. Competent agents were in limited supply so spymasters and organisations had to be judicious in the manner in which they were employed. Dulles notes that "The essence of espionage is access."[33] Establishing individual agents and groups in important places was one means of discovering information. For both the enemies and potential allies of France, Paris was therefore an obvious target. The Revolution had increased centralisation and made Paris more important than ever before. It was the French centre of politics, power, intrigue, commerce and the armed and security forces. The royalists and the British both established agents there, and the Irish maintained a constant presence and periodically sent over fresh members of the UI to solicit French assistance. London was likewise targeted by the French government.

Agents were fixed in other locations for a variety of reasons. Spymasters were generally to be found in places that were both close and accessible to their targets of infiltration and allowed safe and expeditious communication with their head organisations and allies. Wickham's location in Berne was therefore perfect because it was safe, provided direct access to France, was only 435km from Paris as the crow flies and close to his allies the comte de Provence and the prince de Condé. Its one disadvantage was its distance from London. Dispatches usually travelled via Hamburg. This took time but it was safe. Philippe d'Auvergne's base in Jersey shared the same qualities as Berne – a safe location with direct access to both London and France, particularly Paris and the rebellious western regions. Hamburg was the other main centre for agents and diplomats involved in intelligence work. Its neutral status and position as a major port via which people could travel to and from England and then on to Ireland, France, the Low Countries and Germany made it a hotbed of agent activity. The ambassadors of both Britain and France in Hamburg were instructed to gather intelligence and spy on enemy agents. Agents were also located in places that acted as hubs for intelligence networks and channels of communication, such as Lyon and Rouen. Messengers and active agents could operate over large areas. They were sent to liaise with and persuade fellow agents and allies, undertake fact-finding missions, carry out specific tasks and encourage rebellion.

Recruiting agents was a haphazard process. The UI selected its own members to act as agents to France and Britain. Royalist leaders outside of France generally appointed fellow émigrés as agents and within France they sought competent royalist sympathisers. The French government often chose Irish radicals for missions to Britain and Ireland, and the Foreign Ministry retained a collection of experienced agents which it used for various missions abroad. Some prospective agents offered their services on their own initiative while others were specifically sought out. It was important for spymasters and organisation leaders to screen and check the backgrounds, beliefs and characters of their prospective agents. They sought agents who were discreet, loyal, knowledgeable in the geography, customs and language of the area they would be operating in, well-connected, intelligent and able to improvise, with a keen eye for detail and an ability to discern and gather relevant information amidst all the 'noise'.

When Wickham first arrived in Switzerland in November 1794 he set about acquiring a small staff. One of his potential assistants was a Frenchmen named Le Clerc de Noisy. He had been active in the Low Countries, working with the royalist military police and serving as an intelligence agent in the Duke of York's army. York and the duc d'Harcourt – the official representative of the Bourbon princes in London – suspected him to be a double agent, but his integrity was vouchsafed by such eminent figures as Lord Elgin, General Abercromby and Claude Rey. There were rumours that his father was an extreme Jacobin in Paris, but this was actually a cover for his activities as a royalist agent. Le Clerc was therefore recommended to Wickham as "a man of discretion and great integrity, and one who knows Paris thoroughly".[34] This knowledge was vital, as were his abilities as a secretary and cryptographer. Le Clerc was hired, but Wickham felt that he also needed a fellow Briton in whom he could place complete trust and confidence. The Foreign Office sent him Charles William Flint. He was only 18 years old and completely inexperienced in the field of espionage, but he was cheerful, discrete, composed, intelligent and proficient in French. Like Wickham himself, he was well-known to Lord Grenville who had complete confidence in the youth. In a role as unusual and varied as that of an intelligence agent/secretary, aptitude, flexibility, trustworthiness and a willingness to learn and adapt counted for more than age and experience. Flint had these qualities in spades and he proved to be an ideal choice.[35]

Spymasters and organisation leaders were predominantly from the aristocracy and upper classes. This was true both of the British and the French royalists. Most of the senior United Irishmen were from well-off Protestant families involved in commerce and the leading professions, although Protestant and Catholic priests were also involved. However spies and agents came from all walks of life, including peasants, tradesmen, priests, lawyers and politicians. Many French aristocrats who would normally have considered such activities beneath them were driven by their exile boredom and desire to reclaim lost possessions and privileges to become agents for the royalist cause. Most of the agents were male, but in France some women were involved.[36] The royalist agent Louis Bayard's mistress, Madame Mayer, ran a restaurant in Paris that acted as a meeting point and shelter for royalist agents, and the agent Pierre Marie Poix was accompanied in his adventures by his twenty year-old companion Nymphe Roussel de Préville. The abbé Ratel had an agent named Rose Williams who sometimes disguised herself as a cabin boy and acted as a courier, carrying messages and funds for the British and the royalists. Her residence in Paris acted as a safe house for other agents. These services were also provided by women in troubled north-west France.[37]

The French carefully assessed the radical Irish agents who sought entrance to France. They feared that some of them would be secret British agents – a just concern considering that de Mezières in Paris and Samuel Turner in Hamburg were just that. As most of the Irish agents came to France via Hamburg, Charles-Frédéric Reinhard as the local French minister had the responsibility of assessing and interviewing all the Irish agents who arrived there. Reinhard was generally perceptive in his assessments, but he was completely duped by Turner and was unjustly sceptical of those agents who did not conform to what he considered to be the proper radical Irish character and attitude. Edward Lewins was a devoted and competent member of the UI, but after meeting him in March 1797 Reinhard wrote to Delacroix that "he is a man of violent and haughty character" who "in order to revenge himself on his countrymen...may have betrayed his cause to Mr. Pitt."[38] The Minister's suspicion was understandable but thoroughly misplaced, and he was eventually convinced to allow Lewins to pursue his mission in France.[39]

Agents went about gathering information in a variety of ways. Many agents used aliases to hide their true identities. Code names in correspondence protected agents and false names and passports of both French and foreign origin allowed them to move about freely without being arrested or arousing suspicion. The Parisian royalist agents Pierre-Paul Royer-Collard, the abbé Auguste Charbonnier de Crangéac and Paul Cairo went by 'Aubert', 'Auguste' and 'Jardin' respectively. Edward Lewins was 'Thompson' and his UI colleague William MacNeven went by 'Williams'. Some agents had multiple aliases, such as the abbé Ratel who was variously known as 'Julie Caron', 'Julien' and 'le Moine'. Republican agents in Britain used typically English names as aliases, such as 'John Brown' and 'John Smith'. Specific articles or cuts in clothing, cards, tokens and special greetings could all be used to identify oneself as an agent. Disguises and legitimate covers for clandestine activities provided further protection and means of access to information. Jean Marie François used his position as British agent for prisoners of war in Paris as both a cover and a means to carry out intelligence-gathering activities for the British and the royalists. The French sent Irish agents to Ireland and sent agents to England posing as royalist émigrés. The comte d'Antraigues escaped his Army of Italy captors in Milan in August 1797 by disguising himself as "a swarthy, bearded, bewigged priest, in a clerical frock-coat and dark glasses".[40]

Bribery was an extremely common means of obtaining information and favours in France. The nefarious agent the comte de Montgaillard alleged that in return for his defection to the royalists and assistance in restoring the monarchy in August 1795 the prince de Condé offered Pichegru:

le château de Chambord avec son parc et 12 pièces de canon enlevés aux Autrichiens
un million d'argent comptant
200 mille livres de rente
un hôtel à Paris
la ville d'Arbois patrie du général porterait le nom de Pichegru et serait exempt de tout impôt pendant 25 ans
le pension de 200 reversible par moitié à sa famme et 50000 à ses enfans à perpétuité jusques à l'extinction de sa race...[41]

On a far more mundane level all sorts of information could be obtained in Paris if the price was right. While conducting peace negotiations with the Directory in Lille in August 1797 Lord Malmesbury received excellent information on affairs and politics in Paris from Lagarde, the secretary-general of the Directory, for 25,000 francs. Money opened the doors to most of the ministries and government institutions in the French capital, especially if one could pay in hard currency or gold as opposed to the despised and rapidly deflating assignats.[42]

Sourcing information from people in useful positions was thus one significant way for agents to ply their trade, as was obtaining such a position for oneself. Another was to listen, explore, read, question and observe in a particular location or area. This could involve acting independently or establishing a group of spies and informers. The presence of friends, food, money, safe houses and other places to hide, supportive people, and letters of introduction all assisted the agent. In the north-west of France Chouan agents such as Noël Prigent, Bertin and Armand de Chateaubriand used their careful planning and movements, superior knowledge of the land and the resources and shelter provided by sympathetic inhabitants to evade the Republican soldiers, gather information and successfully carry out their missions. The network run by d'Auvergne in this region was known as La Correspondance. The spymaster landed his agents on the coast in small boats, often at night and in places seldom visited by Republican patrols. Regular routes into the interior were arranged and lined with safe houses and trusted locals. Other agents were given more stationary assignments in key places like Brest and St. Malo from which they observed the docks and the comings and goings of ships and provisions.[43]

Particularly prior to 1797 royalists were present in considerable numbers in the key cities of Paris, Lyon and Marseille, and many were willing to provide victuals and shelter to agents. The publisher David Monnier sheltered the royalist agent Louis Fauche-Borel following the coup of 18th Fructidor in a Parisian house equipped with a secret compartment and a ladder leading over the garden wall into a back alley. François Sourdat had access to a number of French government and ministry offices, from which he was able to obtain copies of government papers. In 1800 the Anglo-Royalist Antoine d'André found sources in Paris who had access to the new Consuls. Wickham believed that one of them even had the confidence of Third Consul Lebrun. These sources were so well-connected that d'André was able to learn of Bonaparte's decision to cross the Alps practically the moment it was made. Unfortunately the agents he sent to the Austrian Army carrying this information were mistakenly detained and no use was made of this vital intelligence. French-Irish agents sent to Ireland relied on members of the UI to provide them with shelter, protection and information. English-based radicals such as John Binns also assisted their passage through England as they made their way to the Emerald Isle. When Hoche sent Bernard MacSheehy to Ireland in November 1796 to analyse the current state of affairs there, he obtained detailed information from the Dublin-based UI members Bond, MacNeven, McCormick and Lewins. They even sent another agent to Ulster to obtain information on the mood and resources in that province.[44]

Information having been gathered, the agent needed to send it to his or her handler. Information could be sent as raw data or compiled in a report which may include comment and analysis by the agent in the field. Agents could send these reports and messages by mail, by a fellow agent or trusted contact or in person, travelling by foot, horse, coach and watercraft. From 1794-99 royalists controlled the Jura frontier, allowing royalist agents and communications easy movement between France, Switzerland and Germany. Louis Bayard often acted as a messenger carrying important reports and documents for Wickham and his agent in Paris, d'André. Where they existed, agents made use of the established communications networks such as that facilitated by La Correspondance. Chouan agents sometimes used trusted local inhabitants to carry messages throughout the region, while others left packages hidden in rocks by the sea to be collected by d'Auvergne's boats.

Messages were often written in code and/or in special inks to try and ensure that their contents would not be revealed should they be intercepted. Each intelligence agency had its own ciphers and ink compositions. The British were therefore deeply dismayed when one of their Alien Office agents defected to the French in 1801, for among many other details he knew the secrets of many of their inks and codes, rendering them useless. Pichegru is reputed to have communicated with Condé using a musical code that he invented himself and Gibon informs us the agents of La Correspondance sometimes used "vocabularly borrowed from music or botany or clock-making, cooking, or tailoring."[45] The Paris Agency sent its information to d'Antraigues via letters sent by normal post. The letters were about trivial commercial matters, but between the lines the agents wrote their intelligence reports in sympathetic ink. However this ink could be discovered. In 1805 the French police captured two suspected royalist agents and their papers. The content of the letters appeared to be harmless but the Minister of Police Joseph Fouché was suspicious and had one of them subjected to chemical analysis. This revealed secret writing penned in invisible ink containing information on a royalist network in northern France. This evidence was critical in obtaining the subsequent confessions and convictions of the two agents. Sending intelligence by post was even riskier when it was not encoded or in special ink. In 1794 the French-Irish agent William Jackson showed his inexperience when he sent a memorandum written by Tone and other Irish intelligence to France by open post. The letters were intercepted by the British and played a significant part in securing Jackson's conviction the following year. Tone was forced to flee Ireland. Messengers were not completely safe either. In November 1795 the prince de Condé's agent the marquis de Bésignan was detained while attempting to cross the French eastern frontier. He was carrying papers which exposed the identity and activities of many of the royalist agents plotting an insurrection in and around Lyon. In one stroke this incident destroyed all that Condé, Wickham and their associates had been working towards in that area.[46]

Further information could be obtained via 'open' sources such as newspapers and journals. The Home and Foreign Offices received French newspapers via Dover, some of which were obtained from France by d'Auvergne's agents. Some particularly important articles were even sent to the King. The French in turn acquired British newspapers, this task generally being carried out by the Naval Ministry. French and British newspaper editors and journalists also used the newspapers of the other country as sources of information, often copying and/or translating whole articles word for word. French newspapers such as the Moniteur and the Le Bien Informé were important sources of information on affairs in Ireland, and were significant in the shaping of public and even government opinion in relation to that troubled nation. In Ireland radicals used newspapers and flyers to spread their ideas, grievances against Britain and calls for rebellion. Leading Irish radical Arthur O'Connor published a journal called Press and the French-Irish agent William Duckett had letters published in the Morning Post in London and the Northern Star in Belfast criticising the British government. In its short life from 1792-97 the United Irishmen's Northern Star became very popular and influential, its constant calls for reform, enlightenment, economic improvement and the union of all Irishmen eventually irking the British so much that they suppressed it.[47] In the circumstances this is hardly surprising when they were publishing such statements as this one from 1792:

In looking back, we see nothing...but savage force,...savage unfortunate nation, 'scattered and peeled, meted out, and trodden down!'...But we gladly look forward to brighter prospects; to a people united in the fellowship of freedom; to a parliament the express image of the people; to a prosperity established on civil, political and religious liberty...[48]

Finally information could be obtained from allies, diplomats abroad, the armed forces and citizens of the enemy country who were willing to provide information. All French and British diplomats were expected to gather intelligence from their local areas. Their official diplomatic positions provided cover for these clandestine activities, although by the late 18th Century it was a well-known and to an extent mutually tolerated fact that diplomats undertook espionage. It was only when these activities became blatant and excessive that governments took umbrage, as the French eventually did with Wickham in October 1797. Some diplomats were indeed particularly active, especially those located close to France or at the courts of important allies. As noted above it was Drake in Genoa who provided his government with d'Antraigues' bulletins. In Vienna Sir Morton Eden had the critical task of establishing a solid working relationship with Britain's weary ally Austria. All at once he had to tactfully and persuasively convey the Pitt government's wishes to Baron Thugut; seek to co-ordinate their activities with those of the British and the royalists; and try and keep abreast of what the Austrians were really thinking and planning at any one time.

Meanwhile in Hamburg Sir James Craufurd managed a host of agents in that nest of spies, intrigue and dissidents. Upon his appointment to his new position in April 1798, Grenville told Craufurd that

there is no point which is so urgent, as that of your procuring the most accurate Information that can be had respecting the Names and Characters of His Majesty's Subjects arriving or establishing there.[49]

Craufurd set about his task with such vigour that he was soon able to boast that he possessed his own personal "police force".[50] In England itself information coming from French royalists to Artois and other émigrés was passed on to the British government by Dutheil and the duc d'Harcourt. French diplomats were also active in gathering intelligence, with Reinhard and François-Marie Barthélemy sparring often with their British opposite numbers in Hamburg and Switzerland respectively.[51] 

Intelligence Analysis

Once information has been received it needs to be analysed in order to turn it into useful intelligence. Dulles calls this the "most vital function of the entire work of intelligence".[52] Skulsky states that

intelligence information typically includes not only the "raw data" collected by means of espionage or otherwise, but also the analyses and assessments that may be based on it. It is this output, often referred to as the intelligence "product", which is typically of direct value to policy-makers.[53]

The analyst needs to consider a range of factors, including the nature of the source, the quality of the information and its relevant context, in order to discern what the information can tell the receiver and how it will impact upon and shape policy, planning and operations.

One aspect that needs to be considered is the character, context, associates and motives of the supplying agent. The information they provide will be influenced both consciously and subconsciously by these factors, especially when their content comes in the form of a compiled report as opposed to raw facts.  These influences need not have a significant influence of the quality of the intelligence as long as the analyst is aware of them. Even then in some cases the agent may be so compromised that their information is heavily affected and suspect and thus of little value.

In 1794-97 the British were receiving French intelligence from what it thought were three distinct sources. However the Paris Agency was in fact the fount from which all these agents drew their information. The Agency was composed of pure royalists and although under Wickham and d'André's influence they later moderated this position, they were nonetheless anxious for the British and other governments to believe that the position of the royalists was a strong one. The British for some time failed to recognise the extent to which this coloured their intelligence. This had important consequences. In 1795 Wickham was keen to provide assistance to the uprising that was being mooted in Paris in opposition to the Two Thirds Law that the National Convention passed in order to ensure that two thirds of the members of the new assemblies were ex-conventionnels. Lord Grenville told Wickham that he believed that if the law was overturned then

it must be hoped that these Elections would, in many Instances, fall on those Royalists who have already introduced themselves into the Municipal Offices. It is hardly necessary for me to say, that this latter Object is of Course to be forwarded, by any Means which may be in your Power.[54]

Wickham agreed, for his sources told him that the constitutionalists believed that they "shall undoubtedly succeed in reestablishing Royalty, provided they are left to themselves."[55] The journalist and agent Jacques Mallet du Pan emphasised the pre-eminence and common sense of the constitutionalists, informing Wickham that they were

persuadé de la nécessité de rallier toutes celles qui veulent finir la Révolution et la République, de mettre son espoir dans les moyens graduels, et de remonter la Monarchie véritable successivement, en écartant tous les moyens brusques et les idées absolues.[56]

Wickham therefore initially saw no reason to interfere with the ascendancy of the constitutionalists, and wished only to support them as far as he was able. Indeed they comprised the majority of the leaders of the Paris sections who were agitating for an uprising.

Wickham's view was changed by the arrival in Berne in early October of Duverne du Presle. The pure royalists had no wish for the constitutionalists to succeed. They abhorred constitutionalism and many pure royalists still loathed the moderates for their leading role in the beginning of the Revolution. Duverne convinced Wickham that the participation of the pure royalists in the plot was greater than he had thought and promised that they would work with the constitutionalists. Independently, Lemaître had also been sending Wickham tainted reports via the chevalier d'Artez. Wickham was persuaded to divert part of the funds he had earmarked for the constitutionalists to the pure royalists, and he encouraged the former to work together with the latter. However the Agency and their associates betrayed both Wickham and the constitutionalists. The pure royalists provided no assistance whatsoever to the uprisings of 13 Vendémiaire 1795 and instead used their failure to try and discredit the constitutionalists and cover their own weakness. Mitchell states that Wickham was eventually "shocked into the unpleasant discovery that he had been the unwitting instrument of a royalist plan to discredit the constitutionalists and the victim of a tampered correspondence."[57] It is unlikely that the Vendémiaire journée would have been any more successful had Wickham acted as he originally intended. Nonetheless his failure to question the motives of the Paris Agency and to realise that the information of Duverne and d'Artez actually came from the same source highlights the errors and resulting implications that can occur in such circumstances.[58]

The British government faced similar problems with d'Antraigues and the Chouans. They needed to be wary of what in modern terms are called 'paper mills', which mix information with propaganda and exaggerations. Arness describes them as

intelligence sources whose chief aim is the maximum dissemination of their product. Their purpose is usually to promote special émigré-political causes while incidentally financing émigré-political organisations.[59]

D'Antraigues was determined to garner support for the pure royalists, flavoured his reports to Drake with statements highlighting their strength and virtues and suggestions that the British could create a significant impact by officially recognising the rights of the Bourbons and directing the majority of their efforts towards restoring him to his throne and supporting the various royalist projects and insurrections in France. It is also clear that d'Antraigues was suspicious of Britain's links with his hated rivals – the constitutionalists - and was keen to discredit them in the eyes of the British government.[60] For example in April 1794 he informed Drake that the rebel leader François de Charette

nous prie de faire répandre dans toute l'Europe qu'il est faux qu'aucun chef l'armée royaliste ait jamais traité avec aucun Gouvernment d'après des principes monarchiens ou constitutionels; qu'ils aimeroient mieux tous périr que de consentir à aucune altération à l'antique constitution Françoise...[61]

The Chouans were likewise keen to secure British support in their war with the French Republican Army. It was therefore in their interests to talk up their strength and chances of success. Such exaggerations and careless statements were a significant factor in the British decision to assist the émigré landing at Quiberon in summer 1795. Poor intelligence, over-optimism, a lack of co-ordination with the local Chouans and incompetent leadership turned the expedition into a wasteful disaster. In 1793 the British spent a few months attempting to make contact with a certain Gaston who was rumoured to be a remarkable leader in command of 200,000 royalists in western France. They eventually discovered that he had been little more than a legend, possibly based on a minor rebel leader who had already been captured and shot before the British even became interested in the rumour.[62] The British therefore had to carefully distinguish fact from propaganda and wishful thinking, and to shape their policy and planning according to a careful and rational analysis of their sources and the evidence they provided.

The French and the United Irish also had to be careful in their dealings with each other's agents. In 1797-98 the Directory and its ministers were constantly promising Irish agents that they would send French troops and arms to Ireland. In September 1797 Barras informed Lewins that France would put together an invasion force the following spring, despite the fact that the Directory's actual intention of doing so was tenuous at best. Barras merely wanted to keep the Irish happy and prepared while his focus was turned towards an invasion of England. The information was nonetheless conveyed to Ireland where it was to have significant repercussions. Barras' actions are in part explained by the Directory's uncertainty as to the reliability of information coming from Ireland. In fact the UI had rather overplayed their hand. The number of Irish agents travelling to France and their claims about the widespread support for an Irish rebellion lulled the French into a false ease about the matter, and persuaded the legislative councils to state on 9 June 1797 that "We want the Irish to proclaim the Independence of their island and we will help in this laudable enterprise".[63] It appeared to them that the Irish had the capacity to undertake the rebellion on their own, and they therefore had only to first prove their courage and worthiness by rising and the French would assist them. Yet this was never clearly conveyed to the UI leadership in Ireland and the French did not send a single agent of their own to Ireland between November 1796 and August 1798 to apprise themselves of the true situation there. Instead they listened to unreliable characters like the radicals James Tandy and Thomas Muir.

The lack of communications, poor intelligence-gathering and the failure by both to adequately analyse the position and motives of the other made the potential allies utterly incapable of co-ordinating their activities. In Ireland the UI leaders delayed a rebellion while they waited on the promised French forces that the Directory actually had little interest in sending, allowing their best chance to pass as eventually the ardour of the populace cooled and the British strengthened their military and intelligence forces and gradually removed the UI's human and martial resources. In France the Directory complacently waited for an Irish rebellion to begin, yet were still caught off guard when it did finally explode in May 1798 because they had failed to remain well-informed on events in Ireland. Thus the forces they sent in August and October were too few and too late.[64]

In the world of espionage it is preferable wherever possible to have more than one source of information on the same target. This allows one to cross-check between them. By comparing the facts and other information provided, their scope, supposed sources and the manner in which they are presented, an analyst can gain a better understanding of the nature, abilities, accuracy and context of each agent. Having multiple sources that agree on a particular piece of information increases the likelihood of that information being accurate and therefore useful. The Foreign Office felt justified in sending Wickham on his expensive mission to Switzerland in October 1794 because it had the same information from two separate sources – reports from Mallet du Pan and d'Antraigues – stating that a monarchist faction existed in the National Convention wishing to restore peace and the king. In fact the information still proved to be somewhat inaccurate, but nonetheless Wickham was able to continue working with the royalists.

Despite this outcome, the Foreign and Home Offices continued to pursue their policy of employing multiple agents in the same theatre. In France they received information from the Paris Agency, Swiss Agency, d'Antraigues, La Correspondance and the abbé Ratel's 'Julie Caron' network. However as discussed above the British did not realise that the majority of the information received from the first three sources all originated from the same small group of agents in Paris. Once the Foreign Office became aware of this problem, they sought to establish a new network which was principally loyal to Britain and would communicate directly with them. With Sidney Smith's assistance, which he was remarkably able to provide while imprisoned in the Temple, the abbé Ratel's network was strengthened and given full government backing. Ratel was considered to be completely reliable and so his reports were used to cross-check and verify those of other agents, such as the republican turn-coat Jean Colleville.

The British placed multiple agents in Hamburg. Craufurd kept his own agents, while Turner and for a time James Powell reported directly to London. Turner and Powell were unaware that each was a government informer. Even Craufurd did not know about Powell. Likewise Wickham did not let two of his principal Irish agents in 1798-99 know that the other was also a spy. This was standard policy at the Home and Alien Offices. It reduced the possibility of agents colluding and improved the reliability of their information. The United Irishmen were also in the habit of sending multiple agents to France. This not only maintained pressure on the Directory to undertake an Irish expedition, it also presented them with fresh and varied intelligence and points of view. Cross-checking of sources also revealed things not apparent from the study of a single source. In late 1798 intelligence from three separate agents in Paris as well as a local spy allowed Wickham to uncover the full extent of a Republican plot to infiltrate their agents into Britain via a corrupted Alien Office inspector in Gravesend.[65]

With the information gathered with a particular purpose and context in mind, the analyst must decide what the information reveals regarding his or her interests and the operations being planned or already in motion. The intelligence may also suggest that a whole new plan is possible or necessary. Hedley states that

Intelligence analysis is the end product, the culmination of the intelligence process. Yet that process is a never ending cycle. Analysis drives collection by identifying information needs and gaps, which in turn call for more collection which requires further analysis.[66]

The intelligence product may pertain to military, political, economic or social matters. It may also be classified into three basic types – basic, current and estimative. Basic intelligence generally takes the form of a report giving a full overview of a particular topic or situation, such as the memorials that Tone and MacNeven presented to the Directory concerning Ireland. Current intelligence concerns specific events, threats and elements of an operation. The regular intelligence that the senior agents Royer-Collard, d'André and Cairo sent to the Swabian Agency of James Talbot and the comte de Précy from Paris allowed them to manage their operations aimed at overthrowing the Directory in 1798-99.

Estimative intelligence makes predictions as to the capacities of the enemy, how a situation will unfold and how particular bodies and individuals will react. It provides options and possible future scenarios. The reports of d'Antraigues contained considerable information on the characters of the members of the Committee of Public Safety and on the probable reaction of the republicans and royalists if specific events were to occur. Estimates had to be treated with caution for over-confidence could have grave implications. Upon Bonaparte's rise to power Wickham informed his government that in his opinion

it will be difficult if not impossible for General Buonaparte to steer between the Royalists and the Jacobins, and that the fear of the former will induce him to take measures, which from having the appearance of protection offered to the latter, will destroy his popularity in the country....he cannot possibly carry on the war without recourse to revolutionary measures, without which he will be able to procure in the interior neither men nor money.[67]

In the short term Wickham believed that France's perilous internal situation would prevent Bonaparte from being able to stabilise his government and undertake a major offensive campaign. He correctly identified the issues that faced the First Consul but he vastly underestimated Bonaparte's ability to swiftly overcome them and prosecute the external war. This failure to truly appreciate the General's abilities and methods was shared by most of the senior British and Austrian politicians and commanders. Their complacency was a major factor in the success of Bonaparte's lighting Italian campaign in May-June 1800.

All three types of intelligence 'product' are necessary to carry out a successful intelligence or covert operation. Basic intelligence informs the planner on the general state of the environment they are interested in and allows them to form a basic plan and the strategy for carrying it out. Consistently incoming information is vital to the management and shaping of an operation as it is in progress and for determining what further information is required. Estimates will hopefully assist both the initial planning and the undertaking of an operation. This process will be explored more fully in Chapter Three.[68]


The work of spymasters and agents often extends beyond the simple gathering of information. Their particular skills, range of contacts and ability to act in secret make them ideally suited to the undertaking of covert actions. Shulsky notes that

Covert action...refers to the attempt by one government [or organisation] to pursue its...policy objectives by conducting some secret activity to influence the behaviour of a foreign government or political, military, economic, or societal events and circumstances in a foreign country.[69]

Daugherty states that "Covert action is characterized by "sub-disciplines": propaganda, political action, paramilitary, and information warfare operations."[70] Clandestine plots and operations of all these kinds were a regular feature of this period. They ranged from rather small actions such as prison breaks, the creation and circulation of counterfeit money and the dissemination of propaganda; to far more serious actions such as assassinations, coups d'état, kidnappings and large rebellions; and on to grand and complex affairs such as the combination of internal insurrections and political machinations with invasions by external forces, and Wickham's plan to establish a royalist ascendancy in the French parliaments which we shall discuss in detail in Chapter Three.

To be successful, underground operations have to be planned and carried out in consideration of the context and situation that the organiser finds themselves in. They have to analyse their resources, aims and overall strategy and plan the operation in such a way that it conforms to and fulfils those considerations. Agents must be recruited and directed in the field, resources acquired, local allies sought, incoming information analysed and operations shaped accordingly. Clandestine operations are rarely sufficient to achieve a group's ends on their own. Rather they must be carried out in co-ordination with the other parts of the group's activities, be they diplomatic, political, military or economic. While these considerations and elements must always be kept in mind, our emphasis here is on covert actions. Let us analyse the various aspects involved in carrying out a covert operation by studying one small but rather cunning plot – the escape from the Temple Prison and return to England of Sir William Sidney Smith and John Wesley Wright. The one important element of carrying out a covert action that we will not be able to discuss here is the management of an operation over a considerable period of time. This will be considered in our primary case study.

Sidney Smith was an English navy captain with an adventurous and controversial career who in 1795-96 was involved in clandestine and espionage activities against the French in the English Channel. John Wright was his secretary and midshipman and is believed to have undertaken a number of missions as a secret agent in France. Both were captured on 19 April 1796 when Smith's ship the Diamond was surrounded on the Seine near Le Havre while he was himself trying to capture the French privateer lugger the Vengeur.[71] Both were denied prisoner of war status owing to their suspected involvement in espionage and they were interred as state prisoners in the Temple in Paris on 3 July. Smith was an extremely valuable asset of the Royal Navy and the British were keen to secure his release. They therefore tried to convince the Directory to free him by diplomatic means. Sir Evan Nepean of the Admiralty tried to get his status changed to a normal prisoner of war, which would allow his exchange for a French prisoner. The French refused, and so the British peace envoy Lord Malmesbury threatened that parole would be denied to all captured French officers unless Smith was released. The Directory called their bluff and stated that Smith had no right to prisoner of war status. They also refused to exchange Smith for the captured French Captain Bergeret. The British backed down and turned to clandestine avenues. Early plans failed to come to fruition and the efforts of a group of royalists to dig a tunnel under the prison failed when the tunnel collapsed. By the beginning of 1798 Smith and Wright had been incarcerated for 19 months and it was high time that more assertive action was taken.

Firstly, the British needed to ascertain the nature of the situation in Paris and establish contact with the prisoners. Smith had already managed some form of contact with the outside world by means of basic communications with three sympathetic women who lived in a building opposite the prison. Smith recounts that

Their ingenuity kept pace with their generous sympathy. They rapidly learned to exchange intelligence with the objects of their solicitude by the means of signals, and a regular correspondence immediately ensued.[72]

Malmesbury arrived in Paris in October 1796 to try and negotiate peace with France. He had with him two assistants – Talbot and George Ellis. They were tasked with gathering intelligence and liaising with resident British and royalist agents. They managed to gain access to Smith and Wright, as did Robert Swinburne, an Englishmen responsible for the exchange of prisoners of war. On 28 November Malmesbury was able to inform Grenville that

I have means of communicating very freely with Sir Sidney, although I have not seen him. Mr. Swinburne will, I hope, be admitted to see him to-morrow. If he is, he shall carry your letter; if not, it shall get to him through another channel.[73]

Communications between Smith and the British government were also established via Wickham's agent d'André, Jean-Marie François, and Jacques-Jean-Marie de Tromelin – a royalist soldier and agent who had originally been captured along with Smith but had been released because he was disguised as a simple servant. Smith was impressed, and on 6 October he told Windham that "Your ability in contriving to find such able and faithful agents calls forth my admiration". He expressed his surprise that a letter could "arrive into the innermost recess of this Tomb with the seal unbroken".[74] The situation of Smith and Wright and the atmosphere in Paris were thus ascertained and the possibilities for escape considered.

By early 1798 the political situation had changed markedly from what it had been when Smith was captured. The Coup of Fructidor 1797 had shattered the plans and strength of the royalists and placed the Directory in the ascendancy. The Directors now had little reason to retain Smith in prison. They knew that they stood little chance of proving their allegations of espionage and his continuing detainment was becoming an embarrassment and nuisance. The threat that a free Smith could pose had seemingly reduced. For their part the British were anxious to regain one of their best captains and to prove to the navy that their interests were highly regarded. Both sides therefore sought a way to benefit from the situation. An 'assisted' break-out seemed the best option, and so agents were put to work.

The British secret service selected a number of well-placed agents for the task. D'André and Tromelin were joined by Richard Etches - a Dane with great experience as an agent. He covered his clandestine activities by acting as a purchaser of prize vessels, giving him access to French ports and to Paris. Count Antoine Viscovitch was another experienced agent. He had for a time acted as an emissary of Barras, undertaking secret negotiations and deals on his behalf. Viscovitch was eventually caught out and in December 1797 was himself imprisoned in the Temple. It is unclear whether he was still there at the time of the escape. Regardless his contacts and influence would still come in useful. The British also sought the assistance of their royalist allies, who possessed important knowledge and qualities they lacked. A French royalist soldier and agent named Colonel le Picard de Phélippeaux was chosen for his extensive contacts in Paris and his knowledge of north-west France. The final agent was John Keith, assistant of both Etches and the banker William Herries. The Republican side of the operation appears to have been masterminded by Barras. His secretary Fouché, an acquaintance of Herries, was involved, as was Admiral Pléville Lepeley, the Minister of Marine and Colonies.

A plot, once planned, must be put into action. Some of the details are murky, but it appears that Etches was the leader of the operation. Either Viscovitch, Keith or Herries was appointed to contact Fouché and/or Barras. They were bribed to turn a blind eye and possibly even to assist in the operation. The money was provided by Herries' bank Herries Herrissé and Co. D'André had already been smuggling money into Smith and Wright to allow them to pay for better conditions in the Temple, the funds being provided by Wickham via his Berne bankers Zeerleder & Co. Money was also used by Etches and Tromelin to bribe the prison guards and the Concierges Lasne and later Antoine Boniface into allowing greater privileges and conditions for the British prisoners. In this way Etches was able to gain frequent access to the Temple to keep Smith informed of the progress and details of the plan. All the agents involved were also paid by the British government for their services.

Phélippeaux organised the actual means of escape. He hired two royalist agents named Boisgirard and Le Grand de Palluau to play the part of French soldiers, ascertained a coach, planned the route and safe houses to be used to reach the coast, and arranged a rendezvous with a frigate called the Argo which would take the party to England. He also placed three further royalist agents on standby to assist if necessary. The Directory replaced Lasne with the more lenient Boniface who gave Smith and Wright more freedom and trust. In January 1798 Lepley put out a statement that all British prisoners were soon to be collected in one prison, placing in Boniface's mind the idea that his important prisoners would soon be transferred. The Admiral then travelled to Lille, leaving behind some blank signed sheets which his secretary could use for orders in case of emergency. Réal asserts that it was Vicsovitch who obtained one of these, whether or not this is true one such order ended up in the hands of Boisgirard containing an order for the transference of Smith and Wright to another prison.

All was now ready for the coup de grâce. On the night of 23-25 April[75] Boisgirard and Le Grand disguised themselves as soldiers of the National Guard and went to the Temple with the order for the removal of Smith and Wright. Smith recounts that "They presented their order, which the keeper having perused, and of which he carefully examined the seal and the minister's signature, he went into another room, leaving the two gentlemen in the most cruel suspense."[76] Boniface, who had been expecting such an event, actually had no qualms about releasing his charges into the custody of the officers. They were escorted to a waiting coach containing Phélippeaux and Tromelin. They were taken to a safe house in Paris, before travelling to another in Rouen and then on to the coast near Le Havre, where the Argo picked them up. The prison break was a complete success, thanks to the leadership of Etches, the careful planning and actions of the agents, the ability of the British and the royalists to work together, and the probable duplicity of Barras and Lepley.

Indeed it appears unlikely that the ease with which the British secret service was able to carry out the rescue was pure coincidence or incompetence. The actions of Lepley and Barras make far more sense if they were bribed. By this means the Directory was able to rid itself of the prisoners, in so doing making financial gain and avoiding any fuss over the legitimacy of their long imprisonment and further negotiations to secure their release. The one downside was the embarrassment caused by the escape, but this was clearly considered to be an acceptable price to pay. Lepley had covered his tracks by informing Minister of Police Sotin days before the escape that he had heard that one was being planned and had investigated the matter, and by sending orders to the coast to have all vessels inspected which he knew would arrive too late to prevent the Argos from collecting its passengers. The Directory carried out a half-hearted investigation of the affair. Keith was briefly imprisoned but never charged and was soon released and Boniface was sacked but that was about as far as their actions went. The British government had no desire to be seen to be conducting illegal operations in another country and it wished to protect the identities of its agents. No public references were made to the involvement of the secret service. Smith and others emphasised the role of the royalists in carrying out the rescue and spread other falsified rumours. Thus at the time no-one outside of the operation discovered the full truth and the British were happy to have their daring captain back.[77]


[5] Wickham, Volume I, p. 17, Grenville to Wickham, 9 December 1794. All spelling and grammatical errors in the originals of the quotes utilised in this work have been retained.

[6] Polmar and Allen, p. 321.

[7] William Windham, The Windham Papers: The Life and Correspondence of the Right Honourable William Windham 1750-1810, Volume 1, ed. Earl of Rosebery, London, Herbert Jenkins Limited, 1913, p. 192, Windham to Mrs. Crewe, 26 December 1793.

[8] BL MS Bathurst Loan, 57/107, Dundas to Richmond, 8 July 1793, quoted in Jennifer Mori, William Pitt and the French Revolution 1785-1795, New York, St. Martin's Press, 1997, pp. 156-57.

[9] BL Add MS 59065, [January 1794], fo. 4, quoted in Mori, p. 166; J. B. Fortesque, Report on the Manuscripts of J. B. Fortesque, Esq., Preserved at Dropmore, Volume II, London, Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1894, pp. 438-39, Pitt to Grenville, 5 October 1793.

[10] Mori, p. 150.

[11] Ibid., pp. 108-68 & 218-22; William Hague, William Pitt the Younger, New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 2005, pp. 259-93; Maurice Hutt, Chouannerie and Counter-Revolution: Puisaye, the Princes and the British Government in the 1790s, Volume 1, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1983, pp. 98-131; Harvey Mitchell, The Underground War Against Revolutionary France: The Missions of William Wickham 1794-1800, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1965, pp. 13-43; Paul W. Schroeder, The Transformation of European Politics 1763-1848, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1994, pp. 111-25.

[12] The Parliamentary History of England, From the Earliest Period to the Year 1803, Volume XXVIII, London, T. C. Hansard, 1816, col. 467.

[13] Concerning the Two Acts, see Chapter Two below.

[14] The Speeches of the Right Honourable William Pitt, in the House of Commons, 3rd Ed., Volume II, London, Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1817, pp. 114-15.

[15] Castlereagh, Volume I, p. 219, Castlereagh to Wickham, 12 June 1798.

[16] Albert Goodwin, The Friends of Liberty: The English Democratic Movement in the age of the French revolution, London, Hutchinson & Co., 1979, passim; Hague, pp. 294-321; Mori, pp. 174-98 & 237-63; Ian McBride, Eighteenth-Century Ireland: The Isle of Slaves, Dublin, Gill & Macmillan Ltd, 2009, pp. 345-433; E. P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class, London, Penguin Books, 1991, pp. 111-203; Roger Wells, Insurrection: The British Experience 1795-1803, Gloucester, Alan Sutton Publishing Limited, 1983, pp. 1-27.

[17] Theobald Wolfe Tone, 'An Argument on Behalf of the Catholics of Ireland', in T. W. Tone, Life of Theobald Wolfe Tone, p. 279.

[18] Theobald Wolfe Tone, 'First memorial on the present state of Ireland, delivered to the French governments, February 1796', in T. W. Tone, Life of Theobald Wolfe Tone, p. 611.

[19] Marianne Elliott, Partners in Revolution: The United Irishmen and France, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1982, passim; Oliver Knox, Rebels & Informers: Stirrings of Irish Independence, London, John Murray, 1997, passim; McBride, pp. 345-433;  J. L. McCracken, 'The United Irishmen', in T. D. Williams (ed.), Secret Societies in Ireland, Dublin, Gill and Macmillan, 1973, pp. 58-67.

[20] Georges-Jacques Danton, reference not provided, quoted in David Lawday, Danton: The Gentle Giant of Terror, London, Jonathan Cape, 2009, p. 175.

[21] William Doyle, The Oxford History of the French Revolution, 2nd Edition, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2002, pp. 197-219; Marianne Elliott, 'The role of Ireland in French war strategy, 1796-1798', in H. Gough and D. Dickson (eds.), Ireland and the French Revolution, Dublin, Irish Academic Press, 1990, pp. 202-219; Georges Lefebvre, The Directory, translated by R. Baldick, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd, 1965, pp. 68-86; Schroeder, pp. 87-230.

[22] Correspondance de Napoléon, no. 4447, quoted in Thompson, Napoleon Bonaparte, p. 146, quoted in Susan P. Conner, The Age of Napoleon, Westport, Greenwood Press, 2004, p. 72.

[23] Barras, Volume II, p. 5.

[24] Doyle, pp. 272-96, 318-40 & 369-90; Steven Englund, Napoleon: A Political Life, New York, Scribner, 2004, pp. 223-35; Lefebvre, pp. 15-23.

[25] 'The Declaration of Verona, July 1795', in Hutt, Chouannerie and Counter-Revolution, Volume 2, pp. 593-94.

[26] Simon Burrows, 'The émigrés and conspiracy in the French Revolution, 1789-99', in P. R. Campbell, T. E. Kaiser and M. Linton, Conspiracy in the French Revolution, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2007, pp. 150-171; Doyle, pp. 220-46 & 297-317; Jacques Godechot, The Counter-Revolution: Doctrine and Action 1789-1804, translated by S. Attanasio, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd, 1972, pp. 3-49.

[27] Shulsky, p. 2.

[28] Sun Tzu, The Art of War, translated by L. Giles, Project Gutenberg, 2004, p. 122.

[29] Dulles, p. 58.

[30] Colin Duckworth, The d'Antraigues Phenomenon: The Making and Breaking of a Revolutionary Royalist Espionage Agent, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Avero Publications Ltd., 1986, pp. 204-06; Michael Durey, 'Lord Grenville and the 'Smoking Gun': the plot to assassinate the French Directory in 1798-1799 reconsidered', The Historical Journal, vol. 45, no. 3 (2002), pp. 547-568; Godechot, pp. 177-87; Mitchell, The Underground War, pp. 69-74 &219-27; Sparrow, Secret Service, pp. 61-64, 145-73 & 203-22; Elizabeth Sparrow, 'The Swiss and Swabian Agencies, 1795-1801', The Historical Journal, vol. 35, no. 4 (1992), pp. 861-884.

[31] Michael Durey, William Wickham, Master Spy: The Secret War Against the French Revolution, London, Pickering & Chatto, 2009, pp. 47-53 & 62-71; Mitchell, The Underground War, pp. 44-50; Sparrow, Secret Service, pp. 38-57 & 61-71.

[32] Sun Tzu, pp. 123-26.

[33] Dulles, p. 58.

[34] CCC Z/XXXIV/18-21, quoted in Sparrow, Secret Service, p. 51.

[35] G. R. Balleine, The Tragedy of Philippe d'Auvergne, Vice-Admiral in the Royal Navy and last Duke of Bouillon, London, Phillimore & Co., 1973, pp. 84-94; Alfred Cobban, 'The Beginning of the Channel Isles Correspondence, 1789-1794', The English Historical Review, vol. 77, no. 302 (1962), pp. 47-51; Durey, William Wickham, pp. 50-51; Elliott, Partners in Revolution, pp. 77-162; Paul Weber, On the Road to Rebellion: The United Irishmen and Hamburg 1796-1803, Dublin, Four Courts Press, 1997, passim; Sparrow, Secret Service, pp. 47-57; Elizabeth Sparrow, 'The Alien Office, 1792-1806', The Historical Journal, vol. 33, no. 2 (1990), pp. 372-73.

[36] Women may well have acted as agents in Ireland in Britain. However I have not come across any in my research.

[37] Balleine, pp. 71-94; Sparrow, Secret Service, pp. 175-76, 198-99 & 274-76. See also Albert J. Hamilton, 'Tandy, James Napper (1740-1803)', Patricia K. Hill, 'Russell, Thomas (1767-1803)', W. Benjamin Kennedy, 'Lewines, Edward John (1756-1828)', Stephen O'Neill, 'Tone, Theobald Wolfe (1763-97)', Stanley H. Palmer, 'Fitzgerald, Lord Edward (1763-98)' & 'O'Connor, Arthur (1763-1852)', all in Biographical Dictionary of Modern British Radicals, Volume 1, pp. 466-67, 421-24, 284-90, 488-90, 170-73 & 347-349.

[38] Castlereagh, Volume I, p. 275, Reinhard to de la Croix, 31 May 1797.

[39] Elliott, Partners in Revolution, pp. 51-162; Sparrow, Secret Service, pp. 176-77; Weber, pp. 38-107.

[40] Duckworth, p. 247.

[41] 'Ma Conversation avec Monsieur le comte de Montgaillard le 4 Xbre 1796 à six heures après midi jusques à minuit', in Duckworth, p. 360. This and all following translations from French to English were kindly provided by Dominique Laude:

"Chambord Castle with its park and 12 guns taken from the Austrians
one million cash
200,000 livres per year
a hotel in Paris
the town of Arbois, homeland of the general, would be named Pichegru and would be tax exempt for 25 years
a pension of 200,000 livres reversible half to his wife and 50,000 to his children in perpetuity, until the extinction of his race"

[42] Castlereagh, Volume 1, p. 282, Reinhard to de la Croix, 12 July 1797; Duckworth, p. 247; Durey, William Wickham, p. 107; Sir John Hall, General Pichegru's Treason, London, Smith, Elder & Co., 1915, pp. 10-58; G. Lenotre, Two Royalist Spies of the French Revolution, translated by B. Miall, London, T. Fisher Unwin, 1924, frontispiece; McCracken, pp. 64-65; Mitchell, The Underground War, p. 204; Sparrow, Secret Service, passim; Wells, pp. 29-30; Weber, pp. 38-62.

[43] Balleine, pp. 71-94; Hutt, Volume 1, passim.

[44] James R. Arnold, Marengo and Hohenlinden: Napoleon's Rise to Power, Barnsley, Pen & Sword Military, 2005, p. 82, Durey, William Wickham, pp. 62-67 & 153; Elliott, Partners in Revolution, passim; Lenotre, pp. 47-48, Mitchell, The Underground War, pp. 241-42, Sparrow, Secret Service, pp. 176-77.

[45] Gibon, Iles Chausey, page reference not provided, quoted in Balleine, p. 85.

[46] Eric A. Arnold, Jr., Fouché, Napoleon, and the General Police, Washington D.C., University Press of America, 1979, pp. 156-58; Balleine, pp. 54-94; Durey, William Wickham, pp. 62-67, 73-74 & 135; Elliott, Partners in Revolution, pp. 63-66; Godechot, pp. 173-200; Hall, pp. 86-88; Hutt, Volumes 1 & 2, passim; W. Benjamin Kennedy, 'Jackson, William (?1737-95)', in Biographical Dictionary of Modern British Radicals, Volume 1, pp. 257-59;  Knox, pp. 122-35; Sparrow, Secret Service, passim.

[47] Balleine, p. 87; Gilles Le Biez, 'Irish News in the French Press: 1789-98', in D. Dickson, D. Keogh and K. Whelan, The United Irishmen: republicanism, radicalism and rebellion, Dublin, Lilliput Press, 1993, pp. 256-68; McBride, pp. 381-87; R. R. Nelson, The Home Office, 1782-1801, Durham, Duke University Press, 1969, pp. 123-24; Sparrow, Secret Service, p. 90; Weber, pp. 44-45.

[48] Northern Star, 1, no. 3, quoted in Elliott, Partners in Revolution, p. 23.

[49] PRO F.O. 33/15/30-1, Downing Street to Craufurd, 11 May 1798, quoted in Weber, p. 100.

[50] Hampshire R.O., Wickham papers, deposit i, bundle 66, Crawfurd to Wickham, 19 and 26 April 1799, quoted in J. Ann Hone, For the Cause of Truth: Radicalism in London 1796-1821, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1982, p. 67.

[51] Godechot, pp. 173-83; Mitchell, The Underground War, passim; Sparrow, Secret Service, passim; Weber, passim; Sparrow, Secret Service, passim.

[52] Dulles, p. 157.

[53] Shulsky, p. 2.

[54] Wickham, Volume I, p. 158, Grenville to Wickham, 8 September 1795.

[55] Ibid., p. 161, Wickham to Grenville, 22 August 1795.

[56] Ibid., p. 170, Mallet du Pan to Wickham, 25 July 1795. Emphasis in original. "convinced of the need to rally all those who want to end the Revolution and the Republic, to put their hope in gradual ways, and to reconstruct the true monarchy, avoiding all abrupt means and absolute ideas."

[57] Harvey Mitchell, 'Vendémiaire, A Revaluation', The Journal of Modern History, vol. xxx, no. 3 (1958), p. 202.

[58] Ibid., pp. 191-202; Durey, William Wickham, pp. 66-71; Mitchell, The Underground War, pp. 83-88.

[59] Stephen M. Arness, 'Paper Mills and Fabrication', Studies in Intelligence, vol. 2, (Winter 1958), p. 95, NARA, RG 263, Entry 27, Box 15, Folder 2, page reference not provided, quoted in Stout, p. 256.

[60] Duckworth, pp. 194-212; Godechot, pp. 173-83; Mitchell, The Underground War, pp. 74-83.

[61] Fortesque, Volume II, p. 563, Drake to Grenville, 30 May 1794, Bulletin No. 20. "asks us to spread throughout Europe that it is false that any royalist army chief has ever dealt with any government based on monarchical or constitutional principles; that they would all rather die than consent to any change in the ancient French constitution..."

[62] Cobban, pp. 42-44; Godechot, pp. 254-60; Hutt, Volumes 1 & 2, passim.

[63] A.D.S.M.I Mi 62/157/2095, quoted in Elliott, Partners in Revolution, p. 155.

[64] Michael Donnelly, 'Muir, Thomas, of Huntershill (1765-99)', in Biographical Dictionary of Modern British Radicals, Volume 1,pp. 333-34; Elliott, Partners in Revolution, pp. 115 & 124-240; Elliott, 'The role of Ireland in French war strategy', pp. 208-15; Hamilton, p. 467; O'Neill, pp. 489-90; Liam Swords, The Green Cockade: The Irish in the French Revolution 1789-1815, Sandycove, Glendale, 1989, pp. 108-36; Weber, pp. 56-118.

[65] Michael Durey, 'The British Secret Service and the Escape of Sir Sidney Smith from Paris in 1798', History, vol. lxxxiv, no. 275 (1999), pp. 455-57; Durey, William Wickham, passim; Elliott, Partners in Revolution, passim; Hone, pp. 62-63; Mitchell, pp. 83-88; Sparrow, Secret Service, passim.

[66] Hedley, p. 213.

[67] NA, FO74/25, Wickham To Grenville, 13 December 1799, quoted in Durey, William Wickham, p. 152.

[68] Castlereagh, Volume 1, pp. 295-306, 'Extrait de la Traduction d'un Mémoire relatif à une Descente en Irlande'; Dulles, pp. 154-70; Durey, William Wickham, pp. 149-56; Godechot, pp. 173-85; Hedley, pp. 213-15; Mitchell, The Underground War, pp. 74-83; Shulsky, 49-58; Sparrow, Secret Service, pp. 145-73; Theobald Wolfe Tone, 'Two memorials on the present state of Ireland, delivered to the French government, February 1796', in T. W. Tone, Life of Theobald Wolfe Tone, pp. 603-20.    

[69] Shulsky, p. 73.

[70] Daugherty, p. 281.

[71] It is probable that Smith and Wright were engaged in some sort of clandestine mission at the time, which necessitated Smith's dangerous decision to manoeuvre his ship so far up the Seine. It is even possible, though unlikely, that Smith wanted to be captured, in order to be in a position to improve Anglo-Royalist intelligence operations in Paris.

[72] Howard, Volume I, p. 111.

[73] Fortesque, Volume III, p. 280, Malmesbury to Grenville, 28 November 1796.

[74] Windham, Volume II, p. 21, Smith to Windham, 6 October 1796. Emphasis in original.

[75] There is uncertainty over the exact date of the rescue effort. Durey states that it was the 23 April, Sparrow the 24th, and Réal the 25th.

[76] Howard, Volume I, p. 131.

[77] Barrow, Volume I, pp. 193-231; Durey, 'Escape of Sir Sidney Smith', pp. 437-57; Howard, pp. 100-35; Pierre François, comte Réal, Indiscretions of a Prefect of Police: Anecdotes of Napoleon and the Bourbons from the Papers of Count Réal, translated by A. L. Hayward, London, Cassell and Company, 1929, pp. 49-53; Sparrow, Secret Service, pp. 84-105 & 132-37.


Placed on the Napoleon Series: January 2011


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