to the Troops on Entering Toulon, May 9, 1798
to the Military Commissioners, May 16, 1798
to the Troops on Embarking for Egypt, June, 1798
to the Egyptians, July, 1798
to "The Directory" 24 July 1798
Respecting the Government of Egypt, July 27, 1798
to Tippoo Saib, Jan. 25, 1799
to the Army, on the Abandoning of the Siege of Acre, May, 1799
Army of the East, General Orders, July
Army of the East, General Orders, August
to the Army on his Departure for France, August 1799
toFrench People, November 10, 1799
to the Army of the East, November, 1799
Napoleon's Addresses: The Egyptian Campaign
Compiled By Tom Holmberg
Proclamation to the Troops on Entering Toulon,
May 9, 1798
"Soldiers: You are one of the wings of the Army of England.
You have made war in the mountains, plains, and cities. It remains
to make it on the ocean. The Roman legions, whom you have often imitated,
but never yet equaled, combated Carthage, by turns, n the seas and
on the plains of Zama. Victory never deserted their standards, because
they never ceased to be brave, patient, and united. Soldiers, the
eyes of Europe are upon you. You have great destinies to accomplish,
battles to fight, dangers and fatigues to overcome. You are about
to do more than you have yet done, for the prosperity of your country,
the happiness of man, and for your own glory."
Address to the Military Commissioners, May 16,
"Bonaparte, Member of the National Institute, to the Military
Commissioners of the Ninth Division, Established by the Law of the
"I have learned, citizens, with deep regret, that an old man,
between seventy and eighty years of age, and some unfortunate women,
in a state of pregnancy, or surrounded by children of tender age,
have been shot on the charge of emigration.
"Have the soldiers of liberty become executioners? Can the
mercy which they have exercised even in the fury of the battle be
extinct in their hearts?
"The law of the 19th Fructidor was a measure of public
safety. Its object was to reach conspirators, not women and aged
"I therefore exhort you, citizens, whenever the law brings to
your tribunals women or old men, to declare that in the field of battle
you have respected the women and old men of your enemies.
"The officer who signs a sentence against a person incapable
of bearing arms is a coward."
Proclamation to the Troops on Embarking for Egypt,
"Headquarters on Board the Orient,
the 4th Messidor, year 6.
Bonaparte, Member of the National Institute, General-in-Chief.
"Soldiers:—You are about to undertake a conquest the
effects of which, on civilization and commerce, are incalculable.
The blow you are about to give to England will be the best aimed,
the most sensibly felt, she can receive until the time arrives when
you can give her her death-blow.
"We must make some fatiguing marches; we must fight several
battles; we shall succeed in all we undertake. The destinies are
with us. The Mameluke beys, who favor exclusively English commerce,
whose extortions oppress our merchants, and who tyrannize over the
unfortunate inhabitants of the Nile, a few days after our arrival
will no longer exist.
"The people amongst whom we are going to live are Mahometans.
The first article of there faith is this: 'There is but one God and
Mahomet is His prophet.' Do not contradict them. Behave to them as
you behaved to the Jews—to the Italians. Pay respect to their muftis
and their imaums, as you did to the rabbis and the bishops. Extend
to the ceremonies prescribed by the Koran and the mosques the same
toleration which you showed to the synagogues, to the religion of
Moses and of Jesus Christ.
"The Roman legions protect all religions. You will here find
customs different from those of Europe. You must accommodate yourselves
to them. The people amongst whom we are about to mix differ from
us in the treatment of women; but in all countries he who violates
is a monster. Pillage only enriches a small number of men; it dishonors
us; it destroys our resources; it converts into enemies the people
whom it is our interest to have for friends.
"The first town we shall come to was built by Alexander. At
every step we shall meet with grand recollections, worthy of exciting
the emulation of Frenchmen."
Proclamation to the Egyptians, July, 1798
"People of Egypt: You will be told by our enemies, that I am
come to destroy your religion. Believe them not. Tell them that
I am come to restore your rights, punish your usurpers, and raise
the true worship of Mahomet. Tell them that I venerate, more than
do the Mamelukes, God, His prophet, and the Koran. Tell them that
all men are equal in the sight of God; that wisdom, talents, and virtue
alone constitute the difference between them. And what are the virtues
which distinguish the Mamelukes, that entitle them to appropriate
all the enjoyments of life to themselves? If Egypt is their farm,
let them show their lease, from God, by which they hold it. Is there
a fine estate? It belongs to the Mamelukes. Is there a beautiful
slave, a fine horse, a good house? All belong to the Mamelukes. But
God is just and merciful, and He hath ordained that the Empire of
the Mamelukes shall come to an end. Thrice happy those who shall
side with us; they shall prosper in their fortune and their rank.
Happy they who shall be neutral; they will have time to become acquainted
with us, and will range themselves upon our side. But woe, threefold
woe, to those who shall arm for the Mamelukes and fight against us!
For them there will be no hope; they shall perish."
Letter to "The Directory
6 Thermidor, year 4. (24 July, 1798.)
"Citizen Directors:—On the morning of the 2nd
Thermidor we caught sight of the Pyramids.
"On the evening of the 2nd, we were within six leagues
of Cairo, and I learned that the twenty-three beys, with all their
forces, were intrenched at Embâbeh, and that their intrenchments were
armed by more than sixty pieces of cannon.
"BATTLE OF THE PYRAMIDS.
"On the 3rd, at dawn, we encountered their vanguard,
which we drove from village to village. At 2 o'clock in the afternoon
we arrived before their intrenchments and found ourselves in the presence
of the enemy.
"I ordered the divisions of Generals Desaix and Reynier to take
up their position on the right, between Gyseh and Embâbeh, in such
a manner as to cut off the enemy's communication with upper Egypt,
which is their natural retreat. The position of the army was the
same as at Battle of Chobiâkhyt.
"No sooner had Mourad-Bey perceived General Desaix's movements,
than he resolved to charge them. He despatched one of his bravest
beys with a corps of picked men, who, with lightning rapidity, charged
the two divisions. They were allowed to get within fifty feet, then
we greeted them with a shower of balls and grape-shot which left many
of their number dead on the battle-field. They dashed into the space
formed by the two divisions, where they were received by a double
fire which completed their defeat.
"I seized the opportunity and ordered General Bon's division,
which was on the Nile, to prepare for an attack on the enemy's intrenchments.
I ordered General Menon's division. Which was commanded by General
Vial, to bear down between the corps that had just charged us and
the intrenchments, in such a manner as to accomplish the triple end
"Preventing this corps reëntering their intrenchments.
"Cutting off the retreat of those who occupied them
"And finally, if necessary, of attacking the intrenchments on
"Directly the generals, Vial and Bon, were in position, they
ordered the first and third divisions of each battalion to draw up
in columns of attack, while the second and fourth retained their former
position, forming a square battalion, now only three deep, while they
advanced to support the columns of attack.
"General Bon's columns of attack, commanded by the brave General
Rampon, threw themselves upon the intrenchments with their usual impetuosity,
in spite of the fire from a large quantity of artillery, when suddenly
the Mamelukes made a charge. They emerged from their intrenchments
on a full gallop, but our columns had time to come to a halt, to face
all sides, and receive them on the points of their bayonets, or by
a shower of balls. In an instant the field was strewn with the enemy.
"Our troops soon razed their intrenchments. The Mamelukes fled,
precipitating themselves en masse upon their left, but General
Vial was ready for them. They were obliged to pass within five feet
of a battalion of our riflemen, and the butchery was awful. A large
number threw themselves into the Nile and were drowned.
"After the numerous combats and battles that my troops have
gained over superior forces, I should not think of praising their
conduct and their sang-froid on this occasion, were it not
that this new method of warfare has required, on their part, a patience
which contrasts with French impetuosity. Had they given way to their
ardor they could not have gained the victory, which was obtainable
only by great coolness and patience.
"The Mamelukes' cavalry displayed great bravery; they defended
their fortunes, and upon every one of them our soldiers found from
three to five hundred louis.
"It would be difficult to find a land more fertile, and a people
more miserable, more ignorant, more abject. They prefer one of our
soldier's buttons to a six-franc piece.
"In the villages they do not even know the sight of a pair of
scissors. Their houses are made of a little mud. Their sole furniture
is a mat of straw and two or three earthen pots. They eat and burn
very little as a general thing. They do not know the use of mills;
consequently, we frequently bivouacked on stalks of wheat without
being able to obtain any flour. We live on vegetables and cattle.
The little grain they do use, they grind into flour with stones, and
in some of the large villages they have mills turned by oxen.
"We are constantly annoyed by clouds of Arabs; they are the
greatest robbers and the greatest rascals on the face of the earth,
assassinating alike Turks and French, or any one who falls in their
"Brigadier-General Mireur and several aides-de-camp and officers
of the staff have been assassinated by these wretches. They lie in
ambush behind banks and ditches on their excellent little horses,
and woe to him who ventures to wander a hundred feet from the columns.
"By a fatality that I have often observed to follow men whose
last hour approaches, General Mireur went alone, in spite of the remonstrances
of the main-guard, to a little elevation about two hundred feet from
the camp. Behind it were stationed three Bedouins who murdered him.
The Republic has met with a real loss. He was one of the bravest
generals I have ever known.
There is very little coin in this country, not enough to pay the
army. There is plenty of wheat, rice, vegetables, and cattle. The
Republic could not have a colony better suited to its needs, nor of
a richer soil. The climate is very healthy, owing to the cool nights.
"In spite of fifteen days' march, and all kinds of fatigue,
the absolute deprivation of wine, in fact, of everything that could
alleviate fatigue, we have no one on the sick list. The soldiers
have found a great resource in the postèques, a kind of watermelon
that is very abundant here."
Order Respecting the Government of Egypt, July
9th Thermidor, year 6
"Bonaparte, Member of the National Institute, General-in-Chief,
"Article I. There shall be in each province of Egypt a divan,
composed of seven individuals, whose duty it will be to superintend
the interests of the province; to communicate to me any complaints
that may be made; to prevent warfare among the different villages;
to apprehend and punish criminals (for which purpose they may demand
assistance from the French commandant); and to take every opportunity
of enlightening the people.
"Article II. There shall be in each province an aga of the Janizaries,
maintaining constant communication with the French commandant. He
shall have with him a company of sixty armed natives, whom he may
take wherever he pleases, for the maintenance of good order, subordination,
"Article III. There shall be in each province an intendant,
whose business will be to levy the Miri, the feddan, and the other
contributions which formerly belonged to the Mamelukes, but which
now belong to the French Republic. The intendants shall have as many
agents as may be necessary.
"Article IV. He said intendant shall have a French agent to
correspond with the Finance Department, and to execute all the orders
he may receive."
Letter to Tippoo Saib, Jan. 25, 1799
"You are, of course, already informed of my arrival on the banks
of the Read Sea, with a numerous and invincible army. Eager to deliver
you from the iron yoke of England, I hasten to request that you will
send me, by the way of Muscate or Mocha, an account of the political
situation in which you are. I also wish that you would send to Suez,
or Grand Cairo, some able man, in your confidence, with whom I may
Proclamation to the Army, on the Abandoning of
the Siege of Acre, May, 1799
"Soldiers: You have traversed the desert which separates Asia
from Africa, with the rapidity of an Arab force. The army, which
was on its march to invade Egypt, is destroyed. You have taken its
general, its field-artillery, camels, and baggage. You have captured
all the fortified posts, which secure the wells of the desert. You
have dispersed, at Mount Tabor, those swarms of brigands, collected
from all parts of Asia, hoping to share the plunder of Egypt. The
thirty ships, which twelve days since you saw enter the port of Acre,
were destined for an attack upon Alexandria. But you compelled them
to hasten to the relief of Acre. Several of their standards will
contribute to adorn your triumphal entry into Egypt. After having
maintained the war with a handful of men, during three months, in
the heart of Syria, taken forty pieces of cannon, fifty stands of
colors, six thousand prisoners, and captured or destroyed the fortifications
of Gaza, Jaffa, and Acre, we prepare to return to Egypt, where, by
a threatened invasion, our presence is imperiously demanded. A few
days longer might give you the hope of taking the Pacha in his palace.
But at this season the palace of Acre is not worth the loss of three
days, nor the loss of those brave soldiers who would consequently
fall, and who are necessary for more essential services. Soldiers,
we have yet a toilsome and a perilous task to perform. After having
by this campaign secured ourselves from attacks from the eastward,
it will perhaps be necessary to repel the efforts which may be made
from the west."
Army of the East, General Orders, July 27, 1799
"The general-in-chief, wishing to give mark of his approbation
to the brigade of cavalry of General Murat, which covered itself with
glory at the battle of Aboukir, orders the commandant of artillery
to send to the brigade the two English pieces of cannon, which had
been sent, by the court of London, as a present to Constantinople,
and which were taken in battle.
On each cannon there shall be engraven the names of the three regiments
composing that brigade, as well as the name of General Murat, and
that of Adjutant Roire: there shall be written round the touch-hole,
'Battle of Aboukir.' "
Source: Gifford, C.H. History of the Wars occasioned by the French
Revolution... London: W. Lewis, 1817.
Army of the East, General Orders, August 1st,
"The name of Aboukir was fatal to all Frenchmen. The 25th of
July has rendered it glorious. The victory which the army has gained
accelerates its return to Europe.
We have conquered Mentz, and the limits of the Rhine, by invading
a part of Germany. We have now re-conquered our establishments in
India, and those of our allies, by a single operation. We have put
into the hands of government the power to force England, notwithstanding
its maritime triumphs, to a peace glorious for the republic.
We have suffered much; we have had to fight enemies of every kind;
we have them still to conquer; but, at length, the result will be
worthy of you, and we shall merit the thanks of our country."
Source: Gifford, C.H. History of the Wars occasioned by the French
Revolution... London: W. Lewis, 1817.
Proclamation to the Army on his Departure for France,
"The news from Europe had determined me to proceed to France.
I leave the command of the army to General Kléber. The army shall
hear from me forthwith; at present I can say no more. It costs me
much pain to quit troops to whom I am so strongly attached. But my
absence will be but temporary, and the general I leave in command
has the confidence of the Government as well as mine."
Proclamation to the French People, November 10,
"Frenchmen: On my return to Paris, I found a division reigning
amongst all the authorities. They agreed only on this single point,
that the constitution was half destroyed, and was unable to protect
"Each party in turn came to me, confided to me their designs,
imparted their secrets, and requested my support. I refused to be
the man of a party.
"The Council of the Ancients appealed to me. I answered their
appeal. A plan of general restoration had been concerted by men whom
the nation has been accustomed to regard as the defenders of liberty,
equality, and property. This plan required calm and free deliberation,
exempt from all influence and all fear. The Ancients resolved, therefore,
upon the removal of the legislative bodies to St. Cloud. They placed
at my disposal the force necessary to secure their independence. I
was bound, in duty to my fellow-citizens, to the soldiers perishing
in our armies, and the national glory, acquired at the cost of so
much blood, to accept of this command.
"The councils being assembled at St. Cloud. Republican troops
guaranteed their safety from without, but assassins created terror
within. Many members of the Council of the Five Hundred, armed with
stilettos and pistols, spread menaces of death around them.
"The plans which ought to have been developed were withheld.
The majority of the council was rendered inefficient; the boldest
orators were disconcerted, and the inutility of submitting any salutary
proposition was quite evident.
"I proceeded, filled with indignation and grief, to the Council
of the Ancients. I besought them to carry their noble designs into
execution. I directed their attention to the evils of the nation,
which were their motives for conceiving those designs. They concurred
in giving me new proofs of their uniform goodwill.
"I presented myself before the Council of the Five Hundred,
alone, unarmed, my head uncovered, just as the Ancients had received
and applauded me. My object was to restore to the majority the expression
of its will, and to secure to it its power.
"The stilettos which threatened the deputies were instantly
raised against their deliverer. Twenty assassins rushed upon me, and
aimed at my breast. The grenadiers of the legislative body, whom I
had left at the door of the hall, ran forward, and placed themselves
between me and the assassins. One of these brave grenadiers (Thomé)
had his clothes pierced by a stiletto. They bore me off.
"At the same moment cries of 'Outlaw him' were raised against
the defender of the law. It was the horrid cry of assassins against
the power destined to repress them.
"They crowded around the President, uttering threats. With arms
in their hands the commanded him to declare 'the outlawry.' I was
informed of this. I ordered him to be rescued from their fury, and
six grenadiers of the legislative body brought him out. Immediately
afterwards some grenadiers of the legislative body charged into the
hall and cleared it.
"The factious, intimidated, dispersed and fled. The majority,
freed from their assaults, returned freely and peaceably into the
hall, listened to the propositions made for the public safety, deliberated,
and drew up the salutary resolution which will become the new and
provisional law of the Republic.
"Frenchmen, you doubtless recognize in this conduct the zeal
of a soldier of liberty, of a citizen devoted to the Republic. Conservative,
tutelary, and liberal ideas resumed their authority upon the dispersion
of the factions, who domineered in the councils, and who, in rendering
themselves the most odious of men, did not cease to be the most contemptible."
Proclamation to the Army of the East, November,
"Soldiers: The Consuls of the French Republic frequently direct
their attention to the Army of the East.
"France acknowledged all the influence of your conquests on
the restoration of her trade and civilization of the world.
"The eyes of all Europe are upon you, and in thought I am often
"In whatsoever situation the chances of war may place you, prove
yourselves still the soldiers of Rivoli and Aboukir—you will be invincible.
"Place in Kléber the boundless confidence you placed in me.
He deserves it.
"Soldiers, think of the day when you will return victorious
to the sacred territory of France. That will be a glorious day for
this whole nation."
Unless noted previously, all addresses are from:
Napoleon's Addresses: Selections from the Proclamations, Speeches
and Correspondence of Napoleon Bonaparte. Edited by Ida M. Tarbell.
(Boston: Joseph Knight, 1896.)
Placed on the Napoleon Series: January 2003
Last Updated: February 2003
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