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Research Subjects: Napoleon Himself


Proclamation to the Troops on Entering Toulon, May 9, 1798

Address to the Military Commissioners, May 16, 1798

Proclamation to the Troops on Embarking for Egypt, June, 1798

Proclamation to the Egyptians, July, 1798

Letter to "The Directory" 24 July 1798

Order Respecting the Government of Egypt, July 27, 1798

Letter to Tippoo Saib, Jan. 25, 1799

Proclamation to the Army, on the Abandoning of the Siege of Acre, May, 1799

Army of the East, General Orders, July 1799

Army of the East, General Orders, August 1, 1799

Proclamation to the Army on his Departure for France, August 1799

Proclamation toFrench People, November 10, 1799

Proclamation 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, 1798

"Bonaparte, Member of the National Institute, to the Military Commissioners of the Ninth Division, Established by the Law of the 19th Fructidor.

"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 men.

"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, June, 1798

"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 Jewsto 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

"Headquarters, Cairo,

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 Embbeh, and that their intrenchments were armed by more than sixty pieces of cannon.


"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 Embbeh, 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 Chobikhyt.

"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 of,

"Preventing this corps rentering their intrenchments.

"Cutting off the retreat of those who occupied them

"And finally, if necessary, of attacking the intrenchments on the left.

"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 way.

"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 postques, a kind of watermelon that is very abundant here."

Order Respecting the Government of Egypt, July 27, 1798

"Headquarters, Cairo,

9th Thermidor, year 6

"Bonaparte, Member of the National Institute, General-in-Chief, Orders:

"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, and tranquillity.

"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 confer."

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, 1799

"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, August 1799

"The news from Europe had determined me to proceed to France. I leave the command of the army to General Klber. 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, 1799

"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 liberty.

"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 (Thom) 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, 1799

"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 with you.

"In whatsoever situation the chances of war may place you, prove yourselves still the soldiers of Rivoli and Aboukiryou will be invincible.

"Place in Klber 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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