Napoleon in Egypt

Napoleon in Egypt by Paul Strathern Page B

Book: Napoleon in Egypt by Paul Strathern Read Free Book Online
Authors: Paul Strathern
Tags: History, Military, Naval
exotic locale as well as the spread of education in post-revolutionary France. These firsthand reports range from the memoirs of generals to the recollections of sergeants and privates, from the journals of savants to the histories written by contemporary Egyptians. As ever, the reliability of such memoirs is subject to individual memory and motive.
    There are certain comprehensive sources that promise a greater degree of reliability, though without always living up to such promise. Amongst these, the most obvious is Napoleon’s Correspondance , whose thirty-two volumes were published in Paris between 1858 and 1870, i.e., around forty years after his death, on the orders of Napoleon III. Volumes 4–6 cover the period of the Egyptian expedition, and include everything from Napoleon’s orders of the day and his correspondence, to his communications with his generals, the Egyptian authorities and the British fleet, his proclamations to his soldiers, the Egyptian people and others, official reports to the Directory, as well as his attempts to communicate with France, the sultan, the Porte and the French representative in Constantinople, and so forth. These give a day-to-day picture, and are largely accurate as they stand, though it is known that Napoleon removed certain documents during his time as ruler. Other obvious inaccuracies are indicated in my text, such as when his secretary Bourrienne states that Napoleon’s proclamation to his troops after the siege of Acre “from beginning to end mutilated the truth.” Less reliable are Napoleon’s memoirs of the expedition, which occupy Volumes 29–30. For these he certainly draws on official documents and his own correspondence, and although his picture is fairly accurate it must be remembered that he was at the time on St. Helena and wished to paint a picture of history as he saw it. Any use of this source has to be measured against other firsthand sources.
    Another comprehensive source is provided by C. de La Jonquière’s excellent five-volume L’Expédition en Égypte , which makes wide use of firsthand sources in the official archives, a few of which remain unavailable to the public. Any historian of this campaign must remain indebted to La Jonquière. I also made use of X. Saintine and L. Reybaud’s ten-volume Histoire scientifique et militaire de l’Expédition Française en Égypte (Paris, 1830–4), which includes work by several generals and savants. Anyone wishing to research the findings of the expedition must of course consult the sumptuous twenty-volume Description de l’Égypte , which was edited by the savant E. F. Jomard and was published between 1809 and 1828 under the auspices of Napoleon himself (the last volumes appeared posthumously).
    What follows is a selected bibliography of the sources I consulted more fully during the course of writing this book:
     
    Anon, Siege of Acre (London, 1801)
    Dominique Arago, Biographie de Gaspard Monge (Paris, 1853)
    Archives du Ministère des Affaires Etrangères, Paris: correspondance consulaire, Le Caire, lettres de consul Mure, 1776–7
    Archives historiques du Ministère de la Guerre: correspondance de l’armée d’Égypte: mémoires historiques
    Robert Asprey, The Rise of Napoleon (London, 2000)
    Paul Aubry, Monge (Paris, 1954)
    Jacques Bainville, Bonaparte (Paris, 1931)
    Paul Barras, Mémoires (Paris, 1895–6)
    John Barrow, Life and Correspondence of Admiral Sir William Sidney Smith , 2 vols. (London, 1848)
    E. T. Bell, Men of Mathematics (London, 1937)
    J. G. P. M. Benoist-Méchin, Bonaparte en Égypte (Lausanne, 1966)
    François Bernoyer, Avec Bonaparte en Égypte (published posthumously, Abbeville, 1976)
    Louis-Alexandre Berthier, Relation des campagnes du général Bonaparte en Égypte et en Syrie (Milan, Year 8, i.e., probably 1800)
    Biographie Universelle Ancienne et Moderne (Paris, 1852)
    T. C. W. Blanning, The French Revolutionary Wars (London, 1996)
    Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne, Mémoires

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