« AnteriorContinua »
some persons; whoever they were, they were inconsiderate, and they might be left now to their inward shame, if they did not recant. Be that as it might, the House, he was confident, agreed with him that the conduct of Sir Sidney Smith, for heroism, and intrepidity, and active exertion, was never surpassed on any occasion. He was glad of the opportunity that he had to say this.”
He then moved, that “the thanks of this House be given to Captain Sir Sidney Smith, for the conspicuous skill and heroism by which, with a few seamen under his command, he animated the Turkish troops against the formidable and desperate attack of the French
under the command of General Bonaparte.” Passed,
In this gratifying and distinguished manner were unanimously voted the thanks of both Houses of Parliament to Sir William Sidney Smith, and the officers and seamen under his command. To the commodore these demonstrations were accompanied by a testimonial more substantial, if not more honourable, in the shape of a well-earned pension of one thousand pounds per annum.
Nor did municipal gratitude lag in this generous race of recompensing the brave. The
city of London presented our hero with its freedom, accompanied by a sword valued at one hundred guineas. From the Turkey Company he also received a sword valued at thrice the price of the gift of the metropolitan corporation.
Bonaparte's assumption of Mahometanism -His victory over
the Turks — His flight from Egypt - Successes of the English and their Allies—Kleber's proposition to evacuate Egypt - The Convention of El Arish.
We are sincerely grieved that it falls to our lot so often to be compelled to mention the delinquencies of our once inveterate and at last conquered foe, the late Emperor of the French. We do this in no spirit of detraction, as we trust that there is sufficient of credit accruing to Sir Sidney Smith, without being compelled to place his conduct in striking contrast with his then infuriated enemy. But some of the unjustifiable acts of Bonaparte we must relate, in order that the measures undertaken by Sir Sidney to counteract their effects may
be fully understood. About a month after the defeated and disorganised republican army reached Cairo, a Turkish squadron came to an anchor off Aboukir. In announcing this event to the Egyptian Mussul
mans Bonaparte had recourse to the following unwarrantable and absurd expressions in his proclamation : "On board that fleet are Russians, who hold in horror all who believe in the unity of God, because, in their lies, they believe in three Gods; but they will soon see that it is not in the number of gods that strength consists. The true believer who embarks in a ship where the cross is flying, he who hears, every day, the one only God blasphemed, is worse than an infidel.”
This assumption of credence in the Mahomedan faith was despicably mean, and wholly unworthy of the talents of a great general. He needed not this paltry deceit, for he conquered this force honourably and fairly in the field.
On the 11th of July, the Turkish army disembarked at Aboukir, and soon made themselves masters of the fort, the garrison of which they put to the sword, in retaliation of the massacre which disgraced the French at Jaffa. It is earnestly to be wished that English influence had prevented this last useless atrocity-useless to the momentary conquerors, but replete with evil consequences to them in the sequel.
Confident of victory over a rash and undisciplined army, which had thus commenced its inauspicious career by a gratuitous cruelty, Bona
parte immediately commenced his preparations by augmenting his cavalry with a number of fleet Arabian horses, and immediately set forward to meet his enemy.
In the meanwhile, Sir Sidney Smith, after the dispersal of the French army from before Acre, leaving every assistance in his power to the Turkish forces to enable them, with spirit, to follow
their advantages, had repaired to the different islands in the Archipelago, in order to refit the vessels and to recruit the health of the crews of his little squadron, and to Constantinople also, to concert such measures with the Ottoman government that might lead to the final expulsion of the common enemy from Egypt. "He returned to Aboukir bay just in time to witness the encounter between the Turks and the French, which proved so disastrous to the former, and which defeat was the more mortifying to him, as he was unable to render any assistance to his rash allies.
At six o'clock on the morning of the 25th, the French made their appearance before the lines of entrenchment that the Turks had thrown
before Aboukir. At the first onset the French, who immediately attempted to storm the works, were repulsed with great loss to themselves. But the Mussulmans, though individually brave,