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was unacquainted with the convention concluded for the evacuation of Egypt, have furnished us with a rule for our conduct. I had not demanded of my court the ratification of the convention; I merely was desirous to remove some obstacles that might have opposed the return of the French to their country.
“ As General Kleber did not, in the late preliminaries which were agreed to, give us to understand that it was necessary the treaty which was to have followed them should be ratified by the consuls, this condition now introduced by you in your preliminaries has the appearance of a refusal to evacuate Egypt, and the Grand Vizier has commissioned me to require of you, on that head, a clear and precise answer.
You wish, as I do, for a termination of the war which desolates the whole world.
“ It is in your power to remove one of the obstacles in the way of peace, by evacuating Egypt according to the terms agreed upon with General Kleber; and if you refuse, we shall exert all our means, and those of our allies, in order to compel you to accept conditions which may not prove so advantageous. I cannot suppress my regret at being forced to fulfil that duty; but the evacuation of Egypt being an object of so much interest to the cause of humanity,
the mode of accomplishing it by correspondence and conference is still open.
“As the admiral, under whose orders I am, is at a considerable distance, I am authorised to agree to such arrangements as the necessity of circumstances may dictate; and although, from the nature of events, I am not warranted in offering any new proposition, I am, however, ready
I and disposed to receive all those which you may think fit to make. I can declare to you officially that I shall exert all my efforts to prevent any rash proceedings, and to oppose all vexatious measures, from whatever quarter they may arise.
“ I shall literally adhere to all the instructions of
my court. I know its principles to be founded upon the most punctilious equity and the most perfect good faith. My conduct shall be conformable to its principles, and all my exertions shall be directed to the performance of my duty, by promoting its interests.
“ As it is not yet decided in what direction I am about to act, I beg you will transmit me your answer in two despatches, the one addressed to Alexandria, and the other to Jaffa, at the camp of the Grand Vizier. (Signed)
We now proceed to subjoin another despatch from Menou to Bonaparte, as it goes more into particulars concerning this atrocious transaction.
“Menou, Provisional General-in-Chief, to Citizen Bonaparte, First Consul of the Republic.
“ Head-quarters at Cairo, 14th Messidor, (July 3.) “CITIZEN Consul,- A horrible event, of which there are few examples in history, has provisionally raised me to the command of the army of the East. General Kleber was assassinated on the 25th of last month (June 14.) A wretch, sent by the Aga of the Janissaries of the Ottoman army, gave the general-in-chief four stabs with a poniard, while he was walking with citizen Protain, the architect, on the terrace which looks from the garden of the head-quarters into the square of Esbekier. Citizen Protain, in endeavouring to defend the general, received himself six wounds. The first wound which Kleber received was mortal. He fell-Protain still lives. The general, who was giving orders for repairing the head-quarters and the garden,* had no aidede-camp with him, nor any individual of the corps of guards : he had desired to be alone : he was found expiring. The assassin, who was dis
* The head-quarters had been damaged by cannon-shot during the siege.
covered in the midst of a heap of ruins, being brought to the head-quarters, confessed that he was solicited to commit this crime by the aga of the Janissaries of the Ottoman army,
commanded by the Grand Vizier in person.
This vizier, unable to vanquish the French in open warfare, has sought to avenge himself by the dagger, a weapon which belongs only to cowards. The assassin is named Soleyman-el-Alepi. He came from Aleppo, and had arrived at Cairo, after crossing the Desert on a dromedary. He took up his lodging at the grand mosque Eleaser, whence he proceeded every day to watch a favourable opportunity for committing his crime. He had entrusted his secret to four petty cheiks of the law, who wished to dissuade him from his project ; but who, not having denounced him, have been arrested, in consequence of the depositions of the assassin, condemned to death, and executed on the 28th of last month (June 17). I appointed to conduct the trial a commission ad hoc. The commission, after conducting the trial with the utmost solemnity, thought it proper to follow the customs of Egypt in the application of the punishment. They condemned the assassin to be impaled, after having his right hand burnt; and three of the guilty cheiks to be beheaded, and their bodies burnt. The fourth, not having been
arrested, was outlawed. I annex, citizen consul, the different papers relative to the trial.
“At present, citizen consul, it would be proper to make you acquainted with the events, almost incredible, that have occurred in Egypt; but I must first have the honour of informing you, that General Kleber's papers not being yet in order, I can only inform you of those events by a simple reference to the date of the transactions. When circumstances are more favourable, I shall send you the details.”
Napoleon thus pays his tribute to the high sense of honour and the right-mindedness of our hero on this very important and delicate business. “ He manifested great honour in sending immediately to Kleber the refusal of Lord Keith to ratify the treaty, which saved the French army. If he had kept it secret for seven or eight days longer, Cairo would have been given up to the Turks, and the French army necessarily been obliged to surrender to the English.”
There is much of grandeur in this conduct of Sir Sidney. All the temptations lay adversely to his high sense of honour. We believe that his conduct, had he sacrificed the French army, would have met applause and reward from his superiors at home. In the agitated state of the