Bonapartes Proclamation On Overthrowing

Bonaparte’s Proclamation on Overthrowing the Ottoman Beys of Egypt

Just one day until the book is out!.

From the Napoleon’s Egypt Blog today, Bonaparte’s June 1798 proclamation to his troops on the rationale for attacking Ottoman Egypt.

Main points:

1. The Ottoman-Egyptian Beys (“Mamluks” or slave-soldiers) were favoring British commerce over French.

2. The beys had mistreated French merchants.

3. The beys were tyrants who injured their own people with their tyranny.

In other words, the Mamluks constituted a gathering threat to France, were siding with a menacing enemy that sought to terrorize France, and had tyrannized and murdered their own people. The text:

Before landing at Alexandria he [Gen. Bonaparte] issued the following proclamation:

“Soldiers ! You are about to undertake a conquest the effects of which will be incalculable on civilisation and the commercial world. ”

“You will deal England the surest and most sensible blow while waiting to kill her outright. ”

“We shall make some fatiguing marches; we shall fight several battles; we shall succeed in all our enterprises; the fates are for us. ”

“The Mameluke Beys, who exclusively favour English commerce, who have ill-treated our merchants, and who tyrannise over the inhabitants of the Nile, a few days after our arrival will have ceased to exist. ”

“The people amongst whom we are going to live are Mohammedans ; the first article of their faith is ‘There is no God but God, and [Muhammad] is his prophet.’ Do not contradict them. Deal with them as we dealt with the Jews and with the Italians. Respect their muftis and their imaums, as you respected rabbis and bishops.”

“Show for the ceremonies prescribed by the Koran, and for the mosques, the same toleration you have always shown for convents, for synagogues, for the religion of Moses and that of Jesus Christ. ”

“The Roman legions protected all religions. You will find customs here different from those of Europe: you must habituate yourselves to them.”

“The people here treat their wives differently from us; but in all countries the man who commits rape is a monster.”

“Pillage only enriches a few men. It dishonours us; it destroys our resources; it renders the people hostile when it is necessary to make them friendly.”

“The first town we shall enter was built by Alexander. We shall find at each step souvenirs worthy of exciting the emulation of Frenchmen.”


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