NAPOLEON BRIBES , buys the surrender of the KNIGHTS of MALTA with gold , land , pensions , titles , immunity .THIS ITEM IS NOT FOR SALE or available for inspection ; its shown here as a historical record for information only

UK - Collection Only

NAPOLEON BRIBES , buys the surrender of the KNIGHTS of MALTA with gold , land , pensions , titles , immunity .THIS ITEM IS NOT FOR SALE or available for inspection ; its shown here as a historical record for information only

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text from previous owners of the item;

Exiled on Saint Helena and working on his memoirs, Napoleon Bonaparte reflects on the capture of Malta

Unsigned handwritten manuscript by Napoleon Bonaparte, one page, 8 x 4.5, no date. Important handwritten manuscript by Napoleon Bonaparte regarding his proposed memoirs, ostensibly penned while living in exile at Longwood House on Saint Helena. Napoleon famously dictated his memoirs to his aides, Charles Tristan, marquis de Montholon, and Emmanuel, comte de Las Cases, who had accompanied him to Saint Helena. Las Cases published the admiring work under the title Le Mémorial de Sainte-Hélène (The Memorial of Saint Helena) in 1823. Here, Napoleon writes out some commentary on the capture of Malta.

In full (translated): “By the capitulation, the commander-in-chief promised his influence to obtain for the Order sovereignty in Germany equivalent to the population of Malta and ensured 700 francs of pension and the enjoyment of their property for French and Italian knights, and permission to return to their homeland. The stay in Malta was to count as if one had not left France. The Grand Master received 600,000 in gold and 300,000 in pension.” In fine condition.

The capture of Malta had been contemplated by Bonaparte since the conquest of the Ionian Islands in July 1797, and he had sent Poussielgue in November of the same year to gather information on defenses and gain supporters among the numerous French knights. It turned out that the military strength of the Order was weak, but the fortifications of the island were imposing. This project was executed during the prologue of the Egyptian expedition: the French fleet left Toulon on May 19, 1798, and Bonaparte landed on the island on June 10. At the request of the Order of Malta, he sent his aide-de-camp Junot to negotiate a ceasefire, which was signed on June 11 at 2 a.m. He then established a convention (capitulation) signed on June 12 aboard the French flagship by the Grand Master of the Order, Ferdinand von Hompesch: this text stipulated that the Order ceded to France all its sovereignty rights over Malta and its dependencies and settled the fate of the Grand Master and the knights.

Aware of the major role he had played in the history of his time, Napoleon Bonaparte devoted long hours at Saint Helena to dictate—and more rarely write—an account of his campaigns and military and political analyses of his era. Napoleon had little else to do than to reflect on his triumphs, and this piece documents some of Napoleon’s own thoughts on his early military successes. It is a critical manuscript that offers insight into Napoleon’s understanding of his life and career.


This website’s summary of the above in plain English with supplimentary comments.

The German Grand Master of the Order, Ferdinand von Hompesch scarpered and saved himself having arranged a ceasefire and a total betrayal of the local Maltese. Was allowed to take his colours , honours , silver , servants and wigs and sedan chair. Napoleon entered and then persecuted the Maltese , pillaged the churches , stole artefacts. Introduced draconian new laws and a self-fuelled military mob tyranny. Whim execution was routine. Napoleon took over the island and found Homspech had left full Polveristas , and reputedly half a million unused cannon balls. The Maltese then petitioned for the protection of the Crown having resisted the French occupation. Britain obliged and Malta entered a new era . Hompesch later petitioned other armies to return Malta to him and fight in an arena from where he had fled. Despite a total betrayal of Malta , a gutless response and preparation against Napoleon , Hompesch still receives favourable narrative in Malta and for some reason is regarded as a national treasure , perhaps due to the Order’s association with the Vatican , and the fact Hompesch is a touristic asset in that Malta’s visitors like to see the splendid buildings and wares of the Grandmasters. However Hompesch is regarded by some , possibly correctly as a scapegoat.

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