Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/55

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13
FRENCH OCCUPATION OF EGYPT.

understood, it will be necessary for us to consider Bonaparte's general policy in relation to ourselves.

18th Brumaire.The close of the century had been signalized in France by the memorable revolution of "the eighteenth Brumaire." The Directory had ceased to exist, and a provisional consular commission, consisting of "Citizens" Sieyes, Ducos, and Bonaparte, was appointed. On the 13th of December, the legislative committees presented the new constitution to the nation, the votes against it being 1,562 as against 3,012,659 in its favour. Bonaparte was nominated first consul for ten, and Cambaceres and Lebrun (nominal) second and third consuls for five years.

Although Bonaparte, as soon as he was appointed First Consul, made direct overtures to the king of England with a view to peace, he had himself to thank if his overtures met with no corresponding return. To accomplish the revolution of the "eighteenth Brumaire," he had found it necessary to quit Egypt. The English knew the French occupation of Egypt was intended as a direct menace to British interests in India. Lord Granville, therefore, in his official reply, without assuming to prescribe a form of government to France, plainly but somewhat illogically intimated that the "restoration of the ancient line of princes, under whom France had enjoyed so many centuries of prosperity, would afford the best possible guarantee for the maintenance of peace between the two countries." This New Year's greeting on the part of Lord Granville put an end, as might have been expected, to all further communications.

The French, however, had no business in Egypt, and England was resolved at any cost to drive them out of that country. With this object in view, the armament under the command of Sir Ralph Abercrombie effected its disembarkation at Aboukir on the 8th of March, 1801. A severe though indecisive action followed five days afterwards. On the 20th was fought the decisive battle of Alexandria. General Hutchinson, on the death of the English commander, followed up the victory with so much vigour and celerity, that early in the autumn the French army capitulated, on