1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Gardane, Claude Matthieu, Count

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
8780191911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 11 — Gardane, Claude Matthieu, CountJohn Holland Rose

GARDANE, CLAUDE MATTHIEU, Count (1766–1818), French general and diplomatist, was born on the 30th of January 1766. He entered the army and rose rapidly during the revolutionary wars, becoming captain in 1793. In May 1799 he distinguished himself by saving a division of the French army which was about to be crushed by the Russians at the battle of Bassignana, and was named at once brigadier-general by Moreau. He incurred Napoleon’s displeasure for an omission of duty shortly before the battle of Marengo (June 14th, 1800), but in 1805 was appointed to be aide-de-camp of the emperor. His chief distinction, however, was to be won in the diplomatic sphere. In the spring of 1807, when Russia and Prussia were at war with France, and the emperor Alexander I. of Russia was also engaged in hostilities with Persia, the court of Teheran sent a mission to the French emperor, then at the castle of Finkenstein in the east of Prussia, with a view to the conclusion of a Franco-Persian alliance. This was signed on the 4th of May 1807, at that castle; and Napoleon designed Gardane as special envoy for the cementing of that alliance. The secret instructions which he drew up for Gardane, and signed on the 30th of May, are of interest as showing the strong oriental trend of the emperor’s policy. France was to guarantee the integrity of Persia, to recognize that Georgia (then being invaded by the Russians) belonged to the shah, and was to make all possible efforts for restoring that territory to him. She was also to furnish to the shah arms, officers and workmen, in the number and to the amount demanded by him. Napoleon on his side required Persia to declare war against Great Britain, to expel all Britons from her territory, and to come to an understanding with the Afghans with a view to a joint Franco-Perso-Afghan invasion of India. Gardane, whose family was well known in the Levant, had a long and dangerous journey overland, but was cordially received at Teheran in December 1807. The conclusion of the Franco-Russian treaty at Tilsit in July 1807 rendered the mission abortive. Persia longed only for help against Russia and had no desire, when all hope of that was past, to attack India. The shah, however, promised to expel Britons and to grant to France a commercial treaty. For a time French influence completely replaced that of England at Teheran, and the mission of Sir John Malcolm to that court was not allowed to proceed. Finally, however, Gardane saw that nothing much was to be hoped for in the changed situation of European affairs, and abruptly left the country (April 1809). This conduct was not wholly approved by Napoleon, but he named him count and in 1810 attached him to Masséna’s army in Portugal. There, during the disastrous retreat from Santarem to Almeida, he suffered a check which brought him into disfavour. The rest of his career calls for no notice. He died in 1818. The report which he sent to Champagny (dated April 23rd, 1809) on the state of Persia and the prospects of a successful invasion of India is of great interest. He admitted the difficulties of this enterprise, but thought that a force of picked French troops, aided by Persians and Afghans, might under favourable conditions penetrate into India by way of Kandahar, or through Sind, especially if the British were distracted by maritime attacks from Mauritius.

See Count Alfred de Gardane, Mission du général Gardane en Perse (Paris, 1865); and P. A. L. de Driault, La Politique orientale de Napoléon: Sébastiani et Gardane (Paris, 1904).  (J. Hl. R.)