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BERNADOTTE Jean Baptiste - Letter Signed 1798 as Ambassador to Vienna

  • £750.00

Jean Baptiste Jules BERNADOTTE (1763-1844)

Letter Signed (“J Bernadotte”) to General leClerc [Charles Leclerc, husband of Pauline Bonaparte], asking him to deal with payments which had not been made.

1½ pages folio in French, Vienna, 16 germinal an 6 [5 April 1798].                           

Following the French victory at Rivoli the previous year, Bernadotte was accorded the honour of bringing the captured enemy standards back to Paris. Soon thereafter, the Directoire named him ambassador to Vienna. Peace was finally achieved between the French Republic and the Austrian Empire with the signing of the Treaty of Campo Formio, bringing to an end the War of the First Coalition. One can well imagine that Bernadotte considered France’s honour before the Austrian Empire was at stake.

Trans: “Citizen Halleu who . . . was charged with supplying me with the funds required for the payments accorded by the Government, had two letters of credit given to me by the banker, Cavagnagni, with the bankers . . . in Vienna for one hundred and eight thousand francs. I had two letters of exchange for similar sums from the National Treasury in the name of Citizen Lepine, paymaster general of the army of Italy. I have just now received a letter from Citizen Cavagnani who tells me that this sum was not paid by Citizen Halleu. I would ask you, my dear Leclerc, to employ all means to meet this obligation, which appears even more sacred as on this depends all the esteem of all the agents of the Republic in foreign lands. . . Please send my respects to Madame your wife.

When Napoleon left Italy in the autumn of 1797 to sign the Treaty, he left the Army of Italy in the hands of his brother-in-law, General Leclerc. Leclerc, who had married Pauline Bonaparte that summer, proved an able administrator. Relationships were soon to become even more tangled when Bernadotte married Napoleon’s former fiancee, Désirée Clary, in August of 1798. Napoleon later sent Leclerc to Santo Domingo, where he defeated Toussaint L’Ouverture’s rebellion, but soon thereafter died of yellow fever.


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