BERTHIER Louis Alexandre - Letter Signed sending a passport to an English prisoner on parole
Louis Alexandre BERTHIER, Prince of Wagram and Neuchatel (1753-1815)
Letter Signed (“le Mal. Berthier”), as Napoleon’s Minister of War, to the English prisoner “Milord Terndale”.
1 page folio in French on blue-grey paper with the vignette of the Ministry of War, Boulogne, 13 Thermidor n.y. [annotated in pencil in a later hand “1804”].
Trans: “To Milord Terndale English Prisoner at Verdun. Further to the orders of His Imperial Majesty I send you, Sir, a Passport allowing you to travel, on Parole, to England. It is His Majesty’s intention that you return within the year. At the same time, the Emperor asks me to inform you that it is at the request and in consideration of the talents and character of Mr. Fox that he has consented to your return to London . . .”
Charles James Fox, a whole-hearted supporter of the Peace of Amiens, had visited France and met Napoleon when he visited Paris in the summer of 1802. Fox’s admiration of Napoleon was not entirely uncritical, but as an opponent of William Pitt and famously disliked by George III, his intercession with the French authorities would no doubt have carried some weight.
As no military rank is stated, Terndale was most likely an English civilian traveller stranded in France at the resumption of hostilities in May 1803. These prisoners were generally well treated and allowed to move about with relative freedom, although constantly watched.
An attractive letter, in excellent condition.
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