MASSENA André - Letter Signed to Citizen Bonaparte February 1800
André MASSENA, Duc de Rivoli and Prince d’Essling (1758-1817)
Letter Signed (“Massena”) to Citizen Bonaparte [Napoleon’s brother Lucien], requesting the reinstatement of Citizen Pagani, Consul for Liguria at Marseille.
1½ pages 4to in French on letterhead with an an attractive vignette of the Republican figure of war, Genoa, 22 Pluviose an 8 [11 February 1800].
A letter written the day Massena was named General in Chief of the Army of Italy.
Trans: “I have the honour to inform you, Citizen Minister, that I have made the official request to the provisional government commission of Genoa to reinstate Citizen Pagani as Consul for Liguria at Marseille. This estimable citizen was removed from his position through the work of a despicable cabal. He fulfilled his obligations at all times and gave service to the French; during my recent stay in Marseille, he worked zealously to procure, at my request, grain for the needs of the army, charged to the account and on transport of Genoa; I valued this service, and I seize this opportunity of recognising it by seeing justice done to he to whom we owe it.”
Massena arrived in Genoa in February 1800. By April, short of reinforcements, he was besieged by a vastly superior Austrian force and blockaded by the British. Sadly, the supplies found by Citizen Pagani proved far from sufficient. With too little food – it was said that the soldiers were advised to chew on their boots and all animals, including rats, were considered nourishment – Massena held out heroically until 4 June, when he surrendered with full honours. He had, however, diverted the attention of a significant portion of the Austrian forces, giving Napoleon an important advantage when he was able to defeat the Austrians at Marengo.
Interestingly, an error appears to have crept into the address, which is to “Citizen Bonaparte, Minister of External Relations”. In fact, Lucien Bonaparte was, at the time, Minister for Internal Relations, while the post of external relations, i.e., Foreign Minister, was held by Talleyrand.
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