NAPOLEON I - Letter Signed requesting information about a suspect character
NAPOLEON I (1769-1821)Letter Signed (“Bonaparte”) to Jean-Jacques Cambacérès asking him to obtain information regarding a plotter.
1 page 4to in French with integral blank leaf, headed by a vignette with the words “Bonaparte Ier Consul de la République”. Lille, 18 messidor an XI [7 July 1803].
Trans: “I ask you, Citizen Consul, to obtain information regarding one Vincent, employed at the liquidation and who has been compromised by association [“intelligence”] with a M. Lesbros.”
Neither Vincent nor Lesbros have left a significant mark on Napoleonic history, but it would appear that they were involved in a royalist plot to assassinate Napoleon and restore the Bourbon monarchy. The royalist cause had been given renewed impetus after the collapse of the Peace of Amiens two months earlier, backed by Britain, where the Comte d’Artois – later Charles X – was living in exile.
The Consulate was formed of three men, and though Napoleon was by far the most powerful of them, and held the title of First Consul, the Second Consul, Jean-Jacques Cambacérès, had Napoleon’s absolute trust and was the recipient of copious correspondence from Napoleon when the latter was on his travels.
At the time of this letter Napoleon was on a journey through northwestern France during which he spent three days in Lille. The return to a wartime state of affairs vis-à-vis Britain gave the defence of this part of France particular importance, and he spent some time visiting military establishments.
A strong, clear, though typically impatient signature.
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