Lot 723 - France under Napoleon. Manuscript report in French, 1803
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France under Napoleon. Manuscript report in French, 1803

Sold for £1,900


 

France under Napoleon. Manuscript report in French on the current state of France, entitled 'Considerations sur l'Etat present de la France, ce 1er Juin 1803', contemporary manuscript in French on 12 large folio pages, handwritten in brown ink on a total of three folded sheets of laid paper, each watermarked with Strasburg lily and posthorn D & C BLAUW, and countermark BA, sheet size when folded 38 x 24 cm (15 x 9.5 ins)

(Qty: 1)

A major document written at the height of the threat of the invasion of Great Britain by Napoleon's Armée d'Angleterre, or Armée des cotes de l'Ocean, which numbered as many as 200,000 men gathered along the French coast at Boulogne. Napoleon's invasion armay was financed by the sale of France's North American lands to the United States in 1803, called the Louisiana Purchase. So sure were the French of victory that a triumphal column was erected at Boulogne in anticipation of the successful invasion. Britain had resumed war with France in May of 1803, thereby breaking with the Treaty of Amiens signed on 25th March 1802, following repeated infringements of the peace treaty by Napoleon.

England, and London in particular, had been a haven ever since the French Revolution of 1789 for emigré French royalists and noblemen, who assisted the British with several attempts to overthrow Napoleon during the mid to late 1790s and early 1800s. During this period, a complex spy network was organised on the continent by Sir Francis Drake, British Ambassador to Bavaria, and the British Government received much useful information in this way. Although the present manuscript document is unsigned, it is written in an elegant educated French italic hand. At this time (June 1803), the British were providing assistance to French royalists in England in the organisation of an assassination plot on Napoleon masterminded by General Jean-Charles Pichegru (1761-1804) and General Georges Cadoudal (1771-1804), known as the Pichegru Conspiracy. The plot was uncovered by French secret police in early 1804, and they were both arrested on February 28th and March 9th 1804 respectively. Pichegru was found strangled in his cell on April 5th 1804, and Cadoudal was executed on June 28th.

This extensive report provides detailed information on the state of the current government under Napoleon as Premier Consul, the structure of French society, the army, and French public opinion on the current war with England. The text is divided into chapters (Gouvernement, Peuple, L'Armée, Religion, Moeurs, L'Education, Agriculture, Finances, plus a final section entitled Opinion publique sur la guerre actuelle avec l'Angleterre). The first and third chapters (Gouvernement and L'Armée) are the longest in length. Chapter 1 provides character assessments of various ministers: Cambaceres ('peu d'aptitude aux affaires'), Le Brun ('grand travailleur, est sans credit. Le 1er Consul a eu soin de l'isoler'), Talleyrand ('le 1er Consul a besoin de lui, mais foncierement il ne l'aime ni l'estime a cause de sa grande immoralté'), Regnier ('une honnette homme... il jouit de l'estime de la majeure partie de la nation'), and Francois de Barbé-Marbois, the Finance Minister, ('jouit de peu de constance et de peu de credit, attendu que jusqu'a present ces travaux n'ont presenté aucune resultat avantageux'). The text then goes into great detail describing the despotic character of Napoleon: 'Le Gouvernement, reduit residant exclusivement dans la Personne de Bonaparte; il devient necessaire de s'etendre un peu sur le caractere et sur les moyens de ce chef de la Republique. Il y auroit une partialité puerile a lui refuser des talens. L'experience et l'usage des affaires lui ont donné de la penetration et un coup d'oeil juste. The writer states 'Il est d'un caractere decidé et absolu, dans toutes les choses qu'il juge pouvoir forcei par son autorité, ou par la peur, mais ce caractere l'abandonne des qu'il croit la sureté de sa personne, ou celle de ses interets, compromises', and provides examples of apparent conflict in Napoleon's interactions with other revolutionary leaders ('les chefs des Jacobins'), such as Jourdan and Angerau, and goes on to say that it could be argued that Bonaparte is detested by all parties. 'La France desire en générale un autre ordre de choses, mais l'impression du regime sanguinaire des premieres années de la Revolution est encore trop recente a sa memorie pour que le peuple ose faire la moindre tentative: Il est dans cet etat de la peur et d'apathie qui produit toujours une revolution aussi longue et aussi sanglante que l'a été celle de la France. Le 1er Consul n'ignore point cette indisposition generale des esprits contre lui, et ce sentiment lui fait prendre des mesures, des precautions pour la sureté de sa personne, qui tiennent a la pusillanimité, et dont le motif n'echappe a personne'.

The final section of this report on the state of public opinion regarding the war with England, points out that the French newspapers had been forced by order of the Government to announce that the people supported the current war, and that Napoleon had found it necessary, in order to calm and reassure the people, to post a broadside in every commune in the land, in which he declared that the other continental powers would not take any part in this new war that he was going to have with England, whereas common opinion believed that Russia was working to form a coalition against France. The text ends 'Il est de l'interet le plus puissant pour le 1er Consul qu'il n'eprouve point de revers. S'il en avoit, ce peuple que ne l'aime point et qui ne tolere patiemment l'ordre actuel de choses, que pour l'amour de la tranquilité individuelles, perdrait patience et on verrait la France livrée a des nouvelles secousses'.

The author of this important secret report must have been a royalist opponent of Napoleon, and if not written by Pichegru or Cadoudal themselves, could be by a prominent fellow emigré such as the Comte d'Antraigues, then residing in Saxony, a diplomat, spy, and political agitator against Napoleon.

You can make a purchase at Dominic Winter Auctioneers by using any of the following methods:

In person: Being present at the auction provides the convenience of being able to remove the lots that you have purchased when the sale ends, provided you choose to pay by credit or debit card, guaranteed cheque or cash.

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Please note successful bids made via live bidding cannot be invoiced or paid for until the day after an auction. A live bidding fee of 3% + VAT (Dominic Winter website or Invaluable.com) or 4.95% + VAT (the-saleroom) will be added to your invoice.

Commission bid: Also called an 'Absentee bid'. A member of our staff will bid on your behalf and attempt to purchase the lot as cheaply as is permitted by other bids or reserves. Commission bids can be posted, faxed or emailed to us (please remember to provide your full name and address), or you can enter a bid on our website after completing the registration process. 

Telephone bid: You can contact our office to arrange a telephone bid. A member of our staff will telephone you a few minutes before bidding commences on your specified lot and will bid on your behalf, according to your instructions. This service is only available on lots with a minimum pre-sale estimated value of £300.

Auction: Printed Books, Maps & Autographs, Thu, 28th May 2020

Important Travel, The David Wilson Library of Natural History (Part I), The Leon Paul Library of Fencing, Army Lists and Military Books from the Library of Lt Col R J Wyatt MBE TD and a large collection of Vinyl Records.

To see a page-turning version of our catalogue, please see the Virtual Catalogue.

 

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Terms and Conditions of Sale 

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(e) All sums due to the Auctioneer shall be paid as shown and he reserves the right to charge interest which shall accrue at the rate of 4% over such base lending rate of National Westminster Bank Plc as shall be in force at the date that interest becomes due, such sum to be calculated per annum from day to day on all amounts due but unpaid. This right shall be exercisable without prejudice to any other right of the Auctioneer.

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(ii) Proceed for damages for breach of contract.

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8. (a) Notwithstanding any other terms of these conditions, if within fourteen days of the sale the Auctioneer has received from the buyer of any lot notice in writing that in his/her view the lot is a deliberate forgery and within fourteen days after such notification the buyer returns the same to the Auctioneer in the same condition as at the time of the sale and satisfies the Auctioneer that considered in the light of the entry in the catalogue the lot is a deliberate forgery then the sale of the lot will be rescinded and the purchase price of the same refunded. "A deliberate forgery" means a lot made with intention to deceive.

(b) A buyer's claim under this condition shall be limited to any amount paid to the Auctioneer for the lot and for the purpose of this condition the buyer shall be the person to whom the original invoice was made out by the Auctioneer.

9. Lots may be removed during the sale after full settlement in accordance with 4.d. hereof.

10. All goods delivered to the Auctioneer's premises will be deemed to be delivered for sale by auction unless otherwise stated in writing and will be catalogued and sold at the Auctioneer's discretion and accepted by the Auctioneer subject to all these conditions. In the case of miscellaneous books, maps and other items, the Auctioneer reserves the right to extract and dispose of items that, in the opinion of the Auctioneer at his absolute discretion, have no saleable value and, therefore, might detract from the saleability of the rest of the lot and the Auctioneer shall incur no liability to the seller in respect of the items disposed of. By delivering the goods to the auctioneer for inclusion in his auction sales each seller acknowledges that he/she accepts and agrees to all the conditions.

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12. The Auctioneer shall remit the proceeds of the sale to the seller thirty days after the date of the auction provided that the Auctioneer has received the total sum due from the buyer. In all other cases the Auctioneer will remit the proceeds of the sale to the seller within seven days of the receipt by the Auctioneer of the total sum due. The Auctioneer will not be deemed to have received the total sum due until after any funds received from the buyer have cleared. In the event of the Auctioneer exercising his right to rescind the sale his obligation to the seller hereunder lapses.

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14. If, on collation, any named items in the catalogue prove defective, in text or illustration, the buyer may reject the lot provided he/she returns it within fourteen days stating the defect in writing. This however will not apply in the case of unnamed items, periodicals, autograph letters, manuscripts, music, maps, atlases, prints or drawings, nor in respect of damage to bindings, stains, foxing, marginal wormholes or other defects not affecting the completeness of the text, nor in respect of lack of list of plates, inserted advertisements, cancels or subsequently published volumes, supplements, appendices or plates or error in the enumerating of the plates, nor in respect of defects mentioned in the catalogue or announced at the time of sale.

15. The Auctioneer accepts no responsibility in connection with the commissioning of his staff to bid for any lots. Reserves, and commission bids given by telephone are accepted only at the sender's risk and must be confirmed in writing before the date of the sale. Lots will always be bought as cheaply as is allowed by other bids and such reserves as are on our books.

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17. Artist's Resale Rights ("Droit de Suite"). Lots marked with "AR" or another appropriate symbol and referenced as such in the catalogue are subject to the Artist's Resale Right law. The buyer agrees to pay the Auctioneer an amount equal to the resale royalty and the Auctioneer will pay such amount to the artist's collecting agent. Resale royalty applies where the Hammer Price is 1,000 Euro or more and the amount cannot be more than 12,500 Euro per lot.

The amount is calculated as follows:

Royalty For the portion of the Hammer Price (in Euro)

4.00% up to 50,000

3.00% between 50,000.01 and 200,000

1.00% between 200,000.01 and 350,000

0.50% between 350,000.01 and 500,000

0.25% in excess of 500,000

Invoices will be issued in Pounds Sterling. For the purposes of calculating the resale royalty the Pounds Sterling/Euro rate of exchange will be the European Central Bank reference rate on the day of the sale. Please refer to the DACS website www.dacs.org.uk for further details.

18. These conditions shall be governed by and construed in accordance with English Law.

 

Buyer's Premium :

The buyer's premium is 20%, except those lots asterisked (*) in the title for which Value Added Tax (VAT) will be added to the premium, resulting in a buyer's premium of 24% inclusive of VAT. Eligible items include manuscripts, prints, photographs, drawings, framed maps, paintings, pens and other objects which are subject to VAT at a rate of 20% on the buyer's premium as part of the Auctioneers Margin Scheme. VAT zero-rated items such as books, unframed maps and albums are not subject to VAT on the buyer's premium.

Live Auction Charges

An additional commission of 3% plus VAT (3.6% inclusive of VAT) on the hammer price is payable if you use the live auction bidding facility on the Dominic Winter Auctioneers website (dominicwinter.co.uk). This charge will be added to your invoice automatically.

An additional commission of 4.95% plus VAT (5.94% inclusive of VAT) on the hammer price is payable if you use the live auction bidding facility on the ATG Media website (the-saleroom.com). This charge will be added to your invoice automatically.

An additional commission of 3% plus VAT (3.6% inclusive of VAT) on the hammer is payable if you use the live auction bidding facility on the Invaluable website (invaluable.com). This charge will be added to your invoice automatically.

Payment (UK Buyers)

Payment is preferred by direct Bank Transfer to our bank account. Our bank details will be supplied to you with your invoice.

Payment can be made in cash at the Cashier's Office, either during or after the sale. Alternatively, you can pay by cheque (Pounds Sterling only), please allow 5 working days for the cheque to clear before collection of goods.

Credit or Debit Card payments will not be accepted by telephone unless by prior arrangement with the auctioneers. Card payments can be made in person at our premises but must be accompanied by relevant ID confirming address details. We do not accept payments by American Express.

Payment (Overseas Buyers)

Payment must be made by direct Bank Transfer to our bank account. Our bank details will be supplied to you on your invoice. No card payments will be accepted unless by special prior arrangements with the auctioneers. All transfers must state the relevant invoice number. The amount we receive must be the total due after currency conversion and the deduction of any bank charges (normally £7).

UK Shipping

We are not specialist shippers. Some items, such as framed & glazed or fragile goods, will require specialist handling and buyers will be asked to use Mailboxes or RF Shipping Ltd. (details below).

For non-fragile items and items of reasonably small size, we offer an in-house packing and shipping facility for UK buyers. When possible, purchases will be sent by either Royal Mail Special Delivery or DPD overnight service. The charge for this service is variable (£15 minimum per parcel) and will be added to your invoice. Please note shipments to the Highlands and Islands may require shipment by courier and may be more expensive. Please contact us for a quote before bidding.

For larger packages and fragile goods, we recommend Mailboxes, Pack & Send or RF Shipping Ltd who will collect fully paid-for purchases from us twice a week and liaise with the buyer direct. For more information please contact Sarah Ball by telephone on +44 (0)1285 860006 or email sarah@dominicwinter.co.uk. These companies will require payment direct for their services.