Napoleonic Wars Forum

The Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815

Napoleon on Looting and Pillaging

For general discussions on the Armies of the Napoleonic period.

Re: Napoleon on Looting and Pillaging

Postby TheBibliophile » October 3rd, 2016, 5:32 am

Senarmont198 wrote:
Perhaps this will help. From Bonaparte in Egypt by JC Herold:

About 7 million francs worth of 'bullion and precious objects' were taken from the coffers of the Knights of Malta and were 'transferred, after inventory, to the French paymaster.'-47. That doesn't seem like personal looting by Napoleon but taken in order to pay the troops as well as finance the expedition.

On Malta, before leaving for Egypt, Napoleon also abolished slavery, freed 2,000 slaves belonging to the Knights of Malta, promised French citizenship to those who 'showed sufficient patriotic zeal', formed native National Guard battalions, established a military hospital, reorganized both the hospital and postal systems on the island, limited the authority of the Bishop of Malta to ecclesiastical matters, had the Russian and British consuls deported, ordered that sixty boys between nine and fourteen years of age chosen from the wealthiest Maltese families be sent to Paris to be educated at the expense of the French Republic, established new primary and secondary schools on the island, among other reforms for the good of the Maltese population.-48-49.


Perhaps this will help.
When the French first landed in Malta, they were initially welcomed as liberators as the Knights of Malta under Hompesch were very unpopular.
Pretty soon afterwards, for all of the "good stuff" that you, predictably, say that Napoleon did, the local population realised that they had swapped one tyrant for another, revolted, placed Valletta garrison under siege and less than 2 years later evicted the French with the help of a small British land based force and a Royal Navy squadron under the command of Captain Alexander Ball.
Ball became the first British "governor" of Malta and was so loved and respected by the Maltese that they, amongst other things, erected a huge memorial to him in the Barakka gardens.

If you're going to try being clever by quoting passages that fit your narrative from secondary sources thats fine, I've come to expect it.
However to properly understand Malta, the best book to consult is William Hardman (1909) "A History of Malta During the Period of the French and British Occupations, 1798-1815"

I say it is the best as it does not contain potentially biased waffle and supposition, only hundreds and hundreds of original manuscript sources, left for the reader to draw his or her own conclusions.


Bib
User avatar
TheBibliophile
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 777
Joined: February 1st, 2012, 9:39 pm
Location: Sunderland, UK

Re: Napoleon on Looting and Pillaging

Postby jf42 » October 3rd, 2016, 6:45 am

Intriguing. I was admittedly curious as to how a Maltese might demonstrate 'sufficient patriotism' for the nation of an occupying power. Words like 'Quisling' and 'Vichy' did come to mind. I also found myself contemplating what degree of favour a wealthy family might feel at their son being selected at the orders of Bonaparte as one of those to be removed and educated in Paris, 'at the expense of the French Republic.' How was the superior wealth of those families (rendering them most capable of educating their children independently) relevant, I wonder? Words like 'hostage' and devshirme come to mind
User avatar
jf42
Senior Veteran Member
 
Posts: 1262
Joined: June 23rd, 2011, 10:17 am
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Napoleon on Looting and Pillaging

Postby Senarmont198 » October 3rd, 2016, 11:48 am

You still haven't 'proven' that Napoleon looted the island for his personal benefit. Wasn't that the accusation that was presented? And JC Herold is not exactly an admirer of Napoleon.
Senarmont198
Senior Member
 
Posts: 465
Joined: May 28th, 2015, 10:23 am

Re: Napoleon on Looting and Pillaging

Postby Josh&Historyland » October 3rd, 2016, 2:35 pm

jf42 wrote:
Senarmont198 wrote:

Whether or not you like the book is irrelevant.


Absolutely so. Which is why I made no comment to that effect.


I don't think JF mentioned a personal dislike rather he pointed out inconsistencies with the book that were not in keeping with the standard ones. I remember you pointing out Dwyer's shortcomings on a few instances yet we understand you are not speaking from a personal place. Both the above mentioned author and Dwyer doubtless each did allot of research wether or not we end up agreeing with it.
At this point I don't think we can rule out the exchange between Vandamme and the Tsar, though admittedly it has the flavour of a piece of French propoganda to put down the Alexander.

I fear I am ignorant of operations around Malta at this time and can't comment on whether or not Napoleon lined his own pockets from the seizure of the island. Nevertheless I will take note of the books. My thanks :)



Josh.
Adventures In Historyland, Keeping History Real. http://adventuresinhistoryland.wordpress.com/
User avatar
Josh&Historyland
Senior Veteran Member
 
Posts: 1844
Joined: March 2nd, 2013, 1:14 pm

Re: Napoleon on Looting and Pillaging

Postby Senarmont198 » October 3rd, 2016, 2:48 pm

Well, we have two credible sources that say 'no' and those are based on Vandamme's papers.
Senarmont198
Senior Member
 
Posts: 465
Joined: May 28th, 2015, 10:23 am

Re: Napoleon on Looting and Pillaging

Postby Senarmont198 » October 3rd, 2016, 2:50 pm

Josh&Historyland wrote:
jf42 wrote:
Senarmont198 wrote:

Whether or not you like the book is irrelevant.


Absolutely so. Which is why I made no comment to that effect.


I don't think JF mentioned a personal dislike rather he pointed out inconsistencies with the book that were not in keeping with the standard ones. I remember you pointing out Dwyer's shortcomings on a few instances yet we understand you are not speaking from a personal place. Both the above mentioned author and Dwyer doubtless each did allot of research wether or not we end up agreeing with it.

I fear I am ignorant of operations around Malta at this time and can't comment on whether or not Napoleon lined his own pockets from the seizure of the island. Nevertheless I will take note of the books. My thanks :)


Dwyer has a lot of problems in his narrative and I don't believe that the work is credible enough to be used as a source.

Herold, on the other hand was a very careful researcher, and I believe that if you match his material on Malta with the work recommended I don't think you'll find too much difference in the particulars.
Senarmont198
Senior Member
 
Posts: 465
Joined: May 28th, 2015, 10:23 am

Re: Napoleon on Looting and Pillaging

Postby Josh&Historyland » October 3rd, 2016, 3:59 pm

Senarmont198 wrote:Well, we have two credible sources that say 'no' and those are based on Vandamme's papers.
And you'd think, if he said it, he'd have mentioned it. But I'll keep an open mind on the subject.

Josh.
Adventures In Historyland, Keeping History Real. http://adventuresinhistoryland.wordpress.com/
User avatar
Josh&Historyland
Senior Veteran Member
 
Posts: 1844
Joined: March 2nd, 2013, 1:14 pm

Re: Napoleon on Looting and Pillaging

Postby TheBibliophile » October 3rd, 2016, 6:14 pm

From Hardman:
"On the day following the capitulation, General Berthier was instructed to order citizens Monge and Berthollet to visit the Mint, the Treasury of the Church of St John and other places where it was thought that precious articles might be found. Their precise instructions were as follows:

Headquarters, 13th June 1798.

Citizen Berthollet, Comptroller of the army, along with a paymasters clerk, will remove all the gold, silver and precious stones which may be found in the Church of St John, and other places, dependencies of the Order of Malta, the silver plate in the inns,and that of the Grand Master. They will cause to be melted during the course of tomorrow, all the gold into ingots, which will be placed into the military chest following the army.An inventory of all the precious stones will be made by them and such precious stones shall be placed under seal in the military chest following the army.They will sell to the merchants of the place silver plate to the extent of 250,000 to 300,000 Francs against payment in gold or silver coin, which shall be placed in the military chest following the army.
The remainder of the silver plate shall be place in the paymasters military chest, who will leave the same at the mint, there to be coined and its produce remitted to the Paymaster of the Division and to be used for its maintenance.
It must be specified what such ought to realise in order that the Paymaster may be held accountable for the same.Such articles as may be necessary for the performance of Divine Service in St Johns or other churches can be left.

BONAPARTE"
User avatar
TheBibliophile
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 777
Joined: February 1st, 2012, 9:39 pm
Location: Sunderland, UK

Re: Napoleon on Looting and Pillaging

Postby TheBibliophile » October 3rd, 2016, 6:29 pm

From this last order, the following statement was drawn up and forwarded to Bonaparte:

Etat Des Tresors Trouves a Malte

Tresor de L'eglise de St Jean (Treasure from the Church of St Jean)
Diamants: 59,943.00 Ecus de Malte
Or: 970,470.00 Ecus de Malte
Argent: 263,025.00 Ecus De Malte.

Equal to French Livres 1,019,051


Tresor de L'eglise de Saint Antoine dependent de Saint Jean
Diamants: 703.00 Ecus de Malte
Or: 550.00 Ecus de Malte
Argent: 7,410.00 Ecus De Malte.

Equal to French Livres 20,786

Matieres d'or et d'argent dans le Palais du Grande Maitre
Or: 2,334.06 Ecus de Malte
Argent: 50,642.02 Ecus De Malte.

Equal to French Livres 127,144


Il exisitait,en outre dans la caisse de la banque juratale de l'isle de Gozo Ecus de Malte 7, 578.09 (18,189 Livres)

In total by this order, treasure worth a total of 1,185,170 French Livres was seized.
User avatar
TheBibliophile
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 777
Joined: February 1st, 2012, 9:39 pm
Location: Sunderland, UK

Re: Napoleon on Looting and Pillaging

Postby TheBibliophile » October 3rd, 2016, 6:42 pm

I dont know what the £ to French Livre exchange rate was in 1800. I have only been able to find online an approximate conversion rate of £3 to 40 French Livres.

If true this would approximate £88,887 in 1798, or approximately £8,300,000 in todays money

:shock:
User avatar
TheBibliophile
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 777
Joined: February 1st, 2012, 9:39 pm
Location: Sunderland, UK

PreviousNext

Return to The Armies

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron