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Item 413 - Napoleon Catalog 539 (Nov 2018)

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(we are no longer accepting bids on this item)
Estimate: $2,000.00 +
Sold Price: $4,352.43 (includes buyer's premium)


LS in French, signed “Napol,” one page both sides, 7.25 x 8.75, March 12, 1807. Letter to "My Son," in part (translated): "I have just received your letter of February 21. General Marmont must remain with his entire army corps in a position that will allow him to rest his troops, as well as train and organize them, in order to be able to act according to the circumstances. The Porte [the Ottoman government] has not asked for troops; besides, the Bosnians, and even the Turks are as prejudiced that they would not like a French army to be positioned in Constantinople and on the Danube. Keep an eye on Austria and let General Marmont know that he should do so too, without writing anything down though, for fear that the letters might be intercepted. I do not have any reason to believe that this country might be willing to make war but it is arming itself and we must always be ready. In such a case, General Marmont would be part of your army corps, since his own corps, after he received his 3rd and 4th battalions would be certainly be a great help." In fine condition.

When Napoleon wrote this letter, he had in the recent months defeated Prussia in the battles of Jena and Auerstadt, but had failed for the first time, the previous month, in a pitched battled with the Russians at Eylau, leaving his resources greatly strained. By this time, Alexander had recognized that Russia, with all her powers of resistance, had not the offensive strength required for driving the French back to the Rhine. Prussia was powerless; and the mixture of promises and threats which had been applied to her in 1805 was now applied to Austria. Napoleon, on his side, was assiduous in his offers: he would fall in with the wishes of Austria about Turkey, or he would let her have part of Silesia. Proposals of alliance were coupled with hints of the alternative, an alliance between France and Russia; and this was a danger to which they were fully alive in Vienna. Stadion agreed with Archduke Charles that war must be avoided, but he wished to have a voice in the final settlement, lest Austrian interests should be sacrificed. His policy was to hold out hopes to both sides, to find excuses for delay, and to offer mediation. This suited Napoleon, whose great object was to gain time. He assented in principle to the Austrian proposal of a congress at Prague, but claimed that Turkey should be admitted. Russia, Prussia, and Great Britain did not reject it, but desired to know, as a preliminary, on what basis the French Emperor was prepared to negotiate; and the correspondence was prolonged until events made it superfluous.

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