1800 - Convention between France and Austria, Blockade of Malta


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1800 Convention between France and Austria 13

4th of June, consented to evacuate the town of Genoa, and, with the 8000 of his troops that were able to march, retire to Nice. In some preparatory conferences held on shore between General d'Ott, Lord Keith, and General Masséna, the latter expressed as much contempt for Austria, as he did respect for England ; observing to Lord Keith, " Milord, si jamais la France et l'Angleterre s'entendre, elles gouverneraient le monde." Much more passed in the same strain. There was, no doubt, a little policy in all this ; and it may indeed be gathered from an apparently authentic account of the negotiation for the surrender of Genoa, that the French general seldom paid a compliment to the British admiral or nation, without exacting in return some solid concession. On the 5th, the Minotaur, Audacious, and Généreux 74s, Charon store-ship, Pigmy cutter, and a small Neapolitan squadron, anchored in the mole of Genoa.

On the very day on which the treaty was signed for the evacuation of Genoa by Masséna, the first consul of France, having with a powerful army crossed the Alps, entered the city of Milan, the capital of Lombardy, and on the same day proclaimed afresh the Cisalpine republic. The Austrian general, Mélas, as soon as this news reached him, abandoned the whole of Piedmont, and concentrated his forces at Alexandria. On the 7th of June, Buonaparte, still unacquainted with the surrender of Genoa, quitted Milan to attack the Austrians. On the 9th and 10th he defeated General d'Ott, who had evacuated Genoa after three days' possession, at Casteggio and Montebello. On the 14th was fought the famous battle of Marengo, in which Buonaparte defeated General Mélas, with a loss to the latter of 4500 left dead on the field of battle, nearly 8000 wounded, from 6000 to 7000 prisoners, 12 stands of colours, and 30 pieces of cannon, and with a loss to himself of only 2000 killed, 3600 wounded, and 700 prisoners.

On the 15th, at Alexandria, a convention for a suspension of arms was signed between the two commanders-in-chief ; by the terms of which France was to be put in possession of the 12 following fortresses: Tortona, Alexandria, Milan, Turin, Pizzighittone, Arona, Placenza, Cori, Seva, Savona, Genoa, and Fort Urbin. Repossession of the city of Genoa was taken on the 22d of June by General Suchet, and on the 24th General Masséna himself returned to it. This reoccupation was so sudden and unexpected, that the Minotaur found some difficulty in warping herself out of the mole in time. We must now leave, for a while, the shores of northern Italy, to attend to operations in another quarter of the Mediterranean.

At the close of the year 1798 we left the French general, Vaubois, with about 3000 soldiers and seamen, shut up in the fortress of Valetta, menaced on the land side by a powerful force

* Victoires et Conquetes, tome xii., p, 210.

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