Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

British Anti-Napoleon Propaganda

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • British Anti-Napoleon Propaganda

    These are a selection of excerpts of British propaganda of the period that attempt to demonize and defame Napoleon for two reasons: the British considered him a deadly enemy of Great Britain, and to criticize with propaganda in order to picture Napoleon as evil.

    The selections can be found in The Secret War Against Napoleon: Britain’s Assassination Plot on the French Emperor by Tim Clayton.

    The question I have regarding this 'information' is how much it has influenced the study of Napoleon himself and how much is still be used by present day authors and historians (the two are not necessarily synonymous)?

    Two of the quotations, by Coleridge and Whitbread, are apparently replies to the constant stream of anti-Napoleonic propaganda.

    ‘As to Buonaparte himself, there is every feature in his character, every circumstance in his conduct, to render it certain that no species of fortune, mental and bodily, no sort of infamy, which a malignant spirit, a depraved imagination, and a heart black with crimes of the deepest dye, can possible suggest, or a hand, still reeking with the blood of murdered innocence and stimulated by the most insatiable thirst of vengeance, can inflict, which will not be exhausted upon the conquered inhabitants of the British empire.-Anti-Jacobin Review, xv, 332-333, 1803.

    ‘A revolutionist by constitution, a conqueror by subordination, cruel and unjust by instinct, insulting in victory, mercenary in his patronage; an inexorable plunderer and murderer, purchased by the victims whose credulity he betrays, as terrible by his artifices as by his arms, dishonoring valor with ferocity, and by the studied abuse of public faith, crowning immorality with the palms of philosophy, tyranny and atheism with the cloak of religion, and oppression with the cap of liberty.’-Revolutionary Plutarch, II, 204; 227.

    ‘An obscure Corsican, that began his murderous career by turning his artillery upon the citizens of Paris-who boasted in his public letter from Pavia of having shot the whole municipality-who put the helpless, innocent, and unoffending inhabitants of Alexandria, man, woman, and child, to the sword till slaughter was tired of its work-who against all the laws of war, put near 4,000 Turks to death in cold blood, after their surrender-who destroyed his own comrades by poison.’-Buonaparte’s True Character, Wheeler and Broadley, Invasion, II, 284.

    ‘The contents of these volumes are interesting in a remarkable degree; as detailing, either from personal knowledge, or from accredited works of other writers, the lives, conduct, and crimes, of every person distinguished as a relative, a courtier, a favorite, a tool, an accomplice, or a rival of the Corsican upstart, who has hitherto with impunity oppressed, and plundered the continent of Europe; and as exhibiting at the same time a clear display of the extraordinary kind of police by which Paris is now regulated. Such a mass of moral turpitude as is here displayed, yet in a form that leaves little room to suspect its authenticity makes up blush for out species.’-European Magazine XLV, 56, 1804.

    ‘Fear is always cruel…In the late war and in the present the British Ministry has been loudly accused of participating in, and encouraging those plans of assassination, which have been directed against the person of the chief magistrate of France. Let the ministry, if they can with truth, vindicate themselves from so black a charge by a solemn and authentic disavowal; and let the British public show the high honor and intrepid courage, for which they have long been renowned, by consigning to merited contempt and abhorrence all works, together with their authors, who direct tendency is to degrade the generous and high-spirited patriot into the lurking assassin.’-Annual Review and History of Literature II, 510, 1803.

    ‘It has been considered an appropriate appendage to this work, to republish the celebrated pamphlet of ‘Killing no Murder,’ one of the most singular controversial pieces the political literature of our country has to boast; one of those happy productions which are perpetually valuable, and which, whenever a usurper reigns, appears as if written at the moment, and points with equal force at a Protector-or a Consul.’-originally from Killing No Murder directed against Oliver Cromwell and resurrected to be against First Consul Bonaparte.

    ‘It will, we trust, be amply sufficient for our purpose, to remind our readers that the doctrines and principles in question had for their object, not merely the revolution in France, but that of the whole world-That the usurping rulers of France have laboured, with unremitting assiduity for the accomplishment of this object-That the war was entered into with the Emperor in order to complete the overthrow of the French monarchy, according to the well-known declaration of Bissot, ‘It was the abolition of royalty I had in view in causing the war to be declared!-That hostilities were afterwards extended to other countries in pursuance of the impious design, announced by the declaration of fraternity, of affording military assistance to the disaffected of all countries-And that in furtherance of the same scheme of universal revolution, France has had her emissaries in every state, to inculcate her doctrines and to incite the people to insurrection.-Anti-Jacobin Review I, 27, 1798.

    ‘Mr Pitt railed most bitterly at the character of Bonaparte…But the truth is Mr Pitt knows Bonaparte to be sincere, and, therefore, will not negotiate, because the negotiations would lead to a peace, which peace would baffle that idle hope of restoring the French monarchy, which, spite of the document sent to Petersburgh, is and has been the real object of Ministers, both in beginning and continuing the war.’-Samuel Taylor Coleridge, as written in the Morning Post, 6 February 1800.


    ‘Every topic that can revile, and every art that can blacken, has been resorted to, for purposes of political slander; and I am very sorry to see that the Intercepted Correspondence from Egypt, strengthened, and embellished with notes, and perhaps, too, garbled, has made its appearance to prejudice the country against the chief consul, and thereby to set at a distance every hope of a negotiation for peace.’-MP Samuel Whitbread, 3 February 1800.

    ‘The intrigues of the French, the servile, the insidious, the insinuating French, shall be the object of my constant attention. Whether at war or at peace with us, they still dread the power, envy the happiness, and thirst for the ruin of England. Collectively and individually, the whole and every one of them hate us. Had they the means, they would exterminate us to the last man…while we retain one drop of true British blood in our veins, we shall never shake hands with this perfidious and sanguinary race, much less shall we make a compromise with their monkey-like manners and tiger-like principles.’-Prospectus of a New Daily Paper to be entitled The Porcupine by William Cobbett, September 1800.


    We are not now that strength which in old days
    Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
    Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
    To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

  • #2
    Yes- but,fair play, there was a war on. Were the British treated more kindly in France ?

    Actually, the evidence is that the British population regarding Napoleon in quite a sporting manner. When HMS Bellerophon put into Torbay and Plymouth on the way to St.Helena, thousands gathered to try to get a glimpse of the Emperor and many gifts in the form of frruit and flowers were sent on board.
    "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
    Samuel Johnson.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by BELGRAVE View Post
      Yes- but,fair play, there was a war on. Were the British treated more kindly in France ?

      Actually, the evidence is that the British population regarding Napoleon in quite a sporting manner. When HMS Bellerophon put into Torbay and Plymouth on the way to St.Helena, thousands gathered to try to get a glimpse of the Emperor and many gifts in the form of fruit and flowers were sent on board.
      And you notice that the 'OP' still goes on about the British assassination plot, which of course is absolute bunk as there have been books and chapters aplenty on the subject and 'NOT ONE' have found an iota of evidence that Britain was complicit in the attempt.

      Also, the total belief that France was nothing but kind, understanding, and brotherly when dealing with Britain and her Allies throughout with Napoleon being just the left side of being an absolute saint, whereas Britain was nasty, evil, unfair, and warlike towards Napoleon. That both sides had been at each other's throats both physically and in propaganda for the past 600 years, should be ignored. The OP has already been taken to task on this sub-subject over on the TMP Napoleonics site by many others (other pro-Napoleon posters have gone quiet) http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=534149 But it is still the same old recording that has been stuck in a loop for years, played by the same recorder...Seems it's been replayed on this site too.
      ‘Tis said his form is tiny, yet
      All human ills he can subdue,
      Or with a bauble or medal
      Can win mans heart for you;
      And many a blessing know to stew
      To make a megloamaniac bright;
      Give honour to the dainty Corse,
      The Pixie is a little shite.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by BELGRAVE View Post
        Yes- but,fair play, there was a war on. Were the British treated more kindly in France ?

        Actually, the evidence is that the British population regarding Napoleon in quite a sporting manner. When HMS Bellerophon put into Torbay and Plymouth on the way to St.Helena, thousands gathered to try to get a glimpse of the Emperor and many gifts in the form of frruit and flowers were sent on board.
        That isn't the question. The question that is put in the OP is: 'The question I have regarding this 'information' is how much it has influenced the study of Napoleon himself and how much is still be used by present day authors and historians (the two are not necessarily synonymous)?'

        And it should be noted that 1815 was not 1799-1804. Napoleon scared the bejeesus out of the ruling class in Great Britain when he became First Consul, and the British government was more frightened of any attempt at peace than continuing a war that has lasted seven years. In 1815, the time to which you refer, the war was over and the British could afford to be magnanimous. Different ball game completely.
        We are not now that strength which in old days
        Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
        Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
        To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Dibble201Bty View Post

          And you notice that the 'OP' still goes on about the British assassination plot, which of course is absolute bunk as there have been books and chapters aplenty on the subject and 'NOT ONE' have found an iota of evidence that Britain was complicit in the attempt.
          The OP is not about the assassination plots, but British propaganda. You're creating yet another strawman argument. Perhaps you could at least attempt to answer the question put in the OP?

          The term 'assassination' is not mentioned in the posting except to cite the title of the book where the quotations were found.

          Have you read the book?

          In point of fact, you have answered the OP question in the positive by your answer.

          And it should also be noted that no one stated here or anywhere else that 'the total belief that France was nothing but kind, understanding, and brotherly when dealing with Britain and her Allies throughout with Napoleon being just the left side of being an absolute saint, whereas Britain was nasty, evil, unfair, and warlike towards Napoleon' as you have posted-another strawman argument which is neither here nor there and is an inaccurate statement. Is it intended to mislead or are you merely making it up?

          Since you brought it up, if the British government had nothing to do with the assassination attempts against Napoleon, why were the Bourbon/royalist conspirators taken to French by the Royal Navy?

          Typical.
          Last edited by Massena; 16 Aug 20, 07:22.
          We are not now that strength which in old days
          Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
          Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
          To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by BELGRAVE View Post
            Yes- but,fair play, there was a war on. Were the British treated more kindly in France ?
            Do you have any examples of French propaganda that personally attacked with inaccurate accusations George III or Pitt, for example?

            And there wasn't 'a war on' during the short time the Treaty of Amiens was in effect. Did the personal attacks, that made up defamatory material against Napoleon, cease during the short peace, or did it continue? There was a group of senior British government officials that were against the peace treaty...

            We are not now that strength which in old days
            Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
            Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
            To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Massena View Post

              Do you have any examples of French propaganda that personally attacked with inaccurate accusations George III or Pitt, for example?

              And there wasn't 'a war on' during the short time the Treaty of Amiens was in effect. Did the personal attacks, that made up defamatory material against Napoleon, cease during the short peace, or did it continue? There was a group of senior British government officials that were against the peace treaty...
              Far be it from me to try to contest a point concerning the Napoleonic War with such a formidable authority such as yourself, and I am quite unable to cite any example of any French counter-propaganda. For one thing. my command of the French language is "rusty" to say the least,so I'm in no position to search for primary sources.

              But surely in the face of invasion, with the entire continent of Europe ranged against the UK at the Emperor's behest, at times, a few words meant to steel the resolve of the people is hardly out-of-line.

              "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
              Samuel Johnson.

              Comment


              • #8
                The threat of invasion largely was over after the Grande Armee left for Germany in September 1805.

                I certainly agree with your statement regarding the 'resolve of the people.' My only idea or problem with the propaganda as such is the use that is made of it after the fact by authors whose aim is to nothing but denigrate using the propaganda as a source, when it was not accurate as to Napoleon's character.
                We are not now that strength which in old days
                Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
                Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
                To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Massena5213998

                  The OP is not about the assassination plots, but British propaganda. You're creating yet another strawman argument. Perhaps you could at least attempt to answer the question put in the OP?
                  Oh yes, it is, partly. So please, be honest with yourself. The rest is showing the normal manic idolisation of a long-dead, forward combing, despotic, Corsican tyrant.

                  The term 'assassination' is not mentioned in the posting except to cite the title of the book where the quotations were found.
                  But you know as well as I that all this thread is about is the same old diatribe that you have spouted on the TMP Napoleonics site, where you have gotten your proverbial handed to you on a plate so you have come here to vent your spleen like a religious zealot. You also quoted a book that tries ever so hard without an iota of evidence, its main purpose which was to show the British government being involved with the assassination attempt

                  Have you read the book?
                  Have you read my reply to that question?

                  In point of fact, you have answered the OP question in the positive by your answer.
                  How enigmatic of you.

                  And it should also be noted that no one stated here or anywhere else that 'the total belief that France was nothing but kind, understanding, and brotherly when dealing with Britain and her Allies throughout with Napoleon being just the left side of being an absolute saint, Britain was nasty, evil, unfair, and warlike towards Napoleon' as you have posted-another strawman argument which is neither here nor there and is an inaccurate statement. Is it intended to mislead or are you merely making it up?​​​​​​
                  Then I refer people to the diatribes you have posted over the years on both this and the TMP site. It's you that merely makes things up.

                  Since you brought it up, if the British government had nothing to do with the assassination attempts against Napoleon, why were the Bourbon/royalist conspirators taken to French by the Royal Navy?
                  It's for you and the nutcase tinfoil mad-hatter authors to think about that one. Perhaps the easiest and obvious explanation was that they didn't tell anyone what they were planning to do. I'm sure that kids are dropped off at a friends house by their parents who are ignorant of the fact that in some cases, their little darlings will get up to unsavoury things. But anyway. even the RN taxi service shows no evidence that they knew, or that the British government ordered the 'taxi' for the express reason of the assassination of anyone.

                  Typical
                  I suppose your posts are? Good to see that you are not shy of self-deprecation...
                  ‘Tis said his form is tiny, yet
                  All human ills he can subdue,
                  Or with a bauble or medal
                  Can win mans heart for you;
                  And many a blessing know to stew
                  To make a megloamaniac bright;
                  Give honour to the dainty Corse,
                  The Pixie is a little shite.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Massena View Post
                    The threat of invasion largely was over after the Grande Armee left for Germany in September 1805.

                    I certainly agree with your statement regarding the 'resolve of the people.' My only idea or problem with the propaganda as such is the use that is made of it after the fact by authors whose aim is to nothing but denigrate using the propaganda as a source, when it was not accurate as to Napoleon's character.
                    It's been said that the first casualty of war is truth- regardless of your view of the Emperor's character.
                    "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
                    Samuel Johnson.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BELGRAVE View Post

                      It's been said that the first casualty of war is truth- regardless of your view of the Emperor's character.
                      That certainly describes the British effort to demonize Napoleon as well as present-day authors using that propaganda as source material. That gives a slanted and inaccurate picture of Napoleon as a head of state and as a person.

                      From The Superstrategists by John Elting, page 139:

                      '[Napoleon's] personal life and character, his political aims and methods, even aspects of his military career and strategy, have been mishandled by most historians-often intentionally, frequently from the difficulty of properly evaluating the available source material, sometimes out of built-in national bias.'

                      'While he lived, enemy propaganda presented Napoleon as a monster who relished murder, treachery, theft, incest, blasphemy, and any other possible evil. The counterblasts of his supporters sometimes went to almost equal extremes in lauding him. The most misleading truth twisting, however, came from people who had served him to their profit, but-in hopes of making an equally profitable peace with the Bourbons who supplanted him after Waterloo-turned to defaming him. Prominent among them were former associates of Napoleon such as Louis Antoine de Bourrienne, the Duchess of Abrantes, Claire de Remusat, and Marshal Auguste Marmont. The memoirs such people wrote, or had ghostwritten, were accepted as indispensable reference works by too many writers, though most of them are worthless and even the better ones contain much untrustworthy material...'

                      If you take a look at the bibliographies of Napoleon by various writers, especially those who don't think too much of Napoleon, you can still find the above 'memoirs' listed among others that are inaccurate and untrustworthy, thus presenting an inaccurate picture of Napoleon. And that also happens too much on this forum.
                      We are not now that strength which in old days
                      Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
                      Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
                      To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        'While he lived, enemy propaganda presented Napoleon as a monster who relished murder, treachery, theft, incest, blasphemy, and any other possible evil.'

                        Hell, he kind of reminds me of... me!



                        The long toll of the brave
                        Is not lost in darkness
                        Over the fruitful earth
                        And athwart the seas
                        Hath passed the light of noble deeds
                        Unquenchable forever.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Massena View Post
                          These are a selection of excerpts of British propaganda of the period that attempt to demonize and defame Napoleon for two reasons: the British considered him a deadly enemy of Great Britain, and to criticize with propaganda in order to picture Napoleon as evil.
                          Were any of those writers you quote British government employees or in any way rewarded by the state for their writings?

                          If not, then it ain't propaganda. It is free speech conducted through a free press.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Massena View Post

                            Do you have any examples of French propaganda that personally attacked with inaccurate accusations George III or Pitt, for example?
                            Freedom of the press does not figure in the Constitution of the Year VIII ...
                            "This unlimited freedom of the newspapers", wrote the First Consul to Girardin, in January 1802, "would very quickly restore anarchy in a country where all the elements are still existing".

                            These are no longer the circumstances but the principles, which at the height of his power, the Emperor invokes in 1810 before the Council of State:
                            "Among a people where opinion must influence in the acts of Ministers, in the deliberations of the great bodies of the State, that the press is indefinitely free, one can imagine it: but our Constitutions do not call the people to mingle political affairs. It is the Senate, the Council of State, the Legislative Body, which think, which speak, which act for it, each one within the extent of its attributions. If one wants more, one must change the current organization; if it is demonstrated that this power of opinion would only produce disturbances and upheavals, it is necessary to establish a monitoring of the press ".

                            From this press, Napoleon expected it to be the surest instrument of his reign. In Saint Helena, speaking to Las Cases of the 'Moniteur', the official journal of the time, he declared that he had made it "the soul and the force of his government, his intermediary and his communications with public opinion. , inside and out ".

                            And thinking of posterity:
                            "These 'Moniteur', so terrible, so against so many reputations, are constantly useful and favorable only to me alone. It is with the official documents that the wise people, the true talents, will write history; now these pieces are full of me, and they are those that I ask for and that I invoke ".
                            Refusal of a periodical press free from any administrative surveillance; framing and orientation of the public mind by using the newspaper as an instrument of propaganda: such were the principles of the Napoleonic policy.

                            The creation of a General Directorate of Printing and Library, February 5, 1810, and the limitation of the number of printers (60 in Paris), who had to take an oath not to print anything "contrary to the duties towards the sovereign and in the interest of the State ", suggested a new regulation of the press.

                            September 17, 1811, the Decree of Compiègne, completed this work of spoliation, by confiscating all the newspapers in Paris, for the benefit of the State.

                            At the end of 1811, the press was permanently silenced. Any opposition, even veiled, is now impossible. By enslaving the press in this way, Napoleon pursued a specific goal: to make the newspaper a tool of propaganda in favor of his dynasty ....

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              As our dear Marshal has got Perfidious Albion bang in the frame for beastliness toward his Hero/God, may I take this opportunity for free speech too, please?
                              Yes, our press did portray the little man in the funny 'at in a disparaging light. Even going as far as ridicule...
                              just as they did to our King, Admiral Nelson and even His Grace the Duke of Wellington!
                              So, in my 'umble opinion, our good Marshal should stop sniveling, man up and take it on the chin, for Boneypart!


                              The long toll of the brave
                              Is not lost in darkness
                              Over the fruitful earth
                              And athwart the seas
                              Hath passed the light of noble deeds
                              Unquenchable forever.

                              Comment

                              Latest Topics

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X