On This Day in Napoleonic History – 20 February 1800

The Count of Provence appeals to the First Consul

20The Count of Provence (future Louis XVIII) wrote to the First Consul, requesting to be allowed to return to France. Louis promised the First Consul any post in the kingdom, if only he restored him to the throne.


Napoleon had no intention to play Monk, however. He took more than six months to reply and this is what he said in his polite but assertive letter to Louis XVI’s brother: ‘You must not wish for your return to France. You would have to march over 100,000 corpses. Sacrifice your interests to the peace and happiness of France. History will recognise it. I’m not insensitive to the misfortunes of your family. I will gladly contribute to the sweetness and the tranquility of your retirement.’


The finality of Napoleon’s reply resulted in countless plots against Napoleon’s life by the Bourbons from 1800 onward.

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