and risk was afforded to them ; all being brought off, except 2000 killed, and about 800, whom the French took prisoners, by wading into the water after them.
The French declare, that they had not actually engaged in this affair, in which General Verdier was the commanding officer, more than 1000 men ; and that their loss was so comparatively trifling, as 30 killed and 80 wounded.
About five weeks after the departure of General Buonaparte from Egypt, General Kléber wrote the directory a very full and by no means flattering account of affairs in that country. This important letter he intrusted to the Maltese Chevalier Barras, (cousin to the director of that name), who on the 4th of November sailed from Alexandria in a vessel named the Marianne, on board of which had also embarked General Vaux and several other wounded officers.
The Marianne, it appears, had a successful voyage until she gained a sight of the coast of France, when a British sloop of war fell in with and captured her. We have here so much dearth of information to complain of, that we cannot give the name of the ship, nor the date of the capture. Neither are we able to state whether the Marianne was a brig or a fore-and-aft rigged vessel ; we conjecture, however, that she was the gun-vessel of that name, since (as, we presume, was also the case with the Foudre) recaptured by the French.
The despatches, as is customary on such occasions, were thrown overboard, but not with the customary carefulness. They were wrapped up in an old silk handkerchief, through which the cannon shot intended to sink them immediately pierced, and one of the British sailors picked them up as they were floating by the side of the vessel. The captain of the sloop of war carried the important papers to the commander-in-chief : and Vice-admiral Lord Keith, who had returned to Gibraltar from England on the 6th of December, after making himself acquainted with their contents, transmitted the despatches to his government.
Shortly after the defeat of the Turks at Damietta Sir Sidney Smith conveyed to General Kléber, as the commanding officer of the French army in Egypt, the reply of the Sublime Porte to Buonaparte's overtures to the Sultan formerly noticed ; which reply was simply to the purport, that no negotiation could be entered into without the concurrence of England and Russia. Resting on the belief that England possessed the inclination, and Commodore Sir Sidney Smith the power, to conclude a treaty jointly with the grand vizier, General Kléber made proposals to that effect to the latter and Sir Sidney ; and it was at length agreed, that General Desaix and the administrator of the finances Poussielgue should repair on board the Tigre, and there confer with the commissioners on the other side. Owing to the badness of the weather, the two French commissioners were unable to reach the Tigre, who had purposely anchored off
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