Soldiers, you are a wing of the army of
England! You are masters of the modes of warfare appropriate to
mountains, to plains, to sieges. Naval war remains to complete your
The Roman legions whom you have sometimes imitated, but not as yet
equaled, fought Carthage successively upon this sea and upon the
plains of Zama. Victory never forsook them, because they were
constantly brave, patient of fatigue, well disciplined, resolute.
But, soldiers, Europe has her eyes upon you! You have great
destinies to fulfil, battles to fight, fatigues to surmount!
Frenchmen, you are about to undertake a conquest of which the
effects upon the civilization and commerce of the world are
incalculable. The first city you are to meet was founded by
Cadis, Sheiks, Imans, Chorbadgys, you will be told that I came to
destroy your religion; do not believe it. Let your answer be that I
come to reestablish your rights and punish your usurpers, and that I
have more respect than the Mamelukes for your god, his prophet, and
Tell your people that all men are equal before God. Wisdom, talent,
and virtue make the only difference between them.
But, is there a fine country? It is appropriated by the Mamelukes.
Is there a beautiful slave, a fine horse, a fine house? All this
belongs to the Mamelukes. If Egypt be their farm, let them show the
lease which God has given them of it! But God is just and merciful
to the people. The Egyptians will be called to fill the public
stations. Let the wisest, the most enlightened, the most virtuous
govern, and the people will be happy.
You had formerly large cities, great canals, a flourishing commerce.
What has ruined them all if not the avarice, the injustice, and the
tyranny of the Mamelukes?
Cadis, Sheiks, Imans, Chorbadgys, tell the people that we, too, are
true Mussulmans. Is it not we who demolished the pope, the great
enemy of the Mussulmans? Are we not the friends of the grand
Thrice happy those who shall be found on our side! They will prosper
in fortune and rank. Happy those who shall remain neutral! They will
have time to know the result, and then will join us.
But woe, eternal woe, to those who take arms in favor of the
Mamelukes and fight against us! There will be no hope for them; they
Sheiks, Ulemans, believers of Mohammed, make known to the people
that those who have been enemies to me will find no refuge either in
this world or the other. Is there a man so blind as not to see that
Destiny itself directs my operations?