On This Day in Napoleonic History – 28 December 1802

with No Comments

Napoleon loses faith in the Treaty of Amiens

The First Consul wrote to Talleyrand from St Cloud: ‘We do not seem to be at peace but only in a truce. The fault lies entirely with the British government.’

The Treaty of Amiens would break on 12 May the following year. There were many issues between France and Britain that threatened the peace, including the Sébastiani expedition, Cadoudal’s continued residency in London, the émigré press, the compensations for the King of Sardinia and Prince William V of Orange, Swiss independence, the non-evacuation of Holland, Alexandria, Pondicheri, Cape of Good Hope and Malta, and France’s tariff regimes. Even George III described the peace as experimental.

It was soon clear that the experiment had failed. Although Napoleon didn’t want war with Britain, he was not willing to weaken France’s position to prevent it. Britain would formally declare war on 18 May 1803.

Leave a Reply