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"This Dark Business: The Secret War Against Napoleon" Topic


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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse08 May 2018 10:21 p.m. PST

"Between two attempts in 1800 and 1804 to assassinate Napoleon Bonaparte, the British government launched a campaign of black propaganda of unprecedented scope and intensity to persuade George III's reluctant subjects to fight the Napoleonic War, a war to the death against one man: the Corsican usurper and tyrant.

This Dark Business tells the story of the British government's determination to destroy Napoleon Bonaparte by any means possible. We have been taught to think of Napoleon as the aggressor – a man with an unquenchable thirst for war and glory – but what if this story masked the real truth: that the British refusal to make peace either with revolutionary France or with the man who claimed to personify the revolution was the reason this Great War continued for more than twenty years? At this pivotal moment when it consolidated its place as number one world power Britain was uncompromising. To secure the continuing rule of Church and King, the British invented an evil enemy, the perpetrator of any number of dark deeds; and having blackened Napoleon's name, with the help of networks of French royalist spies and hitmen, they also tried to assassinate him.

This Dark Business plunges the reader into the hidden underworld of Georgian politics in which, faced with the terrifying prospect of revolution, bribery and coercion are the normal means to secure compliance, a ruthless world of spies, plots and lies.
Main page
link


Amicalement
Armand

arthur181509 May 2018 3:55 a.m. PST

Interesting.I can think of several posters on the Napoleonic Boards who will love this!

foxweasel09 May 2018 4:11 a.m. PST

This definitely has the makings of another 300 post epic, with quite a few DHings for good measure.

MaggieC70 Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2018 7:05 a.m. PST

I have always snickered at the idea that this campaign against Bonaparte from late 1799 through the Caudodal nonsense in early 1804 was a secret. The British archives runneth over with pertinent documents, as so the AN and FA archives in Paris.

Yet both nonfiction and historical fiction continue to flog this idea of secrecy.

Clayton's book should be interesting, possibly as an adjunct to Elizabeth Sparrows' older and often flawed study of British spies. His premise, at least from the blurb quoted here, sounds a tad bit purple. The truth, as always, lies somewhere between the extremes.

ancientsgamer09 May 2018 7:10 a.m. PST

Funny how Napoleon is a tyrant and ogre but Louis 14 and 16 are beneficent monarchs. Quite sure the first kings of both countries weren't exactly voted unto office either.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse09 May 2018 2:16 p.m. PST

(smile)

Amicalement
Armand

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2018 3:57 p.m. PST

I ordered it so I'll let everyone know how it is.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse10 May 2018 10:59 a.m. PST

We wait…. (smile)

Amicalement
Armand

Sebastian Palmer05 Jun 2018 1:17 a.m. PST

This looks fascinating. I have the book Tim Clayton co-authored with Sheila O'Connell for the British Museum, 'Bonaparte and the British', which is (I think) very good. Hope to get/read it when it comes out. Thanks for sharing.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse09 Feb 2019 12:27 p.m. PST

A votre service mon ami!. (smile)


Amicalement
Armand

dibble09 Feb 2019 8:39 p.m. PST

I've had this book since it came out some months ago. I read up to page 105, chapter 6. 'The Infernal Machine'. The bookmark is still there and according to my Amazon account, I received it on the 16th of September 2018.

Has anyone actually read it through? I lay odds that Clayton still hasn't found a shred of evidence that the British government ordered the attempted assassination of Napoleon

Gazzola10 Feb 2019 5:20 a.m. PST

Tango01

Probably a surprise to some people but I have not bought or read it yet. I personally prefer to buy and read books covering military actions and campaigns. However, it is on my list to buy so I will get to is eventually. In the meantime, it will be interesting to hear from those who do read the whole book and were not put off half way through. LOL

dibble11 Feb 2019 3:32 a.m. PST

Less than half way. In fact, less than a third of the way through….LOL

MaggieC70 Supporting Member of TMP12 Feb 2019 11:24 a.m. PST

I think there might be a small difference between "ordering" an assassination and "paying for it."

As in: "We need to eliminate that pesky Corsican. Let's find some schmuck with a good aim and order him to take Boney out."

"Fine if you want to do the dirty work, Georges, but we'll keep our hands clean. However, here's 1,000 pounds for your start-up expenses."

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP13 Feb 2019 6:49 a.m. PST

I would agree with that assessment.

The British gave shelter and support to the French royalists and it was, in part, the Royal Navy taking them across the Channel.

Gazzola16 Feb 2019 2:54 a.m. PST

I don't think blame cannot be thrown at people, governments etc, just because they 'only' paid for, aided or transported those who undertook such activities. They are part of the whole and therefore have to take some level of responsibility for what their 'aid, payment and transportation' resulted in.

dibble16 Feb 2019 11:15 p.m. PST

And Deleted by Moderator Napoleon should take full responsibility for the wholesale slaughter theft and misery he wrought throughout Europe. So having him flung hundreds of feet into the air and scattered over a wide area, his blood turned to rain, would have been a huge bonus for the people of Europe. :)

My dad gave me pocket money, and one time I decided to act like a grown up and buy a packet of 10 cigarettes instead of investing it in an Airfix kit or paints. Was it my dad's fault that I smoked? He gave me the funds to act in an irrational way I did but he most certainly would not have been happy with what I had done. (he never knew and I realised model kits etc, were so, so much more satisfying)

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP17 Feb 2019 5:28 a.m. PST

And the little pixie Napoleon should take full responsibility for the wholesale slaughter theft and misery he wrought throughout Europe. So having him flung hundreds of feet into the air and scattered over a wide area, his blood turned to rain, would have been a huge bonus for the people of Europe.


What about the heads of state/government of Great Britain, Prussia, Russia, and Austria who actually began the series of wars starting with the breaking of the Peace of Amiens?

And of Great Britain who actually financed the series of coalitions against France?

It appears to me that there is enough blame to go around, the largest portion going to the coalitions.

And the British government knew exactly what the funding was going to be used for-paying for armies to fight the French especially when the British government couldn't or wouldn't field the armies necessary to fight the French. They seemingly preferred to let the coalition armies do the fighting and the dying for them.

Gazzola17 Feb 2019 10:54 a.m. PST

dibble

So, based on your silly pocket-money-cigarette example, you are suggesting that the wonderful, secretive and very careful British government gave funds without knowing what it was going to be used for? Deleted by Moderator

dibble17 Feb 2019 4:59 p.m. PST

Gazzola

So, based on your silly pocket-money-cigarette example, you are suggesting that the wonderful, secretive and very careful British government gave funds without knowing what it was going to be used for? Pull the other one! LOL

My personal story is a true, accurate one and from the person involved…Me!

Where is the evidence that the British government were complicit or even knew what was going on? There is none. And even if one or two high ranking politicians knew what was happening, It was not the policy of the British government to sanction the assassination of Nappy.

I have done so in the past and will do here:

I challenge any of theses 'Bonapartist'authors or idolisers to show the evidence. I won't hold my breath but perhaps you and Kevin will.

Brechtel

What about the heads of state/government of Great Britain, Prussia, Russia, and Austria who actually began the series of wars starting with the breaking of the Peace of Amiens?

And of Great Britain who actually financed the series of coalitions against France?

It appears to me that there is enough blame to go around, the largest portion going to the coalitions.

And the British government knew exactly what the funding was going to be used for-paying for armies to fight the French especially when the British government couldn't or wouldn't field the armies necessary to fight the French. They seemingly preferred to let the coalition armies do the fighting and the dying for them.

I refer you to other posts here and other sites on this matter, which I suggest you do too in future.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP17 Feb 2019 6:13 p.m. PST

Sorry, but I don't need to 'refer' to any other sites I can do my own research. But thanks for the effort.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP17 Feb 2019 6:15 p.m. PST

It was not the policy of the British government to sanction the assassination of Nappy.

Do you have any evidence to support this idea?


The Bourbons/royalists were supported by the British government and there was disbursement of government funds to the royalists as well as Royal Navy support to get them across the Channel.

If it wasn't policy or the government knew nothing about what was happening it was either because they did not want to know or they were stupid.

dibble18 Feb 2019 1:53 p.m. PST

It's not me who has published the allegations now, is it? So it's up to the authors who pump this stuff out to show the evidence, which to date, they have none. Rather akin to Trump and the Russians.

If it wasn't policy or the government knew nothing about what was happening it was either because they did not want to know or they were stupid.

Again! It's for the Authors to bring the evidence, which to date etc, etc. And you better put up the evidence where the British government were stupid or intentionally remained ignorant.

Jpnorth21 Feb 2019 9:24 a.m. PST

Just thought I should say something about the Infernal Machine and British gold. I cover much of this in my book Killing Napoleon. The British were certainly supplying the royalists with large sums of gold. There are also two occasions leading up to the bomb going off when the royalists muted assassination in Whitehall itself. On both occasions the British said they did not want to be involved.

In August 1800 Windham noted in his private journal that ‘General Georges … predicts that Bonaparte will be cut off before two months are over, though he professes not to know specifically of such intention, seems to think such a course of proceeding legitimate, and has thrown out the idea to Pitt as he has before to me. Not necessary to say that no countenance was given to it.' Not long after the Chevalier de Bruslart, Frotté's old lieutenant, also saw Windham, and alluded to a plan to kill Napoleon: ‘He made wild proposals of carrying off or cutting off Bonaparte to which I pointedly declared that a British minister could give no countenance.'

This could either be plausible deniability, or it could be genuine. The absence of hard evidence does not mean that you will not take your pick!

Gwydion22 Feb 2019 9:14 a.m. PST

Hmmm? Killing one trouble making psychopath or millions of Europeans?
Tough moral call.
I know – the Corsican gets it!
If it weren't British Government policy, it really should have been.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP22 Feb 2019 12:15 p.m. PST

Please show that Napoleon was a 'trouble making psychopath.'

First, how would you, or anyone else, deduce that Napoleon was a psychopath? How do you analyze someone who has been dead almost 200 years?

Second, the evidence that most of the wars he fought as head of state were defensive is quite conclusive. Great Britain, Austria, Prussia, and Russia all attacked France through 1809 and Britain financed the coalitions.

So, please, show your evidence from credible source material.

Winston Smith22 Feb 2019 2:39 p.m. PST

Kevin, you have converted me.
Napoleon the Good was beset on all sides by Evil Foreign Villains who forced him to invade their countries. Bastards!
Not once but many times.

Gwydion22 Feb 2019 4:39 p.m. PST

First, how would you, or anyone else, deduce that Napoleon was a psychopath?

By reading reputable historians and knowing a fair bit about human nature.
He may have had a narcissistic personality disorder as well, but the psychopathy stands out like a sore thumb.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP22 Feb 2019 5:17 p.m. PST

OK, state your sources. Who are your 'reputable historians'?

By the way, are you a psychologist or a psychiatrist? What you are stating belongs more in the realm of psychobabble.

MaggieC70 Supporting Member of TMP22 Feb 2019 6:50 p.m. PST

How does knowing "a fair bit about human nature"--a statement I suspect we can all make easily enough--translate into an assertion about either an NPD or, more important, psychopathy?

And please, thrill us all with your acumen by explaining this alleged psychopathy: what specifically is it in general and with regard to Napoleon in particular, and how did it allegedly manifest itself?

I'll just go get a beer while I wait for your illuminating, detailed response.

Gwydion23 Feb 2019 4:18 a.m. PST

The Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised
scores the 20 following traits

glib and superficial charm
grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self
need for stimulation
pathological lying
cunning and manipulativeness
lack of remorse or guilt
shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness)
callousness and lack of empathy
parasitic lifestyle
poor behavioral controls
sexual promiscuity
early behavior problems
lack of realistic long-term goals
impulsivity
irresponsibility
failure to accept responsibility for own actions
many short-term marital relationships
juvenile delinquency
revocation of conditional release
criminal versatility

Score each 0,1 or 2
40=psychopath
30=requires further diagnosis

Bonaparte scores at least 32 (probably more – I was being nice) and given the number of people he killed he probably deserves a score of way more than 2 for some!

knowing "a fair bit about human nature"--a statement I suspect we can all make easily enough
Maggie – many people are remarkably unable to spot the evil behind the charismatic smile of the psychopath.grin

MaggieC70 Supporting Member of TMP23 Feb 2019 8:33 a.m. PST

32 points? Amazing on the surface, but not when one uses this tool with preconceived ideas.

I'm hardly deceived by a charismatic smile--and I don't believe Naps had one. He could from time to time, and when it suited him, be rather charming, but so can anyone, even me.

We'll just leave the "number of people he killed" statement alone, because it is a non-starter as a historical argument, leading invariably to a slew of false equivalencies.

And I'll leave you and the rest of the folks here and elsewhere in the comfort of their negative opinions, pretty much the same way I generally ignore those with excessively high opinions. Neither demonstrates credible historical inquiry.

Thanks for the valiant attempt to justify psychobabble. Just to provide a bit of proper context here:

The Hare Psychopathy Checklist Revised states: "A 20-item symptom rating scale that allows qualified examiners to compare a subject's degree of psychopathy with that of a prototypical psychopath."

Are you indeed a qualified examiner? Did you compare Naps with a prototypical psychopath? I didn't think so.

Thus the value of your allegations diminishes considerably in light of the fact that we could all sit here and award points based on this list and come up with varying scores. And none of those scores, or the wholly untrained and subjective opinions behind them, are worth a hoot in hell.

Fun parlor game, perhaps, or something to toss out there Deleted by Moderator

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP23 Feb 2019 3:02 p.m. PST

Gwydion,

Again, source material for your 'conclusions'? Seems to me you're from the Schom/Barnett 'school' of studying Napoleon.

That isn't a good recommendation as their books on the subject are rife with historic error and psychobabble.

Gazzola24 Feb 2019 4:33 a.m. PST

ConnaughtRanger

In a tizz? Really? Just because people make Deleted by Moderator comments does not upset some of us, Deleted by Moderator It is the same Deleted by Moderator mindset that WANTS to believe the Napoleonic British were angels and everything they did was for everyone else's benefit, not theirs. Deleted by Moderator

Gazzola24 Feb 2019 4:42 a.m. PST

dibble

Deleted by Moderator of course, the British Napoleonic government must have 'trusted' those they 'aided' Yeah, sure they did.LOL

But I don't for one minute believe you Deleted by Moderator believe that the British would not know what or in which way their 'aid' would be used. The British government were and are far too careful with what they do, how they do it and no doubt, how they cover things up or keep things secret.

In terms of Clayton's book, a shame you never managed to read the rest of the book. It might (or might not) have provided some answers. But the British Napoleonic government would be pretty lame if they did not cover up certain activities anyway. I doubt they wanted other nations to know that 'be our ally and don't challenge our trade or we will take out your leader', that would never do. Deleted by Moderator

Gazzola24 Feb 2019 5:16 a.m. PST

Gwydion

I believe, since as far as I am aware, Napoleon was never clinically analysed, at least when alive, although there are essays on Napoleon's personality, such as by Parker, 1971. Based on this, I believe one can only (if utterly bored and have nothing else to do in life) assume things rather than state he is this or that. Military history and military campaigns are, to me, far more interesting than Deleted by Moderator from people claiming they know how people thought and who they really were two hundred years after they died. Deleted by Moderator

The reality is, we can all assume whatever we want, which of course, depends on our own personal viewpoints. Those Deleted by Moderator who believe Napoleon caused all the Napoleonic wars, will no doubt assume anything negative because it pleases them, while those Deleted by Moderator will assume some of the Napoleonic wars/campaigns were caused by Napoleon's enemies. (note, in relation to Napoleon's enemies, I did not say all)

However, I think you really do need to do further study Deleted by Moderator in military history. The reason I'm saying this is because your Deleted by Moderator posts clearly suggest you Deleted by Moderator believe millions of people would not have died had Napoleon not existed or been assassinated and there would have been no wars. But we all know, Deleted by Moderator that Deleted by Moderator would believe that had their been no Napoleon there would have been no wars and millions of people would not have died. Deleted by Moderator

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2019 6:26 a.m. PST

Gwydion,

This might be of assistance:

hare.org/scales/pclr.html

link

link

Gwydion24 Feb 2019 3:51 p.m. PST

Napoleon exhibited almost ALL the clinical indications of psychopathy – go and read a biography with an open mind.

Don't be too upset by this – many world leaders have been psychopaths. Many of of us find them arresting. We should learn to avoid their thrall.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2019 5:36 p.m. PST

Again, what are your sources?

By the way, are you either a psychologist or a psychiatrist?

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian24 Feb 2019 8:20 p.m. PST

Several of our members should refresh their memories of our forum rules. TMP link

Please behave in a civilized manner, and no more snarkiness.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP25 Feb 2019 6:01 a.m. PST

…go and read a biography with an open mind.

Over the last fifty years I have read quite a few biographies on the Great Man. Some were good, some were not, and a few were exceptional.

More to the point, I have also read memoirs from those who served Napoleon.

Both Baron Fain, Lavallette, and Marchand wrote useful memoirs on Napoleon and both men knew him and his habits.

One comment made by Baron Fain is most telling:

‘Far from being evil, Napoleon was naturally good. If he had been evil with so much power at his disposal, would he be reproached for two or three acts of violence or anger during a government that lasted fifteen years!'

You might want to read Thierry Lentz as well as John Elting on the subject of Napoleon's character, and Robert Holtman on the character of Napoleon's government and rule.

There is also an excellent appendix in Vincent Cronin's biography of Napoleon which evaluates various memoirs, reliable and not, of the period. I have found that to be most helpful.

If you need any more recommendations, please ask.

dibble25 Feb 2019 8:24 p.m. PST

Gazzola

In terms of Clayton's book, a shame you never managed to read the rest of the book. It might (or might not) have provided some answers. But the British Napoleonic government would be pretty lame if they did not cover up certain activities anyway. I doubt they wanted other nations to know that 'be our ally and don't challenge our trade or we will take out your leader', that would never do.

I don't think that I'll ever read it because even trying to find and skip to the salient points is too much of a tedious task. Why not read the book yourself and come back here with the evidence that you think may be in the book. I for one only rely on evidence, not a conspiracy theory and opinion.

There is no evidence from any of these authors who trot out this rubbish. If it was out there, it would be emblazoned in capitals on this and other, similar forums.

Anyone who has a hobby which requires historical accuracy would be doing themselves a disservice if they believe in myth, hearsay and tittle-tattle.

I'll post no more on this until someone who has actually read Clayton's tome comes and lays out their take on the book and highlight any points he has to say. Suffice to say that I won't suffer the tedium of reading any more of it until this happens.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP27 Feb 2019 2:34 p.m. PST

Napoleon the Good was beset on all sides by Evil Foreign Villains who forced him to invade their countries. Bastards!
Not once but many times.


Perhaps you could explain what Napoleon should have done when he or his allies were attacked by the coalitions in 1805, 1806, 1807, and 1809 and when Great Britain broke the Peace of Amiens in 1803?

Any logical ideas would be welcome.

von Winterfeldt27 Feb 2019 2:44 p.m. PST

good arguments by Gwydion, and yes more than one was a victim by the sunray beam

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP27 Feb 2019 4:39 p.m. PST

good arguments by Gwydion…

Really?

They were sourced, unsupported psychobabble.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP27 Feb 2019 5:57 p.m. PST

I beg your pardon, I used 'sourced' by accident; the term I meant to use was 'unsourced.'

Winston Smith01 Mar 2019 12:21 a.m. PST

Napoleon the Good was beset on all sides by Evil Foreign Villains who forced him to invade their countries. Bastards!
Not once but many times.

Perhaps you could explain what Napoleon should have done when he or his allies were attacked by the coalitions in 1805, 1806, 1807, and 1809 and when Great Britain broke the Peace of Amiens in 1803?

Any logical ideas would be welcome.


Why do you seem to be arguing with me? I'm simply summarizing what you seem to be saying here all the time. What part of what you quoted me saying do you disagree with?

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP01 Mar 2019 6:15 a.m. PST

The obvious condescension and sarcasm that you usually post when you don't actually agree with someone.

Now perhaps you can answer the question? It's only an argument if you make it one. The question was quite simple.

Gazzola02 Mar 2019 11:42 a.m. PST

dibble

I never said anything would be disclosed in Clayton's book because I would have had to have read it and known that to be a fact. But I have not yet even bought it, let alone read it. It is not on the top of my list to buy. I am far more interested in new (and old) Napoleonic and Revolutionary Wars titles covering battles and military campaigns.

However, I would be very interested in hearing from those who have actually read it – all of it. So could you possibly consider reading it, since you have actually bought it. It is a puzzle as to why you would buy it in the first place if you are not going to read it?

It might or might not offer something worth debating, who knows. But one has to read it, all of it, not just bits here and there. You never know what you might (or might not) be missing. I'm sure everyone would keen to hear your take on the book.

Gazzola02 Mar 2019 11:58 a.m. PST

Gwydion

I read all books with an open mind. That way I can make up my own mind about what the author is trying to present or brainwash the reader into believing. It is also why I laugh at posts and so called studies that try to throw a psychological angle at historical characters.

In the linked 'psychological' assessment, Jesus and Winston Churchill scored higher than Napoleon. LOL

link

I think it sums up the 'worth' of anything 'psychological' laid against historical greats such as Napoleon. But they are good for a laugh now and again.

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