28th August 1802

Four men are arrested after French government accusation

Four men, who had been accused by the French authorities, under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte, were brought from Jersey to Southampton to answer charges of assassination and vandalism in France.

The charges – and the possibility that the men, if extradited, might be sent to France to face the guillotine – caused some disquiet in the papers, as the men had been in the employment of Prince Bouillon, who had been born in Jersey in 1754 as Philippe d’Auvergne. Bouillon was a British naval officer and supporter of the French monarchy. Thus, the accused men were actually employed by Britain and, said the Morning Post of 30 August 1802, were deserving of its protection.

Others accused

The arrested men were just four out of nine that had been accused of the same charges by the French authorities. The other five had apparently already gone to France. However, the British government had also brought a further 17 emigrants to Southampton from Jersey under the terms of the Treaty of Amiens, and a further 19, still in Jersey, looked set to follow, with all of them to be expelled from Britain as aliens.

As more people were being added to the list of the possible victims of Napoleon’s whim, the papers argued more strongly against the deportation.

Fortunately, the British government was slow to agree to Napoleon’s demands but, as a result, Prince Bouillon was arrested while in France and held as a prisoner in Paris. During interrogation by the French authorities, he refused on several occasions to confirm that the arrested men were guilty of assassination, as Napoleon claimed, and eventually France gave up. Bouillon was expelled from the country for causing disquiet.


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