Gl. Andreossy. The Ambassador from France to His Britannic Majesty
A delicately executed, half length portrait, enclosed in an oval, of General Andréossy, Napoleon's Ambassador to Britain during the short lived Peace of Amiens 1802-3. Of Hungarian descent, he looks sternly out, wearing a military coat embroidered with oak leaves and a black cravat. The Peace had been principally used by Napoleon as an opportunity to regroup and reorganise his armies. During that time the British Ambassador to France had been Charles, 1st Earl Whitworth (1752-1825). Napoleon had roughly demanded the British evacuation of Malta as a price of lasting peace, a demand that Whitworth had been firmly instructed by Hawkesbury to refuse. On March 13th 1803 Napoleon had summoned the Ambassador to the Tuileries and subjected to him to a violent tirade after which Whitworth noted 'the extreme impropriety of his conduct and the total want of dignity as well as of decency on the occasion.’ The interview was not, however, a final one Whitworth was received by the First Consul once again on 4th April, when the corps diplomatique were kept waiting for an audience for four hours while Napoleon inspected knapsacks. On 1st May an indisposition prevented Whitworth from attending the reception at the Tuileries, on 12th May he demanded his passports, and on 18th May Britain declared war against France. Whitworth reached London on 20th May, having encountered the French Ambassador, Andréossy, three days earlier at Dover. Throughout the trying scenes with the First Consul, Whitworth's demeanour was generally admitted to have been marked by a dignity and an impassibilité worthy of the best traditions of aristocratic diplomacy.