Bonaparte worked over the next few months not only to consolidate his own power within the new military government, but also to achieve peace. In 1801 France signed the Treaty of Luneville with Austria and her allies, then the following year came the Treaty of Amiens with Britain and her allies. Europe was at peace.
It was not to last. When British Prime Minister Henry Addington announced the terms of the Treaty of Amiens there was outrage among the merchants and gentry. Key trading posts, such as Malta in the Mediterranean and Pondicherry in India, were to be handed back to France and Britain was getting little in return. In January 1802 France annexed the Cisalpine Republic, a large area of northern Italy. Although this was not a breach of the Treaty of Amiens it was a clearly aggressive move that confirmed to anti-Treaty forces in Britain that Napoleon was up to no good. The view was strengthened by the French invasion of Switzerland to impose pro-French officials on the locals. The Russian Tsar Alexander I was equally alarmed by the activities of French agents in the Baltic and northern Germany. They seemed to be working toward fomenting liberal revolutions and were promising that the French army would march to the aid of the uprisings.
In February 1803 Napoleon summoned the British ambassador to France, Lord Whitworth to a meeting. Napoleon raged at Whitworth about the failure of Britain to comply with the terms of the treaty, especially the handing over of Malta, and angrily refused to listen to any excuses or to hear anything about French actions. Whitworth left convinced that Napoleon was looking for an excuse to declare war against Britain while keeping at peace with the rest of Europe.
If war did come, and when news of the Whitworth interview became public nearly everyone thought it would come, then a key naval battleground was bound to be the Indian Ocean. Napoleon knew this as well as anyone, which was why he sent for two seasoned campaigners: Admiral Charles-Alexandre Linois and General Charles Decean to give them a powerful military force and some top-secret orders.
from The Battle of Pulu Aor
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