Online Encyclopedia

PIERRE CHARLES JEAN BAPTISTE SILVESTR...

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V28, Page 85 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!

See also:
PIERRE CHARLES
See also:
JEAN
See also:
BAPTISTE SILVESTRE VILLENEUVE (1763-r8o6)
  , French
See also:
admiral, was born at Valensoles in Provence on the 31st of December 1763 . He entered the French royal
See also:
navy as a " garde du Pavillon." Although he belonged to the corps of " noble "
See also:
officers, who were the
See also:
object of
See also:
peculiar animosity to the
See also:
Jacobins, he escaped the
See also:
fate of the majority of his comrades, which was to be massacred, or driven into exile . He sympathized sincerely with the general aims of the Revolution, and had a full share of the Provencal fluency which enabled him to make a timely and impressive display of " civic " sentiments . In the dearth of trained officers he rose with what for the French navy was exceptional rapidity, though it would have caused no surprise in England in the case of an officer who had good
See also:
interest . He was named
See also:
post-captain in 1793, and
See also:
rear-admiral in 1796 . At the close of the
See also:
year he was appointed to take
See also:
part in the unsuccessful expedition to Ireland which reached
See also:
Bantry
See also:
Bay, but the
See also:
ships which were to have come to
See also:
Brest from
See also:
Toulon with him arrived too
See also:
late, and were forced to take
See also:
refuge at L'Orient . He accompanied the expedition to
See also:
Egypt, with his flag in the " Guillaume Tell " (86) . She was the third
See also:
ship from the rear of the French
See also:
line at the
See also:
battle of the Nile, and escaped from the general destruction in
See also:
company with the " Genereux " (78) . Villeneuve reached Malta on the 23rd of August . His conduct was severely blamed, and he defended himself by a specious letter to his colleague Blanquet-Duchayla on the 12th of November 'Soo, when he had returned to Paris . At the time,
See also:
Napoleon approved of his
See also:
action . In a letter written to him on the 21st of August 1798, three weeks after the battle, Napoleon says that the only reproach Villeneuve had to make against himself was that he had not retreated sooner, since the position taken by the French
See also:
commander-inchief had been forced and surrounded .

When, however, the

emperor after his fall dictated his account of the expedition to Egypt to General Bertrand at St Helena, he attributed the defeat at the Nile largely to the "
See also:
bad conduct of Admiral Villeneuve." In the
See also:
interval Villeneuve had failed in the execution of the complicated scheme for the invasion of England in r8o5 . Napoleon must still have believed in the admiral's capacity and good fortune, a qualification for which he had a
See also:
great regard, when he selected him to succeed Latouche Treville upon his
See also:
death at Toulon in August 1804 . The duty of the Toulon
See also:
squadron was to draw Nelson to the West Indies, return rapidly, and in combination with other French and
See also:
Spanish ships, to enter the Channel with an overwhelming force . It is quite obvious that Villeneuve had from the first no confidence in the success of an operation requiring for its execution an amazing combination of good
See also:
luck and efficiency on the part of the squadrons concerned . He knew that the French were
See also:
net efficient, and that their Spanish allies were in a far worse state than themselves . It required a very
See also:
tart order from Napoleon to drive him out of Paris in
See also:
October 1804 . He took the command in November . On the 17th of
See also:
January 1805 he
See also:
left Toulon for the first time, but was driven back by a
See also:
squall which dismasted some of his awkwardly handled ships . On the 3rd of March he was out again, and this time he headed Nelson by some weeks on a cruise to the West Indies . But Villeneuve's success so far had not removed his fears . Though on taking up his command he had issued an order of the day in which he spoke boldly enough of the purpose of his cruise, and his de-termination to adhere to it, he was racked by fears of what might happen to the force entrusted to his care . For the details of the
See also:
campaign see TRAFALGAR .

In so far as the

biography of Villeneuve is concerned, his behaviour during these trying months cannot escape condemnation . He had undertaken to carry out a plan of which he did not approve . Since he had not declined the task altogether, it was clearly his duty to execute his orders at all hazards . If he was defeated, as he almost certainly would have been, he could have left the responsibility for the disaster to rest on the shoulders of Napoleon who assigned him the task . But Villeneuve could not
See also:
free him-self from the conviction that it was his business to save his
See also:
fleet even if he ruined the emperor's plan of invasion . Thus after he returned to-
See also:
Europe and fought his confused action with
See also:
Sir R . Calder off Ferrol on the 22nd of
See also:
July 1805, he first hesitated, and then, in spite of vehement orders to come on, turned south to Cadiz . Napoleon's habit of suggesting alternative courses to his lieutenants gave him a vague appearance of excuse for making for that
See also:
port . But it was one which only a very weak man would have availed himself of, for all his instructions ought to have been read subject to the
See also:
standing injunction to come on to the Channel—and in turning south to Cadiz, he was going in the opposite direction . His decision to leave Cadiz and give battle in October r8o5, which led directly to the battle of Trafalgar, cannot be justified even on his own principles . He foresaw defeat to be inevitable, and yet he went out solely because he learnt from the Minister of Marine that another officer had been sent to supersede him . In fact.he ran to meet the very destruction he had tried to avoid .

No worse fate would have befallen him in the Channel than came upon him at Trafalgar, but it might have been incurred in a manly

attempt to obey his orders . It was provoked in a spasm of wounded vanity . At Trafalgar he showed
See also:
personal courage, but the helpless incapacity of the allies to manoeuvre gave him no opportunity to influence the course of the battle . He was taken as a prisoner to England, but was soon released . Shortly after landing in France he committed suicide in an
See also:
inn at
See also:
Rennes, on the 22nd of
See also:
April 18o6 . Among the other improbable crimes attributed to Napoleon by the fear and hatred of Europe, was the
See also:
murder of Villeneuve, but there is not the faintest reason to doubt that the admiral died by his own hand . The correspondence of Napoleon contains many references to Villeneuve . Accounts of the
See also:
naval operations in which he was concerned will be found in James's Naval
See also:
History . Troude, in his Batailles navales de la France, vol. iii., publishes several of his letters and orders of the day . (D . H.) VILLENEUVE-
See also:
LES-
See also:
AVIGNON, a
See also:
town of south-eastern France, in the department of
See also:
Gard on the right
See also:
bank of the Rhone opposite Avignon, with which it is connected by a suspension
See also:
bridge . Pop .

(1906) 2582 . Villeneuve preserves many remains of its

See also:
medieval importance . The church of Notre Dame, dating from the 14th century, contains a rich marble altar and remarkable pictures . The hospice, once a Franciscan convent, part of which is occupied by a museum of pictures and antiquities, has a
See also:
chapel in which is the
See also:
fine tomb of Innocent VI . (d . 1362) . The church and other remains of the Carthusian monastery of Val-de-Benediction, founded in 1356 by Innocent VI., are now used for habitation and other secular purposes . A gateway and a rotunda, built as shelter for a fountain, both dating from about 167o, are of architectural note . On the Mont Andaon, a hill to the north-east of the town, stands the Fort of St Andre (14th century), which is entered by an imposing fortified gateway and contains a Romanesque chapel and remains of the abbey of St Andre . The other buildings ofinterest include several old mansions once belonging to cardinals and nobles, and a tower, the Tour de Philippe le
See also:
Bel, built in the 14th century, which guarded the western extremity of the Pont St Benezet (see AVIGNON) . In the 6th century the
See also:
Benedictine abbey of St Andre was founded on Mount Andaon, and the
See also:
village which grew up round it took its name . In the 13th century the monks, acting in concert with the
See also:
crown, established a baslide, or " new town," which came to be called Villeneuve .

The town was the resort of the French cardinals during the sojourn of the popes at Avignon, and its importance, due largely to its numerous religious establishments, did not decline till the Revolution . VILLENEUVE-SUR-

LOT, a town of south-western France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Lot-et-Garonne, 22 M . N. by E. of
See also:
Agen on a branch line of the Orleans railway . Pop . (1906) town, 6978; commune, 13,540 . Villeneuve is divided into two unequal portions by the
See also:
river Lot, which here runs between high banks . The chief quarter stands on the right bank and is
See also:
united to the quarter on the left bank by a bridge of the 13th century, the
See also:
principal arch of which, constructed in the reign of Louis XIII. in place of two older arches, has a span of 118 ft. and a height of 59 ft . On the left bank portions of the 13th century ramparts, altered and surmounted by machicolations in the 15th century, remain, and high square towers rise above the gates to the north-east and south-west, known respectively as the Porte de Paris and Porte de Pujols . On the right bank boulevards have for the most part taken the place of the ramparts . Arcades of the 13th century surround the Place La Fayette, and old houses of the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries are to be seen in various parts of the town . The church of St Etienne is in late
See also:
Gothic style . On the left bank of the Lot, 2 M .

S.S.W. of Villeneuve, are the 13th-century walls of Pujols . The buildings of the

ancient abbey of Eysses, about a mile to the N.E., which are mainly of the 17th century, serve as a departmental prison and penitentiary settlement . The principal hospital, the hospice St Cyr, is a handsome
See also:
building standing in beautiful gardens . Villeneuve has a sub-prefecture, tribunals of first instance and of commerce and communal colleges for both sexes . It is an important agricultural centre and has a very large trade in plums (prunes d'ente) and in the produce of the market gardens which surround it, as well as in cattle, horses and wine . The preparation of preserved plums and the tinning of peas and beans occupy many hands; there are also manufactures of boots and shoes and tin boxes . The important mill of Gajac stands on the bank of the Lot a little above the town . Villeneuve was founded in 1254 by Alphonse, count of
See also:
Poitiers,
See also:
brother of Louis IX., on the site of the town of Gajac, which had been deserted during the Albigensian crusade .

End of Article: PIERRE CHARLES JEAN BAPTISTE SILVESTRE VILLENEUVE (1763-r8o6)
[back]
VILLENAGE (VILLAINAGE, VILLANAGE, VILLEINAGE)
[next]
FRANCOIS DE NEUFVILLE VILLEROI

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.