Ten days after writing to Napoleon on the situation in Italy and imploring him to unify the country and grant its independence, Murat wrote to the Emperor once more. In the interim, he had not received a reply from Napoleon, who was ignoring his brother-in-law’s correspondence (again), believing that Murat was deliberately exaggerating the situation in Italy to further his own ends. Murat’s letter informs Napoleon that not only has he decided to put his army into motion in the absence of any instructions from the Emperor, but also dares to say that he is about to purchase muskets directly from the English to arm his new conscripts, since Napoleon has reneged on his promise to provide them himself. The breach between the two men is almost complete.
Source: Souvenirs d’enfance d’une fille de Joachim Murat, by Louise Murat, pages 156-158.
To His Majesty the Emperor
Naples, 23 November 1813
By my letter of the 12th [note: actually the 13th] of this month, I announced to Your Majesty that while awaiting your instructions, I was going to put my army in state to leave the kingdom; I have since announced to your minister of Foreign Relations, by my minister to Paris, that my troops were going to be put in motion; and that I had written to the governments of Rome, Tuscany, and MIlan in order to assure their subsistence. The first division will be united on 2 December in Rome, the second will be put en route, from the Abruzzes, from the 25th to the 30th to head towards Ancona; the third division and my guard will follow closely the movement of this latter. Sire, I had decided to await the formal requests of Your Majesty before sending the troops from my kingdom; but the Viceroy had been obliged to retire beyond the Adige; the enemy had thrown strong parties in the Valsavia, the Valcamonica, and I learned at the same time that the English had disembarked around three thousand men on the coast of Ravenna and had seized several batteries, but all the letters and the majority of the authorities of Italy announced the most vivid alarms and requested prompt support from me; and in Milan, the government was packing up and getting ready to leave the capital. In this state of things, I believed I shouldn’t hesitate to put my troops in motion; I could not expose myself to the reproaches of having let Italy be invaded by my inaction, and I preferred to incur that of having, so to speak, violated the imperial territory in order to come to the aid of the Viceroy. Yet I hope to receive from one moment to another some news from Your Majesty and to know in a positive manner your plan of campaign in Italy and the part that you desire that I take in it.
The public spirit, which I painted to you as very bad, has not been ameliorated since my last letter; some incendiary proclamations were printed, not only in the provinces of my kingdom, but also in all the rest of Italy; and everything announces a revolution, without the presence of my troops who alone can stop the explosion.
Sire, the departure of my army is going to leave my kingdom nearly without troops. I was going to raise ten thousand men who I could count on arming with the six thousand muskets that Your Majesty had granted the Queen; but I learn that I can count on them no longer and that your authorization was just canceled, this puts me in the greatest embarrassment. I cannot make the levy without having arms to give to the new conscripts. Yet it is impossible for me to procure them in any other manner than by contraband, and I must declare to Your Majesty that I am going to employ every kind of means to procure them from the English by trade, because every other way is closed to me, having to give up having any from France, and being unable in any respect to leave my kingdom entirely deprived of troops.
I dare to hope that this determination will not displease Your Majesty. I desire above all to know your intentions on the movement of my troops.
[Signed] Joachim NAPOLEON