French Campaign in Egypt, 1798

When Napoleon left Egypt to return to Paris, he appointed Kléber as commander of the French forces. In a letter sent to Kléber, Napoleon told him:

“Try your best to gather five hundred to sixty hundred Mamluks until French fleets come to arrest them in Cairo or the countryside and transport them to France. If you don’t manage to gather a sufficient number of Mamluks, replace them with Arabs and Sheikhs as hostages. When these people make it to France, they should be detained for one or two years. During this period of time, they would have witnessed the greatness of the French nation and got used to our traditions and language. Once they’re back in Egypt, a number of them would be a party of ours and would invite others to join them. I have constantly asked for a representative troop. I will give particular attention to it and make sure it is sent to you, because it’s necessary for the army and to start changing the traditions of the country. ”

– Risaala fiy al Tareeq ila Thaqaafatina, p. 108.