|Baron of Boussay|
Portrait of Jacques-François de Menou
by Joseph Ducreux
|Born||3 September 1750|
|Died||13 August 1810 (aged 59)|
Born in Boussay in central France to an ancient family, he had already attained the rank of Maréchal de camp in 1789, when he was elected by the Second Estate of the bailiwick of Touraine to the Estates General in 1789. He was a liberal nobleman and supported the reforms of the National Constituent Assembly, of which he was elected secretary in December and president for a standard two weeks term (27 March - 12 April 1790). He served as a member of the diplomatic committee.
General in chief of the Armée de l'Interieur, he was denounced as a traitor, put on trial and acquitted in 1795.
Adventure in Egypt
In 1798, Menou commanded one of the five divisions of the Armée d'Orient in Napoleon's campaign of Egypt. General of division in the army of Egypt. After the assassination of Jean-Baptiste Kléber (14 June 1800), Menou succeeded him at the head of Egypt as general in chief. He was not as popular as Kléber, and lacked support from the other officers. He married the daughter of a rich Egyptian, converted to Islam and was renamed Abdallah. 
On 21 March 1801, Menou commanded the French expeditionary force sent to repel British forces landing at La Muiron. The French were defeated and Menou withdrew to Alexandria, where he surrendered following the Siege of Alexandria on 30 August 1801.
Menou was permitted to evacuate the remaining French forces, but was forced to surrender to the British the Rosetta Stone, the discovery of which had been reported to him by Captain Pierre-François Bouchard; it was a vital key to understanding the lost language of hieroglyphics.
Statesman of the Empire
Menou was appointed as a member of the Tribunat on 27 Floreal X (17 May 1802). Shortly afterwards he became Administrator of the 27th Military Division (Piedmont). Subsequently he was appointed a member of the Legion of Honor on 19 Frimaire XII (11 December 1803) and a Grand Officer of the Order 25 Prairial XII (14 June 1804). He was created comte de l'Empire in 1808.
Menou's principal contributions to the French Empire came in Italy. He was named Knight of the Order of the Iron Crown 23 December 1807, shortly after his appointment as Governor of Venice. While still holding this appointment, he died on 13 August 1810, at the Villa Corniani near Mestre.
The name of General Menou is inscribed on the Arc de Triomphe, on the south side. By his marriage to Zobeida El Bawab, he had a son Jacques Mourad Soliman (born 28 July 1800 in Rosetta, Egypt).
- "Jean-François Menou de Boussay - Base de données des députés français depuis 1789 - Assemblée nationale". www2.assemblee-nationale.fr.
- Max Sewell. "The Discovery of the Rosetta Stone". Napoleon-series.org. Retrieved 2007-03-17.
- Louis Adolphe Thiers, History of the Consulate and the Empire of France under Napoleon, London 1893, v. 2, Book X, passim.
Media related to Jacques-François de Menou at Wikimedia Commons