On Friday, May
12, 1797, Napoleon's French Army stood
poised in the Veneto, ready to march on Venice. The waters of her
lagoon--which had protected the city against Dalmatians, Franks, Hungarians,
Austrians, Genoese, Veronese, Paduans and Milanese--would not protect
her against the barrels of French cannon. No other defense was available.
All these facts
were clear to the 537 members of the Great Council of Venice who met
that morning to consider Napoleon's demand for surrender without a
battle. By a vote of 512 to 20, with five abstentions, the Council
resolved to dissolve the Republic after 1,070 years and surrender
the city. Rest in Peace.