His compatriots had already freed themselves from the yoke of Genoa, thanks to Pasquale Paoli; but in 1764 that republic appealed to Louis XV.
In the campaigns of 1768-69 the French gradually overcame the fierce resistance of the islanders; and Paoli, after sustaining a defeat at Ponte-Novo (9th of May 1769), fled to the mainland, and ultimately to England.
Napoleon's father at first sided with Paoli, but after the disaster of Ponte-Novo he went over to the conquerors, and thereafter solicited places for himself and for his sons with a skill and persistence which led to a close union between the Bonapartes and France.
This event decided Napoleon to give his adhesion to the French or democratic party; and when, in July 1790, Paoli returned from exile in England (receiving on his way the honours of the sitting by the National Assembly) the claims of nationality and democracy seemed to be identical, though the future course of events disappointed these hopes.
Paoli did little to help on the Bonapartes; and the advancement of Joseph Bonaparte was slow.
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