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Title: Memoirs of the Private Life, Return, and Reign of Napoleon in 1815, Vol. I
Author: Fleury de Chaboulon, Pierre Alexandre Édouard, baron, 1779-1835
Language: English
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                         OF THE

                      PRIVATE LIFE,

                    RETURN, AND REIGN



                        IN 1815.

        _Ingrata patria, ne ossa quidem habes._ SCIPIO.

                BY M. FLEURY DE CHABOULON,

     Ex-Secretary of the Emperor Napoleon and of his Cabinets,
     Master of Requests to the Council of State, Baron, Officer
     of the Legion of Honour, and Knight of the Order of Reunion.

                         VOL. I.



The revolution of the 20th of March will form unquestionably the most
remarkable episode in the life of Napoleon, so fertile as it is in
supernatural events. It has not been my intention, to write the
history of it: this noble task is above my powers: I have only
attempted, to place Napoleon on the stage of action, and oppose his
words, his deeds, and the truth, to the erroneous assertions of
certain historians, the falsehoods of the spirit of party, and the
insults of those timeserving writers, who are accustomed to insult in
misfortune those, to whom they have subsequently paid court.

Hitherto people have not been able to agree on the motives and
circumstances, that determined the Emperor, to quit the island of
Elba. Some supposed, that he had acted of his own accord: others, that
he had conspired with his partisans the downfal of the Bourbons. Both
these suppositions are equally false. The world will learn with
surprise, perhaps with admiration, that this astonishing revolution
was the work of two individuals and a few words.

The narrative of Colonel Z***, so valuable from the facts it reveals,
appears to me to merit the reader's attention in other respects. On
studying it carefully, we find in it the exhibition of those defects,
those qualities, those passions, which, confounded together, form the
character, so full of contrasts, of the incomprehensible Napoleon. We
perceive him alternatively mistrustful and communicative, ardent and
reserved, enterprising and irresolute, vindictive and generous,
favourable to liberty and despotic. But we see predominant above all,
that activity, that strength, that ardour of mind, those brilliant
inspirations, and those sudden resolves, that belong only to
extraordinary men, to men of genius.

The conferences I had at Bâle with the mysterious agent of Prince
Metternich have remained to this day buried in profound secrecy. The
historians, who have preceded me, relate, without any explanation,
that the Duke of Otranto laid before the Emperor, at the moment of his
abdication, a letter from M. de Metternich; and that this letter,
artfully worded, had determined Napoleon to abdicate, in the hope that
the crown would devolve to his son. The particulars given in these
Memoirs will entirely change the ideas formed of this letter, and of
its influence. They confirm the opinion too, pretty generally
prevalent, that the allied sovereigns deemed the restoration of the
Bourbons of little importance, and would willingly have consented, to
place the young Prince Napoleon on the throne.

It had been supposed, that the famous decree, by which Prince de
Talleyrand and his illustrious accomplices were sent before the courts
of justice, was issued at Lyons in the first burst of a fit of
vengeance. It will be seen, that it was the result of a plan simply
political: and the noble resistance, which General Bertrand (now
labouring under a sentence of death) thought it his duty to oppose to
this measure, will add, if it be possible, to the high esteem, merited
on so many accounts by this faithful friend to the unfortunate.

The writings published previously to this work, equally contain
nothing but inaccurate or fabulous reports, with regard to the
abdication of Napoleon. Certain historians have been pleased, to
represent Napoleon in a pitious state of despondency: others have
depicted him as the sport of the threats of M. Regnault St. Jean
d'Angely, and of the artifices of the Duke of Otranto. These Memoirs
will show, that Napoleon, far from having fallen into a state of
weakness, that would no longer permit him to wield the sceptre,
aspired, on the contrary, to be invested with a temporary
dictatorship, and that, when he consented to abdicate, it was because
the energetic attitude of the representatives disconcerted him, and he
yielded to the fear of adding the calamities of a civil war to the
disasters of a foreign invasion.

It was perfectly unknown too, that Napoleon was detained a prisoner at
Malmaison after his abdication. It was presumed, that he deferred his
departure, in the hope of being replaced at the head of the army and
of the government. These Memoirs will show, that this hope, if it
dwelt within the breast of Napoleon, was not the real motive of his
stay in France; and that he was detained there by the committee of
government, till the moment when, honour outweighing all political
considerations, it obliged Napoleon to depart, to prevent his falling
into the hands of Blucher.

The negotiations and conferences of the French plenipotentiaries with
the enemy's generals; the proceedings of the Prince of Eckmuhl; the
intrigues of the Duke of Otranto; the efforts of those members of the
committee, who remained faithful to their trust; the debates on the
capitulation of Paris, and all the collateral facts, connected with
these different circumstances, had been totally misrepresented; These
Memoirs establish or unfold the truth. They bring to light the conduct
of those members of the committee, who were supposed to be the dupes
or accomplices of Fouché; and that of the marshals, the army, and the
chambers. They contain also the correspondence of the plenipotentiaries,
and the instructions given to them; documents hitherto unpublished,
which will make known, what the politics and wishes of the government
of France at that time were.

Finally I shall observe, in order to complete the account I think it
right to give the reader of the substance of this work, that it
furnishes elucidations of the campaign of 1815, the want of which has
been imperiously felt. The causes, that determined Napoleon, to
separate from his army at Laon, were not known: I point them out.
General Gourgaud, in his narrative, could give no explanation of the
march of the corps of Count Erlon at the battle of Ligny, of the
conduct of Marshal Ney on the 16th, of the inactivity of Napoleon on
the 17th, &c. All these points, I believe, I have elucidated. I show
also, that it was not, as General Gourgaud and other writers assert,
to raise the spirits, and excite the courage of the French army, that
its leader announced to it the arrival of Marshal Grouchy. It is a
certain fact, that Napoleon was himself deceived by a brisk firing,
which took place between the Prussians and Saxons; and it is falsely,
that he has been charged with having knowingly deceived his soldiers,
at a moment when the laws of war and of humanity presented to him, to
think rather of a retreat, than of continuing the battle.

I had at first rejected from these Memoirs such official papers, as
had already been made known: but have since thought, that they ought
to be inserted. This work, which embraces all the events of the reign
of a Hundred Days, would be imperfect, if the reader were obliged to
refer to the papers of the day; to read or consult the act of the
congress of Vienna, that placed the Emperor Napoleon out of the pale
of the law of nations; the Additional Act, which occasioned his loss
of popularity; and the eloquent speeches and nervous declarations by
which Napoleon, his ministers, and his counsellors, sought to explain
and justify the 20th of March. I have thought, besides, that perhaps
the reader would not find it uninteresting, to witness the contests
exhibited, at that important period, between the legitimacy of
nations and the legitimacy of sovereigns.

The colours under which I represent Napoleon, the justice I do him for
the purity of his intentions, will not please all the world. Many
persons, who would blindly have believed any ill I could say of the
ancient sovereigns of France, will give little credit to my eulogies:
they are wrong: if praises lavished on power be suspicious, those
bestowed on the unfortunate will be true; to doubt them would be

Neither can I conceal from myself, that the men, who, from principle,
see nothing but a hateful conspiracy in the revolution of the 20th of
March, will accuse me of having embellished facts, and designedly
distorted the truth. No matter: I have depicted this revolution as I
saw it, as I felt it. How many others are pleased, to tarnish the
honour of the nation, to represent their countrymen as composed of
rebels or cowards! For my part, I think it the duty of a good
Frenchman, to prove to all Europe, that the king was not guilty of
abandoning France:

That the insurrection of the 20th of March was not the work of a few
factious persons, who might have been repressed; but a grand national
act, against which the efforts and volitions of individuals would have
been vain:

That the royalists were not cowards, and all other Frenchmen traitors:

Lastly, that the return from the island of Elba was the terrible
consequence of the faults of ministers and the ultras, which called to
France the man of fate, as the conductor draws down the lightning from

This sentiment naturally led me, to conclude these Memoirs by a
philosophical examination of the Hundred Days, and a refutation of the
reproaches daily bestowed on the men of the 20th of March: but
considerations, easy to divine, held my pen. It was my duty, to
content myself with placing a statement of the facts before the eyes
of the grand jury, the public, and leave it to decide. I know, that
the question has been determined in the fields of Waterloo; but a
victory is not a judicial sentence.

Whatever opinion the impartial reader may form of this work, I can
protest beforehand, that I have not allowed myself to be influenced by
any private consideration, by any feeling of hatred, affection, or
gratitude. I have followed no impulse but that of my conscience, and I
may say with Montaigne: "This is an honest book."

Too young to have participated in the errors or crimes of the
revolution, I began and ended my political career without blot, and
without reproach. The places, titles, and decorations, which the
Emperor deigned to bestow on me, were the reward of several acts of
great devotion to his service, and of twelve years of trials and
sacrifices. Never did I receive from him any favours or gifts: I
entered his service rich, I quitted it poor.

When Lyons opened to him its gates, I was free: I spontaneously
embraced his cause: it appeared to me, as to the immense number of
Frenchmen, that of liberty, honour, and our country. The laws of
Solon declared infamous those, who took no part in civil troubles. I
followed their maxims. If the misfortunes of the 20th of March must
fall on the heads of the guilty, these guilty, I repeat, will not be
in the eye of posterity, the Frenchmen who abandoned the royal
standard, to return to the ancient colours of their country; but those
imprudent and senseless men, who, by their threats, their acts of
injustice, and their outrages, compelled us to choose between
insurrection and slavery, between honour and infamy.

During the Hundred Days, there was no person to whom I did an ill
turn; frequently I had an opportunity of doing good, and seized it
with joy.

Since the return of the regal government, I have lived tranquil and
solitary; and, whether from forgetfulness, or from a sense of justice,
I escaped in 1815 the persecutions, which the partisans and servants
of Napoleon experienced.

This explanation, or this apology, appeared to me necessary: it is
right the reader should know, who it is that addresses him.

I could have wished, to abstain from speaking of the royal government
in the first part of this work: but it was impossible. It was
necessary for me, prominently to exhibit the errors and faults of the
king's ministers one by one, to render evident this truth, _that they
were the sole authors of the 20th of March_. When elsewhere, as here,
I say the government, I mean not to designate the King, but his
ministers. In a constitutional monarchy, in which the ministers are
responsible, we cannot, and ought not to confound them with the King.
"It is from the King," said the keeper of the seals, when he proposed
to the deputies of the nation the project of a law on the
responsibility of ministers, "that every act of equity, protection,
and clemency, and every regular employment of power, emanates: it is
to the ministers alone, that abuses, injustice, and misconduct, are to
be imputed."


&c. &c.

Until the close of the Spanish war, Napoleon, whether as the First
Consul of the Republic, or as the Chief of the Empire, had never
ceased to be the object of the love, the pride, and the confidence of
the people. But the multitude neither judge, nor can judge of the
actions of their rulers but from appearances which often mislead them
in their judgment; and the loyalty of the nation then became
enfeebled. The conduct of Napoleon was stigmatized as a series of
hateful aggressions; the war, as an unjustifiable act of violence.
Disaffection increased. Napoleon was assailed by the anger of his
subjects, and, for the first time, they upbraided him with having
spilt their blood, and wasted their riches, in gratifying his vain and
culpable ambition.

At this juncture the public mind became absorbed in the contemplation
of the invasion of Russia, and the general discontent was withdrawn
from the events which had taken place in the peninsula.

Our arms were crowned with good fortune and glory at the commencement
of the Russian war; but that conflict was ended by a catastrophe which
has no parallel in the annals of the world.

The Emperor, who escaped almost alone from the perils of the campaign,
returned to the capital. His countenance was that of a hero who defies
adversity. But his firmness was deemed to be the result of heartless
insensibility. Instead of inspiring the people with hope, it
embittered their feelings. Louder murmurs broke forth; their
indignation expressed itself with greater emphasis. Yet such was the
enthusiasm which was even then inspired by the proud recollections of
the triumphs of Napoleon, that France, blushing for her disgrace,
implored him to win new victories. Armies formed themselves as if by
enchantment, and Napoleon stood again in the midst of Germany, more
terrible than ever.

After we had conquered at Lutzen, at Bautzen, and at Dresden, the
battle of Leipsic was fought[1]. Never before that day had we been
doomed to witness our national armies flying before the enemy. The
scattered wrecks of our battalions, which had been created by the last
hope, by the last effort of our country, at length reached our
frontiers. But our soldiers were no longer the vigorous and resolute
warriors of France; they were bowed down by want, toil, and
humiliation. Soon afterwards they were followed by wandering trains of
military carriages, loaded with diseased and wounded wretches, who
festered beneath the corpses amongst which they were heaped, and who
at once absorbed and diffused the germs of pestilence and contagion.
Even the firmest minds now yielded to despair; and the grief
occasioned by the havoc now made amongst our defenders renewed the
sorrows of the mothers and the wives of those who erewhile had
perished in Russia and in Spain. Curses upon Napoleon, the author of
all these evils, resounded from side to side of the empire.

                   [Footnote 1: The misfortunes of that eventful day,
                   and of the remainder of the campaign, were caused
                   by the treachery of the Saxons and the defection of
                   the Princes of the Confederation of the Rhine.]

As long as good fortune waited upon Napoleon, his most ambitious
attempts commanded the applauses of the nation. We boasted of his
profound political wisdom, we extolled his genius, we worshipped his
courage. When his fortune changed, then his political wisdom was
called treachery, his genius, ambition, and his courage,
fool-hardiness and infatuation.

Napoleon was not to be depressed by ingratitude or misfortune. He
re-assembled the feeble fragments of his armies, and proclaimed aloud
that he would conquer or die at the head of his soldiery. This
resolution only produced a momentary impression. The French, who so
lately believed that the happiness and salvation of France depended
only upon the life of Napoleon, now coolly considered that his death,
the fate which he was prepared to encounter, afforded the only means
of putting an end to the calamities of war, for peace otherwise
appeared unattainable.

Napoleon departed. He achieved prodigies, but to no effect. National
spirit no longer existed, and the nation had gradually sunk into that
state of insensibility so fatal to sovereigns, when the public mind
has no perception of their dangers, and abandons them to their

France was thus affected when Napoleon consented to divest himself of
his crown[2]. The apathy of the nation drove him to this extremity;
for it deprived him of the means either of carrying on the war, or of
making peace.

                   [Footnote 2: Napoleon, according to the common
                   report, was frequently heard to repeat, after his
                   abdication, "I have been ruined by liberal ideas."
                   I do not think that he ever expressed himself in
                   this manner. I do not intend to doubt the
                   irresistible force which liberal ideas have now
                   acquired; but I do not think, that they contributed
                   to effect the first downfal of the imperial throne.
                   Nobody thought about liberal ideas at that period.
                   France had been trained to the government of
                   Napoleon, and his despotism gave rise to no
                   complaints. She was not free in the manner
                   according to which the nation now wishes to enjoy
                   liberty. But the liberty which France then
                   possessed was enough for the French. Napoleon would
                   often exercise unlimited authority, but the country
                   had only one master, and _he_ was the master of
                   all. If it is true that the French abandoned
                   Napoleon in 1814, it was not because we were tired
                   of Napoleon or discontented with his government,
                   but because the nation was exhausted, discouraged,
                   and demoralized by an uninterrupted succession of
                   calamitous wars. The people would still have been
                   delighted to obey him, but they had neither
                   strength nor soul.

                   The real causes of the downfal of Napoleon are to
                   be found in his hatred towards England, and in the
                   continental system, which resulted from that
                   hatred. This gigantic system, which oppressed all
                   Europe, could not fail to raise the entire
                   continent against Napoleon and France, and thus to
                   bring on the ruin of both. "Rome," as it is said by
                   Montesquieu, "extended her empire because her wars
                   only followed in succession. Each nation, such was
                   her inconceivable good fortune, waited till another
                   had been conquered, before beginning the attack."
                   Rome fell as soon as all the nations assailed and
                   penetrated on every side.]

Hostilities ended with the abdication of Napoleon. The people of
Paris, who had scarcely recovered from the panic with which they were
struck by the marauding hordes of Russia, displayed the most
extravagant gladness when they thought that they were delivered from
the visitation, which again threatened them in the presence of the
allies and the imperial army.

The neighbouring departments, which the enemy prepared to invade,
rejoiced on being relieved from impending pillage and devastation.

The departments which had been occupied by the enemy were intoxicated
with joy, when they anticipated the termination of their sufferings.

Thus almost all the people of France turned away from their discarded
sovereign. And they abandoned themselves to joy when they thought that
they were delivered from the scourge of war, and that they could hope
to enjoy the blessings of peace.

It was in the midst of this pouring out of the spirit of selfishness,
that the senate raised the brother of Louis XVI. to the throne. His
election was not in conformity to the expectations of the people, and
it disappointed the wishes which had been uttered in favour of the
Empress and her son; yet the choice of the senate was but slightly
opposed, because the recall of Louis seemed to be necessarily the
pledge of peace. And peace was more the object of the public wish than
any other thing. Besides which, the Bourbons followed the wise
counsels which had been given to them. They lost no time in issuing
their proclamations, couched in fair language, in order to calm the
fears and diminish the antipathies excited by their recall.

"We will guarantee," said they, "the rank, the honours, and the
rewards of the military.

"The magistracy and all public functionaries shall retain their
offices and their pre-eminence.

"To the people we promise a total oblivion of their political conduct;
and we will maintain them in the full enjoyment of their civil rights,
their property, and their social institutions."

The French nation, whose confidence is so easily abused, considered
these promises as sacred and inviolable, and they delighted in
repeating the happy reply of the Count of Artois[3], "Il n'y aura rien
de changé en France, il n'y aura que quelques Français de plus."
They, the men, who had banished the imperial dynasty, laboured to
foster the growing confidence of the nation. The press was brought
into full play, and the country teemed with publications in which they
represented the sovereign whom they had brought in, as invested with
those attributes which were calculated to conciliate the nation. The
public were carefully informed, that the king "opened and read all the
dispatches himself. It is he who dictates every answer. Where it
becomes necessary to meet the ministers of foreign powers, he
transacts business with them; he receives the reports of their
missions, which he answers either by word of mouth, or in writing. In
short, he alone directs all the concerns of the government, both at
home and abroad. If his virtues and goodness are such as to cause the
French to know that they will now find a kind and affectionate father
in their King, they may also look with confidence to the future fate
of the nation, relying on his brilliant information, his strength of
character, and his aptitude for business[4]."

                   [Footnote 3: He arrived at Paris before his august
                   brother, and by these pleasing expressions he
                   replied to the addresses of congratulation
                   presented to him by the municipality of Paris.]

                   [Footnote 4: Extracted from the Journal des Débats.
                   The principal proprietor and editor of this paper
                   was Monsieur Laborie, one of Talleyrand's
                   creatures, and private secretary to the provisional

Thus the people congratulated themselves, when they were assured that
their Chief Magistrate was an enlightened sovereign, a kind sovereign,
an equitable sovereign, and one who was determined not to allow the
guiding reins of the state to slip from his paternal hands into those
of his ministers. Our lively imagination gave us a present enjoyment
of the blessings, which, as we anticipated, would hereafter be
diffused over the kingdom by his goodness, his prudence, and his
acquirements. If this glowing vision of hope and loyalty was slightly
dimmed by a few secret doubts, such misgivings were checked and
repelled by the name of our native country; nay, by the name of the
Emperor himself. For when Napoleon bade farewell to his trusty
soldiers, it was in these words: "Be faithful to the new sovereign of
France; do not rend asunder our beloved and long-suffering land."

These circumstances (nor must the charm of novelty be excluded) united
in favour of the king, and won every head and every heart. He
appeared--he was received with acclamations of love and gladness,
which resounded until he entered the palace of his forefathers.

No counter revolution ever effected the change of a royal dynasty,
under such favourable auspices.

The French nation felt jaded by civil dissensions, by misfortune--even
their victories had weaned them. They longed for the happiness of
repose. Memorable were the words of the king's brother; "let us forget
the past, let us look only towards the future, let us all unite in the
good work of labouring to heal the wounds of our common country;" and
these honoured precepts had become implanted in every mind. They
formed the canon of all our feelings and all our duties.

As long as the machinery of the new government did not begin to work,
this loyal harmony subsisted, and no longer. For when it became
necessary to settle the organization of the army, the ministry, and
the magistracy, then self-love gained an easy victory over patriotism,
and the bad passions, pride, ambition, and party-hatred, roused
themselves from their slumber.

During a quarter of a century, our emigrants had sojourned in a
strange country. Useless and troublesome guests to the strangers by
whom they were fed, their lives had been droned away in shameless and
cowardly idleness. They could not cheat themselves into a belief that
they possessed the talents and experience of the sons of the
revolution. But they imagined that nobility, as in the old time, might
pass for worth; and that their patents and pedigrees still gave them
a right to monopolize all power and all honour.

The citizens, the soldiers, the nation, relied on the lawfulness of
their rights no less than on the promises of the king. The members of
the old privileged caste, instead of exciting suspicion, were only the
objects of harmless mirth. The people laughed at the grotesque
appearance of some, and at the decrepit sottishness of others. They
never dreamed that these pretended warriors, whose bloodless swords
had rusted in their scabbards, would attempt to snatch the staff of
command from the veteran generals of France; and that nobles who had
grown old in sloth and ignorance would aspire to the direction of
public affairs.

But though merit and valour were denied to them, they stood upon a
vantage ground, which gave them a direful and incalculable
preponderance in the state. They surrounded the throne. Soon did their
insolence announce that they had craftily availed themselves of the
advantages which they possessed; and we foresaw with affliction that
inveterate prejudice, malignant prepossessions, and old habits of
familiarity, would, sooner or later, crush the principles of justice
and equity, however solemnly proclaimed.

The emigrants, rendered arrogant by the prospects which opened upon
them, now treated their rivals with contemptuous disdain. They dared
not insult the defenders of our country face to face, because the
scars of the warriors scared them. But they were spitefully active in
disparaging their birth, their services, and their glory, and these
noble retainers of royalty took care to impress the soldiers of
Napoleon with a due sense of the width of the gulf which was
henceforth to separate a gentleman of good family, from an upstart
soldier of the revolution.

The women of the _ancien régime_ did not share in the timidity which,
to a certain degree, still restrained their husbands. They threw off
all decency and all reserve, and indulged in all the fury of their
spite and pride. Without attempting to disguise their sentiments, they
openly insulted the titled dames belonging to the new nobility, and
such of the latter as were compelled to go to court on account of the
situations held by their husbands, never entered the saloon without
dread, and never quitted it without being bathed in tears.

Uneasy, harassed, and discontented, the people implored the fulfilment
of the king's promises: they prayed with confidence; but the
government heard them not, and repulsed them harshly. The Doge of
Genoa, speaking of Louis XIV, said, "his majesty steals our hearts by
his amiability, but his ministers give them back again to us." The
apophthegm of the Doge might have been pertinently applied to Louis
XVIII. by the people.

Hitherto the government appeared to adhere to the resolution of
dealing out impartial justice to both parties, and of performing the
covenant which the new monarch had entered into with the nation. But
now he was bound by an influence which he could not withstand.
Ensnared by the machinations, the threats, and the fears of his
emigrant court, and perhaps believing that the new order of things was
incompatible with the stability of the Bourbon dynasty, the maxims of
his government underwent a total change. He was taught to consider the
equality of civil rights as a revolutionary conquest, the liberties of
the nation as an usurpation of the authority of the throne, the new
constitution as insulting the independence of the sovereign. It was
therefore determined that all "dangerous characters[5]" should be led
quietly out of all civil and military offices. The old trustworthy
nobility of the old kingdom were again to become the sole depositaries
of the power of the state: and by slow but sure degrees it was
resolved to cancel the royal charter, and either by fair means or by
foul, to place the nation again beneath the yoke of absolute power.

                   [Footnote 5: This expression was one of those of
                   which the ministers made the worst use. If they
                   were told that any magistrate, any officer, any
                   functionary, whom they had turned out, had
                   fulfilled his duties with honour and distinction,
                   that he was loved and regretted by the people, they
                   answered, "he is a dangerous character," and there
                   was an end of the business.]

The government often appealed to the authority of the King's
predecessor on the throne--of Bonaparte. Bonaparte, it was said, had
acknowledged that it was dangerous to concede a representative
government to the people, and that it was fit and proper to rule them
despotically. But Napoleon, he who re-established the authority of
royalty, morality, and religion--who had re-organized society--who had
given tranquillity to France, at the same time that he rendered her
formidable to the world--he had earned his authority by his services
and his victories, and, if I may venture to use the expression, he had
acquired a legitimate right of despotism, which neither belonged, nor
could belong, to a Bourbon. Besides which, in spite of the real or
pretended despotism of the imperial government, it was still a
national government; a character wholly foreign to the Bourbon
government, and which it had no tendency to acquire.

The prognostics of the re-action which the ministers intended to bring
about were disclosed in all parts of the body politic. Alarm seized
even the Chamber of Deputies: it hastened to become the organ of the
uneasiness of the people, and to remind the King of the warranty which
he had given to the nation.

In the address, or rather in the protest presented by the chamber on
the 15th of June, the national representatives say, "The charter
secures to the voice of truth every channel which leads to the throne,
since it consecrates the liberty of the press, and the right of

"Amongst the guarantees which it contains, the nation will attend to
that which insures the responsibility of any minister who may betray
the confidence reposed in him by your Majesty, by trespassing on the
public or private rights insured by the constitutional charter.

"By virtue of this charter, nobility in all future times will only
command the respect of the people as surrounded by proofs of honour
and glory, which the recollections of feudality will not have the
power of tarnishing.

"The principles of civil liberty are founded upon the independence of
judicial authority, and the retention of trial by jury, that
invaluable guarantee of all our rights."

If the King had known the truth, this energetic address would have
attained its end. But the truth could not reach him. At first he
intended to bestow his personal confidence upon the greater part of
the leading "notables" of the revolution; but by means of
remonstrances and recriminations, another party contrived to place his
good sense again under the yoke of prejudice, and he surrounded
himself with old nobility alone, with men who had refused to obey the
constitution sanctioned by Louis XVI., because it destroyed their
privileges; and who, for the same reason, had refused to acknowledge
the new constitution, against which they had even dared to protest.
His companions were so blinded, so besotted by their presumption, that
they imagined that decrees and ordinances gave them the faculty of
overturning the edifice which the nation had erected during five and
twenty years of revolution. His confidents were those alone who,
instead of wishing to reveal to their sovereign the object of the
projects of the ministry, and of the faction which had rendered the
ministry their tools, had become the accomplices of ministerial guilt,
joint conspirators in the plot which was to destroy the royal charter.

The cabinet contained, however, some able and experienced statesmen.
They were convinced that instead of teasing the nation by holding out
the probability of the restoration of ancient privileges, it was the
duty of government to tranquillize the country by guaranteeing the
stability of the new system of polity. These ministers were aware of
the impolicy of attempting to re-establish the monarchy on its ancient
principles; because by such an attempt it would be deprived of the
only advantage which it possessed over the late government--that of
being liberal. And, lastly, they felt that if despotism and violence
had been the distinguishing characteristics of the government of
Napoleon, it was necessary that moderation and justice should be the
attributes of the government of a Bourbon.

But they had not sufficient authority or personal influence to enable
them to struggle against the emigrants, and the protectors of the
emigrant faction. In the council chamber their opinions, often well
concerted, and always benevolent, were sanctioned and approved. Out
of the council, each minister acted according to his own plans; and,
unfortunately, those departments which ramify most deeply into the
nation and its affairs were confided to men who seemed to think that
they were bound to irritate and sour the public mind.

General Dupont obtained the important office of minister of the war
department, as a reward due to his proscription. According to the
government party, the general had been proscribed by the Emperor. An
odious name was thus given to the lenient punishment which had been
inflicted upon Dupont, he who had shuffled off the allegiance which he
owed to his Emperor, and whose cowardice had surrendered into
captivity the legions intrusted to his command[6]. Weak, indolent,
irresolute, devoid of character and resources, he never had the wish
or the ability of becoming any thing else than the pliant functionary
of the court and the ruling courtiers.

                   [Footnote 6: When Dupont capitulated to the
                   Spaniards, the insurgents refused to acknowledge
                   the Emperor. Dupont therefore only took the title
                   of general in the French service.]

Another, the Abbé de Montesquiou, received the "porte-feuille" of the
home department. When a member of the Constituent Assembly he had
been honourably distinguished by his soft and persuasive eloquence.
The temperance of his public conduct seemed to be insured by his
personal character; he was a servant of the altar, his health was
delicate, he had lived long in quiet retirement. But Montesquiou,
meek, mild, and timid as long as he was in the background, became
scornful, angry, and overbearing the instant that he stepped into
power. He detested and despised the revolution--I may almost say, he
detested and despised the nation. This sentiment was the principle
which guided him. Montesquiou never deigned to inquire whether any
given portion of our polity was sound or useful, whether it had been
formed with difficulty, whether it could be modified, or ameliorated,
or fitted into existing circumstances. He only inquired into the date
of its institution--and the date decided the question.

A third, Dambray, the chancellor, and the chief law officer of the
nation, had distinguished himself in his youth as a Judge of
Parliament. His credit arose from his prudence and his principles no
less than from his talents. He had been long since recalled to his
country. During the reign of Napoleon he fulfilled the duties of a
citizen and a subject with zeal and fidelity. We never doubted but
that he would protect those constitutional forms of government under
which he had flourished in peace and honour. Scarcely, however, was
the Chancellor clothed in his robe, when he became the oppressor of
the magistracy, the antagonist of our new system of jurisprudence, and
the dull partisan of those slavish forms and barbarous customs and
oppressive edicts, which had been long since annihilated by reason,
liberty, and knowledge.

The trust reposed in this portion of the cabinet was a source of
unhappiness to the nation, but it was not the only one. Louis,
according to the promises held out on his restoration, was to reign in
person; and the more the French have ever been desirous to obey their
sovereign with cheerful alacrity, the greater is the repugnance which
they feel to submit to the orders of his minions. Dismay, therefore,
prevailed throughout the kingdom when we learnt that Louis, weakened
by an obstinate and painful disease, had entirely divested himself of
his royal authority in favour of Monsieur de Blacas. And how much more
painful did our consternation become, when we were able to understand
the views and projects of this Mayor of the palace, and when we
ascertained the baneful extent of his ascendancy.

It was impossible that the royal government, including such elements
in its composition, could retain its hold on public opinion. It was
seen too clearly that the effects of a despicable coterie would tend
either to involve our country in a civil war, or overwhelm us again
with the wretchedness and slavery from which we had been delivered by
the revolution.

The absolute necessity of rising in opposition to these nefarious
attempts was felt by the entire country. Not a man would remain

During the earliest period of the reign of Louis, the emigrant faction
comprehended nothing but the party composed of the relics of the
ancient privileged cast. The _parvenus_ of the imperial government
alone constituted the so called Bonapartists. Considering their
private gratification and profit as of greater importance than the
public cause, each party had hitherto only wrangled for place and
power. Their war was a matter of calculation and selfishness. But soon
their disputes involved the fate of the main interests created by the
revolution the emigrants directed their attacks not only against
individuals but also against principles, and the people, who had
hitherto only looked on, now shared the quarrel, and all France was
divided into two great hostile parties[7].

                   [Footnote 7: I speak only of acting and thinking
                   beings. In all countries there is to be found a
                   class of cyphers, who are so careless, stupid, or
                   selfish, that they belong to no party, and indeed
                   to no nation.]

The court, the courtiers, and the ministry appeared as the central
phalanx of the _pure royalists_. As their auxiliaries, they had the
old nobility,--the priesthood,--a certain number of apostates who had
skulked away from the imperial government,--and lastly, all those who
had been disqualified by their incapacity and disloyalty from
obtaining employment under Napoleon. It was the undisguised wish of
this party to wash out every stain of the revolution, and to effect a
full and unqualified restoration of the _ancien régime_ in all its
parts, and to all intents and purposes.

On the other side were arrayed the party designated as that of the
Bonapartists, led on by our most honourable and most virtuous
citizens, and numbering within its ranks the great body of the people;
this party strove to withstand the impending resuscitation of the
privileges and abuses of the old government, and which was to be
effected only by the total subversion of our existing institutions.

The pure royalists endeavoured to annihilate the charter, which their
opponents defended, and thus a strange contradiction took place. The
royal charter had the royalists for its enemies, whilst its defenders
were only found amongst those who were stigmatized as the adherents of

Abortive attempts were made by the pure royalists to palliate the
treachery of the government. They tried to persuade the people that
the tranquillity and welfare of the nation depended but on the
re-establishment of an absolute monarch, of a feudal aristocracy, and
of all the trumpery of superstition. Such was the tendency of the
publications which issued from the ministerial press, owing their
birth to writers who had either sold themselves to the government, or
who had denationalized themselves by their political intolerance. But
it must not be supposed that liberty could remain in need of

Each of the earliest stages of the growth of the young government of
royalty had been marked by obscure yet decisive symptoms of bad faith,
not the less mischievous because they were restricted to signs, and
symbols, and phrases. Instead of the constitution voted by the senate,
and which the king had engaged to accept and ratify, he graciously
granted and conceded a charter, by which he gave a new form to the
government; and which, according to its tenor, emanated from the
sovereign in the full and free exercise of his royal authority. The
tricoloured cockade worn by Louis XVI. and which our armies had
rendered illustrious, was exchanged for the white, though to the
mind's eye the latter was seen drenched in the blood of the people.
Louis took the title of Louis XVIII. King of France and Navarre, and
he dated his proclamations and ordinances in the 19th year of his
reign, and thus it was to be inferred, that the nation had been in a
state of rebellion during five and twenty years. He had disdained to
receive his crown from the will of the people, and rather chose to
hold it by divine right and the good offices of the Prince Regent.
These ungracious affronts wounded the national feelings, but no notice
was taken of them at the time, because it was apprehended that angry
recriminations might endanger the profit which had resulted from the
important sacrifices to which we had consented for the public good.
But when the government unveiled its deformity, the silence of the
patriotic party was at end, and they attacked the government most
unrelentingly. The editors of the Censeur were most conspicuous. Every
abuse of power, every violation of the charter, was proclaimed to
France by these young tribunes of the people; and the country was loud
in applauding their zeal, their talents, and their courage. Other
writers of a more lively class stung the emigrants to the quick by
sarcasms and satire, and brought down the chastisement of contempt and
ridicule upon those who had been spared by the gravity of the Censeur.

The nation also obtained a clear development of the anti-revolutionary
conspiracy of the administration, from the "Memoir" of Carnot, and the
pamphlets of Benjamin Constant. The undeniable facts, and the
unwelcome truths which were brought forward and stated by these
writers, apprized the people that their rights and liberties were in
fearful danger.

A judicial blindness had fallen upon the ministers. All warnings, all
lessons, all reproaches, were lost upon them. Far from being awed by
public opinion, they thought they deserved high honour for defying it.
The ministers had made up their mind. Deceived by the opinions which
they had formed respecting the preponderance of their faction, they
miscalculated the influence and resources of the partizans of the
revolution. Confiding in their power, and in the fear inspired by
their power, they thought it useless to maintain any further reserve;
and that they could charge onwards to the end of the career which
they had in view. Intoxicated by their ignorant enthusiasm, they
insulted the nation in the person of each individual, whilst they
encroached upon the rights which he valued most, and insulted him both
in his interests and his feelings. The imperial guard was removed from
Paris: the emigrants grudged the renown of these troops, and feared
their patriotism. It was given out that the discontent evinced by the
guard when the king came in, was the cause of the punishment which
they received[8].--But had not the government called forth this
discontent? Surely it was ungenerous to compel those heroes to walk as
attendants in the triumph of a new master. Their grief and fidelity
deserved not to be thus insulted. I then saw these honoured warriors.
Haggard looks and sullen silence revealed their feelings. Absorbed by
grief, they appeared to be insensible to the outward world. "Vive la
Garde Impériale" was the shout of the pitying Parisians, who wished
to cheer them. These salutations, which, perhaps, they despised, were
unheeded. Submissive to their superiors, they obeyed the word of
command which told them that they must march: they marched, and that
was all.

                   [Footnote 8: The accusation that a spirit of mutiny
                   prevailed amongst them cannot be refuted more
                   effectually than by quoting the expressions used by
                   M. de Montesquiou on the 14th of March. "In the
                   last two months," said he, "not _one_ of the
                   soldiers or officers belonging to the corps of the
                   old guard composing the garrison of Metz, has been
                   _once_ reprimanded."]

Troops of the line replaced the imperial guards, who were drafted out
of the capital with great expedition. Little time elapsed before the
dissatisfaction of the new troops became manifest. The regiments were
wholly disorganized; officers were thrust upon the soldiers, amongst
whom they stood as complete strangers. In consequence of these changes
the troops were put out of temper; and they became disgusted with
service, because they were wearied by endless parades and reviews
which took place, not to perfect them in their discipline, but for the
instruction of their raw commanders. The government broke their spirit
by affronting them: they were compelled to present arms to the king's
body guard, whom they detested. The re-establishment of the "Maison du
Roi" was opposed by the general feeling of the nation, and it
particularly tended to rouse the jealousy and discontent of the
garrison of Paris. The troops of the line and the national guards who
were on duty at the Tuileries could not submit to acknowledge the
"gardes du corps" as their superiors, and refused to present arms to
them. The "gardes du corps" complained, and it was ordered that the
troops of the line should salute them with military honours, or be
punished. After this victory, the young "gardes du corps," who were
proud of it, used to walk up and down before the sentinels, in order
to force the latter to worship their epaulettes. It may easily be
imagined how such childish insults, which were never checked, must
have mortified the old soldiers of Napoleon: and we all know that the
self-love of a Frenchman is not to be offended with impunity.

Self-love is the medium through which the soldier ascends into glory.
When Napoleon earned immortal fame in Italy, he nourished and
dignified this passion by addressing his soldiers in language
breathing the lofty spirit of the heroic age, he rekindled the courage
of his army, and every man became a conqueror. But the royalist
officers sought to destroy all warlike sentiment by expressing their
contempt for our national victories, by displaying the puffed
insolence of birth and rank; and they lost the confidence and the
esteem of the army which they were appointed to command.

Widely different, indeed, was the example which was set by the most
exalted and most formidable of our enemies. It is needless to name
him. This sovereign never tried to undervalue our glory: he was only
happy when he could bear testimony again and again to the talents and
the courage of the French nation. When he received our officers he did
not treat them with that ill-concealed disdain, so often lavished on
the conquered, but with the honest esteem inspired by valour; and with
that delicacy, I would almost say respect, which is due to honourable
misfortune. The subject of his discourse sometimes compelled him to
allude to our reverses; but he never failed to allay the smart by
lavishing his praises on the efforts which we had made to deprive him
of victory. He seemed to be astonished that he had been able to
withstand us.

How deeply were our warriors affected when they contrasted his
chivalrous magnanimity with the endeavours of their royalist masters,
who tried incessantly to poison the fond recollection of their former
triumphs, and to deprive them of the only consolation which remained
to them in the hour of affliction.

Whatever discontent might prevail amongst the troops, yet the greater
part of the staff and regimental officers had transferred themselves
to the Bourbons with cordial sincerity. Perhaps a few, who were less
confident than the rest, still appeared distrustful and lukewarm; but
they might have been easily won over, either by those sugared and
alluring phrases which sound so sweetly when pronounced by royalty, or
even by merely leaving them quiet until their resentment could cool of

When Henry IV. recovered his throne, the bigoted partisans of the
league, whom he had pardoned, continued still to threaten and revile
him. It was suggested that he should punish them; but Henry said,
"No,--we must wait, they are yet vexed." Those who were constantly
invoking the memory of good king Henry, never sought to imitate his
conduct. Instead of allowing time to our generals to get over their
vexation, they embittered their temper by daily insults. Our officers
were treated like ruffian bandits; they were branded as rebels, who
were too happy if they obtained a pardon. Praise and favour fell only
to the share of the army of Condé, the Vendeans, and the Chouans. The
triumphal arches destined to eternize the exploits of our armies were
menaced with sacrilegious ruin; and it was solemnly proposed to erect
a monument to the memory of the Vendeans and the emigrants who fell at

Certainly our deluded brethren deserved to be regretted and mourned.
Yet they had turned their weapons against the sacred bosom of their
country. They were either the auxiliaries or the hirelings of our
implacable enemies the English, and if honours were paid to them as
illustrious victims, it was equivalent to a declaration that their
conquerors were their murderers.

Our warriors had been graced with titles of nobility, bought with the
blood which they had shed in the defence of the country. Their honours
were treated with insolent scorn, and the ghost of Georges Cadoudal, a
murderer in effect, and a traitor in intent, was ennobled by the
gracious patent which was bestowed upon his father.

Georges in attempting the life of Napoleon had committed an act
against all law, whether human or divine. If such a crime was decked
out as a virtue, if signal rewards were allotted to the memory of the
criminal, the government abetted assassination and regicide. The
safety of Louis XVIII. and of every other monarch was compromised, and
a sanction was given to the dangerous and antisocial doctrine which
teaches that any individual may sit in judgment on the legitimacy of
the title of the occupier of the throne, and then determine to murder
his sovereign if he doubts the validity of his rights.

Other affronts exactly of the same complexion were offered to France
and to the army. Titles, military commissions, and pensions, were
showered, in La Vendée, upon the heads of such of the Chouans as were
most celebrated for their cruelty[9], and these marks of favour were
distributed amongst them in the presence of the victims of their
rapine and ferocity.

                   [Footnote 9: The Chouans never allowed the
                   opportunity of committing murder to escape them.
                   They carried their muskets as they walked by the
                   side of the plough, and the furrows which they trod
                   were frequently sprinkled with blood. The priests
                   who had taken the oaths, and the purchasers of
                   national domains, were particularly the objects of
                   the refinements of their cruelty. They seldom
                   entered a town without plundering the inhabitants,
                   and without slaughtering those who had been pointed
                   out to their vengeance.--_Lacretelle, Précis de la

The members of the ruling faction thought that they had not done
enough in endeavouring to honour the French enemies of France at the
expense of her defenders, and therefore they compassed the degradation
and destruction of the institutions which reminded the people of the
praises and the glory of our national armies.

In despite of the most solemn engagements the government robbed the
legion of honour of its prerogatives. Then the ministerial papers
hinted that henceforward the order of St. Louis was to be the only
military order; and that the legion of honour was to be the reward of
civil merit. The blow was aimed at the heart; the army shuddered, our
marshals burned with indignation. The government was compelled to
disclaim and abandon its intent.

Yet one sure method of debasing the legion of honour was completely in
the power of government; they could make it cheap, and to this plan
they resorted. Under Napoleon the Cross was never granted until it had
been long and truly deserved: now it became the prey of meanness. The
order was prostituted and cast to favourite underlings and intriguers,
to whom it was distributed by caprice or bribery.

Our soldiers, who had purchased this distinction with their
blood,--the magistrates, the functionaries, the learned, the
manufacturers, who had received it as the reward of the services which
they had rendered to the state, to the arts, to useful industry,--all
were filled with consternation when they found themselves elbowed by a
mean and worthless mob. Yielding to their honest pride, the greater
part of our old legionaries refused to wear the insignia, which,
instead of conferring distinction, could only confound them with men
whom public opinion had branded and proscribed.

Success encouraged the government, and they did not stop. Richly
endowed asylums for the daughters of the deceased members of the
legion had been founded by the Emperor. Under the pretext of economy,
of saving the annual sum of forty thousand francs, the ministers took
the King by surprise, and hurried the Sovereign into the signature of
an order for turning the orphans out of doors. Marshal Macdonald
declared in vain that the old leaders of the army would never abandon
the children of their companions, and that they were ready to defray
the expense which was falsely assigned as the motive of the expulsion
of the girls. Equally fruitless was the generosity of Madame Delchan,
the matron of the establishment of Paris, who offered to continue its
management without any assistance from the government, and to expend
her entire fortune in the support of her pupils. Nor did the ministers
pay the least attention to those who stated that the greater part of
the children had neither friends nor relations, and that if they were
thrown destitute upon the world, they would be inevitably consigned to
misery or vice. No consideration could move the pity of the ministry.

But at length the indignation of the public found a voice in the Lower
House, and the representatives of the people were about to remonstrate
with the Sovereign. Ministers were disconcerted and abashed, and they
abandoned their profligate enterprise.

This check, however, did not amend them. A few days afterwards they
dissolved the military academies of St. Cyr and St. Germain, alleging
that they were superfluous; and at the same moment the "École Royale
Militaire" was re-established, "in order that the nobility of the
kingdom might enjoy the advantages secured to them by the edict of
January 1757."

By this impudent violation of the principles of the charter our
representatives were again roused, and the ministers were again
obliged to recede.

Irritated by these defeats, they sought revenge and actuated by an
ill-judged hope of weakening the resisting obstacles, they dismissed a
countless multitude of military officers, who were turned out of the
army upon half pay, though their full pay had been formally
guarantied. It must be acknowledged that the number of the officers of
the imperial army was much greater than was required by the strength
of the royal army; but as it was alleged that they were useless and
expensive, it was not right to insult them in their misfortunes by
ministerial profusion; for, at the same time, they saw the government
granting rank and pay to a number of emigrants who were good for
nothing in the army. The government raised six thousand "gardes du
corps," troops of musketeers and light horse, "gendarmes de la garde,"
&c. who scandalized Paris, and disgusted the army by their new
epaulettes, and their sumptuous and splendid uniforms. Lastly, the
government, led on by its innovating madness, did not respect those
veterans whom Death had spared on the field of battle. Without pitying
age or infirmities, the ministers, using their accustomed pretext of
economy, withdrew the benefactions which a grateful nation had
bestowed upon two thousand five hundred of these objects of

Since the ministers did not dread giving public offence to the army,
and in matters where the offence would be felt most acutely,--since
they refused to recognize both its services and its rights, it may be
easily supposed that the military were disgusted and oppressed when
they appeared before the ministry as individuals. It is not intended
to detail the complaints and accusations which then justly abounded;
but one fact may be stated as giving a double illustration of the
spirit which prevailed.

General Milhaud had distinguished himself in the course of our
national wars, by success and bravery. At the time when France was
invaded by the allies, he "covered himself with glory" at the head of
a handful of dragoons, who cut a considerable corps of the enemy's
troops entirely to pieces. This officer, in consequence of his rank,
his standing, and his services, had been appointed a chevalier de St.
Louis as a matter of right; but at the moment of his reception, the
cross was taken from him with ignominy, because he had been so
unfortunate as to vote for the death of the King twenty years before.

Louis XVIII., when he returned to France, had promised that he would
not inquire into the votes which had been given against his august
brother. This promise, which had been demanded from him, and which he
ratified by his charter, could not be otherwise than a painful victory
over the feelings of his heart. He must have grieved when he found
himself under the necessity of admitting those judges into his court,
who had condemned Louis XVI. to the scaffold, and to present them to
the daughter of the murdered monarch. But still he had sworn not to
avenge his death, and the oaths by which a monarch binds himself to
his people should be inviolable.

All resentment was to be repressed. The voters had been pardoned, and
therefore the government could not be justified in reviving the memory
of their crime, and in bringing down vengeance and death upon their
heads. A funeral veil ought to have been drawn over that period of our
revolution, during which we were all equally misled or guilty.
Besides, we must state plainly and distinctly, that the grief excited
by the murder of Louis XVI., was not the true cause of the invectives
with which the regicides were assailed by the emigrants. Unfortunately
the effect produced at Coblentz by the trial and execution of the
king, is too well known. If the errors of some of the men of the
revolution were hunted out with so much malignant zeal, it was only
for the purpose of coming to this result--that as the revolution was
the work of crime, it was necessary to root out every thing which had
proceeded from the revolution.

The insult to which General Milhaud was subjected, was therefore
rather a political movement, than a punishment inflicted on an
individual. In selecting Milhaud as the object of the first assault
against the regicides, the government gave a proof of their want of
tact; for if they wanted to render the regicides contemptible or
odious, they should have avoided attacking an officer who had long
since washed away the stains of the blood of his King, by imbruing
himself in the blood of our enemies!

But whilst the military, from the highest to the lowest, were exposed
to the persecution and tyranny of the prevailing faction, the
magistracy, and the civil functionaries of the state, suffered no less
from ill treatment and injustice. Commissioners had been despatched
into the departments, even at the beginning of the new reign, "in
order to consolidate the royal government, and to examine into the
conduct of the public functionaries under existing circumstances;"
that is to say, at the moment of the restoration of the Bourbons.

Such was the confidence which the nation placed in the promises of the
King, that no jealousy was excited by this measure. On the contrary,
people expected that great good would result from it, that party heat
would be allayed, and public interest and opinion become more speedily
united to the throne.

This pleasing illusion was soon dispelled. A great number of
emigrants, who had just come in again, were appointed commissioners.
Instead of listening to cool and experienced advisers, they gave
themselves up to the priests and nobles who beset them, and who were
neither moderate nor enlightened.

The middling classes, who, from their habitual intercourse with the
lower orders, possess so great an influence over the body of the
people, were considered by the commissioners as a rabble multitude of
upstart "_roturiers_." They treated the middling class with disdain
and contempt. Deceived by the recollection of the excesses of the
revolution, they fancied, that whoever could win the populace, became
the ruler of the country. When money is not to be had, the surest way
of getting over the multitude, is by appealing to its passions. They
therefore announced, that they were sent to do justice to the people,
to listen to their complaints, to reform abuses, and to abolish the
"_droits réunis_," and the conscription.

Meetings were announced in the villages and in the country towns. All
persons of respectability kept away; but the populace, who are always
delighted with uproar and novelty, crowded in. There was no end to the
preposterous charges which were preferred against the magistrates, the
prefects, the under-prefects, the mayors, the administrators of
public affairs, the officers of revenue; in short, none of the
depositaries of public authority were spared.

Instead of despising such accusations, or submitting them to an
impartial inquiry, the commissioners hailed the popular clamour with
transport. They triumphed in the tumult; they were overflowing with
happiness at the fancied success of their efforts; they continued
exclaiming with increasing joy, "that is right, Good People; the King
is your father; these fellows are nothing but _canaille_; upon our
word of honour, we will kick them out."

These promises were kept. The public officers and functionaries of all
classes were gradually dismissed, and their places given to informers,
or to the old nobility. As the common people cooled, they became
undeceived, and it was found that they had gained neither in riches
nor in loyalty. The commissioners, instead of adding as they expected
to the popularity of the government, only helped to cry it down. The
cause of royalty was compromised by the scenes of riot which they
encouraged, and they degraded it by acts of injustice and oppression.
The non-emigrant commissioners acted far otherwise. They knew how to
value the lying declamations of the nobles, and of the mob whom the
nobles had set on. From the different conduct pursued by each party,
effects resulted which exhibited the most striking contrast. In one
department the public functionaries retained their situations, in
another they were disgraced and vituperated.

These scandalous proceedings excited the general indignation of the
country. The government was universally blamed. The important task of
instituting inquiries, which were to affect the honour and the civil
existence of the most respectable characters, had been entrusted to
emigrants who had lived amongst strangers during the best part of
their lives. And these men, who knew nothing of the forms, the
principles, or even the faults of the imperial government, were
consequently wholly unable to appreciate the conduct, whether
praiseworthy or blameable, of the depositaries of public authority.

The people discovered that they had been cheated, and that this
measure, disguised by specious representations, was in truth adopted
only for the purpose of more effectually displacing the old
functionaries of the nation. And, lastly, it was evident that this
general dismission would carry off those authorities who were the
natural guardians of every individual who had taken a part in the
revolution. And that all who were thus affected would be placed
beneath the sway of their sworn enemies, the nobles, the priests, and
their adherents.

Indications were given by the government that a "purification" of the
courts of justice was in contemplation; and the public apprehension
increased. The independence and immovability of the judges had been
guaranteed to the nation, and this guarantee was certainly the most
valuable of the rights which we had gained. But on account of its
importance, the government were the more desirous of violating it.

When the proposed "purification" became known, our national
magistrates trembled in their chairs, and they foresaw that they would
be plucked out for the purpose of making way for the antiquated
survivors of the courts of parliament.

The nation was alarmed, and protested against the measure. But the
"purification" was not to be stopped in its swoop. The process began
in the supreme tribunal of the kingdom, the Court of Cassation. And,
to remove all doubts respecting the ulterior object of the government,
it was officially announced that the _elimination_, disguised under
the name of the "installation royale," had been deferred only for the
purpose of "obtaining the information which was necessary to direct or
decide the choice of the judges, and that it would take place
successively in all the courts and tribunals of the kingdom."

The "installation" was felt to be not only a breach of faith, but an
open conspiracy against the security of the person and property of the
subject. We knew that the tribunals would now be filled with
magistrates whose prejudices, principles, and interest, must be in
perpetual hostility against our national laws, and that the new men
would seek to elude or crush our juridical system. The royal
magistrates, as it was but too evident, would be the relations, the
friends, or the creatures of the nobility, the emigrants, and of all
who claimed to be restored to their rights and privileges. Nor could
we hope that judges so constituted would deal out impartial justice
between the ci-devant privileged tribes, whom they would naturally
consider as the victims of revolutionary principles, and the children
of the revolution, who, according to the same mode of reasoning, they
could not fail to consider as the oppressors and robbers of the
privileged tribes.

The owners of national property were most alarmed by the approaching
expulsion of the revolutionary judges. By the charter, the
inviolability of their property had been guaranteed to them. But they
had not forgotten that a violent debate arose on the "redaction" of
this article; and that the ministers had been already accused on
account of the obscurity of the clause, which they refused to correct
into such words as might prevent all future quibbling and special

If the emigrants, the priesthood, and the nobility, did not scruple to
express their hopes aloud that the sales of the national domains might
be declared null and void, it was equally well known to the public
that certain Great Personages entertained the same hopes in secret.
Doubts respecting the legality, and, consequently, of the validity of
the sales, were expressed in the ministerial journals; and various
publications were industriously disseminated, in which the purchases
were directly impugned. The authors of these works were favoured and
protected[10]; and it was whispered that the Great Personages, to
whom we have already alluded, had deliberated on the means of
realizing their hopes. All these tokens of the times united in giving
too reasonable a ground for the apprehensions entertained by the
proprietors of the confiscated lands; and the disorganization of the
tribunals was considered as a national calamity.

                   [Footnote 10: M.M. David and Falconnet. In order to
                   appease the public indignation, a summons was
                   issued against these writers, it being stated in
                   the process that they had endeavoured to excite
                   civil war. There was no difficulty in guessing that
                   this proceeding was a farce, and that by
                   overcharging the crime it was the intention of the
                   government to favour the acquittal of the accused;
                   and accordingly they were acquitted.]

It is calculated that the individuals who are interested directly or
indirectly either in the purchases of the national domains, or in the
rights and liabilities arising out of them, amount in number to
somewhat between nine and ten millions.

An opportunity offered itself when all the uneasiness felt by this
integral portion of the population of France might have been removed.
It was when the law; by which the emigrants recovered possession of
such part of their property as had not been alienated, came under
consideration. It was natural to suppose that the administration would
take advantage of the capability of the proceeding, in order to revive
the confidence of the public, and to renew the guarantee of the
charter. Such was not their conduct. On the contrary, M. Ferrand, the
government orator, one of the men who did most mischief to the King
and the kingdom, abandoned himself--we borrow the expression of the
reporter of the committee--to all the acrimony of his passions, and
all the profligacy of his principles. His fury could only be equalled
by his folly. He did not scruple to maintain, in the midst of the
representatives of the nation, that the emigrants had the greatest
right to claim the justice and favour of the royal government, because
they alone had not wandered from the righteous path. And starting with
this position, he represented the forfeiture and sale of their
property, not as the justifiable acts of a legislative body, but as
revolutionary outrages and robberies which the nation ought to hasten
to make good.

The Chamber of Deputies passed their censure upon the inflammatory
doctrines and language of the royalist orator, and expunged the word
"restitution" from the law. It had not been inserted without design,
for "restitution" supposes a previous robbery, and the emigrants had
not been robbed of the property: it had been confiscated by virtue of
a law sanctioned by the King; and which law was only a new application
of the system of confiscation created and followed up by the King's

Without travelling into more remote periods, we may ask if it was not
with the spoils of the victims who had been sacrificed to the
murderous policy of Richelieu, and the religious intolerance of Louis
XIV., that the first families had been enriched? And who can tell
whether the lands which the emigrants reclaimed with so much pride and
bitterness, were not the same which their ancestors had received
without a blush from the bloody hands of Richelieu and Louis?

It must be confessed that the unalterable fidelity of a certain number
amongst the emigrants bound the royal government to reward their
fidelity and to alleviate their misfortunes. But all had not an equal
right to the affection and gratitude of the King. If some had
generously sacrificed their fortunes and their country in the cause of
royalty, yet others only fled from France because they wished to
escape their creditors[11], and thought that in strange countries they
might find dupes to feed upon, and thus exist upon swindling resources
to which they could no longer resort with impunity at home.

                   [Footnote 11: Before the revolution it was
                   customary for "_les grands seigneurs_" to obtain
                   what were called "_lettres de surséance_," by means
                   of which they avoided the payment of their debts,
                   and defeated their creditors.]

It was therefore necessary to separate the first class of emigrants
from the last; and after establishing this distinction, the government
should have made a fair appeal to the justice and generosity of the
nation. Frenchmen, who yield so readily to every dignified sentiment,
would not have allowed the faithful and virtuous servants of their
King to languish in poverty. We may appeal to the universal assent
which was given to the proposal[12] made by the marshal duke of
Tarentum, that ten millions of francs should be annually appropriated
for the indemnification of the emigrants who had been deprived of
their property, and of the soldiers who had lost their "_dotations_."

                   [Footnote 12: This proposal was not carried into

But the government party should not have attempted to assist the
emigrants by resorting to means offensive to the nation, and
derogatory to the charter. And, above all, they should not have puffed
up the emigrants with proud and silly hopes. If they had been left to
themselves, they would have fallen in with the purchasers of their
property, they would have treated for an amicable settlement of their
claims, and they would have regained possession of their hereditary
estates without jarring and without scandal.

The partiality which was shown towards the emigrants on all occasions
produced another evil of still greater extent. It contributed, even
more than the efforts of disaffection, in persuading the peasantry
that the government wished to chain them again to the soil, and to
render them once more the tributaries both of the nobility and of the

The revolution has taught the countryman to know that he is somebody
in the state. After the revolution the peasants became rich, and they
were delivered from the double vassalage of former days, when they
crouched before the priest and the lord: therefore they could not
think of any alteration without horror. Day after day they heard or
they read (in France every body reads now,) that the government
intended to restore the "_ancien régime_." And the restoration of the
"_ancien régime_" was interpreted by them, as well as by many others,
to mean the restoration of tithes, vassalage, and feudal rights. They
were confirmed in their dangerous and disquieting opinion by the
outrageous claims of the emigrants, and the declamations of the
priests. It was to no purpose that the government tried to re-assure
them. They had been already deceived and it seldom happens that you
can catch a French peasant twice in the same snare. The abolition of
the conscription had been promised, and the old code was continued in
force with all its harshness, and still the refractory conscripts were
sent away in chains, whilst fines were imposed upon their families.
The abolition of the "_droits réunis_" had also been promised, and
they were not only levied with greater rigour and harshness than
before, but even some of these imposts had been greatly increased.

Such was the fatality which influenced all the actions of the
government, that all proceedings which in themselves were simple and
reasonable, became venomous and corrupted when conducted by the
ministry, and only added to the general disorder and discontent,
instead of producing the good effects which they might have been
justly expected to produce.

The discontent of the people, the inevitable result of the injuries
inflicted on the feelings and interests of individuals[13], was
increased by the open infringement of the rights of the people,
although these rights were secured to the country by a compact which
seemed to be inviolable.

                   [Footnote 13: There are times when a government may
                   attack general principles without danger. But men
                   and their personal interests can never be assailed
                   with impunity. Personal interest is the prime mover
                   of public opinion and feeling; and however
                   degrading the truth may appear, it is not to be
                   disputed. After a great national catastrophe this
                   baleful egotism is particularly evident. Dignified
                   passions become extinct for want of fuel; and the
                   human mind, destitute of external occupation, works
                   inward upon itself, and begets selfishness, the
                   true pestilence of the soul. When this disease
                   affects a nation, the government is lost if it
                   attacks the interests of individuals.]

Liberty of conscience had been promised by the charter, and this
liberty was immediately annihilated. An ordonnance was issued by the
police[14], which revived regulations enacted in _an age of
intolerance_, for enforcing the strict and universal observance of the
Lord's day, and the festivals of the church. Napoleon, anxious to
preserve a strict neutrality between the catholics and the
protestants, prohibited the religious processions of the former in all
towns containing places of worship belonging to the latter communion.
His prohibition was removed, and the catholic priesthood exulted in
their processions, in which they marched in triumph. They ought to
have tranquillized the apprehensions of their opponents, and to have
edified the faithful by humility, or at least by feigning humility;
but they disdained to conciliate the public, whom they scandalized by
their pride and irritated by their violence[15].

                   [Footnote 14: By means of ordonnances the ministers
                   legislated according to their pleasure in matters
                   which ought only to have been regulated by the law,
                   so that the greater part of the bills presented to
                   the chambers "had been already enacted and executed
                   in the shape of ordonnances; and the legislature
                   had no other function except that of giving a legal
                   sanction to the arbitrary decrees of the

                   [Footnote 15: Even in Paris several persons were
                   ill treated and bayoneted, because they refused to
                   pull off their hats and kneel, whilst the
                   processions were passing by.]

The imagination of the priests became fired by the victory which they
supposed they had gained. They dreamt that they were in full
possession of their ancient power; and they wished immediately to
revive it according to their ancient fashion. An actress belonging to
the Theatre Français died without being absolved, and without
suspecting that it was necessary to be absolved, from the
excommunication which had been formerly fulminated against stage
players; and which, as every body knows, deprived Moliere of Christian

Following the same precedents, the clergy would not allow the rites of
sepulture to the actress in question. The populace, who followed the
funeral out of curiosity, learnt the affront which was thus offered to
her remains. Transported by sudden indignation, they rushed to the
hearse, and dragged it onwards. The doors of the interdicted church
were burst open in a moment. They called for a priest; no priest
appeared. The tumult augmented. The church and the neighbouring
streets resounded with the groans and threats of ten thousand persons.
Their agitation became more violent, and there was no possibility of
foreseeing where the effervescence of popular feeling would stop, when
a messenger arrived from the court, who ordered, in the name of the
King, that the funeral should proceed.

The accounts of this event, and the comments to which it gave rise,
excited the most lively interest in Paris and throughout France: nor
did it fail to give the greatest pleasure to the enemies of religion.
The friends of public decency and good order accused the government of
encouraging the alarming progress of sacerdotal despotism. It was
particularly in the smaller towns, and in the country, that the
priests behaved with the most blamable audacity, abusing the privilege
of speech which had been restored to them[16]. The pulpit became a
tribunal from whence they pronounced sentence of present infamy, with
the reversion of eternal damnation, upon all who refused to
participate in their opinions and bigotry. Making common cause with
the emigrants, they employed hints, inuendoes, insinuations,
arguments, promises, and threats of every species, for the purpose of
compelling the owners of the national property to yield up their
lands, and of leading the wretched peasantry again beneath the tyrant
yokes of feudality and superstition.

                   [Footnote 16: Under the reign of Napoleon, if a
                   priest had ventured to utter any opinion contrary
                   to the system of government, he would have been
                   immediately removed.]

During the revolution, the priesthood had betrayed its real character.
Contempt had fallen on the clergy, and it was out of the power of the
government to invest them suddenly with the salutary influence which
they had lost. This influence ought to be gained by wise and prudent
conduct, by active and impartial benevolence, by the practice of
sacerdotal virtues. It cannot be gained by ordonnances of police, by
abuse, by violence, by mumming processions, which, in our times, are
out of character and ridiculous.

By the charter the liberty of the press had been guarantied as well as
the liberty of public worship; yet every day innumerable publications
were seized or suppressed contrary to the laws. M. Durbach, a deputy
who never equivocated with his conscience or yielded to danger,
complained on this subject in the chamber: the opinion of the house
went along with him; and the government, pretending to yield to the
feeling of the deputies, presented a bill to the chambers through the
medium of M. de Montesquiou, which, instead of delivering the press
from its slavery, gave full establishment to the censorship, and
legalized the tyranny which had been exercised over the press by mere
force under the former government.

Benjamin Constant attacked the bill with vigour: the same side was
taken by the public journals, and by all public writers; but there was
no possibility of putting M. de Montesquiou out of countenance. It was
demonstrated to him that his law would wholly destroy the liberty of
the press. By holding the charter before his eyes, the advocates of
public rights proved that the charter only declared that the licence
of the press was to be restrained, and that his bill was therefore
radically unconstitutional, because the preliminary censorship was not
intended to restrain abuses, but to prevent their taking place.
Montesquiou answered gravely, that the persons with whom such
objections originated did not understand French; that the words
"_prévenir_" and "_réprimer_" were perfectly synonymous: and that the
bill, instead of being offensive or unconstitutional, contained a most
complete and a most liberal development of the clause in the charter.

This unparalleled endeavour of Montesquiou, who persuaded himself that
he could convince an assembly of Frenchmen that they did not
understand their own language, was justly considered by the chamber as
a matchless specimen of impudence and folly. Lexicographical
subtleties were employed with bitter mockery for the purpose of
destroying a public right, consecrated by the constitutional compact.
Never had insolence and bad faith been displayed so prominently:
Raynouard, the reporter of the committee, exclaimed in the language of
grief and indignation, "Minister of our King, confess, at least, that
your law is contrary to the constitution, since you cannot refute the
evidence adduced against it: your obstinacy in contesting such an
indisputable truth would not then inspire us with such just alarms."

The law was ultimately adopted by both chambers; ministerial influence
triumphed over reason, and rased the most important bulwark of the
rights guarantied to the nation. The result of the conflict produced
the most lively sensation. No man who was capable of forethought and
reasoning could remain undisturbed. Notwithstanding the patriotism of
Dupont (of the department of the Eure), of Raynouard, of Durbach, of
Bedoch, of Flaugergues, it was seen too clearly that the chamber of
deputies could not oppose any effectual obstacle to the despotic and
anti-constitutional plans of the government; and that the ministers
would have full power, whenever they thought proper, to interpret the
clauses of the charter according to their own way, and to rob the
French nation of the few rights which it yet might promise to them.
"By means of such interpretations," the people said, "the senate
sacrificed the independence of the nation to Napoleon. But at least
the imperial despotism assumed a character by which it was justified
and ennobled. It tended to render our nation the greatest nation in
the world; but the despotism which awaits us has no other
accompaniment but bad faith, and no other end except the degradation
and slavery of France."

By such reflections, the suspicion and disgust and aversion inspired
by the government, were excited to the utmost pitch. The public
feeling did not stop there: the French people are naturally inconstant
in their opinions and sentiments; and their former prejudices against
Napoleon were changed into transports of admiration. France, under the
royal government, was humiliated, disorganized, and degenerate; and
they contrasted the present state of the country with the influence,
the strength, the compactness, which it enjoyed under the reign of
Napoleon; and He, who had lately been cursed as the root of all evil,
now appeared to be the greatest of men, and the greatest of heroes,
though in misfortune.

The government knew that Napoleon was again admired by the people, and
that they regretted his loss. To counteract these sentiments, coarse
and vulgar caricatures were exposed to the eyes of the populace; and
his person and his character became the theme of false and scandalous
libels published under the direction of the ministry. No effect was
produced. The mob looked at the caricatures with a smile of contempt;
and the actions of Napoleon, which, under his reign, excited the
greatest censure and disapprobation, now found the most zealous
apologists and defenders.

If Napoleon was accused of having overthrown the republican
government, and enslaved the country by the revolution of the 18th
Brumaire, they answered[17]:--"At that era, anarchy, emboldened by the
misfortunes of the country, could only be repressed by victory. Civil
war had been organized in twenty departments; insurrections had taken
place in many, rapine infected them all; robbery and murder took place
with impunity on many of the principal high roads. Two dreadful laws,
the law of the hostages, and that of the forced loans, occasioned
greater evils than they could cure. No nation had ever existed in
which the finances of the state were in equal confusion; and a
succession of partial bankruptcies prolonged the opprobrium of the
general bankruptcy of the country. The money of the public was robbed
whilst in transit on the high roads. Robbers even carried it off from
the houses of the receivers, and the deficiency could not be made good
by the most violent exactions. The jacobins were on the point of
recommencing their reign of terror. The royalists had recourse without
scruple to all the measures which might enable them to satiate their
revenge; and the peaceable friends of the law were placed between the
conflicting parties in a state of disgraceful weakness and neutrality.
Such was the desperate situation of France when Napoleon seized the
helm of the state. Instead of imputing the slavery of the country to
him, he ought to have been blessed; for he delivered us from the
spoliations, the murders, and the tyranny which were consequent upon
the reign of anarchy and terror."

                   [Footnote 17: I cannot express their thoughts more
                   forcibly than by copying the passage, which I have
                   quoted in my text, from the View of the Revolution
                   by Lacretelle.]

Was it maintained that Napoleon had reigned despotically? They held
that this accusation was unjust; and they had recourse to the
following reasoning. "Anarchy was silenced by Napoleon." It became
necessary, that order should take the place of disorder; that the
authority of one should be substituted for the authority of all.
Parties were to be restrained within the bound of moderation; traitors
were to be annihilated. It was necessary to curb the prejudices of the
nobility, and the revolutionary habits and manners of the jacobins.
This great work could not be accomplished, without engaging in a
conflict against individual interests and opinions. Napoleon was
considered as a despot; this was inevitable. Whenever the existing
polity of a state has been totally subverted, he who first raises the
edifice of society from its ruins, is necessarily accused of
despotism, because apparently he has no other rule except his own
will. Nor must we forget that Napoleon had been accustomed to command
implicit obedience in the camp. He retained his military attitude on
the throne. He usually addressed his courtiers, his connexions, and
his ministers, in the tone which he had formerly adopted when speaking
to his soldiers or their generals[18]. An appearance of despotism was
certainly given to his way of reigning and commanding, by such
language which is seldom heard in civil society. And in almost all
cases, appearance is taken for reality.

                   [Footnote 18: From his early youth, it may be even
                   said from his days of boyhood, Napoleon felt an
                   inward presentiment that he was not destined to
                   live in mediocrity. This persuasion soon taught him
                   to treat others with disdain, and to entertain the
                   highest opinion of himself. Scarcely had he
                   obtained a subaltern command in the artillery, when
                   he considered himself as the superior of his
                   equals, and the equal of his superiors. In his 20th
                   year he was placed at the head of the army of
                   Italy. Without appearing to be in the slightest
                   degree surprised by his elevation, he passed from a
                   secondary station to the chief command. He
                   immediately treated the old generals of the
                   army--they who were so proud of the laurels--with
                   an air of dignity and authority, which placed them
                   in a situation which was probably new to them. But
                   they did not feel humiliated, and their inferiority
                   seemed to result as a matter of course, for the
                   ascendancy exercised by Napoleon was irresistible;
                   and he was thoroughly endued; with that instinct of
                   authority, that talent of ensuring obedience, with
                   those faculties which are usually confined to those
                   who are kings by birth. Napoleon could probably
                   have attained to supreme authority in any country
                   in the world. Nature had formed him for command,
                   and she never creates such men for the purpose of
                   leaving them in obscurity. It seems, according to
                   the remark of a writer whose name I have forgotten,
                   that she is proud of her own work, and that she
                   wishes to offer it to admiration, by placing it at
                   the head of human society.]

At first the imperious tone adopted by Napoleon was blamed, next it
was admired. He soon employed it in his intercourse with foreign
ambassadors, with foreign sovereigns. The wily forms of ancient
diplomacy were discarded. Napoleon did not negociate; he issued his
orders. With one hand he brandished his victorious sword; in the other
he held crowns and sceptres. He bade the sovereigns of Europe make
their choice; he offered his friendship or his hatred, kingdoms or
blows. The monarchs who stood before his throne were taught wisdom by
experience. They knew that Napoleon could reward and punish; they
crowded into the ranks of his allies; and they consoled themselves for
their weakness, by crying out upon his tyranny[19].

                   [Footnote 19: The continental system induced
                   Napoleon to exercise a real tyranny over Europe. We
                   do not pretend to deny the fact; but we only wish
                   to add, that this exterior despotism always induced
                   a belief amongst foreigners, that Napoleon, who
                   tyrannized so violently over nations which did not
                   belong to him, must necessarily be the tyrant of
                   his own subjects.]

When these causes were united, they aided in persuading the world
that Napoleon was really a despot. For, as Montesquieu observes, there
are some things which we believe at last, merely because we hear them
continually repeated. But if the government of Napoleon is considered
impartially, we shall feel convinced, that the despotism attributed to
him existed rather in words and forms, than in deeds. Let the acts of
his reign be scrutinized, and none will be found impressed with the
character of real despotism; that is to say, of despotism founded on
the mere arbitrary will and pleasure of the prince. On the contrary,
they all prove that the interest and aggrandizement of France entered
alone into the views of Napoleon, and that instead of being under a
tyrannical government, the people never enjoyed the benefits of
distributive justice with greater equality, and were never protected
more completely against the oppressions of public functionaries, and
of the higher ranks. He may, perhaps, be censured for having violated
certain laws, for violations in which the senate and the
representatives of the people were his accomplices. But laws are only
binding upon sovereigns in the ordinary course of things, and the most
rigid writers on the law of nations acknowledge this principle. When
extraordinary and unforeseen circumstances take place, it is the duty
of the sovereign to be above the law. In order to judge fairly of the
actions of a monarch, we must not consider them separately. Many an
action which, if taken singly, appears unjustifiable or hateful, loses
that character when viewed as one of the series of events from which
it arose, as a connecting link in the political chain of which it
forms a part. Neither should the conduct of a sovereign be judged
according to the principles of natural equity. In the estimation of
those, upon whom the task of ruling nations has devolved, necessity
and the public safety ought to know no law. Every apprehension of
injuring private interest vanishes, and must ever vanish, before state

"After all," continued they, "the real point at issue is, not whether
the government of Napoleon was more or less despotic; but whether it
was such as was required by the character of his people and of his
times,--such as it needed to be, in order that France might become
tranquil, happy, and powerful." Now it is impossible to deny but that,
during the reign of Napoleon, the interior of France enjoyed an
unruffled calm, and that the ascendancy of his genius bestowed upon
the country a degree of power and prosperity, which it never attained
before, and which probably it will never possess again.

Was the emperor taxed with boundless ambition? Were the calamities of
Spain and Russia laid to his charge?--his indefatigable apologists
found a ready answer.--The Spanish war, instead of being an unjust
aggression, was an enterprise guided by the soundest political talent.
It had been provoked by the wavering treachery of that allied
government, which, in spite of its engagements, was secretly
negociating with the English; and which, yielding to their
instigations, had endeavoured to take advantage of our difficulties
and of the absence of our armies, in order to invade our territory,
and to become a sharer in the plots of our enemies.

The detention of Ferdinand ceased to be an odious breach of faith. It
resulted necessarily from his duplicity, his parricidal projects, and
his English connexions. The nomination of Joseph as King of Spain and
the Indies, had been universally attributed to the excessive vanity of
Napoleon, who, as it was supposed, was determined to drop a crown upon
the head of every member of the imperial family. But now opinion
changed. King Joseph's promotion was felt to have been caused by the
necessity of placing Spain for ever out of the reach of English
influence. Had not Napoleon allowed the Cortes of Spain to elect their
monarch of their own uncontrolled authority? Had he not said to them
in public, "Dispose of the throne. Little do I care whether the king
of Spain is called Ferdinand, or whether he is called Joseph; let him
only be the ally of France, and the enemy of England[20]?"

                   [Footnote 20: The Emperor thus addressed the
                   Spanish Cortes; when assembled at Bayonne.]

It was still more easy to justify the Russian war. A Quixotic love of
the marvellous was no longer supposed to be the passion which excited
it. In making war against Russia, he was actuated by the desire of
avenging the injuries which that power had occasioned to France, at
the moment when the Russian government again opened its ports to the
English, thus snatching from the nation the reward of the sacrifices
which we had made for the establishment and consolidation of the
continental blockade,--of that universal barrier which made England
and her thousand vessels tremble!

The invasion of Germany was no longer the effect of Napoleon's
insatiate thirst of power and glory[21]. It was seen, that there was
no other sure method, by which the English, the irreconcilable
enemies of France, could be deprived of their fatal continental
influence, by which they could be compelled to abandon the empire of
the seas. In short, Napoleon was only inflicting a salutary and
equitable punishment, deserved by those sovereigns of all sizes. After
having implored or obtained the alliance of Napoleon, and after having
ratified the bond by engagements and promises upon which he generously
relied, they compelled him to take up arms, in order to prevent them
from receiving the agents of England into their cabinets, and her
merchandizes into their ports.

                   [Footnote 21: Napoleon was accused of having
                   aspired to universal monarchy. In all ages, this
                   desire has been imputed to powerful and ambitious
                   sovereigns. Let us confess that no monarch was ever
                   better justified in yielding to the seductions of
                   this brilliant phantom than Napoleon. From the
                   summit of his throne he held the reins which guided
                   the greater part of Europe, whose docile monarchs
                   instantly obeyed any direction which he chose to
                   give them. At the first word, at the slightest
                   signal, their subjects were arrayed beneath the
                   imperial eagle. Their continual intercourse with
                   us, the obligation of obeying Napoleon, an
                   obligation imposed upon them by their own princes,
                   had accustomed them to consider the Emperor as
                   their chieftain. But whatever ambition may have
                   been attributed to Napoleon, his good sense
                   restrained him from aspiring to universal monarchy.
                   He had another plan; he intended to re-establish
                   the eastern and western empires. It would now be
                   useless to reveal the lofty and powerful
                   considerations by which this grand and noble idea
                   was suggested to Napoleon. Then, France might have
                   been allowed to grasp again the sceptre of
                   Charlemagne: but now, we must forget that we have
                   been the masters of the world.]

Thus the partisans of Napoleon invented arguments by which they
palliated his faults and justified his errors. No objection, no
reproach was left without its answer. After defending him against his
accusers they became his advocates; and, turning to the fairer pages
of his history, their praises knew no bounds; these eulogiums were
certainly more just, and, perhaps, more sincere.

"Napoleon," said they, "had all the great qualities of the greatest
monarchs, whilst he was exempted from their vices. Napoleon was not
stained by the lechery of Cæsar, nor by the drunkenness of Alexander,
nor by the cruelty of Charlemagne."

At an age when others scarcely start in life, his years were
outnumbered by his victories; and the kings of Europe, conquered by
his sword or subjugated by his genius, cowered before the imperial

In France, when aggrandized by the conquests of Napoleon, the empire
of ancient Rome was re-produced before the astonished world. The
French name, tarnished by the crimes of the revolution, regained its
ancient honour and its mastery. The nation was feared, admired, and
respected by the entire universe.

Philosophy graced Napoleon no less than warlike prowess. After he had
covered the nation with glory by his victories, he was willing to
insure our welfare by his laws. He bestowed upon us that immortal code
of jurisprudence which invested him with the title of the legislator
of France, a title to which our former kings had aspired in vain. He
organised that admirable system of finance and administration, which
their subjects, groaning under misrule, implored but without effect.

Still he had not accomplished enough to satisfy his noble and
beneficent ardour. Arts, sciences, and industry were to flourish in
our country. The munificent aids[22] which were granted by Napoleon,
created the thousands and thousands of manufactories from whence
proceeded those finished works of skill and labour which became the
pride of the French, and the despair and ruin of foreign nations. The
sons of Apollo[23], on whom he lavished his gifts and favours, seized
the crayon, the compass, and the chisel. Paris became a second
Athens, when adorned by the wonders of art to which his munificence
gave birth. We then saw the venerable Louvre rise, as by enchantment,
from its deserted ruins; the palaces of our Kings became more
gorgeous; the temples of the arts were enriched by productions which
rivalled the relics of antiquity; our native land brought forth those
establishments so proudly useful to the public, and those monuments
destined to transmit the recollections of our fame and glory to the
most distant posterity.

                   [Footnote 22: Neither the nature nor the extent of
                   these aids has been well understood out of France.
                   Napoleon revived our industry by the loans, which
                   he never hesitated to grant to any enterprising
                   manufacturer who needed capital; and this
                   assistance was always liberal and well-timed.]

                   [Footnote 23: Louis XIV., who has been so much
                   praised for his liberality, only distributed 52,300
                   francs per annum to the literati and artists of
                   France, and 14,000 francs to foreigners.]

At the same moment his sovereign will guided the hands which curbed
the waves of the ocean, and caused them to roll over a new abyss. He
directed those labours which substituted wide harbours, superb
dock-yards, and fertilizing canals, in the place of desert shores and
pestilential marshes, restoring commerce and existence to the
innumerable inhabitants of the sea coast, and of the banks of the
Scheld and the Somme. At the same moment his voice created those Roman
highways, branching through all parts of France, and Germany, and
Italy, equally useful and majestic, and which afforded to the
inhabitants of those countries means equally speedy and secure of
communicating with each other, and of exchanging the products of their
industry: and never will the friend or even the enemy of Napoleon
cross the summits of the Alps, or ascend their craggy sides, without
venerating the magnanimous sovereign, who, anxious to guide the steps
and protect the life of the traveller, has enclosed the precipice,
chained the torrent, and linked the great mountains of the earth,
which during so many ages have braved the might of man and time. When
future ages shall gather up in memory the glorious and transcendent
deeds of Napoleon; when they shall number the blessings which he
dispensed, and the victories which he gained, never will they believe
that one man can have worked such miracles in so short a period. They
will rather fancy that the historian was playing with the credulity of
posterity, that he culled out all the great deeds performed by
successive generations of the greatest men during an infinite series
of ages, and that he has attributed them all to his ideal hero.

The soldiers who had bled beneath the banners of Napoleon would not
listen in silence to the praises which others bestowed upon his name.
His foreign conquests, which even they had lately considered as the
causes of our misfortunes, became again the sources of inexhaustible

They recollected that Napoleon had ruled as the master of Madrid, of
Lisbon, of Munich, of Warsaw, of Hamburgh, of Berlin, of Vienna, of
Milan, of Amsterdam, of Rome, of Moscow, of Cairo.

Some recalled the memory of the day of Lodi. They saw him standing on
the bridge re-animating his dispirited followers, defying danger and
death whilst he waved the national flag, and drove the enemy from
their entrenchments, and blasted their glory. Others pointed him out
whilst crossing the perpetual snows and yawning chasms of Mount St.
Bernard, and then victorious on the plains of Marengo, where he won
that battle which insured the peace and glory of the country.

Austerlitz had its chroniclers, who described Napoleon as he fell with
the rapidity and violence of the thunderbolt on the battalions of the
Austrian and the Russian, and when he afforded to those trembling
monarchs an example of magnanimity which they knew not how to imitate
when generosity became their duty. Nor did his enthusiastic advocates
omit the field of Jena, where his victorious ensigns chased the flying
troops of Frederic, who, deceived by their recollections, yet held
themselves to be the paragons of military worth. They retraced his
paths amidst the burning sands of Egypt, amidst the icy wastes of
Muscovy; and in either region Napoleon supported fire and frost
without ostentation, and taught resignation and endurance to his
soldiers by his unshaken constancy.

More recent and more painful victories contributed equally to endear
him. They saw Napoleon in Champagne, when his veteran army scarcely
equalled one of the numerous divisions of the enemy. At the head of
his scanty troops he watched, and avoided, and surprised the
Austrians, the Russians, and the Prussians: wounding them on all sides
by his victorious weapons, and with such promptitude, that he seemed
to have bestowed wings upon iron and death. They placed him at Arcis
sur Aube, advancing before his squadrons, and rushing forward to meet
the balls and bullets of the enemy; for he sought to sacrifice on the
field of battle that life, which he foresaw he could no longer
dedicate on the throne, to the glory and prosperity of the nation.

In short, generals, officers, and soldiers, all vied with each other
in calling to mind the marches, the sieges, the conflicts, the
attacks, the days, which had immortalized their general[24]; and is
there a heart amongst us which does not beat higher at these

                   [Footnote 24: The soldiers identified the name of
                   Napoleon with their country and their honour. When
                   the accession of Louis XVIII. put an end to the
                   sufferings and captivity of those who were
                   imprisoned in England, they returned to France,
                   cursing the cause of their liberty, and exclaiming,
                   "Vive l'Empereur!" Even in the deserts of Russia,
                   neither threats of ill treatment, nor promises of
                   assistance offered to the French prisoners at the
                   moment when they were starving, could extort a
                   single complaint against Napoleon.]

The sentiments thus awakening in favour of Napoleon were cherished by
his friends, and by all those who, wearied of the Bourbons or
discontented with their government, now wished for his return. His
name, which lately we had scarcely dared to utter, was now in every
mouth, his image in every mind. The nation began to regret the
Emperor, then they longed for him; and every one was impressed by a
secret presentiment that these expectations would soon be realized.

Whilst this formidable revulsion of opinion was increasing and
appearing throughout the kingdom, it was scarcely heeded by the
ministry, the court, and the emigrants, who reposed with complacent
security on the volcano which they had kindled, and without
entertaining the slightest apprehension of the approaching explosion.

"If they wish to go out of the kingdom," said M. de Chateaubriand,
when alluding to the partisans of the Emperor, "if they wish to return
again, to receive or despatch letters, to send expresses, to make
proposals, to circulate false intelligence, and even to distribute
bribes, to assemble in secret or in public, to menace, to disseminate
libels, in short, to conspire against the government,--they are at
liberty to do their worst. The royal government, which began but eight
months ago, now rests upon so sure a basis, that, were it now to be
obstinate in repeating folly after folly, it would hold good in spite
of all its errors."

This infatuation, however, soon diminished. Without understanding the
full extent of the evil, the government ascertained that the army and
the nation were agitated and discontented, and they deliberated on the
methods which it would be proper to employ, not for the purpose of
conciliation, but for enforcing silence.

Acquainted with the uneasiness of the government, certain frantic
Chouans gave out that it was full time to despatch the Bonapartists.
One chieftain, celebrated in the annals of La Vendée, was even so
audacious as to declare to general Ex..... that he only waited for the
arrival of his faithful Vendeans, and then he would fall upon the

The news of this massacre soon reached the ears of the intended
victims. Some quitted Paris, others armed themselves, and prepared to
sell their lives as dearly as they could. It is said that the
government became acquainted with the bloody conspiracy of the
Chouans, and that they relieved France and the world from the
spectacle of another St. Bartholomew's day.

This intended massacre (I have never been able to believe in it,)
persuaded the revolutionists that they could expect neither respite
nor mercy from the royalists, and that one of the two parties would be
compelled to destroy the other. The soldiers of Napoleon began to
unite, and to make themselves ready. The ministers were anxious to
disperse these assemblages, which gave them uneasiness; orders were
issued, by which all officers, whether of the staff or regimental,
were prohibited from residing at Paris without permission; and all who
were not Parisians by birth were ordered to return to their native
provinces. This measure increased the exasperation of the military,
and it did not diminish the danger. The reduced officers, instead of
conforming to the order, encouraged each other in disobedience.
According to the regulations of the war department, their contumacious
residence at Paris would subject them to the loss of their half-pay;
and many of them, though in poverty, preferred independence to
submission. The ministers were irritated by this resistance, and they
determined to make an example. It happened that a letter of
congratulation which General Excelmans addressed to his former
sovereign, the king of Naples, was intercepted. This opportunity was
gladly seized by the new Minister at war[25]. He put the General on
the half-pay list, and ordered him to retire immediately, and until
further orders, to the distance of sixty leagues from Paris. Excelmans
maintained that the Minister at war had no right to remove an officer,
not being in active service, from his domicile; and he would not go:
upon this he was immediately taken into custody. It was pretended that
he had been guilty of a traitorous intercourse with the enemies of the
King, and that he was also guilty of disobedience to his Majesty's
orders. The government expected that this blow would produce the best
possible effect; but it recoiled against them: Excelmans was known to
all France; he was valued as one of her bravest and most estimable
children. The spite and hatred of the ministers had loaded him with
accusations; but his alleged treasons, far from depriving him of
public esteem and public affection, only endeared him to his
companions in arms, and to the nation at large.

                   [Footnote 25: Marshal Soult had just succeeded
                   General Dupont.]

Excelmans was brought to trial, and the court acquitted him[26]. The
council of war, by sanctioning the disobedience of the General,
declared that the government did not possess that authority over
reduced officers which they had assumed; and from this moment the
government was ruined. The decision by which the half-pay military
were enfranchised, and which left them at liberty to brave the
commands of the government, was a shock which beat the royal authority
to the ground.

                   [Footnote 26: M. Comte, one of the acute and
                   courageous editors of the Censor, was chosen by the
                   general as his "counsel." General Fressinet was his
                   advocate. (According to the forms of the French
                   courts of judicature, the counsel assists by his
                   advice, the advocate pleads.) This officer, equally
                   distinguished by his firmness, his talents, and his
                   bravery, was afterwards punished and exiled on
                   account of the generous assistance which he gave on
                   this important occasion to General Excelmans, his
                   fellow soldier and friend.]

Here I shall stop. It would be of no further use to lengthen the
history and the investigation of the absurd tyranny of the government.
If we trace the progress of the principles successively enounced by
the ministry, and the actions of which they were the authors, we shall
see that they had formed and executed the project of re-establishing
the old monarchy, and of overturning the constitutional government
either by artifice or by main force. The royal charter was spurned by
them, and they trampled without scruple on the civil and political
rights which it consecrated. Every guarantee given to the army, the
magistracy, the public functionaries, or the nation, was forgotten,
attacked, or violated. Our national glory was insulted; public feeling
was wounded. The manners and customs and opinions of the new era were
all treated with harshness: all ranks and classes of citizens
experienced those vexations which filled them with discontent. By
injustice and bad faith the government deprived the King of our
confidence and love, and caused the restoration of the Emperor to
become the hope of the nation. In spite of the obstacles experienced
by the ministry, in spite of the affronts to which they had been
subjected, in spite of the retrograde steps which they had been
compelled to take, they still clung to the baneful system which they
had fostered; and, bigoted to these plans, they continued to persevere
in those errors which recalled Napoleon from his exile, just as
Napoleon persevered in the errors which recalled the Bourbons back
from theirs.

But whilst the storm was gathering in France, how was Napoleon
employed? Ambition had taken flight, and he was seen to prefer a life
of unostentatious retirement to all his former grandeurs. Repose had
greater charms for him than the noble turmoil of war; and his genius,
no longer teeming with meditation, yielded to the pleasures of
retirement. The study of botany, the cares of his household, the
plantations which he had made, and those which he was still planning,
beguiled his hours[27]; and, like the Roman Diocletian, he might have
said to those who suspected that he longed in secret after the throne,
"Come and see me in my retirement: I will show you the gardens which I
have planted, and you will talk no more to me about the empire."

                   [Footnote 27: It has been alleged, but without
                   foundation, that he retained his taste for military
                   exercises. Not one review took place during his
                   residence at Porto Ferrajo; arms seemed to have no
                   attractions for him.]

Napoleon, during the early part of his retirement in Elba, felt only a
vague desire of reigning. Grieved by the miseries of France, the
country which he loved so truly, wearied by the vicissitudes of
fortune, disgusted with mankind, he feared that, if he attempted to
seize the sceptre again, he should involve France and himself in new
troubles; and, without abandoning his expectation of re-ascending the
throne, he resolved to allow his resolutions to be guided by futurity.

The turn taken by public affairs soon roused the Emperor from this
state of indifference and hesitation. At first he hoped, and I have
heard him say so, that the Bourbons, instructed by adversity, would
confer liberty and happiness upon the nation. But when he witnessed
the power which was bestowed upon the priesthood, the emigrants, and
the courtiers, he foresaw that the very same causes which had produced
the first revolution, would soon occasion a second. From that period
he watched the continent; nor did he lose sight, even for a moment, of
the congress, or of France, or of the Bourbons. He could tell the
talents[28], the principles, the vices, and the virtues of all those
who had acquired the confidence of Louis XVIII, either by intrusion or
by favour. He could measure the degrees of influence which each was
capable of acquiring and exercising, and he calculated beforehand on
the errors which they would inevitably induce his docile successor to

                   [Footnote 28: It is well known that there was not a
                   single individual of note in the service, either of
                   his allies or of his enemies, whose strong and weak
                   points were not perfectly understood by Napoleon.]

Napoleon now employed himself again in reading the public journals of
France and of foreign countries; he read assiduously all periodical
works of a political tendency; he studied these productions; he
investigated them with acuteness, and he could well divine the meaning
of a writer who was compelled to be silent, and conjecture the nature
of intelligence which an editor was forced to suppress.

Strangers of distinction, and particularly the English, were received
by Napoleon with affability and kindness, and he used to talk freely
with his visitors on public affairs. He knew how to draw them out, and
to lead them to expatiate on points which he wished to penetrate; and
he seldom failed to obtain much useful information from those
interviews. By these simple methods Napoleon obtained a correct idea
of the events which were taking place on the continent; he was too
well acquainted with revolutions not to be sensible that the sway of
events would open the gates of France, and admit him; and he was too
wary to enter into a private correspondence with his partisans, when
any accident might have revealed his secret wishes, and have afforded
a pretext to his enemies for attacking his independence and his

Napoleon thus waited in silence till the fated time of his
re-appearance in France should arrive, when a French Officer[29],
disguised as a sailor, disembarked at Porto Ferrajo.

                   [Footnote 29: This officer is the person who is
                   named in the declaration made on the 15th of March
                   to the prince of Essling, then governor of the 8th
                   military division, by Monsieur P*****, who landed
                   with Napoleon from the Isle of Elba, and was
                   arrested at Toulon by order of the prefect of the
                   department of the Var.]

Some few days before this Officer set out to join the army in the year
1815, he gave over to me the manuscript narrative of his voyage to the
Isle of Elba. "To you," added he, "I deliver my history, which is also
that of the revolution of the 20th of March. As the Emperor, when
regaining his throne, did not think fit to speak of me, I was
therefore bound to be silent; but I am as eager to live in the memory
of after-ages as he can possibly be[30]. It is my wish that posterity
may learn, that I too shared in the glorious enterprise of subverting
the Bourbon government, and of bringing back the Emperor. My mind
misgives me. I have a presentiment that I shall die in this campaign.
Keep my manuscript, and promise to publish it when the time shall
arrive." I gave my word accordingly; and the forebodings of my friend
were realised, for he was killed at Waterloo.

                   [Footnote 30: At Malmaison the Emperor asked me
                   what had become of M. Z***. I answered that he had
                   been killed on Mount St. Jean: "Well," answered the
                   Emperor, "he is happy. But pray did he tell you
                   that he had been at Elba?"--"Yes, Sire; he even
                   entrusted me with the narrative of his voyage, and
                   of the conversations which he had with your
                   Majesty."--"You must give me this narrative: I will
                   take it with me: it will help me in the composition
                   of my memoirs."--"Sire, it is no longer in my
                   possession."--"What have you done with it? you must
                   get it back, and let me have it to-morrow."--"I
                   have deposited it with a friend, who happens to be
                   absent from Paris."--"So the narrative will be
                   handed about at the mercy of the world."--"No,
                   Sire. It is inclosed in an envelope, and deposited
                   in a box of which I keep the key; but if I should
                   not be able to deliver it to your Majesty, before
                   your Majesty's departure, it will yet come to your
                   knowledge, for I intend to publish it according to
                   the last wishes of M. Z***, unless your Majesty
                   forbids me."--"No; I allow you to print it, only
                   leave out whatever may tend to compromise those who
                   have displayed their attachment towards me. If Z***
                   has made a faithful report of all that passed, the
                   people will know that I sacrificed myself for their
                   good; and that it was not the love of power which
                   brought me again into France, but that I yielded to
                   the desire of restoring to the French those gifts
                   which are dearest to great nations--independence
                   and glory. Take care lest they should get hold of
                   your manuscript--they will falsify it. Send it to
                   England to *****; he will print it; he is devoted
                   to me, and he may be very useful to you. M. ***
                   will give you a letter for him: do you understand
                   me?"--"Yes, Sire."--"But do your utmost to recover
                   your manuscript before my departure. I see that you
                   are anxious to keep it, and I will leave it with
                   you. I only wish to read it." The Emperor read the
                   manuscript, and he returned it to me, saying, "Z***
                   has told the truth, and nothing but the truth; keep
                   his manuscript for future generations."]

I now fulfil my promise. I have not dared to make any alterations in
the narrative: if I had, I should have felt that I was betraying the
wishes of my friend. But I have suppressed the names of the parties
concerned, and I have expunged some passages, in which the Bourbon
family were treated with disrespect.


When Napoleon resigned his crown, I broke my sword. I swore that I
never more would use it in the service of France, or of the new
Sovereign of the nation. But the generous farewell of the Emperor
could not fail to affect me; and, conquered by the irresistible
influence which the love of glory and of our native land exercises
upon a French soldier, I soon awoke to more praiseworthy and more
tempered feelings. My recollections faded, my regrets were softened,
and I aspired most sincerely to the honour of being again useful to my
country, and to my country's King.

At first the character which I had earned, procured for me the most
gratifying reception. Dazzling prospects were held out to me. I
believed that I was treated with sincerity. This error was of short
duration. Deceived and baffled, I now understood that they were
cheating the army and myself. They affected to honour us in the
aggregate, because they were afraid of us; and they insulted us
individually, in conformity to their systematic hated. My character
was too proud to allow me to bear with the insults and the contempt
which they wished to pour out upon me. I resigned my commission.
France and her government sickened me; but my military enthusiasm had
not abated. I thought that I should be recollected by the Emperor, who
had distinguished me in the field of battle; and that he would deign
to grant that boon which was dearest to my heart; that he would allow
me to live and die in his service. I therefore made up my mind to
visit the isle of Elba.

Just, however, as I was on the point of departing, I was stopped by a
sudden thought. Abandoned, betrayed, and denied, by men whom he has
heaped with rewards and honours, will the Emperor really believe that
I am really attached to him? Perhaps he will even suspect that I am a
spy, and that the Bourbons have sent me to watch his words and
actions. I was still in relation with those persons who had formerly
enjoyed the confidence of the Emperor. Since the restoration, their
conduct had been marked by frankness and honesty. Their feelings led
them to be faithful to the person of Napoleon; their patriotism and
their principles led them to be devoted to his cause; and they had not
sought to conceal either their fidelity or their devotion. Many
efforts had been made to gain them over to the royal party, but they
had continued immoveable. I therefore thought, that whatever
recommendation I could obtain from any one of the persons in question,
would protect me from the suspicions of the Emperor; and to them I
therefore confided my plans and the causes of my uneasiness, without
hesitation or reserve.

The first, and the second, to whom I thus applied, severally assured
me that they took the most lively interest in the undertaking, and
they betrayed the most tender anxiety for its result. They desired me
to express to the Emperor the grief which his loss had occasioned to
them, and their hopes of seeing him once more; but both were afraid to
compromise themselves by writing to him, and I quitted them without
having obtained my wishes. Then I proceeded to the third, whom I shall
call Monsieur X. We had known each other in those eventful periods
when men are put to the test, and he had kindly formed and retained a
favourable opinion of my character and courage. I unveiled my projects
and my fears. "Your fears," answered he, "are well founded. The
Emperor will distrust you, and probably he will not allow you to
continue with him. My recommendation would, without doubt, be of great
utility to you, but I cannot give it without danger. Not that I should
be in danger, for my affection towards the Emperor is well known to
all the world, but we might put the Emperor himself in jeopardy; for,
if they were to take my letter from you, they might give it over to a
spy, nay, even to an assassin."

This argument appeared conclusive to me, but I answered, "A lucky
thought flashes across my mind. You have acted so long and so often in
connexion with the Emperor, that surely you must be able to recollect
some circumstances, some disclosures known only to yourselves, which,
if I relate them to his Majesty, will prove to him that you trust me,
and that I am worthy of his trust."--"Your idea is excellent; yet,"
added he, "I must either give you insignificant details, and then the
Emperor will have forgotten them, or I must reveal important secrets
to you, and I am forbidden by my duty to do so; yet I will turn the
matter over in my mind. Call here again to-morrow morning."

I called again. "I have ransacked my memory," said M. X*** as he
accosted me, "and here is the very thing which you want." He then
delivered a note to me. "I had only considered your expedition to
Elba," continued M. X***, "in relation to your own concerns; but it is
of much greater importance than you imagine, or than I myself thought
it would be. It may produce tremendous consequences. It is impossible
that the Emperor can be indifferent to what is going on in France. If
he was to put any questions to you on that head, how would you answer
him? You must be fully aware how very dangerous it might be if you
were to give him an erroneous idea of our political situation."--"Though
I am a soldier by profession, yet I am not an utter novice in
politics. I have often reflected on the present position of France. I
really think that I understand enough of the matter to be able to
satisfy the curiosity of Napoleon."--"I don't doubt it: but, come,
what is your opinion of affairs?"

In answer to this interrogatory, I entered into an illustrative
analysis of the faults of government, and of the consequences ensuing
therefrom. Our conversation became warmer, and when, after having
discussed the time present, we began to contemplate futurity, our
thoughts were evolved with so much rapidity; we were carried so much
further than we intended, that we ourselves were astonished, and we
then both continued during a short interval in a kind of reverie. I
was the first who broke silence. "Well," said I, "suppose the Emperor,
after having questioned me, were to ask, Do you think the time of my
re-appearance in France is arrived, what must I answer?"--"You will
tell his Majesty that I could not dare to decide so important a
question; but that he may consider it as a positive and incontestible
fact that our present government (as you have well observed) has
wholly lost the confidence of the people and of the army; that
discontent has increased to the highest pitch; and that it is
impossible to believe that the government can stand much longer
against the universal dislike. You will add, that the Emperor is the
only object of the regret and hope of the nation. He, in his wisdom,
will decide what he ought to do."--"If he asks me whether this opinion
is only yours, or whether Messrs. ******* all share in it, what shall
I answer?"--"Tell him that since his abdication those persons have
ceased to be in communication with each other, but that my opinion is
conformable to the general opinion."--"I am now able to answer all
the questions which the Emperor may ask. Adieu."

We embraced each other repeatedly, and we parted.

As soon as I had quitted M. X*** all that had passed between us filled
my mind again. I now contemplated at leisure the mission which I was
called upon to fulfil. I measured its extent, and weighed its
consequences, and I could not help feeling astonished, and in some
measure alarmed, by the result of this self-examination. So long as I
merely intended to go to Elba for the sole purpose of offering my
services to the Emperor, my journey appeared to be nothing out of the
common course of things, and I thought that I should not have
hesitated to declare to the government that I was going to rejoin my
former benefactor, the Sovereign of my choice; but since the object of
my journey had become so much more important; since, to use the words
of M. X***, it might produce tremendous consequences, it seemed that
the government would not fail to watch me; that it would dog me in my
path, and endeavour to spy out all my words and actions.

Hence I became suspicious and uneasy. The note of M. X*** appeared an
immense burthen. I got it by heart, and then I threw it in the fire.
Instead of asking at once for a passport to Genoa or Leghorn, as I had
at first intended, I asked for a passport to Milan. There was a
General officer then residing in that city whom I knew; and I thought
that if the Police were to question me, I might then declare that I
was going to Milan in order to settle my accounts with my friend the
General, he being in my debt for money which I had advanced to him.

Having thus settled my plan, I went on to the "prefecture de police."
Whilst I was stepping across the threshold of the door, my heart began
to beat so violently that I could hardly move or breathe. If at that
instant any body had cried out to me, "Rascal, what are you about?" I
think I should have dropped, and that I should have let out the whole
secret. It must not be thought that my confusion arose from cowardly
fear; no, it was the impression which every honest man ought to feel,
when, for the first time in his life, he commits an action which he is
under the necessity of concealing.

In a few minutes I came to myself again. In I went, and presented
myself boldly to Monsieur Rivière, the Prefect of Police. He
cross-questioned me at full length, but my answers were clear and
firm. My countenance was unabashed, and appeared to preclude all
suspicion, and he granted my passport. Yet, at all events, I thought
it prudent to ascertain whether I was watched, and to my great
surprise I found that during two days I was closely followed. I did
not give any token by which my spy could ascertain that I was aware of
his company, and, in order to mislead him, I went to the
_messageries_, where I took and paid for a place in the Lyons
diligence. But when night came I hired post-horses under a feigned
name, and set off as fast as possible, and in a few days I was at

My friend the General was absent: I wrote to him, and he hastened to
meet me. I confessed that I intended to try to obtain employment under
Napoleon.--"You won't get it," said he; "Napoleon has not ready money
enough to pay his body guard. A good many of my old officers have
joined him, and for themselves and their families they only receive
fifty, or perhaps sixty francs a month. They are in a state of
starvation and despair."--"No matter; I love the Emperor, and come
what may, I will join him. Do tell me how I can soonest put to
sea."--"The thing is not easy; there is no place from whence you can
sail, except only from Leghorn or from Genoa; and those two points are
under such close inspection, that you will be sure to be taken up, if
you are known to be a Bonapartist. You might slip through with greater
ease if you could pass for a tradesman of this town. I will try to get
you a passport, but I am afraid it will be a difficult job."--"Besides,
there is another difficulty, which is still greater; _ma foi_! I can't
speak a dozen words of Italian."--"Is it possible?"--"Yes, I am in
earnest."--"And you would venture on such a scheme! are you
crazy?"--"Crazy or not, I will venture; but can I really embark no
where but at Leghorn or Genoa?"--"There are very many small ports on
the coast of Tuscany, but if you go to any of them you must stop till
there is an opportunity of getting out; and in the mean time you would
be under the _surveillance_ of the authorities, who are, one and all,
exceedingly ill-disposed towards the Emperor and his people. Perhaps
you might be able to embark immediately in the gulf of Spezzia at
Lerici; but, in order to get there, you must go through Genoa, and
along the shore; and then there is great reason to fear that you may
be snapped either by the Piedmontese carabineers, or by the new consul
at Genoa, who, according to what I hear, is quite outrageous. There is
another road through the mountains of Spezzia, but it has not been
used for a long time, and you would run the risk either of breaking
your neck, or of being knocked on the head."--"No matter, if there is
no danger in the victory there is no glory in the triumph. That road
suits me; and to-morrow I will set out on my expedition."--"Is your
passport all right?"--"I will go and get it marked for Lerici."--"Another
piece of stupidity; don't you know that here you have to deal with our
implacable enemies, the Austrians, who will raise all kinds of
difficulties; but I know a Tedesco Colonel (in Italy an Austrian is
called a Tedesco), who will probably be able to do the needful for us:
we will ask him to come and dine with us. Business or quarrels can all
be settled with these gentry when they are feeding."

Our Tedesco Colonel really got my passport through the office. I left
my "calèche" and my baggage at Milan, and the next day I started in a
"seggiola," a kind of a little cabriolet, in which you drive along at
an infernal rate. I travelled through cross roads till I came to the
foot of the mountains. As it was impossible to ascend them in a
wheeled carriage, I was compelled, though reluctantly, to separate
myself from my "conducteur." I bought two horses, one for myself, and
the other for my new guide; this new guide could not speak a word of
French. I had taken care to provide myself with a pocket dictionary,
French and Italian; but I was completely ignorant, or at least very
nearly so, of the way either of pronouncing Italian words, or of
arranging them; and thus our conversation was reduced on both sides to
a few detached phrases, which were often mutually unintelligible.

We set out at break of day. About noon the snow began to fall, and we
had the greatest difficulty imaginable in reaching a hamlet, the name
whereof I have forgotten. The next day the weather became still more
wretched; my guide's horse foundered in the snow, and we lost two
hours in hauling him out again. My guide was an Italian, and, like all
Italians, he was full of superstition, and easily discouraged. He
considered this accident as a bad omen, and he wanted to turn back; I
could only conquer his repugnance by means of a double Napoleon d'or.
Scarcely had I given it to him when I felt the extent of my
imprudence; I was exciting his avarice, and perhaps exposing myself to
become his victim. As we advanced, the road became worse and worse; at
every step we encountered pits and holes, or the road was stopped by
rocks which had fallen in, and which forced us to scramble through new
paths. So much snow had fallen in the north of Italy, and particularly
in the district which we were then crossing, that even the muleteers
had deserted the mountains: and my guide, unable to discern the beaten
road, was compelled to make a survey at every step, lest we should
either lose ourselves, or else tumble down the precipices which
bordered our road of danger. The next day we arrived at Borcetto; the
perils which I had escaped taught me caution: I hired two more horses,
and another guide; and for this addition to my train, I paid out of
all reason. I then met with a custom-house officer, who either out of
kindness, or for the purpose of alarming me, I know not which, warned
me to be particularly on my guard in crossing "la Size," a very lofty
and dangerous mountain, for he told me that it swarmed with robbers. I
put fresh priming in my pistols; I turned up my eyes toward Heaven to
implore its protection, and I set out. When we had proceeded half
way up the mountain, I was accosted by a soldier, who compelled me to
enter the guard-house, and to produce my passport. This post, which
had been lately established for the security of travellers, was
occupied by a subaltern and by six soldiers, who had all served in the
imperial army. They guessed by my looks that I had seen some service,
and, after a short conversation, they asked me to come in and warm
myself by drinking the health of the Emperor Napoleon. I refused at
first, lest I should be entrapped, but they insisted so frankly that I
was compelled to yield. On taking leave I gave them a twenty-franc
piece, in order to drink the health of Napoleon, and mine too; and I
begged them to recommend my guides to take care of me. The commandant
called the guides, and at the same time that he fired a volley of
oaths and curses, he declared that if any accident happened to me, he
would shoot them both on their return. My worthy military friends also
escorted me during a considerable distance, and we separated with
feelings which no one but a soldier can appreciate or understand.

We were to sleep at Pontremoli. Our halt retarded us, and night
overtook us. In order to shorten the distance, my guides led me by a
broad path which wound round the side of the mountain. The descent
was so steep that our horses came down every moment, and we ourselves
were obliged to slide along. I found myself at the foot of the
mountain in a spot which was so dark and dreary, that I fancied my
guides had conducted me thither in order to dispatch me. After having
groped along for some time, my guides stopped. The darkness and the
snow concealed the face of the country to such a degree, that they did
not know where they were, nor which way they ought to turn: their fear
became excessive; they prayed to all the Saints in heaven in their
turn: they shook each other by the hand, and embraced each other like
sailors on the point of being shipwrecked. My _sang froid_ did not
desert me; I took one of the horses which looked like an old roadster;
I dropped the bridle on his neck, and gave him a sound cut with my
whip; he started, I followed, and a few minutes afterwards, to the
inexpressible surprise, and also to the inexpressible satisfaction of
my guides, we found ourselves in the right road, and within half an
hour's ride of Pontremoli, where we arrived towards midnight.

From Pontremoli to Spezzia there was yet a journey of four-and-twenty
hours; and four-and-twenty hours on such roads as I had gone over
are equal to four-and-twenty centuries. But how great was my delight
on quitting Pontremoli, when, instead of the frozen rocks and deserts,
which I had crossed the eve before, I saw nothing as I looked around,
but valleys clothed with verdure, and enamelled with flowers; and
hills surrounded and crowned by evergreens and olive-trees. On the day
before, winter reigned with all his severity; the day after exhibited
spring with all her charms. This pleasing transition beguiled my
impatience; and the agitations which had become habitual to my soul
were succeeded by that happy tranquillity, which is inspired by the
contemplation of the beauties and the gifts of nature.

A few leagues beyond Pontremoli the road is interrupted by a deep and
rapid stream. There is a ford across this torrent. It had scarcely
been indicated to me by my guides, beyond whom I had advanced, when I
dashed into the water; but instead of guiding my horse to the right
(as I ought to have done), I took the opposite direction. My guides,
who saw my mistake, screamed out in Italian, "fermate, fermate!" which
means, "stop, stop!" I thought it meant "firm, firm!" so I whipped and
spurred my horse with all my might; he lost his footing, and I
narrowly escaped drowning. When I reached the opposite shore my
guides treated me with a sermon, which I dare say was very energetic,
and in which the "Devil and the Frenchman" appeared to be the leading

I arrived on the **** at Lerici. I rejoiced when I saw the sea before
me, when I saw the last obstacle which was interposed between the
fulfilment of my hopes and the termination of my labours. But
unhappily my joy was of short duration; in the course of the night I
was attacked by an oppression on my chest, accompanied by a burning
fever: this was the result of the cold bath which I had taken in the
river. My mental sufferings were severe: I thought to myself, if I
should be so unlucky as to get an inflammation on my lungs, what will
become of me here without help, without friends, and in a strange
land? Ah, my beloved country! ah, my dear mother! have I left you
both, in order to perish in the arms of hirelings and of strangers!
Have I only reached the long wished-for shores of Spezzia but to
experience the grief of not being able to sail from them! Ah, if I
could but have reached the Emperor, if I could but have spoken to him,
if I could but have expired at his feet, then I should not have
regretted life! My devoted attachment would have been known; my memory
honoured; my name, linked to the destiny of the Emperor, would,
perhaps, have descended with his unto posterity.... I sent for a
doctor: by singular good fortune, the medical man who came to attend
me was a retired army surgeon, a worthy man, and a great admirer of
the French. When I was quite out of danger, he expressed a wish to
know the motives which had induced me to cross the mountains to
Lerici: and he gave me to understand that he guessed my views. A man
who speaks is always liable to less suspicion than a man who says
nothing; I therefore thought it right to allay the doctor's curiosity.
After exhorting him to secrecy, and making a great mystery of the
matter, I confessed that I was a Colonel in the French army, and that
an officer who held a high rank in the service of Napoleon had married
my sister. My sister, I proceeded to state, was so afflicted and
broken down by the expatriation of her husband, that her medical
attendants had declared her life to be in the greatest danger. My
sister's illness, and the care of her four small children, prevented
her from rejoining her husband; and therefore, in order to restore
health and happiness to my poor dear sister, I had determined to go to
Elba, for the purpose of reminding my brother-in-law of the duty which
he owed to his wife and children, and that I hoped to be able to
induce him to return to France, at least for a short time.

I took care to diversify my romance with sighs and sentimental
reflections, and it appeared to affect him exceedingly. He condoled
with me, he tried to console me; he gave me the most flattering hopes,
and he promised to serve me to the utmost of his power, and with all
his heart and soul.

As soon as I was in a state of convalescence, I became more ardent
than before, in search of an immediate opportunity of embarking. My
complaisant doctor introduced me to the captain of a running felucca,
and I hired his vessel for a fortnight.

The captain asked me for my passport, in order that he might receive
his "_feuille de bord_" and his "_boletta_" from the port officer.
This was in consequence of regulations of which I was wholly ignorant.
The fact is, that no vessel can clear out of one port, or enter
another, without a "_feuille de bord_," stating the complement of the
crew, and the number of passengers; and a "_boletta_," or certificate,
delivered by the health officers to each of the passengers and crew
individually, stating that the bearer has not been attacked by any
infectious disorder. These papers are only delivered on the
production of the passports, to which they must correspond exactly. I
did not expect this proceeding; my plans were all disorganized: my
passport did not authorize me to embark; and I was afraid if I
produced it, (for in such situations we are afraid of every thing),
that difficulties might arise, and that they would refer to the Consul
or his agents.

The Captain guessed the cause of my uneasiness, and he offered to
procure a passport and a _boletta_ under a feigned name. I refused: I
thought it more advisable to run the risk of being punished as a
Bonapartist than as an impostor. "Since you will not do so," said the
captain, "there is but one course which you can pursue: you must get
on board a boat, and pass for a common sailor. I will manage the
business for you."--Some hours afterwards the captain came to me with
a Gallo-Genoese sailor, who offered to take me, without any papers,
wherever I wished to go. He added, that he had a relation who was a
gunner on board the Inconstant, a brig belonging to Napoleon, and that
he should be very glad to see him again. I judged that my design of
going to Elba had got wind: I therefore determined, if possible, to
depart that very night. It was therefore agreed that Salviti, so the
sailor was called, should fetch me, and that we should put out to sea,
however bad the weather might prove.

Whilst these arrangements were going on my doctor paid me a visit. The
doctor told me that the commandant of the town, whom he attended, was
going to send a file of his carabineers to bring me before him in
order to ascertain the reason of my arrival, and of my residence on
the shores of the gulf. "I told him," continued the doctor, "that you
are unwell, and that you are going to your family in Corsica, and that
you intend to begin your voyage as soon as you are able to support the
fatigue. I think I have made him easier, yet don't trust him: be off
as quick as you can."--"I shall be off to-night; but as your
commandant or his gensdarmes might take a fancy to lay hold of me
between this and then, I therefore think it will be more prudent for
me to go to him of my own accord, and to confirm the story which you
have had the goodness to tell him." Accordingly I went immediately to
the Commandant; and as the doctor had let me into the character of the
man, I easily succeeded in pleasing and tranquillizing him. However,
he made me promise that I would bring my passport to him to-morrow. I
gave as many promises as he could wish. At midnight we set sail; and
by break of day we had already lost sight of the gulf of Spezzia, and
of the majestic scenery which surrounds it. The bark which carried me
and all my fortunes was only a common boat with four oars and a lateen
sail. The crew consisted of six men; Salviti could speak French, and
he was a good-looking fellow: the countenances of the others displayed
want and utter profligacy. They examined me with great curiosity, and
they were constantly talking about me. Salviti interpreted their
discourse. I gave them civil language. We even seek to please sailors
when we are in need of their help[31]. I was sea-sick without
intermission; and to complete my misfortunes I had omitted to furnish
myself with provisions. I was therefore obliged to mess with my
companions; and their food consisted of stinking salt fish, and
chiefly of _bacalao_, or salt cod, which is eaten quite raw.

                   [Footnote 31: On cherche à plaire même à des
                   matelots quand on a besoin d'eux.]

The wind was against us, therefore we did not come in sight of the
lighthouse of Leghorn until the morning of the second day. How can I
express my surprise and anger when I saw that our vessel was making
the mouth of the harbour! "Salviti, where are you taking me?"--"To
Leghorn."--"I won't go to Leghorn," I exclaimed with a great oath. "It
is not to Leghorn that you promised to take me."--Salviti answered,
with confusion, that he was not the owner of the vessel, but that he
hired it in partnership with the rest of the crew, that they were all
smugglers, and that they were going to Leghorn for the purpose of
arranging an expedition of consequence with other smugglers there.
Their business would be soon settled, and then they would take me to
Porto Ferrajo; and he declared that he gave his word of honour that he
would do so, and that I might trust him.--"I will not agree to all
this," I exclaimed, presenting my pistols to his breast: "Let us go
straight on to Elba, or I will shoot you."--"Shoot away, if you like,
but you will not do yourself much good: my companions will heave you
into the sea, or else you will be guillotined at Leghorn." The
coolness of the fellow completely disarmed me. "Well, then," said I,
"swear that you will take me to-morrow to the isle of Elba."--"I have
told you already that I am a scoundrel if I break my word." The
sailors did not understand a word of our dialogue, nor could they
make out what was the cause of my fury. One of them, who had deserted
from the English navy, seized a big knife in the shape of a stiletto.
The others seemed to wait the result, in order to throw themselves
upon me. When this scene had finished, I endeavoured to bribe Salviti
to turn back, but no; he had given his word of honour to go to
Leghorn, and his word of honour was inviolable. Thus I was conducted
against my will into the trap which I wished to avoid. I was worked up
to the highest pitch of fury and vexation; I foamed with rage and
despair. Thus, thought I, wringing my hands, these ruffians will
deprive me of the reward which I was to obtain for my sufferings.
Alas! the Emperor, the Emperor! so near him--under his eyes--at the
moment that--"Rascal!" I cried out to Salviti, "I will follow you like
your shadow, and sooner than allow myself to be arrested, I will blow
out your brains!"--Salviti shrugged up his shoulders, and answered,
"Well and good; but, in the mean time, strip, and dress yourself like
a sailor."--"Why?"--"Why! why, because you have no passport, and they
will lock you up."--I submitted to this new tribulation. One of the
wretches pulled off a heavy jacket with a hood attached to it, in
which I arrayed myself. A coloured handkerchief, all drenched with
sweat and filthiness, was taken from the neck of another of them, and
tied round mine. A third gave me his woollen cap; and in spite of my
unavoidable disgust, I was compelled to draw it on my head down to my
eyes. My beard, by good luck, did not disgrace my unshaved messmates,
and in order that the colour of my hands might not betray me, I washed
them in the bilge-water which stagnated beneath the flooring of our
boat. More remained to be done: our "_feuille de bord_" stated that
our crew consisted of six men: we were seven. It therefore, became
necessary to hide one[32]. We chose him who was the shortest, and the
most slender. He nestled at the end of the boat, and we covered him
with some old mats and sailors' jackets. These preparations being
terminated, I was told to seat myself in the place of a rower, and to
take an oar in my hand; and at night-fall we came into the road of

                   [Footnote 32: As only six were noted in the
                   "_feuille de bord_" they took an extra sailor, in
                   order that there might be six on board after my
                   landing, otherwise, on landing, they would have
                   been obliged to account for the sailor whom I

Salviti presented his papers. The date was too old[33]. The officers
raised objections: he lost his temper; and by way, both of punishment
and precaution, we were ordered to submit to the lesser quarantine,
that is to say, to remain prisoners in the roads during three days.

                   [Footnote 33: The time required for sailing from
                   one port to another is pretty well ascertained; if
                   this period is exceeded, and no sufficient reason
                   can be assigned for the delay, it is assumed that
                   the vessel may have touched at some infected port;
                   and, by excess of caution, they compel you to
                   undergo the lesser quarantine. The lesser
                   quarantine is also ordered as a punishment when the
                   master of a vessel does not behave with due respect
                   and submission to the health officers.]

Salviti came with a sorrowful visage and announced this fresh
misfortune; our vessel tacked about, and we reached our station of

On the morning of the third day Salviti informed me that, according to
custom, they intended to put an "inspector of health" on board of our
vessel, who would pass the night with us, in order to ascertain
whether we were all well. From the person who had brought, or who,
rather, had thrown us our provisions (for all contact is prohibited
under pain of death), he had ascertained the name of our intended
inspector. He was a gamester and a drunkard. Salviti procured cards
and wine; and he assured me that he would manage the inspector in such
a manner as to prevent his taking any notice of me.

As for me, I was not as easy as Salviti. I was afraid lest the
inspector might discover the sailor whom we had hidden, or that he
might guess by my manner, my looks, and my awkwardness, that I was not
really the character which I seemed to be. Besides, a single question
would have ended the matter. I did not understand a single word of
Italian, and I should have betrayed myself either by answering him, or
by remaining silent. It came into my head to counterfeit deafness:
this would excuse me from taking a part in the conversation: and to
make believe that I had a wound in my hand: this would account for my
inactivity, and prevent his observing how little I knew of my
pretended occupation. I drew a few drops of blood, which I smeared
upon some dirty rags, in which I wrapped my hand. Salviti explained my
stratagem to my companions, and their loud peals of laughter explained
to me that they approved of it. The inspector arrived. I kept myself
to myself. Salviti acted his part admirably. So did I: and to my great
delight the evening closed, and nothing disagreeable had happened.
Until this night I had always slept separately from the rest on a
tolerable mattress. But the inspector was now accommodated with my
birth and my bed; and I was compelled to lie on the floor with the
sailors; my head being placed even with the feet of my two next
neighbours. The stench and closeness of the atmosphere of my den drove
the blood into my head, and I thought I should have been suffocated.
Early in the morning my companions began to eat and drink: I kept at a
distance. "Come here, and eat," said Salviti.--"I can't."--"The
inspector will fancy that you are ill, and that will be enough to give
us another quarantine."--I ate. At ten o'clock the health-officers
came near us; and as our inspector made a favourable report, we were
allowed to enter the harbour. I remained on board with one of the
crew, whom I kept as a hostage. The smugglers broke up their cabinet
council about two o'clock; and at three o'clock we quitted our
anchorage. A fair wind filled the sail, and I forgot all my sufferings
and my dangers when I perceived the rock where I was to meet with
Napoleon the Great.

We entered the road of Porto Ferrajo[34], without any difficulty, at
the moment when the cannon fired, announcing that the harbour was
about to close. I heard the French drums sounding the roll: my heart
beat high: I passed the night on the deck of the boat. Notwithstanding
the joy which I felt at my arrival, I could not help indulging in a
certain degree of melancholy, inspired, perhaps, by the silence of the
night, and the aspect of the arid and gloomy mountains which
surrounded me. Ah, how vain is human grandeur! thought I. The air of
that sterile islet is breathed by that incomprehensible man who lately
felt that he had not breathing room in Europe. It is in that humble
hovel that he now dwells with his scanty train of faithful followers;
He whom I have seen in the palace of the Cæsars, receiving the homage
and the worship of the most brilliant court in the world; He whom I
have seen sitting covered, whilst eight Kings stood before him with
their hats in their hands. It is over this little tribe alone, not
exceeding the population of a village, that Napoleon the Great is now
doomed to reign! Napoleon the Great! He who endowed the thrones of his
allies with the leavings of his conquests--He who so long was the
master and the terror of the universe!

                   [Footnote 34: I had believed, according to the
                   statements in the ministerial journals, that the
                   sea was covered by French and English ships, by
                   which all vessels and passengers, proceeding to the
                   island, were intercepted. I did not meet with a
                   single ship of this description. The ports were
                   placed under a "surveillance," equally brutal and
                   tyrannical, but the sea was free. All vessels went
                   in and out of Porto Ferrajo without experiencing
                   the slightest obstacle.]

The sun rose, and put an end to my musings. My joy was inexpressible
when I recognized on the ramparts those old grenadiers whom I had so
often admired and honoured on the field of battle.

I jumped on shore, and I rushed into the nearest inn for the purpose
of putting off my sailor's dress, and then flying to the palace of
Napoleon. But I had been watched and followed: and the functionaries
despatched by general Cambronne, the Commandant of the town,
immediately appeared to secure me. I tranquillized them, and they
accompanied me to the town-house, where General Bertrand then lodged.
I sent in my name, and the General came out. "Sir, do you come from
France?"--"Yes, Monsieur le Maréchal."--"What do you want here?"--"I
wish to see the Emperor, and to solicit employment."--"Does the
Emperor know you?"--"Yes, Sir, and M. X*** has also given me the
means of proving to the Emperor that I am not unworthy of his
goodness."--"Do you bring us any news from France?"--"I do, Monsieur
le Maréchal; and I think that the intelligence which I bring is
good."--"Well, Heaven hears you; as for us, we are so wretched--I am
dying with impatience to have a talk with you about France; but I must
inform the Emperor of your arrival. Perhaps he may not be able to see
you immediately. To-day the English corvette[35] is here, and those
people are suspicious of every thing: is it publicly known who you
are?"--"It is known that I am a French officer."--"So much the worse;
hide your decorations, hold your tongue, and remain within doors and
rest yourself at your inn. I will send for you."--Half an hour
afterwards the Marshal desired me to proceed as quickly as possible to
the Emperor's garden-gate: the Emperor, would come there, and speak to
me without appearing to know me. I went accordingly: the Emperor,
according to his custom, was walking with his hands behind his back.
He passed several times before me without lifting up his eyes; at last
he looked at me: he stopped, and asked me in Italian what countryman
I was. I answered in French that I was a Parisian; that business had
called me to Italy; and that I could not resist the desire of seeing
my old sovereign.--"Well, Sir, talk to me about Paris and
France;"--and as he finished these words he began to walk again. I
accompanied him; and after he had put several indifferent questions to
me aloud, he desired me to enter his apartments: he then ordered
Bertrand and Drouot to retire, and forced me to sit down by his side.
Napoleon began in a reserved and absent manner: "The grand Marshal
tells me that you have just arrived from France."--"Yes, Sire."--"What
do you want here?"--"Sire, I wish to offer my services to you; my
conduct in 1814--" Napoleon interrupting me,--"Sir, I do not question
but that you are a very good officer, however I have so many officers
with me already, that it will be very difficult for me to assist you;
yet we will see: it appears that you know M. X***."--"Yes,
Sire."--"Has he sent a letter for me by you?"--"No, Sire."--Napoleon,
interrupting me, "I see he forgets me just like the rest; since I have
been here, I have not heard a word of him or of any body."--I
interrupted the Emperor in my turn, "Sire, he has never ceased to
entertain those sentiments of devotion and attachment towards your
Majesty which are still cherished by all true Frenchmen; and--"
Napoleon, with disdain; "What, do they still think of me in
France?"--"Never will they forget you."--"Never! that is a strong
expression; the French have another Sovereign, and they are commanded
both by their duty and their tranquillity to think on him alone." This
answer did not please me: the Emperor, thought I to myself, is out of
humour because I have not brought him any letters; he mistrusts me: it
was not worth while to come so far for the sake of such an ungracious
reception.--Napoleon, continuing, "What do they think about me in
France?"--"There, your Majesty is universally deplored and
regretted."--"Yes, and there, also, they manufacture all sorts of lies
concerning me. Sometimes they say that I am mad, sometimes that I am
ill, and you may see (here the Emperor looked at his _embonpoint_), if
I look like an ailing man. It is also given out that they intend to
transport me either to St. Helena or to Malta. I would not advise them
to try. I have provisions for six months, and brave followers to
defend me: but I cannot think that Europe will be so dishonourable as
to rise in arms against a single man, who has neither the power nor
the inclination of hurting others. The emperor Alexander has too much
love for posterity to lend himself to such a crime. They have
guaranteed the sovereignty of the isle of Elba to me by a solemn
treaty. Here I am in my own home; and as long as I do not go out to
pick a quarrel with my neighbours, they have no right to come and
disturb me ... have you served in the grand army?"--"Yes, Sire, I had
the felicity of distinguishing myself under your Majesty's eyes in the
plains of Champagne; your Majesty appeared to take such particular
notice of me, that I had dared to hope that your Majesty would
recollect me."--"Why, yes; I thought, somehow, that I knew your face
when I saw you, but I have only a confused recollection of you."--Poor
mortals! thought I to myself, go and expose your lives for the sake of
Kings, go and sacrifice your youth, your repose, your happiness for
their sake!--"In what affairs have you distinguished yourself?"--"Sire,
at *****, and at ***** Marshal Ney there presented me to your majesty,
saying, 'Sire, here is the intrepid S.... P..... of whom I have spoken
to your Majesty.'"--"Ah! ah! I really do recollect--yes, I was very
well pleased indeed, with your behaviour at **** and at ****; you
showed much resolution, much strength of character. Did I not
'decorate' you on the field of battle?"--"Yes, Sire."--Napoleon, with
greater warmth and confidence, "_Eh bien!_ how are they all treated in
France by the Bourbons?"--"Sire, the Bourbons have not realized the
expectations of the French, and the number of malcontents increases
every day."--Napoleon, sharply; "So much the worse, so much the worse:
but how, has not X. sent me any letters?"--"No, Sire; he was afraid
lest they might be taken from me; and as he thought that your Majesty,
being now compelled to be vigilant, and to distrust all the world,
might distrust me also, he has revealed several circumstances to me,
which are only known to your Majesty and to himself; thus enabling me
to give a proof that I am worthy of your Majesty's confidence."--"Let
us hear them." I began my detail, but he exclaimed, without allowing
me to finish, "that's enough; why did you not begin by telling me all
that? there is half an hour that we have lost." This storm[36]
disconcerted me. He perceived my confusion, and resumed his discourse
with mildness.--"Come, make yourself easy, and repeat to me, with the
greatest minuteness, all that has passed between you and X****." I
then related the circumstances which had induced me to have an
interview with Monsieur X****. I repeated our conversation word for
word. I gave him a complete account of all the faults and excesses of
the royal government; and I was going to draw the inferences which had
occurred to Monsieur X**** and me. But the Emperor, who, when he was
affected, was incapable of listening to any recital without
interrupting it, and making his comments at every moment, stopped my
mouth. "I thought so, too," said he, "when I abdicated, that the
Bourbons, instructed and disciplined by adversity, would not fall
again into the errors which ruined them in 1789. I thought that the
King would govern you '_en bon homme_.' This was the only way by which
he could obtain a pardon from you, for having been put upon you by
foreigners. But since they have stepped into France, they have done
nothing but acts of madness. Their treaty of the twenty-third of
April," (raising his voice,) "has made me deeply indignant: with one
stroke of the pen they have robbed France of Belgium, and of all the
territory acquired since the revolution. They have deprived the nation
of its docks, its arsenals, its fleets, its artillery, and the immense
_materiel_ which I had collected in the fortresses and the ports which
they have ceded. Talleyrand has led them into this infamous business:
he must have been bribed. Peace is easy upon such terms. If, like
them, I had consented to the ruin of France, they would not now be on
my throne:" (with energy,) "I would sooner have cut off my right hand.
I preferred renouncing my throne rather than to retain it by staining
my glory, and the honour of the French nation.... A degraded crown is
an intolerable burthen. My enemies have published everywhere, that I
obstinately refused to make peace. They have represented me as a
wretched madman, eager only for blood and carnage: this language
answered their turn. When you wish to hang your dog, you give out
that he is mad: _Quand on veut tuer son chien, il faut bien faire
accroire qu'il est enragé._ But Europe shall know the truth: I will
let the world know all that was said and done at Chatillon. I will
unmask the Austrians, the Russians, and the English with a powerful
hand. Europe shall judge: Europe shall say who was the rogue, and who
was wishing to shed human blood. If I had been mad for war, I might
have retired with my army beyond the Loire, and I might have enjoyed
mountain warfare to my heart's content. I would not; I was tired of
carnage ... my name, and the brave fellows who remained faithful to
me, yet made the allies tremble, even in my capital. They offered
Italy to me as the price of my abdication: I refused it. After once
reigning over France, one ought not to reign anywhere else. I chose
the isle of Elba. They were too happy to give Elba to me. This
position suited me. I can watch France and the Bourbons. All that I
have done has been only for France. It is for her sake and not for
mine that I wished to render her the first nation in the universe. My
glory is made for myself[37] *******. If I had only thought of
myself, I would have returned to a private station, but it was my duty
to retain the imperial title for my family and my son.... Next to
France, my son is the dearest object in the world to me."

                   [Footnote 35: The corvette commanded by Captain

                   [Footnote 36: Napoleon usually liked to intimidate
                   and disconcert those who approached him. Sometimes
                   he feigned that he could not hear you, and then he
                   would make you repeat in a very loud tone what he
                   had heard perfectly well before. However, he was
                   really deaf in a slight degree. At other times he
                   would overwhelm you with such rapid and abrupt
                   interrogatories, that you had not time to
                   understand him, and were compelled to give your
                   answers in confusion. He used then to laugh at your
                   embarrassment; and when he had driven you out of
                   your presence of mind and confidence, he amused
                   himself at your expense.--_Note of the author of
                   the work._]

                   [Footnote 37: "Ma gloire est faite à moi. _Mon nom
                   vivra autant que celui de Dieu!!!_"]

During the whole of this discourse, the Emperor continued striding up
and down, and appeared violently agitated. He paused a little while,
and then he began again. "They (i.e. the emigrants) know too well that
I am here, and they would like to assassinate me. I discover new
plots, new snares every day. They have sent to Corsica one of the
assassins of Georges, a wretch whom the English journals themselves
have pointed out to Europe as a blood-thirsty assassin; but let us be
on the alert. If he misses me, I won't miss him. I shall send my
grenadiers after him, and he shall be shot as an example to others."

After a few moments of silence, he said, "Do my generals go to court?
they must cut a sad figure there." I waited for the end of this
digression, in order to resume the thread of my discourse. As I was
convinced that I could not possibly lead the conversation, I resolved
to let the Emperor have it according to his own way, and I answered,
"Yes, Sire, and they are furious to see themselves superseded in
favour by emigrants who have never heard the sound of a cannon."--"The
emigrants will never alter. As long as they were only required to
dance attendance in my anti-chamber, I had more than enough of them.
When it was necessary to show any heart, they slunk away like.... I
committed a great error, when I recalled that anti-national race into
France. If it had not been for me, they would have died of starvation
abroad; but then I had great motives. I wanted to reconcile Europe to
us, and to close the revolution.... What do my soldiers say about
me?"--"The soldiers, Sire, talk constantly about your immortal
victories. They never pronounce your name but with respect,
admiration, and grief. When the Princes give money to the soldiers,
they drink it out to your health, and when they are forced to cry
_Vive le Roi!_ they add in a whisper, _de Rome_."--"And so they still
love me?" (smiling.)--"Yes, Sire, and I may even venture to say, more
than ever."--"What do they say about our misfortunes?"--"They consider
them as the effect of treachery; and they constantly repeat, that they
never would have been conquered, if they had not been sold to their
enemies. They are particularly indignant with respect to the
capitulation of Paris."--"They are right: had it not been for the
infamous defection of the Duke of Ragusa, the allies would have been
lost. I was master of their rear, and of all their resources; not a
man would have escaped. They too would have had their twenty-ninth
bulletin. Marmont is a wretch; he has ruined his country, and
delivered up his sovereign. His convention with Schwartzenburg would
alone suffice to dishonour him. If he had not known when he
surrendered, that he compromised my person and my army, he would not
have found it necessary to make stipulations in favour of my liberty
and life. This piece of treachery is not the only one. He has
intrigued with Talleyrand to take the regency from the Empress, and
the crown from my son. Caulincourt, Macdonald, and the rest of the
marshals, have been cheated and gulled by him in the most shameful
manner. All his blood would not be sufficient to expiate the harm
which he has done to France.... I will devote his name to the
execration of posterity. I am glad to learn that my soldiers retain
the feeling of their superiority, and that they attribute our great
misfortunes to the right authors. I collect with great pleasure, from
the intelligence which you have brought, that the opinion which I had
formed respecting the situation of France, is correct. The family of
the Bourbons is not fit to reign. Their government may be good for
priests, nobles, and old fashioned countesses: it is good for nothing
for the present generation. The revolution has taught the people to
know their rank in the state. They will never consent to fall back
into their former nullity, and to be tied up by the nobility and the
clergy. The army can never belong to the Bourbons. Our victories and
our misfortunes have established an indissoluble tie between the army
and myself. It is only through me that the soldiers can earn
vengeance, power, and glory. From the Bourbons they can get nothing
but insults and blows. Kings can only retain their power by the love
of their subjects or by fear. The Bourbons are neither loved nor
feared. At last they will throw themselves off their throne; but they
may yet retain their position for a long time. Frenchmen do not know
how to conspire."

In pronouncing these words, the Emperor continued walking hastily, and
using many gestures. He rather appeared to be soliloquizing than
addressing any one else; he then continued, looking at me aside, "Does
M. X*** think that those people can stand much longer?"--"His opinion
on this point is exactly conformable to the general opinion; that is
to say, it is now the general impression and conviction, that the
government is hastening to its fall. The priests and the emigrants are
its only partisans; every man of patriotism or soul is its
enemy."--Napoleon (with energy), "Yes, all men in whose veins any
national blood is flowing must be its enemies; but how will all this
end? Is it thought that there will be a new revolution?"--"Sire,
discontent and irritation prevail to such an extent, that the
slightest partial effervescence would inevitably cause a general
insurrection, and nobody would be surprised if it were to take place
to-morrow."--"But what would you do were you to expel the Bourbons:
would you re-establish the republic?"--"The republic, Sire! nobody
thinks about it; perhaps they would create a regency."--Napoleon (with
vehemence and surprise), "A regency! And wherefore? am I dead?"--"But
your absence...."--"My absence makes no difference. In a couple of
days I would be back again in France, if the nation were to recal me.
Do you think it would be well, if I were to return?" The Emperor
turned away his eyes, and I could easily remark, that to this
question he attached more importance than he cared to manifest, and
that he expected my answer with anxiety. "Sire, I dare not personally
attempt to answer such a question, but...."--Napoleon (abruptly),
"That's not what I am asking you; answer yes or no."--"Why then,
Sire,--yes."--Napoleon (with tenderness), "You really think
so?"--"Yes, Sire, I am convinced, and so is M. X****, that the people
and the army would receive you as their deliverer, and that your cause
would be embraced with enthusiasm."--Napoleon (appearing agitated and
impatient), "Then X*** advises me to return?"--"We had foreseen that
your Majesty would make inquiries on this point, and the following is
literally his answer. You will tell his Majesty that I would not dare
to decide so important a question, but that he may consider it as a
positive and incontrovertible fact, that our present government has
wholly lost the confidence of the people and of the army; that
discontent has increased to the highest pitch, and that it is
impossible to believe that the government can stand much longer
against the universal dislike. You will add, that the Emperor is the
only object of the regret and hope of the nation. He, in his wisdom,
will decide what he ought to do."

The Emperor became silent and pensive; and, after a long meditation,
he said, "I will reflect upon it; I will keep you with me. Come here
to-morrow at eleven o'clock."

On leaving the Emperor, I met the Grand Marshal, who said, "the
Emperor has detained you a long time. I am in terror lest this
interview should have been noticed. We are surrounded by English
spies. The slightest indiscretion might cost us dear. I do not ask you
to relate to me any thing which was reserved for the Emperor; but if,
without violating your duty, you could give me any details relating to
France, you would be doing me a great favour. We hear nothing of what
is going forward, except from the journals and a few commercial
travellers; and the intelligence which we thus obtain is so trifling
and so contradictory, that we do not know what to make of it."--"I can
satisfy you, Monsieur le Maréchal, and without acting indiscreetly:
what I have told to the Emperor is known to all France. Discontent is
at its greatest height, and the royal government is on its last
legs."--"I cannot tell what futurity promises to us; but whatever our
fate may be, we cannot be worse off than we are at present. Our
resources are dwindling away daily; we are becoming home-sick. If we
were not a little upheld by hope, I really do not know what would
become of us. Has the Emperor allowed you to remain with us?"--"Yes,
Monsieur le Maréchal."--"I give you joy, but I pity you. There is no
happiness out of one's own country. I do not regret having followed
the Emperor--this step was dictated to me by my duty and my gratitude;
but I regret France, like an infant who has lost its mother; like a
lover who has lost his mistress." The Grand Marshal's eyes were filled
with tears; he pressed my hand affectionately, and then said, "Come
and breakfast with us to-morrow morning. I will introduce you to my
wife; it will be as good as a fête to her when she has an opportunity
of receiving a Frenchman, and above all, a true Frenchman."

It was soon known all over the town, that a Frenchman had arrived from
the continent. My inn was besieged by a crowd of officers and
grenadiers, who overwhelmed me with inquiries after their friends and
relations. They seemed to think that I must be acquainted with every
living creature in France. Many inquired respecting the state of
public affairs. I evaded their interrogatories, by declaring that I
had quitted France five months since.

I waited on the Grand Marshal according to his invitation. He resided
in one wing of the building occupied by the municipality. In his
apartment, there was hardly any thing to be seen except the four
walls. He took notice that I was surveying its appearance.--"You are
contemplating our misery," said he: "Perhaps it contrasts itself with
the opinion which you may have formed respecting our situation. It is
supposed throughout Europe, that the Emperor carried off immense
treasures; but his camp-plate, his camp bed, and a few broken down
horses, are the only objects which he has preserved, or which he
wished to preserve. Like Saladin, he could cause an outcry to be made
at his door, whilst he exposes our tatters,--behold all that Napoleon
the Great, the conqueror of the universe, has retained from his

The General was as good as his word: he introduced me to Madame la
Maréchale. I was enchanted by her manners and her amiability. Our
conversation turned upon France and the Isle of Elba, the present and
the future; and on quitting Madame Bertrand, I did not know what I
ought most to admire--the lively graces of her mind, or the dignity
and energy of her character.

At eleven o'clock I attended, to present myself to the Emperor. They
made me wait in his saloon on the ground floor. The striped silk
hangings were half worn out and faded; the carpet was threadbare, and
patched in several places; a few shabby arm chairs completed the
furniture of the apartment. I thought upon the splendour of the
imperial palaces, and I drew a deep and melancholy sigh. The Emperor
arrived: he had assumed a degree of calmness in his manner, which was
belied by his eyes. It was easy to see that he had been violently
agitated. "Sir," said he, "I declared to you yesterday, that I
retained you in my service. I repeat the same to you to-day. From this
instant you belong to me, and I hope you will fulfil your duties
towards me like a good and faithful subject: you swear that you
will--is it not so?"--"Yes, Sire, I swear."--"That's right." After a
pause, "I had foreseen the crisis to which France would come, but I
did not think that things were so ripe. It was my intention not to
interfere any longer in political affairs. The intelligence which you
have brought to me has changed my resolutions. I have caused the
misfortunes of France; therefore I must remove them: but before I
commit myself, I wish to have a thorough knowledge of the state of
our affairs. Sit down: repeat to me all that you told me yesterday; I
like to hear you."

Re-assured by these words, and by a look full of kindness and
benignity, I abandoned myself without reserve to all the inspirations
of my heart and soul. The picture which I drew of the sufferings and
hopes of the nation, which I presented to the Emperor, was so touching
and so animated, that he was astonished. "You are a noble young
fellow," said he, "you have truly the soul of a Frenchman; but are you
not carried away by your imagination?"--"No, Sire; the recital which I
have made to your Majesty is quite faithful. I may have expressed
myself with warmth, because I cannot express my feelings otherwise;
but all that I have told you is exact and true. Under such important
circumstances, I should have thought it a crime to substitute the
inspirations of my imagination in the place of truth."--"You therefore
think that France awaits her redemption from me; that I shall be
received as a deliverer."--"Yes, Sire; I will even say more: the royal
government is so exceedingly hateful and disgusting to the French, the
government weighs so very heavily on the nation and the army, that not
only your Majesty, but any body else who would endeavour to liberate
the French would find them disposed to second him."--Napoleon (with
dignity): "Repeat that to me again."--"Yes, Sire, I do repeat it. The
French are so wearied, and degraded, and incensed, by the
anti-national yoke of the emigrants and the priests, that they are
ready to join any one who will promise to deliver them."--"But if I
were to disembark in France, is there not reason to fear that the
patriots may be massacred by the emigrants and the chouans?"--"No,
Sire, I do not think so; we are the most numerous and the bravest
party."--"Yes, but they may heap you in the prisons, and cut your
throats."--"Sire, the people will not let them do that."--"I hope you
may not be deceived; to be sure, I shall get to Paris so speedily,
that they won't have time to consider where they are to hide their
heads. I shall be there as soon as the news of my disembarkation....
Yes," the Emperor continued, after taking a few steps, "I have
resolved.... It was I who gave the Bourbons to France, and it is I who
must rid France of them.... I will set off.... The enterprise is vast,
it is difficult, it is dangerous, but it is not beyond me. On great
occasions fortune has never abandoned me.... I shall set off, but not
alone; I won't run the risk of allowing myself to be collared by the
gensdarmes. I will depart with my sword, my Polanders, my grenadiers
... all France is on my side. I belong to France; and for her I will
sacrifice my repose, my blood, my life, with the greatest joy." After
this speech, the Emperor stopped; his eyes sparkled with hope and
genius: his attitude announced energy, confidence, victory; he was
grand, he was beautiful, he was adorable!--he resumed his discourse,
and said, "Do you think that they will dare to wait for me?"--"No,
Sire."--"I don't think so, either: they will quake when they hear the
thunder of my name; and they will know that they can only escape me by
a speedy flight. But what will be the conduct of the national guards?
Do you think they will fight for them?"--"I think, Sire, that the
national guards will remain neutral."--"Even that's a great deal; as
to their 'gardes du corps,' and their red regiments, I am not afraid
of them: they are either old men or boys: they will be frightened by
the mustachios of my grenadiers. I will make my grenadiers hoist the
national flag;" lifting up his voice and his hand: "I will appeal to
my old soldiers; I will speak to them. None of them will refuse to
hear the voice of their old general.... It is certain that the
soldiers cannot hesitate to choose between the white flag and the
tricoloured flag; between me, by whom they have been covered with
rewards and glory, and the Bourbons, who wish to dishonour them....
And the Marshals, what will they do?"--"The Marshals, who are full of
money and titles, have nothing to wish for but repose. They would fear
to compromise their existence by embracing a doubtful party; and
perhaps they will continue merely spectators of the crisis. Perhaps
even the fear lest your Majesty may possibly punish them for their
defection or treason in 1814 may induce them to adhere to the
king."--"I will punish no one. Do you take me rightly? Tell M. ****
clearly, that I will forget every thing. We have all reason to
reproach each other."--"Sire, I will tell him so with the greatest
joy. This assurance will completely gain all opinions over to your
side; because even amongst your partisans there are men who dread your
return; lest you should revenge yourself."--"Yes, I know that it is
thought that I am revengeful, and even sanguinary; that I am
considered as a kind of ogre, as a man-eater. They are mistaken: I
will make every one do his duty, and I will be obeyed; and that's
all. A weak sovereign is a calamity to his subjects. If he allows
criminals and traitors to fancy that he does not know how to punish,
there is no longer any security either for the state or for
individuals. More crimes are prevented than repressed by severity. A
sovereign must govern by his head, and not by his heart. Yet, tell
X*** that I except Talleyrand, Augereau, and the Duke of Ragusa, out
of the general pardon. They caused all our misfortunes. The country
must be revenged."--"But why exclude them, Sire? Is there not reason
to fear that this exclusion may deprive you of the fruits of your
clemency, and may even raise doubts as to your sincerity in
future?"--"It would be much more exposed to doubt were I to pardon
them."--"But, Sire...."--"Don't you trouble your head about it ...
what is the strength of the army?"--"Sire, I do not know; I only know
that it has been much weakened by desertion and by discharges, and
that few of the regiments consist of more than three hundred
men."--"So much the better; those who are good for nothing have
probably left the army; the good soldiers will have remained. Do you
know the names of the officers who command the maritime districts, and
the eighth division?"--"No, Sire."--Napoleon (out of temper), "Why
did not X*** give you that information?"--"Sire, both M. X*** and
myself were far from supposing that your Majesty would immediately
embrace the glorious resolution of re-appearing in France; besides
which, he might believe, according to the common report, that your
agents did not allow you to remain in ignorance of any circumstance
which might interest you."--"I do know that the newspapers gave out
that I had agents.... It is an idle story. It is true that I sent some
of my people to France, in order to learn what was going on; but they
stole my money, and only treated me with the gabble of the canaille.
C**** has been to see me, but he knew nothing. You are the first
person from whom I have ascertained the situation of France and the
Bourbons under all its extensive bearings. Had it not been for you, I
should never have known that the hour of my return had struck. Had it
not been for you, they would have left me here to dig in my garden. I
have received--I do not exactly know from what quarter--the
description of certain assassins, hired against me; and one or two
anonymous letters besides--all from the same hand, in which I was told
to remain quiet, that the embroideries were coming into fashion, and
other nonsense in the same style; but that's all. It is not upon such
data that one is induced to attempt a crash. But how do you think
foreigners will like my return: there is the great question?"--"Foreign
nations, Sire, have been compelled to confederate against us in order
to protect themselves; allow me to say it...."--"Speak out, speak
out."--"In order to protect themselves against the effects of your
ambition, and the abuse of your strength. Now that Europe has
recovered her independence, and that France has ceased to be
dangerous, foreign powers will probably be unwilling to run the risk
of a new war, which may end by restoring to us that ascendancy which
we have lost."--"If the allied sovereigns were at home in their
capitals they would certainly consider the matter twice before they
would take the field again; but they are yet face to face; and it is
to be feared that war may become an affair of vanity. Do you think it
is true that they are on ill terms with each other?"--"Yes, Sire, it
appears that discord reigns in the congress; that each of the great
powers wishes to seize the largest share of the booty."--"It appears,
also, that their subjects are discontented: is it not so?"--"Yes,
Sire; kings and people, every thing seems to unite in our favour. The
Saxons, the Genoese, the Belgians, the inhabitants of the banks of the
Rhine, the Polanders, all refuse the new sovereigns to whom they are
to be given. Italy, tired of the avarice and the grossness of the
Austrians, pants for the moment of withdrawing from their sovereignty.
Experience has taught the King of Naples that you are his surest
protector, and he will assist the rising of the Italians whenever you
wish it. The princes of the confederation of the Rhine, warned by the
example of Saxony, will become the allies of your majesty after the
first victory. Prussia and Russia will sit quiet, if you will only
allow them to retain their new acquisitions. The Emperor of Austria,
who has every thing to fear from Russia and Prussia, and nothing to
hope for from the King of France, will easily consent, if you only
guarantee Italy to him, to allow you to do what you think best with
the Bourbons. In short, all the powers of Europe, England only
excepted, are more or less interested in not declaring themselves
against you; and before England can have corrupted, or raised the
continent, your Majesty will be so firmly fixed on the throne, that
your Majesty's enemies may try in vain to make you totter."

Napoleon (shaking his head), "All this is very fine; ... however, I
consider it as certain, that the Kings who have fought against me are
no longer guided by the same unity, the same views, the same
interests. The Emperor Alexander must esteem me: he must be able to
estimate the difference which exists between Louis XVIII. and myself.
If he were to understand his policy rightly, he would rather see the
French sceptre in the hands of a powerful sovereign, the relentless
enemy of England, than in the hands of a weak sovereign, the friend
and vassal of the Prince Regent. I would give him Poland, and a great
deal more, if he wished it: he knows that I have been always more
inclined to tolerate his ambition than to restrain it. If he had
continued my friend and my ally, I would have made him greater than he
ever will be now. Prussia, and the petty Kings of the Rhenish
confederation, will follow the lot cast by Russia. If I had Russia on
my side, she would secure me all the second-rate powers. As to the
Austrians, I do not know what they would do: they have never treated
me candidly. I suppose I could keep Austria in order by threatening to
deprive her of Italy. Italy is yet very grateful to me, and much
attached to me: if I were to ask that country for an hundred thousand
men, and an hundred millions, I should have the men and the money. If
they were to force me to make war, I could easily revolutionize the
Italians; I would grant them whatever they might wish, independence or
Eugene. Mejean and some others have done him harm, but, in spite of
that, he is warmly loved, and highly esteemed: he deserves to be so;
he has shown that he possesses a noble mind. Murat is ours. I have had
great reason to complain of him. Since I have been here, he has wept
for his errors, and has done his utmost to repair the injuries which
he has inflicted upon me. He has regained my friendship and my
confidence: his assistance, if I were engaged in war, would be very
useful to me. He has little brains; he has nothing but hand and heart;
but his wife would direct him. The Neapolitans like him tolerably
well; and I have yet some good officers amongst them who would keep
them in the right way. As to England, we should have shaken hands from
Dover to Calais, if Mr. Fox had lived; but as long as that country
continues to be governed by the principles and passions of Mr. Pitt,
we must always be as hostile as fire and water.... From England I
expect no quarter, no truce.... England knows that the instant I place
my foot in France, her influence will be driven back across the seas
... as long as I live I will wage a war of extermination against her
maritime despotism. If the continental powers had seconded me; if they
had not been afraid of me; if they had understood my ambition, their
flags would have floated from the mast-head throughout the universe,
and the world would have enjoyed peace. All things considered, foreign
powers have great reasons to declare war against me; whilst there are
also great reasons to induce them to remain at peace with me. It is to
be feared, as I have already said to you, that they may turn the war
into an affair of vanity, or that they make it a point of honour. On
the other hand, it is possible that they may renounce their coalition,
which has now no longer any object, in order to watch their subjects;
preserving at the same time an armed neutrality, until I shall have
given them sufficient guarantees.

"Their determinations, whatever they may be, will not influence mine.
France speaks, and that is sufficient for me. In 1814 I had to deal
with all the powers in Europe, but they should not have laid down the
law to me if France had not left me to wrestle alone, against the
entire world. Now the French know my value; and, as they have regained
their courage and their patriotism, they will triumph over the enemies
who may attack them, just as they triumphed in the good days of the
revolution. Experience has shown that armies cannot always save a
nation; but a nation defended by the people is always invincible.

"I have not settled the day of my departure: by deferring it I should
have the advantage of allowing the Congress to run out; but then, on
the other hand, I should run the risk of being kept here as a close
prisoner by the vessels of the Bourbons and of the English, if, as
every thing appears to indicate, there should be a rupture amongst
foreign powers. Murat would lend me his navy if I wanted it; but if we
do not succeed he would be compromised. We must not be anxious about
all these matters: we must allow some room for destiny to come into

"I think we have considered all the points upon which it was important
that I should be settled, and that we should understand each other.
France is tired of the Bourbons; she demands her former sovereign. The
people and the army are for us: foreign powers will be silent. If they
speak, we shall be able to reply: this, in short, is the state of the
present time and of the future.

"Depart. Tell X*** that you have seen me, and that I have determined
to expose myself to every danger for the purpose of yielding to the
prayers of France, and of ridding the nation of the Bourbons.... Say
also that I shall leave this place with my guard, on the first of
April--perhaps sooner. I pardon every thing. I will give to France and
to Europe all the guarantees which can be expected or demanded of me.
I have renounced all my plans of aggrandizement, and I wish to repair
the evils which war has caused to us, by a permanent peace.

"You will also tell X*** and the rest of my friends to nourish and
strengthen the good disposition of the people and the army by all
possible means. Explain to X*** that if the excesses of the Bourbons
should hasten their fall, if the French should drive them out before
my disembarkation, then I will not allow of a regency, or any thing in
the shape of it; but let them establish a provisional government,
composed of ... of ... of ... of ... and of.... Go, Sir, I hope that
we shall soon meet again."--"Sire, where shall I land?"--"You must
proceed to Naples; here is a passport of the island, and a letter for
****. Pretend to place great trust in him, but do not trust him with
any thing. You will give him a loose account of the French news; and
you may tell him that I send you there to explore the soundings, and
settle some concerns of moment. I have directed **** to furnish you
with a passport, in order that you may be able to return to Paris
without meeting with any obstacle or danger."--"Your Majesty has then
determined to send me back to France?"--"It must absolutely be
so."--"Your Majesty knows my attachment, and that I am ready to prove
it in any way which may be required. But, Sire, deign to consider,
both for your interest and for that of France, that my departure has
been remarked, and that my return will excite still more notice, and
that it may give rise to suspicion, and perhaps induce the Bourbons to
put themselves on their guard, and cause them to watch the coasts and
the island of Elba."--"Bah! do you suppose that fellows of the police
know every thing, and can foresee every thing? More is invented than
is discovered by the police. The agents of our police were decidedly
as good as those of the present people, and yet they frequently knew
nothing of what was going on but at the end of a week or a fortnight;
and then they found it out only by chance, or incaution, or treason. I
don't fear that any disclosures will be obtained from you by any of
these means. You are clever and decided, and, if they were to work
upon you, you would easily get clear. Besides, when you once arrive at
Paris, don't show yourself; creep into a corner, and nobody will think
of ferreting you out. I could certainly confide this mission to some
of the people who are about me; but I do not wish to make any
additional confidant: you are trusted by X***: I trust you; and, in
one word, you are exactly the man whom I want. Your return is
certainly exposed to objections, but they are as nothing when compared
to its advantages. All that we have said about the Bourbons, and about
France, and about myself, is mere talk, and talk won't overturn a
throne. In order that my enterprise may not be rendered abortive, it
must be seconded, and the patriots must prepare to attack the Bourbons
on one side, whilst I shall occupy them on the other. And, above all,
it is necessary that they should know that they may depend upon me;
that they may know my sentiments, my views, and the resolution which I
have made of submitting to every sacrifice, and exposing myself to
every danger, for the purpose of saving the country."--The Emperor
stopped to look at me. He certainly thought that I was one of those
men who only appear reluctant to obey, in order to enhance the price
of their services; so he said, "Money is always wanted in travelling;
I will order them to pay you a thousand Louis, and then you may set
off."--"A thousand Louis!" I exclaimed with indignation, "Sire, I must
answer your Majesty in the words with which the soldier answered his
general, 'These actions are not performed for pay.'"--"That's very
right; I like to see pride."--"Sire, I am not proud, but I have a
soul; and if I thought that your Majesty could believe that I embraced
your Majesty's cause for the sake of filthy lucre, I should request
your Majesty to cease to rely on my services."--"If I had believed
that to be the case, I should not have trusted you. No person ever
received a more honourable and splendid proof of my confidence, than
that which I am now bestowing upon you, in deciding, merely on the
strength of your word, to quit the isle of Elba, and in directing you,
as my precursor, to announce my speedy arrival in France. But do not
let us talk any more on that head; and tell me if you recollect fully
all that I have told you."--"I have not lost one of your Majesty's
expressions. They are all engraven on my memory."--"Then I have only
to wish you a pleasant journey. I have directed that everything should
be got ready for your departure.

"This evening, at nine o'clock, you will find a guide and horses at
the gate of the town: you will be taken to Porto Longone. The
commandant has been authorised to furnish you with the necessary
quarantine documents. He knows nothing; say nothing to him. At
midnight a felucca will leave the port, by which you will reach
Naples. I am sorry to have hurt your feelings by offering money to
you, but I thought you might be in want of it. Adieu, Monsieur; be
cautious. I hope we shall soon meet again, and I shall acknowledge, in
a manner worthy of your merits, your exertions in favour of the
country and of myself."

Hardly had I gone down to the town, when he sent for me again. "I have
considered," said he, "that it is desirable that I should know what
regiments are stationed in the eighth and tenth military divisions,
and the names of the commanding officers. You will take care to
procure this information during your journey, and transmit it to me
without the slightest delay. Write triplicates of your letters. Send
one by way of Genoa, the second by Leghorn, and the third by Civita
Vecchia. You will take care to write this name legibly, (here he gave
me a memorandum containing the name of an inhabitant of the island).
Fold your letters in a business-like way. In order that the secret of
your correspondence may not be discovered, should any accident happen,
you will put your intelligence in the shape of commercial
transactions, and you will imitate the usual style of bankers. I will
suppose, for example, that between Chambery and Lyon, going by the way
of Grenoble, there are five regiments. You will write to me ... in my
way I have seen the five merchants whom you mentioned; their views
continue the same: your credit is increasing daily. The concern will
turn out well ... do you understand me?"--"Yes, Sire; but how am I to
send the names of the colonels and the generals in command?"--"Transpose
the letters of their names, and nothing will be more easy. There is
not a single colonel or general whom I do not know, and I shall soon
be able to recompose their names."--"But, Sire, the anagrams which I
shall make will perhaps be so uncouth, that it will be seen at the
post-office, that the names are disguised on purpose."--"Do you think
then, that they amuse themselves at the post-office by opening and
reading all the letters of business which pass through? They could not
get through them. I have attempted to unravel the correspondence
carried on under the disguise of banking transactions, but I could
never succeed. The post-office is like the police, only fools are
caught; yet think of any other method: I shall have no objection."

After I had considered a little while, I said to the Emperor, "Sire,
there is a method which perhaps will do. Your majesty has the imperial
calendar."--"Yes, sure."--"Well, Sire, the calendar contains the lists
of the general officers and colonels of the army. Now, I will suppose,
for example, that the regiment quartered at Chambery is commanded by
Colonel Paul. I look into the calendar, and I find that Paul stands
forty-seven in the list of colonels. I will also suppose that, between
ourselves, 'bill of exchange' means 'colonel' or 'general.' Then I
shall write to your Majesty, I have seen your correspondent at
Chambery; he has paid me the amount of your bill of exchange, No. 47.
Your Majesty will turn to your Majesty's calendar, and then your
Majesty will see, that the 47th colonel who commands the regiment of
Chambery, is called 'Paul.' And, lastly, in order that your Majesty
may be able to tell when I speak of a colonel, a general, or a
marshal, I shall take care to indicate the rank of the officer by one,
two, or three dots, placed after the 'No.' The colonel will have one
dot, No. .; the general two, No. .., &c."--"Very good, very good. Here
is a calendar for you. Bertrand has one which I will take."

The calendar given to me by the Emperor was richly bound, and stamped
with the imperial arms. I tore off the binding. The Emperor kept
walking up and down, and saying, as he laughed, "It is really
excellent; they will never be able to see through it." When I had
finished, he said, "One thought brings on another. I have asked myself
how you would manage to write to me, if you should have any thing of
unexpected importance to communicate. For instance, suppose any
extraordinary event should make you think that my disembarkation ought
to be accelerated or retarded; if the Bourbons were to be on their
guard; in short, I know not what." He remained silent, and then began
again. "I only know one way to provide for it: the confidence which I
place in you ought to be unbounded. I will give you the key to a
cipher which was composed for my use, in order that I might employ it
in corresponding with my family under the most important
circumstances. I need not tell you that you must keep it with care:
always carry it about you, lest it should be lost: and if the smallest
danger arises, burn it or tear it at the slightest suspicion. With
this cipher you may write any thing to me which you like. I would
rather that you should use it, than be under the necessity of coming
back, or of sending any messenger to me. If they intercept a letter
written in my cipher, it will take them three months to read it;
whilst the capture of an agent might ruin all in an instant." He then
went and looked out his cipher; he made me employ it under his eyes,
and delivered it to me, exhorting me not to use it unless all other
modes of communication should become insufficient.

The Emperor continued, "I do not suppose that you will have occasion
to return here before my departure, unless the sudden overthrow of our
projects should force you to seek an asylum here. In such a case,
apprise me of your intended return, and I will send for you to any
place which you may name. But we must hope that victory will declare
for us. She loves France.... You have not spoken to me about the
affair of Excelmans: if such a thing had happened in my time, I should
have thought myself lost: when the authority of the master is not
recognised, all is over. The more I think upon the matter (here he
displayed a sudden emotion), the more I am convinced that France is
mine, and that the patriots and the army will receive me with open
arms."--"Yes, Sire, I swear to you, upon my soul, the people and the
army will declare for you as soon as they hear your name, as soon as
they see the caps of your grenadiers."--"Provided the people do seek
to do themselves justice before my arrival, a popular revolution would
alarm foreign powers: they would dread the contagion of example. They
know that royalty only hangs by a thread, that it does not agree with
the ideas of the age; they would rather see me seize the throne, than
allow the people to give it to me. They have re-established the
Bourbons in order to convince the people that the rights of sovereigns
are sacred and inviolable. They have blundered. They would have done
more for the cause of legitimacy by leaving my son there, than by
re-establishing Louis XVIII. My dynasty had been recognised by France
and by Europe; it had been consecrated by the Pope. They ought to have
respected it. By abusing the rights of victory, it was in their power
to deprive me of the throne: but it was unjust, odious, impolitic, to
punish the son on account of the wrongs of his father, and to deprive
him of his inheritance. I was not an usurper: they may say so as long
as they like; nobody will believe them. The English, the Italians, the
Germans, are now too enlightened to allow themselves to be crammed
with old ideas, with antiquated notions. In the eyes of nations, the
Sovereign who is chosen by the entirety of the nation, will always be
the legitimate Sovereign.... The sovereigns who sent their ambassadors
to me with servile solemnity; who placed in my bed a girl of their
breed; who called me their brother, and who, after doing all this,
have stigmatized me as an usurper, they have spit in their own faces
by trying to spit at me. They have degraded the majesty of kings. They
have covered majesty with mud. What is the name of an emperor? A word
like any other. If I had no better title than that, when I shall
present myself to future ages they would scorn me. My institutions, my
benefactions, my victories--these are the true titles of my glory. Let
them call me a Corsican, a corporal, an usurper.... I don't care.... I
shall not be less the object of wonder, perhaps of veneration, in all
future time. My name, new as it is, will live from age to age, whilst
the names of all these kings, and their royal progeny, will be
forgotten before the worms will have had time to consume their
carcases." The Emperor stopped, and then continued; "I forget that
time is precious; I will not detain you any longer. Adieu, Monsieur;
embrace me, and depart; my thoughts and good wishes follow you."--Two
hours afterwards I was at sea. My attention, my faculties were wholly
absorbed by the Emperor, his words, his disclosures, his plans. I had
neither leisure nor opportunity to think of myself. As soon as I was
quite out at sea, my ideas were filled by the extraordinary part which
chance had assigned to me. I contemplated it with pride, and I
returned my thanks to destiny for having selected me as the instrument
by which its impenetrable decrees were to be accomplished. Perhaps no
man was ever placed in so "imposing" a situation. I was the arbiter of
the fate of the Bourbons, and of the Emperor, of France and Europe.
With one word I could destroy Napoleon; with one word I could save
Louis. But Louis was nothing to me: in him I only saw a sovereign who
had been forced upon the throne by foreign hands still imbrued with
French blood. In Napoleon I saw the sovereign to whom France had
freely offered the crown as the reward of twenty years of danger and
of glory. The perspective of the evils which the attempt of Napoleon
might bring upon France did not arise before my imagination. I was
persuaded that all foreign powers (England excepted), would remain
neutral; and that the French would receive Napoleon as a deliverer,
and as a father. Still less did I consider myself as engaged in
treason or conspiracy against the Bourbons. Since I had taken the oath
of allegiance to Napoleon, I considered him as my legitimate
sovereign; and I rejoiced to think that the confidence which Napoleon
reposed in me had induced him to call upon me to concur in restoring
to France the liberty, the power, and the glory of which the country
had been unjustly deprived. I enjoyed, by anticipation, the public
eulogiums, which, after his success, he would bestow upon my courage,
my self-devotion, my patriotism. In short, I abandoned myself with
rapture and with pride to all the thoughts, and all the generous
resolutions which can be inspired by the love of fame and the love of
our country.

The dialogues which had taken place between me and the Emperor
continued impressed on my memory; yet, lest I might vary them, or omit
any part, I employed my time during the voyage in recalling his own
expressions, and in classing his questions and my answers. I
afterwards got the whole by heart, just as a scholar learns his
lesson, in order that I might be able to affirm to M. X*** that I was
making a faithful and literal report to him of all that the Emperor
had said, and of all that he had ordered me to tell him.

The weather being tolerably favourable, we soon reached Naples. I went
immediately to M. ****: he put a great number of indiscreet questions
to me; and I replied by an equal number of unmeaning answers. He
probably thought that I knew no better, and therefore my caution did
not offend him. When our preliminary conversation was exhausted, I
desired him to give me my passport; he did so immediately: it was a
Neapolitan passport. "This won't do for me," said I; "I must have a
French passport."--"I have not got one."--"The Emperor told me that
you could get one."--"That is just like the Emperor; he thinks every
thing is possible: where does he suppose that I can procure it? I am
doing a great deal in giving you a passport as a subject of his
Majesty. It is already known that we are in relation with the isle of
Elba. If they were to find out that you are attached to Napoleon, and
that you are going back to France by his directions, and with the
assistance of the King, all Europe would hear of it, and the King
would be committed. Why does not the Emperor keep himself quiet? he
will ruin himself, and ruin us all along with him."--"It is not fit
that I should examine the conduct of his Majesty, much less that I
should censure it. I am in his service; and my duty commands me to
obey him. I want a French passport: can you, or can you not get me
one?"--"I tell you again that it is impossible: it is doing too much
if I give you one as a Neapolitan subject."--"Then I must return to
Porto Ferrajo: but I cannot conceal from you that the Emperor is very
desirous that I should return to France; and he will certainly be very
much displeased, both with you and with the King."--"Then he will act
unfairly: the King has done, and will do, every thing in his power for
him: but the Emperor should know what the King may do under his
present critical situation, and what he may not. But why won't you
take the passport which I offer you?"--"Because I do not understand
Italian, and consequently your passport would expose me to greater
suspicion than my own."--"Then why don't you try to push on as far as
Rome? there you will find the family of the Emperor. Louis XVIII. has
a legation there; and perhaps money may get you a passport."--"Your
idea is excellent: I will go. Inform the Emperor of the delay which I
have experienced, in order that he may send another agent, if he
thinks it advisable so to do."

When the mind is in perpetual activity, and constantly assailed by new
feelings, there is no time for reflection. I thus went to Rome, full
of the idea that I should visit the family of the Emperor, and request
their help to aid me out of my difficulties. But when the time came,
and I was to present myself, it then struck me that the Emperor,
though aware that I was to pass through Rome, had not directed me to
see them; and I concluded that he had his reasons. I therefore
determined to continue my route. From Naples I have proceeded to Rome
without any obstacle; and I shall proceed, thought I to myself, from
Rome to Milan without any greater obstacle: there I shall meet my
friend and his Tedesco; I will get them to legalize my French passport
for the second time, and destiny will accomplish the rest.

I therefore presented myself boldly to the police at Rome, in order to
have my Elba passport indorsed for Milan. I was introduced to his
Eminence the Director-general, who, as I believe, had been shut up at
Vincennes under the imperial government. He received me with great
rudeness; and he wished to compel me to present myself to the French
embassy. I would not consent. I answered, firmly, "The King of France
is no longer my sovereign; I am the subject of the Emperor Napoleon:
the allied sovereigns have proclaimed and recognized him as the
sovereign of the isle of Elba: he therefore reigns at Porto Ferrajo
like the Pope at Rome, George at London, and Louis XVIII. at Paris.
The Emperor and his Holiness are on good terms with each other. The
subjects and the vessels of the Roman states are well received in the
isle of Elba[38], and therefore you are bound to afford aid and
protection to the Elbese, so long as the holy father shall not become
the enemy of Napoleon."

                   [Footnote 38: I obtained this information in the
                   course of my voyage.]

This reasoning produced its effect; and his Eminence ordered, though
he continued grumbling, that my demand was to be granted. "What are
you going to do at Milan?" said he, and I think he muttered an oath
between his teeth: "I am going," I answered, "relative to the
dotations which were assigned to us upon the 'Mont Napoléon.'" He was
satisfied with my answer, and so was I. I wrote to M. ****, the
Neapolitan consul, transmitting my letter; and I requested him to send
to the island an account of my new route.

I continued my journey. My passport was headed by the imperial arms.
The name of Napoleon, and his title of Emperor, were inscribed in
large letters. I was the first Frenchman from the island who had been
able or who had dared to traverse Italy. How many things there were
which roused curiosity and commanded attention! I was overwhelmed with
questions relative to Porto Ferrajo and its illustrious sovereign. I
answered as fully as they wished. Whilst they were busying themselves
about the Emperor, they did not think of me, and that was what I
wanted. In order to avoid troublesome examinations, I took care to
pass through the towns at night, and never to stop in them. At length,
thanks to my address and good fortune, I arrived safe and sound at
Milan; there I found my friend and his colonel, and every thing was
settled admirably.

I set off again for Turin with all possible speed. When I arrived on
the Place of ... I perceived several numerous groups of persons, who
appeared exceedingly animated. How great was my surprise when I found
that they were talking of Napoleon, and his escape from the isle of
Elba. This piece of intelligence, which had been just received, put me
in a violent passion: I accused the Emperor of perfidiousness. I
reproached him with having misled, deceived, and sacrificed me.

When my first fit of ill humour was calmed, I considered the conduct
of the Emperor under another aspect. I thought that unexpected
considerations might have induced him to embark precipitately. I was
ashamed of my suspicions and of my violence, and I only wished to fly
to his footsteps; but already orders had been given to prevent
communication. I passed eight days, which appeared so many ages, in
soliciting permission to return to France; and at last I obtained it.
I arrived at Paris on the 25th of March: on the 26th M. X*** presented
me to the Emperor: he embraced me, and said, "I have weighty reasons
for wishing that you and X*** may both forget whatever passed at the
isle of Elba. I alone will not forget it. Rely on my esteem and
protection on all occasions[39]."

                   [Footnote 39: This narrative evidently shows, that
                   the revolution of the 20th of March was not the
                   effect of a conspiracy, but, strange to say, the
                   work of two men, and a few words.

                   The share that M. Z*** had in the return of
                   Napoleon will, perhaps, call down upon his head the
                   censures of those who judge events only from their
                   results. Will this opinion be well founded? Are men
                   responsible for the caprice of fate? Is it not to
                   fortune, rather than to M. Z***, that we must
                   impute the disastrous end of this revolution, begun
                   under such happy auspices?

                   More fortunate than Napoleon, M. Z*** was killed on
                   Mount St. Jean, the moment when our troops
                   penetrated thither amidst the plaudits of the army.
                   He was permitted to draw his last breath on the
                   standards, which the conquerors of Ligny had just
                   snatched from the English; and, far from foreseeing
                   that his visit to the island of Elba would at some
                   future day be a reproach to his memory, he died
                   with the persuasion, that victory had irrevocably
                   fixed his destiny, and that his name, cherished by
                   the French, cherished by the hero whom he had
                   restored to them, would be for ever hallowed by the
                   gratitude of France, become once more the great

                   I shall not prematurely rob his manes of this
                   consoling illusion; I shall not inform them, that
                   ... no! it will be time enough hereafter to disturb
                   their repose, and I shall await the attack before I
                   begin the defence.]

Here ends the memoir of M. Z****.

This officer had scarcely quitted the island of Elba, when the Emperor
(and I had the particulars from his Majesty himself) acknowledged and
deplored the imprudence of which he had been guilty, in sending Z***
to the continent. The character and firmness of this faithful servant
were sufficiently known to him, to prevent his feeling any anxiety on
his account. He was certain (I use his own words), that he would
suffer himself to be cut to pieces, before he would open his mouth:
but he was afraid, that the inquiries he had directed him to make on
the road, the letters he might address to him, or the conferences he
might have at Paris with M. X*** and his friends, would excite the
suspicions of the police; and that the Bourbons would station
cruizers, so as to render an escape from the island of Elba, and a
landing on the coast of France, altogether impossible.

Thus the Emperor felt that there was but one way of preventing the
danger, that of departing immediately.

On this point he did not hesitate. From that moment every thing
assumed a different aspect in the island of Elba.

This island, but the moment before the abode of philosophy and peace,
became in an instant the imperial head-quarters. Couriers, orders, and
counter-orders, were incessantly going and returning from Porto
Ferrajo to Longone, and from Longone to Porto Ferrajo. Napoleon,
whose fiery activity had been so long enchained, gave himself up,
with infinite delight, to all the cares, that his audacious enterprise
demanded. But in whatever mystery he fancied he had shrouded himself,
the unusual accounts he had caused to be delivered in, the particular
attention he had paid to his old grenadiers, had excited their
suspicion; and they scarcely doubted, that he had it in contemplation
to quit the island. Every one supposed, that he would land at Naples,
or in some other port of Italy: no one ventured even to imagine, that
his plan was to go and expel Louis XVIII. from the throne.

On the 26th of February, at one o'clock, the guard and the officers of
his household received orders to hold themselves in readiness to
depart. Every thing was in motion: the grenadiers with joy resumed
their arms, that so long had lain idle, and spontaneously swore, never
to quit them but with life. The whole population of the country,
crowds of old men, women, and children, eagerly rushed to the shore;
the most affecting scenes were exhibited on all sides. They thronged
round the faithful companions of Napoleon in his exile, and contended
with each other for the pleasure, the honour, of touching them, seeing
them, embracing them for the last time. The younger members of the
families of the first distinction in the island solicited as a
favour, the danger of sharing in the perils of the Emperor. Joy,
glory, hope, sparkled in every eye. They knew not whither they were
going, but Napoleon was present, and with him could they doubt of

At eight in the evening a gun gave the signal for departure. A
thousand times embraces were immediately lavished and returned. The
French rushed into their boats; martial music struck up; and Napoleon
and his followers sailed majestically from the shore, amid the shouts
of "Long live the Emperor!" a thousand times repeated[40].

                   [Footnote 40: The flotilla of Napoleon consisted of
                   the brig Inconstant, carrying twenty-six guns and
                   four hundred grenadiers, and six other light
                   vessels, on board which were two hundred foot, two
                   hundred Corsican chasseurs, and about a hundred
                   Polish light horse. The feluccas and the brigs had
                   been so fitted up, as to show no signs of the
                   troops, and to have the appearance of mere

Napoleon, when he set foot on board his vessel, exclaimed with Cæsar,
"The die is cast!" His countenance was calm, his brow serene: he
appeared to think less of the success of his enterprise, than of the
means of promptly attaining his object. The eyes of Count Bertrand
sparkled with hope and joy: General Drouot was pensive and serious:
Cambronne appeared to care little about the future, and to think only
of doing his duty well. The old grenadiers had resumed their martial
and menacing aspect. The Emperor chatted and joked with them
incessantly: he pulled their ears and their mustachios, reminded them
of their dangers and their glory, and inspired their minds with that
confidence, with which his own was animated.

All were burning to know their destination: respect did not allow any
one to ask the question: at length Napoleon broke silence.
"Grenadiers," said he, "we are going to France, we are going to
Paris." At these words every countenance expanded, their joy ceased to
be mingled with anxiety, and stifled cries of "France for ever!"
attested to the Emperor, that in the heart of a Frenchman the love of
his country is never extinct.

An English sloop of war, commanded by Captain Campbell, appeared to
have the charge of watching the island of Elba[41]: she was
continually sailing from Porto Ferrajo to Leghorn, and from Leghorn
to Porto Ferrajo. At the moment of embarkation she was at Leghorn, and
could occasion no alarm; but several vessels were descried in the
channel, and their presence gave room for just apprehensions. It was
hoped, however, that the night breeze would favour the progress of the
flotilla, and that before daybreak it would be out of sight. This hope
was frustrated. ""Scarcely had it doubled Cape St. Andrew, in the
island of Elba, when the wind fell and the sea became calm. At
daybreak it had advanced only six leagues, and was still between the
islands of Elba and Capræa.

                   [Footnote 41: People are pretty generally of
                   opinion, that the escape of the Emperor from the
                   Island of Elba was favoured by Captain Campbell. I
                   do not think so: but every thing leads to the
                   belief, that this officer had received orders from
                   his government, not to prevent such a step.--(_Note
                   by the author of the Memoirs._)]

""The danger appeared imminent: several of the seamen were for
returning to Porto Ferrajo. The Emperor ordered them to hold on their
course, as, at the worst, he had the chance either of capturing the
French cruiser, or of taking refuge in the island of Corsica, where he
was assured of being well received. To facilitate their manoeuvres,
he ordered all the luggage embarked to be thrown overboard, which was
cheerfully executed at the instant.""

About noon the wind freshened a little. At four o'clock they were off
Leghorn. One frigate was in sight five leagues to leeward, another on
the coast of Corsica, and a man-of-war brig, which was perceived to be
Le Zéphir, commanded by Captain Andrieux, was coming down upon the
imperial flotilla right before the wind. It was first proposed to
speak to him, and make him hoist the three-coloured flag. "The
Emperor, however, gave orders to the soldiers of the guard to take off
their caps and conceal themselves below, choosing rather to pass by
the brig without being known, and reserving himself in case of
necessity, for the alternative of making him change his colours. At
six o'clock the two brigs passed alongside of each other, and their
commanders, who were acquainted, spoke together. The captain of Le
Zéphir inquired after the Emperor, and was answered through a speaking
trumpet by the Emperor himself, that he was extremely well.

""The two brigs, steering opposite courses, were soon out of sight of
each other, without Captain Andrieux having any suspicion of the
valuable prize, that he had allowed to escape.

""In the night of the 27th the wind continued to freshen. At day-break
a seventy-four was descried, which appeared steering for San
Fiorenzo or Sardinia, and it was soon perceived, that she took no
notice of the brig[42].""

                   [Footnote 42: The passages between two sets of
                   inverted commas are copied from the official
                   account published on the 22d of March. This account
                   was drawn up by Napoleon, and I thought I could not
                   do better than borrow his words.]

The Emperor, before he quitted the island of Elba, had prepared with
his own hand two proclamations, one addressed to the French people,
the other to the army; and he was desirous of having them copied out
fairly. His secretary and General Bertrand, being neither of them able
to decipher them, carried them to Napoleon, who, despairing of doing
it himself, threw them into the sea from vexation. Then, after
meditating for a few moments, he dictated to his secretary the two
following proclamations on the spot.


          Gulf of Juan, March the 1st, 1815.

Napoleon, by the grace of God and constitution of the empire, Emperor
of the French, &c. &c. &c.

     _To the Army._


We have not been vanquished: two men, who issued from our ranks,
betrayed our laurels, their country, their prince, their benefactor.

Shall they, whom we have seen for five and twenty years traversing all
Europe, to stir up enemies against us--who have spent their lives in
fighting against us in the ranks of foreign armies, and cursing our
lovely France--now pretend to command us, and to enchain our eagles,
the looks of which they could never withstand? Shall we suffer them to
inherit the fruits of our glorious toils? to seize upon our honours,
and our property, and calumniate our fame? Should their reign
continue, all would be lost, even the remembrance of our memorable

With what virulence do they distort them! They endeavour to poison
what is the admiration of the world; and if any defenders of our glory
still remain, it is among those very enemies whom we combated in the

Soldiers! in my exile I heard your voice: I am arrived through every
obstacle, through every danger.

Your general, called to the throne by the voice of the people, and
raised on your shields, is restored to you. Come and join him.

Tear down those colours, which the nation has proscribed, and which
for five and twenty years served as a signal to rally all the enemies
of France. Mount that tricoloured cockade, which you wore in our
great victories. We must forget, that we have been the masters of
other nations; but we must not suffer any to interfere in our affairs.
Who shall pretend to be our master? Who is able to be so? Resume the
eagles you bore at Ulm, at Austerlitz, at Jena, at Eylau, at Wagram,
at Friedland, at Tudela, at Eckmuhl, at Essling, at Smolensko, at
Moscow, at Lutzen, at Wurtchen, at Montmirail. Think you that handful
of Frenchmen, now so arrogant, can support their sight? They will
return whence they came; and there, if they please, they may reign, as
they pretend to have reigned for nineteen years.

Your property, your rank, your glory--the property, the rank, the
glory of your children--have no greater enemies than those princes,
who have been imposed on us by foreigners. They are the enemies of our
glory; since the recital of so many glorious actions, which have
rendered illustrious the French people, fighting against them to
emancipate themselves from their yoke, is their condemnation.

The veterans of the armies of the Sambre and Meuse, of the Rhine, of
Italy, of Egypt, of the west, of the grand army, are humiliated; their
honourable scars are disgraced; their successes would be crimes, the
valiant would be rebels, if, as the enemies of the people assert,
legitimate sovereigns were among the foreign armies. Their honours,
rewards, affections, are for those who have served them, against us
and against our country.

Soldiers, come and arrange yourselves under the standards of your
chief: his existence consists only of yours; his rights are only those
of the people and of you; his interest, his honour, his glory, are no
other than your glory. Victory will march forward with the charge
step: the eagle, with the national colours, will fly from steeple to
steeple till it reaches the towers of Notre Dame. You may then display
your scars with honour, you may then boast of what you have done: you
will be the deliverers of your country.

In your old age, surrounded and respected by your fellow citizens,
they will listen with veneration to the recital of your noble deeds:
you may proudly say, I too was in that grand army which twice entered
the walls of Vienna, and those of Rome, of Berlin, of Madrid, and of
Moscow, and which cleansed Paris from the stain inflicted on it by
treason and the presence of the enemy. Honour to those brave soldiers,
the glory of their country! and eternal shame to those guilty
Frenchmen, in whatever rank it was their fortune to be born, who
fought for five and twenty years in company with foreigners, to wound
the bosom of their country.

                                        Signed, NAPOLEON.

     By the Emperor.

The grand marshal, executing the functions of major-general of the
grand army.

                                        Signed, BERTRAND.


          Gulf of Juan, March 1, 1815.

Napoleon, by the grace of God and the constitution of the empire,
Emperor of the French, &c. &c. &c.

     _To the French People._


The defection of the Duke of Castiglione gave up Lyons without defence
to our enemies. The army, the command of which I had entrusted to him,
was capable, from the bravery and patriotism of the troops of which it
was formed, of beating the Austrian army opposed to it, and taking in
the rear the left flank of the enemy's army, that threatened Paris.

The victories of Champ Aubert, of Montmirail, of Château Thierry, of
Vauchamp, of Mormane, of Montereau, of Craone, of Rheims, of
Arcy-sur-Aube, and of St. Dizier; the insurrection of the brave
peasantry of Lorraine, of Champagne, of Alsace, of Franche Comté, and
of Burgundy; and the position I had taken in the rear of the enemy's
army, cutting it off from its magazines, its parks of reserve, and
convoys, and all its waggons, had placed it in a desperate situation.
The French were on the point of being more powerful than ever, and the
flower of the enemy's army was lost without resource; it would have
found its grave in those vast countries, which it had so pitilessly
ravaged, when the treachery of the Duke of Ragusa delivered up the
capital, and disorganized the army. The unsuspected conduct of these
two generals, who betrayed at once their country, their prince, and
their benefactor, changed the fate of the war: the situation of the
enemy was such, that, after the affair that took place before Paris,
he was without ammunition, in consequence of being separated from his
parks of reserve[43].

                   [Footnote 43: They had fled precipitately as far as

Under these new and important circumstances, my heart was torn, but my
mind remained unshaken: I consulted only the interests of our country,
and banished myself to a rock surrounded by the seas: my life was
useful to you, and was destined still to be so. I would not permit
the great number of citizens, who were desirous of accompanying me, to
share my fate: I deemed their presence advantageous to France, and I
took with me only the handful of brave fellows necessary for my guard.

Raised to the throne by your choice, every thing that has been done
without you is illegal. Within these five and twenty years France has
acquired new interests, new institutions, new glory, to be guarantied
only by a national government, and a dynasty born under these new
circumstances. A prince who should reign over you, who should be
seated on my throne by the power of the same armies, that have ravaged
our territories, would seek in vain to support himself by the
principles of feudal right; he could secure the honour and the rights
only of a small number of individuals, enemies to the people, who have
condemned them in all our national assemblies for five and twenty
years. Your tranquillity at home, and estimation abroad, would be lost
for ever.

Frenchmen! in my exile I heard your complaints and wishes: you called
for that government of your own choice, which alone is legitimate; you
blamed my long slumber; you reproached me with sacrificing the great
interests of the country to my own repose.

I have crossed the seas amid perils of every kind: I arrive among you
to resume my rights, which are also yours. Every thing that
individuals have done, written, or said, since the taking of Paris, I
shall consign to everlasting oblivion; it shall have no influence on
the remembrance I retain of the important services they have rendered,
for there are events of such a nature, that they are above the frame
of man.

Frenchmen! there is no nation, however small, that has not possessed
the right of withdrawing, and that has not withdrawn itself, from the
disgrace of obeying a prince imposed upon it by an enemy temporarily
victorious. When Charles VII. re-entered Paris, and overturned the
ephemeral throne of Henry VI., he acknowledged, that he held his crown
from the valour of his brave people, and not from the Prince Regent of

It is to you only, and to the brave men of the army, that I make, and
shall always make it my glory, to owe every thing.

                                        Signed, NAPOLEON.

     By the Emperor.

The grand marshal, executing the functions of major-general of the
grand army.

                                        Signed, BERTRAND.

The Emperor, while he dictated these proclamations, appeared to be
animated with the most profound indignation. He seemed to have before
his eyes, both the generals, whom he accused of having given up
France, and the enemies, who had subjugated it. He incessantly
repeated the names of Marmont and Augereau, and they were always
accompanied with threats and with epithets, suited to the idea he had
conceived of their treachery.

When the proclamations were transcribed, the Emperor directed them to
be read aloud, and invited all those who could write a good hand to
copy them. In an instant, benches and drums were converted into
tables; and soldiers, sailors, and officers, set themselves gayly to

After a certain time, his Majesty said to the officers around him,
"Now, gentlemen, it is your turn, to speak to the army: you must tell
it what France expects of it under the important circumstances in
which we shall soon find ourselves. Come, Bertrand, take your pen."
The grand marshal excused himself. The Emperor then resumed his
discourse, and dictated, without stopping, an address to the generals,
officers, and soldiers of the army, in which the imperial guard
conjured them, in the name of honour and their country, to shake off
the yoke of the Bourbons.

"Soldiers," said they to them, "the drum beats the general, and we
march: run to arms, come and join us, join your Emperor, and our

"And if these men, now so arrogant, who have always fled at the sight
of our weapons, dare wait for us, where can we find a fairer occasion
of shedding our blood, and chanting the hymn of victory?

"Soldiers of the seventh, eighth, and nineteenth military divisions,
garrisons of Antibes, Toulon, and Marseilles, retired officers,
veterans of our army, you are called to the honour of setting the
first example: come with us to conquer that throne, which is the
palladium of your rights; and let posterity some day tell,
'Foreigners, seconded by traitors, had imposed a disgraceful yoke on
France; the brave arose, and the enemies of the people, of the army,
disappeared, and returned to their original nothingness.'"

This address was scarcely finished, when the coast of Antibes was
descried at a distance. Immediately on this, the Emperor and his brave
fellows saluted the land of their country with shouts of "France for
ever! Success to the French!" and at the same instant resumed the
tricoloured cockade[44].

                   [Footnote 44: The cockade adopted by Napoleon, as
                   sovereign of the island of Elba, was white and
                   amaranth powdered with bees.]

On the 1st of March, at three o'clock, they entered the Gulf of Juan.
General Drouot, and a certain number of officers and soldiers, who
were on board the felucca Caroline, landed before the Emperor, who was
still at a considerable distance from the shore. At this moment they
perceived to the right a large vessel, which appeared to them (though
they were mistaken in this) to be steering with all sails towards the
brig. Suddenly they were seized with the greatest disquiet; they
walked backward and forward, testifying by their gestures and their
hurried steps, the emotion and fear with which they were agitated.
General Drouot ordered the Caroline to be unloaded, and to hasten to
meet the brig. In an instant cannons, carriages, chests, baggage,
every thing was thrown out upon the sand, and already the grenadiers
and brave sea officers of the guard were rowing away with all their
strength, when acclamations from the brig saluted their ears and their
affrighted eyes. It was the Emperor: whether from prudential motives
or impatience, he had got into a simple boat. Their alarms ceased;
and the grenadiers, stretching out their arms to him, received him
with the most affecting demonstrations of devotedness and joy. At five
o'clock he landed. I have heard him say, that he never felt an emotion
so profound.

""His quarters for the night were taken up in a field surrounded by
olive-trees. This, he exclaimed, is a happy omen: may it be

A few peasants were seen: the Emperor ordered them to be called, and
interrogated them. One of them had formerly served under him: he knew
his old general, and would not quit him. Napoleon, turning to the
grand marshal, said to him, with a smile, "Well, Bertrand, you see we
have a reinforcement already." He spent the evening chatting and
laughing familiarly with his generals and the officers of his
household. "I see from this spot," said he, "the fright I shall give
the Bourbons, and the embarrassment of all those who have turned their
backs upon me." Then, continuing to joke on the same subject, he
defined, with his wonted sagacity, the characters of the marshals and
great personages, who had formerly served him; and was much amused
with the endeavours they would make ""to save appearances, and
prudently await the moment for declaring themselves for the strongest

The success of his enterprise appeared less to employ his thoughts,
than the dangers to which his friends and partisans, whom he no longer
called by any other name than that of patriots, were going to be
exposed. "What will become of the patriots before my arrival at
Paris?" he frequently exclaimed: "I tremble lest the Vendeans and
emigrants should massacre them. Wo betide those who touch them! I will
have no mercy on them."

Immediately after he landed, the Emperor had despatched a captain of
the guard with five and twenty men to Antibes: their instructions
were, to present themselves as deserters from the island of Elba; to
sound the disposition of the garrison; and, if this appeared
favourable, to seduce it: but, led away by their imprudent ardour,
they entered the city, shouting, "Long live the Emperor!" and the
commandant caused the drawbridge instantly to be raised, and detained
them as prisoners. Napoleon, finding they did not return, sent for a
civil officer of the guard, and said to him, ""You will immediately
repair to the walls of Antibes: you will deliver this despatch, or
cause it to be delivered to General Corsin: you will not enter the
place, as you might be detained: you will draw together the soldiers,
you will read to them my proclamations, and you will harangue them. Do
you not know, you will say to them, that your Emperor is here? that
the garrisons of Grenoble and Lyons have marched to join him with the
charge step? What do you wait for? Will you leave to others the honour
of joining him before you? the honour of marching at the head of his
advanced guard? Come, and salute our eagles and our tricoloured flags.
The Emperor and your country command it; then come.""

This officer, on his return, said, that the gates of the town and
harbour were closed, and that it was not possible for him to see
General Corsin, or to speak to the soldiers. Napoleon appeared
disappointed, though but little disturbed by the disappointment. At
eleven in the evening he began his march, with four small pieces of
artillery in his train. The Poles, though unable to embark their
horses, had brought with them their accoutrements, and gayly marched
in the advanced guard, bending beneath the weight of their enormous
luggage. Napoleon purchased for them every horse he met with, and thus
remounted his handful of cavalry one by one.

He proceeded to Cannes, thence to Grasses, and, in the evening of the
2d, arrived at the village of Cerenon, having marched twenty leagues
this first day. Every where he was received with sentiments, that
presaged the success of the enterprise.

On the 3d the Emperor slept at Bareme, and on the 4th at Digne. The
report of his landing, which preceded him from place to place, excited
every where a mingled feeling of joy, surprise, and anxiety. The
peasants blessed his return, and expressed their good wishes to him in
their simple language; but when they saw his little troop, they looked
on him with tender pity, and had no hope of his being triumphant with
such feeble means.

On the 5th Napoleon slept at Gap, and retained with him only six
horsemen, and forty grenadiers.

In this city he printed, for the first time, his proclamations: they
were diffused with the rapidity of lightning, and inflamed every head
and every heart with such violent and prompt devotedness, that the
whole population of the country was desirous of rising in a body, and
marching as his advanced guard.

In these proclamations he did not borrow, as has been asserted, the
title of general in chief, or of lieutenant general of his son.
Before he quitted the island of Elba, he had determined to resume the
style of Emperor of the French as soon as he landed.

He was aware, that any other title would diminish his strength, and
his ascendancy over the people and the army; would render his
intentions doubtful; would give rise to scruples and hesitation; and
besides, would place him in a state of hostility against France. In
short, he was aware, that it would always be in his power to give
legitimacy to his title of Emperor of the French, should the suffrages
of the nation prove necessary, to restore to him in the eyes of
Europe, and even of France, those rights, which might have been
temporarily lost by his abdication.

The superior authorities of Gap had retired at his approach: he had to
receive the congratulations only of the mayor, the municipal council,
and the half-pay officers. He discoursed with them on the benefits of
the revolution, the sovereignty of the people, liberty, equality, and
particularly of the emigrants and the Bourbons. Before he left them,
he addressed his public thanks to the inhabitants of the Upper and
Lower Alps, in the following words:


I have been strongly touched by all the sentiments that you have
testified towards me: your prayers will be heard; the cause of the
nation will still triumph. You have reason to call me your father; I
live only for the honour and happiness of France. My return dissipates
your disquietudes; it guarantees the preservation of every one's
property, the equality of all classes; and those rights, which you
have enjoyed for twenty-five years, and for which our forefathers so
frequently sighed, now form a part of your existence.

In whatever circumstances I may be placed, I shall always remember,
with a lively interest, what I have seen in traversing your country.

[45]""On the 6th, at two o'clock in the afternoon, the Emperor left
Gap, and the whole city went out to see him set off.

                   [Footnote 45: The passages marked with two sets of
                   inverted commas continue to be extracts from the
                   official account.]

""At St. Bonnel the inhabitants, seeing the small number of his
soldiers, were full of fears, and proposed to him to sound the
alarm-bell, in order to collect the neighbouring villagers, and
accompany him in a body. 'No,' said the Emperor, 'your sentiments
convince me, that I have not deceived myself; they are a sure
guarantee of the sentiments of my soldiers; those whom I meet will
range themselves on my side; and the more they are, the more certain
will be my success. Remain, therefore, tranquil at home.'""

The same day the Emperor came to sleep at Gorp; General Cambronne and
forty men, forming the advanced guard, pushed on as far as Mure.

Cambronne most commonly proceeded alone before his grenadiers to
explore the road, and cause quarters and subsistence to be provided
for them. Scarcely had he pronounced the name of the Emperor, when
every one was eager to testify to him the most lively and tender
solicitude. One mayor alone, the Marquis de ***, mayor of Sisteron,
tried to raise the inhabitants of that _commune_, describing to them
the soldiers of Napoleon as robbers and incendiaries. Confounded by
the sudden appearance of General Cambronne alone, and with no other
weapon than his sword, he changed his language, and pretended to have
had no fear but that of being paid[46]. Cambronne coolly threw him his
purse, and said, "Pay yourself!" The indignant people were eager to
furnish more provision than was demanded; and when the battalion of
Elba appeared, they offered it a tricoloured flag, as a sign of their
esteem and devotedness.

                   [Footnote 46: The public papers, since the second
                   restoration, have not failed to assert, that the
                   troops of the Emperor disgracefully pillaged the
                   _communes_ through which they passed. This
                   imputation, like many others, is a cowardly
                   slander. The Emperor had recommended to his
                   grenadiers, and it is well known that they never
                   disobeyed him, to exact nothing from the
                   inhabitants; and in order to prevent the least
                   irregularity, he took care himself to arrange the
                   means of ascertaining every thing that was
                   furnished, and paying for it. He had given this in
                   charge to an inspector in chief of reviews, M.
                   Boinot, and a commissary at war, M. Ch. Vauthier,
                   for whose zeal and integrity he had the highest
                   esteem. Whatever was furnished was paid for on
                   delivery by the treasurer, M. Peyruse, on an
                   account authenticated by M. Vauthier, and at the
                   prices fixed by the mayors themselves.]

On quitting the mayor, General Cambronne and his forty grenadiers met
a battalion sent from Grenoble to block up their passage. Cambronne
wished to parley with them, but they would not listen to him. The
Emperor, informed of this resistance, immediately went forward: his
guard, exhausted by a long march through the snow and rough roads, had
not all been able to follow him; but when it heard of the affront
offered to Cambronne, and the dangers the Emperor might run, it forgot
its fatigues, and hastened after him. Those soldiers, who could no
longer support themselves on their galled or wounded feet, were
assisted by their comrades, or carried by them on litters formed with
their musquets: all swore, like the soldiers of Fabius, not to conquer
or die, but to be victors. When the Emperor perceived them, he held
out his hand to them, and said, "With you, my brave soldiers, I should
not be afraid of ten thousand men."

Meantime the troops come from Grenoble had retreated, and taken a
position three leagues from Gorp, between the lakes, and near a
village. The Emperor went to reconnoitre them. He found in the line
opposed to him a battalion of the fifth regiment, a company of
sappers, and a company of miners; in all seven or eight hundred men.
He sent to them _chef d'escadron_ Roul: they refused to listen to him.
On this, Napoleon, turning to Marshal Bertrand, said, "_Z. has
deceived me; no matter, forwards_!" Immediately, alighting from his
horse, he marched straight to the detachment, followed by his guard,
with arms secured (_l'arme baissée_): "What, my friends!" said he to
them, "do you not know me? I am your Emperor: if there be a soldier
among you, who is willing to kill his general, his Emperor, he may do
it: here I am!" and he placed his hand upon his breast....

The unanimous shout of "Long live the Emperor!" was the answer.

""Immediately they requested permission, to be the first to march
against the division, that covered Grenoble. The march commenced amid
a crowd of the inhabitants, which increased every instant. Vizille
distinguished itself by its enthusiasm: "It is here the revolution is
born," said these brave fellows: "we are the first who have dared to
claim the privileges of men: it is here, too, that French liberty
revives, and that France recovers its honour and independence."

""Between Vizille and Grenoble, an adjutant-major of the seventh of
the line came to announce, that Colonel Labedoyère, deeply wounded by
the dishonour that affected all France, and governed by the noblest
sentiments, had separated from the division of Grenoble, and with his
regiment was hastening with all speed to meet the Emperor.""

Soon after, numerous acclamations were heard at a distance: they were
from Labedoyère, and the seventh. The two troops, impatient to join,
broke their ranks: embraces, and shouts a thousand times repeated, of
"The guard for ever! the seventh for ever! long live the Emperor!"
became the pledge of their union, and of their sentiments.

Napoleon, who saw his forces and the public enthusiasm increase at
every step, resolved to enter Grenoble that very evening.

Before he reached the city he was stopped by a young merchant, an
officer of the national guard. "Sire," said he, "I come to offer your
Majesty a hundred thousand francs, and my sword."--"I accept both:
remain with us." Farther on he was joined by a party of officers, who
confirmed to him what he had learned from Labedoyère, that General
Marchand and the prefect had declared against him, and that neither
the garrison, nor the national guard, had yet displayed any favourable

""In fact, General Marchand had caused the troops to re-enter
Grenoble, and closed the gates: the ramparts were covered by the third
regiment of engineers, composed of two thousand sappers, all veterans,
covered with honourable scars; by the fourth of artillery of the line,
the very regiment in which the Emperor had been made a captain five
and twenty years before; then the two battalions of the fifth of the
line, and the faithful hussars of the fourth.""

Never did a besieged town exhibit a similar spectacle; the besiegers,
with arms reversed, and marching in joyful irregularity, approached
the walls singing. No noise of arms, no warlike shouts from the
soldiers, rose to affright the air: nothing was heard but repeated
acclamations of "Grenoble for ever! France for ever! Napoleon for
ever!" no cries but those of the most unrestrained gaiety, and the
purest enthusiasm. The garrison, the national guard, the
town's-people, spread over the ramparts, beheld at first with
surprise, with emotion, these transports of joy and attachment. It was
not long before they shared them; and the besiegers and besieged,
united by the same thoughts, the same sentiments, uttered at once the
rallying words, "Long live the Emperor!" The people and the soldiers
repaired to the gates, which were in an instant beaten down, and
Napoleon, surrounded, thronged by an idolizing crowd, made his
triumphant entry into Grenoble. A few moments after, the people came
and brought him the fragments of the gates with trumpets sounding, and
said, "For want of the keys of the good town of Grenoble, here are
the gates for you."

The possession of this place was of the highest importance to
Napoleon: it afforded him a point of support, ammunition, arms, and
artillery. He could not conceal his extreme satisfaction, and said
repeatedly to his officers, "All is now decided; we are sure of
getting to Paris." He questioned Labedoyère at large on the state of
Paris, and the situation of France in general. This young colonel,
full of the noblest sentiments, expressed himself with a frankness
that sometimes staggered Napoleon. "Sire," he said, "the French will
do every thing for your Majesty; but then your Majesty must do every
thing for them: _no more ambition, no more despotism: we are
determined to be free and happy_. It is necessary, Sire, to renounce
that system of conquest and power which occasioned the misfortunes of
France, and of yourself."--"If I succeed," answered Napoleon, "I will
do every thing requisite to fulfil the expectations of the nation: its
happiness is dearer to me than my own: it is to render it free and
happy, that I have embarked in an undertaking, which might not
succeed, and might cost me my life; but we shall have the consolation
of dying in our native land."--"And of dying," added Labedoyère, "for
its honour and its liberty."

The Emperor gave orders to have his proclamations printed in the
course of the night, and despatched emissaries in every direction to
announce his having entered Grenoble; that Austria was for him; that
the king of Naples was following him with eighty thousand men; ...
and, in short, to discourage, intimidate, and curb, by false alarms
and false confidences, the partisans and agents of the regal

The proclamations, posted up in abundance, produced the most lively
sensation, as at Gap. In fact, never had the national pride,
patriotism, and the noblest passions of the mind, been addressed with
more fascination, strength, and eloquence. The soldiers and citizens
were never tired of reading and admiring them. Every person was
desirous of having them. Travellers, and the inhabitants of the
neighbouring country, received an immense quantity, which they took
upon themselves to spread abroad on their road, and to send to all

The next day, the 8th, the clergy, the staff-officers, the imperial
court, the tribunals, and the civil and military authorities, came to
acknowledge Napoleon, and to offer him their congratulations. He
conversed familiarly with the judges on the administration of justice;
with the clergy on what was necessary to public worship; with the
soldiery on the armies; with the municipal officers on the sufferings
of the people, the towns, and the country places; and delighted them
all by the variety of his knowledge, and the benevolence of his
intentions. He then said to them: "I knew that France was unhappy; I
heard its groans and its reproaches; I am come with the faithful
companions of my exile, to deliver her from the yoke of the Bourbons
... their throne is illegitimate ... my rights were conferred on me by
the nation, by the unanimous will of the French people: they are no
other rights than theirs.... I am come to resume them; not to reign,
the throne is nothing to me: not to revenge myself, for I shall forget
every thing that has been said, done, or written, since the
capitulation of Paris; but to restore to you the rights, which the
Bourbons have taken from you, and to emancipate you from the
subscription to the glebe, the vassalage, and the feudal system, with
which you are threatened by them.... I have been too fond of war; I
will make war no more: I will leave my neighbours at rest: we must
forget, that we have been masters of the world.... I wish to reign,
in order to render our lovely France free, happy, and independent; and
to place its happiness on foundations not to be shaken; _I wish to be
less its sovereign than the first and best of its citizens._ I might
have come to attack the Bourbons with ships and numerous fleets; but I
would have no assistance from Murat or from Austria. I know my fellow
citizens, and the defenders of my country, and I reckon on their

The audience ended, the Emperor reviewed the garrison, consisting of
five or six thousand men. As soon as he appeared, the sky was darkened
by the multitude of sabres, bayonets, grenadier-caps, _chacos_, &c.,
which the people and the soldiers raised in the air, amid the most
lively demonstrations of attachment and love.

He said a few words to the people, which could not be heard, and
repaired to the front of the fourth of artillery. "It was among you,"
said he, "that I began my career in arms. I love you all as old
comrades; I have observed you in the field of battle, and I have
always been satisfied with your conduct. But I hope, that we shall
have no occasion for your guns: France has need of moderation and
repose. The army will enjoy, in the bosom of peace, the benefits I
have already conferred on it, and those I shall yet bestow. In me the
soldiers have found again their father: they may reckon upon the
rewards they have deserved."

After this review, the garrison set out on its march to Lyons.

In the evening Napoleon wrote to the Empress and Prince Joseph. He
directed him to make known at Rome, at Naples, and at Porto Ferrajo,
that his enterprise had every appearance of being crowned with the
most speedy and brilliant success. The couriers departed with great
noise; and care was taken to make known, that they were carrying to
the Empress the news of the Emperor's return, with orders to come
immediately, with her son, and join him.

On the 9th the Emperor declared the establishment of the imperial
power by three decrees.

The first directed all public acts, and the administration of justice,
to be executed in his name from the 15th of March.

The two others organized the national guards of the five departments
of the Upper and Lower Alps, la Drôme, Mont Blanc, and the Izère, and
entrusted to the honour and patriotism of the inhabitants of the
seventh division the fortified towns of Briançon, Grenoble, Fort
Barreaux, Colmar, &c.

The moment he set off, he addressed to the inhabitants of the
department of the Izère the following proclamation:


When in my exile I learned all the misfortunes, that oppressed the
nation; that all the rights of the people were disregarded, and that I
was reproached with the state of repose in which I lived: I lost not a
moment: I embarked on board a slight vessel, crossed the sea in the
midst of ships of war belonging to various nations, landed alone on
the shores of our country, and thought of nothing but of arriving with
the rapidity of an eagle in this good city of Grenoble, of the
patriotism of which, and its personal attachment to me, I was well
aware. Men of Dauphiny, you have answered my expectation.

I have endured, not without a wounded heart, but without being
dejected, the misfortunes to which for a twelvemonth I have been a
prey. The spectacle displayed to my eyes by the people on my journey
has inspired me with the most lively emotions. Though a few clouds
have altered the high opinion I entertained of the French people,
what I have seen has convinced me, that they are still worthy of the
name of the Great People, which I gave them twenty years ago.

Men of Dauphiny, about to quit your country, to repair to my good city
of Lyons, I could not refrain from expressing to you all the esteem,
with which your lofty sentiments have inspired me. My heart is filled
with the emotions, that you have excited in it, and I shall never
forget them.

The news of the Emperor's landing did not reach Paris till the 5th of
March, at night. It transpired on the 6th; and on the 7th a royal
proclamation appeared in the Moniteur, convoking the chambers
immediately; and a decree, that placed Napoleon, and all who should
join or assist him, out of the protection of the law[47]; without any
farther particulars.

                   [Footnote 47: This mode of proceeding, worthy of
                   the barbarous ages, was a new infraction of the law
                   of nations, and of the constitutional laws of
                   France, on the part of the ministry. No article of
                   the charter conferred on the monarch the right of
                   life and death over his subjects; and consequently
                   he had no authority to proscribe those who
                   accompanied and assisted Napoleon. If they were
                   considered as robbers, it was the office of the
                   tribunals to judge and to punish them.

                   Neither was he authorized, to order Napoleon to be
                   murdered. He had preserved the title of Emperor,
                   legally enjoyed the prerogative of sovereignty, and
                   might make war or peace as he pleased.

                   The title of Emperor of the French, which he
                   arrogated to himself, could not be a title to
                   proscription. George III., previous to the treaty
                   of Amiens, styled himself King of France and
                   Navarre. Had he made a descent in arms on our
                   territory, would any one have had a right, to
                   proclaim him out of the pale of the law, and order
                   the French people to murder him?]

On the 8th the Moniteur and other newspapers announced, that Bonaparte
had landed with eleven hundred men, most of whom had already deserted
him; that he was wandering in the mountains, accompanied only by a few
individuals; that he had been refused provision, was in want of every
thing, and, pursued and on the point of being surrounded by the troops
sent against him from Toulon, Marseilles, Valence, and Grenoble, he
must speedily expiate his rash and criminal enterprise.

This news struck all parties with astonishment, and made different
impressions on them, according to their different sentiments and

The discontented had no doubt of the success of the Emperor, and the
ruin of the Bourbons.

The courtiers regretted that there was not sufficient danger in this
mad and audacious enterprise, to give at least some value to their

The emigrants looked at it with pity, turned it into ridicule; and, if
they had wanted nothing more than jests, abuse, and swaggering, to
beat Napoleon, there could have been no doubt of their victory.

The government itself participated in their boasting and security.

Fresh despatches soon made known the progress of Napoleon.

The Count d'Artois, the Duke of Orléans, and Marshal Macdonald, set
off hastily for Lyons.

The royalists were uneasy, the government removed their fears.

The Count d'Artois, they said, at the head of fifteen thousand
national guards, and ten thousand of the troops of the line, must stop
him before Lyons.

General Marchand, General Duverney, the Prince of Essling, and the
Duke d'Angoulême, were getting into his rear, and would cut off his

General Le Courbe was manoeuvring on his flanks.

Marshal Oudinot was arriving with his faithful royal grenadiers.

The national guards of Marseilles, and the whole population of the
south, were marching from all quarters in pursuit of him; and it was
impossible for him to escape.

This was the 10th of March.

The next day an officer of the King's household appeared in the
balcony of the Tuileries, and, waving his hat, announced, that the
King had just received an official account of the Duke of Orléans, at
the head of twenty thousand men of the national guard of Lyons, having
attacked Bonaparte on the side towards Bourgoing, and completely
beaten him.

The same day information was given, that Generals d'Erlon, Lefevre
Desnouettes, and Lallemand, who had attempted to seduce the troops
under their orders, had completely failed, and taken flight[48].

                   [Footnote 48: These four generals had agreed, to
                   repair together to Paris. The troops of Count
                   d'Erlon, quartered at Lisle, deceived by
                   supposititious orders, were on their march, when
                   they were met by the Duke de Trévise, who was going
                   to take the command of his government. He
                   interrogated them, perceived the plot, and ordered
                   them back.

                   Count Lefevre Desnouettes, ignorant of this unlucky
                   circumstance, put in motion his regiment, which was
                   in garrison at Cambrai. When he reached Compiègne,
                   he did not find the troops he expected, and showed
                   some hesitation. The officers of his corps, and
                   particularly Major Lyon, questioned him, and
                   finally abandoned him.

                   On the other hand, the brothers Lallemand, one of
                   whom was general of artillery, had marched to Fère
                   with a few squadrons, intending to seize the park
                   of artillery. The resistance they met from General
                   d'Aboville disconcerted them, and, after they had
                   attempted in vain to seduce the garrison, they
                   fled, but were shortly after arrested.

                   It was supposed, that this rising in arms had been
                   concerted with Napoleon; but I know from good
                   authority, that it was solely the result of an
                   evening spent at General ***'s. A few bowls of
                   punch had heated their brains; they complained of
                   their situation; they were indignant, that a
                   handful of cowardly emigrants should prescribe laws
                   to them; they were persuaded it would be easy to
                   displace them; and, proceeding from one step to
                   another, they concluded by agreeing to march to
                   Paris, and compel the King to change his ministry,
                   and banish from France all those whom the public
                   voice denounced as enemies to the charter, and
                   disturbers of the public tranquillity and
                   happiness. Such was their true and only object.]

The malecontents were in doubt: the royalists were intoxicated.

On the 12th, the victory of the Duke of Orléans was contradicted. The
official paper announced, that Bonaparte must have slept at Bourgoing;
that he was expected to enter Lyons on the evening of the 10th of
March; and that it appeared certain, that Grenoble had not yet opened
its gates to him.

The Count d'Artois soon arrived, and confirmed by his return the
taking of Lyons, and the inutility of his efforts.

The alarm was renewed.

The King, whose countenance was at the same time dignified and
affecting, invoked by eloquent proclamations the attachment of the
French, and the courage and fidelity of the army.

The army maintained silence. The judicial bodies, the civil
authorities, the order of advocates, and a number of individual
citizens, answered the King's appeal by addresses testifying their
love and fidelity.

The two chambers equally laid at the foot of the throne the expression
of their sentiments: but their language differed.

"Sire," said the Chamber of Peers, "hitherto paternal goodness has
marked all the acts of your government[49]. If it be necessary that
the laws should be rendered more severe, you would no doubt lament it;
but the two chambers, animated with the same spirit, would be eager
to concur in every measure that the importance of circumstances, and
the safety of the people, may require."

                   [Footnote 49: The chancellor, no doubt, had
                   forgotten the proscription, that delivered over to
                   death all those Frenchmen who joined or assisted

"Whatever faults may have been committed," said the Chamber of
Deputies, "the present is not the moment for inquiring into them. It
is the duty of all of us, to unite against the common enemy, and
afterwards endeavour, to render this crisis beneficial to the security
of the throne and its public liberty."

The King did not stop at empty proclamations. He decreed,

That a new army should be assembled in front of Paris, under the
orders of the Duke of Berri and the command of Marshal Macdonald:

That all the soldiers on furlough, or conditionally discharged, should
rejoin their corps:

That all the half-pay officers should be called out:

That the three millions of national guards of the kingdom should take
up arms, in order to check the factious and disperse their meetings,
_while the army took the field_:

That the young national guards, who were desirous of forming a part of
the acting army, should be armed and accoutred, and sent to the parts
that were threatened.

That to render useful the services of those brave Frenchmen, who on
all sides were demanding to be led against the enemy, battalions of
royal volunteers should be formed, and make a part of the army of the
Duke of Berri.

Marshal Ney, whose popularity and influence were well known, was
appointed to take the command of the troops of the east.

The Duke de Feltre took the place of Marshal Soult.

In short, the King omitted nothing, that could concur in protecting
his throne from the dangers, with which it was threatened.

Such measures, sufficient to stop an army of three hundred thousand
men, could only attest the success of Napoleon; and yet the ministry
daily caused the most encouraging reports to be spread among the
people, and confirmed by the newspapers.

M. de Montesquiou, faithful to the system of deception he had adopted,
continued to mislead the deputies, cheating them by false
intelligence, and lulling them with hopes, which he himself no longer
entertained. He knew the intoxication, which was excited in every
place by the approach and passage of Napoleon. He knew, that he was
master of Grenoble and Lyons; that the troops attempted to be opposed
to him had joined his with enthusiasm: and nevertheless he announced
to the chamber, "that the population of all the departments invaded by
the adventurer of the island of Elba loudly manifested their
indignation against this audacious robber; that they may have been
surprised, but not subjugated; that all his summonses of places, and
the orders he had attempted to issue to the local authorities, had
been rejected with firmness; that the Lyonese had displayed the
attachment, that was to be expected from their noble character; that
the departments of Burgundy, Franche Comté, Lorraine, Champagne,
Picardy, &c. &c. rivalled each other in their attachment and energy;
that the good disposition of the troops was answerable to that of the
citizens; and that all together, generals, officers, soldiers, and
citizens, concurred in the defence of their country and of their

These political juggleries were not without effect. They satisfied
some credulous men, and inflamed the courage and imaginations of a few
youths. The enrolments of volunteers were more numerous: a certain
number of pupils of the schools of law and physic offered their
services, and traversed the streets of Paris, shouting "Long live the
King! Down with the Corsican! Down with the tyrant! &c."

This effervescent movement could not be durable; and whatever pains
were taken to deceive the metropolis, the truths announced by
travellers and private letters opposed these ministerial falsehoods.

The defection of Marshal Ney soon came to tear off the veil, and
spread affright and consternation among the ministers and their

The King repaired to the Chamber of Deputies, in the hope of
confirming their attachment, and of dissipating by a solemn oath those
doubts of his adherence to the charter, and of his intention to
maintain it, which his ministers occasioned. Never was a more imposing
and pathetic spectacle exhibited. What heart could steel itself
against the sorrows of that august and aged man, against the sound of
his mournful voice? Those prophetic words, "I fear nothing for myself,
but I fear for France: at sixty years of age can I better close my
career, than by dying in defence of the state?" These words of the
King excited the most lively emotion, and tears in abundance fell from
every eye.

The oath pronounced by the King, to maintain the charter, was
immediately repeated by the Count d'Artois, who had hitherto refrained
from it. "We swear," said he, "on our honour, I and my family, to
live and die faithful to our King, and to the constitutional charter,
which assures the happiness of France." But these tardy protestations
could not repair the mischief, that the disloyal conduct of the
government had done to the Bourbons and their cause.

In vain did the words country, liberty, and constitution, recur in
every discourse, and in every proclamation.

In vain was it solemnly promised, that France, as soon as it was
delivered, should receive all the securities claimed by the public
voice, and that the press should recover perfect freedom.

In vain was the lustre and the prerogative, of which the legion of
honour had been despoiled, offered to be restored to it.

In vain were pompous eulogies and brilliant promises lavished on the

The time was past.

The minister had robbed the King of confidence, which is the prime
agent of the ascendancy of princes over the people; and of strength,
which can alone supply the place of confidence, and command fear and

The approach of Napoleon;

The desertion of Marshal Ney;

The declaration made by those generals, who still retained their
fidelity, that the troops would not fight against the Emperor, left
the government no doubt of the fate that awaited it.

From that moment there was no longer harmony in their designs, or
concert in the means of executing them.

Orders and counter-orders were given on the one hand, and revoked on
the other. Schemes of every kind, all equally inconsiderate and
impracticable, were approved and rejected, resumed and abandoned.

The chambers and the government had ceased to act in unison. The
ministers complained of the deputies; the deputies publicly demanded
of the King the dismissal of his ministers, and that he would place
around himself men, "who have been the constant defenders of justice
and liberty, and whose names shall be a guarantee for the interest of

                   [Footnote 50: It is asserted, that on this occasion
                   a conference took place, at which M. Lainé, MM. de
                   Broglie, la Fayette, d'Argenson, Flaugergue,
                   Benjamin Constant, &c. were present, where it was
                   decided, that the King should be required in the
                   name of the public safety:

                   1. To dismiss MM. de Blacas, Montesquiou, Dambray,
                   and Ferrand:

                   2. To call to the Chamber of Peers forty new
                   members, chosen exclusively from men of the

                   3. To confer on M. de la Fayette, the command of
                   the national guard: and

                   4. To despatch patriotic commissioners, to
                   stimulate the attachment, the zeal, and the
                   fidelity of the troops.]

The same disorder, the same disunion, manifested themselves every
where at the same time: there was only one point in which people
agreed; that all was lost.

In fact so it was.

The people, whom the nobles had humbled, vexed, or terrified by
haughty and tyrannical pretensions;

They who had acquired national domains, whom they had wished to

The protestants, who had been sacrificed;

The magistrates, who had been turned out;

The persons in office, who had been reduced to want;

The soldiers, officers, and generals, who had been despised and

The revolutionists, who had been incessantly insulted and menaced;

The friends of justice, and of liberty, who had been abused;

All the French, whom the government had reduced, as it were, in spite
of themselves, to wish for another order of things; eagerly embraced
the cause of Napoleon, which had become the national cause through
the faults of the government.

Royalty had no defenders left but women _and their handkerchiefs_;
priests without influence; nobles without courage; body guards without
youth, or without experience.

The legions of the national guard, on which such great reliance had
been placed, were reviewed by their colonel-general: he harangued them
on the charter, and the tyranny of Bonaparte; he told them, that he
would march at their head, and said: "Let those, who love their King,
come out from their ranks, and follow me." Scarcely two hundred obeyed
the order.

The royal volunteers, who had made so much noise, when they expected
to be victors without incurring any peril, had gradually dispersed;
and those, whom the approach of danger had neither intimidated nor
cooled, were too few to have any weight in the balance.

The government had one sole and last hope remaining: it was, dare I
say it? that Napoleon would be assassinated.

The same men who had preached up a civil war, _and declared, that it
would be shameful not to have one_; soiled the walls of Paris with
provocations to murder, and fanatic praises bestowed beforehand on
murderers. Emissaries, mixing in the various groups of the people,
endeavoured to put the poniard into the hands of the new Jacques
Clements. A public act had proscribed Napoleon; a reward was publicly
offered for his head. This call for a crime, which indignant France
first heard from the assassins of Coligny, was repeated by men, who,
like them, had the sacred words of morality, humanity, and religion,
continually in their mouths, and who, like them, thirsted only after
vengeance and blood.

But while they were conspiring at Paris to assassinate Napoleon, he
peaceably pursued his triumphant march.

Quitting Grenoble on the 9th, he came that night and slept at
Burgoing. [51]""The crowd and the enthusiasm continued to increase:
"We have long expected you," said all these brave fellows to the
Emperor; "at length you are come, to deliver France from the insolence
of the nobility, the pretensions of the priests, and the disgrace of a
foreign yoke."

                   [Footnote 51: The double sets of inverted commas
                   are still used to distinguish passages extracted
                   from the official account.]

""The Emperor, being fatigued[52], was in his calash, the horse
walking, surrounded by a crowd of peasants, singing songs, that
expressed the noble sentiments of these brave Dauphinese. "Ah!" said
the Emperor, "I here find again the sentiments, which twenty years ago
led me to hail France by the name of the great nation! Yes, you are
still the great nation, and you shall ever be so."""

                   [Footnote 52: He had travelled from Cannes to
                   Grenoble partly on horseback, but chiefly on foot.]

They approached Lyons: the Emperor had sent his emissaries before him,
who informed him, that the Count d'Artois, the Duke of Orléans, and
Marshal Macdonald, had determined to defend the city, and that they
were going to break down the bridges de la Guillotière and Moraud.
""The Emperor laughed at these ridiculous preparations: he could not
doubt the disposition of the Lyonese, still less those of the
soldiers; yet he gave orders to General Bertrand, to collect boats at
the Mirbel, intending to cross the river in the night, and cut off the
roads to Moulins and Macon for the Prince, who wanted to prevent his
passing the Rhone. At four o'clock a reconnoitring party of the
fourth hussars arrived at la Guillotière, and were received with
shouts of "Long live the Emperor!" by the immense population of the
suburb, that has always been distinguished for its attachment to its

The Emperor immediately countermanded the passage at Mirbel, and
desirous of availing himself of this first enthusiastic movement, as
at Grenoble, galloped forward to the suburb of Guillotière.

The Count d'Artois, less fortunate, could not even succeed in opposing
to his adversary a shadow of defence.

He was desirous of destroying the bridges, but the city opposed it.

The troops, whose attachment he fancied he could purchase by the
distribution of money, or the bait of rewards, had remained deaf to
his words, his entreaties, his promises. Passing before the thirteenth
regiment of dragoons, he said to a brave fellow, decorated with three
chevrons and with scars: "Come, comrade, shout Long live the
King!"--"No, Sir," answered the brave dragoon, "No soldier will fight
against his father; I can only answer you by saying Long live the
Emperor!" Confused and in despair, he exclaimed in a sorrowful tone,
"All is lost!" and these words, instantly spreading from one to
another, only strengthened the prevailing ill will or discouragement[53].

                   [Footnote 53: It was a great oversight, to send the
                   Count d'Artois to face Napoleon. It was easy to
                   foresee, that, if this prince should fail in a city
                   of a hundred thousand inhabitants against eight
                   hundred men, the business would be decided.]

Marshal Macdonald, however, who was well known to the troops, had
succeeded in barricading the bridge of la Guillotière, and led two
battalions of infantry thither in person; when the hussars of Napoleon
came out from the suburb, and presented themselves before the bridge,
preceded, surrounded, and followed, by all the youth of the place.

The marshal restrained the soldiers a few minutes: but moved, seduced,
borne away, by the incitements of the people and the hussars, they
rushed to the barricadoes, burst them, and were quickly in the arms
and in the ranks of the soldiers of Napoleon.

The Count d'Artois, foreseeing this defection, had quitted Lyons,
unaccompanied by a single gendarme, but escorted by a detachment of
the thirteenth dragoons, commanded by lieutenant Marchebout. It is due
to the troops to say, that they did not cease to respect him, and that
he ran no risk[54].

                   [Footnote 54: Marshal Macdonald was not so happy.
                   Two hussars, one of whom was drunk, pursued him,
                   and would have arrested him, if he had not been
                   extricated by his aide-de-camp.]

At five in the evening the whole garrison rushed out to meet Napoleon.

An hour after, the imperial army took possession of the city.

At seven Napoleon made his solemn entry, proceeding alone before his
troops, but preceded and followed by an immense crowd, expressing, by
incessant acclamations, the intoxication, happiness, and pride, they
felt at seeing him again. He alighted at the archbishop's palace, and
quietly took his rest in the very places, which the Count d'Artois,
yielding to despair, had just watered with his tears.

Napoleon immediately entrusted the guarding of his person, and the
interior charge of the palace, to the national guard. He would not
accept the services of the horse-guards. "Our institutions," said he
to them, "know nothing of national guards on horseback; besides, you
behaved so ill with the Count d'Artois, that I will have nothing to
say to you."

In fact the Emperor, who had always respected misfortune, had made
inquiries concerning the Count d'Artois on his arrival; and had
learned, that the nobles, of whom the horse-guards were chiefly
composed, after having sworn to the prince to die for him, had
deserted him; one excepted, who remained faithfully attached to his
escort, till the moment he thought his life and liberty out of all

The Emperor did not confine himself to commendation of the conduct of
this generous Lyonese. "I never left a noble action," said he,
"without reward:" and he appointed him a member of the Legion of

I was at Lyons the moment when Napoleon arrived. He knew it, and sent
for me that very evening. "Well!" said he to me with a smile, "you did
not expect to see me again so soon[55]."--"No, Sire; your Majesty
alone is capable of occasioning such surprises."--"What do they say of
all this at Paris?"--"Why, Sire, there, as here, they are rejoiced, no
doubt, at your Majesty's happy return."--"And public opinion, how is
that?"--"Sire, it is greatly changed: formerly we thought of nothing
but glory, now we think only of liberty. The struggle that has arisen
between the Bourbons and the nation has revealed to us our rights; it
has engendered in men's minds a number of liberal ideas, that did not
exist in your Majesty's time; people feel, people experience, the
necessity of being free; and the most certain means of pleasing the
French would be to promise, and to give them, laws truly popular."--"I
know that the discussions they[56] have suffered to take place, have
diminished the respect for power, and enfeebled it. Liberal ideas have
resumed all the ground I had gained for it. I shall not attempt to
reconquer it: no one should attempt to contend with a nation; it is
the earthen pot against the iron pot. The French shall have reason to
be satisfied with me. I know, that there is both pleasure and glory in
rendering a great people free and happy. I will give pledges to
France: I did not stint it in glory, I will not stint it in liberty. I
will retain no farther power than is necessary to enable me to govern.
Power is not incompatible with liberty: on the contrary, liberty is
never more entire, than when power is well established. When it is
weak, it is captious: when it is strong, it sleeps in tranquillity,
and leaves the reins loose on the neck of liberty. I know what is
requisite for the French; we shall settle that point: but no
licentiousness, no anarchy; for anarchy would lead us to the despotism
of the republicans, the most fertile of all despotisms in tyrannic
acts, because every body takes a share in it.... Do they suppose we
shall come to a battle?"--"They do not think it: the government have
never had confidence in the soldiery; it has made itself detested by
the officers; and all the troops that may be opposed to your
Majesty's, will be so many reinforcements sent you."--"I think so too:
and the marshals?"--"Sire, they cannot but be apprehensive, that your
Majesty will remember Fontainbleau; and perhaps it will be well to
remove their fears, and to make known to them personally your
Majesty's intention of consigning every thing to oblivion."--"No, I
will not write to them; they would consider me as under obligations to
them; and I will be obliged to no person. The troops are well
disposed, the officers are good, and if the marshals wished to
restrain them, they would be hurried along by them ... where is my
guard?"--"I believe at Metz and at Nancy."--"Of that I am sure, do
what they will, they will never corrupt it. What are Augereau and
Marmont about?"--"I do not know."--"What is Ney doing? On what terms
is he with the king?"--"Sometimes good, sometimes bad: I believe he
has had reason to complain of the court on account of his wife."--"His
wife is an affected creature; no doubt she has attempted to play the
part of a great lady, and the old dowagers have ridiculed her. Has Ney
any command?"--"I do not think he has, Sire."--"Is he one of
us?"--"The part he took in your abdication"--"Ay, I read that at
Porto Ferrajo: he boasted of having ill-treated me, of having laid his
pistols on my table: it was all false. Had he dared to fail of respect
to me, I would have ordered him to be shot. A heap of tales has been
spread respecting my abdication. I abdicated, not in consequence of
their advice, but because my army was out of its senses: besides, I
would not have a civil war. It was never to my taste. It was said,
that Augereau, when I met him, loaded me with reproaches ... it was a
lie: no one of my generals would have dared, in my presence, to forget
what was due to me. Had I known of the proclamation of Augereau, I
would have forbidden him my presence[57]: cowards only insult
misfortune. His proclamation, which I was reported to have had in my
pocket, was unknown to me till after our interview. It was General
Koller who showed it me; but let us quit these popular rumours. What
has been done at the Tuileries?"--"Nothing has been altered, Sire;
even the eagles have not yet been removed."--(Smiling) "They must have
thought my arrangement of them admirable."--"So I presume, Sire: it
has been said, that the Count d'Artois went through all the apartments
immediately after his arrival, and could not cease to admire
them."--"I can readily believe it. What have they done with my
pictures?"--"Some have been taken away, but that of the battle of
Austerlitz is still in the council-chamber."--"And the theatre?"--"It
has not been touched: it is no longer used."--"What is Talma
doing?"--"Why, Sire, he continues to deserve and obtain public
applause."--"I shall see him again with pleasure. Have you been at
court?"--"Yes, Sire, I have been presented."--"I am told, they all
have the air of upstarts of yesterday; that they know not how to utter
a word, or take a single step, with propriety: have you seen them on
grand public days?"--"No, Sire, but I can assure your Majesty, that
people pay as little regard to ceremony at the Tuileries, as at their
own homes: they go thither in dirty boots, common frock-coats, and
round hats."--"That must have a very majestic appearance. But how do
all those old _thicksculls_ spend their money? for every thing has
been restored to them."--"But, probably, Sire, they wish to wear out
their old clothes."--"Poor France! into what hands hast thou thrust
thyself! And the king, what sort of a countenance has he?"--"He has a
tolerably fine head."--"Is his coin handsome?"--"Of this your Majesty
may judge: here is a twenty-franc piece."--"What! they have not
re-coined louis: I am surprised at this. (Turning the piece over) He
does not look as if he would starve himself: but observe, they have
taken away _Dieu protège la France_ (God protect France), to restore
their _Domine, salvum fac regem_ (Lord, preserve the King). This is as
they always were: every thing for themselves, nothing for France.
Where is Maret? where is Caulincourt? where is Lavalette? where is
Fouché?"--"They are all at Paris."--"And Môlé?"--"He, too, is at
Paris; I observed him a short time ago at the Queen's."--"Have we any
persons hereabout, who were nearly attached to me?"--"I do not know,
Sire."--"You must inquire, and bring them to me. I should be glad to
be thoroughly acquainted with the spirit of the times, and know
something of the present state of affairs. What does Hortense
do?"--"Sire, her house is still the resort of men, who know how to
appreciate wit and elegance: and the Queen, though without a throne,
is not less an object of the respect and homage of all Paris."--"She
did a very foolish thing, in exhibiting herself as a spectacle before
the tribunals. They who advised her to it were blockheads. Why, too,
did she go and demand the title of duchess?"--"She, Sire, did not
demand it, it was the Emperor Alexander...."--"No matter, she ought
not to have accepted, any more than demanded it: she should have
called herself Madame Bonaparte: this name is full as good as any
other. Besides, what right had she to have her son made a duke of St.
Leu, and a peer of the Bourbons? Louis was in the right to oppose it:
he was sensible, that the name of her son was sufficiently honourable,
not to suffer himself to change it. If Josephine had been alive, she
would have prevented her from engaging in such a foolish piece of
business. Was she much regretted?"--"Yes, Sire, your Majesty knows how
much she was beloved and honoured by the French."--"She deserved it.
She was an excellent woman: she had a great deal of sense. I greatly
regretted her too, and the day when I heard of her death was one of
the most unhappy of my life. Was there a public mourning for
her?"--"No, Sire. Indeed I think she would have been refused the
honours due to her rank, had not the Emperor Alexander insisted on
their being paid her."--"So I heard at the time, but I did not believe
it. He was no way interested in it."--"The generosity of Alexander was
not confined within any limits: he showed himself the protector of the
Empress, the Queen, Prince Eugene, the Duke of Vicenza, and a number
of other persons of distinction, who, but for him, would have been
persecuted or ill treated."--"You love him, it seems."--"Sire...."--"Is
the national guard of Paris well disposed?"--"I cannot positively
affirm it; but of this at least I am certain, that if it do not
declare for your Majesty, at least it will not act against us."--"I
imagine so too. What is it supposed, that the foreigners will think of
my return?"--"It is thought, that Austria will connect itself with
your Majesty, and that Russia will behold the disgrace of the Bourbons
without regret."--"Why so?"--"It is said, Sire, that Alexander was not
pleased with the princes while at Paris. That the predilection of the
king for England, and his attributing his crown to the Prince Regent,
offended him."--"It is well to know that. Has he seen my son?"--"Yes,
Sire: I have been assured, that he embraced him with a tenderness
truly paternal, and exclaimed: He is a charming fellow: how have I
been deceived!"--"What did he mean by that?"--"They say he had been
informed, that the young prince was rickety and imbecile."--"Wretches!
he is an admirable child: he gives every indication of becoming a
distinguished character. He will be an honour to his age. Is it true,
that so much was made of Alexander at Paris?"--"Yes, Sire, nobody else
was attended to but he: the other sovereigns appeared as if they were
his aides-de-camp."--"In fact, he did a great deal for Paris: but for
him the English would have ruined it, and the Prussians would have
set it on fire.--He acted his part well ... (with a smile) if I were
not Napoleon, perhaps I would be Alexander."

                   [Footnote 55: Those who have been about Napoleon's
                   person know, that he recommended to his
                   secretaries, and the officers of his household, to
                   take notes of what he said and did on his journeys.
                   A number of notes of this nature must have been
                   found at the Tuileries, most of which contained
                   particulars that were highly interesting. I
                   preserved mine, and from them I have composed, in
                   great measure, the present work.]

                   [Footnote 56: The Bourbons.]

                   [Footnote 57: The newspapers of the day asserted,
                   that Napoleon, though he had in his pocket the
                   proclamation of Augereau, filled with reproaches
                   and invectives, had thrown himself into his arms,
                   and heard the cutting reprehensions of the marshal,
                   without saying a word.]

The next day he reviewed the division of Lyons in Bellecour Square. "I
shall see that square again with pleasure," said he, to the chiefs of
the national guard, who stood round him: "I remember, that I raised it
from its ruins, and laid the first stone of it fifteen years ago." He
went out merely preceded by a few hussars. A crowd of men, old men,
women and children, thronged the bridges, the quays, and the streets.
They rushed under the horses' feet to hear him, to see him, to have a
closer view of him, to touch his garments ... it was an actual
delirium. Scarcely had he proceeded a few steps, when the crowd, that
had already seen him, ran to another spot, to see him again. The air
rung with uninterrupted acclamations. It was a rolling volley of "The
nation for ever! The Emperor for ever! Down with the priests! Down
with the royalists!" &c.

The division of Brayer, as soon as reviewed, set out on its march to

When the Emperor returned to the archiepiscopal palace, the great
gallery was crowded with generals, colonels, magistrates, and public
officers of all ranks and kinds. You might have thought yourselves in
the Tuileries.

The Emperor stopped a few minutes: he embraced Generals Mouton
Duvernay, Girard, and other officers, whom Paris supposed to be in
pursuit of him; and after having distributed on the right and left a
few smiles and many compliments, he proceeded to his saloon, and
admitted to be presented to him the imperial court, the municipal
body, and the chiefs of the military corps and the national guard.

He conversed a long time with them on the faults of the Bourbons, and
the deplorable situation in which he found France. He confessed to
them with noble frankness, that he was not altogether inculpable for
its misfortunes. "I was hurried on," said he, "by the course of
events, into a wrong path. But, taught by experience, I have abjured
that love of glory, so natural to the French, which has had such fatal
consequences to them and to me.... I was mistaken in supposing, that
the time was arrived for rendering France the metropolis of a great
empire: I have renounced for ever that grand enterprise; we have
enough of glory, we want repose.

"It is not ambition, that has brought me back to France: it is the
love of the country. I could have preferred the tranquillity of the
island of Elba to the cares of a throne, had I not known, that France
was unhappy, and had need of me.

"On setting foot on our dear France," continued he, after a few
unimportant answers from his auditors, "I made a vow to render it free
and happy: I bring nothing to it but benefits. I am returned to
protect and defend those interests, to which our revolution has given
birth: I return to concur with the representatives of the nation in a
family compact, that shall preserve for ever the liberty and the
rights of every Frenchman: henceforward it will be my ambition, and my
glory, to effect the happiness of the great people from whom I hold
every thing. I will not, like Louis XVIII., grant you a revocable
charter; I will give you an inviolable constitution, and it shall be
the work of the people, as well as of myself."

Such were his words. He pronounced them with an air of such
satisfaction, he appeared so confident of himself and of the future,
that a man would have thought himself criminal to suspect the purity
of his intentions, or to doubt the happiness he was about to secure to

The language he held at Lyons we perceive was not the same, as that he
had uttered at Gap and at Grenoble. In the last-mentioned towns he
sought principally to excite in men's minds hatred of the Bourbons,
and the love of liberty: he had spoken as a citizen, rather than a
monarch. No formal declaration, not a single word, revealed his
intentions. It might as well have been supposed, that he thought of
restoring the republic, or the consulship, as the empire. At Lyons,
there was no longer any thing vague, any thing uncertain: he spoke as
a sovereign, and promised to give a national constitution. The idea of
the Champ de Mai had recurred to him.

Not one of us suspected the sincerity of the promises and resolves of

Time, reflection, misfortune, the grand teacher of mankind, had
effected the most favourable changes in the principles of Napoleon.

Formerly, when unforeseen obstacles arose, suddenly to thwart his
projects, his passions, accustomed to no restraint, to respect no
bridle, burst forth with the fury of a raging sea: he spoke, he
ordered, he decided, as if he had been master of the earth and of the
elements; nothing appeared to him impossible.

After his reverse of fortune, he had learned in the calm of solitude
and meditation, to control the violence of his will, and to subject it
to the yoke of reason and prudence. He had read attentively the
writings, pamphlets, and even libels, published against him: and amid
the revilings, calumnies, and absurdities, which they frequently
contained, he had found useful truths, judicious observations, and
profound views, of which he knew how to benefit himself.

"Princes," observes the learned author of the Spirit of Laws, "have in
their lives periods of ambition to which other passions, and even
indolence, succeed." Napoleon's hour of indolence was not yet come:
but to the ambition of increasing his power without limit, had
succeeded the desire of rendering France happy, and of repairing by a
durable peace, and a paternal government, all the evils that had been
brought upon it by war.

The Emperor spent the evening of the 11th in his closet: his first
thought was for the Empress. He wrote her a very tender letter, which
began with these remarkable words. "Madam and dear wife, I have
re-ascended my throne."

He informed Prince Joseph[58] also, that he had resumed his crown; and
directed him to make known to foreign powers, through their ministers
to the Helvetic Confederation, that he intended never more to disturb
the tranquillity of Europe, and faithfully to maintain the treaty of
Paris. He particularly recommended to him, strongly to impress upon
Austria and Russia, how desirous he was of re-establishing his former
connexions with them in the most intimate manner.

                   [Footnote 58: He had retired to Switzerland.]

He appeared to set a particular value on the alliance of Russia. His
predilection was founded, no doubt, on political motives not difficult
to guess; yet I believe he was equally induced to it by Alexander's
generous conduct towards the French. The popularity and renown, which
this prince had acquired in France, excited, and could not but excite,
the jealousy of Napoleon: but this jealousy, the attribute of great
minds, did not render him unjust; he knew how to estimate Alexander.

Hitherto Napoleon has been engaged only in depriving the King of his
army; he now thought the time was come, to take from him also the
sceptre of civil government. "On this I have resolved," said he to me:
"I will now annihilate the royal authority, and dismiss the chambers.
Since I have resumed the government, no authority but mine ought to
exist. The public must be taught from this moment, that they are to
obey me alone." He then dictated to me in succession the following
decrees, known by the name of the decrees of Lyons.

                                        Lyons, 13th of March, 1815.

NAPOLEON, Emperor of the French, &c. &c.

Considering, that the Chamber of Peers is partly composed of persons
who have borne arms against France, and who are interested in the
re-establishment of feudal rights, in the destruction of the equality
of the different classes, in the nullification of the sale of the
national domains, and finally in depriving the people of the rights
they have acquired by fighting for five and twenty years against the
enemies of the national glory:

Considering, that the powers of the deputies of the legislative body
have expired, and that from that moment the Chamber of Commons has no
longer a national character; that a part of this chamber has rendered
itself unworthy the confidence of the nation, by assenting to the
re-establishment of the feudal nobility, abolished by the constitution
accepted by the people; by making France pay debts contracted with
foreign powers for negotiating coalitions, and paying armies, against
the French people; by giving to the Bourbons the title of legitimate
King, which was declaring the French people and the armies rebels,
proclaiming those emigrants, who for five and twenty years have been
wounding the vitals of their country, the only good Frenchmen, and
violating all the rights of the people, by sanctioning the principle,
that the nation is made for the throne, not the throne for the nation:

We have decreed, and do decree, as follows:

        Article I.

The Chamber of Peers is dissolved.

        Article II.

The Chamber of Commons is dissolved: it is ordered, that every one of
the members convened and arrived at Paris since the 7th of March last
shall repair to his home without delay.

        Article III.

The electoral colleges of the departments of the empire shall assemble
at Paris in the course of the month of May next, in order to take
proper measures for correcting and modifying our constitutions
agreeably to the interests and will of the nation; and at the same
time to assist at the coronation of the Empress, our dear and
well-beloved wife, and that of our dear and well-beloved son.

        Article IV.

Our Grand Marshal, executing the functions of Major-general of the
grand army, is appointed to take necessary measures for making public
the present decree.



        Article I.

All the emigrants, whose names have not been erased, amnestied, or
eliminated, by us, or by the governments that have preceded us; and
who have returned to France since the 1st of January, 1814, shall
immediately quit the territory of the empire.

        Article II.

Those emigrants, who shall be found in the territory of the empire
fifteen days after the promulgation of the present decree, shall be
arrested and tried conformably to the laws decreed by our national
assemblies: unless however it be proved, that they had no knowledge
of the present decree; in which case, they shall merely be arrested,
and conducted out of the territory by the gendarmerie.

        Article III.

All their property, moveable and immoveable, &c. &c. shall be placed
in sequestration.



        Article I.

The nobility is abolished, and the laws of the Constituent Assembly
shall be put in force.

        Article II.

Feudal titles are suppressed.

        Article III.

Those individuals, who have obtained from us national titles, as
national rewards, and whose letters patent have been verified before
the council by the seal of state, shall continue to bear them.

        Article IV.

We reserve to ourselves the power of giving titles to the descendants
of those men, who have rendered the French name illustrious in various
ages, whether in the command of armies by land and sea, in the
councils of sovereigns, in the administration of justice or of civil
authority, or finally in the arts and sciences, commerce, &c.



        Article I.

All those generals and officers by land and sea, of whatever rank, who
have been introduced into our armies since the 1st of April, 1814, who
had emigrated; or who, not having emigrated, had quitted the service
at the period of the first coalition, when the country had the
greatest need of their services; shall immediately cease their
functions, relinquish the marks of their rank, and repair to their
homes, &c. &c.



Considering, that by our constitutions the members of the judicial
order are not removable, we decree:

        Article I.

All the arbitrary changes made in our inferior tribunals and courts
are null, and to be considered as having never taken place.

        Article II.

The presidents of the court of cassation, our procureur-général
(attorney-general), and the members who have been unjustly, and from a
spirit of reaction, dismissed from the said court, are restored to
their functions, &c. &c.

By four other decrees the Emperor ordered, that the property of the
Bourbon family should be placed in sequestration.

That all the property of emigrants, which belonged to the Legion of
Honour, hospitals, communes, the sinking fund, or the national
domains, should be restored to these different establishments.

That the King's household and the Swiss should be dismissed, and that
no foreign corps should be admitted as a guard to the sovereign.

And that the decoration of the lily, and the orders of St. Louis, the
Holy Ghost, and St. Michael, should be abolished.

These decrees, which embraced at once every part of the political,
civil, and military administration of the state, succeeded each other
so rapidly, that Napoleon had scarcely time to interpose a few words
between them.

By restoring to their seats those magistrates, who had been expelled
from them, he gained with a stroke of the pen all the members of the
judicial order; but I know not why he did not extend this beneficial
measure to the functionaries of the administrative order, particularly
to the prefects and sub-prefects, whom M. de Montesquiou had so
cruelly persecuted. Among these functionaries there were
unquestionably some, who, from the weakness or incapacity they had
shown during the last moments of the imperial government, merited no
confidence: but the greater part of them had remained worthy of it;
and Napoleon, by placing them at the head of their former offices,
would have added to the advantage of publicly repairing an act of
royal injustice, that of entrusting the administration to experienced
men, and who, already knowing the partisans of the revolution and
those of the Bourbons, had only to show themselves, to intimidate the
latter, and render effective the patriotism of the former.

With this exception, every thing he did at Lyons appeared to me a
master-piece of wisdom and address.

It was necessary, to overturn the Chamber of Peers: he did it at one
stroke. "It is composed," said he, "only of men who have borne arms
against their country, and who are interested in restoring feudal
rights, and annulling the national sales."

The Chamber of Deputies had shown some resistance to the ministers,
and attachment to liberal doctrines; it was difficult, therefore, to
render it unpopular, yet the Emperor did it by a word: "It has shown
itself unworthy of the confidence of the nation, by making the people
pay debts contracted with foreigners for the shedding of French

It was necessary, to remove the apprehensions of France respecting the
future: he called the electors to the Champ de Mai. It was necessary,
to excite the belief, that he had a good understanding with Austria,
and that Maria Louisa would be restored to him: he announced the
approaching coronation of the Empress and her son.

It was necessary, to seduce the patriots, the republicans: he
abolished the feudal nobility; and declared, that the throne was made
for the nation, not the nation for the throne. It was necessary, to
tranquillize those, who had acquired national domains; he expelled the
emigrants not erased from the lists, and resumed their property: to
please the peasantry and the poor, he restored to the hospitals the
property of which they had been despoiled: to flatter the guard and
the army, he expelled from their ranks foreigners and emigrants,
dismissed the King's household, and restored to the Legion of Honour
its endowments and prerogatives.

Men may censure his conduct at Lyons; may represent it as that of a
madman, resolved to alter, to destroy, to overturn every thing: no
matter ... they who judge with impartiality, I believe, will find,
that he conducted himself with all the skill of a consummate
politician. He knew how to inspire confidence, dissipate
apprehensions, confirm attachments, and fill the people and the army
with enthusiasm: what could he do more?

The steps taken at Paris against him were known to him on the 12th. He
appeared delighted, that a command was given to Marshal Ney; not that
he held any intelligence with him; but because he knew the weakness
and fickleness of his character. He directed the Grand Marshal to
write to him. "You will inform him," said he, "of the delirium excited
by my return, and of all the forces sent against me having joined my
army in succession. You will tell him, that the troops under his
command will infallibly follow the example of their brave comrades,
sooner or later: and that the efforts he might make would have no
farther effect, than at most to retard the fall of the Bourbons a few
days. Give him to understand, that he will be responsible to France,
and to me, for the civil war and bloodshed, of which he would be the
cause. _Flatter him_," added the Emperor, "but do not _caress_ him too
much; he would think me afraid of him, and require to be entreated."

Letters were written also to all the commanders of corps, that were
known to be quartered in the neighbouring departments. None of them
were in a supplicatory style: the Emperor already spoke as a master;
he did not entreat, he commanded.

Every thing being finished, on the 13th Napoleon departed; and
profoundly moved with the affection the Lyonese had shown him, he
bade them adieu in the following words:


"At the moment of quitting your city to repair to my capital, I feel
it necessary, to make known to you the sentiments with which you have
inspired me: you have always ranked with the foremost in my
affections. On the throne or in exile, you have always displayed the
same feelings towards me: the lofty character that distinguishes you,
has merited my entire esteem: in a period of greater tranquillity, I
shall return, to consider the welfare of your manufactures, and of
your city.

     "Lyonese, I love you."

These last words were the ingenuous expression of his feelings: in
dictating, he pronounced them with that indefinable charm, that was
impressed on his words when they came from the heart.

So much has been said of the hardness of Napoleon's heart, and the
harshness of his language, that whatever is at variance with the
received opinion must appear fabulous. Yet it is a truth, and they who
have been about the Emperor's person will vouch for it, that he was
far from being so unfeeling, as he was commonly thought. His military
education, and the necessity of commanding fear and respect, had
rendered him grave, severe, and inflexible; and had accustomed him, to
check and despise the suggestions of his sensibility. But when nature
resumed her rights, he felt a delight in yielding to the movements of
his soul, and he then expressed the emotions or sentiments, that had
overpowered him, in an ardent and impassioned tone, and with a
sweetness and grace, as seducing as it was inimitable.

Indeed the Lyonese merited the esteem and love, that Napoleon avowed
for them. Though yet young, I have more than once seen popular
displays of enthusiasm and infatuation; yet never did I see any thing
comparable to the transports of joy and tenderness, that burst from
the Lyonese. Not only the quays, and the places near the palace of the
Emperor, but even the most distant streets rung with perpetual
acclamations[59]. Workmen and their masters, the common people and
the citizens, rambled about the city arm in arm, singing, dancing, and
giving themselves up to the impulse of the most ardent gaiety.
Strangers stopped one another, shook hands, embraced, and
congratulated each other on the return of the Emperor, as if he had
conferred on them fortune, life, and honour.

                   [Footnote 59: The author of a libel entitled _Les
                   Quinze Semaines_, "The Fifteen Weeks," asserts,
                   that shouts were heard of "Death for ever! Guilt
                   for ever! Down with virtue! Down with God!" Such a
                   charge requires no refutation: I mention it here
                   only to show, to what a point the spirit of party,
                   and the rancorous passions, have misled writers,
                   who call themselves royalists. It has been equally
                   asserted, that the people plundered and destroyed a
                   number of shops and warehouses. This, too, is
                   false: no disorder occurred, except in Bellecour
                   Square, where the people broke the windows and
                   tables of the Bourbon coffee-house, known to be the
                   place where the ultra-royalists assembled; and this
                   disorder was quieted and suppressed immediately.]

The national guard, affected by the confidence he had shown it, by
entrusting to it the care of his person, participated with equal
ardour the general intoxication; and the day of Napoleon's departure
was a day of sorrow and regret to the city of Lyons, as that of his
arrival had been a day of real festivity.

We slept at Macon. The Emperor would not alight at the prefect's, but
went to lodge at the sign of the Savage. He found it was no longer
necessary, to wait at the gates of the towns, as at Grenoble and
Lyons: the people and the magistrates ran out to meet him, and
disputed the honour of being foremost, to do him homage, and express
their good wishes.

The next morning he received the felicitations of the national guard,
the municipal body, &c. One of the colleagues of the mayor gave us a
long, ridiculous harangue, which amused us much. When he had finished,
the Emperor said to him: "You were much astonished, then, at hearing
of our having landed?"--"Yes, faith:" answered the orator: "when I
knew you had landed, I said to every body, the man must be mad, he
will never be able to escape."--Napoleon could not help laughing at
this simplicity. "I know," said he, with a sarcastic smile, "that you
are all a little inclined to be frightened; you gave me a proof of
this last campaign; you should have behaved as the men of Chalons did;
you did not maintain the honour of the Burgundians."--"It was not our
fault, Sire," said one of the party: "we were badly commanded; you had
not given us a good mayor."--"That is very possible; we have all been
guilty of foolish actions, and they must be forgotten: the safety and
happiness of France are henceforward the only objects, to which we
ought to attend." He dismissed them in a friendly manner.

The prefect had taken flight. The Emperor asked me his name. It was
one Germain, whom he had made a count, and a gentleman of the
bedchamber, without well knowing why. "What!" said he to me, "does
that little Germain fancy it necessary to shun me? he must be brought
back:" and he thought no more of him.

He directed me, to cause an account of the events at Grenoble and
Lyons to be inserted in the newspaper of the department. The editor, a
furious royalist, had hidden himself. I entrusted to the new
subprefect the business of fulfilling the Emperor's orders; but,
whether it were carelessness or incapacity on his part, he had
recourse to the printer of the paper, who supplied him with an article
far from answering our views.

It began with a very just, but ill-timed eulogy of the goodness of
Louis XVIII.; and ended with declaring in substance, that so good a
king was not fitted to reign over the French, and that they required a
sovereign such as Napoleon, &c.

The Emperor, who would read every thing, asked me for the paper. I
pretended I could not lay my hand upon it: but, after a thousand
attempts to put him off from seeing it, I was at length obliged to
bring it him. I thought he would have given me a severe reprimand, but
he contented himself with saying: "Change that man, he is a fool; and
desire him for the future, never to attempt a eulogy of me." I sent
for him, scolded him, and, like me, he was let off for the fright.

It was at Macon, that we first received official news of what was
going on at Paris. It was brought us by M. ***. The unskilful manner
in which the royalist party superintended the police of the roads, was
truly astonishing. Not one of its emissaries escaped us, while ours
went and came without any obstruction. Rage or fear must have turned
the brains of all the royalists. M. *** assured the Emperor, that the
national guard appeared determined to defend the king, and that the
king had declared, he would not quit the Tuileries. "If he choose to
wait for me there," said Napoleon, "I have no objection: but I doubt
it much. He suffers himself to be lulled by the boastings of the
emigrants; and when I get within twenty leagues of Paris, they will
abandon him, as the nobles of Lyons abandoned the Count d'Artois. What
indeed could he do with the old puppets that are about him? One of our
grenadiers would knock down a hundred of them with the butt-end of
his musket.... The national guard shouts at a distance; when I am at
the barriers it will be silent. Its business is not to raise a civil
war, but to maintain peace and order in the country. The majority is
sound; there is nothing rotten in it but a few officers; and them I
will expel. Return to Paris; tell my friends not to implicate
themselves, and within ten days my grenadiers will mount guard at the
Tuileries: go."

We arrived at Chalons on the 14th, at an early hour. It was terrible
weather, yet the whole population had come out of the city, to see the
Emperor a few minutes the sooner. On approaching the walls, he
perceived artillery and ammunition waggons, and was surprised at it.
"They were intended," said the people, "to act against you; but we
have stopped them on their way, and present them to you."--"That's
right, my lads; you have always been good citizens."

He was well pleased, to find himself among the Chalonese, and received
them with much affection and regard. "I have not forgotten," said he,
"that you resisted the enemy for forty days, and valiantly defended
the passage of the Saône. Had all the French possessed your courage
and patriotism, not a single foreigner would have escaped out of
France." He expressed to them his desire of knowing the brave men, who
had most distinguished themselves; and on their unanimous testimony,
he granted on the spot the decoration of the Legion of Honour to the
mayor of St. Jean Delonne. "It was for the brave men like him and
you," said he to them, "that I instituted the Legion of Honour, and
not for emigrants pensioned by our enemies." When the audience was
ended, he said to me: "The mayor of Chalons is not come; yet it was I
who appointed him: but he is related to an ancient family, and
probably has his scruples. The inhabitants complain of him, and will
make him suffer for it. You must go and see him. If he object to you
his oath, tell him, that I absolve him from it; and make him sensible,
that, if he wait till he is freed from it by Louis XVIII., he will
wait a long time. Say to him, in short, what you please; I care little
about his visit; it is for his own sake I wish him to come. If he do
not come, the people will stone him to death after I am gone. Germain
was lucky to escape[60]; let his example be a lesson to him."

                   [Footnote 60: He attempted to harangue the
                   Chalonese, but they allowed him only time to take
                   to his heels.]

I repaired immediately to the municipality, where I found the mayor,
and a few municipal counsellors. He appeared to me a man of merit. I
informed him, that it was my usual office, to introduce to his Majesty
the municipal authorities; that I had observed with surprise, he had
not been as eager as the mayors of other cities, to pay his duty to
the Emperor; and that I was come to remove his fears, &c. He answered
me frankly, that he had great respect and admiration for Napoleon;
but, having sworn fealty to Louis XVIII., he thought it his duty to
keep his oath, till he was absolved from it. I had my answer ready.
"I, like you," said I, "consider perjury as the most degrading act, of
which man can be guilty. But it is necessary, to make a distinction
between a voluntary oath, and the stipulated oath, which people take
to their government. In the eye of reason, this oath is merely an act
of local submission; a pure and simple formality, which the monarch,
whoever he may be, has a right to require of his subjects; but which
cannot, as it ought not, enchain their persons and faith to
perpetuity. France, since 1789, has sworn by turns to be faithful to
royalty, to the convention, to the republic, to the directory, to the
consulship, to the empire, to the charter: if those Frenchmen, who
had taken an oath to royalty, had sought to oppose the establishment
of a republic, by way of acquitting themselves of their oaths; if
those, who had taken an oath to the republic, had opposed the
establishment of the empire, &c.; into what a state of anarchy and
disorder, into what a deluge of blood and evils, would they not have
plunged our unhappy country? On similar occasions, the national will
ought to be the sole guide of our conscience and our actions: the
moment it is manifested, it is the duty of good citizens, to yield and

"These principles," replied he, "may be very good as a general rule;
but our present case is an exception, never before known. When the
governments, that have existed since the revolution, were overturned,
the new government seized the authority, and it ought to be presumed,
that the assent of the nation was on its side: but here it is a
different affair; the royal government subsists; the Emperor abdicated
voluntarily; and till the king has renounced the crown, I shall
consider him as the sovereign of France."

"If you wait for the king's renunciation," rejoined I, "before you
acknowledge the Emperor, you will wait a long time. Has not the king
pretended, that he has not ceased to reign over France these
five-and-twenty years? And if he thought himself sovereign of France
at a time, when the imperial government was rendered legitimate by the
unanimous suffrages of France, and acknowledged by all Europe, do you
think he will renounce the crown at present?

"The time when kings reigned in virtue of right divine is far removed
from us: their rights are no longer founded on any thing but the
formal or tacit consent of nations: the moment nations reject them,
the contract is broken; the conditional oaths taken to them are
annulled in law and in fact, without their intervention or consent
being necessary; for, as the proclamations of Napoleon say, kings are
made for the people, not the people for kings.

"As to the abdication of Napoleon, whether voluntary or compulsive,
and the rights newly acquired by Louis XVIII., it would be requisite,
in order to answer this part of your objections, to inquire, whether
the chief of a nation have a right to relinquish the authority
entrusted to him, without the consent of that nation; and whether a
government imposed by foreigners, either through influence or force of
arms, unite those characters of legitimacy, which you ascribe to it.
I have read in our publicists, that we owe obedience to a government
_de facto_: and since the Emperor has in fact resumed the sceptre, I
think we cannot do better, than submit to his laws; with the proviso,"
added I jocularly, "of leaving to posterity the task of deciding the
question of right between Napoleon and Louis XVIII.

"However," continued I, "I leave you perfectly at liberty to embrace
which side you judge best: it is not my intention to take you by
surprise, or to put any violence on your conscience; and I beg you to
consider the attempts I have made to convince you, only as a proof of
my desire to bring you over to my opinion by the force of reason."

"Well, sir," said he, "I yield to your observations: be so good as to
announce me to his Majesty."

The next day he was displaced!

On the 16th we slept at Avalon. Napoleon was received there as he had
been every where; that is to say, with demonstrations of joy, that
were actually bordering on madness. People crowded, thronged, to see,
to hear, to speak to him; his quarters were instantly surrounded,
besieged, by such a numerous and obstinate multitude, that it was
impossible for us to enter or go out, without walking on the heads of
all the population of the country. Those men who made part of the
national guard would remain on duty from morning to night. Women of
the greatest distinction in the place spent the day and night on the
stairs and in the passages, to watch for his going by. Three of them,
tired with standing the whole day for want of seats, requested
permission to sit down by us: it was in the hall (adjoining the
Emperor's chamber), in which some mattresses had been laid on the
floor, in order that we might gain a few minutes' rest. It was
pleasant enough, to see these three young and elegant Bonapartists
timidly huddling together on a little couch in the midst of our dirty
guardroom. We endeavoured to keep them company but our eyes closed in
spite of us. "Go to sleep," said they to us, "we will watch over the
Emperor." In fact, fatigue got the better of gallantry; and, to our
shame be it spoken, we were soon asleep at their feet. When we awoke,
we found one of these ladies keeping guard at Napoleon's door. We
heard of it, and thanked her for her attachment, in very polite and
pleasing terms.

I think it was at Avalon[61], that an officer of the staff came and
brought us Marshal Ney's submission, and his orders of the day[62].
These orders of the day were printed that night; but the Emperor,
after having read them over, directed them to be changed and
reprinted. I know not whether his Majesty judged it proper to alter
them, or whether the printer had made any mistake.

                   [Footnote 61: I dare not positively affirm it, for
                   in my memorandums I have confounded together
                   Chalons, Avalon, &c.]

                   [Footnote 62:

                   ORDERS OF THE DAY.

                   _The Marshal Prince of the Moskowa, to the troops
                   of his Government._

                   Officers, non-commissioned officers, and soldiers!

                   The cause of the Bourbons is lost for ever. The
                   legitimate dynasty, which the French nation has
                   adopted, is about to re-ascend the throne: it
                   belongs to the Emperor Napoleon alone, our
                   sovereign, to reign over our fine country. Whether
                   the nobility of the Bourbons take the step of
                   expatriating itself again, or consent to live among
                   us, is no concern of ours. The sacred cause of
                   liberty, and of our independence, will no longer
                   suffer from their fatal influence. They have
                   endeavoured to debase our military glory; but they
                   have found themselves mistaken. This glory is the
                   fruit of labours too noble for us to lose the
                   remembrance of it. Soldiers! those days are no
                   more, when nations were governed by stifling their
                   rights. Liberty is at length triumphant and
                   Napoleon, our august Emperor, is about to confirm
                   it for ever. Henceforth let this lovely cause be
                   ours, and that of all Frenchmen: let all the brave
                   fellows, whom I have the honour to command, be
                   thoroughly imbued with this grand truth.

                   Soldiers! I have often led you to victory; I am now
                   going to conduct you to that immortal phalanx,
                   which the Emperor Napoleon is conducting to Paris,
                   and which will be there in a few days, and our
                   hopes and our happiness will be for ever realized.
                   Long live the Emperor!

                         Lons le Saulnier, the 13th of March, 1815.
                         The marshal of the empire,
                         PRINCE OF THE MOSKOWA.]

On the 17th the Emperor arrived at Auxerre, where he was received for
the first time by a prefect. He alighted at the prefect's house. On
the mantel-piece of the first saloon were the busts of the Empress,
and of her son; and in the next was a whole-length portrait of
Napoleon, in his imperial robes: it might have been supposed, that the
reign of the Emperor had never been interrupted.

Napoleon immediately received the congratulations of all the
authorities, and of the tribunals. These congratulations began to be
no longer a mark of attachment in our eyes, but the fulfilment of a
duty. After having discoursed with them on the grand interests of the
state, the Emperor, whose good humour was inexhaustible, began to
joke about the court of Louis XVIII. "His court," said he, "has the
air of that of King Dagobert: we see nothing in it but antiques; the
women are old and frightfully ugly; there were no pretty women in it
but mine, and those were so ill-treated, that they were obliged to
desert it. All those people are made up of nothing but haughtiness and
pride: I have been reproached with being proud; I was so to strangers;
but never did any one see me suffer my chancellor to set one knee to
the ground to receive my orders, or oblige my prefects and mayors to
wait at table on my courtiers and dowagers[63]. They say, that the men
about the court are little better than the women; and that, to
distinguish them from my generals, whom I had covered with gold lace,
they are dressed like beggars. My court, it is true, was superb: I was
fond of magnificence; not for myself, a plain soldier's coat was
sufficient for me; I was fond of it, because it encourages our
manufactures: without magnificence there is no industry. I abolished
at Lyons all that parchment nobility; it was never sensible of what it
owed me: it was I that exalted it, by making counts and barons of my
best generals. Nobility is a chimera; men are too enlightened to
believe, that some among them are noble, others not: they all spring
from the same stock; the only distinction is that of talents, and of
services rendered the state: our laws know no others."

                   [Footnote 63: He alluded to the installation of the
                   council of state, where the chancellor actually
                   dropped on one knee, to ask and receive the King's

                   And to the city entertainment, where the prefect,
                   his wife, and the municipal body, waited at table
                   on the King and his suite, consisting of forty
                   ladies of the old court, and only four ladies of
                   the new nobility, two of whom were the wives of the
                   marshals on duty.]

The Emperor imagined, that he should find Ney at Auxerre on his
arrival: "I cannot conceive," said he to General Bertrand, "why Ney is
not here: I am surprised at it, and uneasy: has he changed his
opinions? I cannot think so; he would never have suffered Gamot[64]
to implicate himself. Yet we must know on what we are to depend; see
to it." A few hours after, the marshal arrived. It was about eight
o'clock, and Count Bertrand came to inform the Emperor of it. "The
marshal, before he comes into your Majesty's presence," said he, "is
desirous of collecting his ideas, and justifying in writing his conduct
both previous and subsequent to the events of Fontainbleau."--"What
need is there of any justification to me?" answered Napoleon: "tell
him, that I love him still, and that I will embrace him to-morrow." He
would not receive him the same day, as a punishment for having had to
wait for him.

                   [Footnote 64: M. Gamot, prefect of Auxerre, had
                   married the sister of Madame Ney.]

The next day the Emperor, as soon as he perceived him, said: "Embrace
me, my dear marshal; I am glad to see you. I want no explanation or
justification: I have honoured and esteemed you as the bravest of the
brave."--"Sire, the newspapers have told a heap of lies, which I wish
to confute: my conduct has ever been that of a good soldier, and a
good Frenchman."--"I know it, and accordingly never doubted your
attachment."--"You were right, Sire. Your Majesty may always depend
upon me, when my country is concerned.... _It is for my country I have
shed my blood, and for it I would still spill it to the last drop. I
love you, Sire, but my country above all! above all._"--(The Emperor
interrupting him) "It is patriotism too, that brings me to France. I
learned, that our country was unhappy, and I am come to deliver it
from the emigrants and the Bourbons. I will confer upon it all that it
expects from me."--"Your Majesty may be assured, that we will support
you: he who acts with justice, may do what he pleases with the French.
The Bourbons have ruined themselves, by having wished to act as they
thought proper, and thrown aside the army."--"Princes who never saw a
naked sword could not honour the army: its glory humbled them, and
they were jealous of it."--"Yes, Sire, they incessantly sought to
humiliate us. I am still enraged, when I think, that a marshal of
France, an old warrior like me, was obliged to kneel down before
that ... of a Duke of B..... to receive the cross of St. Louis. It
could not last; and, if you had not come to expel them, we should have
driven them out ourselves[65]."--"How are your troops disposed?"--"Very
well, Sire; I thought they would have stifled me, when I announced to
them, that they were about to march to meet your eagles."--"What
generals are with you?"--"Le Courbe and Bourmont."--"Are you sure of
them?"--"I will answer for Le Courbe, but I am not so sure of
Bourmont."--"Why are they not come hither?"--"They showed some
hesitation, and I left them."--"Are you not afraid of Bourmont's
bestirring himself, and embarrassing you?"--"No, Sire, he will keep
himself quiet: besides, he would find nobody to second him. I have
expelled from the ranks all the light infantry of Louis XIV.[66], who
had been given to us, and all the country is fired with
enthusiasm."--"No matter, I shall not leave him any possibility of
disturbing us: you will direct him and the royalist officers to be
secured till we enter Paris. I shall be there without doubt by the
20th or 25th, and sooner. If we arrive, as I hope, without any
obstacle, do you think they will defend themselves"--"I do not think
they will, Sire: you know what the Parisians are, more noise than
work."--"I have received despatches from Paris this morning: the
patriots expect me with impatience, and are on the point of rising. I
am afraid of some quarrel taking place between them and the royalists.
I would not for the world, that my return should be stained with a
single drop of blood. It is easy for you, to hold communication with
Paris: write to your friends, write to Maret, that our affairs go on
well, that I shall arrive without firing a single musket; and let them
all unite, to prevent the spilling of blood. Our triumph should be as
pure, as the cause we serve." Generals Bertrand and Labedoyère, who
were present, then mixed in the conversation; and after a few minutes
the Emperor left them, and retired into his closet.

                   [Footnote 65: It is indisputable, in fact, that a
                   general insurrection, provoked by the oppressive
                   and senseless conduct of the government, was ready
                   to burst out, at the moment when Napoleon

                   It is known, that France, wearied, disgusted, and
                   discontented with the new order of things, wished
                   heartily for a new revolution; and people had
                   united and concerted measures for preparing the
                   crisis, and causing it to turn to the advantage of
                   the country.

                   Some of the malecontents maintained, that the first
                   step should be, to shake off the insupportable
                   yoke, under which they were groaning, and then see
                   what was to be done: the majority formally declared
                   for the immediate recall of the Emperor, and were
                   desirous, that emissaries should be deputed to him,
                   or that vessels should be sent, to take him off
                   from the island of Elba.

                   The necessity of a change was unanimously agreed
                   upon, and they were endeavouring to settle the
                   rest, when the sudden arrival of Napoleon put an
                   end to the discussion.

                   After the 20th of March, the Emperor was made
                   acquainted with these projects of insurrection; and
                   knew that certain chiefs hesitated about having any
                   thing to do with him. "The leaders," said he,
                   "wished to take the business into their own hands,
                   and labour for themselves; now they pretend, that
                   they opened the way for me to Paris: I know better;
                   it was the nation, the people, the soldiers, and
                   the sub-lieutenants, who did all. It is to these,
                   and to these only, that I owe every thing."]

                   [Footnote 66: A nickname given to the emigrant

He wrote to the Empress for the third time. This letter finished,
Napoleon turned his thoughts to the means of embarking a part of his
army, harassed by forced marches. He sent for the chief of the boat
department, required an account of the number of boats, the means of
preventing accidents, &c. He entered so minutely into particulars with
him, that the man could scarcely recover from his surprise, or
comprehend how an Emperor should know so much as a boatman. Napoleon
persisted in the speedy departure of his troops. Several times he
ordered me to go and hasten the embarkation: he was in the habit of
employing those about him for every thing that came into his head. His
genius knowing no bounds, he imagined, that we poor mortals ought
equally to know every thing, and do every thing.

The Emperor had given orders to his scouts, to bring him all the
mails; and he had appointed me, to examine their contents. I waged
implacable war with the correspondence of ministers; and if I
frequently found in it threats and abuse, of which I came in for my
share, it presented me at least with matters as important as curious.
I particularly remarked two secret instructions, the publication of
which, even now, would cover their authors with eternal disgrace. The
letters _comme il faut_ were equally revolting. Most of them, dictated
by frantic hatred, might have sanctioned the rigours of the law: but I
considered them as the offspring of brains to be pitied for their
diseased state, and contented myself with writing on them in large
letters, before I returned to the post-boy, a _Seen_; which, like the
head of Medusa, no doubt petrified more than one noble reader.

The darksome conspiracies of the enemies of Napoleon were not the only
objects, that met my indiscreet eyes. Sometimes I found myself
unintentionally initiated into gentler mysteries and my pen, by
mistake, traced the fatal _Seen_ at the bottom of epistles, which
should have charmed the sight only of the happy mortals, for whom love
had destined them.

It was from the newspapers, and the private correspondence, we
learned, that some Vendeans were set off from Paris, according to
their own account, with the design of assassinating the Emperor. A
paper, which it is unnecessary to name, even said, that these
gentlemen were disguised as soldiers, and as women, and that most
assuredly the Corsican could not escape them.

Though Napoleon did not appear to be uneasy about these criminal
plots, we were under apprehensions for him. Previously, when
travellers were desirous of telling him news, I stepped aside to enjoy
a few minutes' liberty: but from that time I never quitted him, and,
with my hand on my sword, I never for a moment lost sight of the eyes,
attitude, and gesture of the persons I admitted to his presence.

Count Bertrand, General Drouot, and the officers of his household,
equally redoubled their care and attention. But it seemed as if the
Emperor made a point of setting his murderers at defiance. That very
day he reviewed the 14th of the line in the public square, and
afterwards mixed with the people and the soldiers. In vain did we
endeavour to surround him; we were jostled with so much perseverance
and impetuosity, that it was impossible for us to remain close to him
for two minutes together. The way in which we were elbowed amused him
extremely: he laughed at our efforts, and, in order to brave us,
plunged himself still deeper amid the crowd that besieged us.

Our mistrust was nearly fatal to two of the enemy's emissaries.

One of them, a staff officer, came to offer us his services. Being
questioned, he scarcely knew what answers to make. His embarrassment
had already excited violent suspicions, when it was unfortunately
perceived, that he had on green pantaloons. This was sufficient to
convince every body, that he was one of the Artois guards in disguise.
Interrogated anew, he answered still more awkwardly; and, attainted
and convicted of being a highly suspicious person, and of wearing
green pantaloons to boot, he was on the point of being thrown out of
the window, when fortunately Count Bertrand happened to pass by, and
ordered him merely to be turned out at the door.

This officer of the new batch had not come to kill Napoleon; he had
only been sent to spy what passed at his head-quarters.

The same day witnessed another scene. A chef d'escadron of hussars,
adorned with a sabre-cut in the face, came also to join us. He met an
extraordinarily good reception, and was even invited to breakfast at
the table of the great officers of the household. In wine there is
truth; and the new comer, forgetting his part, explained himself so
clearly, that it was easy to distinguish in him a false brother. He
told us, that the national guard of Paris, and all the imperial guard,
were for the King: that every soldier, who retained his fidelity, had
a gift of a hundred francs, every officer a thousand, and was promoted
a step, &c. &c; that Napoleon had been outlawed, and that if he were
taken.... At these words Colonel ***, who sat next him, seized him by
the collar; every body was for knocking him on the head at once; I
alone was against it. "Gentlemen," said I, "the Emperor will not hear
of any blood being shed; you have sworn to give no quarter to
assassins, but this man is not one; he is no doubt a spy. We are not
afraid of them; let them go, and report what they have seen to those
who have sent them: let us all drink the health of our Emperor, Long
live the Emperor!" He was spitten upon, turned out, and we saw him no

Another deserter from the royal army presented himself, to reveal an
important secret, as he said, to the Emperor. The Emperor, who knew no
secret but strength, would not waste time in listening to him, and
sent him to me. He was an officer of hussars, the friend and
accomplice of Maubreuil. He did not think me worthy of his secrets,
and I introduced him to the grand Marshal. The substance of what he
said was, that he, as well as Maubreuil, had been commissioned by the
provisional government, and by very great persons, to assassinate the
Emperor, at the time of his departure for the island of Elba: that he
held in execration such an execrable crime, and would not commit it;
and that, after having once saved the life of Napoleon, he came to
place himself near his person, to make a rampart for him with his body
in case of necessity. He delivered to the grand Marshal a memorial of
Maubreuil's, and divers papers, of which the Emperor directed me to
give him an account. I examined them all with the greatest care. They
proved incontestably, that mysterious rendezvous had been given to
Maubreuil in the name of the provisional government; but they
contained no clue, that could enable any one to penetrate the object
and end of these secret conferences: the names of those illustrious
personages, whom some persons have since been desirous of implicating
in this odious plot, were not even mentioned in them. This officer
reaped no benefit from his disclosures, real or pretended, and

From hearing so much of plots against his life, however, a painful
impression was at length made on the Emperor. "I cannot conceive,"
said he to me, "how men liable to fall into my hands can be
incessantly urging my assassination, and setting a price upon my head.
Had I wished to get rid of them by similar means, they would long ago
have been mingled with the dust. Like them, I could have found
Georges, Brularts, and Maubreuils. Twenty times, if I had wished it,
persons would have brought them to me bound hands and feet, dead or
alive. I had always the foolish generosity, to despise their rage: I
despise it still; but wo betide them, wo to all their infernal gang,
if they dare touch one of my people! My blood boils, when I think,
that they have dared, in the face of nations, to proscribe without
trial the thousands of Frenchmen, who are marching with us: is this
known to the army?"--"Yes, sire, some persons have had the imprudence,
to spread the report, that we are all proclaimed out of the protection
of the laws, and that some of the body guards and Chouans have set out
to assassinate you: accordingly, the troops have sworn, to give them
no quarter, and already two spies have with difficulty escaped being
knocked on the head before my eyes."--"So much the worse, so much the
worse; such are not my intentions. I wish not a single drop of French
blood to be shed, not a single gun to be fired. Girard[67] must be
desired to restrain his soldiers; write: "General Girard, I am
informed, that your troops, being acquainted with the decrees of
Paris, have resolved, by way of reprisals, to kill all the Royalists
they meet: you will meet none but Frenchmen; I forbid you to fire a
single musket: calm your soldiers; contradict the reports by which
they are exasperated; tell them, that I will not enter Paris at their
head, if their weapons be stained with French blood[68].""

                   [Footnote 67: He had just been appointed to the
                   command of the advanced guard.]

                   [Footnote 68: Napoleon had already given similar
                   orders to General Cambronne. The following is his
                   letter, which I reproach myself with not having
                   quoted. "General Cambronne, to you I entrust my
                   noblest campaign: all the French expect me with
                   impatience: every where you will find none but
                   friends: do not fire a single musket; I will not
                   have my crown cost the French a drop of blood."]

Ministers of the King, guilty authors of the parricidal ordinance of
the 6th of March, read this and blush!

The moment he was quitting Auxerre, the Emperor heard, that the
Marseillese appeared to have an intention of annoying his rear. He
gave orders to the general posted in échelon on the road, and set out
without fear.

In advance of Fossard, he perceived, drawn up in order of battle, the
dragoons of the King's regiment, who had deserted their officers, to
come and join him. He alighted, saluted them with that military
gravity, which so well became him, and bestowed on them compliments
and promotions. No regiment could escape us. When the officers
demurred, the soldiers came without them. I am wrong, however: there
was one regiment, the third of hussars, that the Emperor could not
bring over to him. The brave Moncey, who commanded it, was a man of
sound understanding, and his attachment to Napoleon, his ancient
benefactor, could not be doubted: but all men do not see with the same
eyes; some made their duty consist in running to meet Napoleon, Moncey
thought himself obliged to avoid him.

He had conjured his regiment, not to subject him to the disgrace of
being deserted. His officers and his hussars, by whom he was adored,
followed him, while they made the air ring with shouts of Long live
the Emperor! thinking thus to reconcile their respect for their
colonel with their devotion to the cause and person of Napoleon.

We were informed on the road, that two thousand of the body guards
were posted in the forest of Fontainbleau. Though this account was
improbable, it was thought necessary, not to cross the forest without
precaution. At our urgent solicitation, the Emperor took about two
hundred horse to accompany him. Hitherto his only escort had been the
carriage of General Drouot, which preceded his, and mine, which closed
the march. Colonels Germanouski and Du Champ, Captain Raoul, and three
or four Polanders, galloped by the side of them. Our horses, our
postillions, our couriers, with tricoloured ribands, gave our
peaceable party an air of festivity and happiness, that formed a
singular contrast to the proscription suspended over our heads, and to
the mourning and despair of the men who had proscribed us.

We marched almost all night, as the Emperor was desirous of reaching
Fontainbleau at break of day. I observed, that I thought it would be
imprudent in him, to alight at the castle. "You are a child," answered
he; "if any thing be to happen to me, all these precautions would be
of no avail. Our fate is written above:" and he pointed with his
finger to the sky[69].

                   [Footnote 69: Napoleon was a fatalist, and
                   superstitious; and made no secret of it. He
                   believed in lucky and unlucky days. We might be
                   astonished at this weakness, if we did not know,
                   that it was common to the greatest men both of
                   ancient and modern times.]

I had imagined, that the sight of the palace of Fontainbleau, the
place where he had so lately descended from the throne, and where he
now re-appeared as conqueror and sovereign, would make some impression
on him, and impel him to think of the fragility of human grandeur. I
watched him attentively; but he did not appear to me, to experience
any emotion. Immediately on his arrival, he rambled over the gardens
and the palace with as much pleasure and curiosity, as if he came to
take possession of them for the first time. Napoleon occupied the
little apartments, and complaisantly made me notice their extreme
elegance. He then led me to his library, and in going up, said with an
air of satisfaction, "We shall be very well here."--"Yes, sire,"
answered I, "people are always well at home." He smiled, and I believe
was pleased with my well-timed compliment.

At eleven o'clock he dictated to me the orders of the day; and these
orders announced, that we should sleep at Essonne. It was not till
noon, that the news of the King's departure was brought at once by a
courier from M. de Lavalette, by a letter from Madame Hamalin, and by
M. de Ség.... He sent for me immediately. "You will set out first," he
said, "to get every thing ready."--"It is to Essonne, I presume, your
Majesty orders me to repair?"--"No, to Paris. The King and the Princes
have fled. I shall be at the Tuileries this evening." He gave me some
secret directions, and I quitted Fontainbleau with a heart full of
happiness and joy. I had never doubted Napoleon's triumph; but from
hope to reality how great the distance!

In fact the King had quitted Paris.

The aspect of affairs had never changed since the royal session of the
17th of March. The minister, persevering in his system of falsehood
and dissimulation, still distorted the truth with the same impudence,
and did not cease to predict the approaching destruction of Napoleon
and his adherents. At length, after a thousand subterfuges, it became
necessary to confess, that Napoleon was within a few leagues of Paris.
The King, whom the minister had not been afraid to deceive, had
scarcely time to think of retreating. In this painful situation, he
displayed a strength of mind above all praise. His courage was not
that of a warlike prince, who defends his capital inch by inch, and
trembles with rage and despair when forced to quit it; but that of a
good father, who separates himself with regret from his children, and
from the roof under which they were born. The Bonapartists themselves,
who made a great distinction between the king and his family, were not
insensible to the tears of that august and unfortunate monarch, and
sincerely prayed, that his flight might be exempted from danger and

It was supposed, that Napoleon would make a triumphal entry into his
capital. His old grenadiers, who had marched in seventeen days a
distance that would commonly require five-and-forty, seemed, as they
approached their object, to acquire fresh strength at every step. On
the road you might see them in agitation, pressing upon and
encouraging one another. They would have marched twenty leagues in an
hour, if necessary, not to be deprived of the honour of entering Paris
by the side of Napoleon. Their hopes were disappointed: the Emperor,
who had witnessed their fatigues, ordered them to take a day's rest
at Fontainbleau.

At two o'clock on the 20th of March, Napoleon set out for Paris.
Retarded by the crowd, that accumulated on his way, and by the
felicitations of the troops and the generals, who had run to meet him,
he could not reach it till nine in the evening. As soon as he
alighted, the people rushed on him; a thousand arms lifted him up, and
carried him along in triumph. Nothing could be more affecting than the
confused assembly of the crowd of officers and generals, who had
pressed into the apartments of the Tuileries at the heels of Napoleon.
Happy to see themselves once more triumphant, after so many
vicissitudes, humiliations, and disgusts, they forgot the majesty of
the place, to give themselves up without constraint to the desire of
expressing their happiness and joy. They ran to one another, and
hugged each other again and again. The halls of the palace seemed
metamorphosed into a field of battle, where friends, brothers,
unexpectedly escaped from death, found and embraced one another after

We had been so spoiled on the road, however, that the Emperor's
reception by the Parisians did not answer our expectations.
Multiplied shouts of "Long live the Emperor!" saluted him on his way;
but they wanted those characters of unanimity and frenzy, which were
displayed by the acclamations, that had accompanied him from the gulf
of Juan to the gates of Paris. It would be a mistake, however, to
infer, that the Parisians did not behold the return of Napoleon with
pleasure. We must only conclude, therefore, that the Emperor missed
the proper time for his entrance.

The people of great cities are eager for sights: to move their hearts,
you must astonish their eyes. If Napoleon, instead of traversing Paris
in the evening, and without being announced or expected, had put it
off till the next day, and allowed the disquietudes inseparable from
such a crisis time to be allayed; if he had given his entrance the
pomp and splendour it ought to have had; if he had caused the troops
and half-pay officers, who had hastened to his call, to march before
him; if he had presented himself at the head of his grenadiers of the
island of Elba, with all their decorations; if he had been surrounded
by Generals Bertrand, Drouot, Cambronne, and the faithful companions
of his exile; this grand and affecting train would have produced the
most lively sensation, and the whole population of Paris would have
applauded the return and the triumph of Napoleon. Instead of those
unanimous transports, he received only the applauses of the populous
part of the capital, that he had occasion to traverse; and his
detractors did not fail, to compare this reception with that of Louis
XVIII., and to publish, that he was obliged to enter Paris by night,
in order to escape the maledictions and vengeance of the public.
Napoleon, who had just travelled two hundred and fifty leagues amid
the acclamations of two millions of Frenchmen, could not be agitated
by any such fears; but it is well known with what confidence, what
intoxication, he was inspired by the anniversary of a victory or happy
event; and as the 20th of March was the birthday of his son, he
determined at all events to enter the capital under such fortunate

The very evening of his arrival, Napoleon had a long conversation with
the Duke of Otranto, and the other dignitaries of the state, on the
situation of France. They all appeared intoxicated with happiness and
hope. The Emperor himself could not disguise his rapture: never did
I see him so madly gay, or so prodigal of boxes on the ear.[70] His
conversation savoured of the agitation of his heart: the same words
incessantly recurred to his tongue; and, it must be confessed, they
were not very flattering to the crowd of courtiers and great
personages, who already besieged him: he was continually saying: "It
was the disinterested persons, who brought me back to Paris; the
sub-lieutenants and soldiers did every thing; I owe all to the people
and the army."

                   [Footnote 70: This was Napoleon's favourite
                   compliment. The fonder he was of a person, the more
                   he gave him, and the harder he struck.]

That night and the following morning the Emperor was busied in the
choice and nomination of his ministers.

At their head Prince Cambacérès found himself placed. The system of
defamation directed against him had not altered the high
consideration, which he had acquired by his great wisdom, and constant
moderation. The Emperor offered him the port-folio of the minister of
justice, and was obliged to command him to accept it. His sagacity and
foresight, no doubt, presaged the fatal issue of the new reign of

The Prince of Eckmuhl was named minister of war. By the harshness of
his manners, by acts of severity almost barbarous, he had formerly
drawn upon himself universal animadversions; his fidelity to the
Emperor, and his defence of Hamburgh, had subsequently conciliated
public opinion. The feebleness and versatility of his character indeed
excited some apprehensions; but it was hoped, that the Emperor would
know how to master him, and that the army would derive happy
advantages from his indefatigable zeal, and his strict probity.

The Duke of Vicenza[71] was placed at the helm of foreign affairs.
The rectitude of his principles, the firmness, nobleness, and
independence of his character, had justly acquired him the esteem of
France and of Europe; and his appointment was considered as a pledge
of the loyal and pacific intentions of Napoleon.

                   [Footnote 71: The Duke of Vicenza, convinced of the
                   inutility of the efforts Napoleon might make, to
                   establish any diplomatic connexion with foreign
                   powers, refused to accept the post. The Emperor
                   offered it to M. Môlé. M. Môlé objected, that he
                   was an entire stranger to diplomacy, and requested
                   Napoleon, to make another choice. Napoleon and his
                   other ministers were then so pressing with the Duke
                   of Vicenza, that he considered it his duty to
                   yield. He would have preferred the Emperor's giving
                   him a command in the army, where he would at least
                   have found an opportunity of usefully serving his
                   country and the Emperor.

                   The ministry of the interior, intended at first for
                   M. Costaz, was also offered to M. Môlé, and
                   ultimately given to M. Carnot, at the
                   recommendation of the Duke of Bassano.

                   The Emperor was not pleased with the obstinate
                   refusals of M. Môlé: he was fond of his name, and
                   valued his talents. He had intended to appoint him
                   governor of the Imperial Prince; and it was to this
                   intention that M. Môlé was chiefly indebted for the
                   high rank, to which he had been so rapidly raised.

                   Nevertheless M. Môlé solicited and obtained the
                   general superintendance of highways and bridges, a
                   post which he occupied in 1813, before he was
                   appointed minister of justice.]

The Duke of Gaëta and Count Mollien became again ministers of the
finances and the treasury. They had obtained the confidence of the
public by the ability, prudence, and integrity of their preceding
administration; and the choice of them met with general applause.

The Duke of Otranto had the charge of the police. He had been at the
helm of the state in circumstances of difficulty and peril; he had
learned to form a sound judgment of the public mind, and to foresee,
prepare, and guide events. Having belonged to all parties in
succession, he knew their tactics, their resources, their pretensions;
and the whole nation, convinced of his experience, talents, and
patriotism, hoped, that he would successfully concur in the safety of
the Emperor and the empire.

The recall of the Duke of Bassano to the ministry, as secretary of
state, displeased the court, and also those credulous people, who,
having no opinions but what are suggested to them, adopt praise and
blame without discernment.

Few men have been so ill treated, as this minister.

Every one has taken pleasure in disfiguring his character and even his

The Duke of Bassano had an open countenance, an agreeable manner of
conversation, a politeness always uniform, a dignity sometimes
affected, but never offensive, with a natural propensity to esteem
men, courtesy in obliging them, and perseverance in serving them. The
favour he enjoyed was at first the reward of unexampled readiness in
business; of indefatigable activity; of pure intentions, lofty views,
probity, proof against all temptation, and I will even add an iron
constitution; for physical strength also was a quality in the eyes of
Napoleon. Subsequently it became the just return for an attachment not
to be shaken; an attachment, which, by its force, vivacity, and
constancy, seemed to be a compound of love and friendship.

I must own, I believe, that M. de Bassano most frequently shared and
approved without exception the opinions of the Emperor; but it was not
from interested or base motives: the Emperor was the idol of his
heart, the object of his admiration: with such sentiments, how was it
possible for him, to perceive the errors and faults of Napoleon?
Besides, having continually to express the ideas of the Emperor, and
to imbue himself as it were with the emanations of his spirit, he had
identified himself with his way of thinking and of viewing things, and
saw and thought as he did with the most perfect sincerity. Not but
that he sometimes differed from him in opinion; yet whatever efforts
he made, he always yielded ultimately to the irresistible ascendancy,
that the genius of Napoleon exercised over him, as it did over every
other person.

The Duke of Decrès was called anew to the post of minister of the
navy, and this unexpected choice was completely disapproved. This
minister was not deficient in understanding, talents, or bravery; but
from the little importance he appeared to set on acting with justice
or injustice, his cynicism, and his brutal contempt for those under
him, he had acquired the aversion of all who came near him; and, as
evil spreads readily, this aversion, though unjust, had become

The discontent this appointment excited was repaired by the good
effect, which was produced by that of M. Carnot to the ministry of the
home department. The soldiery did not forget, that he had paved the
way to victory for many years; and the citizens remembered with what
zeal, this courageous patriot had shown himself the defender of public
liberty under Napoleon, both when consul and when Emperor, and under
Louis XVIII. To be a real patriot, says one of our celebrated writers,
it is requisite, to possess greatness of soul; to have knowledge, to
have probity, to have virtue. In M. Carnot all these rare and valuable
qualities were combined: and, far from acquiring any personal lustre
from this great name of patriot, he seemed on the contrary to
embellish the name by wearing it; so well had he preserved it in its
primitive purity, amid the debasement into which it had been plunged
by the excesses of the revolution, and the abuses of despotism.

The choice of such a minister was considered as a pledge to the
nation. The sovereign, who was not afraid to introduce this
illustrious citizen into the government of the state, could not but
entertain the generous design of securing the happiness of his
subjects, and respecting their rights.

The same day the Emperor gave the chief command of the gendarmerie to
the Duke of Rovigo.

The Duke of Rovigo, an old aide-de-camp of Napoleon, had sworn him an
eternal attachment, both from feeling and gratitude. This attachment,
born in a camp, had retained the character of military obedience: a
word, a gesture, was sufficient to call it into action. But however
great its strength, or, if you will, its fanaticism, it never affected
the rectitude and frankness, which were the base and ornament of the
duke's character.

From no other person, except the Duke of Vicenza, did the Emperor hear
more bold and useful truths. Twenty times did he venture to say to
him, as his ministerial correspondence testifies, that France and
Europe were tired of shedding blood; and that, if he did not renounce
his system of war, he would be abandoned by the French, and
precipitated from the throne by foreigners.

The command of the gendarmerie was taken from Marshal Moncey, not from
disgust or dissatisfaction, but because the marshal showed little
eagerness to retain it. On this occasion he wrote to the Emperor a
letter full of fine sentiments, in which he requested him, to continue
to his son the kindness he had formerly conferred on himself: it was
difficult to reconcile the gratitude he owed Napoleon with the
fidelity he had promised the King: in this he was so happy as to

All the marshals were not so fortunate.

M. de Montalivet, formerly minister of the home department, became
intendant of the civil list, an office that suited him better. In
administration, as in many other things, endeavours to do better
prevent people from doing so well; and M. de Montalivet, from a desire
to neglect no minute particular, and seeking to carry every thing to
perfection, lost in empty trifles that time, which he might have
employed in promoting the general good on a large scale.

The strangest metamorphosis was that of the Duke de Cadore: he was
made a surveyor of buildings.

     "Soyez plutôt maçon, si c'est votre métier."[72]

                   [Footnote 72:

                   "Make him, nor think his genius check'd,
                   A herald, or an architect."--GAY.]

This place, hitherto the modest portion of auditors or masters of
request, who had interest at court, was astonished at the honour of
belonging to a duke and peer, ex-ambassador, ex-minister, ex-grand
chancellor, &c. &c. &c. But so much was his excellency then devoted to
the sovereign of the day, that he would readily have accepted the post
of a gentleman usher, had there been no other to offer him.

The council of state was re-established on the ancient footing, and
composed of nearly the same members.

The Emperor was neither politic nor prudent in ostensibly bestowing
his confidence on some of them, who were obnoxious to the public. The
usurpations of the imperial power were ascribed to their servile
counsels, and their presence near the throne could not but revive
recollections and anxieties, which it was of importance to destroy for
ever. If their merit and experience rendered them necessary, they
should have been consulted in private, but not held up to public view.
A government firmly established may sometimes brave opinion, but a
rising government ought to respect and submit to it.

All the aides-de-camp of the Emperor, with the exception, I believe,
of General Lauriston, whom he would not employ again, were recalled.
He could not place around him officers more worthy of his confidence
for their noble-mindedness and superior talents. Generals Le Tort and
Labedoyère were added to their number. The Emperor, deceived by false
appearances[73], had taken from the former the command of the dragoons
of the guard, and to compensate for this involuntary injustice, he
made him his aide-de-camp. The same favour was conferred on
Labedoyère, as a recompense for his conduct at Grenoble; but he
answered the kindness of Napoleon by a formal refusal. "I will not
allow it to be thought," said he proudly, "that I joined the Emperor
for the sake of reward. I espoused his cause, simply because it was
that of liberty, and of my country; the honour of having served it is
enough for me: I desire nothing more; the Emperor personally owes me

                   [Footnote 73: General Le Tort's address to the

This noble refusal will not surprise those, who had an opportunity of
knowing and esteeming the patriotism and disinterestedness of that
brave and unfortunate young man.

Introduced to society at an early age, he conducted himself at first
as those generally do, who have a handsome face, elegance of manners,
wit, a name, wealth, and no experience. Soon brought to himself, he
felt, that he was not born to lead a life of dissipation; and his
conduct became as honourable, as it had been irregular. His mind,
turned to serious occupation, engaged in political speculations: his
soul, naturally proud and independent, matured and enlarged itself,
and expanded to those liberal ideas and noble sentiments, that the
love of glory and of our country inspires. Nature, in giving him a
lofty, firm, and daring character, unquestionably destined him to act
an important part in the world; and if death, and what a death! had
not struck him in the flower of his years, he would assuredly have
fulfilled his shining destiny, and done honour to France.

The Emperor set several persons to speak to him, and after three days
negotiations Labedoyère yielded. Napoleon persisted in recompensing
him. In ordinary cases, the Emperor looked with indifference on the
endeavours made to please him; never was he known to say, I am
pleased; and a person conjectured he had given him satisfaction, when
he did not show any marks of discontent. If, on the other hand, the
services rendered him made a noise, like those of Labedoyère, he was
lavish of his praises and rewards: and in this he had two objects; the
one, that of appearing not only just, but generous; the other, that of
inspiring emulation. But frequently on the very day, on which he had
bestowed on you praises, and proofs of his satisfaction, he would
treat you with disdain and harshness, to prevent your attaching too
much importance to the service you might have rendered him, or
believing, that he had contracted a debt of obligation to you.

The Emperor replaced about his person most of the gentlemen of the
bedchamber, equerries, and masters of ceremonies, who were with him in
1814. He had retained his unfortunate predilection for the great lords
of former times, and must have them at any price: had he not been
surrounded by ancient nobles, he would have fancied himself in a

Most of these (for there were some who were most honourably excepted,
as the Prince de Beauveau, Messrs. de Turenne, de Montholon, de
Lascases, Forbin de Janson, Perregaux, &c. &c.) had meanly renounced
him in 1814, and become the common valets of the Bourbons; but he
would not believe a word of it. He had the weakness, common to all
princes, of considering his most cringing courtiers as his most
devoted subjects.

He would also form an establishment for the Empress, and re-appointed
Mesdames de Bassano, de Vicenza, de Rovigo, Duchâtel, and Marmier,
ladies of the bedchamber. The Duchess of M*** was not recalled. He
heard from Prince Joseph, that after the events of Fontainbleau, she
had abused the confidence of the Empress, and betrayed the secret of
her correspondence.

It was said, but falsely, that the gracefulness and beauty of the
Duchess had formerly obtained the homage of Napoleon; and her disgrace
did not fail to be urged as a fresh proof of the inconstancy of men;
but I have assigned the true and only cause.

The corruption of courts often sanctions a number of lying
suppositions, against which few reputations can stand. This justice
however must be done Napoleon; no prince was ever a man of purer
manners, or took so much pains to avoid and even check scandal: he was
never seen, to be followed to the army by his mistresses, like Louis
XIV.; or disguised in the dress of a porter, or of a small-coal man,
like Henry IV., to carry disgrace and despair into the houses of his
most faithful servants.

As a pretty remarkable contrast, Napoleon, at the moment when he
resumed with delight his own upper servants, sent about their business
without pity the lacqueys, who had served Louis XVIII. and the

     "De tout tems les petits ont payé pour les grands."[74]

                   [Footnote 74: "In all ages the poor have suffered
                   for the faults of the great."]

These poor people were left destitute. It has been said and repeated a
hundred times, that Napoleon ill-treated and struck all those who came
near him, right or wrong. Nothing can be more false. He had his
moments of impatience and warmth; and what honest citizen has not? But
in general, the officers and even subalterns of his household were in
easy circumstances with him, and he was more frequently in a gay than
in a serious humour. He very easily became attached to a person; and
when he liked any one, he could not do without him; and treated him
with a kindness, that frequently degenerated into weakness. It is
true, it would have been very difficult for him to find servants more
able, or more devotedly attached to him: every one of them had made it
his particular study, to become, not what he did wish, but what he
might wish.

Tacitus has observed, that voluntary slaves make more tyrants, than
tyrants make slaves. When we recollect the officiousness, the
meannesses, and the adulation, of certain nobles, who had become the
courtiers of Napoleon, we are astonished, that it never entered his
head to follow the example of Alexander, and cause himself to be
adored as a god.

Counts Drouot and Bertrand were retained in their posts of grand
marshal of the palace, and major-general of the guards. It had been
imagined, that the Emperor would have conferred on them the titles of
Duke of Porto Ferrajo, and Duke of Porto Longone, as memorials of
their fidelity. He did no such thing. They were fully recompensed,
however, by the veneration, with which Frenchmen and foreigners were
inspired for them both. Still, for what reason, I cannot conceive, a
higher value was generally set on the devoted attachment of General

When the Emperor had laid down his crown, Count Drouot did not
hesitate an instant, to preserve that fidelity to him in adversity,
which he had sworn in his prosperity: and this fidelity was not in
his eyes a proof of attachment, still less a sacrifice; it appeared to
him only the natural fulfilment of a duty imposed on him by the
kindnesses and misfortunes of Napoleon.

To follow him, he abandoned all that is most dear to a well-born mind,
his family and his country, as well as the military career, in which
he had acquired the most glorious renown.

Transported into the midst of the seas, he frequently cast his looks
towards the land of his birth: but no regret, no complaint, escaped
from his heart. His conscience was satisfied, how could he be unhappy?
As disinterested in the service of the sovereign of the island of
Elba, as he had been in that of the Emperor of the French[75], though
poor, he would receive no reward from Napoleon: "Give me food and
clothing," said he, "I want nothing more." The most seducing offers
were lavished on him, to draw him over to the Bourbons. To these he
was insensible; and he felt no difficulty in preferring the rock of
Napoleon to the lustre of their throne.

                   [Footnote 75: He constantly refused the emoluments
                   and allowances of considerable offices, attached to
                   the rank of major-general of the guards. The
                   appointments of a lieutenant-general and
                   aide-de-camp appeared to him, to pay him more than
                   his services deserved.]

Such was General Drouot; and such also was his worthy rival, Count
Bertrand; for there existed no difference in the generosity of their
conduct, and none ought to exist in the admiration they deserve.

The Emperor himself was not free from this injustice: he seemed to
give the preference to Count Bertrand. This difference proceeded, I
believe, from that degree of intimacy, which the functions of the
grand Marshal established between the Emperor and him, and perhaps
from the suitableness of their characters.

Bertrand, amiable, witty, insinuating, united the agreeable and
polished manners of a courtier with an air of distinction. Feeble,
irresolute, in the ordinary conduct of life; he yielded to no one in
courage and firmness, on occasions of difficulty and danger. A
stranger to intrigue, inaccessible to seduction, he was in the camp,
as in the palace, a man of honour, a man of probity.

Drouot, simple in his manners, affectionate in his speech, displayed
that rare assemblage of virtues, which compel us to love the sages of
antiquity, and the heroes of the days of chivalry. He had the wisdom,
the prudence of Aristides, the valour, the modesty, the loyalty of
Bayard. The favour he enjoyed, the military power with which he was
invested, inspired him with no pride: he was not less humble and timid
at court, than he was terrible and daring in the field of honour.

Bertrand, when he was consulted, delivered his opinion with the
caution and skill of a courtier; Drouot, with the precision and
frankness of a soldier: but neither was false to his conscience. Their
language, though different in structure, was the same in substance; it
was always that of truth and honour.

The Emperor, though greatly fatigued by nocturnal marches, reviews,
perpetual harangues, and his labours in the closet, which for the last
thirty-six hours had occupied all his moments, would nevertheless
review the troops, that previously composed the army of the Duke of

He caused them to be assembled in the court of the Tuileries; and, to
use his own words, "The whole capital was witness to the sentiments of
enthusiasm and attachment, by which those brave troops were animated:
they seemed to have reconquered their country, and found again in
the national colours the remembrance of all those generous sentiments,
which have ever distinguished the French nation."

After having gone through the ranks, he made the troops form square
battalions, and said to them:

"Soldiers, I came to France with six hundred men, because I reckoned
on the love of the people, and the remembrance of the old soldiers. I
have not been deceived in my expectations: soldiers, I thank you. The
glory of what we have just done belongs wholly to you and to the
people, mine is only that of having known you, and judged you rightly.

"Soldiers, the imperial throne only can guarantie the rights of the
people, and more especially the first of our interests, that of our
glory. Soldiers, we are going to march, to chase from our territories
those princes, who are the auxiliaries of foreigners. The nation will
not only second us with its good wishes, but will follow our impulse.
The French people and myself depend upon you: we will not interfere
with the affairs of foreign nations; and wo to the nation, that shall
interfere with ours!"

At this moment General Cambronne, and some officers of the guards of
the battalion of the island of Elba, appeared with the ancient eagles
of the guard: the Emperor resumed his harangue, and said[76]: "Here
are the officers of the battalion, who accompanied me in my adversity:
they are all my friends, they were dear to my heart! Whenever I saw
them, they reminded me of the different regiments of the army; for
among these six hundred brave fellows are men from every regiment.
They recalled to my mind those great victories, the remembrance of
which is so dear; for they are all well covered with honourable scars
received in those memorable battles! In loving them, it was all of
you, soldiers, of the whole French army, whom I loved. They bring back
to you these eagles; let them serve you as a rallying point: in giving
them to the guards, I give them to the whole army."

                   [Footnote 76: I cannot avoid remarking the beauty
                   of this passage.]

"Treason and unfortunate circumstances had covered them with a
funereal veil: but, thanks to the French people and to you, they
appear again resplendent with all their glory. Swear, that they shall
always be found, wherever the interests of our country call them! that
traitors, and those who would invade our territories, shall never
stand their appearance."

"We swear it," answered all the soldiers with enthusiasm. They then
filed off with shouts of "Long live the Emperor!" and to the sound of
military music, playing the favourite tunes of the revolution, and the
Marseillese march, so celebrated in the annals of our crimes and our

When the review was over, the Emperor returned to his closet, and
applied himself immediately to business. His situation rendered it
necessary, that he should ascertain without delay the precise state of
the country, of the government of which he had resumed the reins. This
was so vast an undertaking, that the faculties of any other man would
have been overwhelmed by it. He found the writing table covered with
mystic authors[77]; and substituted for them plans and maps. "The
closet of a French monarch," said he, "should resemble the tent of a
general, not an oratory." His eyes rested on the map of France. After
having contemplated its recent limits, he exclaimed in a tone of
profound sorrow, "_Poor France_!" He kept silence a few minutes, and
then began to hum in a low voice one of his usual burdens of songs:

          "S'il est un tems pour la folie,
           Il en est un pour la raison[78]."

                   [Footnote 77: The king departed with such
                   suddenness, that he had not time to carry away his
                   private papers. In his writing table was found his
                   family port-folio. It contained a great number of
                   letters from Madame the Duchess of Angoulême, and
                   from some of the princes. Napoleon cast his eye
                   over several of them, and gave me the port-folio,
                   with orders, that it should be scrupulously
                   preserved. Napoleon would have respect paid to
                   royal majesty, and to every thing that pertained to
                   the person of kings.

                   The king habitually used a small table, that he had
                   brought from Hartwell. Napoleon took pleasure in
                   writing on it for a few hours: he afterwards
                   ordered it to be removed, and the greatest care to
                   be taken of it.

                   The Merlin's chair used by the king, not being
                   suited to Napoleon, whose limbs and health were in
                   full strength and vigour, was banished to the back
                   closet. Some person being found sitting in it, when
                   the Emperor passed through unexpectedly, he gave
                   him an angry look, and the chair was removed.

                   One of his valets de chambre, thinking to please
                   him, ventured to place over his mantel-piece some
                   insulting caricatures of the Bourbons: these he
                   disdainfully threw into the fire, and severely
                   enjoined the valet, never in future to be guilty of
                   such an impertinence.]

                   [Footnote 78:

                   "If we sometimes play the fool,
                   Reason should resume her rule."]

The Emperor entered his closet habitually before six in the morning,
and seldom quitted it till night.

Impatience and vivacity are almost always incompatible with order and
precision. Napoleon, destined to be like no other person, added to the
fire of genius the methodical habits of cold and little minds. For the
most part, he took care to arrange his numerous papers himself. Each
of them had its settled place. Here was found whatever related to the
war department: there, the budgets, the daily statements of the
treasury and finances: farther on, the reports of the police, his
secret correspondence with his private agents, &c. He carefully
returned every thing to its place, after having used it: compared with
him the most methodical clerk would have been but a bungler.

His first business was to read his correspondence, and the despatches
that had arrived in the night. He put aside the interesting letters,
and threw the rest on the floor: this he called his _answered_.

He afterwards examined the copies of letters opened at the post
office, and burnt them immediately. It seemed, as if he wished to
annihilate all traces of the abuse of power, of which he had been

He finished by casting an eye over the newspapers. Sometimes he said,
"That's a good article; whose is it?" He must know every thing.

These several readings ended, he set to work; and it may be said
without exaggeration, that he was then as extraordinary, as
incomparable, as at the head of his armies.

As he would entrust to nobody the supreme care of the government, he
saw every thing himself; and it is easy to conceive, on what a
multiplicity of objects he had to fix his eyes. Independently of his
ministers, the Duke of Bassano, the commandant of the first division
of Paris, the prefect of the police, the inspector general of the
gendarmerie, the major-general of guards, the grand marshal of the
palace, the great officers of the crown, the aides-de-camp, and the
orderly officers (_officiers d'ordonnance_) on missions, daily sent
him circumstantial reports, which he examined, and answered
immediately: it being a maxim with him, to put nothing off till
to-morrow. And let it not be supposed, that he satisfied himself with
a superficial judgment of affairs: he read every report through, and
examined every voucher attentively. Frequently the super-human
sagacity, with which he was gifted, enabled him to perceive errors and
imperfections, that had escaped the scrutinizing eyes of his
ministers; and then he corrected their labours. But still more
frequently he fashioned them anew from beginning to end; and what was
a fortnight's work to a whole ministry, scarcely cost the genius of
Napoleon a few minutes.

The Emperor rarely sat down, but dictated as he walked about. He did
not like to repeat his words; and if you asked him a word not clearly
understood, he answered impatiently, "_I said_," and went on.

When he had to treat a subject worthy of himself, his style,
habitually nervous and concise, rose to the level of his grand
conceptions: it became majestic and sublime.

If the possibility of expressing his ideas was shackled by the want of
the proper word; or if the customary terms did not appear to him
sufficiently strong, sufficiently animated, he brought together words,
that were astonished to find themselves in each other's company, and
created a language of his own, a language rich and impressive, that
might sometimes infringe established rules, but compensated this happy
fault, by giving more loftiness and vigour to his thoughts[79].

                   [Footnote 79: I have been assured, that Napoleon in
                   his youth composed a history of Paoli, and of the
                   war of liberty: may he realize the design of
                   writing the history of his own reign, for the
                   instruction of future ages! This reign is so
                   fertile in extraordinary events, and unforeseen
                   catastrophes, and displays to our view such
                   numerous examples of human vicissitudes, that its
                   history may supply the place of all others, and
                   become itself alone a lesson for kings and people.]

Sometimes, hurried away by the impetuosity of his character, and
eager to arrive more quickly at his object, he did not take time to
weigh his words, his ideas, his desires. When his orders had been
dictated to us in such a fit of hastiness, we were careful, as far as
possible, not to present them for signing the same day. The next day,
they were almost always modified, softened, or torn. Napoleon was
never displeased with us, for endeavouring to guard him against the
dangers of precipitancy. They who think, that he never corrected a
false step, are mistaken: if under certain circumstances his
determinations were inflexible, in a number of others he yielded to
remonstrance, and relinquished his projects and resolves without

The Emperor seldom wrote with his own hand. Words of many syllables
were tedious to him; and, not having patience to write them at length,
he mutilated them. This habit, added to the defective formation of
his letters, rendered his writing altogether illegible. Frequently,
too, from carelessness, or absence of mind, he infringed the laws of
orthography; and people have not failed thence to infer, that he was
completely ignorant.

Most assuredly the ignorance of Napoleon, were it proved, would
detract nothing from his glory and renown. Charlemagne could scarcely
sign his own name. Louis XIV., and I quote him by choice, though born
on a throne, was unacquainted with _the rules of grammar_. Yet
Charlemagne and Louis were nevertheless great kings. The imputation,
however, is as false as it is absurd. Napoleon, educated at the school
of Brienne, was distinguished there by that facility of comprehension,
that disdain of pleasure, that fondness for study, that enthusiastic
regard for models of greatness, which commonly indicate superior
minds. Destined for the profession of arms, he would not aspire to
become a man of letters, a man of reading, a learned man: his object,
for he had an object in his earliest years, was to become some day a
distinguished officer, perhaps even a great captain. It was to the
military sciences, therefore, he bent his genius ... the universe
knows the rest.

But do I say his genius? the detractors of Napoleon also assert, that
his mind was too subject to irregularities, for the possession of
genius to be granted him: do they not know, or do they pretend to be
ignorant, that such irregularities are on the contrary the proof, the
distinguishing characteristics, of this precious gift of nature.

"Genius," says one of our philosophers, "rises and stoops by turns; it
is often imperfect, because it does not take the trouble to improve
itself. It is great in great things, because they are adapted to
excite its sublime instinct, and call it into action. It is negligent
in ordinary things, because they are beneath it, and have nothing in
them to stir it up: if, however, it do turn its attention to them, it
fertilizes them, aggrandizes them, and gives them a new and unexpected
appearance, that had escaped vulgar eyes."

And with how vast a genius must he have been endowed! he, who,
occupied by the torments of ambition, military calculations, political
schemes, and the anxieties inspired by the enemies of his crown and of
his life, still found sufficient time, sufficient calmness, sufficient
power, to command his numerous armies; to govern twenty foreign
nations, and forty millions of subjects; to enter solicitously into
all the particulars of the administration of his states; to see every
thing; to sift every thing to the bottom; to regulate every thing; in
fine, to conceive, create, and realize those unexpected improvements,
those bold innovations, those noble institutions, and those immortal
codes, that raise the civil glory of France to a degree of
superiority, which alone can match its military glory. But I know not
why I attempt to combat such adversaries: they who are blind to the
genius of Napoleon, have never known genius itself, and I ought to
give them no answer, but that of Rousseau: "Silence, ye uninitiated!"

The Emperor, by his decrees issued at Lyons, had in some degree
repaired the wrongs imputed to the royal government. One grievance
still remained for him; the slavery of the press. The decree of the
24th of March[80], by suppressing the censors, the censorship, and
the superintendance of the bookselling trade, completed the imperial

                   [Footnote 80: This decree, and all those previously
                   dated from the palace of the Tuileries, contained
                   no title but simply that of "Emperor of the
                   French." The "&c. &c.," noticed with anxiety in the
                   proclamations and decrees from Lyons, were
                   suppressed. They had been inserted without
                   reflection, without object, and merely from custom.
                   The Emperor, too, would not have his familiar
                   letters continue to be concluded in the usual form:
                   "On which I pray God, to have you in his holy
                   keeping, &c." "All those antiquated things," said
                   he, "must be laid aside; they are well enough for
                   kings by the grace of God."]

This last concession was unquestionably the greatest, that Napoleon
could make to public opinion. A press in the general interest of the
people is the surest protection of their rights. It is the most noble
conquest liberty can gain over despotism: to honest men it gives
dignity; it inspires them with the love of their country, and of the
laws; in fine, according to the English definition, it is the mother
of all liberty: but in times of trouble and of revolution, it is a
dangerous weapon in the hands of the wicked; and the Emperor foresaw,
that the royalists would employ it in the cause of the Bourbons; and
the Jacobins, to calumniate his sentiments, and render his designs
suspected. But, a declared enemy of half-measures, he resolved, since
he had set thought at liberty, that it should circulate

                   [Footnote 81: Never, in fact, at any period of the
                   revolution, did writers enjoy such complete liberty
                   and impunity. The seizure of the _Censeur
                   Européen_, which made such noise, was the work of
                   M. Fouché. The Emperor knew nothing of this
                   infringement of the law, till it had been carried
                   into effect; and he immediately ordered, that the
                   copies seized should be returned to the editors of
                   the _Censeur_, and that they should be at liberty
                   to circulate them freely.]

This decree, and those that preceded it, were undoubtedly sufficient
to testify to the nation the liberal disposition of Napoleon: but no
speech from the throne had yet declared with solemnity the positive
intentions of the Emperor.

At length he fixed on Sunday, the 26th of March, as the day, on which
he would make his new profession of faith in the face of the

                   [Footnote 82: The audience was to take place at
                   noon; and at nine o'clock his Majesty had not
                   prepared his answers. They were dictated in haste,
                   and we had scarcely time to copy them out fairly.]

The ministers, the council of state, the court of cassation, the court
of accounts, the imperial court, the prefect, and the municipal
council of Paris, were admitted to the foot of the throne.

The prince arch-chancellor, speaking in the name of the ministers,

"Sire, Providence, that watches over our destiny, has re-opened to
your Majesty the road to that throne, to which you had been raised by
the free choice of the people, and the national gratitude. Our country
raises its majestic brow, and for the second time salutes with the
name of deliverer the prince, who destroyed anarchy, and whose
existence alone is at present capable of consolidating our liberal

"The most just of revolutions, that which will restore to men their
dignity, and all their political rights, has hurled from the throne
the dynasty of the Bourbons. After five and twenty years of war and
troubles, all the efforts of foreigners have proved unable, to awaken
affections that are extinct, or wholly unknown to the present
generation. The struggle of the interests and prejudices of a few
against the enlightened state of the age, and the interests of a great
nation, is at length terminated.

"Our destinies are accomplished: the only legitimate cause, the cause
of the people, has triumphed. Your Majesty has yielded to the wishes
of the French; you have seized anew the reins of the state, amid the
benedictions of the people and of the army.

"France, Sire, has as a guarantee of it her will, and her dearest
interests; she has as a guarantee of it all that your Majesty has said
to the population of the different parts of the country, which
assembled in crowds on your passage. Your Majesty will keep your word,
you will remember only the services rendered your country; you will
prove, that in your eyes, and in your heart, whatever the different
opinions and exasperations of parties may have been, all citizens are
equal, as they are in the eye of the law.

"Your Majesty will also forget, that we have been the masters of the
nations around us. Generous idea! that adds another glory to the glory
already acquired.

"Already has Your Majesty traced out to your ministers the path they
have to pursue: already have you made known to all the people by your
proclamations the maxims, by which you would have your empire governed
for the future. No war without, unless to repel unjust aggression; no
re-action within, no arbitrary proceedings; security of person,
security of property, and the free circulation of opinions, are the
principles you have sanctioned.

"Happy those, Sire, who are called to cooperate in so many sublime
acts! Such benefits will ensure to you from posterity, when the days
of adulation are at an end, the name of Father of your country: they
will be guarantied to our children by the august heir, whom your
Majesty is preparing to crown in the Champ de Mai."

The Emperor answered:

"The sentiments you have expressed to me are mine. 'Every thing
agreeably to the sense of the nation, and every thing for France:'
such is my motto.

"I and my family, whom this great people has raised to the French
throne, and maintained on it in spite of vicissitudes and political
tempests, will not, ought not, cannot, ever claim any other title to

The Count Défermon, father of the presidents of the council of state,
delivered to the Emperor the following declaration, tending to prove
the nullity of the abdication of Fontainbleau:

"The council of state, in resuming its functions, thinks it necessary
to make known the principles, by which its conduct and opinions are

"The sovereignty resides in the people, who are the only legitimate
source of power.

"In 1789 the nation recovered its rights, which had long been usurped,
or misunderstood.

"The National Assembly abolished the feudal monarchy, and established
a constitutional monarchy, and a representative government.

"The resistance of the Bourbons to the wishes of the people occasioned
their downfal, and their banishment from the French territories.

"Twice the people sanctioned by its votes the new form of government
established by its representatives.

"In the year 8th, Bonaparte, already crowned by victory, found himself
raised to the government by the assent of the nation. A constitution
created the consular magistracy.

"The senatus consultum of the 16th of Thermidor, year 10, named
Bonaparte consul for life.

"The senatus consultum of the 28th of Floréal, year 12, conferred on
Napoleon the imperial dignity, and made it hereditary in his family.

"These three solemn acts were laid for acceptance before the people,
who sanctioned them by nearly four millions of votes.

"Accordingly, the Bourbons had ceased to reign in France for two and
twenty years; they were forgotten there by their contemporaries;
strangers to our laws, our institutions, our manners, our glory; and
the present generation knew nothing of them.

"In 1814 France was invaded by the armies of the enemy, and the
capital occupied. The foreigners created a pretended provisional
government. They assembled a minority of the senators, and compelled
them, in opposition to their delegated powers and to their will, to
destroy the existing establishments, to overturn the imperial throne,
and to recall the family of the Bourbons.

"The senate, which had been instituted solely to maintain the
constitution of the empire, acknowledged itself, that it had no power
to alter it. It decreed, that the scheme of a constitution, which it
had prepared, should be submitted to the people for their acceptance,
and that Louis Stanislas Xavier should be proclaimed King of the
French, as soon as he had accepted the constitution, and sworn to
observe it, and cause it to be observed.

"The abdication of the Emperor Napoleon was solely the result of the
unfortunate situation, to which France and the Emperor had been
reduced by the events of the war, by treason, and by the occupation of
the capital. The only object of the abdication was, to avoid a civil
war, and the shedding of French blood. Unsanctioned by the will of the
people, this act could not annul the solemn contract, that was
established between them and the Emperor. And if Napoleon possessed
the power of abdicating the throne in his own person, he had none to
sacrifice the rights of his son, appointed to reign after him.

"The Emperor, therefore, by re-ascending the throne, to which the
people had elevated him, restored the people to their most sacred
rights: he only called into execution the decrees of the
Representative Assemblies, sanctioned by the nation: he returns to
reign on the only legitimate principle, that France acknowledges and
has acknowledged for five and twenty years, and to which all the
authorities bound themselves by oaths, that they can be released from
by the will of the people alone.

"The Emperor is called upon, to guaranty anew, by institutions, as he
has engaged to do in his proclamations to the nation and the army, all
the principles of liberty: personal freedom, and equality of rights;
the freedom of the press, and abolition of the censorship; freedom of
religious worship; the voting of laws and contributions by the
representatives of the nation lawfully chosen; national property, from
whatever source arising; the independence and stability of our
tribunals; the responsibility of ministers, and of all the agents of

"The more perfectly to sanction the rights and obligations of the
people and the monarch, the national institutions should be revised in
a grand assembly of the representatives already announced by the

"Previous to the meeting of this grand representative assembly, the
Emperor ought to exercise, and cause to be exercised, conformably to
the existing laws and constitution, the authority they have delegated
to him, which could not be taken from him, which he could not abdicate
without the consent of the nation, and which the wishes and general
interest of the French people render it his duty to resume."

The Emperor answered:

"Princes are the first citizens of the state: their authority is more
or less extensive according to the interests of the nations they
govern: the sovereignty itself is hereditary only because the interest
of the people requires it. I know nothing of a legitimacy extraneous
to these principles.

"I have renounced the idea of that grand empire, of which in the
course of fifteen years I had merely laid the foundations:
henceforward the happiness and consolidation of the French empire will
be the object of all my thoughts."

The court of cassation expressed the same principles and the same
sentiments as the council of state.

To this the Emperor answered:

"In the earliest ages of the French monarchy, rude tribes made
themselves masters of Gaul. The sovereignty, of course, was not
framed for the benefit of the Gauls, who were slaves, or destitute of
political rights; but for the benefit of the conquering tribe. It can
never have been said with truth, therefore, in any period of history,
in any nation, even in the east, that the people exist for kings.
Every where it has been established, that kings exist only for the
people. A dynasty created under circumstances, that have created so
many new interests, being itself interested in the maintenance of the
rights and properties of all, can alone be natural and legitimate, and
in possession of strength and confidence, the two leading characters
in all government."

The court of accounts, and the imperial court, held the same language
as the preceding authorities.

To these the Emperor answered:

"What particularly distinguishes the imperial throne is, that it has
been raised by the nation, that it is consequently natural, and that
it guaranties the interests of all. This is the true character of
legitimacy. It is the interest of this throne, to consolidate all that
at present exists, and all that has been done in France during the
twenty-five years of revolution. It comprises all interests, and
particularly that of the national glory, which is not the least among

"Whatever has returned with the foreign armies, whatever has been done
without consulting the nation, is null. The courts of Grenoble and
Lyons, and all the tribunals of the judicial order, which I met with
while the success of events was yet uncertain, have shown me, that
these principles are engraved on the heart of every Frenchman."

The reception of these public bodies being over, there was a grand
audience in the apartments of the palace. The answers of the Emperor,
repeated with embellishments, had produced the most profound
sensation. The words national glory, liberty, country, so long unknown
and proscribed within these walls, resounded on every side. When the
emigrants re-appeared, and the most illustrious servants of the state
were expelled, to make room for men, who had become strangers to our
manners, our institutions, and our triumphs; you would have said, that
France existed no longer, that it had passed under the dominion of
foreigners. When Napoleon returned, our country appeared to have
returned with him: he seemed to have brought it back from exile, and
he might then exclaim with just pride: "I am the nation."

The example set by the magistrates of Paris soon found numerous
imitators in the departments. The public functionaries, the judicial
and administrative authorities, which but a few days before had
offered up prayers to Heaven and to the King for the extermination of
the Corsican, the tyrant, and the usurper, were eager to congratulate
_the Emperor_ on his miraculous return; and to confer on him the
titles of hero, deliverer, and more especially of legitimate

Napoleon's progress had been so rapid, that many addresses to the King
did not reach Paris before the King was gone; and all these were
delivered at the same time with the new addresses voted to his
successor[83]! I remarked this to the Emperor; who answered me with a
smile of pity: "_See what men are_!"

                   [Footnote 83: I am speaking here only of the
                   addresses of bodies corporate, and of certain
                   generals and prefects.]

The favourites of Apollo did not fail to offer up their obsequious
incense to the god of the day. We received from the Countess de G***
some very pretty verses in honour of the violet. Another woman, still
more celebrated, the Baroness de S***, took occasion from some
flattering words said for her to M. B. C., to write an epistle to the
Emperor, which would make a curious figure at the head of her last

The most rigid writers and lecturers on the common law, who the
evening before, with Cujas and Bartholi in their hands, had formally
impleaded Napoleon, were eager to testify their admiration of him, and
proclaim him the sovereign of sovereigns.

Thus Napoleon was more honoured and lauded than ever; and it must be
confessed, that he conducted himself so as to deserve it: on one hand
he caressed the nation, and on the other private interests, which it
is much more difficult to conciliate than what is called the public

The decrees of Lyons had sequestrated anew the estates restored to
emigrants since 1814. Part of these had been sold by those who had
recovered them; and it was necessary, to quiet the apprehensions of
the purchasers. The Emperor declared irrevocable all the sales, that
had been completed; and confirmed those, that had taken place
subsequently to the decree, when it could be proved, that they were
not collusive.

On the other hand, the emigrants, who had returned, had purchased
property, the price of which might not have been entirely paid: and in
order to do justice both to the emigrants and to the sellers, he
ordered, that estates recently acquired should not be subject to
sequestration, on condition of being re-sold within a certain period.

Another decree from Lyons had indiscriminately abolished all
promotions in the legion of honour, and in the army, made since the
royal restoration. He subjected to revision the nominations, that
appeared to him the result of favour, intrigue, and venality; and
confirmed all, that had been the reward of real and meritorious
services. He would not even allow men's opinions, to constitute a line
of demarcation and directed the minister, to pay regard to ancient
services rendered by officers since incorporated in the King's

He confirmed also the decorations granted to the national guard; and
distributed new ones among the brave pupils of the polytechnical
school, whose noble conduct had so much excited the admiration of
Paris, and of foreigners, at the time of the occurrences of 1814.

The daughters of the members of the legion of honour had claims to
his remembrance, and his consolation, too sacred, not to participate
in his favours. He went to visit them. His presence excited
inexpressible enthusiasm among these young orphans: they threw
themselves at his feet, embraced his knees, and watered them with
their tears. He had taken a spoon, to taste their food: after he was
gone, as every one wished to have it, they broke it to pieces, and
shared it amongst them. Most of them had braided rings of hair, on
which were traced patriotic devices, or the ingenious expression of
their sentiments for Napoleon. The Emperor having condescended to
accept some of these, and place them on his fingers, every one of the
orphans was desirous of obtaining the same favour: they rushed on him,
seized his hands, and in an instant covered them with these innocent
pledges of love and gratitude. The Emperor, moved, enchanted,
submitted with kind complaisance to the gentle fetters of these
amiable infants. They ingeniously intreated him, not to give away the
rings they had presented to him; and he promised to keep them,
assuring them, that they would be as valuable in his eyes as the
jewels of his crown.

The working class, who had surnamed Napoleon _le grand
entrepreneur_[84], also received its share of the imperial favours.
The works commenced in his reign, and buried in dust under that of the
Bourbons, were resumed with activity. The capital became, as before, a
vast workshop: and the Parisians, who had learned from strangers to
perceive the beauty of their edifices, saw with a mingled sentiment of
gratitude and pride, that new marvels were still more to embellish
their majestic city.

                   [Footnote 84: We have no single word in our
                   language answering to this: it implies one who
                   undertakes works of different kinds, including our
                   architect and civil engineer.--Tr.]

In fine, all classes received testimonies of the solicitude and
justice of Napoleon. Must it be said? his old companions in the island
of Elba alone were forgotten.

While Napoleon had no throne but his rock, they had shown themselves
as disinterested as faithful: when he had recovered his crown, they
flattered themselves, that they should be recompensed with generosity.

Some, whom honour alone had attached to Napoleon, enjoyed in prospect
the praises, titles, ribands, that would be bestowed on them: others,
inspired with less lofty sentiments, expected benefits more solid.
The guard and its worthy chiefs were ambitious only of the favour of
retaining the glorious title of grenadiers of the island of Elba. Vain
illusions! the Emperor's thoughts, entirely absorbed by other cares,
were no longer turned to those brave fellows, who had shared his exile
and his misfortunes. The moment of forgetfulness, however, had not
time to degenerate into ingratitude: it was repaired: promotions,
endowments, indemnifications, were bestowed on them; and, if they did
not feel themselves completely satisfied with the conduct of Napoleon,
they had at least no reason to complain.

The Emperor would have wished from feeling, and perhaps too from
ostentation, to have had it in his power, to acknowledge in a manner
more worthy of himself their services and attachment: but he was
deterred by the fear of being charged with imitating the Bourbons, and
of preferring those Frenchmen, who had gone into exile with him, to
those who had retained their fidelity in their mother country.

These scruples appear to me unfounded.

The emigrants had sullied their native land with blood, shed either by
their own weapons, or in the civil wars they had fomented and
cherished; and the indignant nation had long combated them, and
pursued them with its maledictions, as the enemies of its happiness
and tranquillity.

The Frenchmen who returned from the island of Elba with Napoleon, on
the contrary, had spilt their blood in the defence of their country.
They were beloved, honoured, respected and the recompenses the Emperor
might have bestowed upon them, instead of tending to alienate France,
would have fulfilled her wishes. She would have enjoyed it with that
feeling of pride and pleasure, which a mother experiences, when she
hears the triumphs of her children proclaimed in the lists opened for
youth, and sees their heads adorned with the rewards of their success.

Policy, no less than justice, required, that Napoleon should confer,
even with prodigality, his favours and benefits on men, who had
sacrificed themselves for him. In his situation it would have been
better, to have been deemed prodigal than ungrateful: but fortune
favoured him so highly, that he might be allowed, in some degree, to
neglect the means of securing the feeble support of men.

The re-establishment of the imperial government, which appeared as if
it would experience some obstacles, took place on all sides with a
promptitude and facility truly extraordinary. Marshal Augereau, who
had endeavoured in his proclamation of 1814 to disgrace the Emperor,
was eager to make his public recantation in a fresh proclamation.

The Duke of Belluno, and Count Gouvion St. Cyr, after attempting in
vain to curb their insurgent troops, were forced to shun their
resentment by flight.

The troubles excited in La Vendée and Calvados by a few royal
volunteers had been appeased, and the perturbators disarmed.

The military household of the King had submitted to their discharge,
and readily surrendered their horses and arms.

In fine, the royal family had evacuated the imperial territory.

The Emperor thought proper, to acquaint his army in person with these
happy results. "Thanks to the French people and you," said he, on
reviewing the troops on the 27th of March, "the imperial throne is
re-established. It is acknowledged throughout the empire, and not a
single drop of blood has been spilt. The Count de Lille, the Count
d'Artois, the Duke de Berri, the Duke of Orléans, have passed our
northern frontier, and sought an asylum among foreigners. The
tricoloured flag waves on the towers of Calais, Dunkirk, Lille,
Valenciennes, Condé, &c. A few bands of Chouans had attempted to form
themselves in Poitou and La Vendée: popular opinion, and the march of
a few battalions, were sufficient to disperse them. The Duke of
Bourbon, who came to excite disturbances in the provinces, has
embarked at Nantes.

"How senseless were they," continued the Emperor, "and how little did
they know of the nation, who imagined, that the French would consent
to receive a prince from those very hands, that had ravaged our
territory, and, aided by treason, had for a moment obscured our

The King, who at first took refuge at Lille, had in fact just retired
to Ghent. His Majesty had given orders to his household and the
princes, to join him in the former city, where it had been apparently
his intention, to take up his residence, and convene the chambers. But
marshal the Duke of Treviso, governor of that division, declared to
him, that he would no longer answer for his troops, if the musketeers,
the body guards, &c., entered the place; and advised him to repair to
Dunkirk, which, from its geographical position, and the attachment of
its inhabitants, afforded him an opportunity of awaiting the issue of
events without danger. M. de Blacas and the emigrants with the King
remonstrated with him strongly, that he would not be out of danger
there; and that he could no longer be safe from the pursuit of
Napoleon, except in a foreign country. The Duke of Treviso still
insisted on the contrary: and the King, in spite of the alarm and
entreaties of the Count de Blacas and the other courtiers, had
resolved to follow the advice of the marshal, when some despatches
from the Count d'Artois, received in the course of the night,
determined him to pass the frontier.

The Emperor thought at first, that the design of Louis XVIII. was to
return to England. He was glad of this: and it was not without extreme
vexation, that he learned the intention of this Prince, to remain on
the Belgic frontiers, observing the course of affairs. But if this
resolution, to which perhaps the King was indebted for the recovery of
his throne, was displeasing to Napoleon, it never inspired him with
the criminal desire, as some wicked writers have pretended, of making
any attempts against the lives or liberty of the Bourbons.

The orders given to General Excelmans merely were, to drive the King
and the Princes out of France step by step. He was never commanded,
"either to secure their persons, or to kill them in case of

The instructions given at the same time to Marshal Ney, sent on a
mission to the frontiers of the North and East, directed him also in
express words, "to cause the royal family to be respected, and
facilitate its procuring the means of quitting France freely and

                   [Footnote 85: It was this mission, that became the
                   source of the disgrace, in which the marshal lived,
                   till the day of his being recalled to the army. The
                   Emperor had ordered him, to set off immediately: he
                   answered, that he could not go, till he was paid
                   some twenty thousand francs, which were owing to
                   him. The Emperor, swearing, ordered them to be

                   The next day General Le Courbe, to whom the Emperor
                   had just entrusted an important command, wrote to
                   him, to demand several favours, and in addition a
                   hundred and fifty thousand francs, as arrears of
                   pay, in order to discharge his debts.

                   Two other generals, less known, were equally
                   desirous of being paid for their services. He was
                   disgusted at their claims. "Do these men think,"
                   said he, "that I throw away my money? I am not
                   inclined to suffer myself to be plundered like
                   Henry IV; if they be not inclined to fight, let
                   them put on petticoats, and go and take an

It has been asserted, that the Duke of Bassano, who had the temporary
charge of the port-folio of the home department, had sent orders to
M. Siméon, then royal prefect at Lille, to arrest the King. The Duke
of Bassano, indignant at such an odious charge, would not quit France,
without having refuted it. He proposed, to summon M. Siméon to declare
the truth; and his declaration would have been made public through the
means of the newspapers and the press, if the police had not opposed

The King quitted Lille on the 23d of March. The Duke of Orléans, who
had attended his Majesty, and whom the King on his departure had
invested with the command of that place, did not quit it till
twenty-four hours after; when he addressed the following letter to
Marshal Mortier.

"I commit entirely to your hands, my dear Marshal, the command which I
was so happy as to exercise with you in the department of the North. I
am too good a Frenchman, to sacrifice the interests of France, because
fresh misfortunes compel me to quit it. I go to bury myself in
retirement and oblivion. The King being no longer in France, I cannot
issue orders in his name: and nothing remains for me, but to absolve
you from all obedience to the orders I have already transmitted to
you; requesting you, to do whatever your own excellent judgment, and
pure patriotism, shall suggest to you as most conducive to the
interests of France, and most agreeable to the duties you have to

The Emperor, after having read this letter, turned to the Duke of
Bassano, and said: "See what the Duke of Orléans writes to Mortier;
this letter does him honour. _His heart was always French._"

I then informed him, that I had been assured, that the Duke of
Orléans, when he parted from his officers, said to one of them,
Colonel Athalin: "Go, sir, resume the national cockade: I take a pride
in having worn it, and I wish I could wear it still." The Emperor
appeared struck with these words, and made no reply. A few minutes
after he asked me, if I had not a letter from Madame the Duchess of
Orléans. I delivered it to him: he read it, and said: "Let his mother
_be treated with the regard he merits_." And he ordered, that the
duchess, whose property had just been sequestrated, should receive
annually from the public treasury three hundred thousand francs as an
indemnification. At the same time another indemnification of a
hundred and fifty thousand francs was granted to the Duchess of

The Duke of Bourbon, though the Emperor had announced his embarkation,
did not sail however till several days afterward. His presence and his
proclamation had produced a partial rising in the circle of Beaupréau;
but convinced by his own eyes, and by the reports of his principal
officers, that the great body of the Vendeans would not stir, he
yielded to the wishes of Colonel Noirot, commandant of the
gendarmerie, expressed in the following letter:


"It will not be in vain, I am persuaded, that I make an appeal to your
magnanimity. It is in your power, with a single word, to calm an
effervescence, the first results of which may once more stain with
blood the fields of the too unhappy Vendée: this word your Highness
will pronounce, and every thing will be restored to order. You will be
aware likewise, Monseigneur, that a longer stay in the circle of
Beaupréau, while it endangers the internal security of the country,
will also endanger the personal safety of your Highness.

"Deign then, I conjure you, Monseigneur, to yield to the wishes I
entertain for your happiness, and for that of my country. For all the
means of safety, which your Highness may desire, to repair to the
place of destination you may choose, I will engage."

This letter, which I take a pleasure in quoting, to prove what was the
language of the men of the 20th of March, was not without effect. The
Duke of Bourbon directed his aide-de-camp to have an interview with
Colonel Noirot and it was determined, that his Highness should quit la
Vendée, and embark at Nantes for England.

For reasons with which I am unacquainted, the prince did not fulfil
his engagements. In fact, he quitted Beaupréau, but still roamed about
the coast some time with a fictitious passport, and under a borrowed
name. General--[86] recognised him, but respected his disguise. The
Emperor approved this deference, and gave orders, that he should
merely be obliged to depart: the father of the Duke of Enghien was
become sacred to him, and to France.

                   [Footnote 86: I regret, that I did not learn his

Of all the family of the Bourbons the Duke and Duchess of Angoulême
alone persisted in struggling against their ill-fortune.

She was at Bordeaux at the time of the landing. The entrance of
Napoleon into Paris, the flight of the King, and the general defection
of the army, did not abate her courage. She made the national guard
take up arms: she hastened to the barracks, to harangue the soldiers,
and remind them of what they owed to their oaths and to their King.
Numerous battalions of volunteers were instantly formed, and directed
by her orders, to defend the avenues to the city, intercept all
communication, and prevent popular commotions.

General Clausel, however, appointed by the Emperor head commandant of
the 11th division, had advanced as far as St. André de Cubsac, six
leagues from Bordeaux, at the head of about five and twenty gendarmes
collected on the road, and of a hundred and fifty men from the
garrison of Blayes, who, informed of his arrival by his emissaries,
had come to meet him.

On his approach, a battalion of volunteers, posted at Cubsac with two
pieces of cannon, retreated hastily to St. Vincent, and there joined
some other volunteers, to defend with them the passage of the

The soldiers of General Clausel attempted to seize the flying bridge,
and were saluted with several discharges of artillery and small arms,
which they received without returning. Their chief, desirous of
avoiding a civil war, requested, that some person might be sent, to
hold a parley with him. The Bordelese having deputed their commandant,
M. de Martignac, for this purpose, he charged this officer, to make
known to them, that he had no design of making any attempts against
their persons or property; and that he conjured them, in the name of
their country, not to spill the blood of Frenchmen to no purpose.

Nevertheless some hostile appearances were continued on both sides;
but the royal volunteers were alarmed at the sight of three boats,
which they supposed to be filled with troops, and took flight.

General Clausel, thus become master of the Dordogne, was preparing to
cross it, when M. de Martignac returned to inform him, that Madame the
Duchess of Angoulême consented to retire, and that the city should be
delivered up to him in twenty-four hours.

Madame, instead of fulfilling this double promise, allowed herself to
yield to the desire and hope of prolonging the defence. She assembled
the national guard, and made fresh attempts to bring over the troops
of the garrison to the royal party.

General Clausel perceived her at a distance reviewing the national
guards and volunteers: he ordered M. de Martignac to be called back,
and complained of the promises made him not being fulfilled. He urged
in excuse, that the national guard and the garrison were no longer
disposed to surrender the city. The general, perceiving that the
Bordelese flattered themselves with being seconded by the troops of
the line, assured M. de Martignac, that, on the contrary, they only
waited for a concerted signal, to declare themselves in favour of the
imperial cause. M. de Martignac appearing to doubt this, the general
ordered a flag to be waved in the air, and immediately the tricoloured
standard was hoisted on Trompette castle[87].

                   [Footnote 87: The fortress in which the garrison
                   was quartered.]

The Bordelese, astonished and affrighted, requested a capitulation.
General Clausel was eager to grant all their proposals, and the next
day they opened the gates of the city to him.

The Emperor was well pleased with the happy issue of this affair. He
gave orders, to publish the report of General Clausel immediately:
but as this report was a mere military statement, he added to it
himself the supplementary particulars below, which he directed to be
inserted in the Moniteur under the head of Bordeaux.

"The firm and courageous conduct of General Clausel has prevented
great evils: the passage of the Dordogne made a strong impression
here. Before he reached la Bastide, the Duchess of Angoulême, feeling
an alarm she was unable to conceal, sent him a promise, that she would
quit Bordeaux in the morning of the 1st of April; which induced
General Clausel, to halt at la Bastide, in front of Bordeaux, on the
right bank of the Garonne, where he arrived on the 31st of March in
the evening. The Duchess of Angoulême thought proper, to avail herself
of this delay, and break her promise: she went to the barracks, caused
the troops to be assembled, and endeavoured to persuade them, to
oppose the entrance of General Clausel into Bordeaux. The officers of
all ranks told her plainly, that they would pay her all the respect
due to her unfortunate situation, and to her sex, but that, being
Frenchmen themselves, no motive could induce them, to take up arms
against Frenchmen. The Duchess shed abundance of tears: she requested,
that the troops would at least remain neutral, if the national guards
should be willing to fight for her. The officers answered, that they
would not fire on the national guard; but they would not suffer the
national guard, to fire on the troops of General Clausel: they would
not allow a single drop of French blood to be spilt. The soldiers
joined with one voice in the sentiments of their officers: the Duchess
retired with alarm in her heart, and threats in her mouth: she was all
trembling. When she reached the quay, where the national guard was
under arms, she was received in profound silence. A murmur pervaded
the ranks of "No fighting! no civil war!" The Duchess hastened to
retire to the imperial palace, where she gave orders for her
departure[88]. At eight o'clock she had quitted Bordeaux. The fire she
had kindled was not extinguished in every bosom. The national guard,
which had just conducted itself so prudently, had in company with it
some unruly persons. These were the dregs of the people, forming the
bulk of the companies of royal volunteers, who had been bribed to
enlist, and reckoned upon plunder. Their hopes were already
disappointed by the firmness of the national guard. A small number of
the most outrageous fired on the company of M. Troplong, who was
reputed to be of the soundest principles. The national guard returned
the fire. The volunteers fled, but Captain Troplong had received a
mortal wound. He has just been interred with military honours. More
than ten thousand persons attended the funeral of this excellent
citizen; the regret occasioned by his death suspended for a moment the
gaiety of the people, happy in being at length freed from the evils,
with which they were threatened."

                   [Footnote 88: She set off in the evening for
                   Pouillac; where, having bidden adieu to the
                   volunteer cavalry, who had escorted her, she went
                   on board an English vessel, and sailed for England
                   on the 2d of April.]

The energy and intrepidity, which the granddaughter of Maria Theresa
displayed on this occasion, excited the praise of the Emperor, and
drew from him the well known phrase: "She is the only man in the

He no less admired the firm and respectful demeanour maintained by the
regiments of the garrison, amid the provocations and reproaches of the
Duchess. "Every thing that passed at Bordeaux," said he, "is truly
extraordinary; and I know not which most demands our astonishment, the
noble boldness of Madame d'Angoulême, or the magnanimous patience of
my soldiers."

The effervescence of the Bordelese having subsided, Provence and
Languedoc, where the Duke of Angoulême had excited and maintained the
flames of insurrection, still remained to be pacified.

This prince, having heard at Toulouse, that the Emperor had landed in
the gulf of Juan, repaired immediately to the principal towns in the
South, and made the partisans of the Bourbons and of royalty take up

Three thousand two hundred Marseillese, and three thousand five
hundred volunteers from Nismes, Avignon, and Montpelier, ranged
themselves under his standards.

The 10th, 53d, and 83d, regiments of the line, containing about nine
hundred men each;

The depôts of the 9th and 87th of foot, about five hundred and fifty

Two hundred and fifty chasseurs à cheval of the 14th regiment, a
hundred and fifty artillerymen, and three hundred soldiers of the
royal regiment of foreigners, were drawn from their respective
garrisons; and formed, with the royal volunteers, an army of twelve
thousand men; which must necessarily be increased by the levies daily
made in the provinces, that continued subject to the royal government,
and by the succours, which the Prince had hastened to demand from the
King of Sardinia, and from Switzerland, and which he hoped to obtain
from them.

The Duke of Angoulême divided his army into two corps.

The first, commanded by General Ernouf, under whose orders were
Major-Generals Gardanne and Loverdo, proceeded through Sisteron for

The second, commanded by the Prince in person, and under his orders by
Lieutenant-general Monnier, Baron Damas, and Viscount Descars, took
the road of Valence.

These two corps, after having reduced the country to submission, and
rallied the royalists, were to join at Grenoble, and march together to

The advanced guard of the second corps, conducted by M. Descars, met
no serious resistance, till it came to pass the Drôme.

General De Belle, at the head of a few hussars of the 4th, a battalion
of the 39th, and about eight hundred national guards, had suffered
himself to be driven from Loriol, and retired as well as he could
behind the Drôme.

The volunteers of Vaucluse, covered by the royal artillery, forded the
river, and came and took post on the left flank of the national
guards. At the same moment the Prince directed the 10th of the line,
to attack the bridge. This manoeuvre did not intimidate the national
guards; they stood firm; and the 10th, notwithstanding the ardour,
with which it was inspired by the example of the Duke of Angoulême,
was on the point of giving way; when several of the light infantry,
who were at their head, discovered among their antagonists some of
their ancient comrades. They began with a mutual cessation of firing,
and finished with embracing amid shouts of Long live the Emperor.

During this conversation and embracing, the rest of the 10th regiment
recovered ground. The imperials, supposing they were coming to join
them, advanced without distrust: a volley undeceived them: the troops
of General De Belle were thrown into disorder, he made no attempt to
rally them, and the rout became complete. Part of the imperials were
made prisoners by the royalists; others took refuge in the mountains,
or went to carry the news of their defeat to Grenoble or Valence.

The next day, the 3d of April, the Duke of Angoulême and his
victorious army entered Valence, and proceeded without loss of time to
Romans on the Isère.

The first corps, after having occupied Sisteron, separated into two
columns: one, with General Loverdo at its head, proceeded to Lamure;
the other, commanded by General Gardanne, having taken Gap in its way,
advanced as far as Travers; where the garrison of Grenoble, and the
national guards of Vizille, Lamure, and the surrounding communes, had
just taken up a position.

Hitherto every thing had proved favourable to the wishes of the royal
army: it marched from one success to another; and the noise of its
victories, swelled by fear and rumour, had spread consternation and
dismay as far as Grenoble and Lyons.

The Emperor himself was uneasy. On leaving Lyons he had foreseen the
possibility of a partial rising in the south; and, relying on the
energy and patriotism of the Dauphinese, he had entrusted to them the
care of defending their territory and their capital. But, if they were
strong enough to repel the aggressions of the royalists, they were not
in a condition to resist four thousand soldiers, who had embraced
their cause, and fought in their ranks.

General Grouchy had orders, to hasten to Lyons, and raise in mass the
national guards of Dauphiny, the Lyonnais, and Burgundy.

At the name of the Emperor and of their country all were in motion:
the patriots of la Drôme and the Isère descended from their mountains;
the Lyonese quitted their workshops; the Burgundians spontaneously
began their march with half-pay officers at their head.

This patriotic burst was so unanimous, that the roads were instantly
covered with national guards; and General Corbineau, whom the Emperor
had despatched to accelerate their march, was obliged, on the
contrary, to retard it. But all these arrangements, sad presages of a
civil war, were happily unnecessary.

The troops of General Gardanne, during their stay at Gap, became
acquainted with the Emperor's proclamations. These had awakened their
remembrances, electrified their minds, and the 58th mounted the
tricoloured cockade.

The defection of this regiment was soon known to the division of
General Loverdo; and, in spite of this general's efforts, a part of
the 14th chasseurs, and the whole of the 83d, equally embraced the
imperial cause. On the other soldiers, though faithful in appearance,
the generals could no longer confide: "they could not speak to a
single inhabitant of the country, without receiving impressions
absolutely inimical to the party of the King[89]," and they expected
every moment, to see them go over to the enemy.

                   [Footnote 89: Report of General Ernouf.]

General Loverdo, impatient to give battle, and imagining, that he
could dispense with their assistance, attempted to force the defile of
Saulces, in advance of Gap, supported only by his royal volunteers:
but this attack, as rash as it was useless, did not succeed, and he
was forced to fall back to Sisteron.

The second corps, restrained by the presence of the Duke of Angoulême,
had lost but a small number of soldiers. The order to advance had just
been given, when the Prince received the most disheartening news from
all parts at once.

On one hand he was informed of the defection of the regular troops
under General Ernouf, and his forced retreat to Sisteron.

On another he heard, that General Grouchy was advancing to meet him
with a formidable force.

From a third source of intelligence he learned, that the royal party
at Nismes, and at Toulouse, had dispersed without resistance: that M.
Vitrolles, the head of the committee of insurrection, had been
arrested; and that the patriots, and the troops of the 9th division,
united under the orders of General Gilly, having marched to take him
in the rear, had retaken the bridge of St. Esprit by assault, and
passed the Rhone.

In fine, despatches from Turin announced to him, that he must no
longer reckon upon any assistance from the Swiss, or upon the promises
of the King of Sardinia.

The Prince in consequence ordered a retreat to be sounded, and retired
to Valence.

The Emperor, who, according to custom, took the trouble to compose
himself the articles in the Moniteur relative to this little war, gave
the following account of the evacuation of Valence.

"_Valence, the 7th of April._ The Duke of Angoulême has made a sad
figure here. The alarm bell sounded throughout Dauphiny, and numerous
battalions of the national guards departed for Lyons. The Duke of
Angoulême, informed of their arrival, set off helter skelter with the
four thousand insurgents, who are under his orders. The troops of the
line, informed by our citizens, that we were engaged in the cause of
the nation against a few privileged families, of the people against
the nobility, and in short of the revolution against the
counter-revolution, suddenly changed sides. The army however reckons
three traitors, who appear to have taken the part of the enemies of
their country: they are Generals Ernouf, Monnier, and D'Aultannie." He
forgot General Loverdo.

The Emperor was equally careful, to make public the correspondence,
that was intercepted: and as some announced _the intention of
separating the chaff from the wheat, and throwing it into the fire_;
others, _of hanging all the rebels, without exception, and without
mercy_; and, in fine, others, _invited Spain, Switzerland, and the
King of Piedmont, to come and reduce France to reason_; they
contributed not less powerfully than the success of the imperial army,
to detach from the cause of the Bourbons every Frenchman, who was an
enemy to treachery, hanging, and foreigners.

General Grouchy, informed of the retreat of the Duke of Angoulême,
sent some light troops in pursuit of him. Most of the chasseurs of the
14th, and of the artillerymen, joined the imperialists. The volunteers
of the south, who had hitherto set no bounds to their presumptuous
hopes, now found none to their fears. As cowardly in adversity, as
they were arrogant in prosperity, they abandoned their general at the
approach of danger; and all, with the exception of a few hundreds of
brave fellows, sought safety in flight.

The Duke of Angoulême, surrounded by the feeble remnants of their
battalions, and by the 10th of the line, which still remained
faithful, continued his retrograde march night and day; and traversed
in silence the places, which his army had made ring with the shouts of
victory but a few days before. The mountaineers, who had suffered so
much from the exactions and ill treatment of the royal volunteers, now
repeated in their turn "Wo to the vanquished!" and did not allow a
moment's rest to the Duke of Angoulême and his followers. Pressed on
one side by the columns of Grouchy, on the other by the troops of
General Gilly; shut in, without hope of succour, between the Drôme,
the Rhone, the Durance, and the mountains, the Duke of Angoulême had
only two resources: one was, to abandon his army, and get over the
mountains to Marseilles or Piedmont; the other, to submit, with his
companions in misfortune, to the law of the conqueror.

The Prince would not separate his fate from that of his army. He
consented to surrender. Baron de Damas and General Gilly regulated
the conditions of the capitulation. It was agreed, that the Prince
should disband his army, and have liberty to embark at Cette. As soon
as this intelligence was announced by a telegraphic despatch, it was
immediately made known to the Emperor by the Duke of Bassano, who
prevailed on him, though opposed by several distinguished persons, to
return an answer, by the same mode of conveyance, approving of the
capitulation. At the same instant a second despatch announced, that
General Grouchy refused to sign the treaty, unless he had the consent
of the Emperor, and the Duke of Angoulême was deemed a prisoner. Upon
this the Duke of Bassano hastened to transmit the first orders of
Napoleon, and delayed informing him of the impediment to the
ratification, till night rendered any new orders by telegraph
impracticable. Being made acquainted with this noble daring of his
minister, instead of reprimanding him, the Emperor dictated to him the
following letter:

"M. le Count Grouchy, the ordinance of the king, dated on the 6th of
March, and the declaration signed at Vienne on the 13th by his
ministers, would authorize me to treat the Duke of Angoulême, as that
ordinance, and that declaration, would have had me and my family
treated: but, persevering in that disposition, which induced me to
ordain, that the members of the Bourbon family might have free egress
from France, my intention is, that you give orders for the Duke of
Angoulême to be conducted to Cette, where he shall be embarked, and
that you watch over his safety, and prevent him from receiving any ill
treatment. You will only take care to recover the money that has been
taken from the public offices, and to require the Duke of Angoulême to
engage to restore the diamonds of the crown, which are the property of
the nation[90]. You will at the same time make known to him the
provisions of the laws of the national assemblies, which have been
renewed, and which apply to those members of the Bourbon family, who
shall re-enter the French territories," &c.

                   [Footnote 90: The diamonds that were sought to be
                   obtained in exchange for the Duke of Angoulême were
                   worth fourteen millions. The Duke of Otranto
                   proposed to the Emperor, to throw M. de Vitrolles
                   into the bargain, if they were restored; to which
                   the Emperor readily consented. The Duke of Otranto
                   opened a negotiation on this point, which had no
                   farther result, than procuring him an opportunity
                   of corresponding more at his ease with Ghent.]

While awaiting the decision of Napoleon, the Duke of Angoulême was
strictly watched. He supported this fresh disgrace with firmness and
tranquillity. The Marquis de Rivière, informed of his detention,
threatened Count Grouchy, if he did not restore him to liberty, to
surrender Marseilles to the English, and raise up all Provence. These
empty threats had no effect. The fate of the duke did not depend on
Count de Grouchy: it was in opposition to his own feelings, that he
had ventured to lay a sacrilegious hand on this prince; and he prayed
sincerely, that the decision of the Emperor would allow him to break
his chains.

As soon as the decision reached him, the general hastened to insure
the Duke of Angoulême the means of embarking speedily; and with
religious zeal took the necessary measures, for his being treated on
the passage with due respect.

The prince, on his arrival at Cette, embarked immediately, and sailed
for Cadiz.

His capitulation and departure soon led to the submission of
Marseilles: and, thanks to the prudence and firmness of the Prince of
Essling, governor of that division, the royal standard was hauled
down, and the tricoloured flag hoisted in its stead, without any
disturbance or effusion of blood.

The Emperor named General Grouchy marshal of the empire; not because
he entertained any great admiration of his conduct, for he was aware,
that he had but faintly pressed the Duke of Angoulême; but in order to
give some splendor to the disgrace of the prince, and discourage the
royalists in other parts of France. Resolving at the same time to
punish the treason committed by the 10th at the passage of the Drôme,
he decreed, that this regiment should wear a piece of crape on its
colours, till it had washed in the blood of the enemy those arms,
which it had stained with the blood of Frenchmen[91].

                   [Footnote 91: It was discovered by the Duke
                   d'Albufera, that this supposed treason was the
                   consequence of the mistake, which I have related
                   above, and the decree was not carried into effect.]

By the telegraph the Emperor was informed of the submission of
Marseilles, and the entire pacification of the south, just as he was
going to review the national guard of Paris. It was always in similar
circumstances, that great news reached the Emperor: it seemed as if
fortune, attentive to please him, sought to enhance her gifts by
bestowing them _apropos_. Ever since his arrival he had been intending
to have this review, but the successive inspections of the troops of
the line had prevented him. Some persons did not fail to ascribe this
delay, so easily to be accounted for, to his fear of the sentiments
and bayonets of the legions of Paris. Meantime some grenadiers of the
royal ex-volunteers indulged in threats and imprecations against him.
This was enough to terrify some of the alarmists of the court; and
they requested Napoleon to mix a few battalions of his guards in the
review, by way of precaution. The Emperor rejected their entreaties,
and was angry at their fears: nevertheless, they caused him to be
attended, without his knowledge, by ten or a dozen grenadiers, who
were directed not to lose sight of him for a moment.

While the Emperor was walking his horse along the ranks, his escort
had followed him without his paying any attention to it: but when he
set off at a gallop, he perceived, that his grenadiers were galloping
after him, and stopped. "What do you do there?" said he to one of
them: "Go about your business!" The old grumbler[92], who knew that
apprehensions were entertained for the life of his general, appeared
disposed not to obey. The Emperor then took hold of him by his hairy
cap, and, giving it a hearty shake, repeated with a smile his order to
him to retire: "Go all of you away: I am surrounded by none but good
Frenchmen; I am as safe with them as with you." The national guards,
who heard these words, cried out spontaneously, "Yes, yes, Sire, you
are right; we would all defend your life at the expense of our own."
Encouraged by the familiarity which the Emperor displayed towards
them, they quitted their ranks, and crowded round him: some pressed
his hands, others kissed theirs to him; all expressed their
satisfaction and attachment by continued shouts of "Long live the
nation! Long live the Emperor!"

                   [Footnote 92: A nickname given by Napoleon to his
                   old grenadiers.]

After this unexpected scene, the Emperor proceeded with his review: he
then caused a circle of officers to be formed, alighted, and addressed
them nearly in the following terms:

"Soldiers of the national guard of Paris, I am well pleased to see
you. Fifteen months ago I formed you for the preservation of
tranquillity in the capital, and for its security. You have fulfilled
my expectations. You have shed your blood in defence of Paris; and if
hostile troops entered your walls, the blame falls not on you, but on
treason, and above all on that fatality, which attaches itself to our
affairs under adverse circumstances.

"The royal throne was not adapted to France: it gave the people no
security for its most valuable interests; it was imposed upon us by
foreigners. I am arrived, equipped with all the strength of the people
and of the army, to obliterate this stain, and restore the honour and
glory of France to all their lustre.

"Soldiers of the national guard, this very morning the telegraph of
Lyons has informed me, that the tricoloured flag is waving at Antibes
and at Marseilles. The discharge of a hundred cannon on our frontiers
will proclaim to foreign nations, that our civil discords are at an
end: _I say foreign nations, because we yet know of none that are
enemies._ If they assemble their troops, we will assemble ours. All
our armies are composed of brave men, who have distinguished
themselves in various battles, and who will display to foreigners a
barrier of iron; while numerous battalions of grenadiers and chasseurs
of the national guards will secure our frontiers. I shall not
interfere with the affairs of foreign nations: wo to those
governments, that shall interfere with ours! Misfortunes have tempered
anew the character of the French people: it has resumed that youth,
that vigour, which astonished Europe twenty years ago.

"Soldiers, you have been obliged to wear colours proscribed by the
nation. But the national colours remained in your hearts: you now
swear, to take them always for your rallying signal, and to defend the
imperial throne, the only and natural guarantie of our rights; you
swear never to suffer foreigners, in whose country we have appeared
repeatedly as masters, to interfere with our constitution or
government. In fine, you swear, to sacrifice every thing to the honour
and independence of France."

This oath was pronounced with enthusiasm. The national guard showed,
that it was not afraid of being taken at its word.

Apprehensions had been entertained, that the guards, who had long
borne the Parisians a grudge for having surrendered so promptly in
1814, would indulge in some offensive reproaches: but Napoleon had
enjoined his grenadiers to maintain silence; and, in order to complete
the reconciliation, he caused it to be cemented by a dinner, to which
the imperial guards invited the national guard and the garrison of

Fifteen thousand soldiers of every description assembled at the
_Champ de Mars_ under the eyes of the people of Paris: the joyous
songs of the soldiers and citizens answered each other by turns, and
gave a truly national character to this festival.

When the repast was over, a numerous crowd of soldiers, officers, and
national guards, set off for the Tuileries, carrying the bust of
Napoleon crowned with laurels. When they arrived before his Majesty's
windows, they saluted him with thousands and thousands of
acclamations; and then they repaired to la Place Vendôme, where they
devoutly deposited at the foot of the monument raised to the glory of
our armies the image of the hero, who had led them to victory. The
Emperor, as soon as he was informed of it, ordered me to write to the
minister of the police, to have the bust removed in the night. "It is
not after bacchanalian orgies," said he, proudly, "that my image
should be placed on the column."

Every body, in fact, knows, that the statue of Napoleon, by which this
monument was formerly surmounted, had been pulled down in the early
days of the restoration; and it was not for individual and
unauthorized citizens to repair this affront.

A few royalists, at the head of whom figured M. de Maubreuil and M.
Sostène de la Rochefoucault, were guilty of this profanation. M. de
Rochefoucault, whose family had shared so largely in the gifts and
favours of Napoleon, himself put a rope about the neck of his
benefactor, with intention to have it dragged through the mud by some
vagabonds, whom he had hired: but the statue mocked his endeavours;
and the only fruit he reaped from them was the reprobation of honest
men, and the contempt of foreigners[93].

                   [Footnote 93: The Emperor Alexander, in particular,
                   expressed the most generous indignation.]

The column itself was long offensive to the jealous eyes of the
enemies of our glory. They conspired its destruction; and would have
accomplished it, had they dared. History, which leaves nothing
unpunished, will brand, I trust, these unworthy Frenchmen, these new
Vandals, with eternal disgrace. It will inscribe their names, and
their sacrilegious wishes, on the foot of the immortal column, which
they wanted to overturn. No doubt it will also tell, that the
federates, the half-pay officers, and all the partisans of Napoleon,
whom some have been pleased to represent as madmen, as robbers,
respected during the hundred days the statue of Henry IV.; though
this statue, placed within reach of their blows, and constructed of
frail materials, would have fallen with the slightest shock.

Napoleon had said to the national guard of Paris, "We yet know of none
that are enemies:" and these words were true. It had been remarked,
that the foreign troops concentrated themselves on our frontiers, but
none of their dispositions appeared hostile, and Napoleon might still
reasonably hope, that his care to maintain peace would not be

On the very day of his entry into Lyons, he had hastened to commission
Prince Joseph, to declare to the Austrian and Russian ministers at the
Helvetic diet, that he was ready to ratify the treaty of Paris.

When he arrived in the capital, he found that the foreign ministers,
particularly Baron de Vincent, the Austrian minister, and M.
Boudiakeen, Russian chargé d'affaire, had not yet quitted it, for want
of passports.

He caused the departure of M. de Vincent and M. de Boudiakeen to be
delayed; and directed the Duke of Vicenza to see them, and assure them
anew of his pacific disposition.

Baron de Vincent at first refused all kind of communication or
conferences; but at length he consented to meet M. de Vicenza at the
house of a third person. They had a conference together at Madame de
Souza's. M. de Vincent did not conceal the resolution of the allies,
to oppose Napoleon's retaining the throne: but he hinted, that in his
opinion there might not be the same repugnance to his son. He engaged,
however, to make known the sentiments of Napoleon to the Emperor of
Austria; and consented to take charge of a letter for the Empress
Marie Louise[94].

                   [Footnote 94: M. de Vincent set out before this
                   letter was written, and it was entrusted to his
                   secretary. The Emperor of Austria ordered it to be
                   delivered into his hands, and contented himself
                   with informing the Empress Marie, that he had
                   received news of her husband, and that he was

M. de Boudiakeen, after having equally refused the conference proposed
by the Duke of Vicenza, finished also with accepting it. It was
agreed, that they should meet at the house of Mademoiselle Cauchelet,
lady of the bedchamber to the Princess Hortense.

M. de Jaucourt had forgotten to take out of the port-folio of foreign
affairs a secret treaty, by which England, Austria, and France, had
mutually engaged to oppose, peaceably or by force, the dismemberment
of Saxony, which Russia and Prussia openly conspired.

The Emperor thought, that this treaty might perhaps alienate these two
powers from the Bourbon interest, and generate distrust and discord
between the allies. He directed the Duke of Vicenza, to show it to the
Russian minister; and represent it to him as a fresh proof of the
ingratitude, with which the court of the Tuileries repaid the numerous
benefits of Alexander. The existence of this triple alliance was
wholly unknown to M. de Boudiakeen, and appeared to cause him as much
surprise as dissatisfaction. But he declared, that he was too well
acquainted with the principles of his sovereign, to venture to flatter
himself, that the circumstance of this treaty, or any other, could
produce a favourable change in his disposition. He promised, however,
to make a faithful report to him of the conference he had had with M.
de Vicenza; and to express to him the desire, manifested by the
Emperor Napoleon, of becoming again the ally and friend of Russia.

The Emperor, in order to give more efficacy to his proposals, directed
the Princess Hortense, to confirm them in person to the Emperor
Alexander. He also caused letters to be written to Prince Eugene, and
to the Grand Duchess Stéphanie of Baden, to request them, to renew
the same assurances to that sovereign, and to neglect no means of
detaching him from the coalition.

In fine, the Emperor directed overtures to be made to the cabinet of
London, by means of a person pointed out by the Duke of Otranto; and
in order to gain the suffrage of the parliament, and give the English
ministry a pledge of his good intentions beforehand, he abolished the
slave trade by a spontaneous decree.

After having taken these indirect steps, Napoleon thought his duty as
well as his dignity required him, to give a solemn and authentic
character to the manifestation of his pacific intentions.

Accordingly he wrote to the foreign sovereigns a letter couched in the
following terms:

     "Sire, my brother,

"You will have heard in the course of last month of my return to the
French coast, my entering Paris, and the departure of the Bourbon
family. The true nature of these events must now be known to your
Majesty: they are the work of an irresistible power, the work and the
unanimous will of a great nation, who knows its duties and its
rights. The dynasty, which force had bestowed on the French people,
was not formed for them: the Bourbons would not accommodate themselves
either to their sentiments, or to their manners. France could not but
separate itself from them. Her voice called for a deliverer: the
expectations, that had induced me, to make the greatest of all
sacrifices, had been frustrated. I came, and from the spot where I
touched the shore I was conducted by the love of my people to the
bosom of my capital. The first wish of my heart is, to repay such
great affection by the maintenance of an honourable tranquillity. The
re-establishment of the imperial throne being necessary to the
happiness of the French, nothing can be more pleasing to my thoughts,
than to render it at the same time advantageous to the consolidation
of the tranquillity of Europe. Sufficient glory had crowned the
standards of the different nations by turns; the vicissitudes of fate
have occasioned a sufficient succession of great successes and great
defeats: a nobler career now opens itself to sovereigns, and I am the
first to enter it. After having exhibited to the world the spectacle
of great battles, it will be more pleasing, henceforth to know no
rivalry but that of the advantages of peace, no strife but the sacred
striving after the happiness of nations. France takes a pleasure in
frankly proclaiming this noble end of all her wishes. Jealous of her
own independence, the invariable principle of her politics will be the
most absolute respect for the independence of other nations. If such
be the personal sentiments of your Majesty, as I am happy to persuade
myself, the general tranquillity is ensured for a long time to come;
and justice, sitting on the confines of states, will be sufficient
alone to guard their frontiers.

     "Paris, the 4th of April."

The Duke of Vicenza received orders, personally to express to the
foreign ministers the sentiments, with which the Emperor was animated:
but the couriers, who carried his despatches, could not reach the
places of their destination; one was arrested at Kehl, another at
Mayence; a third, sent off for Italy, could not get beyond Turin; the
communications were interrupted. The arrangements of the declaration
of the congress of Vienna of the 13th of March were acted upon

This declaration, transmitted directly by the emissaries of the King
to the prefects of the frontier cities, and distributed by the
royalists, was in circulation at Paris. The inferior papers had
announced its appearance, and united in asserting, that such an act
was unworthy of the allied sovereigns, and could only be the work of
calumny and malevolence.

However, when it became impossible to question its legitimacy, it was
necessary to come to the resolution of no longer making a mystery of
it to the French people; and accordingly the following account was
given of it in the Moniteur on the 13th of April.

     "Council of Ministers.

     "_Sitting of the 29th of March._

"The Duke of Otranto, minister of the general police, states, that he
is about to read to the council a declaration, dated Vienna the 13th,
which is supposed to have been issued by the congress:

"That this declaration, as it contains an incentive to the
assassination of the Emperor, appears to him apocryphal: that, if it
should prove genuine, it would be unexampled in the history of the
world: that the libellous style, in which it is written, gives room to
suppose, it ought to be classed among the papers fabricated by
party-spirit, and by those pamphleteers, who of late years have
foisted themselves uncommissioned into all state affairs: that it
pretends to be signed by the English ministers; but it is impossible
to suppose, that the ministers of a free nation, and particularly Lord
Wellington, could have taken a step inconsistent with the legislation
of their country, and with their own characters: that it pretends to
be signed by the ministers of Austria; but it is impossible to
conceive, whatever political dissensions may subsist between them,
that a father could call for the assassination of his son: that,
contrary to every principle of religion and morality, it is derogatory
to the honourable character of the sovereigns, whose mandates are thus
compromised by the libellists: that this declaration has been known
several days, but, from the considerations abovementioned, it could
not be considered otherwise than as deserving the profoundest
contempt: that it was not deemed fit to engage the attention of the
ministry, till official reports from Metz and Strasburg made known,
that it had been brought into France by couriers from the Prince of
Benevento; a fact confirmed by the result of the investigation that
took place, and the interrogatories put: in fine, that it is proved,
that this paper, which could not have been signed by the ministers of
Austria, Russia, and England, was issued by the legation of the Count
of Lille at Vienna; which legation had added to the crime of provoking
assassination that of falsifying the signature of the members of the

"The pretended declaration of the congress, the reports from Metz and
Strasburg, as well as the investigation and interrogatories conducted
by order of the minister of the general police, which ascertain, that
the said declaration proceeded from the plenipotentiaries of the Count
of Lille at Vienna, will be sent to the presidents of the sections of
the council.


"The powers, who signed the treaty of Paris, assembled in Congress at
Vienna, being informed of the escape of Napoleon Bonaparte, and of his
entering France by force of arms, owe to their own dignity, and to the
interests of society, a solemn declaration of the sentiments, with
which this event has inspired them.

"By thus infringing the convention, which settled him in the island of
Elba, Bonaparte has destroyed the only legal title he had to his
situation in life (_auquel son existence se trouvait attachée_.) By
re-appearing in France, with the design of disturbing and subverting
it, he has deprived himself of the protection of the laws, and has
made manifest to the universe, that there can be neither peace nor
truce with him.

"The powers declare in consequence, that Napoleon Bonaparte has thrown
himself out of all the relations of civilized society; and that, as an
enemy and disturber of the world, he has rendered himself obnoxious to
public vengeance.

"At the same time they declare, that, firmly resolved to maintain
unbroken the treaty of Paris of the 30th of March, 1814, and the
arrangements sanctioned by that treaty, as well as those they have
decreed, or may yet decree, for completing and consolidating it; they
will employ all their means, and unite all their efforts, to prevent
the general peace, the object of the wishes of all Europe, the
constant aim of their labours, from being disturbed anew; and to guard
it from every attempt, that would threaten to replunge nations into
the disorders and calamities of revolutions.

"And though intimately persuaded, that all France, rallying round its
legitimate sovereign, will annihilate without delay this last attempt
of a criminal and impotent delirium, all the sovereigns of Europe,
animated with the same sentiments, and guided by the same principles,
declare, that if, contrary to all calculation, any real danger
whatever should arise from this event, they will be ready to furnish
the King of France and the French nation, or any other government that
may be attacked, with the succours necessary to restore the public
tranquillity, as soon as they shall be demanded, and to make common
cause against all, who may attempt to disturb it.

"The present declaration, inserted in the register of the congress
assembled at Vienna, in the sitting of the 13th of March, 1815, shall
be made public.

"Done and certified as true by the plenipotentiaries of the eight
powers, who signed the Treaty of Paris, at Vienna, the 13th of March,

Here follow the signatures in the alphabetical order of the courts.

     "Austria          { The Prince de METTERNICH,
                       { The Baron de WESSEMBERG.

      Spain              P. GOMEZ LABRADOR.

                       { The Prince de TALLEYRAND,
      France           { The Duke D'ALBERG,
                       { LATOUR DUPIN,
                       { The Count ALEXIS DE NOAILLES.

                       { WELLINGTON,
                       { CLANCARTY,
      Great Britain    { CATHCART,
                       { STEWART.

                       { The Count PALMELA,
      Portugal         { SALDANHA,
                       { LOBO.

                       { The Prince de HARDENBERG,
      Prussia          { The Baron de HUMBOLDT.

                       { The Count de RASOUMOWSKI,
      Russia           { The Count de STAKELBERG,
                       { The Count de NESSELRODE.

      Sweden             LOWENHIELM."

This declaration, which no doubt will hereafter excite the
astonishment of posterity, was commented upon and victoriously refuted
by the Emperor himself. Count Boulay, to whom the following report is
ascribed, had no farther share in it, than condensing it a little, and
softening some of its expressions.

Report of the committee of presidents of the council of state.

"In consequence of the reference made to it, the committee, composed
of the presidents of the sections of the council of state, has
examined the declaration of the 13th of March, the report of the
minister of the general police, and the papers added to them.

"The declaration is in an unusual form, composed in such strange
terms, and expresses such anti-social ideas, that the committee was
led to consider it as one of those supposititious productions, by
means of which despicable men endeavour to impose upon people's minds,
and mislead the public opinion.

"But the verification of the examinations taken at Metz, and of the
interrogatories of the couriers, admit no doubt, that the declaration
was sent by members of the French legation at Vienna; and consequently
it must be considered as adopted and signed by them.

"It is under this last point of view, that the committee imagines it
ought first to examine this production, which has no precedent in the
annals of diplomacy, and in which Frenchmen, men invested with the
most respectable of public characters, begin with a sort of outlawry,
with a provocation to assassinate the Emperor Napoleon.

"We say with the minister of the police, that this declaration is the
work of the French plenipotentiaries: because those of Austria,
Prussia, Russia, and England, could not have been capable of signing a
paper, which the sovereigns and people, to whom they belong, will be
eager to disavow.

"And in the first place these plenipotentiaries, most of them
coadjutors in the treaty of Paris, know, that Napoleon was there
acknowledged as retaining the title of Emperor, and as sovereign of
the island of Elba: they would have mentioned him by these titles, and
would not have deviated, either in matter or in manner, from the
respect they impose.

"They would have felt, that, agreeably to the laws of nations, a
prince, however trifling the extent or population of his state,
enjoys, as far as regards his political and civil character, the
rights belonging to every sovereign prince in respect to the most
powerful monarch; and Napoleon, acknowledged under the title of
Emperor, and in quality of a sovereign prince, by all the powers, was
no more amenable to the congress of Vienna than any of them.

"The forgetfulness of these principles, impossible to be supposed in
plenipotentiaries, who weigh the rights of nations maturely with
wisdom and consideration, has nothing astonishing in it when
manifested by French ministers, whose conscience reproaches them with
more than one act of treason, in whom fear has engendered rage, and
whose remorse leads their reason astray.

"Such men as these may have risked the fabrication and the
publication of a piece like the pretended declaration of the 13th of
March, in the hope of stopping the progress of Napoleon, and
misleading the French people with regard to the real sentiments of
foreign powers.

"But they cannot judge like these powers of the merits of a nation,
which they have misunderstood, betrayed, and delivered up to the arms
of foreigners.

"This nation, brave and generous, revolts against every thing that
bears the marks of cowardice and oppression: its affections are
heightened, when the object of them is threatened or affected by a
great injustice; and assassination, which the commencement of the
declaration of the 13th of March is intended to excite, will find not
a single hand to execute it, either among the twenty-five millions of
Frenchmen, the majority of whom attended, guarded, and protected
Napoleon from the Mediterranean to the capital; nor among the eighteen
millions of Italians, the six millions of Belgians or inhabitants of
the banks of the Rhine, and the numerous nations of Germany, who, on
this solemn occasion, have not pronounced his name without respectful
remembrance; nor a single individual of the indignant English nation,
whose honourable sentiments disavow the language, that those men have
dared to attribute to the sovereigns.

"The people of Europe are enlightened; they judge the rights of
Napoleon, the rights of the allied princes, and those of the Bourbons.

"They know, that the convention of Fontainbleau was a treaty between
sovereigns. Its violation, the entrance of Napoleon into the French
territory, like any other infraction of a diplomatic act, like any
hostile invasion, could only bring on an ordinary war; the result of
which can only be, to the person, that of being conqueror or
conquered, free or a prisoner of war; to possessions, that of being
lost or preserved, diminished or increased; and that every thought,
every threat, every attempt, against the life of a prince at war with
another, is a thing unheard of in the history of nations, and of the
cabinets of Europe.

"In the violence, the rage, the forgetfulness of principle, that
characterize the declaration of the 13th of March, we recognize the
envoys of the same prince, the organs of the same councils, who, by
the ordinance of the 6th of March, also put Napoleon out of the pale
of the law, also invoked for him the daggers of assassins, and also
promised a reward to whoever would bring his head.

"Yet what has Napoleon done? By his confidence he has honoured the men
of all nations, who were insulted by the infamous office to which they
were invited: he has shown himself temperate, generous, a protector,
even toward those who had devoted his head to destruction.

"When he spoke to General Excelmans, marching toward the column that
closely pressed Louis Stanislas Xavier; to General Count Erlon, who
was to receive him at Lille; to General Clausel, who was going to
Bourdeaux, where the Duchess of Angoulême was; to General Grouchy, who
marched to put a stop to the civil disturbances excited by the Duke of
Angoulême; every where, in short, orders were given by the Emperor,
that their persons should be respected, and sheltered from all attack,
from all danger, from all violence, during their progress on the
French territories, and to the moment of their quitting them.

"Contemporary nations and posterity will judge, on which side respect
has been paid in this grand conjuncture to the rights of nations and
of sovereigns, to the laws of war, the principles of civilization, and
the maxims of law civil and religious: they will pronounce between
Napoleon and the house of Bourbon.

"If, after having examined the pretended declaration of the congress
in this first point of view, we discuss it in its relations to
diplomatic conventions, to the treaty of Fontainbleau of the 11th of
April, ratified by the French government, we shall find, that their
violation is imputable only to those very persons who charge it on

"The treaty of Fontainbleau has been violated by the allied powers,
and by the house of Bourbon, in what regards the Emperor Napoleon and
his family, in what affects the rights and interests of the French

"1st. The Empress Marie Louise and her son were to obtain passports
and an escort, to enable them to repair to the Emperor: but, far from
performing this promise, the wife was separated by force from her
husband, the son from his father, and this under painful
circumstances, when the strongest mind finds it necessary to seek
consolation and support in the bosom of its family and domestic

"2d. The safety of Napoleon, of the imperial family, and of their
suite, was guarantied (Art. 14 of the treaty) by all the powers: yet
bands of assassins were organized in France under the eyes of the
French government, and even by its orders, as the solemn proceedings
against the Sieur de Maubreuil will shortly prove, to attack both the
Emperor, his brothers, and their wives: this first branch of the plot
failing of the expected success, a tumult was planned at Orgon, on the
road taken by the Emperor, in order to make an attempt against his
life by the hands of some brigands: one of the cut-throats of Georges,
the Sieur Brulart, raised for the purpose to the rank of
major-general, known in Brittany, in Anjou, in Normandy, in la Vendée,
throughout all England, by the blood he has shed, was sent to Corsica
as governor, in order to prepare and insure the crime; and, in fact,
several solitary assassins attempted, in the island of Elba, to gain,
by the murder of Napoleon, the culpable and disgraceful salary which
was promised them.

"3d. The duchies of Parma and Placentia were given in full propriety
to Marie Louise, for herself, her son, and his descendants: yet, after
long refusal to put them into possession, the injustice was
consummated by an absolute spoliation, under the illusory pretext of
an exchange without valuation, without proportion, without
sovereignty, without consent; and the documents existing in the office
of foreign affairs, of which we have had an account presented to us,
prove, that it was at the instance and through the intrigues of the
Prince of Benevento, that Marie Louise and her son were despoiled.

"4th. A suitable establishment, out of France, had been given to
Prince Eugene, the adopted son of Napoleon, who has done honour to
France, where he was born, and gained the affection of Italy, where he
was naturalized; yet he has obtained nothing.

"5th. The Emperor had stipulated (Art. 3 of the treaty) in favour of
his brave soldiers the preservation of their salaries from the
Napoleon fund (_sur le mont Napoléon_); he had reserved out of the
extraordinary domain, and the funds remaining of the civil list, the
means of recompensing his servants, and of paying the soldiers, that
attached themselves to his fate. The whole was taken away and kept
back by the ministers of the Bourbons. An agent of the French soldiers
went in vain to Vienna, to claim for them the most sacred of all
property, the price of their valour and their blood.

"6th. The preservation of the property, movable and immovable, of the
Emperor's family, is stipulated by the same treaty (Art. 6); yet it
has been despoiled of both: in France, with force of arms, by
commissioned brigands; in Italy, by the violence of military
commanders; in both countries by seizures and sequestrations solemnly

"7th. The Emperor Napoleon was to receive two millions of francs a
year, and his family two millions and a half, agreeably to the
distribution fixed by Art. 6 of the treaty: but the French government
has constantly refused to fulfil these engagements, and Napoleon would
have soon seen himself reduced to the necessity of dismissing his
faithful guard, for want of the means of ensuring its pay, if he had
not found in the grateful remembrances of the bankers and merchants of
Genoa and Italy the honourable resource of a loan of twelve millions,
which was offered him.

"8th. In fine, it was not without a motive, that certain persons were
desirous of separating from Napoleon, by any means, the companions of
his glory, models of attachment and constancy, unshaken guaranties of
his life and safety. The island of Elba was secured to him in full
property (Art. 3 of the treaty): yet the resolution to deprive him of
it, desired by the Bourbons, and solicited by their agents, had been
taken at the Congress.

"And if Providence in its justice had not interposed, Europe would
have seen attempts made against the person, the liberty of Napoleon,
banished for ever at the mercy of his enemies, far from his family,
separated from his servants, either to St. Lucie, or to St. Helena,
which was assigned him as a prison.

"And when the allied powers, yielding to the imprudent wishes, or
cruel instigations, of the agents of the house of Bourbon, have
stooped to violate a solemn contract, on the faith of which Napoleon
had absolved the French nation from its oaths; when himself, and all
the members of his family, saw themselves menaced and attacked in
their persons, in their property, in their affections, in all the
rights stipulated in their favour as princes, and even in those
secured by the laws to simple citizens; how ought Napoleon to act?

"Ought he, after having endured so many insults, and suffered so many
acts of injustice, to consent to the complete violation of the
engagements entered into with him; and, resigning himself to the fate
prepared for him, abandon also to their fearful destiny, his wife, his
son, his relations, and his faithful servants?

"Such a resolution seems to require more than human strength of mind:
yet Napoleon was capable of taking it, if the peace and happiness of
France could have been purchased by this new sacrifice. He would again
have devoted himself for the French people, from whom, as he wishes
to declare in the face of all Europe, he makes it his glory to hold
every thing, to whom he refers every thing, and to whom alone he will
hold himself responsible for his actions and devote his life.

"It was for France alone, and to save her from the calamities of an
intestine war, that he abdicated the crown in 1814. He restored to the
French people the rights he held from them; he left them free to
choose a new master, and to found their liberty and happiness on
institutions, that would protect both.

"He hoped, that the nation would preserve all it had acquired by five
and twenty years of glorious fighting; and the exercise of its
sovereignty in the choice of a dynasty, and in stipulating the
conditions, on which it should be called to the throne.

"He expected from the new government respect for the glory of the
armies, and for the rights of the brave; the guaranty of all the new
interests, interests generated and maintained during a quarter of a
century, resulting from all the civil and political laws, observed and
revered during that time, because they are identified with the
manners, habits, and wants of the nation.

"Far from all this, every idea of the sovereignty of the people has
been discarded.

"The principle, on which all public and civil legislation has been
founded since the revolution, has been equally discarded.

"France has been treated as a revolted country, reconquered by the
armies of its ancient masters, and subjugated anew to a feudal

"A constitutional law has been imposed on France, as easy to be eluded
as revoked; and in the form of royal ordinances simply, without
consulting the nation, without even hearing those bodies, become
illegal, the phantoms of national representation.

"The violation of this charter has been checked only by the timidity
of the government; the extent of the abuses of its authority has been
limited only by its weakness.

"The disjointing of the army, the dispersion of its officers, the
exile of several, the debasement of the soldiers, the suppression of
their endowments, the privation of their pay or pensions; the
reduction of the pay of the legionaries, the despoiling them of their
honours, the pre-eminence given to the decorations of the feudal
monarchy, the contempt of the citizens, designated anew under the name
of _tiers-état_ (third estate); the spoliation of the purchasers of
national property, prepared and already begun, the actual diminution
of value of such as was obliged to be sold; the return of the feudal
system in its titles, privileges, and useful rights, the
re-establishment of tramontane principles, the abolition of the
liberties of the Gallican church, the annihilation of the Concordat,
the re-establishment of tithes, the reviving intolerance of an
exclusive form of worship; the domination of a handful of nobles over
a people accustomed to equality: are what the ministers of the
Bourbons have done, or wished to do, for the people of France.

"It was under such circumstances, that the Emperor Napoleon quitted
the island of Elba: such were the motives of the resolution he took,
and not the consideration of his own personal interests, so trivial in
his opinion compared with the interests of the nation, to which he has
devoted his existence.

"He has not brought war into the bosom of France: on the contrary, he
has extinguished the war, which the possessors of national property,
constituting four fifths of the landholders throughout France, would
have been compelled to make upon their despoilers; the war, which the
citizens, oppressed, degraded, humiliated by the nobles, would have
been forced to declare against their oppressors; the war, which the
Protestants, the Jews, and the people of different sects, would have
been obliged to maintain against their persecutors.

"He came to deliver France; and as a deliverer he has been received.

"He arrived almost alone; he travelled two hundred and twenty leagues,
without meeting any obstacle, without a battle; and has resumed
without resistance, in the midst of the capital, and of the
acclamations of an immense majority of the citizens, the throne
relinquished by the Bourbons; who, from among the army, their own
household, the national guards, or the people, could not raise a
single person in arms, to endeavour to maintain them in it.

"Yet, replaced at the head of the nation, which had already chosen him
three times, and has just elected him a fourth time by the reception
it gave him on his march, and his triumphant arrival; of that nation,
by which, and for the interest of which, he wishes to reign;

"What is the desire of Napoleon? What the French people desire, the
independence of France, peace within, peace with all nations, the
execution of the treaty of Paris, of the 30th of May, 1814.

"What is there, then, changed in the future state of Europe, and in
the hope of repose promised it? What voice is raised, to demand those
succours, which, according to the declaration, are to be granted only
when claimed?

"There is nothing changed, if the allied powers recur, as we have a
right to expect from them, to just and temperate sentiments; if they
acknowledge, that the existence of France in a respectable and
independent state, as far from conquering as from being conquered,
from domineering as from being held in subjection, is necessary to the
balance of great realms, as well as to the guaranty of smaller states.

"There is nothing changed, if, not attempting to compel France to
resume with a dynasty, which she can no longer desire, the feudal
chains she has broken, and to submit to the seigneurial or
ecclesiastical pretensions, from which it has emancipated itself,
those powers do not attempt to impose on her laws, to interfere in her
internal concerns, to assign her a particular form of government, to
give her masters suited to the interests and passions of her

"There is nothing changed, if, while France is occupied in preparing
the new social compact, that shall guaranty the liberty of her
citizens, and the triumph of those generous ideas, that prevail in
Europe, and can no longer be stifled; she be not compelled, to call
off her attention from these pacific ideas, and from the means of
domestic prosperity, to which the people and their chief are desirous
of devoting themselves in happy concord, in order to prepare for

"There is nothing changed, if, while the French nation demands
nothing, but to remain at peace with all Europe, an unjust coalition
do not oblige her to defend, as it did in 1792, her will, and her
rights, and her independence, and the sovereign of her choice."

This eloquent refutation, full of irrefragable facts, and reasonings
not to be refuted, was no longer necessary. French honour had judged
and condemned the Congress of Vienna and its Declaration.

When this declaration appeared, France grew pale: she was astonished,
affrighted at the calamities, which the future boded; and groaned at
the idea of being exposed to a war for the sake of one single man.

This first impression over, her pride, her virtue, felt indignant,
that the allies should dare to conceive the thought, that she would
yield to their menaces, and cowardly consent, to give Napoleon up to

Had Napoleon been no more than a simple citizen, the attempt to
violate by authority the rights of men and nations in his person would
have been sufficient, to induce the French, or at least all worthy of
the name, to think themselves obliged to protect and defend him.

But Napoleon was not merely a simple citizen, he was the head of the
French nation: it was for having aggrandized it by his conquests, and
ennobled it by his victories, that he was proscribed by foreigners;
and the most timid as well as the most generous made it their sacred
duty to place him under the safeguard of the nation, and of French

Thus the declaration of the Congress, instead of intimidating France,
heightened its courage; instead of separating Napoleon from the
French, drew still more close the bands that united them; instead of
calling down on his head the public vengeance, rendered him more
estimable and more dear in the eyes of the people.

If Napoleon, availing himself of these generous sentiments, had said
to the French: "You have restored to me the crown, foreigners are
desirous of tearing it from me; I am ready, either to defend it, or to
lay it down; say which I shall do:" the whole nation would have
understood Napoleon, and would have risen in a body, to cause the
sovereign of its heart and its choice to be respected.

But Napoleon had other ideas: he considered the declaration of the
Congress merely as a paper adapted to the circumstances of the day,
the object of which was, at the time when it was subscribed by the
allies, to support the courage of the royalists, and to restore to the
Bourbons the confidence and moral strength they had lost.

He thought, that his entrance into Paris, and the entire pacification
of the South, would have completely changed the state of things; and
he hoped, that foreign nations would ultimately acknowledge him, when
they were convinced, that he had been re-established on the throne by
the unanimous consent of the French, and that his ideas of conquest
and dominion had given place to the real desire of respecting the
tranquillity and independence of his neighbours, and of living in
harmony with them.

In fine, he considered, that prudence would induce the allies, as it
was their interest, not to engage in a war, the results of which could
not be favourable to them: "They will feel, that they will not this
time have to do with the France of 1814; and that their successes, if
they gain any, will be no longer decisive, but will merely serve to
render the war more obstinate and bloody; while, if victory favour me,
I may become as formidable as ever. I have for me Belgium and the
Rhenish provinces, and with a tricoloured flag and a proclamation I
could revolutionize them in four-and-twenty hours."

The treaty of the 25th of March, by which the great powers, renewing
the arrangements of the treaty of Chaumont, engaged themselves anew
not to lay down their arms, as long as Napoleon should be on the
throne, appeared to him merely the natural consequence of the act of
the 13th of March, and of the erroneous opinions the allies had formed
of France. He thought, that it would not alter the state of the
question; and resolved, notwithstanding this treaty, and the
affronting manner in which his first overtures were received, to
endeavour repeatedly to make the voice of truth, of reason, and of
peace, heard at Vienna.

Baron de Stassart, late auditor to the council of state and prefect,
had been made chamberlain of Austria, or of Bavaria, since the
restoration. He was at Paris. The Emperor, hoping he might be able to
reach Vienna under favour of his quality of chamberlain, charged him
with a mission for the Empress Marie Louise, and fresh despatches for
the Emperor of Austria. Napoleon at the same time had recourse to
other means: he was aware of the intimacy and connexions of MM. D. de
St. L** and de Mont** with Prince Talleyrand; and persuaded, that M.
de Talleyrand would procure for them authority to repair to Vienna, he
resolved, to send them thither. He did not deceive himself with the
idea, that they would accept their mission for any other purpose than
that of more easily serving the royal cause; but he paid little regard
to their intrigues with the King, provided they delivered and brought
back with exactness the despatches, that should be entrusted to

                   [Footnote 95: It was a laughable singularity, that,
                   of all the double-faced men employed by the
                   Emperor, there was no one, in whom he had more
                   confidence, than he had in M. de Mont**. He had
                   formerly ill-treated, persecuted, and banished him:
                   he knew, that he detested him, and was the most
                   intimate, the most devoted friend of M. de
                   Talleyrand: but he knew also the bent of M. de
                   Mont**'s mind; and he thought, that he would feel
                   an infinite pleasure, in executing his mission
                   well, and _humming_ [_rouer_] M. de Talleyrand, who
                   flattered himself, that he had never been hummed by
                   any person. I know not whether M. de Mont** found
                   it pleasant, or not, to take in M. de Talleyrand;
                   what I know is, that he justified the expectations
                   of Napoleon, and brought back to him intact the
                   letters, that were delivered to him by M. de

About the King, however, and what passed at Ghent, he took little
concern: his anxious eyes were turned to Vienna; and convinced of the
influence, that M. de Talleyrand might exert there, he particularly
directed M. ****, to offer him his favour, and money also, if he would
abandon the Bourbons, and employ his talents and experience for the
benefit of the imperial cause.

The Emperor, who did not cease to hope, that his exertions, time, and
reflection, might effect some changes in the resolutions of the
allies, heard with extreme displeasure, that the King of Naples had
commenced hostilities.

This prince had long been dissatisfied with the complaisance, with
which the allied sovereigns listened to the protests of France, Savoy,
and Spain: and, though his crown had been guarantied to him by a
solemn compact with Austria, and by the formal declarations of Russia
and England, he foresaw, that the doctrine of legitimacy would carry
the point against the faith of treaties, and that Austria, though
interested in not allowing another crown to be transferred to the
house of Bourbon, would be obliged to submit to the unanimous will of
the other powers.

Thus the fear of being driven from the throne, and the resolution to
maintain himself in it, possessed Joachim, when the news of the
successful landing of Napoleon reached Naples.

The horror with which the Austrian sway inspired the Italians, the
attachment they retained to Napoleon, and the joy they displayed on
hearing of his departure from the island of Elba, persuaded the King,
that he should find no difficulty in raising Italy; and he flattered
himself with bringing the allies, either by force of arms, or by way
of negotiation, to guaranty to him irrevocably the possession of his

Desirous on the other hand of securing the protection of Napoleon, in
case of failure of success, he secretly despatched an emissary to
congratulate him; and announce, that, with a view of seconding his
operations, he was about to attack the Austrians, and, if his wishes
were answered by victory, he would soon join him with a formidable
army: "in fine," he wrote, "the moment of atoning for the wrong I have
done your Majesty, and of proving my attachment, is now arrived; I
will not let it escape."

This letter, which I deciphered, reached the Emperor at Auxerre; and
he immediately enjoined the King, to continue his preparations, but
wait for his giving him the signal, before he commenced hostilities.
The natural impetuosity and impatience of this Prince did not allow
him, to wait for the answer of Napoleon, and when his despatches
arrived, the gauntlet had been thrown down.

The better to disguise his intentions, Joachim had summoned the
ambassadors of Austria and England, immediately on hearing of the
landing of Napoleon, and had assured them, that he would remain
faithful to his engagements. When he had assembled his army (put in
motion under pretence of reinforcing his troops in the March of
Ancona), he fell unexpectedly on the Austrians; and announced to the
Italians, by a proclamation dated at Rimini the 31st of March, that he
had taken up arms to liberate Italy from a foreign yoke, and restore
its ancient freedom and independence.

"Italians," said he to them, "the moment is arrived, when the great
decrees of destiny are to be fulfilled. Providence at length calls
you, to become an independent people: one cry resounds from the Alps
to the straits of Scylla, the independence of Italy. By what right
would foreigners rob you of your independence, the first right, and
the first good, of all nations?

"Formerly masters of the world, you have expiated this fatal glory by
an oppression of twenty centuries. Let your glory now be, to have no
more masters.

"Fourscore thousand Italians hasten to you under the command of their
king. They swear not to rest, till Italy is free. Italians of all
countries, second their magnanimous efforts ... let those, who have
borne arms, resume them, let the unpractised youth exercise themselves
in the use of them, let all the friends of their country raise up one
generous voice for liberty.

"Can England refuse you her suffrages, she whose noblest claim to
glory is to spend her blood and treasure for the independence and
freedom of nations?

"I call on all the brave, to come and fight with me; I call on all men
of enlightened understandings, to prepare, while the passions are
silent, the constitution and laws, that ought henceforward to govern
happy and independent Italy."

This proclamation, to the great astonishment of Italy and France, did
not once mention the name of Napoleon. It kept the most profound
silence respecting his return, his intercourse with Joachim, and the
hopes their combined efforts must inspire.

Joachim however was not ignorant of the ascendancy, which the name of
Napoleon had on the spirit and courage of the Italians. But he knew
also, that this name was odious to the English, and dared not invoke
it, for fear of displeasing them. He thought he was sufficiently
powerful of himself, to act independently of the Emperor; and that it
would be enough, if he showed himself in arms to the Italian nation,
and offered it independence, to raise it at his pleasure. He deceived
himself: all his strength was borrowed from Napoleon: personally he
enjoyed no weight, no influence, in Italy. The Italians could not
forgive him for having betrayed his brother-in-law and benefactor in
1814, or for having revealed to Austria the patriotic conspiracy of
Milan in 1815[96].

                   [Footnote 96: I know not whether the fact be true:
                   but, true or false, it had the same effect on the
                   minds of the Italians.]

Thus prejudiced, they durst not confide in him; his intentions
appeared doubtful, his promises vague, his resources uncertain; and
they remained quiet spectators of the combat.

It is not, in fact, by concealments, that people are reduced or
hurried away: to subjugate them, it is necessary, to convince their
hearts and their understandings; and the heart and the understanding
comprehend no language but the straight forward voice of truth.
Unhappily this language was no longer known to Murat. Since his
accession to the throne, he had adopted the system of dissimulation
and duplicity, which pretty generally characterise Italian politics.
These narrow politics, which support themselves by cunning and
temporizing, were incompatible with the French blood, that circulated
in his veins; and the continual conflicts, that arose between his
novel inclinations and his natural petulance, were incessantly
rendering his words and actions at variance, and leading him into
devious paths, where he could not fail, to go astray and meet his

Nevertheless, such is the magic power of the sacred words of liberty
and our country, that Murat did not utter them in vain. Bologna and a
few cities declared for him; and a number of young Italians ran to
enlist under his standards. Victory favoured their first steps; but
Napoleon did not deceive himself: the moment had been ill-chosen, he
foresaw the defection or ruin of Murat, and what passed beyond the
Alps no longer inspired him with any thing but disgust. From that time
he turned his attention with more ardor than ever to the means of
struggling alone against his adversaries, whose proceedings began to
assume a threatening appearance.

The royal government, partly through fear, partly from economy, had
disorganized the army, reduced the regiments one half, changed their
denominations, and dispersed the soldiers among new battalions.

Napoleon re-established the regiments on their ancient footing;
restored to them their glorious surnames of Invincible, Incomparable,
Terrible, One to Ten, &c. &c., which they had acquired and merited in
the field of battle. He recalled to their standards the brave men who
had been banished from them; and the army, which was scarcely
fourscore thousand strong, soon reckoned on its lists near two hundred
thousand fighting men.

The marines[97] and guards of the coasts, who so brilliantly
signalized their courage in the plains of Lutzen and Bautzen, were
united under the command of their officers, and formed a body of
fifteen or eighteen thousand men, who were appointed to protect our
maritime establishments, or, in case of necessity, reinforce the
active army.

                   [Footnote 97: _Les marins._ Properly, perhaps, the
                   seamen, whom Napoleon took from the ships of war,
                   and converted into soldiers.--_Tr._]

The cavalry of the imperial guard and the old grenadiers opened their
ranks to ten thousand soldiers selected from the flank companies; the
light artillery was re-organized; and the young guard received an
addition of several regiments.

But it was not sufficient to restore to the army the forces, of which
it had been deprived; it was equally necessary, to repair its
destitution: the foot wanted arms and clothing, the cavalry had
neither saddles nor horses.

The Emperor looked to all these things.

Levies and purchases of horses were made at once in all the

The gendarmerie, by giving up the ten thousand horses belonging to it,
which it replaced immediately, supplied the heavy cavalry with so many
horses already trained, which in ten days rendered its numerous
squadrons complete.

Spacious manufactories of clothing, arms, and equipage, were opened at
once in all parts.

The Emperor caused an account of the number of workmen, and the
produce of their labour, to be delivered to him every morning. He knew
how long it took a tailor to finish a soldier's dress, a wheelwright
to construct a carriage, or an armourer to fit up a musket. He knew
the quantity of arms, in a good or bad state, contained in the
arsenals. "You will find," he wrote to the minister at war, "in such
an arsenal, so many old muskets, and so many broken up. Set a hundred
men at work there, and arm me five hundred men a week." Such was the
extent and variety of Napoleon's genius, that he soared without effort
to the loftiest abstractions of the art of governing, and descended
with the same facility to the minutest details of management.

Extraordinary commissioners were employed at the same time to direct
the repairing and fortifying of the frontier towns. They employed
themselves day and night on this important business. But the slightest
delay appeared to the Emperor an age of expectation, and frequently he
put his hand to the work himself. He was perfectly acquainted with the
nature of the fortifications of every place, the number of men it
ought to contain, and the approaches necessary to be defended; and in
a few hours he settled what the most experienced engineer would have
found it difficult to conceive and determine in several days. And let
it not be supposed, that the works he thus ordered bore any marks of
precipitancy. At the head of his topographical cabinet he had one of
the first engineer officers in France, General Bernard; and this
general, too brave, too loyal, to be a flatterer, could never enough
admire the profound knowledge the Emperor possessed of the art of
fortification, and his happy and prompt application of it.

The zeal and joint efforts of these committees, and of the Emperor,
produced, in a short time, effects truly miraculous. All France seemed
an intrenched camp. Napoleon, in the articles he wrote[98],
frequently gave an account of the progress of his armament, of the
fortified places, and of the works of defence. I will transcribe here
one of these articles, which, exclusive of the merit of depicting the
aspect of France at that period, in a better manner than I could,
appears to me well adapted to convey an idea of the fervid activity of
Napoleon, and the immensity of the objects his eye embraced.

                   [Footnote 98: For the Moniteur, I presume.--_Tr._]

"All the strong places on the northern frontier, from Dunkirk to
Charlemont, are furnished with ordnance, provision, and stores: the
sluices are put into order, and the country will be inundated at the
first hostile movement: field-works have been laid out in the forest
of Mormale: measures are taken for throwing up intrenchments in the
different passes of the forest of Aregonne: all the strong places of
Lorraine are prepared: intrenchments are formed at the five passes of
the Vosges: the fortresses of Alsace are equipped: orders are given
for the defence of the pass of Jura, and all the frontiers of the
Alps. The passes of the Somme, which are in the third line, are
putting into order. In the interior, Guise, la Ferté, Vitry,
Soissons, Château Thierry, and Langres, are equipping and fortifying.
Orders have been issued even for constructing works on the heights of
Montmartre and Ménilmontant, and furnishing them with three hundred
pieces of ordnance: they will be formed at first of earth, and the
solidity of permanent fortifications will be given them in succession.

"His Majesty has ordered, that Lyons should be put into a state of
defence: a _tête-de-pont_ will be established at Broteaux. The
drawbridge at La Guillotière is replacing. The space between the Saône
and the Rhone will be fortified: some redoubts are preparing to be
constructed in advance of this space. A redoubt will be constructed on
the height of Pierre en Size, to support a work, that closes the city
on the right bank. The heights, that command the quarter of St. Jean,
on the right bank of the Saône, will be defended by several redoubts:
a train of eighty pieces of cannon, with the necessary stores, is sent
off for Lyons. Sisteron and the bridge of St. Esprit will be placed in
a state of defence. Eight armies or corps of observation are formed:

"The army of the North;

"The army of the Moselle;

"The army of the Rhine;

"The corps of observation of the Jura, which is assembling at Befort;

"The army of the Alps, which is assembling at Chambery;

"The corps of observation of the Pyrenees, which is assembling at
Perpignan and at Bordeaux;

"And the army of reserve, which is assembling at Paris and at Laon.

"The old soldiers are every where on the march, animated with the
greatest enthusiasm, and come to complete our hundred and twenty
regiments of infantry. The purchases made for remounting the cavalry
have been going on rapidly for this month, and will soon render our
seventy regiments of cavalry fully complete. Regiments of volunteer
cavalry are forming in many parts: Alsace has already furnished two
regiments of lancers, of a thousand men each. We have reason to think,
that this example will be followed in Brittany, Normandy, and
Limousin, the province in which the greatest number of horses are

"Parks of artillery, forming more than a hundred and fifty batteries,
are already harnessed, and on the march for the different armies. The
corps of artillery for the defence of Lyons is composed of two
companies formed in the school of Alfort. The corps for serving the
three hundred pieces of ordnance, that will be placed on the heights
of Paris, will consist of twelve companies of marine artillery, two
companies of invalids, two companies of the school of Alfort, two
companies of the polytechnic school, two companies of the school of
St. Cyr, and six companies of foot artillery.

"Corps of partisans and free corps are forming in a great number of
departments. An adjutant-general, stationed with each general
commanding in chief, will conduct the correspondence with these corps;
which, if the enemy be rash enough to penetrate into our territories,
will fall upon his communications in the mountains and forests, and
find support in the fortified towns.

"The organization of the levy in mass of Alsace, Lorraine, the county
of Messin, Franche Comté, Burgundy, Dauphiny, and Picardy, is

"All the cities will arm in defence of their vicinity: they will
follow the example of Chalons sur Saône, Tournus, and St. Jean de
Losne. Every unfortified town even would betray the national honour,
if it surrendered to light troops, and did not make the best defence
its means will allow, till the arrival of infantry and artillery in
such force, that its resistance would cease to be prescribed by the
laws of war.

"Every thing is in motion in all parts of France. If the coalition
persist in the designs they have announced of making war on us, if
they violate our frontiers, it is easy to foresee, what fruits they
will reap from their attempt on the rights of the French nation: all
the departments will emulate in zeal those of Alsace, the Vosges,
Franche Comté, Burgundy, and the Lyonese; every where the people are
animated with a patriotic spirit, and ready to make any sacrifice, to
maintain the independence of the nation, and the honour of the

In fine, to complete his means of resistance and attack, the Emperor
remodelled the national guard, and divided it into three thousand one
hundred and thirty battalions, forming a body of two millions two
hundred and fifty thousand men. All the national guards from twenty
years old to forty were classed in active companies of light infantry
and grenadiers, and fifteen hundred of these companies, or a hundred
and eighty thousand men, were immediately placed at the disposal of
the minister at war, to form the garrisons of the frontier places,
and reinforce the armies of reserve.

The general officers sent to the frontier departments, to accelerate
the raising and departure of this national militia, had need only to
show themselves, to accomplish their mission. Every citizen aspired
beforehand to the honour of making a part of it; and in the provinces
of the east, the north, and the centre, it was found necessary to form
supernumerary companies[99]. The father would have renounced his son,
the wife her husband, the girl her betrothed lover, if they had been
deaf to the voice of honour and their country. The mothers themselves,
who at other times had so bitterly deplored the departure of their
children, encouraged them, like the Spartans, to march against the
enemy, and fall, if it must be so, in the sacred cause of their
country. This picture is not an exaggeration, it is faithful, it is
true. Never was a more beautiful spectacle exhibited to the eyes of
any man, to whom the glory and independence of his country were dear,
than that of the enthusiasm and martial joy, with which the warlike
inhabitants of Alsace, Lorraine, Burgundy, Champagne, and the Vosges,
were animated. The roads were covered with waggons loaded with young
warriors, who hastened, gaily singing, to the post of honour assigned
them by Napoleon: the population of the towns and villages received
them on their way with applauses, which inflamed their minds with
fresh ardor, and made them enjoy by anticipation the praises and
acclamations, that their friends, parents, and fellow-citizens would
lavish on them at their return.

                   [Footnote 99: I cannot avoid here making a
                   comparison. On the 15th of March, the Count
                   d'Artois wished to form a legion from the light
                   infantry and grenadiers of the national guard of
                   Paris. He reviewed the twelve legions, harangued
                   them, and announced, that he would march at the
                   head of the volunteer national guards: a hundred
                   and fifty turned out.

                   Napoleon from his closet called the national guard
                   to the defence of the imperial cause: 150,000 men
                   took up arms, and hastened to battle.

                   What must we conclude from this coldness on the one
                   hand, and this enthusiasm on the other? I leave the
                   question to be answered by those, who pretend, that
                   the revolution of the 20th of March obtained the
                   assent only of a handful of factious persons.]

France seemed to call aloud, to see her eclipsed greatness restored.
She had recovered all her energy: an evident proof, that the strength
of a nation is always the work of the prince, by whom it is governed.
It is he, who enervates the public spirit, and bastardizes his
subjects, by the effeminacy of his government: or it is he, who
inspires them with the love of their country, with priding themselves
in it, and leads them to undertake, whatever can augment its glory and
its power.

To draw still more closely the bonds of union between the French
people, and impart greater intensity to their patriotism, Napoleon
authorized the re-establishment of popular clubs, and the formation of
civic confederations. This time his expectations were not answered by
success. The major part of the clubs were filled with men, who
formerly composed the revolutionary tribunals and societies; and their
imprecations against kings, and their liberticide motions, made the
Emperor fear, that he had revived the spirit of anarchy.

The sentiments manifested by the federates equally disquieted him. He
perceived, that he did not occupy the first place in their thoughts
and affections; that the primary wish of their hearts was liberty;
and, as this liberty was in his eyes synonimous with republicanism, he
exerted all his endeavours to moderate, restrain, and repress, the
development of these patriotic associations. Perhaps there were men
among the federates, whose principles might be dangerous, and their
intentions criminal: but in general they consisted of pure patriots,
who had taken up arms to defend the imperial government, and not to
overturn it.

Napoleon had never been able to surmount the aversion, which he felt
for the veterans of the revolution. He dreaded their constancy, and
their daring spirit; and he would have thought himself in danger, if
not lost, had they become consolidated, and resumed their ascendancy.
This panic fear was the cause, that he did not reap from the
confederations the advantages he promised himself; and which they
would unquestionably have afforded him, if he had not clogged their
wings. It was also the cause of his committing a perhaps still greater
fault, that of putting a stop to the popular movements, that had shown
themselves in most of the departments. In the critical state in which
he found himself, and into which he had drawn France, he should not
have disregarded any means of security; and the most efficacious, the
most analogous to his situation, was indisputably that of engaging the
people most intimately in his fate, and in his defence. It was
necessary, therefore, while preventing them from spilling a single
drop of blood, to let them compromise themselves with some of those
incorrigible ultras, who had harassed, ill-treated, and insulted
them, since the restoration. The people would then have been more
sensible, that it was no longer the personal cause of Napoleon alone,
that they had to defend; and the dread of chastisement, and of the
yoke, would have restored to them that ancient enthusiasm, which had
proved so fatal to the first coalition.

The moderation adopted by Napoleon on this occasion was honourable,
but not politic. He conducted himself, as he might have done at a
time, when all parties, confounded together and reconciled,
acknowledged him for their sole and only sovereign. But things had
changed: he had no longer the whole of France in his favour; and hence
it was necessary, that he should conduct himself rather as the head of
a party, than as a sovereign; and that he should display as it were
all the vigour and energy of the leader of a faction. Energy unites
men, by taking from them all uncertainty, and hurrying them with
violence toward their object. Moderation, on the contrary, divides and
enervates them, because it leaves them to their own irresolution, and
allows them leisure, to listen to their interests, their scruples, and
their fears.

The attention paid by the Emperor to his military preparations did not
prevent his continuing to occupy himself on the welfare of the state,
and endeavour more and more to conciliate the confidence and affection
of the public.

Already, in other days, he had drawn out from its ruins the ancient
University. A new basis, more broad, more extensive, more majestic,
had raised this noble institution to a level with the age, and with
France. But the first stage of education did not answer the efforts
made to improve it, and to diffuse it among the younger classes of

M. Carnot, in a report that combined the most pleasing philanthropy
with the most sage and lofty views, taught the Emperor the advantages
of the methods of Bell and Lancaster, and the monarch and the minister
made a present to France, to morality, to humanity, of the system of
mutual instruction.

The Emperor, on removing his eyes from this interesting youth, the
hope of the country, turned them to those old soldiers, who had
formerly been its pride and support.

A royal ordinance had expelled from their asylum a considerable number
of invalids, and had taken from them a portion of their endowments: a
decree restored them to their rights; and a visit, which the Emperor
paid these veterans in glory, added a kindness to the benefit.

He also repaired to the Polytechnic school. It was the first time of
his showing himself to its pupils. Their love of perfect liberty,
their inclination for republican institutions, had long alienated from
them the affections of the Emperor: but the striking bravery they had
displayed under the walls of Paris had restored to them his esteem and
friendship; and it was satisfactory to him (these are his own words),
to have such a fine occasion of reconciling himself with them.

The suburb of St. Antoine, that cradle of the revolution, was not
forgotten. The Emperor traversed it from one end to the other. He had
the doors of all the workshops opened to him, and examined them very
minutely. The numerous workmen of the manufactory of M. Lenoir, who
retained a grateful remembrance of what the Emperor had done for their
master and for themselves, loaded him with expressions of their
attachment. The commissary of police of the quarter had followed
Napoleon into this manufactory; and, willing to set the example,
opened his mouth to its utmost extent, to holla as loud as he could
bawl "Long live the Emperor!" but, by a terrible slip of the tongue, a
very distinct "Long live the King!" on the contrary issued from it.
This caused great confusion: but the Emperor, turning to him, said in
a rallying tone: "So, Mr. Commissary, you are determined then not to
get rid of your bad habits." This sally was the signal for a general
laugh: and the commissary, plucking up his spirits, convinced Napoleon
by many a vigorous "Long live the Emperor!" that we never lose any
thing by a little patience.

The Emperor was accompanied only by three officers of his household.
It was impossible for them to defend him from the approaches and
caresses of the people: the women kissed his hands; the men squeezed
them, till they made him cry out; both expressed to him in a thousand
ways, which I cannot transcribe, the difference they made between him
and his predecessor. At all times he had been much beloved by the
class of workmen and artisans. He had enriched it: and interest is the
prime mover of regard among the people, as well as among the

                   [Footnote 100: The reverses of Napoleon's fortune
                   had been so rapid, that the possessors of great
                   places, and of great preferment, had not had time
                   to retrench their way of living. When the Bourbons
                   were recalled, they were obliged to come to a
                   reckoning with their means, and all these
                   extravagant expenses ceased at once.

                   On the other hand, the new court, in order to
                   distinguish itself from the imperial court,
                   substituted the most offensive simplicity for the
                   useful pomp of Napoleon. The richest emigrants
                   imitated this pernicious example; and, as Napoleon
                   remarked, the luxury of the table was almost the
                   only kind, on which encouragement was not spared.
                   The result of this economical system was, that the
                   produce of our manufactories remained unemployed,
                   and industry was suddenly paralyzed.

                   Thus commerce, which had loudly called for peace,
                   was almost totally annihilated by it: and the
                   manufacturers, the mechanics, the merchants (those
                   of the sea-ports excepted), greatly regretted those
                   _happy_ times, when we were at war.

                   In fact, it must be admitted, that our industry was
                   indebted to the war, and to our conquests, for its
                   progress, and its prodigious increase. The war, by
                   depriving us of the products of the English
                   manufactories, had taught us, to manufacture for
                   ourselves. The continual prohibition of these
                   articles protected our rising manufactures from the
                   danger of competition; and allowed them to engage
                   with safety in the trials and expenses necessary
                   for equalling or surpassing in perfection foreign
                   manufactures. In all parts of the empire were seen
                   manufactories for spinning and weaving cotton; and
                   this branch of trade, almost unknown before,
                   employed three hundred thousand work people, and
                   produced goods to the value of more than two
                   hundred and fifty millions.

                   The other products of our industry equally received
                   improvements and extension; and France, in spite of
                   the conscription, reckoned in its numerous
                   workshops nearly twelve hundred thousand

                   If this flourishing state of our continental trade
                   were the effect of the enlargement of our
                   territory, and the scope the war had given to our
                   industry, we must say, that it was also the result
                   of the succour, encouragement, and honorary
                   distinctions, which Napoleon knew how to bestow
                   appropriately on our manufacturers; and the return
                   for those enormous sacrifices he made, to create,
                   repair, and keep in order, those superb roads, and
                   those numerous canals, which rendered the
                   communications between France, and the countries
                   subjected to its empire, equally easy, safe, and

The Emperor received a great number of petitions during his
excursions. Unable to read them all, he ordered me, to examine them
carefully, and give him an account of them. He loved to repay the
confidence that the people reposed in him; and frequently granted to
the request of an obscure and unknown citizen, what he would perhaps
have refused to the entreaties of a marshal or a minister. The utility
of these familiar communications between the nation and the sovereign
was not confined, in his eyes, to the solitary interests of the
petitioner. He considered them as efficacious means of coming at the
knowledge of abuses and acts of injustice, and of keeping the
depositaries of authority within the limits of their duty. He was
fond of encouraging them, that the phrase, If the Emperor knew it, or
The Emperor shall know it, might solace the heart of the oppressed,
and make the oppressor tremble.

In former days he had appointed a special commission, to receive
petitions, and give them suitable effect. This benefit not appearing
to him sufficiently complete, he would have them subjected to a
preliminary examination, under his own eye. He decided himself the
method to be followed: and directed me, to make known to him every
day, without disguise, the complaints, wants, and wishes, of the
French people. I made it a point of duty, of honour, to execute this
task in a proper manner, and to become the zealous protector of those
who had none. Every morning I laid before the Emperor an analytical
report of the requests capable of demanding his attention: he examined
them with care, made marginal notes on them with his own hand, and
sent them to his ministers with a favourable decision, or an order to
verify them, and give him an account of the result.

In fine, to fulfil, as much as in him lay, the public expectation, the
Emperor made numerous changes in the laws relating to the
consolidated taxes (_droits réunis_), which, while they diminished the
impost, freed it from its abuses and tyrannical forms, and rendered it
less odious, and more supportable. These beneficial meliorations,
though incomplete, were received with gratitude; and the Emperor was
thanked for his endeavours to reconcile the interests of individuals
with the wants of the public treasury.

But the satisfaction Napoleon derived from the happy effects of his
solicitude was frequently disturbed by the disquietude and perplexity,
which the cabals and manoeuvres of the royalists occasioned him.
"The priests and the nobles," said he one day in a fit of ill-humour,
"are playing a deep game. If I were to let loose the people upon them,
they would all be devoured in the twinkling of an eye[101]."

                   [Footnote 101: These words, and several others that
                   I have quoted, prove Napoleon not to have been
                   ignorant of the use he might make of the people. If
                   he did not have recourse to them, no doubt it was
                   because he feared, that the remedy might prove
                   worse than the disease.]

By a decree of the 25th of March, he had already ordered the ministers
of the King, and the civil and military officers of his household, as
well as of those of the princes, as also the chiefs of the Chouans, of
the Vendeans, and of the royal volunteers, to remove to a distance of
thirty leagues from Paris. This prudent precaution was but imperfectly
executed. M. Fouché, to secure himself a refuge in the King's party,
had sent for the principal of the proscribed persons to his house;
expressed to them how much he felt interested for their situation, and
the efforts he had made, to prevent their banishment; and finally
authorised them pretty generally, to remain at Paris.

The Emperor, not aware that their audacity was owing to the protection
of his minister, watched for an opportunity of intimidating them by an
act of severity. While things were in this state, a M. de Lascours, a
colonel, was arrested at Dunkirk, where he had introduced himself as
an emissary from the King. Napoleon, deceived by the similarity of the
name, supposed this officer to be the person, who pretended, in 1814,
to have received orders, to blow up the powder magazine at Grenelle,
and refused to execute them. "I should be sorry," said he, "to
sacrifice by way of example a worthy man; but an impostor like this
deserves no pity. Write to the minister at war, to have him taken
before a military commission, and tried as an instigator to civil war,
and to the overturning of the established government."

The Emperor, turning towards me, added: "How is it, that the absurd
fable of this man has not been contradicted?"--"Sire," I answered,
"Gourgaud has often assured me, that all your officers had publicly
avowed their sentiments on it; and that it had been the intention of
several generals, and particularly of general Tirlet, to unmask this
odious lie to the King; but...." "Enough," said the Emperor, "I make
no account of intentions: send the order, and let me hear no more of

I lost sight of this business: but I have since learned, that M. de
Lascours was acquitted.

If M. de Lascours had been so unfortunate, as to fall a victim to his
zeal, the Emperor would have been accused of barbarity; yet he was
neither cruel nor sanguinary, for cruelty must not be confounded with
severity. I know but one single act, the result of the most fatal
counsels, for which, alas! he may be reproached by posterity[102].
Who besides have been the victims of his pretended ferocity? Will the
death of Georges, and his obscure accomplices, be considered as a
judicial murder? Are the infernal machine and its terrible ravages
forgotten? Georges, at the head of the Chouans, was a misled
Frenchman, to be pitied, and to be spared. Georges, at the head of a
band of assassins, was undeserving of pity, and the cause of
morality, as well as of humanity, demanded his punishment.

                   [Footnote 102: Napoleon, during the hundred days,
                   entertained for a moment the design of issuing a
                   demi-official note on the arrest and death of the
                   Duke of Enghien.

                   The following memorandums are taken from papers,
                   from which the note was to have been compiled.

                   Reports from the police had informed Napoleon, that
                   there were conspiracies of the royalists beyond the
                   Rhine, and that they were conducted and supported,

                   1st, by Messrs. Drake and Spencer Smith, the
                   English ministers at Stutgard, and at Munich;

                   2dly, by the Duke d'Enghien and General Dumourier:

                   The central point of the former was at Offenbourg;
                   where were some emigrants, some English agents, and
                   the Baroness de Reich, so noted for her political

                   The central point of the latter was given out to be
                   at the castle of Ettenheim, where the Duke
                   d'Enghien, Dumourier, an English colonel, and
                   several agents of the Bourbons, resided.

                   The hundred and twenty thousand francs given by the
                   minister Drake to the Sieur Rosey, chef de
                   bataillon, to excite an insurrection,

                   The declarations of Mehée;

                   And the reports of M. Sh***, prefect of Strasbourg,
                   and brother-in-law of the Duke de Fel....; leave no
                   doubt of the existence of the intrigues at
                   Offenbourg and Ettenheim, to which M. Sh***
                   ascribes in particular the agitation, and symptoms
                   of discontent, that prevail at Weissembourg, and in
                   several parts of Alsace.

                   On the other hand, the conspiracy of the 3d of
                   Nivôse had just broken out. The discoveries made by
                   the servant of Georges, and by other individuals,
                   led to the belief, that the Duke d'Enghien had been
                   sent by England to the borders of the Rhine, in
                   order to place himself at the head of the
                   insurrection, as soon as Napoleon was made away

                   The necessity of putting an end to these plots, and
                   strike terror into their instigators by a grand act
                   of reprisal, squared in an incredible degree with
                   the political considerations, that led Napoleon to
                   attempt a bold stroke, in order to give the
                   revolution, and the revolutionists, those
                   guaranties, which circumstances demanded:

                   Napoleon, named consul for life (I borrow here the
                   language of the Manuscript from St. Helena), felt
                   the weakness of his situation, the ridiculousness
                   of his consulship. It was necessary to establish
                   something solid, to serve as a support to the
                   revolution. The republicans were alarmed at the
                   height, on which circumstances had placed him: they
                   were suspicious of the use he might make of his
                   power: they dreaded his renewing an antiquated
                   royalty by the help of his army. The royalists
                   fomented this rumour, and took a delight in
                   representing him as an ape of the ancient monarchs:
                   other royalists, more adroit, whispered about, that
                   he was enamoured of the part of Monk, and that he
                   would take the pains to restore the power, only to
                   make a present of it to the Bourbons, when it
                   should be in a proper state to be offered them.

                   Ordinary minds, unacquainted with his powers,
                   credited these reports; they sanctioned the tales
                   of the royalist party, and decried him to the
                   people, and to the army; for they began to suspect
                   him, and his attachment to their cause. He could
                   not allow such an opinion to pass current, because
                   it tended to unhinge every thing. It was necessary,
                   at all events, to undeceive France, the royalists,
                   and Europe at large, in order that they might know,
                   what they had to reckon upon in him. A persecution
                   of reports in detail never produces any thing but a
                   bad effect, for it does not attack the root of the

                   The death of the Duke d'Enghien would decide the
                   question, that agitated France; it would decide the
                   character of Napoleon beyond return; in fine, it
                   might intimidate and punish the authors of the
                   plots incessantly contriving against his life, and
                   against the state: accordingly he determined on it.

                   He sent for Marshal Berthier, and this minister
                   directed General Ord**, by an order which the
                   Emperor dictated, and which I have _seen_, to set
                   off post for Strasbourg; to cause General Lev** to
                   place under his orders fifteen boatmen, three
                   hundred dragoons from the garrison of Schelstadt,
                   and thirty gendarmes; to pass the Rhine at Rheinan,
                   to proceed to Ettenheim, to surround the town, and
                   _to carry off the Duke d'Enghien, Dumourier, an
                   English colonel, and all the persons in their

                   The Duke d'Enghien,
                   General Thumery,
                   Colonel de Grunstein,
                   Lieutenant Schmidt,
                   Abbé Weinburn, and five other inferior persons,
                   were arrested by a chef d'escadron of the
                   gendarmerie, named Ch**, who was charged with this
                   part of the expedition.

                   Then, and then only, it became certain, that
                   Dumourier was not at Ettenheim. General Thumery had
                   been mistaken for him. This mistake, occasioned by
                   the similarity of their rank, and some likeness of
                   sound between their names, which the Germans
                   pronounced nearly alike, had heightened the
                   importance and criminality of the pretended plots
                   at Ettenheim in the mind of Napoleon, and had the
                   most fatal influence on his determination.

                   The Duke d'Enghien was brought from Strasbourg to
                   Paris, and carried before a military commission.

                   The Empress Josephine, the Princess Hortense, fell
                   at Napoleon's feet in tears, and conjured him to
                   spare the life of the Duke d'Enghien. Prince
                   Cambacérès and the Prince of Neufchâtel strongly
                   remonstrated to him on the horrible inutility of
                   the blow he was about to strike. He appeared to
                   hesitate, when the information was brought him,
                   that the prince was no more.

                   Napoleon had not expected so speedy a catastrophe.
                   He had even given orders to M. Réal, to repair to
                   Vincennes, to interrogate the Duke d'Enghien: but
                   his trial and execution had been hastened by Murat;
                   who, urged by some regicides, at the head of whom
                   was M. Fou***, thought he should render a service
                   to Napoleon, to his family, and to France, by
                   insuring the death of a Bourbon.

                   The Prince de T***, whom the Emperor often publicly
                   reproached with having advised the seizure and
                   death of the Duke d'Enghien, was directed to pacify
                   the court of Baden, and to justify the violation of
                   its territory in the eyes of Europe. M. de
                   Caulincourt being at Strasbourg, the Emperor
                   thought him more proper than any other person, to
                   follow up a negotiation, if the turn of affairs
                   should require it; and he was directed to send to
                   the minister of Baden the despatch of the Prince de
                   T***. But there was no need of having recourse to
                   negotiations: the court, far from complaining of
                   the violation of its territory, expressed itself
                   well contented, that the step taken had saved it
                   the disgrace of consenting, or the embarrassment of
                   a refusal.

                   This is an exact and true recital of the
                   circumstances, that preceded, followed, and
                   accompanied, the carrying off and death of the last
                   of the house of Condé.

                   The seizure of the Duke d'Enghien was long imputed
                   to M. de Caulincourt, and is still imputed to him
                   by persons uninformed of the truth.

                   Some assert, that he arrested him with his own

                   Others, that he gave orders for the seizure of his
                   person: both these imputations are equally false.

                   He did not arrest the Duke d'Enghien, for his
                   seizure was executed and consummated by chef
                   d'escadron Ch***.

                   Neither directly, nor indirectly, did he give
                   orders for seizing the prince: for the particular
                   mission, to carry him off, was confided to General
                   Ord**, and this general had no orders to receive
                   from M. de Caulincourt his equal, perhaps even his

                   What made it be supposed, at a time when it was not
                   possible to explain the facts, that M. de
                   Caulincourt had been employed to seize the Duke
                   d'Enghien, or cause him to be seized, was, that M.
                   de Caulincourt received, at the same moment as
                   General Ord**, orders to repair to Strasbourg, to
                   cause the emigrants and English agents, who had
                   fixed the seat of their intrigues at Offenbourg, to
                   be carried off. But this mission, for which it
                   would be requisite to take measures in concert with
                   General Ord**, and perhaps even to assist him in
                   case of need; for a simultaneous proceeding was
                   necessary, that one expedition might not cause the
                   failure of the other; this mission, I say, though
                   analogous to that of General Ord**, had no real
                   connexion with it.

                   Their objects were different:

                   That of one was to carry off the Duke d'Enghien
                   from Ettenheim;

                   That of the other, to seize the conspirators at
                   Offenbourg, which was eight or ten leagues distant.

                   Perhaps it will be objected, that M. de Caulincourt
                   was not ignorant of General Ord**'s being directed,
                   to seize the Duke d'Enghien. Be it so: I cannot
                   perceive the consequence, attempted to be drawn
                   from this. But what I have _seen_ in the cabinet,
                   and what I attest, is, that the order given to M.
                   de Caulincourt said nothing of Ettenheim, and that
                   the name of the Duke d'Enghien was not even
                   mentioned in it: it related solely, in the first
                   place, to the construction of a flotilla, that was
                   preparing on the Rhine; and, secondly, to the
                   expedition of Offenbourg; an expedition that
                   terminated, as no doubt is still remembered, in the
                   laughable flight of the minister Drake and his

                   I have thought it my duty as a Frenchman and an
                   historian, to enter into these details, and destroy
                   for ever an error, which malevolence and the spirit
                   of party have laid hold of, in order to tarnish the
                   political life of one of the men, who do the
                   greatest honour to the imperial government and to

                   M. de Caulincourt would not have been less
                   irreproachable, had he committed the fatal seizure
                   ascribed to him: he would have done his duty, as
                   General Ord** did his. A soldier is not the judge
                   of the orders he is to execute. The great Condé,
                   covered with the laurels of Rocroy, Fribourg,
                   Norlinguen, and Lenz, was arrested, in spite of the
                   faith pledged to him, in the apartments of the
                   King; yet neither his contemporaries, nor
                   posterity, have charged Marshal d'Albret with this
                   arrest as a crime.]

Will it be said, that Pichegru was strangled by his orders? The
designs of Pichegru were so clearly substantiated, and the laws so
clear, that he could not escape the scaffold: why, then, should he
cause him to be murdered? The greatest criminals themselves do not
commit useless crimes. Were apprehensions entertained of the
disclosures he might make?... What could he disclose to the French
people? That Napoleon aspired to the throne? Of this no one was

A man, that Napoleon had reason to dread, was Moreau: was his life
attempted? Yet it was less dangerous, to assassinate him, than to send
to a tribunal, where guilt presided, a warrior at that time so dear to
France and to the army.

No, Napoleon was not cruel, he was not sanguinary. If he were
sometimes inexorable, it was because there are circumstances, in which
the monarch must shut his heart to compassion, and leave the law free
to act: but, if he knew how to punish, he was also capable of
pardoning; and, at the moment when he gave up Georges[103] to the
sword of justice, he spared the lives of Messrs. de Polignac and the
Marquis de Rivière, whose courage and zeal he respected.

                   [Footnote 103: I have been assured, that Georges
                   was three times offered his pardon by Napoleon, if
                   he would promise, not to engage in any conspiracy
                   again; and that it was not till after his third
                   refusal, that his sentence was ordered to be
                   carried into execution.]

The Emperor did not stop at the rigorous trial, to which he had
delivered over the person of M. de Lascours: by a decree, dated the
18th of March, and published the 9th of April, he ordered the
condemnation, and the sequestration of the property of

     The Prince of Benevento,
     The Duke of Ragusa,
     The Duke of Alberg,
     The Abbé de Montesquiou,
     The Count de Jaucourt,
     The Count de Bournonville, and
     The Sieurs Lynch,
                Alexis de Noailles,
                La Roche-Jaquelin, and
                Sostène de la Rochefoucault[104];

                   [Footnote 104: Marshal Augereau, Duke de
                   Castiglione, was also in this list. His name was
                   struck out at the request of the duchess, and in
                   consideration of the proclamation, which he
                   published on the 23d of March.]

All of whom, as members of the provisional government, or agents of
the royal party, had concurred in the subversion of the imperial
government, previous to the abdication of Napoleon.

This decree, though supposed to have originated at Lyons, first saw
the light at Paris; and was, as I have just said, the result of the
ill humour, into which the plots of the royalists had thrown Napoleon.
The terms, in which it was originally couched, too clearly attested
its source: the first article said; "are declared traitors to their
country, and shall be punished as such, &c."

It was I, who wrote this decree, from the dictation of the Emperor.
When I had finished it, he ordered me, to go and get it signed by
Count Bertrand, who had countersigned the decrees of Lyons. I went to
the marshal. He read the decree, and returned it to me, saying: "I
will never sign it: this is not what the Emperor promised us; they who
advise him, to take such measures, are his bitterest enemies; I will
speak to him about it." I related this firm and courageous answer to
Napoleon word for word. He ordered me, to return to the grand Marshal,
to endeavour to overcome his repugnance, and, if he still persisted,
to bring him to him. Count Bertrand instantly followed me, with head
erect, into the Emperor's closet. "I am astonished," said Napoleon to
him in a dry tone, "that you make such difficulties about it to me.
The severity I wish to display is necessary for the good of the
state."--"I do not think so, Sire."--"I do, I tell you: and it is my
business alone to judge of it. I did not ask your advice, but your
signature, which is only a matter of form, and cannot in any way
compromise you."--"Sire, a minister, who countersigns the act of a
sovereign, is morally responsible for that act; and I should think
myself wanting in my duty to your Majesty, and perhaps to myself, if I
were weak enough to set my hand to such measures. If your Majesty
choose to reign by the laws, you have no right, arbitrarily to
pronounce, by a simple decree, sentence of death, and forfeiture of
property, against your subjects. If you choose to act as a dictator,
and to have no law but your own will, you have no need of the addition
of my signature. Your Majesty has declared, by your proclamations,
that you would grant a general amnesty. I countersigned them most
cordially; and I will not countersign the decree, that revokes
them."--"But you well know, I always told you, that I never would
pardon Marmont, Talleyrand, and Augereau; and that I promised only to
overlook, what had passed since my abdication. I know better than you,
what I ought to do, to keep my promises, and ensure the tranquillity
of the state. I begun with being indulgent, even to weakness and the
royalists, instead of appreciating my moderation, have abused it: they
bestir themselves, they conspire, and I ought and will bring them to
their senses. I would rather have my blows fall on traitors, than on
men who are misled. Besides, all those who are on the list, Augereau
excepted, are out of France, or in concealment. I shall not seek for
them: my intention is to terrify them more than harm them. You see,
therefore," continued the Emperor, softening his voice, "you have not
rightly considered the business: sign this for me, my dear Bertrand:
you must."--"I cannot, Sire. I request your Majesty's permission, to
submit my observations to you in writing."--"All that, my dear sir,
will make us lose time: you are startled, I assure you, without any
reason; sign, I tell you; I request you, you will do me
pleasure."--"Permit me, Sire, to wait, till your Majesty has seen my
observations." The marshal went away. This noble resistance did not
offend the Emperor: the language of truth and honour never displeased
him, when it issued from a pure heart.

General Bertrand delivered to Napoleon a statement of his reasons. It
did not alter his resolution; it only determined him, to give it a
legal form.

The Emperor, persuaded that General Bertrand would equally retain his
opinion, would not have this new decree presented to him, and it
appeared without being countersigned.

The effect it produced justified the apprehensions of the grand
Marshal. It was considered as an act of despotism and vengeance; as
the first infraction of the promises made to the nation. The murmurs
of the public were echoed even within the walls of the imperial
palace. Labedoyère, at a moment when Napoleon was passing by, said
loud enough to be heard, "If the system of proscriptions and
sequestrations begin again, all will soon be over."

The Emperor, according to his custom on such occasions, affected to be
perfectly satisfied with himself, and appeared no way apprehensive of
the storm. Being at table with several personages and ladies of
distinction belonging to the court, he asked the Countess Duchâtel, if
her husband, who was director-general of the domains, had executed the
order for sequestrating the estates of Talleyrand and company. "There
is no hurry for that," answered she drily. He made no reply, and
changed the conversation.

The persons about him are incessantly reproached, with having basely
crouched to his will and opinions: this anecdote, and many others that
I might relate, prove, that all of them at least did not deserve this
reproach. But, supposing it to be just with regard to some, is it as
easy, as is commonly thought, to overcome the will of a sovereign?

From pride, and perhaps from a conviction of superiority, Napoleon did
not readily endure counsel.

In affairs of state, he imposed upon himself the law of consulting his
counsellors, and his ministers. Endowed by nature with the faculty of
knowing every thing, or of divining every thing, he almost always took
an active part in the discussion: and I must say, to the honour of the
Emperor, his ministers, and his counsellors, in common, an
inexpressible degree of confidence, frankness, and independence,
prevailed in these discussions, highly animated as for the most part
they were. The Emperor, far from being shocked when any one
contradicted him, endured, nay provoked contradiction and adopted
without resistance the advice of his opponents, when he thought it
preferable to his own opinion.

When the question concerned those grand decisions, that influence the
fate of empires, the case was different. He listened for a certain
time to the objections of his ministers: but, when his attention had
reached its bounds, he interrupted them, and supported his own opinion
with so much fire, force, and perseverance, that he reduced them to

This silence was less the effect of their passive obedience to the
intentions of the monarch, than the result of the lessons taught by
experience. They had seen, that the most rash, the most
incomprehensible, I had almost said the most senseless, enterprises of
Napoleon were invariably crowned with success; and they were
convinced, that reason could not contend against the inspirations of
genius, and the favours of fortune.

In fine, Napoleon often consulted only his own will; and his ministers
then knew nothing of his resolves, till they received orders, to carry
them into execution.

Such was, and such always will be the situation of ministers, in a
monarchy, where the Prince governs for himself; and more especially
when this Prince, like Napoleon, owes his throne merely to the
ascendancy of his genius and his sword.

Besides, the time of flatterers and flattery was past with Napoleon.
Every one was interested in telling him the truth, and no one was
sparing of it to him.

The security inspired by this rare and valuable veracity was
strengthened by the arrival of Prince Joseph and Prince Lucien. The
moderation of the one, and the patriotism of the other, were well
known; and the care of maintaining the liberal and pacific intentions
of the Emperor was laid on them both.

Prince Lucien had been deeply afflicted in 1814 at the misfortunes of
his brother, and was eager to offer him his fortune and his services.
This, generous offer did not entirely efface from the heart of
Napoleon the remembrance, of their ancient differences, but it
softened the asperity of them; and it might be foreseen, that their
enmity would not be eternal.

As soon as Prince Lucien heard of the entry of Napoleon into Paris, he
wrote him a letter of congratulation. "Your return," said he, "fills
up the measure of your military glory. But there is another glory
still greater, and above all more desirable, civil glory. The
sentiments and intentions, which you have solemnly promulgated,
promise France, that you know how to acquire it," &c.

Prince Lucien, however, notwithstanding his desire of revisiting that
country, the cause of which he pleaded, did not venture to approach
it. But the invasion of the King of Naples having rendered his
services necessary to the Sovereign Pontiff, the gratitude he owed to
the Holy Father triumphed over his apprehensions. He departed under
the title of secretary to the Pope's nuncio, and crossed the Alps
without any obstacle. Arrived in the French territory, he wrote to
Napoleon, to inform him of his mission, and to ask if his coming to
Paris would be agreeable to him. Napoleon's first feeling was that of
hesitating to receive him: his second, that of opening to him his
arms. The intention of the Prince was to return quickly to Home,
whither he was called by the concerns entrusted to him: but the
interruption of the communications did not allow this. Obliged to
return to Paris, he laid aside his incognito. His return was then
publicly announced, and made an advantageous and agreeable impression
on every mind.

A few days before, the Emperor had made the acquisition of another
personage; less illustrious, it is true, but equally renowned for his
patriotism and intelligence: I mean M. Benjamin Constant.

Napoleon, knowing the experience and reputation of this learned
civilian, sent for him, to converse with him "on liberty and the
constitution." Their conversation continued more than two hours. The
Emperor, willing to attach M. Constant to his party, employed all his
means of seduction; and I leave it to those Frenchmen, and those
foreigners, who have had access to him, to say, whether it were
possible to resist him.

When he wished to fix any one in his train, he studied and penetrated
with extreme sagacity his way of thinking, his principles, his
character, his ruling passions; and then with that familiar grace,
that affability, that force and vivacity of expression, which gave so
much value and such a charm to his conversations[105], he insinuated
himself imperceptibly into your heart, made himself master of your
passions, gently excited them, and artfully flattered them: then,
displaying at once the magic resources of his genius, he plunged you
into intoxication, into admiration, and subdued you so rapidly, so
completely, that it seemed the effect of enchantment.

                   [Footnote 105: These conversations with persons,
                   whose merit and opinion Napoleon esteemed, were
                   always pleasing, instructive, interesting, always
                   marked with strong thoughts, and bold, ingenious,
                   or sublime expressions. With persons indifferent to
                   him, or whose nullity he discerned, his phrases,
                   scarcely begun, were never finished: his ideas
                   turned only on insignificant, common-place matters,
                   which, by way of amusing himself, he was apt to
                   season with biting sarcasm, or jokes more whimsical
                   than witty.

                   This explains the contradictions between the
                   different opinions given of Napoleon's
                   understanding by foreigners introduced at his

Thus M. Benjamin Constant was subjugated: he arrived at the Tuileries
with repugnance, he quitted the palace an enthusiast.

The next day he was named counsellor of state: and this favour he owed
to no base submissions, as his enemies have pretended, but to his
learning, and to the desire the Emperor had of giving to public
opinion, and to M. B. Constant himself, a pledge of his having
forgotten the past; a pledge so much the more meritorious, as the
Emperor, independently of the Philippic launched against him by this
writer on the 19th of March, had besides before his eyes a letter in
his own hand to M. de Blacas, the subject and expressions of which
were of a nature, to inspire Napoleon with something more than
aversion for its author.

M. de Blacas had left in his boxes a great number of papers. The
Emperor directed the Duke of Otranto to examine them. Of this he
immediately repented, and sent for them again. Part fell to our share:
the rest were delivered to the Duke of Vicenza. Their examination
afforded nothing interesting. The Emperor, disappointed, accused M.
Fouché of having removed the important papers. Those we inspected
consisted only of private reports, and confidential and anonymous
notes. The hatred of the revolution pervaded every line, every word.
The writers did not dare to propose plainly the revocation of the
Charter, and the abolition of the new institutions; but they declared
without any circumlocution, that the dynasty of the Bourbons would
never be secure with the existing laws; and that it was necessary, to
distrust and get rid of the men of the revolution. More effectually to
know and persecute these, M. de Blacas had caused to be disinterred
from the archives of the cabinet, and of the ministers, the documents
that might serve to make known their conduct ever since 1789, and he
had directed biographical notices of each to be composed, which might
easily have been taken for indictments drawn up by M. Bellart[106].

                   [Footnote 106: Attorney-general to the king,
                   employed on certain occasions, to prosecute
                   political crimes and misdemeanors.]

We found also a number of minutes of laws and ordinances, written by
the hand of this minister, and attesting by their laborious
corrections, how destitute he was of readiness and of imagination.
Frequently he made three or four foul copies, before he could give any
consistency or connection to his ideas. His familiar style was dry and
turgid: if the style exhibit the man, how I pity M. de Blacas! He took
extreme pains to vary, himself, the form of his appointments
(_rendez-vous_): and the trouble he gave himself, to say the same
thing in several different ways, wonderfully reminded us of the
billet-doux of the Bourgeois Gentilhomme: "_Belle Marquise, vos beaux
yeux me font mourir d'amour; d'amour mourir me font, belle Marquise,
vos beaux yeux[107]._"

                   [Footnote 107: "Beautiful Marchioness, your
                   beautiful eyes make me die of love; of love make me
                   die, beautiful Marchioness, your beautiful eyes."]

In fine, we collected from the cabinet of this minister an ample
collection of royal denunciations, petitions, justifications, and
confessions, of those men, who, like Lockard, are always "the most
humble servants of circumstances."

These humble servants, when the Emperor returned from the island of
Elba, did not fail to prostrate themselves before him anew. They
assured him, after the example of a certain Marquis well known, that
they had denied, insulted, calumniated him, only that they might
remain faithful to him, without being suspected by the royal
government: they conjured him, to grant them the happiness and glory
of serving him; but he disdained their supplications, as he had
disdained their insults: they gained nothing but his contempt. Always
as devoid of shame as of faith, they were eager, immediately after the
fall of Napoleon, to turn round anew, and carry back to the King their
faded homage. Some, as M. the Count de M***, whose hands are still
reeking with the blood of his assistants (_administrés_), contrived,
with the help of their lying fidelity, to surprise his easy
confidence. Others, as M. F***, became in their writings the virulent
persecutors of men, whose lot they had envied, and whose support they
had begged. All arrogated to themselves exclusively the title of pure
royalists: the title of honest men.... I know them ... the mask, with
which they cover themselves, the honours, the dignities, with which
they are invested, cannot disguise them to my eyes.... Shall I name
them? And the Emperor is accused of despising mankind! ah, where is
the sovereign, that can esteem them?


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