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Title: Memoirs of the Private Life, Return, and Reign of Napoleon in 1815, Vol. II
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. II.



&c. &c.

At the same period (May the 1st) the Emperor received a fresh proof of
the little confidence, that men deserve, and of the horrible facility,
with which they sacrifice their duties and their sentiments, to the
suggestions of their covetousness or their ambition.

Of all the ministers of Napoleon there was not one, who, at the time
of his return, lavished on him so many protestations of fidelity and
devotion to his service, as the Duke of Otranto. "And this fidelity,
if he could have doubted it, would have been guarantied by the
mandate, under which he (M. Fouché) groaned, at the moment when the
return of Napoleon restored him to liberty, and perhaps to life[1]."

              [Footnote 1: Fragment of a letter from M. Fouché to the
              Emperor, on the 21st of March.]

Yet what was the astonishment of the Emperor, when the Duke of Vicenza
came to inform him, that a secret agent of M. de Metternich had
arrived at Paris from Vienna, and appeared to have had a mysterious
interview with M. Fouché! The Emperor immediately ordered M. Réal,
prefect of the police, to make search after this emissary. He was
arrested, and declared:

That, being employed by a banking-house at Vienna, to settle accounts
of interest with several bankers at Paris, he had been sent for by M.
de Metternich; and that this prince had entrusted him with a letter
for the French minister of police:

That he was ignorant of the contents of this letter; but knew it was
interlined with sympathetic ink: and the prince had delivered to him a
powder for making the hidden characters appear:

That Baron de Werner, diplomatic agent, was to be at Bâle on the 1st
of May, to receive the answer of the Duke of Otranto:

That a fictitious statement of an account had been given him, which
was to serve as a sign, to make known to M. Werner the agent sent by
the French minister:

In fine, that he had delivered the letter and the account to the Duke
of Otranto, who had told him, to attend quickly to his business, and
return to Vienna as soon as possible.

The Emperor immediately sent for M. Fouché, under pretence of
conversing with him on affairs of state.

M. Fouché preserved the most profound silence on what had passed with
the envoy of M. de Metternich, and displayed no marks of embarrassment
or uneasiness.

The first thought of Napoleon was, to seize the papers of his
treacherous minister: but persuaded, that he was too adroit, and too
prudent, to retain any traces of his treason, he deemed it preferable,
in order to come at the truth, to send some one to Bâle, who should
introduce himself to M. Werner as from the Duke. Napoleon attached
great importance to this mission. He condescended to cast his eyes on
me to execute it; and, after having disclosed to me "_the perfidy of
that infamous Fouché,_" he said to me: "You will go immediately to the
Duke of Vicenza: he will give you passports both in the King's name
and in mine: you will learn at the frontier, which will avail you
most. Here is an order under my own hand, to all the generals,
prefects, and lieutenants of police, who may be on the Rhine, to
furnish you with the means of leaving and returning to France, and
with all the assistance you may require, within the kingdom and even
without. I command them, strictly to conform to every thing you may
judge proper to direct. I think you will pass. I have never heard of
this M. Werner, but M. de Metternich is a man of honour: he would not
be concerned in a plot against my life. I do not believe the business
is to renew the attempts of Georges, or the snares of the 3d of
Nivose. However, you will sound M. Werner on this head. I believe,
they are desirous of fomenting disturbances, and forming a conspiracy,
rather against my throne, than against my life. This point it is
essential to ascertain. I give you no farther instructions: you will
act as your own master: I rely entirely on you. If the safety of the
state be threatened, or if you discover any thing of importance,
apprise me of it by the telegraph, and send off a courier with all
speed. If you find there is nothing in it but the commencement of an
intrigue, nothing but a trial; waste no time in useless parleying, but
frankly avail yourself of the opportunity, to make M. de Metternich
acquainted with my situation, and my pacific intentions; and endeavour
to establish a reconciliation between me and Austria. I should also
like to know, what the allies think of Eugene; and whether they would
be disposed to call him to the head of affairs in a regency, if I
should lose my life on the field of battle. Go and see the Duke of
Vicenza, talk with him, and return in half an hour. I will see if I
have any thing more to say to you." Half an hour after, I returned.
The Emperor was in his saloon, surrounded by Marshal Ney and several
persons of consequence. Making a motion with his hand, he said to me:
"I rely upon you: fly."

It was by such expressions, that he knew how to flatter self-love, and
animate zeal. I flew to Bâle. Had it been necessary for me, in order
to justify the expectations of Napoleon, to cross the Rhine under the
mouths of the enemy's cannon, I should have done it.

I began to employ the unlimited powers given me by the Emperor, by
directing provisionally, that no person coming from Paris should be
allowed to quit France. I was not willing to be preceded by the real
agent of the Duke of Otranto.

The communication with Bâle was not yet interrupted: but it was
necessary, to have a permit to enter the city, another to go out of
it, and, on the slightest suspicion, you were carried before the
director of the police, who, without taking his pipe out of his mouth,
gave orders, according to his own good pleasure, either to turn you
out at the gate, or to throw you into prison, I had provided myself
with a commission of inspector general of provision, and presented
myself at Bâle under the pretence of making large purchases there.
Money will always secure a good reception in Switzerland.

I repaired without meeting any obstacle to the Three Kings inn, where
M. Werner had alighted. He was already arrived. I announced to him,
that I had been commissioned by a person at Paris, to confer with him.
He showed me the account he had as a token; and I showed him _at a
distance_ that I had, for I knew it was good for nothing. It had been
written out from memory by our prisoner, the token having remained in
the hands of M. Fouché.

M. Werner began by expressing to me with all the pomp of diplomatic
politeness the pleasure, which he felt at seeing me; that he had
expected me ever since the 1st of May (this was the 3d); and that he
began to fear, that M. Fouché was indifferent about entering into a
conference with the prince. This conjecture led me to suppose, that
nothing had yet been agreed upon or proposed. I answered M. Werner,
that in fact the Duke of Otranto had shown a little hesitation,
because the letter of M. de Metternich left _some uncertainty_; but
that, still filled with esteem and deference for this prince, he would
be eager to offer him every proof of his zeal, that should be in his
power; that he had chosen me for his interpreter, and that I should
take a pleasure in answering with unbounded confidence the _new_
overtures, which M. Werner was no doubt commissioned to make to me. I
added, that the Duke of Otranto had recommended to me, to lay aside
diplomatic forms, and to explain myself with that complete _absence of
restraint_, which M. de Metternich must inspire. That in consequence,
I intreated him, to follow my example, and to tell me without
circumlocution, _what he expected of us_.

He answered me, that M. de Metternich had retained the highest opinion
of M. Fouché's merit: that he imagined, a man like him could not
suppose, that Napoleon would maintain himself on the throne: that he
was persuaded, he had accepted the ministry of police, only to spare
France the calamities of a civil and a foreign war: and that, under
this persuasion, he hoped M. Fouché would not hesitate, to second the
efforts the allies were about to make, to get rid of Bonaparte, and
re-establish the Bourbons in France.

I replied, that M. Fouché, whose patriotism was well known, had not
been able to contemplate without pain the misfortunes, with which
France was threatened; but that hitherto he had not perceived the
possibility of remedying them. "Frequently," I said, "people at a
distance see more clearly, than those who are nigh: what are the views
of M. de Metternich and the allies on this point? _what means do they
conceive may be employed, to get rid of Napoleon?_"

"M. de Metternich," said he, "has not fully communicated to me his
views in this respect. I have even reason to believe, that nothing has
yet been determined; and that it is in order to arrive at some certain
result, that he is desirous of concerting matters with M. Fouché, who
must be better acquainted with the true state of affairs than he is.
As to the means of getting rid of Bonaparte, there is one, the issue
of which cannot be doubtful: this is force: but the allies are
unwilling to have recourse to it, unless in the last extremity; and
they would have wished, _that M. Fouché could have found means of
delivering France from Bonaparte_, without shedding fresh torrents of

This ambiguous answer giving me some uneasiness, I replied: "I know but
two ways of overturning the throne of Napoleon: the first is, to
assassinate him!" As I pronounced these words, I turned my eyes a little
aside, that I might not embarrass M. Werner, and might observe him at my
ease. "Assassinate him!" exclaimed he with indignation: "such a step
never entered into the thoughts of M. de Metternich."--"So I presume;
and accordingly I began with expressing to you the high veneration,
which I feel for M. de Metternich. The second way," I continued, "is of
secretly uniting, or, to speak plainly, of conspiring against Napoleon;
and I do not see very clearly at present, _on whom we can reckon_: have
M. de Metternich and the allies _any connexions yet formed_?"

"They have none," he answered: "scarcely have they had time to come to
any mutual understanding at Vienna. It is for M. Fouché to prepare and
arrange his plans: it is to him, that the allies are desirous of
confiding the care and honour of saving France from the calamities of
a new war, and from the tyranny prepared for her by the Emperor."

Convinced by the turn the conversation had taken, that there had been
no previous connexion between the Duke of Otranto and M. de
Metternich; convinced, that the life of the Emperor, and the safety of
the state, were not threatened; I changed my style, and proceeded
straight to the end, which I had principally in view; that of
endeavouring to establish, if not a reconciliation, at least
conferences between France and Austria.

"Do the allies then imagine," resumed I, "that it would be easy for M.
Fouché to stir France against Napoleon? There was a time, it is true,
when the Emperor was not liked; but the Bourbons have treated the
nation so ill, that they succeeded in rendering him regretted, so that
his enemies are become his partisans."

"What you tell me," answered M. Werner with astonishment, "is
completely the reverse of the reports, that reach us from Paris."

"I can assure you," continued I, "that they have deceived you. The
acclamations and good wishes, that accompanied Napoleon from the gulf
of Juan to Paris, ought however to have informed you, that he had in
his favour the unanimous suffrages of the army, and of the
nation."--"Say of the army."--"No: I persist in saying of the nation,
and of the army. From the moment when Napoleon re-appeared on French
ground, he was received with enthusiasm, not only by his soldiers,
but by the citizens also. If he had the suffrages of only a few
regiments in a state of insubordination, would he have traversed
France without any obstacle? Would he have received on his journey
that unanimous testimony of love and devotion, which the whole
population of Dauphiny, the Lyonese, and Burgundy, emulated each other
in displaying?"--"It is possible, that Bonaparte may have been well
received in some places; but a few solitary acclamations do not
express the wishes of a whole nation; and, had it not been for the
army, he would never have re-entered the Tuileries."--"It is certain,
that, if Napoleon had had the army against him, he could never have
dethroned Louis XVIII. with eight hundred men: but we must not
conclude, that, because the army declared for him, it was the army
alone, that re-established him on the throne. When he took Lyons, he
had with him only two thousand men; he had but eight thousand, when he
marched for Paris; and he had only eight hundred with him, when he
entered the capital. Had not the nation entertained the same
sentiments as the army, could he, with such a contemptible force, have
given the law to two millions of individuals scattered on his road;
and to the fifty thousand soldiers, national guards and volunteers,
who were assembled under the walls of Paris? If indeed the nation had
opposed the proceedings and wishes of the army, and the army had
overcome the nation, it might have been asserted with reason, that the
restoration of Napoleon was the work of the soldiers exclusively: but
you know, as well as I, that not a single act of violence was
committed, not a single musket was fired, and that they were every
where welcomed and feasted as friends and deliverers. I ask you, now,
what ought we to conclude from this union, this unanimity of
sentiments and actions?"--

"We may infer, that the people, naturally weak and timid, were afraid
of the army; and gave it a good reception, that they might not be
exposed to its violence: but this does not prove, that in the bottom
of their hearts they shared the sentiments of the army for Napoleon."

"God alone knows what passes in the bottom of the heart: we mortals
can judge only by appearances, by men's words and actions. Now
actions, words, and appearances combine to prove evidently, that the
nation approved and shared the enthusiasm of the army. Besides, you
are wrong in thinking, that in France the people can entertain
sentiments different from those of the army. Under the ancient
monarchy, when the army was composed of the dissolute reduced to want,
of malefactors pursued by the hand of justice, there did not, and
could not, exist any affinity between the army and the nation: but now
that the army is a national body, composed of the sons and brothers of
our best citizens; and that these sons, these brothers, though
separated from their families, remain united with them in heart, mind,
and interests; the nation and the army are one. If the allies have
founded their hopes solely on a disagreement of opinions and wishes
between the nation and the army, they have calculated erroneously: the
approach of their troops, far from dividing the French, will only draw
their union closer. They will not fight for Napoleon, they will fight
for the honour and independence of the nation."--"From what you tell
me it would seem, that France is determined to run the hazard of war;
and that it is ready, if Napoleon require it, to second as heretofore
his schemes of conquest."--"No, sir: the glory of Napoleon has cost us
too dear; we desire no more laurels at such a price. Napoleon has the
wishes of the nation on his side, less from affection to his person,
than because he is a man of the revolution, and his government will
secure us pledges, which we have demanded in vain from the Bourbons;
but if the Emperor were to suffer himself to be led away by the thirst
of conquest, France would abandon him; and then you might reckon on M.
Fouché and all true patriots uniting, to get rid of Napoleon for

"You do not think, then, it appears to me, that M. Fouché is disposed
at the present moment, to second the views of the allied sovereigns
and M. Metternich?"--"I do not; M. Fouché is convinced, that the
Bourbons cannot reign: that the nation has an antipathy to them, which
nothing can remove."--"The allies are not so much bent on restoring
the crown to Louis XVIII., as on taking it from Napoleon, whose
remaining on the throne is incompatible with the safety and repose of
Europe: I am even authorized to think, that they would leave the
French free to choose whatever sovereign, and whatever government,
they might think proper. The Duke of Orleans, for instance, would not
he suit the nation? He served formerly in the republican armies; he
has been a partisan of the revolution; his father voted for the death
of Louis XVI."--"The Duke of Orleans, no doubt, would offer the
nation most of the pledges it requires: but his elevation to the
throne, far from annihilating our troubles, would increase them; he
would have against him the partisans of Louis XVIII., of Napoleon, and
of the regency; that is to say, almost the whole nation."--"Well,
then, the allies might consent to give you the young prince Napoleon
and the regency, or perhaps a federal government."--"At the time of
the invasion in 1814, we had several times occasion to debate the
question of the regency with M. Fouché. He thought, that, with a
regency, France would experience the renovation of those discords, to
which minorities commonly give birth. A people, that has been at war
with itself, and with its neighbours, has need of being swayed by a
man, who knows how to hold the reins of government with a firm hand,
and to make himself respected at home and abroad."--"But you have no
want of firm and able men; and a council of regency might be composed
for you, that would answer the wishes both of the allies and of
France."--"I know well, that we have in the archchancellor, in the
Duke of Vicenza, and in several of our principal functionaries,
statesmen abounding in talents, wisdom, and moderation: but the
difficulty would be, to make a choice among the military men. Most of
these have equal rights, and their pretensions, their jealousies,
their rivalries, could not but be fatal to our tranquillity."--"We
should know how to keep them in order; and I do not see one among them
whose ambition could prove formidable."--"Their ambition has not
displayed itself for want of opportunity. I know but one military man,
who could be placed at the head of the government with safety; this is
Eugene, the prince who said, in 1814, in his memorable proclamations,
that 'they alone are immortal, who know how to live and die faithful
to their duty, faithful to gratitude and honour:' this prince, I say,
far from aspiring to the throne, would be on the contrary its glory
and support: but his family ties, and the duties they impose on him,
perhaps would not permit him to quit Bavaria. Perhaps too the allies
would not allow the direction of affairs in France, to be entrusted to
him: do you think they would?"--"I am perfectly ignorant of what might
be the determination of the prince and his family."--"But cannot you
guess, what would be that of the allies?"--"Not in the least."--"What
men," said I to him jocularly, "you diplomatists are! why are not you
as open with me, as I am with you? have I left one of your desires
unsatisfied? have I avoided answering one of your questions?"--"I am
not endeavouring to dissemble, I assure you: but, as the question you
have put to me was not foreseen, I cannot, and ought not, to allow
myself to answer it."--"Well, we will say no more of it. As to a
federal government, this would too much resemble our republic, and we
have paid so dear for the honour of being republicans, that we have no
farther inclination for it. A federal government may suit a country
with a scanty population, like Switzerland; or a new nation, like
America; but it would be a calamity to our old France: we are too
volatile, too impassioned; we want a ruler, a master who knows how to
make himself obeyed. Hark you, M. Werner, I must continue to speak to
you frankly: the only chief, that suits us, is Napoleon: no longer
Napoleon the ambitious and the conqueror, but Napoleon corrected by
adversity. The desire of reigning will render him docile to the will
of France, and of Europe. He will give them both such pledges, as they
may require: and I believe the Duke of Otranto will then esteem
himself very happy, to be able to concur with M. de Metternich in
pacifying Europe, re-establishing harmony between Austria and France,
and so restricting the power of the Emperor, that it shall no longer
be possible for him, to disturb a second time the general
tranquillity. This, I believe, must be the object of the allies; it
depends on themselves alone to attain it: but if they reckon upon
subjugating us by means of our intestine divisions, they will be
deceived; of this you may assure M. de Metternich.

"For the rest, I shall give the Duke of Otranto an account of the
overtures you have made me, and particularly of those relating to a
regency: but, suppose we should consent to accept either one or the
other of your proposals, what is to be done with Napoleon? for, as it
is neither your intention, nor ours, to kill him, he must live; and
where shall he live? Have the allies come to any determination on this
point?"--"I do not know: M. de Metternich did not explain himself on
this point: I will submit the question to him. I will acquaint him
with your opinion of the state of France, and the situation of
Napoleon, and of the possibility of a general arrangement: but I
foresee, that the present sentiments of M. Fouché will astonish him
greatly. He thought, that he detested Bonaparte."--"Men change with
circumstances: M. Fouché may have detested the Emperor, when he
tyrannized over France; yet be reconciled to him, since he has been
willing to render it free and happy."

We parted, after having exchanged a few supplementary questions, and
agreed to return with all speed, he to Vienna, and I to Paris; and to
meet again at Bâle in the course of a week.

As soon as I arrived at Paris, I presented myself before the Emperor.
I had spent only four days in going and returning; and he imagined, on
seeing me so quickly, that I had not been able to pass. He was
surprised and delighted to learn, that I had seen and conversed with
M. Werner; led me into the garden (it was at the Élysée), and there we
talked together, if I may use the term, for near two hours. Our
conversation was so desultory, that it almost entirely escaped my
memory: I could retain only a few fragments of it. "I was fully
persuaded," said Napoleon to me, "that M. de Metternich had plotted
nothing against my life: he does not like me, but he is a man of
honour. If Austria chose it, every thing might be arranged: but she
has an expectant policy, that loses every thing: she never knew how to
take a decided part at the proper moment. The Emperor is ill advised:
he does not know Alexander; and is not aware, how crafty and ambitious
the Russians are: if once they get the upper hand, all Germany will
be subverted. Alexander will set the good-natured Francis, and all the
little kings, to whom I gave crowns, playing at catch-corners. The
Russians will become masters of the world when I have nothing to do in
it. Europe will not be sensible of my value, till she has lost me.
There was no one but myself strong enough, to tame England with one
hand, and restrain Russia with the other. I will spare them the
trouble of deliberating where they shall put me: if they dared, they
would cram me into an iron cage, and show me to their cockneys as a
wild beast: but they shall not have me; they shall find, that the lion
is still alive, and will not suffer himself to be chained. They do not
know my strength: _if I were to put on the red cap, it would be all
over with them._ Did you inquire of M. Werner after the Empress and my
son?"--"Yes, Sire: he told me, that the Empress was well, and the
young prince a charming boy."--The Emperor, with fire: "Did you
complain, that the law of nations, and the first rights of nature, had
been violated in respect to me? Did you tell him how detestable it is,
to deprive a husband of his wife, a father of his son? that such an
action is unworthy a civilized people?"--"Sire, I was only the
ambassador of M. Fouché."

After a few moments' silence, the Emperor continued: "Fouché, during
your absence, has come and told me the whole affair[2]: he has
explained the whole to my satisfaction. It is his interest not to
deceive me. He has always been fond of intriguing; we must let him do
it. Go and see him, tell him all that has passed with M. Werner; show
confidence in him; and, if he question you about me, tell him, that I
am perfectly easy, and that I have no doubt of his attachment and

              [Footnote 2: I have since been assured, that M. Réal had
              warned him, by means of Madame Lacuée, his daughter,
              that the Emperor knew the whole affair.]

Already the Emperor had had reason to complain of M. Fouché on several
important occasions; but, subjugated by I know not what charm, he had
always placed more confidence in him than he wished.

Few men, it is true, possess the gift of pleasing and persuading in a
higher degree than the Duke of Otranto: equally profound and witty,
equally endowed with foresight and ability, his mind embraces at once
the past, present, and future: he alternately seduces and astonishes
by the boldness of his thoughts, the acuteness of his perception, and
the solidity of his judgment.

Unhappily his mind, overstrained by the revolution, has contracted a
habit and taste for strong emotions: quiet is tiresome to him: he
wants agitation, danger, convulsions: hence that desire of stirring,
intriguing, I had almost said of conspiring, which has driven M.
Fouché into errors so deplorable, and so fatal to his reputation.

Conformably to the orders of Napoleon, I repaired immediately to the
Duke of Otranto's, and told him laughing, that I was come to give him
an account of the mission which he had confided to me. "A fine
mission, indeed!" said he to me. "It is just like the Emperor; he is
always suspicious of those who serve him best. Do you think, for
example, that you are sure of him? You deceive yourself. If you should
involuntarily be guilty of the slightest inconsistency, and he knew it
(these words he pronounced in such a way, as to give me to understand,
that it was through him the Emperor might be informed of it), nothing
more would be wanting to ruin you. But let us have done with princes,
and talk together." Leading me to his sofa, he said: "Do you know,
that you gave me some uneasiness? if you had been betrayed, you would
probably have been sent to some fortress, and kept there till a peace
took place."--"Very true; I certainly ran that risk; but when an
affair of such importance is at stake, a man should not think of

I gave him a faithful account of what M. Werner said; but took care,
not to let him know the time of our next interview; for I was afraid,
that he would play me some trick with the Swiss, or would hasten to
undeceive M. de Metternich.

When I had finished my tale, he resumed: "I first thought the whole of
this a hum, but I find I was mistaken. Your conference with M. Werner
may lead to a reconciliation between us and Austria; what you said
must open the eyes of M. Metternich. To convince him completely, I
will write to him; and depict with so much clearness and truth the
real situation of France, as will make him sensible, that the best
thing that can be done is, to abandon the Bourbons to their unlucky
fate, and leave us to arrange matters with Bonaparte in our own way.
When you are ready to set off, come to me, and I will give you my

He then said, "I did not speak to Napoleon about the letter of M. de
Metternich immediately, because his agent had not delivered to me the
powder, necessary to make the writing appear; I was obliged to have
recourse to chemical experiments, which required time. Here is the
letter (he made me read it): you see it says nothing: however, if I
could have deciphered it immediately, Napoleon should have known
nothing of it; I would have served him, without saying any thing to
him. In affairs of this kind secrecy is necessary; and Napoleon is
incapable of it: he would have been so much agitated, and have set so
many men and so many pens in motion, that the whole would have taken
wind. He ought to know my sentiments and opinions; and no person, but
himself, could have taken it into his head for a moment, that I could
betray him for the Bourbons: I despise and detest them at least as
much as he."

The indirect threats of M. Fouché, and the whole of his discourse,
persuaded me, that he was not sincere. I imparted my suspicions to the
Emperor, who did not agree in them: he told me, that M. Fouché's
insinuation of his having it in his power to ruin me was only meant,
to give himself an air of importance. That, however, I had nothing to
fear from him, or from any other person. In fact, I did not fear; for,
when the Emperor had conceived a liking for any one, he took him
under his own protection, and no person whatever was allowed to hurt

The next day but one I went to the Duke of Otranto's, to receive the
letters he had promised me. He appeared surprised, to see me so soon.
In fact I had made him believe, that I was not to return to Bâle till
the 1st of June. To give a colour to this hasty departure, I informed
him, that M. Werner, whom I had requested to write to me, in case of
any unforeseen occurrence, under cover to M. **** the banker, had just
desired me, to repair to Bâle immediately. He let me see, that he was
not the dupe of this falsehood yet nevertheless delivered me with a
good grace two letters for M. de Metternich.

One of these, which has been published in the English newspapers,
tended to show, that the throne of Napoleon, supported by the love and
confidence of the French, had nothing to fear from the attacks of the

In the other he went over the proposals of M. Werner: he discussed
with admirable sagacity the advantages and inconveniences, that might
result from them to the interests of France and of Europe; and he
finished, by declaring, after having successively rejected a republic,
a regency, and the Duke of Orleans, that Napoleon, whom he loaded
with extravagant praises, was evidently the chief best suited to the
French, and to the interests of the allied monarchs rightly
understood. Nevertheless, he had contrived to turn his expressions
with so much art and address, that it was impossible not to perceive,
that he thought in the bottom of his heart the Duke of Orleans the
only prince, capable of ensuring the happiness of France, and the
tranquillity of foreign nations.

I laid this letter before the Emperor, and endeavoured in vain to make
him sensible of the treachery. He could see nothing but the eulogiums
of his genius: the rest he overlooked.

M. Werner had been punctual to his rendezvous and I hastened to his
residence. "I was afraid," said he to me obligingly, "that you had
been refused admission into Bâle: I have spoken about it to the
authorities, and, if you wish it, I will cause to be delivered to you
the necessary passport, to enable you to enter Switzerland, depart, or
reside in it, without obstacle, and without danger."

I thanked him for this offer, which convinced me, that the Swiss were
as well disposed towards our enemies, as they were the reverse to us.
We afterwards entered on business. "I related to M. de Metternich,"
said he to me, "the frank and loyal conversation, which I had the
honour of holding with you. He hastened to give an account of it to
the allied sovereigns: and the sovereigns have thought, that it ought
to produce no alteration in the resolution they have formed, never to
acknowledge Napoleon as sovereign of France, or to enter into any
negotiation with him individually: _but at the same time, I am
authorized formally to declare to you, that they renounce the idea of
re-establishing the Bourbons on the throne, and that they consent to
grant you the young Prince Napoleon._ They know, that in 1814 a
regency was the wish of France; and they would think themselves happy,
to be able to accomplish it now."

"This is direct," answered I: "but what is to be done with the
Emperor?"--"Begin you with deposing him: the allies will afterwards
come to a suitable determination, according to circumstances. They are
great, generous, and humane; and you may depend on it, they will treat
Napoleon with the respect due to his rank, his alliance, and his
misfortunes."--"This answer does not explain, whether Napoleon will be
free, to choose a place of retreat for himself; or remain a prisoner
to France and the allies."--"This is all I know."--"I perceive, that
the allies want Napoleon to be delivered up to them bound hand and
foot: never will the French be guilty of such a cowardly act. Since
our interview, the public opinion in his favour has been expressed
with fresh strength; and I protest to you, that he never possessed the
love of the French to so high a degree. The electors convoked for the
_Champ de Mai_, and the new representatives of France[3], are arriving
at Paris from all quarters. Do you think, that these electors, and
these deputies, who are the choice of the nation, would have embraced
the perilous cause of Napoleon, were it not the common cause of all
France? Do you think, that, if they were not resolved to defend it
against all the world, they would be so stupid, or so imprudent, as to
come forward in the face of that world, to swear fealty to the
Emperor, and proscription and hatred to the Bourbons? The allies
subdued us in 1814, because we were then without union, without will,
without the means of resistance. But a great nation is not to be
subdued two years following; and every thing indicates, that, if a
contest take place, it will turn out to the advantage of the French
this time."--"If you knew the force, that will be opposed to you, you
would hold a different language: you will have twelve hundred thousand
men to fight against, twelve hundred thousand men accustomed to
conquer, and who already know the road to Paris."--"They know it,
because they were taught it by treachery."--"Consider, too, that you
are without artillery, without an army, without cavalry."--"The
Spaniards resisted all the force of Bonaparte, though they had fewer
resources than we have."--"You have no money."--"We shall procure it
at the expense of the nobles and royalists, or do without it. The
armies of the republic were paid with garlands of oak, yet were they
the less able, to overcome the armies of the coalition?"--"You are
wrong, I assure you, in viewing your situation under such fine
colours. This new war will be more cruel, and more obstinate, than the
others. The allies are determined, never to lay down their arms, while
Napoleon remains on the throne."--"I by no means look with
tranquillity on the war that is preparing. I cannot think of it
without alarm. If Napoleon prove victorious, it is possible, that
success may turn our brains, and inspire us anew with the desire of
revisiting Vienna and Berlin. If he be unsuccessful, it is to be
feared, that our defeats will animate the people with rage and
despair, and that the nobles and royalists will be massacred."--"The
prospect is no doubt extremely distressing; but I have already told
you, and I repeat it, nothing will alter the determination of the
allied monarchs: they have learned to know the Emperor, and will not
leave him the means of disturbing the world. Even would the sovereigns
consent, to lay down their arms, their people would oppose it: they
consider Bonaparte as the scourge of the human race, and would all
shed their blood to the last drop, to tear from him the sceptre, and
perhaps his life."--

              [Footnote 3: The greater part of the deputies were not
              yet named; but there was no harm in anticipating

"I know, that the Prussians have sworn him implacable animosity: but
the Russians and Austrians surely are not so exasperated as the

"On the contrary, the Emperor Alexander was the first, to declare
against Napoleon."--

"Be it so: but the Emperor of Austria is too virtuous, and too
politic, to sacrifice his son-in-law, and his natural ally, a second
time to vain considerations."--

"The Emperor is not guided by vain considerations: he had to choose
between his affections as a father, and his duties as a sovereign; he
had to decide between the fate of a wife and child, and the fate of
Europe: the choice he would make could not be doubted, and the
magnanimous resolution taken by the Emperor is incontestably a noble
title to the gratitude of his contemporaries, and the admiration of

"I am fully aware, how much it must have cost him, to overturn the
throne of his daughter, and of his grandson; and condemn them to lead
a painful life on the face of the earth, without father, without
husband, without a country. Though a Frenchman, I do justice to the
strength of mind, that the Emperor has shown on this memorable
occasion: but if the part he then took were proper, it appears to me,
that the path he now seems inclined to pursue will be as dangerous, as
it is impolitic. Austria, in the critical situation in which it is
placed by the vicinity, ambition, and alliance of Prussia and Russia,
has need of being protected and supported by a powerful ally; and no
prince is more capable of succouring and defending it than

"Austria has nothing to fear from its neighbours: such harmony reigns
between them, as nothing can disturb: their sentiments and principles
are the same. M. de Metternich has charged me, to declare to you
positively, that he acted only in concert with the allies; and that
he would enter into no negotiation without their consent."--

This word, negotiation, struck me. "Since we must not think, M.
Werner," answered I, "of re-establishing that union and friendship
between Austria and France separately, which their interests, and
their family connexion, demand; at least let us not renounce the hope
of a general accommodation. Never perhaps was humanity threatened with
a war so terrible: it will be a conflict to the death, not between
army and army, but between nation and nation. The idea makes me
tremble. The name of M. de Metternich is already celebrated; but with
what glory would it be surrounded, if M. de Metternich, in becoming
the mediator of Europe, should accomplish its pacification! And we,
too, M. Werner, do you think we should not obtain a share in the
blessings of the people? Let us lay aside our character of
negotiators, and examine the situation of the belligerent powers, not
as their agents, but as disinterested persons, as friends of humanity.
You say, you have twelve hundred thousand fighting men; but we had a
million in 1794, and shall have still. The love of honour and
independence is not extinct in France; it will fire every heart, when
the business is to repel the humiliating and unjust yoke, that you
would impose on us.

"If the picture I have drawn you of the state of France, and the
patriotism with which she is animated, appear to you unfaithful, or
exaggerated, come with me; I offer you a passport, and all the pledges
you can require; we will travel together incognito; we will go
wherever you please; we will hear, we will interrogate, the peasants,
the townspeople, the soldiers, the rich, and the poor; and when you
have seen, seen every thing with your own eyes, you may aver to M. de
Metternich, that he has been deceived; and that the efforts of the
allies, to impose upon us the law, can have no other result, than that
of watering the ground in vain with blood."

The emotion, that I could not restrain, had transfused itself into M.
Werner: "I wish," said he to me with tenderness, "it was in my power
to second your wishes, and to concur with you in stopping the effusion
of human blood: but I dare not indulge this hope. However, I will give
M. de Metternich an account of the energy, with which you have pleaded
the cause of humanity: and, if he can accept the office of a mediator,
I know so well the loftiness of his soul, to pledge myself to you,
that he will not refuse it."

Thus far, in order to accustom M. de Metternich to treat directly with
me, I had avoided bringing forward M. Fouché. However, as he had
directed me to make use of his letters, I took an opportunity of
mentioning them to M. Werner. I read them to him; and took care to
comment on them in such a way, as to destroy the unpleasant
impression, which I foresaw the partiality of the praises lavished on
Napoleon would make upon him. When we came to the passage, where M.
Fouché discussed the inconveniences of a republic, M. Werner stopped
me, and said, that I certainly had not conceived him rightly; that he
had spoken to me merely indirectly of a republic, as it never entered
into the thoughts of the allied monarchs, to give way to its
re-establishment; for their endeavours would rather be exerted, to
crush the seeds of a republican spirit, than to favour their dangerous
germination. I reminded him of the conversation we had had on the
subject; but, as it was of little importance to me, to prove myself in
the right, I readily admitted myself to be in the wrong.

"At any rate," said he, taking the letters, "the language of M.
Fouché will greatly surprise M. de Metternich. He repeated to me
again, the evening before I set out, that the Duke of Otranto had on
all occasions expressed to him an inveterate hatred of Bonaparte; and
that even in 1814 he blamed him, for not having caused him to be
confined in some strong fortress; predicting to him, that he would
return from the island of Elba, to ravage Europe anew. M. Fouché must
be totally ignorant of what passes at Vienna, to believe in the
Emperor's security: what he will learn from M. de Montron and M.
Bresson will no doubt lead him to adopt a different opinion; and will
make him sensible, that it will be for his own interest, as well as
that of France, to second the efforts of the allies."

"I know the connexions of the Duke of Otranto with those gentlemen,"
answered I: "he will not pay much credit to what they tell him. I
regret that you were not commissioned to say so much to me on our
first interview, it would unquestionably have made a very different
impression on him; but what has not yet been done may be done; and, if
you wish it, I will readily be your interpreter."

"M. de Metternich," replied M. Werner, "did not positively inform me
what he had commissioned those gentlemen to say to the Duke of
Otranto; but I presume it could only be a repetition of what he
directed me to say to you."

"If this be the case," rejoined I, "you would be wrong, to flatter
yourself with the least success. If the question related to Napoleon
alone, we should not hesitate to sacrifice the cause of one man to
that of a whole people: Napoleon, personally, is nothing to us; but
his continuance on the throne is so connected with the happiness and
independence of the nation, that we cannot betray him, without
betraying our country at the same time; and this is a crime, of which
M. Fouché and his friends will never render themselves guilty.

"In short, M. Werner, I hope you will succeed in convincing our
enemies, that they would attempt in vain to dethrone Napoleon by force
of arms; and that the most prudent part that can be taken is, to be
contented with tying his hands in such a manner, as to prevent him
from oppressing France and Europe anew.

"If M. de Metternich approve this step, he will find us disposed,
secretly or openly to second his salutary views; and to join with him
in rendering it morally and physically impossible for Napoleon, to
recommence his tyranny. I will then return to Bâle, and I will go to
Vienna, if you desire it: and in a word I will do every thing, that
can be done, to arrive promptly at a secure result.

"But if M. de Metternich will not enter frankly into a conference, and
his sole intention be, to instigate treachery, his endeavours will
prove fruitless; and M. Fouché requests, that M. de Metternich and the
allies will spare him the trouble of convincing them of it."

M. Werner assured me, that he would faithfully report to M. de
Metternich all he had heard; and we parted, after promising to meet at
Bâle again on the 1st of June.

I gave the Emperor an account of this new conference. He appeared, to
conceive some hopes from it. "These gentlemen," said he, "begin to
soften, since they offer me the regency: my attitude imposes on them.
Let them allow me another month, and I shall no longer have any fear
of them."

I did not forget to remark to him, that M. M. de Montron and Bresson
had been charged with fresh communications for M. Fouché. "He has
never opened his mouth to me on the subject," said Napoleon. "I am now
persuaded, that he is betraying me. I am almost certain, that he is
intriguing both at London and at Ghent: I regret, that I did not
dismiss him, before he came to disclose to me the intrigues of
Metternich: at present, the opportunity is gone by; and he would every
where proclaim me for a suspicious tyrant, who had sacrificed him
without any cause. Go to him: say nothing to him of Montron or
Bresson; let him prate at his ease, and bring me a full account of all
he says."

The Emperor imparted this second interview to the Duke of Vicenza; and
directed him, to send for M. de Montron, and M. Bresson, and endeavour
to set them talking. The Duke de Vicenza having been able to get
nothing out of them, the Emperor, as I have been informed, would see
them himself; and, after having questioned and sounded them for four
hours, he dismissed them both, without having heard any thing but
accounts of the hostile dispositions of the allies, and the
conversations they had had at Vienna with M. de Talleyrand and M. de
Metternich, the substance of which was the same as that of my
conferences with M. Werner.

As the Emperor had rejected my first suspicions with so much
indifference, I was flattered to see him sharing my distrust: but
this gratification of self-love gave way to the most painful

I had conceived the highest opinion of the character and patriotism of
the Duke of Otranto; I considered him as one of the first statesmen in
France; and I bitterly regretted, that such qualities, and such
talents, instead of being devoted to the good of his country, should
be employed in favouring the designs of our enemies, and in coolly
contriving with them the means of subjugating us.

These reflexions, which ought to have inspired me with horror for M.
Fouché, had on me an opposite effect: I was staggered by the enormity
of the crime I ascribed to him. No, said I to myself, M. Fouché cannot
be guilty of such baseness: he has received too many benefits from the
Emperor, to be capable of betraying him, and has given too many proofs
of attachment and affection to his country, to conspire its dishonour
and ruin. His propensity to intrigue may have led him astray; but his
intrigues, if reprehensible, are at least not criminal.

Thus I repaired to the Duke of Otranto's in the persuasion, that I had
judged him too severely. But his air of constraint, and his captious
endeavours, to penetrate what M. Werner might have said to me,
convinced me, that his conscience was not at ease; and I felt my just
prejudices revived and increased[4]. The time I staid with him was
spent in idle questions and dissertations on the probabilities of
peace or war. It would be useless and tiresome, to recite them here.

              [Footnote 4: When the Duke of Otranto became minister to
              the King, and was appointed to make out lists of
              proscription, I was desirous of knowing, what I had to
              expect from his resentment; and wrote to him, to sound
              his intentions. He sent for me, received me with much
              kindness, and assured me of his friendship and
              protection. "You did your duty," said he to me, "and I
              did mine. I foresaw, that Bonaparte could not maintain
              his situation. He was a great man, but had grown mad. It
              was my duty, to do what I did, and prefer the good of
              France to every other consideration."

              The Duke of Otranto behaved with the same generosity
              towards most of the persons, of whom he had any reason
              to complain; and, if he found himself obliged, to
              include some of them in the number of the proscribed, he
              had at least the merit of facilitating their escape from
              death, or the imprisonment intended for them, by
              assisting them with his advice, with passports, and
              frequently with the loan of money.]

The rising of the King of Naples became afterwards the subject of our
conversation. "Murat is a lost man," said M. Fouché to me: "he is not
strong enough, to contend with Austria. I had advised him, and I have
written again lately to the Queen, to keep himself quiet, and wait the
course of events: they would not listen to me, and have done wrong:
they might have had it in their power to treat; now they cannot; they
will be sent about their business without pity, and without any

The Emperor, who had become uneasy, directed M. de Montron and M.
Bresson to be watched. He was informed, that the latter had just been
sent to England by order of the minister at war.

The Prince of Eckmuhl, being questioned, said, that an English dealer
had forty thousand muskets to sell; and he had commissioned M.
Bresson, to go and examine them, and treat for their purchase. This
mission, which did not at first excite the Emperor's attention,
afterwards recurred to his mind: he first thought it strange, and then
suspicious. "If Davoust," said he, "had not had some motive for
concealing this business from me, he would have mentioned it: it is
not natural: he is acting in concert with Fouché."

This glimpse of light produced no effect. Napoleon contented himself
with severely reprimanding the minister at war; and ordering him,
never again to send any person whatever out of France, without his

A new incident occurred, to strengthen the Emperor's apprehensions. He
was informed by the prefect of police, that M. Bor..., formerly one of
the principal agents of the police, and one of the habitual confidants
of the minister, had set off for Switzerland with a passport from M.
Fouché. An order for arresting M. Bor... was transmitted by telegraph
to General Barbanegre, who commanded at Huninguen: but it arrived too
late; M. Bor..., as quick as lightning, had already passed the

The Emperor no longer had any doubt of M. Fouché's treachery; but he
was afraid the disclosure of it would occasion alarm and
discouragement. In fact, people would not have failed to infer, that
the imperial cause was lost; since this minister, whose perspicacity
was well known, quitted it to join the Bourbons.

Napoleon foresaw too the approaching commencement of hostilities; and,
convinced, that the fate of France would not be decided by the
manoeuvres of the Duke of Otranto, he resolved, to wait for a more
favourable opportunity of getting rid of him. If the victory of
Fleurus had not been followed by the disasters of Waterloo, the first
decree the Emperor would have signed, on his arrival at Brussels,
would probably have been for displacing the Duke of Otranto.

The time of the rendezvous given me by M. Werner being come, I asked
Napoleon for orders. "Fouché," said he to me, "will no doubt have
warned Metternich; and it is probable, that his agent will return no
more: it is even possible, that measures will be taken, to arrest you.
I think, therefore, you may as well remain here."--"I do not think,
sire, that M. de Metternich is capable of such an action. The
patriotism and frankness, which I displayed in my conferences with M.
Werner, appear to have pleased the prince; and M. Werner informed me,
that he was particularly directed, to express to me the good opinion
(permit me to repeat the terms) which he had conceived of my character
and merit. Your Majesty would be wrong, I think, not to allow me to
make this last attempt. As the point in question was not a conspiracy,
but to set on foot a negotiation, it is possible, that M. Werner may
return."--"You have my consent very willingly; but I am afraid, they
will lay hold of you: be prudent."

I was afraid so too. I set off.

It happened as the Emperor foresaw. M. Werner appeared no more.

Thus ended this negotiation, which might perhaps have realized many
hopes, had not M. Fouché occasioned its failure.

At the period when it took place, England, in its celebrated Memoir of
the 25th of April, and Austria, in that it published the 9th of May
following, had authentically declared, subsequently to my first
interview at Bâle, that they had not engaged by the treaty of the 29th
of March, to restore Louis XVIII. to the throne; and that their
intentions in pursuing the war were not, to impose on France any
particular government whatever.

These declarations gave great weight to the proposals of M. Werner.
The Emperor thought them sincere; and in one of those moments of
openness, which he was not always sufficiently master of himself to
suppress, he said at his levee: "Well, gentlemen, they offer me the
regency already: it depends only on myself, whether I shall accept
it." These inconsiderate words made some impression; and they who
remembered them have since asserted, that, if the Emperor had not been
enamoured of the crown, he might have placed his son on the throne,
and spared France the carnage of Mont St. Jean. The Emperor descending
from his throne, to place on it his son, and peace, would have added,
no doubt, a noble page to his history: but, ought he to have accepted
the loose proposals of M. Werner, and trusted to the faith of his
enemies? I think not. The first question to be decided, before
treating of a regency, was this: What is to be done with Napoleon? and
it has been seen, that on this point the allies held the profoundest

I am far from thinking, that the Emperor would have consented in any
case, to lay aside his crown, which he considered as the price of
twenty years toil and victory; I only maintain, that he cannot be
blamed on this occasion, for having retained it.

This confidential avowal to his courtiers is not the only
indiscretion, of which they laid hold, to charge him with imaginary
faults. What will appear surprising is, that, with the character for
negation and dissimulation ascribed to him, he was capable of

Napoleon conceived in secret, and conducted to their close in mystery,
schemes, that did not call his passions into play, because then he
never ceased to be master of himself: but it was excessively rare for
him, to preserve a continued, and complete dissimulation in affairs,
that strongly agitated his soul. The object, on which he was then
occupied, assailed his mind, and heated his imagination: his head,
continually at work, abounded in ideas, that diffused themselves in
spite of him, and displayed themselves externally by broken words, and
demonstrations of joy or anger, that afforded a clew to his designs,
and entirely destroyed the mystery, in which he would have enveloped

This narration, which I would not interrupt, has made me lose sight of
Napoleon. I left him meditating the constitution he had promised the
French, and now return to him.

Napoleon had at first announced his intention of amalgamating the
ancient constitutions with the charter, and composing from the whole a
new constitution, which should be subjected to the free discussion of
the delegates of the nation. But he thought, that present
circumstances, and the agitation of men's minds, would not permit
subjects of such high importance, to be debated publicly without
danger; and he resolved to confine himself for the moment, to sanction
by a particular act, supplementary to the constitutions of the empire,
the new guarantees, that he had promised the nation.

Napoleon was swayed also by another consideration. He considered the
constitutions of the empire as the title-deeds of his crown; and he
was afraid, if he annulled them, that he should effect a sort of
novation, that would give him the appearance of beginning a new reign.
For Napoleon, such is human weakness, after having devoted to ridicule
the pretensions of "_the King of Hartwell_," was inclined to persuade
himself, that his own reign had not been interrupted by his residence
in the island of Elba.

The Emperor had entrusted to M. Benjamin Constant, and to a committee
composed of ministers of state, the double task of preparing the bases
of a new constitution. After having seen and amalgamated their
labours, he subjected the result to the examination of the council of
state, and of the council of ministers. Toward the end of the
discussion, Napoleon suggested the idea of not submitting this
constitution to public debate, but presenting it only as an additional
act to the preceding constitutions. This idea was combated
unanimously. M. Benjamin Constant, the Duke Decrès, the Duke of
Otranto, the Duke of Vicenza, &c. &c., remonstrated with the Emperor,
that this was not what he had promised France; that a new constitution
was expected from him, purged from the despotic acts of the senate;
and that he must fulfil the expectations of the nation, or prepare to
lose its confidence for ever.

The Emperor promised to reflect on it: but, after having weighed in
his sagacity the observations, that had been submitted to him, he
persisted in his scheme; and the next day the additional act appeared
in the Moniteur in the following form:


                                        Paris, April the 24th.

Napoleon, by the grace of God and the constitutions, Emperor of the
French, to all present and to come, health.

Since we were called, fifteen years ago, by the wishes of France, to
the government of the empire, we have sought to bring to perfection,
at different periods, the forms of the constitution, according to the
wants and desires of the nation, and profiting by the lessons of

Thus the constitution of the empire has been formed by a series of
acts, which have been invested with the acceptance of the people. We
had then for our object, to organize a grand European federal system,
which we had adopted as conformable to the spirit of the age, and
favourable to the progress of civilization. To effect its completion,
and give it all the extension and stability, of which it is
susceptible, we had adjourned the establishment of several domestic
institutions, more particularly designed to protect the liberty of the
citizens. Our object is nothing more henceforward, than to increase
the prosperity of France by the confirmation of public liberty; whence
results the necessity of several important modifications of the
constitution, the decrees of the senate, and other acts, by which this
empire is governed.

For these reasons, willing, on the one hand, to retain whatever is
good and salutary of the past, and on the other to render the
constitution of our empire conformable in every respect to the wishes
and wants of the nation, as well as to that state of peace, which we
are desirous of maintaining with Europe, we have resolved, to propose
to the people a series of arrangements, tending to modify and improve
its acts, to surround the rights of citizens with all their
guarantees, to give to the representative system its full extent, to
invest the intermediate bodies with the respectability and powers that
are desirable; in a word, to combine the highest degree of political
liberty, and personal security, with the strength and concentration
necessary, to render the independence of the French people, and the
dignity of our crown, respected by foreigners: in consequence, the
following articles, forming an act supplementary to the constitution
of the empire, will be submitted to the free and solemn acceptance of
all the citizens, throughout the whole extent of France[5].

              [Footnote 5: This preamble, which gave the death-blow to
              the additional act, was, I believe, the work of M.
              Benjamin Constant.]


_General provisions._

ART. 1. The constitution of the empire, consisting of the
constitutional act of the 22d of Frimaire, year 8; of the decrees of
the senate of the 14th and 16th of Thermidor, year 10; and of that of
the 28th of Floreal, year 12; will be modified by the provisions
following: all the rest of their provisions are maintained and

ART. 2. The legislative power is exercised by the Emperor and by two

ART. 3. The first chamber, styled the chamber of peers, is hereditary.

ART. 4. The Emperor names its members, who are irremovable, they and
their male descendants, from eldest to eldest, in direct descent. The
number of peers is unlimited. Adoption does not transmit the dignity
of the peerage to the person adopted. The peers take their seats at
the age of twenty-one; but have no deliberative voice before the age
of twenty-five.

ART. 5. The chamber of peers has for its president the archchancellor
of the empire, or, in the case provided for by article 5 of the decree
of the senate of the 28th of Floreal, year 12, by one of the members
of the chamber appointed by the Emperor.

ART. 6. The members of the imperial family, in hereditary succession,
are peers by right. They are seated next to the president. They take
their seats at the age of eighteen, but have no deliberative voice
before the age of twenty-one.

ART. 7. The second chamber, styled the chamber of representatives, is
elected by the people.

ART. 8. The members of this chamber are to the number of six hundred
and twenty-nine: they must be twenty-five years of age at least.

ART. 9. The president of the chamber of representatives is appointed
by the chamber at the opening of the session. He remains in office,
till the chamber is renewed. His appointment is submitted to the
approbation of the Emperor.

ART. 10. The chamber of representatives verifies the powers of its
members, and decides on the validity of contested elections.

ART. 11. The members of the chamber of representatives receive for
travelling expenses, and during the session, the indemnity decreed by
the constituent assembly.

ART. 12. They are re-eligible without limit.

ART. 13. The chamber of representatives is entirely renewed, of right,
every five years.

ART. 14. No member of either chamber can be arrested, except in case
of being taken in the fact of committing a crime; or prosecuted for a
criminal or correctional cause, during the sessions, except in
consequence of a resolution of the chamber to which he belongs.

ART. 15. No one can be arrested or detained for debt, from the time of
convening the meeting till forty days after the session.

ART. 16. The peers are to be tried by their own chamber in criminal or
correctional cases, according to the forms prescribed by the law.

ART. 17. The quality of peer and of representative is compatible with
all public functions, except those that are responsible

All prefects and subprefects are not eligible by the electoral college
of the department or circle (_arrondissement_), for which they are

ART. 18. The Emperor sends to the chambers the ministers of state, and
counsellors of state, who sit, and take a part in the discussions, but
have no deliberative voice, unless they are members of the chamber,
either as peers or being elected by the people.

ART. 19. The ministers, who are members of the chamber of peers, or of
that of representatives, or who sit in consequence of being sent by
the government, will give the chambers the information deemed
necessary, when making it public does not compromise the interests of
the state.

ART. 20. The sittings of both chambers are public. Nevertheless, they
may resolve themselves into secret committees; the chamber of peers on
the demand of ten members, that of deputies on the demand of
twenty-five. The government also may demand secret committees for any
communications it may have to make. In all cases deliberations and
votes can take place only in a public sitting.

ART. 21. The Emperor may prorogue, adjourn, or dissolve, the chamber
of representatives. The proclamation, that pronounces the dissolution,
convokes the electoral colleges for a new election, and indicates the
re-assembling of representatives in six months at the latest.

ART. 22. During the interval between the sessions of the chamber of
representatives, or in case of the dissolution of this chamber, the
chamber of peers cannot assemble.

ART. 23. The government has the proposal of the law: the chambers may
propose amendments: if these amendments be not adopted by the
government, the chambers are bound to vote for or against the law, in
the form in which it was proposed.

ART. 24. The chambers have the power of inviting the government to
propose a law on a given subject, and to draw up what appears to them
proper to be inserted in the law. This demand may be made by either of
the two chambers.

ART. 25. When a draught of a law is adopted by one of the two
chambers, it is carried to the other; and, if it be approved there,
it is carried to the Emperor.

ART. 26. No written discourse, except the reports of committees, the
reports of ministers on the laws that are presented, and the accounts
that are delivered, can be read in either of the chambers.


_Of the electoral colleges, and the mode of election._

ART. 27. The electoral colleges of the departments and circles are
retained, conformably to the decree of the senate of the 16th of
Thermidor, year 10, excepting the following modifications.

ART. 28. The district assemblies (_les assemblées de canton_) will
fill up every year, by annual elections, all the vacancies in the
electoral colleges.

ART. 29. From the year 1816, a member of the chamber of peers,
appointed by the Emperor, will be president of the electoral college
of each department for life, and not removable.

ART. 30. Dating from the same period, the electoral college of each
department will appoint, from among the members of the college of
each circle, the president and two vice-presidents: for this purpose
the assembling of the electoral college of the department will precede
that of the college of the circle fifteen days.

ART. 31. The colleges of departments and circles will appoint the
number of representatives established for each by the annexed table
and act, No. 1.[6]

              [Footnote 6: This table, and that mentioned in Art. 33,
              being of no importance, are not inserted here.]

ART. 32. The representatives may be chosen throughout the whole extent
of France indifferently.

Every college of a department or circle, that shall choose a member
not belonging to the department or circle, shall appoint a substitute
(_suppléant_), who must necessarily be taken from the department or

ART. 33. Manufacturing and commercial labour and property shall have a
particular representation.

The election of commercial and manufacturing representatives shall be
made by the electoral college of the department from a list of
eligible persons, drawn up by the chambers of commerce and consulting
chambers in conjunction, according to the annexed table and act, No.


_Of the law of taxation._

ART. 34. Direct general taxes, whether on land or personal property,
are voted only for one year: indirect taxes may be voted for several
years. In case of a dissolution of the chamber of representatives, the
taxes voted in the preceding session are continued, till the chamber
meets anew.

ART. 35. No tax, direct or indirect, in money or in kind, can be
levied; no loan can take place; no entry of credit in the great book
of the public debt can be made; no domain can be alienated or
exchanged; no raising of men for the army can be ordered; no portion
of territory can be exchanged; except by virtue of a law.

ART. 36. No proposal of a tax, of a loan, or of a levy of men, can be
made, except in the chamber of representatives.

ART. 37. It is in the chamber of representatives also, that, 1st, the
general budget of the state, containing an estimate of the receipts,
and the proposal of the funds assigned for the year to each
department of the ministry; and, 2dly, an account of the receipts and
expenses of the year, or years, preceding; are to be introduced in the
first instance.


_Of ministers and their responsibility._

ART. 38. All the acts of the government must be countersigned by a
minister having some department.

ART. 39. The ministers are responsible for the acts of government
signed by them, as well as for the execution of the laws.

ART. 40. They may be accused by the chamber of representatives, and
are to be tried by that of peers.

ART. 41. Every minister, every commander of an army by land or sea,
may be accused by the chamber of representatives, and tried by the
chamber of peers, for having compromised the safety or honour of the

ART. 42. In this case the chamber of peers exercises a discretionary
power, both in assigning the character of the crime, and in the
punishment to be inflicted.

ART. 43. Before it is decided, that a minister shall be put upon his
trial, the chamber of representatives must declare, that there are
grounds for examining into the charge brought against him.

ART. 44. This declaration can be made only on the report of a
committee of sixty members drawn by lot. This committee cannot make
its report till at least ten days after its nomination.

ART. 45. When the chamber has declared, that there are grounds for
examination, it may summon the minister before it, to demand an
explanation of him. This summons cannot take place, till ten days
after the committee has made its report.

ART. 46. In all other cases, ministers having departments cannot be
summoned or sent for by the chambers.

ART. 47. When the chamber of representatives has declared, that there
are grounds for examination against a minister, a new committee is to
be formed, of sixty members, drawn by lot as the former; and this
committee makes a fresh report on the subject of bringing him to
trial. This committee does not make its report till ten days after its

ART. 48. The bringing to trial cannot be decided upon, till ten days
after the report has been read, and distributed among the members.

ART. 49. The accusation being resolved upon, the chamber of
representatives names five commissioners, chosen from among its own
members, to conduct the charge before the chamber of peers.

ART. 50. Article 75 of head 8 of the constitutional act of the 22d of
Frimaire, year 8, declaring, that the agents of the government can be
prosecuted only in consequence of a decision of the council of state,
shall be modified by a law.


_Of the judicial power._

ART. 51. The Emperor appoints all the judges. They are for life, and
irremovable, from the instant of their appointment; the nomination of
judges of the peace, and of commerce, excepted, which will take place
as heretofore.

The present judges, appointed by the Emperor agreeably to the decree
of the senate of the 12th of October, 1807, and whom he may think
proper to retain, will receive appointments for life before the 1st of
January next.

ART. 52. The institution of juries is retained.

ART. 53. The debating of criminal causes is to be public.

ART. 54. Military crimes alone are amenable to military tribunals.

ART. 55. All other crimes, even if committed by military men, are
under the jurisdiction of the civil tribunals.

ART. 56. All crimes and offences, that were amenable to the high
imperial court, and the trial of which is not reserved by the present
act for the chamber of peers, are to be carried before the ordinary

ART. 57. The Emperor has the right of pardoning, even in correctional
cases, and of granting amnesties.

ART. 58. The interpretations of laws demanded by the court of
cassation shall be given in the form of a law.


_Rights of citizens._

ART. 59. Frenchmen are equal in the eye of the law, both in
contributing to the taxes and public expenses, and in regard to
admission to employments civil or military.

ART. 60. No one can be taken out of the hands of the judges assigned
him by the law, on any pretence.

ART. 61. No one can be prosecuted, arrested, detained in custody, or
banished, except in cases provided for by the law, and according to
the forms prescribed.

ART. 62. Freedom in religious worship is guarantied to all.

ART. 63. All property possessed or acquired agreeably to the laws, and
all debts of the state, are inviolable.

ART. 64. Every citizen has a right to print and publish his opinions,
he signing them, without any previous censorship; saving that he is
legally responsible, after publication, to be tried by a jury, even
though the application of a correctional punishment only should be

ART. 65. The right of petition is secured to all the citizens. Every
petition is that of an individual (_est individuelle_). These
petitions may be addressed, either to the government, or to the two
chambers; nevertheless, even the latter must be superscribed "to his
Majesty the Emperor." They must be presented to the chambers under the
guarantee of a member, who recommends the petition. They are read
publicly; and, if the chamber take them into consideration, they are
carried to the Emperor by the president.

ART. 66. No place, no part of the territory, can be declared in a
state of siege, except in case of invasion by a foreign power, or of
civil disturbance.

In the former case, the declaration is made by an act of the

In the second case, it can be made only by the law. However, if the
case occur, when the chambers are not assembled, the act of
government, declaring the state of siege, must be converted into a
proposal for a law in the first fifteen days after the meeting of the

ART. 67. The French people declare farther, that, in the delegation it
has made, and now makes, of its powers, it has not intended, and does
not intend, to confer the right of proposing the re-establishment of
the Bourbons, or of any prince belonging to that family, on the
throne, even in case of the extinction of the imperial dynasty; or the
right of re-establishing either the ancient feudal nobility, or feudal
and seigniorial rights, or tithes, or any privileged and predominant
form of worship; or the power of making any infringement of the
irrevocability of the sale of national domains: it formally prohibits
the government, the chambers, and the citizens, from every proposal
in respect to these.

Done at Paris, the 22d of April, 1815.

                         (_Signed_)          NAPOLEON.
                                By the Emperor,
                          _The minister secretary of state,_
                         (_Signed_)  The Duke of BASSANO.

       *       *       *       *       *

This additional act did not answer the general expectation.

The public had hoped, to receive from Napoleon a new constitution,
freed from the faults and abuses of the preceding constitutions; and
it was surprised, grieved, dissatisfied, when it saw, by the very
preamble of the additional act, that it was nothing but a
_modification_ of the former constitutions, decrees of the senate, and
other acts, by which the empire was governed.

What confidence, people cried, can such a production inspire? What
guarantee can it afford the nation? Do we not know, that it was by
means of these decrees of the senate, that Napoleon sported with our
most sacred laws? and, since they are now maintained and confirmed,
may he not employ them, as he formerly did, to interpret after his
own fashion his additional act, alter its nature, and render it

It had been to be wished, undoubtedly, that the additional act had not
revived the name, and borrowed the assistance, of all the senatorial
acts, become on so many accounts objects of the public contempt and
derision: but this was impossible[7]. They were the basis of our
institutions; and they could not have been proscribed in a body,
without arresting the progress of government, and subverting the
established order of things from top to bottom.

              [Footnote 7: Notwithstanding the charter, and the laws
              daily passed, it is found necessary, to recur every day
              to rules established by the ancient legislation of the

Besides, the fear of Napoleon's putting them in vigour was founded
only on vague suppositions. The oppressive arrangements of the decrees
of the senate were annulled, both in fact and in law, by the
principles, which the additional act sanctioned: and Napoleon had
rendered it impossible for him to augment his authority, or to abuse
it, by the immense power, with which he had invested the chambers, the
responsibility he had thrown on his agents and ministers, and the
inviolable guarantees he had conferred on freedom of opinion and
personal liberty. The slightest attempt would have betrayed his secret
intentions; and a thousand voices would have been raised, to say to
him: "We, who are as good as you, have made you our King, on
condition, that you keep our laws: if not, not[8]."

              [Footnote 8: The well-known words, in which the cortes
              of Arragon address the kings of Spain at their

The re-establishment of the chamber of peers, imported from England by
the Bourbons, excited no less vividly the public discontent.

It was clear, in fact, that the privileges, and peculiar jurisdiction,
which the peers exclusively enjoyed, constituted a manifest violation
of the laws of equality; and that the hereditary state of the peerage
was a formal infraction of the right of all Frenchmen, to be equally
admissible to the offices of the state.

Accordingly the friends of liberty and equality with reason reproached
Napoleon for having falsified his promises; and given them, instead of
a constitution bottomed on the principles of equality and liberty,
which he had solemnly professed, a shapeless act, more favourable than
the charter, or any of the preceding constitutions, to the nobility
and their institutions.

But Napoleon, when he promised the French a constitution, that might
be termed _republican_, had rather followed the political suggestions
of the moment, than consulted the welfare of France. Restored to
himself, ought he to have adhered strictly to the letter of his
promises, or interpreted them merely as an engagement, to give France
a liberal constitution, as perfect as possible?

The answer cannot be doubtful.

Now the testimony of the most learned civilians, the experience of
England for 125 years, had demonstrated to him, that the government
best adapted to the habits, manners, and social relations of a great
nation; that which affords the greatest pledge of happiness and
stability; in fine, that which best reconciles political liberty with
the degree of power necessary to the chief of a state; is a
representative monarchical government. It was Napoleon's duty,
therefore, as a legislator, and a paternal sovereign, to give this
mode of government the preference.

This point granted, and it is incontestable, Napoleon was under the
necessity of establishing an hereditary and privileged chamber of
peers; for a representative monarchy cannot subsist, without an upper
chamber, or chamber of peers; as a chamber of peers cannot subsist
without privileges, and without being hereditary.

None therefore but the insincere; or men, who, though good patriots,
unconsciously substitute their passions or prejudices in the place of
the public welfare; can reproach Napoleon for having introduced this
institution into our political organization.

The re-establishment of an intermediate chamber, perhaps, would not
have wounded them so deeply, if care had been taken, to give it a name
less sullied by feudal recollections: but the revolution had exhausted
the nomenclature of public magistracies. Besides, the Emperor thought,
that this was the only title answerable to its high destination.
Perhaps, too, as Louis XVIII. had had his peers, he was not
displeased, to have his also.

A third accusation bore hard on Napoleon. He promised us, it was
urged, as a natural consequence of the fundamental truth, _the throne
is made for the nation, and not the nation for the throne_, that our
deputies, assembled at the _Champ de Mai_, should give to France,
jointly with him, a constitution conformable to the interests and
wishes of the nation; and by an odious breach of faith, he grants us
an additional act, after the manner of Louis XVIII; and this he
forces us to adopt in the lump, without allowing us to reject those
parts, that may wound our dearest and most sacred rights.

Napoleon had proclaimed, it is true, on the 1st of March, that this
constitution should be the work of the nation: but since this period
circumstances had altered. It was of importance to the preservation of
peace at home, and to the relations between Napoleon and foreign powers,
that the state should be speedily established and that Europe should
find in its new laws those safeguards against the ambition and despotism
of the Emperor, _and perhaps too against the re-establishment of a
republic_, that it might deem desirable.

Literally to comply with the words of Napoleon, it would have been
necessary, for the electoral colleges to give their deputies written
instructions, as in 1789. The assembling of these colleges, the
drawing up of their instructions after discussion, the choosing of
delegates, their journeying to Paris, the distribution of the labour,
the preparation, examination, and discussion of the bases of the
constitution, the disputative conferences with the delegates of the
Emperor, &c. &c., would have consumed an incalculable portion of
time, and left France in a state of anarchy, that would have deprived
it of the means or possibility of making peace or war with foreigners.

Thus, then, far from blaming the Emperor for deviating at the moment
from this part of his promises, he on the contrary deserves credit for
having voluntarily resigned the dictatorship, with which circumstances
had invested him, and placed public liberty under the protection of
the laws. Had he not been _sincere_; had he not been _honestly_
disposed, to restore to the people their rights, and confine his own
within proper limits, he would not have been in haste, to publish the
additional act: he would have been for gaining time, in hopes that
victory or peace, by consolidating the sceptre in his hands, would
have enabled him to dictate laws, instead of subjecting himself to

In fine, the additional act was reproached with having re-established
the confiscations abolished by the charter.

The majority of the counsellors of state and ministers, and M. de
Bassano more particularly, strongly opposed this renewed provision of
our revolutionary laws. But the Emperor considered the confiscation of
estates as the most efficacious means of bridling the royalists; and
he persisted obstinately in not giving it up; reserving the power of
relinquishing it, when circumstances would permit.

Upon the whole, the additional act was not without blemishes; but
these blemishes, easy to be removed, no way affected the beauty or
goodness of its basis.

It acknowledged the principle of the sovereignty of the people.

It secured to the three powers of the state the strength and
independence necessary, to render their actions free and efficacious.

The independence of the representatives was guarantied by their
number, and the mode of their election.

The independence of the peers, by their being hereditary.

The independence of the sovereign by the imperial _veto_, and the
happy establishment of the other two powers, which serve him mutually
as a safeguard.

The liberties of the people, solidly established, were liberally
endowed with all the concessions granted by the charter, and all those
subsequently claimed.

The trial of all libels (_délits de la presse_) by a jury, protected
and secured freedom of opinion. It defended patriotic writers from
the anger of the prince, and the complaisance of his agents. It even
assured them of impunity, whenever their writings are in harmony with
the secret opinions and wishes of the nation.

Personal liberty was guarantied, not only by the old laws, and the
irremoveableness of the judges, but also by two new provisions; one,
the responsibility of ministers; the other, the approaching abolition
of the impunity, with which public functionaries of all classes had
been invested by the constitution of the year 8, and afterward by the
regal government.

It was still farther guarantied by the insurmountable barrier opposed
to the abuse of the right of banishment, by reducing the jurisdiction
of military courts within their natural limits, and by restricting the
power of declaring any portion of the country in a state of siege; a
power hitherto arbitrary, and by help of which the sovereign suspended
at will the authority of the constitution, and placed the citizens, in
fact, out of the pale of the law.

The additional act, in fine, by the obstacles it opposed to the
usurpations of supreme power, and the innumerable guarantees it
secured to the nation, established public and private liberty on
foundations not to be shaken; yet, from the most whimsical of all
inconsistencies, it was considered as _the work of despotism_, and
occasioned Napoleon the loss of his popularity.

The writers most celebrated for their understanding and patriotism
took up the defence of Napoleon: but in vain did they quote Delolme,
Blackstone, Montesquieu; and demonstrate, that no modern state, no
republic, had possessed such liberal and beneficial laws: their
eloquence and their erudition were without success. The contemners of
the additional act, deaf to the voice of reason, would judge of it
only from its title; and as this title displeased and alarmed them,
they persisted in blackening and condemning the work on the score of
its name, according to the vulgar proverb, _Give a dog a bad name, and
hang him_.

Napoleon, far from foreseeing this fatal result, had persuaded
himself, on the contrary, that he should receive credit for having so
promptly and generously accomplished the hopes of the nation; and he
had prepared a long proclamation to the French people in his own hand,
in which he sincerely congratulated himself and them on the happiness,
that France was about to enjoy under the sway of his new laws.

This proclamation, as may easily be guessed, came to nothing[9]. In
its place came a decree for convoking the electoral colleges, in which
Napoleon, informed of the public rumours, excused himself, on the
ground of the pressure of circumstances, for having abridged the forms
he had promised to follow in composing the constitutional act; and
announced, that this act, containing in itself the principles of every
improvement, might be modified in conformity to the wishes of the
nation. By the terms of this decree, the electoral colleges were
called on to choose the members of the approaching assembly of
representatives; and Napoleon excused himself afresh, for being
compelled by the state of affairs, to require them to proceed to the
election of deputies previous to the acceptance of the constitution.

              [Footnote 9: The Emperor had ordered this proclamation
              to be burned; but I found it so excellent, that I
              thought it my duty to preserve it. At the moment when
              Napoleon set out for the army, I was not in Paris; and
              one of the principal clerks of the cabinet, M. Rathery,
              having found it among my papers, had the courage to
              throw it into the fire.]

It was at the _Champ de Mai_, that the electors of all the departments
were to assemble, and proceed to the collection of votes for its
rejection or adoption.

The idea of renewing the ancient assemblies of the nation, as it was
first formed by the Emperor, was no doubt a grand and generous
conception, and singularly calculated to restore to patriotism its
energy and lustre; but at the same time, it must be confessed, it bore
the stamp of imprudent daring, and might have given Napoleon an
irreparable stroke. Was it not to be feared, that, in the equivocal
situation in which he was placed, the electors, having every thing to
dread from the Bourbons and foreign powers, would not accept so
hazardous a mission, and leave the assembly unattended?

Was it not also probable, that no one would covet the dangerous honour
of making part of the new national representation, the first act of
which must necessarily be, to proscribe for ever the dynasty of the
Bourbons, and acknowledge Napoleon, in spite of the foreign powers,
the sole and legitimate sovereign of France?

However, so true it is, that with Napoleon events always belied the
most sagacious conjectures, the electors hastened in crowds to Paris;
and men most respectable for wealth and character entered the lists to
be chosen deputies, soliciting votes with as much ardour, as if
France had been tranquil and happy[10].

              [Footnote 10: I speak generally: I know there were
              departments, the electoral colleges of which, from
              various causes, were composed only of a small number of

And why was it so? Because, in the eyes of the electors and of the
deputies, the object at stake was not the fate of a particular man,
but of their country. It was because the critical situation of France,
instead of intimidating the partisans of the revolution, awakened in
their hearts the most courageous sentiments of patriotism.

They, whom I here call the partisans of the revolution, were not, as
certain persons endeavour to persuade the world, those sanguinary
beings, who were branded with the title of Jacobins, but that immense
body of Frenchmen, who, since the year 1789, have concurred more or
less in the destruction of the feudal system, with its privileges and
abuses; of those Frenchmen, in fine, who are no strangers to the value
of liberty, and the dignity of man.

But was the assembly of the _Champ de Mai_ to be deprived of its chief
ornament, the Empress and her son? The Emperor was not ignorant, that
this princess was carefully watched; and that she had been surprised
and threatened into an oath, to communicate all the letters she might
receive. He knew, also, that she was surrounded by improper persons:
but he thought, that he owed it to himself, and to his affection for
the Empress, to exhaust every means of putting an end to her
captivity. At first he attempted by several letters, full of feeling
and dignity, to move the justice and sensibility of the Emperor of
Austria. Entreaties and reclamations proving ineffectual, he resolved,
to despatch an officer of the crown to Vienna, to negotiate, or demand
publicly, in the name of nature and the law of nations, the
deliverance of the Empress and her son. This mission was entrusted to
the Count de Flahaut, one of his aides-de-camp. No person was more
capable of fulfilling it worthily than this officer. He was a true
Frenchman, spirited, amiable, and brave. He shone equally in the field
of battle, in a diplomatic conference, and in the drawing-room
pleasing every where by the agreeableness and firmness of his

M. de Flahaut set out, but could not advance beyond Stutgard. This
disgrace converted into painful regret the joy, to which the hope of
seeing again the young prince and his august mother had already given

The people who resided near the road they would pass had already made
preparations for testifying their love and their respect.

The return of Napoleon had been celebrated by enthusiastic shouts,
that resembled the intoxication of victory: that of the Empress would
have inspired only tender emotions. Acclamations tempered by tears of
joy, the roads strewed with flowers, the village maidens adorned in
their best attire and happy looks, would have given this sight the
appearance of a family festival; and Marie Louise would have seemed,
not the daughter of the Cæsars returning to her territories, but a
beloved mother, who, after a long and painful absence, is at length
restored to the wishes of her children.

Her son, over whose head such high destinies were then depending,
would have excited transports not less vivid, or less affecting. Torn
from a throne, and from his country, while yet in his cradle, he had
not ceased to turn his eyes and his remembrances toward the land that
had given him birth: a number of bold and ingenious expressions had
disclosed his regrets and his hopes; and these expressions, repeated
and learned by heart, had rendered this august infant the object of
the dearest thoughts and affections.

With strange inconsistency, the French had deplored the imperious
temper and warlike disposition of Napoleon; yet they loved the son,
precisely because he gave promise of possessing the genius and
audacity of his father; and because they hoped, that he would at some
future day restore to France "the lustre of victories, and the
language of a master[11]."

              [Footnote 11: The following anecdote of the young
              Napoleon I have never seen published. When he came into
              the world, he was believed to be dead; he was without
              warmth, without motion, without respiration. M. Dubois
              (the accoucheur of the Empress) had made reiterated
              attempts, to recall him to life, when a hundred guns
              were discharged in succession, to celebrate his birth.
              The concussion and agitation produced by this firing
              acted so powerfully on the organs of the royal infant,
              that his senses were reanimated.]

The Emperor was deeply afflicted at the arbitrary detention of his
wife and her son. He felt all the importance of it. Offers had been
made him several times, to carry them off: I myself was employed, by a
very great personage, to make him an offer of this nature. But he
obstinately persisted in listening to no proposal of the kind. Perhaps
his affection, or his pride, forbade him, to expose to the hazards of
such an enterprise persons so dear to him, and whom he felt assured of
obtaining in a manner more worthy of him by victory, or by a peace.
Perhaps he was apprehensive of endangering their fate, should he
succumb in the struggle, that was about to take place between him and
Europe; for unhappily this struggle, that had so long remained a
matter of doubt, had now ceased to be questionable even to himself.

The indirect overtures made to foreign cabinets, and those renewed in
every form by the Emperor, and by the Duke of Vicenza, had completely

The efforts made in favour of France in the British parliament, by the
generous defenders of the independence and rights of nations, had
remained without success.

M. de St. L.... and M. de Mont...., who were returned from Vienna, had
announced, that the allies would never depart from the principles
manifested in their declaration and treaty of the 13th and 25th of

M. de Talleyrand, on whom Napoleon had depended, convinced of the
triumph of the Bourbons, had refused to betray or abandon them.

M. de Stassard had been stopped at Lintz, and obliged to return. His
despatches, which were seized and sent to the Emperor of Austria, had
been shown to the foreign monarchs; and these monarchs had unanimously
decreed, that they should not be taken into consideration, and that
they adhered anew, and more formally than ever, to their declaration.

The Princess Hortense had received from the Emperor of Russia this
laconic answer: "No peace, no truce, with that man: any thing except

              [Footnote 12: The Emperor Alexander, at the time of the
              affair of Fontainebleau, had guarantied to the Duke of
              Vicenza, for Napoleon, the possession of the island of
              Elba. M. de Talleyrand and the foreign ministers
              remonstrated to him strongly, on the danger of leaving
              the Emperor on a spot so near to France and Italy; and
              conjured him, not to oppose their compelling him to
              choose another place of retreat. Alexander, faithful to
              his engagements, would not consent to this. When the
              Emperor returned, Alexander made it a point of honour,
              to repair the noble fault he had committed; and became,
              rather from duty than from animosity, the most
              inveterate enemy of Napoleon and of France.]

The agents maintained by the Emperor in foreign countries informed
him, that the troops of all the powers were in arms; and that the
arrival of the Russians alone was waited for, to commence the

              [Footnote 13: He had agents in Germany and in England,
              who informed him, with perfect accuracy, of every thing
              going on there. It is true, that these agents made him
              pay dearly for their services. In London, for instance,
              he had two persons, who cost him two thousand guineas a
              month. "If my Germans," said he on this subject, "were
              so dear, I must give them up."]

Thus every hope of conciliation was annihilated: the friends of
Napoleon began to doubt his safety: he alone contemplated with
imperturbable firmness the dangers, with which he was menaced.

The events of 1814 had disclosed to him the importance of the capital;
and it may well be presumed, that he did not neglect the means of
putting it into a state of defence. When the moment was arrived, for
definitively resolving on the work of the fortifications, which he had
already sketched out, M. Fontaine, his favourite architect, was with
him, and was going to withdraw. "No," said the Emperor to him, "stay
here: you shall help me to fortify Paris." He ordered the map of
levels to be brought him; examined the sinuosities of the ground;
consulted M. Fontaine on the placing of redoubts, and the erection of
crown-works, triple crown-works, lunettes, &c. &c.; and in less than
half an hour he conceived and settled, under the approbation of his
architect, a definitive plan of defence, that obtained the suffrages
of the most experienced engineers.

A swarm of workmen soon covered the vicinity of Paris: but to increase
the effect, that the fortification of this city would produce both in
France and in foreign countries, Napoleon caused it to be suggested to
the national guard, to join in the work. Immediately detachments from
the legions, accompanied by a number of citizens and federates from
the suburbs of St. Antoine, and St. Marceau, repaired to Montmartre
and Vincennes, and proceeded to the opening of the trenches with
songs. The grenadiers of the guard would not remain idle; and came to
take their part in the labour with their band of music at their head.
The Emperor, accompanied only by a few of the officers of his
household, frequently went to encourage the zeal of the workmen. His
presence and his words fired their imagination: they fancied they saw
Thermopylæ in every pass they fortified and, like new Spartans, swore
with enthusiasm, to defend them till death.

The federates did not stop at these demonstrations of their zeal,
empty as they often are; they called for arms, and were angry, at the
dilatoriness with which they were given them. They complained no less
eagerly, that they had not yet been reviewed by the Emperor.

To pacify them, the Emperor hastened to announce to them, that he
would admit them with pleasure to file off before him on the first
parade day.

On the 24th of May, they presented themselves at the Tuileries. Their
battalions were composed in great part of old soldiers and laborious
work people: but some of those vagabonds, who abound in great cities,
had crept in among them; and these, with their jailbird countenances,
and ragged clothes, recalled to mind but too forcibly those murderous
bands, who formerly stained the dwelling of the unfortunate Louis XVI.
with blood.

When Louis XIII., and the arrogant Richelieu, invoked the assistance
of the corporations of arts and trades, they admitted their deputies
to a solemn audience, took them by the hand, and embraced them all,
history says, down to the very cobblers. Napoleon, though in a far
more critical situation, would not humble himself before necessity: he
preserved his dignity, and, in spite of himself, suffered symptoms to
escape him of what he felt, at being obliged by circumstances to
accept such assistance.

The chiefs of the confederation addressed him in a speech, in which
the following passages were principally remarked.

"You, sire, are the man of the nation, the defender of our country:
from you we expect independence, and a sage liberty. You will secure
to us these two precious possessions; you will render sacred for ever
the rights of the people: you will reign according to the constitution
and the laws. We come to offer you our arms, our courage, and our
blood, for the safety of the capital.

"Ah! sire, why had we not arms at the time when foreign kings,
emboldened by treason, advanced up to the walls of Paris? ... we shed
tears of rage, at seeing our hands useless to the common cause: ... we
are almost all of us old defenders of our country; our country should
give arms with confidence to those, who have shed their blood for her.
Give us arms in her name ... we are not the instruments of any party,
the agents of any faction.... As citizens, we are obedient to our
magistrates, and to the laws; as soldiers, we are obedient to our

"Long live the nation, long live liberty, long live the Emperor!"

The Emperor answered them in the following terms:

"Soldiers, federates of the suburbs of St. Antoine and St. Marceau: I
returned alone, because I reckoned on the people of the towns, the
inhabitants of the country, and the soldiers of the army, whose
attachment to the honour of the nation I well knew. You have all
justified my confidence. I accept your offer. I will give you arms; to
lead you, I will give you officers covered with honourable scars, and
accustomed to see the enemy flee before them. Your robust limbs,
inured to the most laborious work, are better adapted than any other,
to handle arms. As to courage, you are Frenchmen: you shall be the
skirmishers (_éclaireurs_) of the national guard. I shall be without
any anxiety for the capital, while the national guard and you are
employed in its defence: and if it be true, that foreigners persist in
the impious design of attacking our independence and our honour, I may
avail myself of victory, without being checked by any solicitude.

"Soldiers, federates; if there be men among the higher classes of
society, who have dishonoured the French name; the love of our
country, and the sentiment of national honour, have been preserved
entire among the people of our towns, the inhabitants of the country,
and the soldiers of the army. I am glad to see you. I have confidence
in you: long live the nation!"

Notwithstanding his promise, however, the Emperor, under the pretence,
that there was not a sufficient number of muskets, only gave arms to
those federates who were on duty; so that they passed daily from one
hand to another, and consequently did not remain in the possession of
any one. Various motives induced him, to take this precaution. He
wished to preserve to the national guard a superiority, which it would
have lost, if the whole of the federates had been armed. He was
afraid, also, that the republicans, whom he ever considered as his
most implacable enemies, would obtain sway over the minds of the
federates; and induce them, in the name of liberty, to turn against
himself those arms, that he had put into their hands. Fatal prejudice!
that induced him to place his reliance elsewhere than on the people,
and consequently deprived him of his firmest support.

At the moment when the population of Paris was testifying the most
faithful attachment to the Emperor and their country, the alarm-bell
of insurrection resounded through the plains of la Vendée.

As early as the 1st of May, some symptoms of commotion had been
observed in le Bocage[14]. The brave but unfortunate Travot had
effected by his firmness, and by his persuasions, the restoration of
order; and every thing appeared quiet, when emissaries arrived from
England, to kindle the flames anew.

              [Footnote 14: A small county in Lower Normandy, the
              common focus of the rebellion.]

MM. de la Roche-jaquelin, d'Autichamp, Suzannet, Sapineau, Daudigné,
and some others of the chiefs of la Vendée, re-assembled. A civil war
was determined on. On the 15th of May, the day appointed, the
alarm-bell was heard; energetic proclamations called the inhabitants
of Anjou, la Vendée, and Poitou, to arms; and the assembling of a
confused body of seven or eight thousand peasants was effected.

The English agents had announced, that the Marquis Louis de la
Roche-jaquelin was bringing to the provinces in the West arms,
ammunition, and money. The insurgents immediately repaired to Croix de
Vic, to favour his landing. A few custom-house officers, assembled in
haste, opposed them in vain: la Roche-jaquelin triumphantly delivered
into the hands of the unfortunate Vendeans the fatal presents of

              [Footnote 15: The succours, so pompously announced by
              the royalist emissaries, amounted only to 2400 muskets,
              and a few barrels of gunpowder. The chiefs of the
              insurrection, disappointed in their expectations,
              bitterly reproached M. de la Roche-jaquelin with having
              deceived and implicated them by false promises.]

The news of this insurrection, considerably exaggerated by inaccurate
accounts, reached the Emperor in the night of the 17th. He called me
to his bedside; made me set down on the map the positions of the
French and of the insurgents; and dictated to me his commands.

He directed a part of the troops stationed in the neighbouring
divisions, to march with all possible speed for Niort and Poitiers;
General Brayer, to hasten post to Angers, with two regiments of the
young guard; and General Travot, to call in his detachments, and
concentrate his force, till he received fresh orders. Experienced
officers _d'ordonnances_ were appointed, to go and reconnoitre the
country; and General Corbineau, whose talents, moderation, and
firmness were known to the Emperor, was sent to the spot, to appease
the revolt, or preside over the military operations in case of need.
All these arrangements being made, the Emperor quietly closed his
eyes; for the faculty of tasting at pleasure the sweets of sleep was
one of the prerogatives conferred on him by nature.

Telegraphic despatches soon brought more circumstantial and more
heartening accounts. "It was known, that the peasants, who had been
ordered to furnish merely four men from each parish, had shown
hesitation and ill will; and that the chiefs had found great trouble
in collecting four or five thousand men, consisting in great part of
vagabonds, and workmen out of employ." In fine it was known, that
General Travot, having been informed of the landing, and the road the
convoy had taken, went in pursuit of the insurgents, came up with them
in advance of St. Gilles, killed about three hundred men, and seized
the greater part of the arms and ammunition.

The Emperor thought, that this insurrection might be quashed by other
means than by force; and, adopting in this respect the conciliatory
views proposed by General Travot, he directed the minister of police
to invite MM. de Malartie and two other Vendean chiefs, MM. de la
Beraudiere and de Flavigny, to repair in the character of pacificators
to their ancient companions in arms; and remonstrate with them, that
it was not in the plains of the West, the fate of the throne would be
decided; and that, the final expulsion or restoration of Louis XVIII.
depending neither on their efforts, nor on their defeat, the French
blood, which they were about to shed in la Vendée, would be spilt to
no purpose.

He sent orders to General Lamarque, whom he had just invested with the
supreme direction of this war[16], to favour the negotiations of M. de
Malartie to the utmost of his power: at the same time he directed him,
to declare formally to la Roche-jaquelin, and to the other chiefs of
the insurgents, that, if they persisted in continuing the civil war,
quarter would no longer be given them, and their houses and
possessions should be sacked and burned[17].

              [Footnote 16: The Emperor had intended this command in
              chief for the Duke of Rovigo, or General Corbineau: but
              he foresaw, that it might perhaps be necessary, to
              proceed to rigorous measures; and he was unwilling, that
              these should be conducted by an officer attached to his
              own person.]

              [Footnote 17: The Emperor considered this rigorous
              measure as a just reprisal for the means employed by the
              Vendean chiefs, to recruit their army. They are the

              When the families, that reign in la Vendée, have
              resolved on war, they send orders to their agents, to
              travel over the country, preaching up revolt, and
              indicating to every parish the number of men, that it
              must furnish. The chiefs of the insurrection in each
              parish then point out the peasants, who are to go; and
              enjoin them, to be at such an hour, on such a day, at
              the place appointed for assembling. If they fail, armed
              bands are sent in quest of them, generally composed of
              the men most dreaded in the country: if they resist,
              they are threatened with being shot, or having their
              houses burnt; and as this is never an empty threat, the
              unhappy peasants obey, and set out.

              It has been asserted, that the Emperor had given orders,
              to set a price on the heads of the chiefs of the
              insurgents. The instructions given to the ministers at
              war were transcribed by me, and I have not the least
              recollection of any such order having been given.]

He likewise recommended to him, to press as closely as possible on the
bands of la Vendée, in order to leave them no hope of safety but in
prompt submission. But this recommendation was superfluous. By
unexpected attacks, skilful marches, and continually increasing
successes, General Travot had already struck such terror and alarm
into the insurgents, that they took much more pains to shun than to
fight him.

In pursuing the movement of concentration, that had been prescribed
him, this general accidentally fell in with the royal army by night,
at Aisenay. A few musket shots spread dismay and disorder through
their ranks; they rushed one upon another, and dispersed so
completely, that MM. de Sapineau and Suzannet were several days
without soldiers. M. d'Autichamp, though distant from the place of
engagement, experienced the same fate. His troops abandoned him with
no less readiness, than he had found difficulty in assembling them.

This defection was not solely the effect of the terror, with which the
imperial army could not fail naturally to inspire a body of wretched
peasants; it was promoted by several other circumstances. In the first
place it resulted from the little confidence of the insurgents in the
experience and capacity of their General in chief, the Marquis de la
Roche-jaquelin. They did justice to his conspicuous bravery; but he
had forfeited their good opinion, by incessantly endangering them
through false manoeuvres, and by endeavouring to subject them to a
regular service, incompatible with their domestic habits, and with
their mode of making war.

In the next place it arose from the dissension, that had introduced
itself among their generals from the commencement of the war. The
Marquis de la Roche-jaquelin, ardent and ambitious, had arrogated to
himself the supreme command; and the old founders of the royal army,
the Autichamps, Suzannets, and Sapineaus, did not obey without regret
the imperious orders of a young officer, hitherto without experience
or reputation.

But the first, the fundamental cause of the slackness or inactivity of
the Vendeans, was still more the change, that had taken place in the
political and military state of France since the coronation of
Napoleon. They knew, that the time when they struck terror into the
blues, and made themselves masters of their artillery with clubs, was
no more. They knew, that the days of terror, of anarchy, were
terminated for ever; and that they had no longer to dread those
abuses, or those excesses, or those crimes, which had provoked and
fomented their first insurrection. As to the attachment for the
Bourbon family, which they had inherited from their fathers, this,
though not banished from their hearts, was balanced by the fear of
seeing the calamities and devastations of the late civil war revived;
by the uneasiness they felt from the renewal of the double despotism
of the nobles and priests; and perhaps also by the remembrance of the
kindness of Napoleon. It was he, who had restored to them their
churches and their ministers; who had raised from their ruins their
desolate habitations[18]; and who had freed them at once from
revolutionary exactions, and from the plunderings of chouanry.

              [Footnote 18: Fourteen millions of francs had been
              appropriated to the rebuilding of the houses burned

The Emperor, having no doubt of the approaching termination and happy
issue of this war, announced it openly at a public audience. "Every
thing will soon be finished," said he, "in la Vendée. The Vendeans
will not fight any more. They are retiring to their homes one by one;
and the fight will be at an end for want of combatants."

The news he received from the King of Naples by no means inspired him
with the same satisfaction.

This prince, as I have said above, after having obtained several
tolerably brilliant advantages, had advanced to the gates of
Placentia; and was preparing, to march through the Piedmontese
territory to Milan; when Lord Bentinck notified to him, that England
would declare against him, if he did not respect the dominions of the
King of Sardinia. Joachim, apprehensive of the English making a
diversion against Naples, consented to alter his course. The
Austrians had time to come up, and Milan was saved.

While these things were going on, a Neapolitan army, that had
penetrated into Tuscany, and driven General Nugent before it, was
surprised, and forced to retire precipitately to Florence.

This unexpected check, and the considerable reinforcements, that the
Austrians received, determined Joachim to fall back. He retreated
slowly to Ancona.

The English, who had hitherto remained neutral, now declared against
him, and joined Austria and the Sicilians. Joachim, menaced and
pressed on all sides, concentrated his forces. A general engagement
took place at Tolentino. The Neapolitans, animated by the presence and
valour of their king, briskly attacked General Bianchi, and every
thing foreboded victory, when the arrival of General Neipperg, at the
head of fresh troops, changed the aspect of affairs. The Neapolitan
army was broken, quitted the field of battle, and fled to Macerata.

A second battle, equally disastrous, was fought at Caprano; and the
capture of this city by the Austrians opened them an entrance into the
kingdom of Naples, while the corps of General Nugent, which had
marched from Florence to Rome, penetrated into the Neapolitan
territory by another road.

The rumour of the defeat and death of the king, the approach of the
Austrian armies, and the proclamations[19] issued by them, excited a
sedition at Naples. The Lazaroni, after having assassinated a few
Frenchmen, and massacred the minister of police, repaired to the royal
palace, with the design of murdering the Queen. This princess, worthy
of the blood that circulated in her veins, was not affrighted by their
shouts and threats; she courageously made head against them, and
obliged them, to return to their obedience.

              [Footnote 19: These announced and promised to the
              Neapolitans the restoration of Ferdinand, their former
              king, to the throne.]

Joachim, remaining erect amid the ruins of his army, sustained with
heroic firmness the efforts of his enemies. Resolved to fall with arms
in his hand, he rushed on the battalions, and carried terror and death
into the midst of their ranks. But his valour could only ennoble his
fall. Still repulsed, still invulnerable, he relinquished the hope of
meeting death or victory. In the night of the 19th of March he
returned to Naples: the Queen appeared indignant at seeing him.
"Madame," said he to her, "I was not able to find death." He departed
immediately, that he might not fall into the hands of the Austrians,
and came to take refuge in France. The Queen, notwithstanding the
dangers, that threatened her life, resolved to remain at Naples, till
her fate and that of the army were decided. When the treaty was
signed, she withdrew on board an English vessel and repaired to

The catastrophe of the King made the most profound impression on the
superstitious mind of Napoleon; but the French it inspired with little
regret, and no fear. I say no fear, for the nation was familiarised
with the idea of war. The patriotism and energy, with which it felt
itself animated, filled it with such confidence, that it deemed itself
sufficiently strong, to dispense with the support of the Neapolitans,
and struggle alone against the coalition. It recalled to mind the
campaign of 1814; and, if at that period Napoleon, with sixty thousand
soldiers, had beaten and held in check the victorious foreign armies,
what might it not hope now, when an army of three hundred thousand
fighting men would form, in case of need, only the advanced guard of
France? The royalists and their newspapers, by repeating the
manifestoes of Ghent and Vienna, enumerating the foreign armies, and
exaggerating our dangers, had indeed succeeded in abating the courage
of a few, and shaking their opinions; but the sentiments of the bulk
of the nation had lost nothing of their vigour and energy. Every day
fresh offerings[20] were deposited on the altar of their country; and
every day new corps of volunteers, equally numerous and formidable,
were establishing, under the names of lancers, partisans, federates,
mountain chasseurs, and tirailleurs.

              [Footnote 20: The departments of the Centre, and of the
              East, particularly distinguished themselves. A great
              number of their inhabitants gave considerable sums, and
              equipped at their own expense companies, battalions,
              whole regiments, of partisans or national guards.

              A single citizen of Paris, Mr. Delorme, proprietor of
              the fine _passage_ of the same name, offered his country
              a hundred thousand francs.

              Another, one day when the national guard was reviewed,
              caused a roll of paper, tied with a ribbon of the legion
              of honour, to be delivered to the Emperor. On opening
              it, it was found to contain twenty-five thousand francs,
              in notes on the Bank, with these words: "for Napoleon,
              for my country." The Emperor was desirous of knowing the
              person, who had made this delicate and mysterious
              offering; and at length discovered, that it was M.
              Gevaudan, whose noble sentiments and patriotism had
              already been proved by several actions of a similar

The Parisians, so frequently peaceable spectators of events,
participated in this burst of patriotism: not contented with erecting
their intrenchments with their own hands, they solicited the honour of
defending them; and twenty thousand men, composed of national guards,
federates of the suburbs, and citizens of all ranks, were formed into
battalions for actual service under the denomination of tirailleurs of
the national guard.

Napoleon applauded the noble efforts of the great nation: but
unfortunately our arsenals had been plundered in 1814; and,
notwithstanding the activity of our workmen, he was grieved to the
heart at his inability, to arm every hand raised in his defence. This
would have required six hundred thousand muskets; and scarcely could
enough be supplied, to arm the troops of the line, and the national
guards, that were sent to garrison the fortified towns.

But while Paris was contemplating its ramparts on the one hand, on the
other it saw the preparations for the festival of the _Champ de Mai_
completing. On both there was an equal crowd; and the French, always
the same, always brave and frivolous, traversed with equal pleasure
the spots where they were to fight, and those where they expected to
amuse themselves.

At length the assembly of the _Champ de Mai_, which several unforeseen
circumstances had delayed, took place on the 1st of June. The Emperor
believed, that he ought to display at it all the imperial pomp; but in
this he was wrong. He was about to appear before old patriots, whom he
had deceived; and he should have avoided awakening their memories, and
clouding their brows.

His dress, and that of his brothers and his court, made at first a
disagreeable impression; but it soon vanished, and gave place to the
sensations, that this grand union of the nation excited. What in fact
could be more impressive, than the aspect of a people, threatened with
a tremendous war, forming peaceably a solemn compact with the
sovereign, of whom its enemies were desirous of depriving it; and
joining with him, to defend together the honour and independence of
its country, in life or death?

An altar was erected in the midst of the vast and superb enclosure of
the _Champ de Mars_; and the ceremony commenced with the invocation of
the Supreme Being. The homage paid to God in the presence of nature
seems more fully to inspire man with religion, confidence, and
respect. At the instant of the elevation of the host, this crowd of
citizens, soldiers, officers, magistrates, and princes, prostrated
themselves in the dust, and implored for France, with a tender and
religious emotion, the tutelary protection of the sovereign Arbiter of
kings and people. The Emperor himself, usually so absent, displayed a
great deal of inward devotion. All eyes were fixed on him: people
called to mind his victories and his disasters, his greatness and his
fall; they were softened by the fresh dangers, that accumulated round
his head; and they put up prayers, truly sincere prayers, that he
might triumph over his implacable enemies.

A deputation, composed of five hundred electors, advanced to the foot
of the throne; and one of them, in the name of the French people,
addressed him in the following terms:


"The French people had decreed you the crown; you laid it down,
without their consent their suffrages impose on you the duty of
resuming it.

"A new compact is formed between the nation and your Majesty.

"Assembled from all parts of the empire round the tables of the law,
on which we are come to inscribe the wish of the people, the wish that
constitutes the only legitimate source of power, it is impossible for
us, not to proclaim aloud the voice of France, of which we are the
immediate organs; and not to say, in the face of Europe, to the august
chief of the nation, what it expects of him, and what he has to expect
of it.

"Our words are as serious, as the circumstances by which they are

"What means this league of allied kings, with that preparation for
war, with which it appals Europe, and grieves humanity?

"By what act, what transgression, have we provoked their vengeance, or
given cause for an attack?

"Have we attempted, to impose laws on them, since the peace? We only
wish, to make and follow such, as are adapted to our manners.

"We refuse the chief, whom our enemies choose for us; and we choose
him, whom they refuse us.

"They dare to proscribe you personally: you, sire, who, so many times
master of their capitals, had generously confirmed them on their
tottering thrones! This hatred of our enemies adds to our love of you:
were they to proscribe the most insignificant of our citizens, it
would be our duty, to defend him with the same energy; he would be,
like you, under the aegis of the laws and power of France.

"We are threatened with an invasion; yet, confined within frontiers,
which nature did not impose on us; and which victory, and even peace,
had extended, long before your reign; we have not overstepped this
narrow boundary, out of regard to treaties, which you did not sign,
yet have offered to respect.

"Do they demand only guarantees? They have them in our institutions;
and in the will of the French people, henceforward united with yours.

"Are they not afraid of reminding us of times, of a state of things,
but lately so different, and which may again return?

"It would not be the first time, that we have vanquished Europe in
arms against us.

"It is to the French nation, that they dare refuse a second time, in
the nineteenth century; in the face of the civilised world, those
sacred, imprescriptible rights, which the smallest tribe never
claimed in vain at the tribunal of history and justice.

"Because France resolves to be France, must it be degraded, torn to
pieces, dismembered and is the fate of Poland reserved for us? Vainly
would they conceal their fatal intentions, under the appearance of the
sole design of separating you from us, to give us to masters, with
whom we have no longer any thing in common, and who can no longer
understand us.

"The three branches of the legislature are about to enter into a state
of activity: one sentiment will animate them. Confiding in the
promises of your Majesty, we resign to you, we resign to our
representatives and to the chamber of peers, the care of revising,
consolidating, and perfecting in concert, without precipitancy,
without concussion, maturely, and with wisdom, our constitutional
system, and the institutions that must guaranty it.

"And if, however, we be compelled to fight, let one sole voice resound
from every heart. Let us march against the enemy, that would treat us
as the lowest of nations. Let us all press around the throne, on which
is seated the father and chief of the people and of the army.

"Sire, nothing is impossible: nothing shall be spared, to ensure our
honour and independence, possessions dearer than life: every thing
shall be attempted, every thing done, to repel an ignominious yoke. We
say it to the nations, may their rulers hear us! if they accept your
offers of peace, the French people will expect from your strong,
liberal, and paternal government, motives of consolation for the
sacrifices, which the peace has cost them: but if they leave us no
other alternative, than war or disgrace, the whole nation is for war;
it is ready to absolve you from the offers, perhaps too moderate, that
you have made, in order to spare Europe fresh convulsions. Every
Frenchman is a soldier: victory will follow your eagles; and our
enemies, who have reckoned on a division, will soon regret their
having provoked us."

This speech being ended, the result of the votes[21] was proclaimed,
and the acceptance of the constitutional act.

              [Footnote 21:

                    Votes, Affirmative        1,288,357
                           Negative               4,207
                   Armies, Affirmative          222,000
                           Negative                 320
                     Navy, Affirmative           22,000
                           Negative                 275

              Eleven departments did not send their registers in time.
              A great number of soldiers, unable to write their names,
              did not vote; and the registers of fourteen regiments
              did not arrive, till the votes had been summed up.]

The Emperor then, turning toward the electors, said:

"Gentlemen, electors of the colleges of departments and circles;

"Gentlemen, deputies of the armies by sea and land to the _Champ de

"Emperor, consul, soldier, I hold every thing from the people. In
prosperity, in adversity; on the field of battle, in the council
chamber; on the throne, and in exile; France has been the sole and
constant object of my thoughts, and of my actions.

"Like the King of Athens, I sacrificed myself for my people, in the
hope of seeing the promise realized, that had been given, to preserve
to France its natural integrity, its honours, and its rights.

"Indignation at seeing these sacred rights, acquired by five and
twenty years of victory, disregarded, and lost for ever; the cry
raised by, French honour disgraced; and the wishes of the nation;
have brought me back to the throne, which is dear to me, because it is
the palladium of the independence, the honour, and the rights of the

"Frenchmen, from the public joy, amid which I traversed the different
provinces of the empire, to arrive at my capital, I could not but
reckon on a long peace; for nations are bound by the treaties
concluded with their governments, be these what they may.

"My thoughts were then turned wholly on the means of establishing our
liberty by a constitution conformable to the will and the interests of
the people. I convened the _Champ de Mai_.

"It was not long before I learned, that the princes, who have
disregarded all principles, and wounded the opinions and dearest
interests of so many nations, resolved to make war on us. They
purpose, to enlarge the kingdom of the Netherlands, to give it for
barriers all our strong places on the North, and to reconcile the
differences, which still keep them at variance, by dividing among them
Lorraine and Alsace.

"It was necessary, to prepare for war.

"However, before incurring personally the dangers of battle, my first
care necessarily was, to consult the nation without delay. The people
has accepted the act I have laid before it.

"Frenchmen, when we have repelled these unjust aggressions, and Europe
is convinced of what is due to the rights and independence of
twenty-eight millions of Frenchmen, a solemn law, made according to
the forms willed by the constitutional act, shall combine the
different arrangements of our constitutions, that are at present

"Frenchmen, you are about to return to your departments. Tell the
citizens, that the present circumstances are important! That with
union, energy, and perseverance, we shall rise victorious from this
struggle of a great people against its oppressors; that generations to
come will severely scrutinize our conduct; and that a nation has lost
every thing, when it has lost its independence. Tell them, that the
foreign kings, whom I raised to a throne, or who are indebted to me
for the preservation of their crowns; all of whom, in the days of my
prosperity, courted my alliance, and the protection of the French
people; now direct their blows against my person. Did I not see, that
it is our country at which they really aim, I would place at their
mercy this life, against which they appear so exasperated. But tell
the citizens also, that, as long as the French retain for me those
sentiments of affection, of which they have given me so many
testimonies, this rage of our enemies will prove impotent.

"Frenchmen, my will is that of the people: my rights are its rights;
my honour, my glory, my happiness, can be no others than the honour,
the glory, and the happiness of France."

These words of Napoleon, pronounced with a strong and emphatic voice,
produced the most lively sensation. A cry of "Long live the Emperor!"
resounded in an instant throughout the immense space of the Champ de
Mars, and was repeated from one to another in the places around.

The Emperor, after having sworn on the Gospels, to observe, and cause
to be observed, the constitutions of the empire, made the
archchancellor proclaim the oath of fealty of the French people,
represented by the electors. This oath was spontaneously repeated by
thousands and thousands of voices.

The ministers of war and of the navy, in the name of the armies by
land and sea, and at the head of their deputations; the minister of
the interior, in the name of the national guards of France, and at
the head of the electors; the staff of the imperial guard, and that of
the national guard; afterwards advanced to take the oath, and receive
from the hands of the Emperor the eagles intended for them.

This ceremony ended, the troops, making about fifty thousand men,
filed off before Napoleon and the festival concluded, as it had
commenced, amid the acclamations of the people, the soldiers, and the
majority of the electors: but to the discontent of a certain number of
them, who complained, and with reason, that the Emperor had
substituted a steril distribution of colours, instead of the grand
national congress, which he had convened.

The parties too, that already began to pullulate, were not better
satisfied with the issue of the _Champ de Mai_.

The old revolutionists would have wished Napoleon, to have abolished
the empire, and re-established a republic.

The partisans of the regency reproached him for not having proclaimed
Napoleon II.

And the liberals maintained, that he ought to have laid down the
crown, and left to the sovereign nation the right of restoring it to
him, or offering it to the most worthy.

Were these different pretensions well founded? No.

The re-establishment of the republic would have ruined France.

The abdication in favour of Napoleon II. would not have saved it. The
allies had explained their intentions at Bâle: they would not have
laid down their arms, till the Emperor had consented, to deliver
himself up. "A circumstance, that, being to a prince the greatest of
misfortunes, can never form a condition of peace[22]?"

              [Footnote 22: Montesquieu. Greatness and Decline of the

As to the latter proposition, I confess, that Napoleon, if on the 21st
of March, or the 12th of April[23], he had returned into the hands of
the French the sceptre, which he had just torn from those of the
Bourbons, would have stamped a character completely heroic on the
revolution of the 20th of March. He would have disconcerted the
foreign powers, augmented his popularity, centuplicated his forces:
but on the first of June it was too late: the additional act had

              [Footnote 23: The day on which the Act of Congress

Unhappily for himself, therefore, Napoleon could do nothing better at
the _Champ de Mai_, than what he did: namely, to endeavour to conceal
the emptiness of the day under the pomp of a religious and military
solemnity, calculated to move the heart, and strengthen by fresh bands
the union, already subsisting between him, the people, and the army.

The Emperor had not been able to deliver with his own hands to the
electors the eagles of their departments. It had not been concealed
from him, that some among them appeared dissatisfied; and he wished to
attempt to dissipate their ill-humour, and revive their zeal. Ten
thousand persons were assembled in the vast galleries of the Louvre;
on one side were seen the deputies and electors of the nation; on the
other, its glorious defenders. The eagle of each department, and that
of each deputation from the armies, were placed at the head of groups
of citizens or warriors; and nothing could exhibit a more animated,
and more impressive picture, than this confused assembly of Frenchmen,
of all the orders of the state, crowding mutually around the standards
and the hero, that were to conduct them to victory and to peace.

The Emperor was polite, affectionate, amiable: with infinite art he
accommodated his manners to every body, and almost every body was
enchanted with him. He was convinced of the mischief he had done
himself by the additional act: and, in order to regain the good
opinion of the public, he repeated to satiety, to the representatives
and electors, that he would employ himself in concurrence with the two
chambers, to collect together those provisions of the constitutional
laws, that were not abrogated, and form the whole into one sole
constitution, that should become the fundamental law of the nation.

This retraction was the consequence of the remonstrances of his
ministers, and particularly of M. Carnot. "Sire," he was incessantly
repeating to him, "do not strive, I conjure you, against public
opinion. Your additional act has displeased the nation. Promise it,
that you will modify it, and render it conformable to its wishes. I
repeat to you, Sire, I have never deceived you; your safety and ours
depend on your deference to the national will. This is not all, Sire;
the French are become a free people. The appellation of 'subject,'
which you are continually giving them, wounds and humbles them. Call
them citizens, or your children. Neither suffer your ministers, your
marshals, your great officers, to be called '_monseigneur_:' there is
no _seigneur_ in a country, where equality forms the basis of the
laws; there are none but citizens."

The Emperor, however, did not see the opening of the chambers
approach, without a certain degree of apprehension. His intention was,
frankly to submit to the principles and consequences of a
representative government; in the first place, because he wished to
reign, and was convinced, that he could not retain the throne, unless
he governed as the nation demanded.

In the second place, because he was persuaded, that the nation now
placed its ideas of happiness on a representative government; and
because, greedy of every kind of celebrity, he found, as he told me at
Lyons, that it was glorious, to render a great people happy. But,
whatever were the sentiments and good inclinations of Napoleon, he had
not had time, to divest himself completely of his old notions and
ancient prejudices. The remembrance of our preceding assemblies
besieged him still in spite of himself: and he appeared to fear, that
the French had too much warmth of imagination, instability of will,
and propensity to abuse their rights, to be capable of enjoying on a
sudden, without any preparation, the benefits of absolute liberty. He
feared, too, that the opposition inherent in representative
governments would not be rightly comprehended in France, and would
make a bad impression; that it would degenerate into resistance; and
that it would clog the action of the sovereign power, take from it its
illusion, its moral strength, and make of it nothing but an instrument
of oppression[24].

              [Footnote 24: At the time of the discussion of the
              additional act, M. de Bassano, conversing with the
              Emperor on the chamber of deputies, said to him, that
              the muteness of the legislative body, was one of the
              things, that had contributed most to discredit the
              imperial government. "My mute legislative body,"
              answered Napoleon, with a smile, "was never well
              understood. It was a grand legislative jury. If it be
              thought right, that twelve jurymen shall pronounce on
              the life and honour of their fellow citizens by a simple
              yes, or no; why deem it strange or tyrannical, that five
              hundred jurymen, selected from the most eminent men in
              the nation, should pronounce in a similar manner on the
              simple interests of society?"]

Independently of these general considerations, Napoleon had still
other motives, to dread the approaching assembly of the chambers. They
were going to meet under circumstances, in which it was indispensable,
that the chief of the state should govern without contradiction: yet
he foresaw, that the representatives, misled by their ardent love of
liberty, and by the fear of despotism, would seek to fetter his
exercise of authority, instead of seconding its full display.

"When a war has commenced," said he one day, "the presence of a
deliberative body is as embarrassing, as it is fatal. _It must have
victories._ If the monarch meet with any check, fear seizes the timid,
and renders them unconsciously the instruments and accomplices of the
audacious. The apprehension of danger, and the desire of withdrawing
from it, derange every head. Reason has no longer any sway: _physical
feelings are everything_. The turbulent, the ambitious, greedy of
rule, of popularity, of making a noise, erect themselves of their own
authority into advocates of the people, and advisers of the prince:
they want to know all, regulate all, direct all. If no regard be paid
to their counsels, from advisers they become censors, from censors
factionaries, and from factionaries rebels. The necessary consequence
then is, that the prince must either submit to their yoke, or expel
them; and in either case he almost always compromises his crown and
the state."

Napoleon, tormented by the anxiety, which the sudden and inconsiderate
application of the popular system, and the dispositions of the
deputies, inspired, rested all his security on the chamber of peers.
He hoped, that this chamber would influence the representatives by its
example, or check them by its firmness.

The ministers received orders, each to present to him a list of

M. Delavalette, in whom the Emperor had particular confidence, was
also desired to furnish him with a list.

Formerly an aide-de-camp of Napoleon, and connected with him by
marriage[25], M. Delavalette had vowed to him an attachment proof
against all temptations. Phocion said to Antipater, "I cannot be at
once thy flatterer, and thy friend:" and M. Delavalette, thinking like
Phocion, had abjured every kind of flattery, to adhere to the rigid
language of friendship. Endowed with a cool head, and sound judgment,
he appreciated events with skill and sagacity. Reserved in the world,
frank and open with Napoleon, he avowed his opinions to him with the
freedom of an affectionate, pure, and upright heart. Accordingly
Napoleon set much value on his advice; and confessed with noble
candour, that he had frequently had to congratulate himself for
having followed it.

              [Footnote 25: He had married a Miss Beauharnais, since
              so celebrated for her generously risking her own life to
              save his.]

The lists presented to the Emperor exhibited a complete assortment of
ancient nobles, senators, generals, land-holders, and merchants[26].
The Emperor, it is right to say, had only the trouble of choosing, but
this was great.

              [Footnote 26: It was the Duke of Vicenza, who first
              conceived the idea of conferring the peerage on great
              land-holders, and distinguished merchants. He was not of
              opinion, that the peerage should be hereditary, and that
              the choice of peers should be left exclusively to the
              crown. He would have wished, that men of great landed
              property, manufacturers, merchants of the first rank,
              the men of letters, civilians, and lawyers, who had
              acquired a great name, should be allowed to propose a
              list of candidates, out of which the Emperor should be
              at liberty to choose a certain number of peers.]

On the one hand he could have wished, both from self-love and a spirit
of conciliation, to have had in the chamber of peers some of those
great names, that sound so gratefully to the ear. On the other hand he
was desirous, as I have said above, that this chamber should hold the
deputies in check; and he could not conceal from himself, that, if he
introduced into it any of the ancient nobility, it would have no
influence over that of the representatives, and probably be on very
bad terms with it.

He decided, therefore, to sacrifice his inclinations to the good of
the cause; and, instead of granting the peerage to that crowd of
parchment nobles, who had humbly solicited it, he conferred it only on
a few of them, noted for their patriotism, and their attachment to
liberal principles. Many of these illustrious solicitors have since
boasted of having refused it. This is very natural, but is it true? I
leave it to their own hearts, their own consciences, to answer the

The Emperor, fearful of refusals, had taken the precaution to have the
inclinations of the doubtful candidates previously sounded. Some
hesitated; others plainly refused. Of all these refusals, direct and
indirect, which amounted but to five or six at most, no one more
painfully disappointed Napoleon, than that of Marshal Macdonald. He
had not forgotten the noble fidelity that the Marshal preserved
towards him in 1814, to the last moment; and he regretted, that his
scruples deprived him of a dignity, to which he was called by his
rank, his services, and the public esteem.

The 3d of June being come, the chamber of representatives assembled in
the ancient palace of the legislative body, and formed itself
provisionally under the presidency of the oldest of its members.

The constitution had left to the representatives the right of choosing
their president. The Emperor hoped, that their suffrages would be
given in favour of his brother Lucien; and in this hope he did not
publish immediately the list of peers, that he might retain the power
of comprising this prince in it, or not, according as he should or
should not be appointed to the _presidency_[27]. But the chamber,
notwithstanding the esteem and confidence, with which the principles
and character of Prince Lucien inspired it, thought, that his election
would be considered as a deference to the will of the Emperor; and
resolved therefore, to make a different choice, in order to prove to
France, and to the foreign powers, that it was, and would remain, free
and independent. M. Lanjuinais was elected: and Napoleon, who knew
that M. Lanjuinais, a malecontent by nature, had never been able to
agree with any government[28], was doubly vexed, that Prince Lucien
had been rejected, and that such a successor had been given him.

              [Footnote 27: Lucien Bonaparte had not been acknowledged
              as a prince of the imperial family by the ancient
              statutes. Consequently he might be considered, as not
              making a part of the chamber of peers by right.]

              [Footnote 28: This opinion did not prevent the Emperor
              from doing justice to the courage and patriotism, which
              M. Lanjuinais had displayed on some trying occasions.]

The sitting of the day following gave Napoleon another subject of
dissatisfaction. The assembly had expressed its wish the day before,
to be acquainted with the list of the members of the Chamber of Peers.
The Emperor, from the motive I have mentioned, made answer, that this
list would not be fixed, till after the opening of the session. This
answer excited violent murmurs: one member proposed, to declare, that
the chamber would not proceed to constitute itself definitively, till
it was furnished with the list, which it had required. Thus from its
entrance on its career, and even before it was installed, the chamber
announced its design, of establishing itself in a state of
insurrection against the head of the government.

The third sitting witnessed an opprobrium, hitherto unheard of in our
national assemblies. The same member, M. Dupin[29], advanced, that
the oath to be taken to the sovereign by the nation, in order to be
valid and legitimate, should not be administered by virtue of a
decree, that emanated from the will of the prince alone, but by virtue
of a law, which is the will of the nation constitutionally expressed.
In consequence he proposed, to resolve, that no oath could be required
of it, but in execution of a law; and that this oath should no way
prejudice its right, subsequently to improve the constitution.

              [Footnote 29: A celebrated counsel, who defended Marshal
              Ney, and the three generous liberators of M.
              Delavalette, Wilson, Bruce, and Hutchinson.]

This proposal, seconded by M. Roi[30], tended to declare null in law
and fact the oath, which the nation and army, represented by their
electors and deputies, had just taken to the Emperor and the
constitution in the solemnity of the _Champ de Mai_: and as it was
this oath, that hitherto formed the only tie binding the nation to the
Emperor, and Napoleon to the nation, it followed that the annulling it
deprived the Emperor of that character of sovereignty and legitimacy,
with which he had been invested, and rendered his rights a subject of

              [Footnote 30: Since minister of finance to the king.]

The motion of M. Dupin was rejected unanimously: but the chamber, in
complaisantly permitting a man, to dare within its walls, to call in
question the legitimacy of the Emperor and his authority, and
endeavour to render him foreign to the nation, was guilty of an act of
weakness and indifference, that deeply grieved Napoleon. "I perceive
with sorrow," he said, "that the deputies are not disposed, to act in
union with me; and that they let no opportunity escape of seeking a
quarrel. Of what have they to complain? What have I done to them? I
have given them liberty with an unsparing hand; I have given them
perhaps too much; for kings in the present day have more need than
nations of guarantees. I will act with them as long as I can: but if
they think to make of me a King Log, or a second Louis XVI., they are
mistaken; I am not a man to receive the law from counsellors[31], or
to allow my head to be cut off by factionaries."

              [Footnote 31: MM. Dupin and Roi, who appeared to him the
              heads of the party of insurgents.]

The hostile disposition of the representatives would have given him no
uneasiness at any other time: the constitution conferred on him the
right of dissolving the chamber, and he would have availed himself of
it: but on the eve of a war, and in the critical situation in which he
was placed, he could not have recourse to such an expedient, without
endangering the fate of France. He resolved, therefore, to conceal his
vexation and ill humour, and permit what he could not prevent.

On the 7th of June he repaired to the legislative body, to open the
chambers; and, after having received the oaths of the peers and
deputies, delivered the following speech:

"Gentlemen of the chamber of peers, and gentlemen of the chamber of

"Circumstances, and the confidence of the people, have invested me
these three months with unlimited power. To-day the most urgent desire
of my heart is accomplished: I come to commence the constitutional

"Men are too feeble, to ensure the future: institutions alone fix the
fate of nations. Monarchy is necessary in France, to guaranty the
liberty, the independence, and the rights of the people.

"Our constitution is made up of scattered parts: one of our most
important occupations will be, to unite them within one frame, and
arrange them in one simple design. This labour will transmit the fame
of the present period to future generations.

"I am ambitious of seeing France enjoy all the liberty possible: I say
possible, because anarchy always leads to an absolute government.

"A formidable coalition of kings aims at our independence: their
armies are arriving on our frontiers.

"The frigate _la Melpomène_ has been attacked and taken in the
Mediterranean, after a bloody engagement, by an English seventy-four.
Blood has been shed during peace[32].

              [Footnote 32: She was attacked and taken near the island
              of Ischia, on the 30th of April.]

"Our enemies reckon upon our intestine divisions. They are exciting
and fomenting civil war. Meetings have taken place; and a
communication is kept up with Ghent, as in 1792 it was with Coblentz.
Legislative measures are indispensable: to your patriotism, your
intelligence, and your attachment to my person, I confide myself
without reserve.

"The liberty of the press is inherent in our present constitution: no
change can be made in this, without altering our whole political
system: but we want repressive laws, particularly in the present
state of the nation. I recommend this important subject to your

"The ministers will make known to you the state of our affairs.

"The finances would be in a satisfactory condition, were it not for
the increased expense, which the present circumstances have required.

"Still we might answer the whole, if the sums to be received, included
in the budget, could all be realised in the course of the year; and my
minister of finance will turn your attention to the means of attaining
this result.

"It is possible, that the first duty of a prince may soon call me, to
fight for our country at the head of the children of the nation. The
army and I will do our duty.

"Do you, peers and representatives, set the nation an example of
confidence, energy, and patriotism: and, like the senate of the great
people of antiquity, resolve rather to die, than to survive the
dishonour and degradation of France. The sacred cause of our country
will be triumphant!"

This speech, full of moderation and reason, made a profound
impression on the assembly. Shouts of "Long live the Emperor!" much
more numerous than had burst out at his arrival, were heard, and
continued long after his departure.

The next day, the chamber of representatives was employed in drawing
up its address.

An indiscreet admirer of Napoleon, after having observed, that
flattery had decreed the surname of Desired to a prince, whom the
nation had neither called nor expected, moved, that the title of
Saviour should be decreed to Napoleon, who had come to save France
from regal slavery. This ridiculous motion, smothered by ironical
laughter, gave rise to a multitude of sarcasms and offensive
reflections, which were reported to Napoleon, and which, without
personally wounding him, for he had too high a sense of his glory, to
think it affected by such clamours, injured him in the opinion of

Napoleon, like all great men, loved praise: public censure, when he
thought it unjust, made no impression on him. This indifference did
not arise from the pride of the diadem; it was the result of the
contempt he felt for the judgment of men in general. "He was
accustomed to look for the reward of the pains and labours of life
only in the opinion of posterity."

The assembly rejected the adulatory proposal of M. *****; and in this
it did right. But it did wrong, not to express its decision so as to
soften what there was in it of harsh, unjust, and disagreeable to the
Emperor, who had not provoked it.

This rudeness did not surprise him: experience had already convinced
him, that the chamber would let no opportunity of vexing him escape

This chamber, notwithstanding, was composed entirely of partisans of
the 20th of March: but all the deputies were not partisans of
Napoleon, if they were of the revolution; some in consequence of
personal enmity, others from remembrance of his despotism, and fear of
its return.

The enemies of Napoleon, disguising their hatred under the cloak of a
love of liberty, had insinuated themselves into the minds of the
patriots; and, with the additional act in their hands, had drawn them
into their ranks, under the apparent pretence of combating and
bridling the incurable tyranny of the Emperor.

On the other hand, the friends of Napoleon, while they refused to join
in this coalition, did not attempt to break it; because they inwardly
dreaded the encroachments of the imperial power, and were not sorry to
leave to others the task of opposing it.

Thus the whole assembly, though instigated by different motives,
joined to set themselves in a state of hostile opposition to the head
of the government; without perceiving, that this inconsiderate,
unjust, and ill-timed opposition, would occasion anxiety, mistrust,
and irresolution, in the minds of all; and destroy that national
harmony, that union of interests, wills, and sentiments, the only
source of strength to Napoleon, of safety to France.

Be this as it may, the chamber of deputies, after having spent two
days in discussing the substance and style of its address, was
admitted, as well as the chamber of peers, to appear at the foot of
the throne.

The chamber of peers spoke first, and said:

"Sire; your readiness to subject to constitutional forms and rules
that absolute power, which circumstances, and the confidence of the
people, had imposed on you; the past guarantee given to the rights of
the nation; the devotion, that leads you into the midst of the perils,
which the army is about to brave; penetrate every heart with profound
gratitude. The peers of France are come to offer to your Majesty the
homage of this sentiment.

"You have manifested, Sire, principles, that are those of the nation:
they must necessarily be ours. Yes, all power proceeds from the
people, is instituted far the people; a constitutional monarchy is
necessary for the French nation, as a guarantee of its liberty, and of
its independence.

"Sire, while you shall be on the frontiers, at the head of the
children of the country, the chamber of peers will concur with zeal in
all the legislative measures, that circumstances may require, to
compel foreigners to acknowledge the independence of the nation, and
render the principles sanctioned by the will of the people triumphant
at home.

"The interest of France is inseparable from yours. If fortune should
deceive your efforts, disasters, Sire, will not weaken our
perseverance, and would redouble our attachment to you.

"If success should correspond to the justice of our cause, and the
hopes; we are accustomed to conceive from your genius and the valour
of our armies, France desires no other fruit from it than peace. Our
institutions are a pledge to Europe, that the French government can
never be hurried on by the seductions of victory."

The Emperor answered:

"The contest in which we are engaged is serious. The ardour of
prosperity is not the danger that threatens us at present. Foreigners
are desirous of making us pass under the _Caudine forks_!

"The justice of our cause, the public spirit of the nation, and the
courage of the army, are potent grounds, to hope for success; but, if
we should experience disasters, then in particular I should wish, to
see all the energy of this great people displayed; then I should find
in the chamber of peers proofs of attachment to their country, and to

"It is in times of difficulty, that great nations, like great men,
display all the energy of their character, and become an object of
admiration to posterity[33].

              [Footnote 33: This is a remarkable sentence; as it
              expresses a sound principle: events have shown, how
              little the French deserve the name of a _great nation_.

"Mr. President and gentlemen deputies of the chamber of peers, I thank
you for the sentiments which you have expressed to me in the name of
the chamber."

Count Lanjuinais, at the head of the deputation of the chamber of
representatives, then delivered the following speech:

"Sire, the chamber of representatives received with profound emotion
the words pronounced from the throne at the solemn sitting, when your
Majesty, laying down the extraordinary power you were exercising,
proclaimed the commencement of a constitutional monarchy.

"The principal bases of this monarchy, the guardian of the liberty,
equality, and happiness of the people, have been acknowledged by your
Majesty, who, voluntarily meeting every scruple, as well as every
wish, has declared, that the care of collecting together our scattered
constitutions, and arranging them in one whole, was among the most
important occupations reserved for the legislature. Faithful to its
mission, the chamber of representatives will fulfil the task that is
devolved to it, in this noble work: it demands, that, to satisfy the
will of the public, as well as the wishes of your Majesty, the
deliberations of the nation shall rectify, as soon as possible, what
the urgency of our situation may have produced defective, or left
imperfect, in the whole of our constitutions.

"But at the same time, Sire, the chamber of representatives will not
show itself less eager, to proclaim its sentiments and its principles
with regard to the terrible conflict, that threatens to ensanguine the
fields of Europe. After a series of disastrous events, invaded France
appeared listened to for a moment on the establishment of its
constitution, only to see itself almost immediately subjected to a
royal charter, emanating from absolute power, to a system of
reformation, in its nature always revocable....

"Resuming now the exercise of its rights; rallying round the hero,
whom its confidence invests anew with the government of the state;
France is astonished and grieved, to see sovereigns in arms demand of
it the reason of an internal change, which is the result of the
national will, and affects neither its existing connexions with other
governments, nor their security. France cannot admit the distinctions,
under which the coalized powers endeavour to cloak their aggression.
To attack the monarch of its choice is to attack the independence of
the nation. It is entirely in arms, to defend this independence; and
to repel every family, and every prince, that they may dare wish to
impose on it. No ambitious project enters into the thoughts of the
French people: even the will of a victorious prince would be
impotent, to carry the nation beyond the limits of its own defence.
But to protect its territory, to maintain its liberty, its honour, its
dignity, it is ready to make any sacrifice. Why are we not allowed,
Sire, still to hope, that these preparations for war, caused perhaps
by the irritations of pride, and by illusions that every day must
weaken, will vanish before the want of a peace necessary to all the
nations of Europe; and which would restore to your Majesty your
consort, to the French the heir to the throne? But already blood has
been shed: the signal of battles, prepared against the independence
and liberty of the French, has been given in the name of a people, who
carry to the highest point their zeal for independence and liberty. No
doubt among the communications, which your Majesty has promised us,
the chambers will find proofs of the efforts you have made, to
maintain the peace of the world. If all these efforts must remain
useless, may the calamities of the war fall on those, by whom it has
been provoked!

"The chamber of deputies waits only for the documents, that have been
announced to it, to concur with all its power in the measures, that
the success of a war so legitimate may demand. It is eager, to be
acquainted with the wants and resources of the state, in order to
enunciate its wishes: and while your Majesty, opposing to the most
unjust aggression the valour of our national armies, and the force of
your genius, seeks in victory only the means of arriving at a durable
peace, the chamber of representatives is persuaded, that it shall be
proceeding toward the same end, by labouring unremittingly at the
compact, the perfecting of which must cement still more closely the
union between the people and the throne; and strengthen in the eyes of
Europe the pledge of our engagements, by the improvement of our

The Emperor answered:

"I find with satisfaction my own sentiments, in those you express to
me. Under our present weighty circumstances, my thoughts are absorbed
by the imminent war, to the success of which are attached the honour
and independence of France.

"I shall set out this night, to place myself at the head of my armies:
the movements of the different corps of the enemy render my presence
there indispensable. During my absence, I shall see with pleasure,
that a committee named by each chamber is meditating on our

"The constitution is our rallying point: it should be our pole-star in
this season of tempests. Every public discussion, that would tend,
directly or indirectly, to diminish the confidence we ought to have in
its arrangements, would be a misfortune to the state: we should find
ourselves in the midst of shoals, without a compass, and without a
chart. The crisis in which we are engaged is violent. Let us not
imitate the example of the Lower Empire, which, pressed on all sides
by the barbarians, rendered itself the laughing-stock of posterity, by
engaging in abstract discussions, at the moment when the battering ram
was bursting open the gates of the city.

"Independently of the legislative measures, which internal
circumstances require, you will deem it useful perhaps, to occupy
yourselves on regulating laws, calculated to render the constitution
active. These may be subjects of your public labours without any

"Mr. President, and gentlemen deputies of the chamber of
representatives, the sentiments expressed in your address sufficiently
demonstrate the attachment of the chamber to my person, and all the
patriotism, with which it is animated. In all events my course will
ever be straight and firm. Assist me to save our country. The first
representative of the people, I have contracted the obligation, which
I renew, of employing, in times of greater tranquillity, all the
prerogatives of the crown, and the little experience I have acquired,
to second you in the improvement of our institutions."

The voice of Napoleon, naturally emphatic, gave prominence to the
masculine thoughts, that sparkled throughout both these speeches: and
when he arrived at this passage, "every public discussion, that would
tend to diminish the confidence," &c.; and at this, "let us not
imitate the Lower Empire;" he gave these salutary exhortations with a
penetrating look, that made the instigators of discord cast down their
eyes. The sound part of the representatives approved the Emperor's
answer: the rest considered it as a lecture offensive to the dignity
of the chamber. There are some men, who think they may be allowed to
push remonstrance to insult, yet cannot listen to the most prudent and
temperate advice, without being offended.

The Emperor set out, as he had announced, in the night of the 12th of

The question of deciding, whether he ought to be the first, to give
the signal for hostilities, or not, had frequently recurred to his

By attacking the enemy, he had the advantage of engaging before the
arrival of the Russians, and of carrying the war out of the French
territories. If he were victorious, he might raise up Belgium, and
detach from the coalition a part of the old confederation of the
Rhine, and perhaps Austria.

By waiting to be attacked, he retained it in his power to choose his
field of battle, to increase his means of resistance in an infinite
degree, and of carrying the strength and devotion of his army to the
highest pitch. An army of Frenchmen, fighting under the eyes of their
mothers, their wives, and their children, for the preservation of
their well-being, and in defence of the honour and independence of
their country, would have been invincible. It was the latter
alternative, to which Napoleon gave the preference: it agreed with the
hope he involuntarily cherished of coming to an agreement with the
foreign powers, and with his fear of gaining the ill-will of the
chamber, if he commenced the war without previously exhausting all
means of obtaining peace.

But Napoleon felt, that, to render a war national, all the citizens
must be united in heart and will with their chief: and convinced,
that the untoward disposition of the chamber would increase daily, and
introduce division and trouble into the state, he resolved to commence
the war; hoping, that fortune would favour his arms, and that victory
would reconcile him to the deputies, or furnish him with the means of
reducing them to order.

The Emperor entrusted the government during his absence to a council,
composed of the fourteen persons following:

  Prince Joseph, president.
  Prince Lucien.

  Prince Cambacérès.
  The prince of Eckmuhl.
  The duke of Vicenza.
  The duke of Gaëta.
  The duke of Decrès.
  The duke of Otranto.
  Count Mollien.
  Count Carnot.

    _Ministers of State_[34].
  Count Défermon.
  Count Regnaud de St. Jean d'Angeli.
  Count Boulay de la Meurthe.
  Count Merlin.

              [Footnote 34: Ministers without any ostensible office,
              for their conduct in which they would be responsible. We
              have had members somewhat similar in our privy council.

He said to them: "To-night I set off: do your duty: the French army
and I will do ours: I recommend to you union, zeal, and energy."

It appeared strange, in a representative monarchy, where
responsibility bore hard on ministers, to see ministers of state, who
were not responsible, associated in the government.

This was remarked to the Emperor, and he answered, that he had added
ministers of state to the council, that they might be the interpreters
of the government to the chamber of deputies; that he wished the
ministers at the head of particular offices, to appear in this chamber
as little as possible, as long as their constitutional education was
incomplete; that they were not familiarized to the tribune[35]; that
they might there disclose opinions or principles, without intending
it, that government could not avow; and that it would be inconvenient
and difficult, to contradict the words of a minister, while those of a
minister of state might be disavowed, without implicating the
government, or wounding its dignity.

              [Footnote 35: The members of the French chambers do not
              speak in their places, but from a pulpit erected for the
              purpose. _Tr._]

Were these the only motives? I think not. He distrusted the perfidy of
the Duke of Otranto, and the indifference of more ministers than one;
and he was glad to find a reason, or a pretence, for introducing into
the council of regency the four ministers of state, whose devotion and
unshaken fidelity appeared to him an additional guarantee. When he
made known his intention of commencing the war, the Duke of Vicenza
solicited the favour of attending him to the army, "If I do not leave
you at Paris," answered Napoleon, "on whom can I depend?" How much is
expressed in these few words!

The day after his departure, the ministers of the interior and for
foreign affairs repaired to the chamber of peers. M. Carnot laid
before it a statement of the situation of the Emperor and the empire.

"His Majesty," said he, "enlightened by past events, has returned,
having at heart the full desire and hope of preserving peace abroad,
and of governing paternally at home....

"If the Emperor were less secure of the firmness of his character,
and the purity of his resolutions, he might consider himself as placed
between two shoals, the partisans of the expelled dynasty, and those
of the _republican system_. But the former, having been unable to
retain what they possessed, must be still less capable of seizing on
it anew: the latter, undeceived by long experience, and bound by
gratitude to the prince, who has been their deliverer, are become his
most zealous defenders; their candour, as well known as their
philanthropic ardour, surround the throne occupied by the august
founder of a new dynasty, who glories in having issued from the ranks
of the people."

After this declaration, to which the republican opinions of M. Carnot
gave great weight, he entered into an examination of the several
branches of the public administration in succession.

He disclosed the state, to which the calamities of the times, and the
mismanagement of the regal government, had reduced the finances of the
communes, the hospitals, religious worship, public works, mines,
manufactures, commerce, and public instruction; and made known the
system of improvement, which the Emperor had formed, and already
commenced, to restore to the communes and hospitals their former
resources, to public works their activity, to commerce its scope, to
the university its lustre, to manufactures their prosperity, to the
clergy that respect and easiness of circumstances, which it had
forfeited through the persecutions, directed by it, at the instigation
of the emigrants, against the pretended spoilers of their property.

When come to the war department, he announced, that the Emperor had
re-established on its old foundations the army, the elements of which
had been intentionally dispersed by the late government. That since
the 20th of March our forces had been raised by voluntary enlistments,
and the recall of the ancient soldiery, from a hundred thousand men,
to three hundred and seventy-five thousand. That the imperial guard,
the noblest ornament of France during peace, and its strongest rampart
during war, would soon amount to forty thousand men. That the
artillery, notwithstanding the twelve thousand six hundred pieces of
ordnance delivered to the enemy by the fatal convention of the 23d of
April, 1814, had risen from its ruins, and now reckoned a hundred
batteries, and twenty thousand horses. That our disorganised arsenals
had resumed their labours, and were replacing the army stores. That
our manufactories of arms, lately abandoned and empty, had made or
repaired four hundred thousand muskets in the course of two months.
That a hundred and seventy fortified towns, or fortresses, both on the
frontiers and in the interior, had been provisioned, repaired, and put
into a condition, to resist an enemy. That the national guard,
completely re-organised, had already supplied for the defence of the
frontiers two hundred and forty battalions, or a hundred and fifty
thousand men; and that the successive formation of the other
battalions of flank companies would produce more than two hundred
thousand men. That the volunteers in the walled towns, and the pupils
of the Lyceums and _special_ schools[36], had been formed into
companies of artillery, and constituted a body of more than
twenty-five thousand excellent gunners. So that eight hundred and
fifty thousand Frenchmen would defend the independence, the liberty,
and the honour of the country; while the sedentary national guards
were preparing themselves in the interior, to furnish fresh resources
for the triumph of the national cause.

              [Footnote 36: These were schools intended for finishing
              public education.--_Tr._]

In fine, after having taken a hasty view of the hostile dispositions
of our enemies, of the interior disturbances they had excited, and of
the means the Emperor had adopted to suppress them, M. Carnot
concluded his report by expressing a wish, that the two chambers might
soon bestow on France, in concert with the Emperor, those organising
laws, which were necessary _to prevent licentiousness from assuming
the place of liberty, and anarchy that of order_.

This report, in which M. Carnot did not totally conceal the
apprehensions, with which the progress of that spirit of
insubordination and demagogism, manifested by certain members of the
chamber, inspired the Emperor and the nation, was immediately followed
by one from the Duke of Vicenza, on the menacing dispositions of
foreign powers, and the fruitless efforts, that the Emperor had made,
to bring them to moderate and pacific sentiments. Their hostile
resolutions he ascribed chiefly to the suggestions of the cabinet of
London. He afterward made known the military preparations of the four
great powers, the leagues renewed or recently formed against us, and
concluded thus:

"To believe it possible, to maintain peace, at present, therefore,
would be a dangerous blindness: war surrounds us on all sides, and it
is on the field of battle alone, that peace can be regained by France.
The English, the Prussians, the Austrians, are in line of battle; the
Russians are in full march. It becomes a duty, to hasten the day of
engagement, when too long hesitation might endanger the welfare of the

These two reports were presented to the chamber of deputies by
ministers of state, at the same time when the ministers were making
them known to the chamber of peers. Instead of impressing upon the
representatives the necessity of frankly joining the Emperor, and, as
one of them observed, of not entering into a contest with the
government, at a moment when the blood of Frenchmen was about to be
shed, they suggested to them only steril discussions of the
impropriety of the connexion of ministers of state with the chamber,
and of the urgency of appointing a committee, to remould the
additional act. An immoderate desire of speechifying, and of making
laws, had seized the greater number of the deputies: but a state is
not to be saved by empty words, and schemes of a constitution. The
Romans, when their country was in danger, instead of deliberating,
suspended the sway of the laws, and gave themselves a dictator.

The next day, the 17th, a new report, made to the Emperor by the
minister of police, on the moral state of France, was communicated to
the two chambers.

"Sire," said this minister, "it is my duty, to tell you the whole
truth. Our enemies are emboldened by instruments without, and
supporters within. They wait only for a favourable moment, to realize
the plan they conceived twenty years ago, and which during these
twenty years has been continually frustrated, of uniting the camp of
Jalès to Vendée, and seducing a part of the multitude into that
confederacy which extends from the Mediterranean to the Channel.

"In this system, the plains on the left bank of the Loire, the
population of which it is most easy to mislead, are the principal
focus of the insurrection; which, by the help of the wandering bands
of Britanny, is to spread into Normandy, where the vicinity of the
islands, and the disposition of the coasts, will render communication
more easy. On the other side it rests on the Cevennes, to extend
thence to the banks of the Rhone by the revolts, that may be excited
in some parts of Languedoc and Provence. Bordeaux has been the centre
of the direction of these movements from the beginning.

"This plan is not abandoned. Nay more: the party has been increased,
at every change in our revolution, by all the malecontents, that
events have produced; by all the factious, that a certainty of amnesty
has encouraged; and by all the ambitious, who have been desirous of
acquiring some political importance in the changes they foreboded.

"...... It is this party, that now disturbs the interior. Marseilles,
Toulouse, and Bordeaux, are agitated by it. Marseilles, where the
spirit of sedition animates even the lowest classes of the population;
where the laws have been disregarded: Toulouse, which seems still
under the influence of that revolutionary organisation, which was
imparted to it some months ago: Bordeaux, where all the germs of
revolt are deposited, and intensely fermenting.

"It is this party, which by false alarms, false hopes, distribution of
money, and the employment of threats, has succeeded in stirring up
peaceable agriculturists, throughout the territory included between
the Loire, la Vendée, the ocean, and the Rhone. Arms and ammunition
have been landed there. The hydra of rebellion revives, re-appears
wherever it formerly exercised its ravages, and is not destroyed by
our successes at St. Gilles and Aisenay. On the other side of the
Loire, bands are desolating the department of Morbihan, and some parts
of those of Isle and Vilaine, the Coasts of the North, and Sarthe.
They have invaded in a moment the towns of Aurai, Rhedon, and
Ploermel, and the plains of Mayenne as far as the gates of Laval; they
stop the soldiers and sailors, that are recalled; they disarm the
land-holders; increase their numbers by peasants, whom they compel to
march with them; pillage the public treasures, annihilate the
instruments of administration, threaten the persons in office, seize
the stage coaches, stop the couriers, and for a moment intercepted the
communication between Mans and Angers, Angers and Nantes, Nantes and
Rennes, and Rennes and Vannes.

"On the borders of the Channel, Dieppe and Havre have been agitated by
seditious commotions. Throughout the whole of the 15th division, the
battalions of the national militia have been formed only with the
greatest difficulty. The soldiers and sailors have refused, to answer
their call; and have obeyed it only by compulsion. Caen has twice been
disturbed by the resistance of the royalists; and in some of the
circles of the Orne bands are formed as in Britanny and Mayenne.

"In fine, all kinds of writings, that can discourage the weak,
embolden the factious, shake confidence, divide the nation, bring the
government into contempt; all the pamphlets, that issue from the
printing-offices of Belgium, or the clandestine presses of France; all
that the foreign newspapers publish against us, all that the
party-writers compose; are distributed, hawked about, and diffused
with impunity, for want of restrictive laws, and from the abuse of the
liberty of the press.

"Firm in the system of moderation, which your Majesty had adopted, you
have thought it right, to wait for the meeting of the chambers, that
legal precautions only might be opposed to manoeuvres, which by the
ordinary course of law are not always punishable, and which it could
neither foresee, nor prevent......"

The Duke of Otranto, entering on the subject, then discussed the laws,
which, issued under analogous circumstances, might have been applied
on the present occasion; and, as these laws appeared to him,
impolitic, dangerous, and inadequate, he concluded, that it was
indispensable for the chambers, immediately to set about framing new
laws, which were necessary to check the licentiousness of the press,
and circumscribe personal liberty, till internal peace and order were

This report did not make the impression, that might have been expected
from it. The deputies, accurately acquainted with what was passing in
their departments, knew, that facts had been misrepresented. They
persuaded themselves, that the melancholy picture of the situation of
France, presented to them by M. Fouché, had been drawn up by order of
the Emperor, with the view to alarm them, and render them more docile
to his will.

The separate committees of the chamber rung with the contradictions,
more or less direct, that each representative gave to the assertions
of the minister. One of the members of the deputation from Calvados,
would not rest satisfied with this civil way of giving him the lie,
but declared openly from the tribune, that the agents of the minister
had deceived their principal, by describing to him a personal quarrel
of no consequence, and quelled on the spot, as a general insurrection
of the royalists. They might have spared themselves the trouble of
telling M. Fouché, that his report exaggerated the truth, and
transformed private occurrences into public events: he knew this.
Already devoted to the cause of the Bourbons, he had intentionally
distorted facts, with the design of giving hope and consistency to the
royalists, and of intimidating, cooling, and dividing, the partisans
of Napoleon[37].

              [Footnote 37: The Duke of Otranto excelled in the art of
              bending facts to his own liking. He exaggerated or
              extenuated them with so much skill, grasped them with so
              much address, and deduced consequences from them so
              naturally, that he was often able, to fascinate
              Napoleon. More securely to deceive and seduce him, he
              loaded him in his reports with protestations of
              attachment and fidelity; and he took care to contrive
              occasions of adding marginal notes with his own hand, in
              which he adroitly displayed in a distinguished manner
              his devotion, discernment, and activity. All his reports
              in general bore the same stamp: with much of cunning,
              and much of talent, they offered to the eye a rare and
              valuable assemblage of quickness and judgment, of
              moderation and firmness: at every word you might
              discover the able minister, the profound politician, the
              consummate statesman: in short, M. Fouché would have
              wanted nothing, to place him in the rank of great
              ministers, had he been what I shall call an honest
              statesman (_un ministre honnête homme._)]

The chamber, instead of occupying itself on laws and measures for
promoting the public safety, the introduction of which had been
referred to them, left to the minister the task of proposing them. It
preferred the resumption of its discussions on its favourite subject,
the additional act; and I shall leave it, to waste its time in
abstract dissertations, while I return to Napoleon.

The Emperor, who set out on the 12th at three in the morning, had gone
over the fortifications of Soissons and Laon in his way, and arrived
at Avesnes on the 13th. His anxious thoughts were incessantly turned
toward Paris. Placed as it were between two fires, he seemed less to
dread the enemies he had before him, than those he left behind.

On the 14th of June the whole of his forces amounted to three hundred
thousand men; of which only a hundred and fifty thousand infantry, and
thirty-five thousand cavalry, were in a state to take the field.

These hundred and eighty-five thousand men he had formed into four
armies, and four corps of observation.

The first, under the name of the grand army, was intended to act
immediately under his own orders. This was subdivided into five
principal corps, commanded

The 1st by Count d'Erlon;

The 2d by Count Reille;

The 3d by Count Vandamme;

The 4th by Count Gérard;

The 5th (called the 6th) by Count de Lobau[38]:

              [Footnote 38: The 5th corps became the army of the
              Rhine, and the 6th, which at first was only a corps of
              reserve, took its place, without changing its number.]

And into a corps of cavalry commanded by Marshal Grouchy.

This army, exclusive of the imperial guard, which was 4500 horse, and
14,000 foot, amounted to a hundred thousand men, or thereabouts, of
whom sixteen thousand were cavalry.

The second, entitled the army of the Alps, was commanded by Marshal
the Duke of Albuféra. It was to occupy the passes of Italy, and the
border country of the Pays de Gex. Its strength might be twelve
thousand men.

The third, styled the army of the Rhine, had at its head General Count
Rapp; and its business was, to protect the frontiers of Alsace. It was
estimated at eighteen thousand men.

The fourth, called the army of the West, was employed in La Vendée;
and, after that country was quieted, it was to be incorporated in the
grand army. It consisted of seventeen thousand men; and General
Lamarque was its commander-in-chief.

The first corps of observation, stationed at Béford, was commanded by
General Lecourbe. It had to defend the passages from Switzerland, and
Franche Comté; and to form a communication, according to
circumstances, by its left with the army of the Alps, or by its right
with the army of the Rhine[39].

              [Footnote 39: Surely the army of the Alps must have been
              on its right, and that of the Rhine on its left, unless
              it was stationed with its rear to the enemy.--_Tr._]

The other three corps, the commanders of which were Marshal Brune at
Marseilles, General Clausel at Bordeaux, and General Decaen at
Toulouse, were to maintain the tranquillity of the country; and, in
case of need, to oppose any invasion, that the Spaniards might attempt
on the one side, or the Piedmontese and English on the other.

These four corps of observation amounted together to about twenty
thousand men.

They were to be supported and reinforced by ten thousand soldiers, and
fifty thousand national guards receiving pay.

The two armies of the Rhine and of the Alps were to be the same,
fifty thousand men of the line, and a hundred thousand chasseurs and
grenadiers of the national guard.

In fine, the army commanded by the Emperor in person was to be
augmented by a hundred thousand national guards, who would have been
stationed in a second line; and by sixty thousand regulars, who, as
well as those mentioned above, were daily forming in the _dépôts_.

All these resources, when they should be disposable, and they might be
before the end of the campaign, would have mounted the strength of the
acting army to more than three hundred thousand fighting men; and that
of the army of reserve, namely the national guards in the second line,
or in the fortified towns, to four hundred thousand men. They would
have been recruited, the first by levies from the conscriptions of
1814 and 1815; the second, by calling into service fresh battalions of
the flank companies.

The whole army was superb, and full of ardour: but the Emperor, more a
slave, than could have been believed, to his remembrances and
habitudes, committed the fault of replacing it under the command of
its former chiefs. Most of these, notwithstanding their addresses to
the King, had not ceased to pray for the triumph of the imperial
cause; yet they did not appear disposed to serve it with the ardour
and devotion, that circumstances demanded. They were not now the men,
who, full of youth and ambition, were generously prodigal of their
lives, to acquire rank and fame; they were men tired of war, and who,
having reached the summit of promotion, and being enriched by the
spoils of the enemy or the bounty of Napoleon, had no further wish,
than peaceably to enjoy their good fortune under the shade of their

The colonels and generals, who entered on their career subsequent to
them, murmured at finding themselves placed under their tutelage. The
soldiers themselves were dissatisfied: but this dissatisfaction did
not abate their confidence of victory, for Napoleon was at their

              [Footnote 40: The ascendancy he possessed over the minds
              and courage of the soldiers was truly incomprehensible.
              A word, a gesture, was sufficient, to inspire them with
              enthusiasm, and make them face with joyful blindness the
              most terrible dangers. If he ordered them mal-à-propos,
              to rush to such a point, to attack such another, the
              inconsistency or temerity of the manoeuvre at first
              struck the good sense of the soldiers: but immediately
              they thought, that their general would not have given
              such an order, without a motive for it, and would not
              have exposed them wantonly. "He knows what he is about,"
              they would say, and immediately rush on death, with
              shouts of "Long live the Emperor!"]

On the 14th the Emperor directed the following proclamation, to be
issued in the orders of the day.

                                        "Avesnes, June 14, 1815.


"This is the anniversary of Marengo and of Friedland, which twice
decided the fate of Europe: then, as after Austerlitz, as after
Wagram, we were too generous! We trusted to the protestations and
oaths of the princes, whom we left on the throne! Now, however, in
coalition against us, they aim at the independence and the most sacred
rights of France, They have commenced the most unjust of aggressions.
Let us then march to meet them: are not they and we still the same

"Soldiers, at Jena, against these same Prussians, now so arrogant, you
were but one to three, and at Montmirail one to six! Let those among
you, who were prisoners to the English, give you an account of their
hulks (_pontons_), and of the dreadful miseries they endured.

"The Saxons, the Belgians, the Hanoverians, the soldiers of the
confederation of the Rhine, groan at being obliged to lend their arms
to the cause of princes, who are enemies to justice, and to the
rights common to all people. They know, that this coalition is
insatiate. After having devoured twelve millions of Polanders, twelve
millions of Italians, a million of Saxons, six millions of Belgians,
it would devour all the states of the second order in Germany.

"Madmen! a moment of prosperity has blinded them. The oppression and
humiliation of the French people are out of their power! If they enter
France, they will find in it their graves.

"Soldiers, we have forced marches to make, battles to fight, hazards
to run; but, with firmness, victory will be ours: the rights, the
honour, and the happiness of our country will be reconquered.

"To every Frenchman, who has any heart, the moment is come, to conquer
or die!"

The plan of the campaign adopted by the Emperor was worthy the courage
of the French, and the high reputation of their chief.

Information given by a hand to be depended upon, and agents furnished
by the Duke of Otranto[41], had made known the position of the allies
in all its particulars. Napoleon knew, that the army of Wellington was
dispersed over the country from the borders of the sea to Nivelles:
that the right of the Prussians rested on Charleroy; and that the rest
of their army was stationed in échélon indefinitely as far as the
Rhine. He judged, that the enemies' lines were too much extended; and
that it would be practicable for him, by not giving them time to close
up, to separate the two armies, and fall in succession on their troops
thus surprised.

              [Footnote 41: These agents, paid by the king, went and
              came from Ghent to Paris, and from Paris to Ghent. The
              Duke of Otranto, who, no doubt, had good reasons for
              knowing them, offered the Emperor, to procure him news
              of what passed beyond the frontiers; and it was by their
              means the Emperor knew in great part the position of the
              enemies' armies. Thus the Duke of Otranto, if we may
              credit appearances, with one hand betrayed to the enemy
              the secrets of France, and with the other to Napoleon
              the secrets of the Bourbons and the foreign powers.]

For this purpose he had united all his cavalry into a single body of
twenty thousand horse, with which he intended to dart like lightning
into the midst of the enemies' cantonments.

If victory favoured this bold stroke, the centre of our army would
occupy Brussels on the second day, while the corps of the right and of
the left drove the Prussians to the Meuse, and the English to the
Scheldt. Belgium being conquered, he would have armed the
malecontents, and marched from success to success as far as the Rhine,
where he would have solicited peace anew.

On the 14th, in the night, our army, the presence of which the Emperor
had taken care to conceal, was to commence its march: nothing
indicated, that the enemy had foreseen our irruption, and every thing
promised us grand results; when Napoleon was informed, that General
Bourmont, Colonels Clouet and Villoutreys, and two other officers, had
just deserted to the enemy.

He knew from Marshal Ney, that M. de Bourmont, at the time of the
occurrences at Besançon, had shown some hesitation, and was backward
to employ him. But M. de Bourmont, having given General Gérard his
word of honour, to serve the Emperor faithfully; and this general,
whom Napoleon highly valued, having answered for Bourmont; the Emperor
consented, to admit him into the service. How could he have supposed,
that this officer, who had covered himself with glory in 1814, would,
in 1815, go over to the enemy on the eve of a battle?

Napoleon immediately made such alterations in his plan of attack, as
this unexpected treason rendered necessary, and then marched forward.

On the 15th, at one in the morning, he was in person at Jumiguan on
the Eure.

At three, his army moved in three columns, and debouched suddenly at
Beaumont, Maubeuge, and Philippeville.

A corps of infantry, under General Ziethen, attempted to dispute the
passage of the Sambre. The fourth corps of chasseurs, supported by the
ninth, broke it sword in hand, and took three hundred prisoners. The
sappers and mariners of the guard, sent after the enemy, to repair the
bridges, did not allow them time to destroy them. They followed them
as sharp shooters, and penetrated with them into the great square. The
brave Pajol soon arrived with his cavalry, and Charleroy was ours. The
inhabitants, happy at seeing the French once more, saluted them
unanimously with continued shouts of "Long live the Emperor! France
for ever!"

General Pajol immediately sent the hussars of General Clary in pursuit
of the Prussians, and this brave regiment finished its day by the
capture of a standard, and the destruction of a battalion, that
ventured to resist it.

During this time, the second corps passed the Sambre at Marchiennes,
and overthrew every thing before it. The Prussians, having at length
rallied, attempted to oppose some resistance to it; but General Reille
broke them with his light cavalry, took two hundred prisoners, and
killed or dispersed the rest. Beaten in every part, they retired to
the heights of Fleurus, which had been so fatal to the enemies of
France twenty years before[42].

              [Footnote 42: The Emperor, before he quitted Paris, had
              conceived the design of rendering the plains of Fleurus
              witnesses to new battles. He had sent for Marshal
              Jourdan, and had obtained from him a great deal of very
              important strategical information.]

Napoleon reconnoitred the ground at a glance. Our troops rushed on the
Prussians full gallop. Three squares of infantry, supported by several
squadrons and some artillery, sustained the shock with intrepidity.
Wearied of their immoveableness, the Emperor ordered General Letort,
to charge them at the head of the dragoons of the guard. At the same
moment General Excelmans fell upon the left flank of the enemy; and
the twentieth of dragoons, commanded by the brave and young
Briqueville, rushed on the Prussians on one side, while Letort
attacked them on the other. They were broken, annihilated; but they
sold us the victory dear: Letort was killed.

This affair, of little importance in its results, for it cost the
enemy only five pieces of artillery, and three thousand men killed or
taken prisoners, produced the happiest effects on the army. The
sciatica of Marshal Mortier[43], and the treason of General Beaumont,
had given birth to sentiments of doubt and fear, which were entirely
dissipated by the successful issue of this first battle.

              [Footnote 43: The Duke of Treviso, to whom Napoleon had
              entrusted the command of the young guard, was attacked
              at Beaumont with a sciatica, that obliged him to take to
              his bed.]

Hitherto each chief of a corps had retained its immediate command, and
it is easy to suppose, what their ardour and emulation must have been:
but the Emperor fell into the error of overturning the hopes of their
courage and their ambition; he placed General Erlon and Count Reille
under the orders of Marshal Ney, whom he brought forward too late; and
Count Gérard, and Count Vandamme, under those of Marshal Grouchy, whom
it would have been better to have left at the head of the cavalry.

On the 16th, in the morning, the army, thus distributed, occupied the
following positions.

Marshal Ney, with the 1st and 2d corps, the cavalry of General
Lefevre-Desnouettes, and that of General Kellerman, had his advanced
guard at Frasnes, and the other troops disseminated round

              [Footnote 44:


                            _Under Marshal Ney._
                                 1st Corps.
                      Infantry                  16,500
                      Cavalry                    1,500

                                 2d Corps.
                      Infantry                  21,000
                      Cavalry                    1,500
                      Cavalry of Desnouettes     2,100
                      Cuirassiers of Kellerman   2,600
                      Artillery, horse and foot  2,400
                        And 116 pieces of ordnance.


                            _Under Marshal Grouchy._
                                 3d Corps.
                      Infantry                  13,000
                      Cavalry                    1,500

                                 4th Corps.
                      Infantry                  12,000
                      Cavalry                    1,500
                      Cavalry of Pajol           2,500

                      Cavalry of Excelmans       2,600
                      Cuirassiers of Milhaud     2,600


                      Artillery, horse and foot  2,250
                        And 112 pieces of ordnance.

                              CENTRE AND RESERVE.

                              _Under the Emperor._
                                 6th Corps.

                      Infantry                  11,000
                      Old guard                  5,000
                      Middle guard               5,000
                      Young guard                4,000
                      Horse grenadiers           1,200
                      Dragoons                   1,200
                      Artillery, horse and foot  2,700
                        And 134 pieces of ordnance.


                      Infantry                  87,500
                      Cavalry                   20,800
                      Artillery, horse and foot  7,350
                      Engineers                  2,200

                                       Total   111,850
                        Pieces of ordnance 362]

Marshal Grouchy, with the 3d and 4th corps, and the cavalry of
Generals Pajol, Excelmans, and Milhaud, was placed on the heights of
Fleurus, and in advance of them.

The 6th corps and the guard were in échélon between Fleurus and

The same day the army of Marshal Blucher, ninety thousand strong,
collected together with great skill, was posted on the heights of Bry
and Sombref, and occupied the villages of Ligny and St. Amand, which
protected his front. His cavalry extended far in advance on the road
to Namur[45].

              [Footnote 45: General Blucher had not had time to
              collect the whole of his forces.]

The army of the Duke of Wellington, which this general had not yet had
time to collect, was composed of about a hundred thousand men
scattered between Ath, Nivelle, Genappe, and Brussels.

The Emperor went in person, to reconnoitre Blucher's position; and
penetrating his intentions, resolved to give him battle, before his
reserves, and the English army, for which he was endeavouring to wait,
should have time to unite, and come and join him.

He immediately sent orders to Marshal Ney, whom he supposed to have
been on the march for Quatre Bras, _where he would have found very
few forces_, to drive the English briskly before him, and then fall
with his main force on the rear of the Prussian army.

At the same time he made a change in the front of the imperial army:
General Grouchy advanced toward Sombref, General Gérard toward Ligny,
and General Vandamme toward St. Amand.

General Gérard, with his division, five thousand strong, was detached
from the 2d corps, and placed in the rear of General Vandamme's left,
so as to support him, and at the same time form a communication
between Marshal Ney's army and that of Napoleon.

The guard, and Milhaud's cuirassiers, were disposed as a reserve in
advance of Fleurus.

At three o'clock the 3d corps reached St. Amand, and carried it. The
Prussians, rallied by Blucher, retook the village. The French,
entrenched in the churchyard, defended themselves there with
obstinacy; but, overpowered by numbers, they were about to give way,
when General Drouot, who has more than once decided the fate of a
battle, galloped up with four batteries of the guard, took the enemy
in the rear, and stopped his career.

At the same moment Marshal Grouchy was fighting successfully at
Sombref, and General Gérard made an impetuous attack on the village
of Ligny. Its embattled walls, and a long ravine, rendered the
approaches to it not less difficult than dangerous: but these
obstacles did not intimidate General Lefol, or the brave fellows under
his command; they advanced with the bayonet, and in a few minutes the
Prussians, repulsed and annihilated, quitted the ground.

Marshal Blucher, conscious that the possession of Ligny rendered us
masters of the event of the battle, returned to the charge with chosen
troops: and here, to use his own words, "commenced a battle, that may
be considered as one of the most obstinate mentioned in history." For
five hours two hundred pieces of ordnance deluged the field with
slaughter, blood, and death. For five hours the French and Prussians,
alternately vanquished and victors, disputed this ensanguined post
hand to hand, and foot to foot, and seven times in succession was it
taken and lost.

The Emperor expected every instant, that Marshal Ney was coming to
take part in the action. From the commencement of the affair, he had
reiterated his orders to him, to manoeuvre so as to surround the right
of the Prussians; and he considered this diversion of such high
importance, as to write to the marshal, and cause him to be
repeatedly told, _that the fate of France was in his hands_. Ney
answered, that "he had the whole of the English army to encounter, yet
he would promise him, to hold out the whole day, but nothing more."
The Emperor, better informed, assured him, "that it was Wellington's
advanced guard alone, that made head against him;" and ordered him
anew, "to beat back the English, and make himself master of Quatre
Bras, cost what it might." The marshal persisted in his fatal error.
Napoleon, deeply impressed with the importance of the movement, that
Marshal Ney refused to comprehend and execute, sent directly to the
first corps an order, to move with all speed on the right of the
Prussians; but, after having lost much valuable time in waiting for
it, he judged, that the battle could not be prolonged without danger,
and directed General Gérard, who had with him but five thousand men,
to undertake the movement, which should have been accomplished by the
twenty thousand men of Count Erlon; namely, to turn St Amand, and fall
on the rear of the enemy.

This manoeuvre, ably executed, and seconded by the guard attacking in
front, and by a brilliant charge of the cuirassiers of General
Delore's brigade and of the horse grenadier guards, decided the
victory. The Prussians, weakened in every part, retired in disorder,
and left us, with the field of battle, forty cannons and several

On the left, Marshal Ney, instead of rushing rapidly on Quatre Bras,
and effecting the diversion, that had been recommended to him, had
spent twelve hours in useless attempts, and given time to the Prince
of Orange to reinforce his advanced guard. The pressing orders of
Napoleon not allowing him, to remain meditating any longer; and
desirous, no doubt, of repairing the time he had lost; he did not
cause either the position or the forces of the enemy, to be thoroughly
reconnoitred, and rushed on them headlong. The division of General Foy
commenced the attack, and drove in the sharpshooters, and the advanced
posts. Bachelu's cavalry, aided, covered, and supported by this
division, pierced and cut to pieces three Scotch battalions: but the
arrival of fresh reinforcements, led by the Duke of Wellington, and
the shining bravery of the Scotch, the Belgians, and the Prince of
Orange, suspended our success. This resistance, far from discouraging
Marshal Ney, revived in him an energy, which he had not before shown.
He attacked the Anglo-Hollanders with fury; and drove them back to
the skirts of the wood of Bassu. The 1st of chasseurs and 6th of
lancers overthrew the Brunswickers; the 8th of cuirassiers defeated
two Scotch battalions, and took from them a flag. The 11th, equally
intrepid, pursued them to the entrance of the wood: but the wood,
which had not been examined, was lined with English infantry. Our
cuirassiers were assailed by a fire at arm's length, which at once
carried dismay and confusion into their ranks. Some of the officers,
lately incorporated with them, instead of appeasing the disorder,
increased it by shouts of "Every one for himself (_sauve qui peut!_)"
This disorder, which in a moment spread from one to another as far as
Beaumont, might have occasioned greater disasters, if the infantry of
General Foy, remaining unshaken, had not continued to sustain the
conflict with equal perseverance and intrepidity.

Marshal Ney, who had with him only twenty thousand men, was desirous
of causing the first corps, which he had left in the rear, to advance:
but the Emperor, as I have said above, had sent immediate orders to
Count Erlon, who commanded it, to come and join him, and this general
had commenced his march. Ney, when he heard this, was amid a cross
fire from the enemy's batteries. "Do you see those bullets?"
exclaimed he, his brow clouded with despair: "I wish they would all
pass through my body.". Instantly he sent with all speed after Count
Erlon, and directed him, whatever orders he might have received from
the Emperor himself, to return, Count Erlon was so unfortunate and
weak as to obey. He brought his troops back to the marshal; but it was
nine o'clock in the evening, and the marshal, dispirited by the checks
he had received, and dissatisfied with himself, and others, had
discontinued the engagement.

The Duke of Wellington, whose forces had increased successively to
more than fifty thousand men, retired in good order during the night
to Genappe.

Marshal Ney was indebted to the great bravery of his troops, and the
firmness of his generals, for the honour of not being obliged, to
abandon his positions.

The desperation, with which this battle was fought, made those men
shudder, who were most habituated to contemplate with coolness the
horrors of war. The smoking ruins of Ligny and St. Amand were heaped
with the dead and dying: the ravine before Ligny resembled a river of
blood, on which carcasses were floating: at Quatre Bras there was a
similar spectacle! the hollow way, that skirted the wood, had
disappeared under the bloody corses of the brave Scotch and of our
cuirassiers. The imperial guard was every where distinguished by its
murderous rage: it fought with shouts of "The Emperor for ever! No
quarter!" The corps of General Gérard displayed the same animosity. It
was this, that, having expended all its ammunition, called out aloud
for more cartridges and more Prussians.

The loss of the Prussians, rendered considerable by the tremendous
fire of our artillery, was twenty-five thousand men. Blucher, unhorsed
by our cuirassiers, escaped them only by a miracle.

The English and Dutch lost four thousand five hundred men. Three
Scotch regiments, and the black legion of Brunswick, were almost
entirely exterminated. The Prince of Brunswick himself, and a number
of other officers of distinction, were killed.

We lost, in the left wing, near five thousand men, and several
generals. Prince Jerome, who had already been wounded at the passage
of the Sambre, had his hand slightly grazed by a musket shot. He
remained constantly at the head of his division, and displayed a
great deal of coolness and valour.

Our loss at Ligny, estimated at six thousand five hundred men, was
rendered still more to be regretted by General Gérard's receiving a
mortal wound. Few officers were endued with a character so noble, and
an intrepidity so habitual. More greedy of glory than of wealth, he
possessed nothing but his sword; and his last moments, instead of
resting with delight on the remembrance of his heroic actions alone,
were disturbed by the pain of leaving his family exposed to want.

The victory of Ligny did not entirely fulfil the expectations of the
Emperor. "If Marshal Ney," said he, "had attacked the English with all
his forces, he would have crushed them, and have come to give the
Prussians the finishing blow: and if, after having committed this
first fault, he had not been guilty of his second folly, in preventing
the movement of Count Erlon, the intervention of the 1st corps would
have shortened the resistance of Blucher, and rendered his defeat
irreparable: his whole army would have been taken or destroyed."

This victory, though imperfect, was not the less considered by the
generals as of the highest importance. It separated the English army
from the Prussians, and left us hopes of being able to vanquish it in
its turn.

The Emperor, _without losing time_, was for attacking the English on
one side at daybreak, and pursuing Blucher's army without respite on
the other. It was objected to him, that the English army was intact,
and ready to accept battle; while our troops, harassed by the
conflicts and fatigue of Ligny, would not perhaps be in a condition,
to fight with the necessary vigour. In fine, such numerous objections
were made, that he consented to let the army take rest. Ill success
inspires timidity. If Napoleon, as of old, had listened only to the
suggestions of his own audacity, it is probable, it is certain, and I
have heard General Drouot say it, that he might, according to his
plan, have led his troops to Brussels on the 17th; _and who can
calculate what would have been the consequences of his occupying that

On the 17th therefore, the Emperor contented himself with forming his
army into two columns; one of sixty-five thousand men, headed by the
Emperor, after having joined to it the left wing, followed the steps
of the English. The light artillery, the lancers of General Alphonse
Colbert, and of the intrepid Colonel Sourd, kept dose after them to
the entrance of the forest of Soignes, where the Duke of Wellington
took up his position.

The other, thirty-six thousand strong, was detached under the orders
of Marshal Grouchy, to observe and pursue the Prussians. It did not
proceed beyond Gembloux.

The night of the 17th was dreadful, and seemed to presage the
calamities of the day. A violent and incessant rain did not allow the
army, to take a single moment's rest. To increase our misfortunes, the
bad state of the roads retarded the arrival of our provision, and most
of the soldiers were without food: however, they gaily endured this
double ill luck; and at daybreak announced to Napoleon by repeated
acclamations, that they were ready to fly to a fresh victory.

The Emperor had thought, that Lord Wellington, separated from the
Prussians, and foreseeing the march of General Grouchy, who, on
passing the Dyle, might fall on his flank, or on his rear, would not
venture to maintain his position, but would retire to Brussels[46]. He
was surprised, when daylight discovered to him, that the English army
had not quitted its positions, and appeared disposed, to accept
battle. He made several generals reconnoitre these positions; and, to
use the words of one of them, he learned, that they were defended "by
an army of cannons, and mountains of infantry."

              [Footnote 46: This conjecture was well founded: but
              Blucher, who had escaped Grouchy, had formed a
              communication with Wellington through Ohaim, and
              promised him to make a diversion on our right. Thus
              Wellington, who had prepared to retreat, was induced to

Napoleon immediately sent advice to Marshal Grouchy, that he was
probably about to engage in a grand battle with the English, and
ordered him, to push the Prussians briskly, to approach the grand army
as speedily as possible, and to direct his movements so as to be able
to connect his operations with it[47].

              [Footnote 47: I have heard, that the officer, who
              carried this order, instead of taking the direct road,
              thought proper to take an immense circuit, in order to
              avoid the enemy.]

He then sent for his principal officers, to give them his

Some of them, confident and daring, asserted, that the enemy's
position should be attacked and carried by main force. Others, not
less brave, but more prudent, remonstrated, that the ground was
deluged by the rain; that the troops, the cavalry in particular,
could not manoeuvre without much difficulty and fatigue; that the
English army would have the immense advantage of awaiting us on firm
ground in its intrenchments; and that it would be better, to endeavour
to turn these. All did justice to the valour of our troops, and
promised, that they would perform prodigies; but they differed in
opinion with regard to the resistance, that the English would make.
Their cavalry, said the generals who had fought in Spain, are not
equal to ours; but their infantry are more formidable, than is
supposed. When intrenched, they are dangerous from their skill in
firing: in the open field, they stand firm, and, if broken, rally
again within a hundred yards, and return to the charge. Fresh disputes
arose; and, what is remarkable, _it never entered into any one's
head_, that the Prussians, pretty numerous parties of whom had been
seen towards Moustier, might be in a situation to make a serious
diversion on our right.

The Emperor, after having heard and debated the opinions of all,
determined, on considerations to which all assented, to attack the
English in front. Reiterated orders were despatched to Marshal
Grouchy; and Napoleon, to give him time to execute the movement he
had enjoined, spent the whole morning in arranging his army.

The English army was reconnoitred anew by the Emperor in person. Its
central position, resting on the village of Mont St. Jean, was
supported on the right by the farm of Hougoumont, on the left by that
of La Haie Sainte. Its two wings extended beyond the hamlets of Terre
la Haie and Merkebraine. Hedges, woods, ravines, an immense quantity
of artillery, and eighty-five or ninety thousand men, defended this
formidable position.

The Emperor disposed his army[48] in the following order.

              [Footnote 48:

                            2d Corps.

                  Infantry                16,500}
                                                }            18,000
                  Cavalry                  1,500}

                            1st Corps.

                  Infantry                12,500}
                                                }            13,700
                  Cavalry                  1,200}

                            6th Corps.

                  Infantry                 7,000 {4,000 had}  7,000
                                       {been joined to Grouchy}

                  Division of Domont and Suberwick            2,500

                  Cuirassiers                                 4,800

                  Foot guards              2,500}
                  Light cavalry            2,100}            16,600
                  Grenadiers and dragoons  2,000}

                  Artillery                                   4,500

                         Gérard's division 3000 men.]

The 2d corps, of which Prince Jerome always made a part, was posted
opposite the woods, that surrounded Hougoumont.

The 1st corps opposite La Haie Sainte.

The 6th corps was sent to the extremity of the right, so as to be able
to form a communication with Marshal Grouchy, when he should appear.

The light cavalry and cuirassiers were flanked in a second line,
behind the first and second corps.

The guard and cavalry were kept in reserve on the heights of

The old division of General Gérard was left at Fleurus.

The Emperor, with his staff, took his station on a little knap, near
the farm of La Belle Alliance, which commanded the plain, and whence
he could easily direct the movements of the army, and observe those of
the English.

At half after twelve, the Emperor, persuaded that Marshal Grouchy
must be in motion, caused the signal for battle to be given.

Prince Jerome, with his division, proceeded against Hougoumont. The
approaches were defended by hedges and a wood; in which the enemy had
posted a number of artillery. The attack, rendered so difficult by the
state of the ground, was conducted with extreme impetuosity. The wood
was alternately taken and retaken. Our troops and the English, most
frequently separated by a single hedge, fired on each other
reciprocally, their muskets almost touching, without retreating a
single step. The artillery made fearful ravages on both sides. The
event was doubtful, till General Reille ordered Foy's division to
support the attack of Prince Jerome, and thus succeeded in compelling
the enemy, to abandon the woods and orchards, which they had hitherto
so valiantly defended and kept possession of.

It was one o'clock. A few moments before, an intercepted despatch
informed the Emperor of the near approach of thirty thousand
Prussians, commanded by Bulow[49].

              [Footnote 49: This corps had joined the Prussian array
              since the battle of Ligny.]

Napoleon thought, that the strength of this corps, some of the
skirmishers of which had appeared on the heights of St. Lambert, was
exaggerated; and persuaded too, that Grouchy's army was following it,
and that it would soon find itself between two fires, it gave him but
little uneasiness. However, rather from precaution than from fear, he
gave orders to General Domont, to advance with his cavalry and that of
General Suberwick, to meet the Prussians and directed Count de Lobau,
to be ready to support General Domont in case of necessity. Orders
were despatched at the same time to Marshal Grouchy, to inform him of
what was passing, and enjoin him _anew_, to hasten his march, to
pursue, attack, and crush Bulow.

Thus by drawing off the divisions of Domont and Suberwick, and by the
paralyzation of the 6th corps, our army was reduced to less than
fifty-seven thousand men: but it displayed so much resolution, that
the Emperor did not doubt its being sufficient, to beat the English.

The second corps, as I have already said, had effected the dislodgment
of the English from the woods of Hougoumont; but the first corps,
notwithstanding the continual play of several batteries, and the
resolution of our infantry and of the light horse of General Lefevre
Desnouettes and Guyot, had been unable to force either La Haie
Sainte, or Mont St. Jean. The Emperor ordered Marshal Ney, to
undertake a fresh attack, and to support it by eighty pieces of
cannon. A tremendous fire of musketry and artillery then took place
throughout the whole line. The English, insensible to danger,
supported the charges of our foot and of our horse with great
firmness. The more resistance they displayed, the more furiously did
our soldiers engage. At length the English, driven from one position
to another, evacuated La Haie Sainte and Mont St. Jean, and our troops
seized on them with shouts of "Long live the Emperor!"

To sustain them there, Count d'Erlon immediately sent the second
brigade of General Alix. A body of English horse intercepted the
passage, threw the brigade into disorder, and then, falling on our
batteries, succeeded in dismounting several pieces of artillery. The
cuirassiers of General Milhaud set off at a gallop, to repulse the
English horse. A fresh division of these came and fell upon our
cuirassiers. Our lancers and chasseurs were sent to their assistance.
A general charge ensued, and the English, broken, overthrown, cut
down, were forced to retire in disorder.

Hitherto the French army, or, to speak more properly, the forty
thousand men of Generals Reille and d'Erlon, had obtained and
preserved a marked superiority. The enemy, driven back, appeared
hesitating on their movements. Dispositions had been observed, that
seemed to indicate an approaching retreat. The Emperor, satisfied,
joyfully exclaimed: "They are ours: I have them:" and Marshal Soult,
and all the generals, considered, as he did, the victory certain[50].
The guard had already received orders to put itself in motion, to
occupy the ground we had gained, and finish the enemy, when General
Domont sent to inform the Emperor, that Bulow's corps had just formed
in line, and was advancing rapidly on the rear of our right. This
information changed the design of Napoleon; and, instead of employing
his guard to support the first and second corps, he kept it in
reserve; ordering Marshal Ney to maintain his ground in the woods of
Hougoumont, at La Haie Sainte, and at Mont St. Jean, till the event of
the movement, which Count Lobau was about to make against the
Prussians, was known.

              [Footnote 50: The enemy themselves confess, that at this
              moment they thought the battle lost. "The ranks of the
              English," says Blucher, "were thrown into disorder; the
              loss had been considerable; the reserves had been
              advanced into the line; the situation of the Duke was
              extremely critical, the fire of musketry continued along
              the front, the artillery had retired to the second

              I will add, that still greater disorder prevailed in the
              rear of the English army: the roads of the forest of
              Soignes were encumbered with waggons, artillery, and
              baggage, deserted by the drivers; and numerous bands of
              fugitives had spread confusion and affright through
              Brussels and the neighbouring roads.

              Had not our successes been interrupted by the march of
              Bulow; or had Marshal Grouchy, as the Emperor had reason
              to hope, followed at the heels of the Prussians; never
              would a more glorious victory have been obtained by the
              French. Not a single man of the Duke of Wellington's
              army would have escaped.]

The English, informed of the arrival of Bulow, resumed the offensive;
and endeavoured to drive us from the positions, that we had taken from
them. Our troops repulsed them victoriously. Marshal Ney, carried away
by his boiling courage, forgot the orders of the Emperor. He charged
the enemy at the head of Milhaud's cuirassiers and the light cavalry
of the guard, and succeeded, amid the applauses of the army, in
establishing himself on the heights of Mont St. Jean, till then

This ill-timed and hazardous movement did not escape the Duke of
Wellington. He caused his infantry to advance, and fell upon us with
all his cavalry.

The Emperor immediately ordered General Kellerman and his cuirassiers,
to hasten to extricate our first line. The horse grenadiers and
dragoons of the guard, either from a misconception of Marshal Ney, or
spontaneously, put themselves in motion, and followed the cuirassiers,
without its being possible to stop them. A second conflict, more
bloody than the first, took place at all points. Our troops, exposed
to the incessant fire of the enemy's batteries and infantry,
heroically sustained and executed numerous brilliant charges during
two hours, in which we had the glory of taking six flags, dismounting
several batteries, and cutting to pieces four regiments; but in which
we also lost the flower of our intrepid cuirassiers, and of the
cavalry of the guard.

The Emperor, whom this desperate engagement vexed to the heart, could
not remedy it. Grouchy did not arrive: and he had already been obliged
to weaken his reserves by four thousand of the young guard, in order
to master the Prussians, whose numbers and whose progress were still

Mean time our cavalry, weakened by a considerable loss, and unequal
contests incessantly renewed, began to be disheartened, and to give
ground. The issue of the battle appeared to become doubtful. It was
necessary to strike a grand blow by a desperate attack.

The Emperor did not hesitate.

Orders were immediately given to Count Reille, to collect all his
forces, and to fall with impetuosity on the right of the enemy, while
Napoleon in person proceeded, to attack the front with his reserves.
The Emperor had already formed his guard into a column of attack, when
he heard, that our cavalry had just been forced, to evacuate in part
the heights of Mont St. Jean. Immediately he ordered Marshal Ney, to
take with him four battalions of the middle guard, and hasten with all
speed to the fatal height, to support the cuirassiers by whom it was
still occupied.

The firm countenance of the guard, and the harangues of Napoleon,
inflamed their minds: the cavalry, and a few battalions, who had
followed his movement to the rear, faced about towards the enemy,
shouting "The Emperor for ever!"

At this moment the firing of musketry was heard[51]. "There's
Grouchy!" exclaimed the Emperor: "the day is ours!" Labedoyère flew
to announce this happy news to the army: in spite of the enemy, he
penetrated to the head of our columns: "Marshal Grouchy is arriving,
the guard is going to charge: courage! courage! 'tis all over with the

              [Footnote 51: It was afterwards known, that it was
              General Ziethen, who, on his arrival in line, had taken
              the troops commanded by the Prince of Saxe Weimar for
              Frenchmen, and compelled them, after a brisk fire, to
              abandon a little village, which they were appointed to

One last shout of hope burst from every rank: the wounded, who were
still capable of taking a few steps, returned to the combat; and
thousands of voices eagerly repeated, "Forward! forward!"

The column commanded by the bravest of the brave, on his arrival in
face of the enemy, was received by discharges of artillery, that
occasioned it a terrible loss. Marshal Ney, weary of bullets, ordered
the batteries to be carried by the bayonet. The grenadiers rushed on
them with such impetuosity, that they neglected the admirable order,
to which they had been so often indebted for victory. Their leader,
intoxicated with intrepidity, did not perceive this disorder. He and
his soldiers rushed on the enemy tumultuously. A shower of balls and
grape burst on their heads. Ney's horse was shot under him, Generals
Michel and Friant fell wounded or dead, and a number of brave fellows
were stretched on the ground. Wellington did not allow our grenadiers
time to recollect themselves. He caused them to be attacked in flank
by his cavalry, and compelled them to retire in the greatest disorder.
At the same instant the thirty thousand Prussians under Ziethen, who
had been taken for Grouchy's army, carried by assault the village of
La Haye, and drove our men before them. Our cavalry, our infantry,
already staggered by the defeat of the middle guard, were afraid of
being cut off, and precipitately retreated. The English horse,
skilfully availing themselves of the confusion, which this unexpected
retreat had occasioned, pierced through our ranks, and rendered them
completely disordered and disheartened. The other troops of the right,
who continued to resist with great difficulty the attacks of the
Prussians, and who had been in want of ammunition above an hour,
seeing some of our squadrons pell mell, and some of the guards running
away, thought all was lost, and quitted their position. This
contagious movement was communicated in an instant to the left; and
the whole army, after having so valiantly carried the enemy's
strongest posts, abandoned them with as much eagerness, as they had
displayed ardour in conquering them.

The English army, which had advanced in proportion as we retreated,
and the Prussians, who had not ceased to pursue us, fell at once on
our scattered battalions; night increased the tumult and alarm; and
soon the whole army was nothing but a confused crowd, which the
English and Prussians routed without effort, and massacred without

The Emperor, witnessing this frightful defection, could scarcely
believe his eyes. His aides-de-camp flew to rally the troops in all
directions. He also threw himself into the midst of the crowd. But his
words, his orders, his entreaties, were not heard. How was it possible
for the army to form anew under the guns, and amid the continual
charges of eighty thousand English, and sixty thousand Prussians, who
covered the field, of battle?

However, eight battalions, which the Emperor had previously collected,
formed in squares, and stopped the way against the Prussian and
English armies. These brave fellows, resolute and courageous as they
were, could not long resist the efforts of an enemy twenty times their
number. Surrounded, assaulted, cannonaded on all sides, most of them
at length fell. Some sold their lives dearly: others, exhausted with
fatigue, hunger, and thirst, had no longer strength to fight, and
suffered themselves to be killed, without being able to make any
defence. Two battalions[52] alone, whom the enemy were unable to
break, retreated disputing the ground, till, thrown into disorder and
hurried along by the general movement, they were obliged themselves to
follow the stream.

              [Footnote 52: They had at their head Generals Petit and
              Pelet de Morvan.]

One last battalion of reserve, the illustrious and unfortunate remains
of the granite column of the fields of Marengo, had remained unshaken
amid the tumultuous waves of the army. The Emperor retired into the
ranks of these brave fellows, still commanded by Cambronne! He formed
them into a square, and advanced at their head, to meet the enemy. All
his generals, Ney, Soult, Bertrand, Drouot, Corbineau, de Flahaut,
Labedoyère, Gourgaud, &c. drew their swords, and became soldiers. The
old grenadiers, incapable of fear for their own lives, were alarmed at
the danger that threatened the life of the Emperor. They conjured him
to withdraw. "Retire," said one of them: "you see, that Death shuns
you." The Emperor resisted, and ordered them to fire. The officers
around him seized his bridle, and dragged him away. Cambronne and his
brave fellows crowded round their expiring eagles, and bade Napoleon
an eternal adieu. The English, moved by their heroic resistance,
conjured them to surrender. "No," said Cambronne, "the guard can die,
but not yield!" At the same moment they all rushed on the enemy, with
shouts of "Long live the Emperor!" Their blows were worthy of the
conquerors of Austerlitz, Jena, Wagram, and Montmirail. The English
and Prussians, from whom they still detained the field of victory,
united against this handful of heroes, and cut them down. Some,
covered with wounds, fell to the ground weltering in their blood;
others, more fortunate, were killed outright: in fine, they whose
hopes were not answered by death, shot one another, that they might
not survive their companions in arms, or die by the hands of their

Wellington and Blucher, thus become quiet possessors of the field of
battle, traversed it as masters. But at what expense of blood was this
unjust triumph purchased! Never, no never, were the blows of the
French more formidable or more deadly to their adversaries. Thirsting
after blood and glory, they rushed daringly on the blazing batteries
of their enemy; and seemed to multiply in number, to seek, attack, and
pursue them in their inaccessible intrenchments. Thirty thousand
English or Prussians[53] were sacrificed by their hands on that fatal
day; and when it is considered, that this horrible carnage was the
work of fifty thousand men[54], dying with fatigue and hunger, and
striving in miry ground against an impregnable position and a hundred
and thirty thousand fighting men, we cannot but be seized with
sorrowful admiration, and decree to the vanquished the palm of

              [Footnote 53:


                 The general loss of the army of the Duke of
                 Wellington, in killed and wounded, was about   25,000

                 And that of Prince Blucher                     35,000
                 That of the French may be estimated as follows:

                 The 15th and 16th, killed and wounded          11,000
                 The 18th, killed and wounded                   18,000
                 Prisoners                                       8,000

              The loss of the French would have been greater, had it
              not been for the generous care taken of them by the
              inhabitants of Belgium. After the victory of Fleurus and
              of Ligny, they hastened to the field of battle, to
              console the wounded, and give them every assistance.
              Nothing could be more affecting, than the sight of a
              number of women and girls endeavouring to revive, by
              cordial liquors, the extinguished lives (_la vie
              éteinte_) of our unfortunate soldiers, while their
              husbands and brothers supported our wounded in their
              arms, stanched their blood, and closed their wounds.

              The precipitancy of our march had not allowed us, to
              prepare conveyances and field hospitals, to receive our
              wounded. The good and feeling inhabitants of Belgium
              supplied the deficiency with eagerness. They carried our
              poor Frenchmen from the field of battle, and offered
              them an asylum, and all the attention necessary.

              At the time of our retreat, they lavished on us proofs
              of their regard not less affecting, and not less
              valuable. Braving the rage of the ferocious Prussians,
              they quitted their houses, to show us the paths, that
              would favour our escape, and guide our course through
              the enemy's columns. When they parted from us, they
              still followed us with their eyes, and expressed from a
              distance how happy they were at having been able to save

              When they knew, that a great number of Frenchmen
              remained prisoners with the conqueror, they were eager
              to offer, and to lavish on them, consolation and
              assistance. The Prince of Orange himself, as formidable
              in the heat of battle, as magnanimous after victory,
              became the protector of a number of brave fellows, who,
              having learned how to esteem him on the field of battle,
              had nobly invoked his support.

              In fine, completely to acquit the debt of gratitude, at
              that period so painful to remember, when persecution,
              exile, death, compelled so many Frenchmen to flee their
              native land, the inhabitants of Belgium, always
              tender-hearted, always benevolent, opened their
              hospitable doors to our unfortunate proscribed
              countrymen, and more than one brave man, already
              preserved by them from the vengeance of foreigners, was
              a second time saved by their generous hands from the
              fury of enemies still more implacable.]

              [Footnote 54: I say fifty thousand men, for more than
              ten thousand of the guard took no share in the action.]

At the moment, when Bulow's corps penetrated our right, I was at
head-quarters at the farm of Caillou.

One of the grand marshal's aides-de-camp came from him, to inform the
Duke of Bassano, that the Prussians were proceeding in that direction.
The duke, having received orders from the Emperor to remain there,
would not quit the place, and we resigned ourselves to wait the event.
In fact, the enemy's dragoons soon made themselves masters of the
little wood, that covered the farm, and attacked our people sword in
hand. Our guard repulsed them with their muskets; but, returning in
greater number, they assailed us anew, and compelled us, in spite of
the stoicism of M. de Bassano, to yield up the place to them very
speedily. The imperial carriages, furnished with able horses, carried
us rapidly from the enemy's pursuit. The duke was not so fortunate:
his carriage, having poor horses, received several shots; and he was
at length forced to escape on foot, and take refuge in mine.

The cessation of the firing, and the precipitate retreat of the wreck
of the army, too powerfully confirmed to us the fatal issue of the
battle. We inquired on all sides after the Emperor, but no one could
satisfy our painful anxiety. Some assured us, that he had been taken
prisoner; others, that he was killed. To put an end to the anxiety
that overwhelmed us, I took the horse of the principal of our
attendants (_chef de nos équipages_), and, accompanied by one of our
principal _piqueurs_, named Chauvin, who had returned with Napoleon
from the island of Elba, I hastened back toward Mont St. Jean. After
having in vain wearied a multitude of officers with questions, I met a
page, young Gudin, who assured me, that the Emperor must have quitted
the field of battle. I still pushed on. Two cuirassiers, raising their
sabres, stopped me. "Where are you going?"--"I am going to meet the
Emperor."--"You lie; you are a royalist; you are going to rejoin the
English." I know not how the business would have ended, had not a
superior officer of the guard, sent by heaven, fortunately known me,
and extricated me from the difficulty. He assured me, that the
Emperor, whom he had escorted a long way, must be before. I returned
to the Duke of Bassano. The certainty, that the Emperor was safe and
sound, alleviated our sorrows for a few moments: but they soon resumed
all their strength. He must have been no Frenchman, who could behold
with dry eyes our dreadful catastrophe. The army itself, after
recovering from its first impressions, forgot the perils with which it
was still menaced, to meditate with sadness on the future. Its steps
were dejected, its looks dismayed; not a word, not a complaint, was
heard to interrupt its painful meditations. You would have said it was
accompanying a funeral procession, and attending the obsequies of its
glory and of its country.

The capture and plundering of the baggage of the army had suspended
for a moment the enemy's pursuit. They came up with us at Quatre Bras,
and fell upon our equipage. At the head of the convoy marched the
military chest, and after it our carriage. Five other carriages, that
immediately followed us, were attacked and sabred. Ours, by miracle,
effected its escape. Here were taken the Emperor's clothes: the superb
diamond necklace, that the princess Borghese had given him; and his
landau, that in 1813 had escaped the disasters of Moscow.

The Prussians, raging in pursuit of us, treated with unexampled
barbarity those unfortunate beings, whom they were able to overtake.
Except a few steady old soldiers, most of the rest had thrown away
their arms, and were without defence; but they were not the less
massacred without pity. Four Prussians killed General ...... in cold
blood, after having taken from him his arms. Another general, whose
name also I cannot call to mind, surrendered to an officer: and this
officer had the cowardice still more than the cruelty, to run him
through the body. A colonel, to avoid falling into their hands, blew
out his brains. Twenty other officers, of various ranks, imitated the
example. An officer of cuirassiers, seeing them approach, said: "They
shall have neither me, nor my horse." With one of his pistols he shot
his horse dead; with the other, himself[55]. A thousand acts of
despair, not less heroic, illustrate this fatal day.

              [Footnote 55: This circumstance was told to me, but the
              following I witnessed myself. A cuirassier, in the heat
              of the battle, had both his arms disabled with sabre
              wounds: "I will go and get myself dressed," said he,
              foaming with rage: "if I cannot use my arms, I'll use my
              teeth--I'll eat them."]

We continued our retreat to Charleroi. The further we advanced, the
more difficult it became. They who preceded us, whether to impede the
enemy, or through treachery, obstructed the way, and at every step we
had to break through barricades. When halting for a moment, I heard
cries and moanings at our side. I went to the place, and found they
came from a ditch on the road-side, into which two large waggon-loads
of wounded men had been overturned. These unfortunate people, tumbled
in a heap under the waggons, that were upset upon them, implored the
compassion of those who passed by; but their feeble voices, drowned by
the noise of the carriages, had not been heard. We all set to work,
and succeeded in extricating them from their tombs. Some were still
breathing; but the greater number were stifled. The joy of these poor
wretches affected us to tears; but it was of short duration--we were
forced to leave them.

Still pursued and harassed by the enemy, we arrived at Charleroi,
which place was so encumbered, and in such confusion, that we were
obliged to leave behind us our carriage and our baggage. The secret
portfolio of the cabinet was carried off by the keeper of the
portfolio; the other important papers were destroyed; and we left
only some letters and reports of no moment, which were afterwards
printed at Brussels[56]. The Duke of Bassano and I were continuing our
journey on foot, when I saw some _piqueurs_ with led horses of the
Emperor's, and I ordered them, to bring them to us. Such was the
respect of the duke for every thing belonging to Napoleon, that he
hesitated to avail himself of this good fortune. Happily for him, I
succeeded in overcoming his scruples; for the Prussians had come up
with us, and the firing of musketry informed us, that they were
engaging only a few paces behind us. We were equally obliged to
abandon the military chest. The gold in it was distributed among the
Emperor's domestics; all of whom faithfully delivered it to him.

              [Footnote 56: Among these letters printed was one of
              mine, written from Bâle to the Emperor on the subject of
              M. Werner.]

The Emperor, accompanied by his aides-decamp and a few orderly
officers, on quitting the field of battle, had taken the road to
Charleroi. On his arrival at this place, he attempted to rally a few
troops; but his efforts were vain, and, after having given orders to
several generals, he continued his course.

Count Lobau, the generals of the guards Petit and Pelet de Morvan,
and a number of other officers, equally endeavoured to form the army
anew. With swords drawn, they stopped the troops on their way, and
forced them, to draw up in order of battle; but scarcely were they
formed, when they dispersed again immediately. The artillery, that had
been able to be brought off, alone preserved its structure unshaken.
The brave gunners, feeling the same attachment to their guns as
soldiers to their colours, followed them quietly. Obliged by the roads
being so much encumbered, to halt at every step, they saw the tide of
the army flow by them without regret: it was their duty, to remain by
their guns; and they remained, without considering, that their
devotion might cost them their liberty or their lives.

By chance M. de Bassano and I took the road to Philippeville. We
learned, with a joy of which we did not think ourselves any longer
susceptible, that the Emperor was in the town. We ran to him. When he
saw me, he condescended to present me his hand. I bathed it with my
tears. The Emperor himself could not suppress his emotion: a large
tear, escaping from his eyes, betrayed the efforts of his soul.

The Emperor caused orders to be despatched to generals Rapp, Lecourbe,
and Lamarque, to proceed by forced marches to Paris, and to the
commanders of fortified towns, to defend themselves to the last
extremity. He afterward dictated to me two letters to Prince Joseph.
One, intended to be communicated to the council of ministers, related
but imperfectly the fatal issue of the battle: the other, for the
prince alone, gave him a recital, unhappily too faithful, of the rout
of the army. He concluded however: "All is not lost. I suppose I shall
have left, on re-assembling my forces, a hundred and fifty thousand
men. The federates and national guards, who have heart, will supply me
with a hundred thousand men; the _dépôt_ battalions, with fifty
thousand. Thus I shall have three hundred thousand soldiers, to oppose
to the enemy immediately. I shall supply the artillery with horses by
means of those kept as articles of luxury. I shall levy a hundred
thousand conscripts. I shall arm them with the muskets of the
royalists and ill-disposed national guards. Dauphiny, the Lyonese,
Burgundy, Lorraine, and Champagne, I shall levy in mass. I shall
overwhelm the enemy: but it is necessary for me to be assisted, and
not perplexed. I am going to Laon. No doubt I shall find men there. I
have heard nothing of Grouchy; if he be not taken, as I am afraid he
is, in three days time I may have fifty thousand men. With these I
could keep the enemy employed, and give time to Paris and France, to
do their duty. The English march slowly. The Prussians are afraid of
the peasantry, and dare not advance too far. Every thing may yet be
repaired. Write me word of the effect, that the horrible result of
this rash enterprise produces in the chamber. I believe the deputies
will feel, that it is their duty on this great occasion, to join with
me, in order to save France. Prepare them, to second me worthily."

The Emperor added with his own hand: "Courage, and firmness."

While I was despatching these letters, he dictated to M. de Bassano
instructions for the major-general. When he had finished, he threw
himself on a sorry bed, and ordered preparations to be made for our

A postchaise half broken to pieces, a few waggons and some straw, had
just been prepared, as nothing better was to be had, for Napoleon and
us; when some carriages belonging to Marshal Soult entered the town.
These we seized upon. The enemy having already some scouts in the
neighbourhood of Philippeville and Marienbourg, two or three hundred
fugitives of all sorts were collected, to form an escort for the
Emperor. He set off with General Bertrand in a calash. It was thus
Charles XII. fled before his conquerors after the battle of Pultowa.

The Emperor's suite was in two other calashes. One, in which I was,
contained M. de Bassano, General Drouot, General Dejean, and M. de
Canisy, first equerry: the other was occupied by Messrs. de Flahaut,
Labedoyère, Corbineau, and de Bissi, aides-de-camp.

The Emperor stopped beyond Rocroi, to take some refreshment. We were
all in a pitiable state: our eyes swelled with tears, our countenances
haggard, our clothes covered with blood or dust, rendered us objects
of compassion and horror to one another. We conversed on the critical
situation, in which the Emperor and France would find themselves.
Labedoyère, in the abundant candour of a young and inexperienced
heart, persuaded himself, that our dangers would unite all parties,
and that the chambers would display a grand and salutary energy. "The
Emperor," said he, "without stopping on the road, should repair
directly to the seat of the national representation; frankly avow his
disasters; and, like Philip Augustus, offer to die as a soldier, and
resign the crown to the most worthy. The two chambers will revolt at
the idea of abandoning Napoleon, and join with him, to save
France."--"Do not imagine," answered I, "that we live still in those
days, when misfortune was sacred. The chamber, far from pitying
Napoleon, and generously coming to his assistance, will accuse him of
having ruined France, and endeavour to save it by sacrificing
him."--"Heaven preserve us from such a misfortune!" exclaimed
Labedoyère: "if the chambers separate themselves from the Emperor, all
is over with us. The enemy will be at Paris in a week. The next day we
shall see the Bourbons; and then what will become of liberty, and of
all those who have embraced the national cause? As for me, my fate is
not doubtful. _I shall be the first man shot._"--"The Emperor is a
lost man, if he set his foot in Paris:" replied M. de Flahaut: "there
is but one step he can take, to save himself and France; and this is,
to treat with the allies, and cede the crown to his son. But, in order
to treat, he must have an army; and perhaps at this _very_ moment,
while we are talking, most of the generals are already thinking of
sending in their submissions to the king[57]."--"So much the more
reason is there," resumed Labedoyère, "why he should hasten to make
common cause with the chambers and the nation; and set out without
loss of time."--"And I maintain with M. de Flahaut," rejoined I, "that
the Emperor is lost, if he set foot in Paris. He has never been
forgiven for having abandoned his army in Egypt, in Spain, at Moscow:
still less would he be pardoned for leaving it here, in the centre of

              [Footnote 57: M. de Flahaut saw truly, for it appears
              certain, that Marshal Grouchy had held parleys with the
              allies, and that an arrangement on the plan of the Duke
              of Ragusa was about to be signed, when General Excelmans
              arrested the Prussian colonel, who was sent to the
              marshal, to conclude the treaty already agreed upon.]

These different opinions, blamed or approved, supplied us with
subjects for discussion; when a person came to inform us, that the
English were at la Capelle[58], four or five leagues from us. With
this General Bertrand was instantly made acquainted: but the Emperor
continued talking with the Duke of Bassano, and we had infinite
trouble, to make him resume his journey.

              [Footnote 58: This information was false.]

We arrived at Laon. The Emperor alighted at the foot of the walls. Our
defeat was already known. A detachment of the national guard came to
meet the Emperor. "Our brothers and sons," said the commanding
officer to him, "are in the garrison towns, but dispose of us, sire;
we are ready to die for our country, and for you." The Emperor thanked
him heartily. Some peasants came round us, and gaped at us with stupid
looks: they often shouted, "Long live the Emperor!" but these shouts
annoyed us. In prosperity they are pleasing; after a battle lost they
wound the heart.

The Emperor was informed, that a considerable number of troops were
perceived at a distance. He sent one of his aides-de-camp, to
reconnoitre them. They were about three thousand Frenchmen, horse and
foot, whom Prince Jerome, Marshal Soult, General Morand, and Generals
Colbert, Petit, and Pelet de Morveau, had succeeded in rallying.
"Then," said Napoleon, "I will remain at Laon, till the rest of the
army joins. I have given orders for all the scattered soldiers to be
sent to Laon and Rheims. The gendarmerie and national guard shall
scour the country, and collect the laggers; the good soldiers will
join of themselves; in four and twenty hours we shall have a nucleus
of ten or twelve thousand men. With this little army I will keep the
enemy in check, and give Grouchy time to arrive, and the nation to
face about." This resolution was strongly combated. "Your Majesty,"
it was urged, "has seen with your own eyes the complete rout of the
army. You know, that the regiments were confounded together; and it is
not the work of a few hours, to form them anew. Even supposing, that a
nucleus of ten thousand soldiers could be collected, what could your
Majesty do with such a handful of men, for the most part destitute of
arms and stores? You might stop the enemy at one point; but you could
not prevent their advancing at another, as all the roads are open to
them. The corps of Marshal Grouchy, if he have crossed the Dyle, must
have fallen into the hands of Blucher or of Wellington: if he have not
crossed it, and attempt to effect his retreat by way of Namur, the
Prussians must necessarily arrive at Gembloux or at Temploux before
him, and oppose his passage; while the English will proceed through
Tilly and Sombref to his right flank, and cut off all hopes of his
saving himself. In this state of things, your Majesty cannot
reasonably reckon upon any assistance from his army: he has none.
France can only be saved by herself. It is necessary, that all the
citizens take arms: and your Majesty's presence at Paris is requisite,
to repress your enemies, and animate and direct the zeal of the
patriots. The Parisians, when they see your Majesty, will fight
without hesitation. If your Majesty remain at a distance from them, a
thousand false reports concerning you will be spread: now it will be
said, that you are killed; anon, that you are made prisoner, or
surrounded. The national guard and federates, disheartened by the fear
of being abandoned or betrayed, as they were in 1814, will fight
heartlessly, or not at all."

These considerations induced the Emperor, to change his resolution.
"Well!" said he, "since you deem it necessary, I will go to Paris; but
I am persuaded, that you make me act foolishly. My proper place is
here. Hence I could direct what is to be done at Paris, and my
brothers would see to the rest."

The Emperor then retired into another room with M. de Bassano and me;
and, after having despatched fresh orders to Marshal Soult on the
rallying and movements of the army, he put the finishing hand to the
bulletin of Mont St. Jean, which had been already sketched at
Philippeville. When it was ended, he sent for the grand marshal,
General Drouot, and the other aides-de-camp. "Here," said he, "is the
bulletin of Mont St. Jean: I wish you to hear it read: if I have
omitted any essential circumstances, you will remind me of them; it is
not my intention, to conceal any thing. Now, as after the affair of
Moscow, the whole truth[59] must be disclosed to France. I might have
thrown on Marshal Ney," continued Napoleon, "the blame of part of the
misfortunes of that day: but the mischief is done; no more is to be
said about it." I read this new twenty-ninth bulletin: a few slight
changes, suggested by General Drouot, were assented to by the Emperor;
but, from what whim I know not, he would not confess, that his
carriages had fallen into the hands of the enemy. "When you get to
Paris," said M. de Flahaut to him, "it will be plainly seen, that your
carriages have been taken. If you conceal this, you will be charged
with disguising truths of more importance; and it is necessary, to
tell the whole, or say nothing." The Emperor, after some demur,
finally acceded to this advice.

              [Footnote 59: This shows how unjustly Napoleon has been
              reproached with having falsified the truth, and
              calumniated the army, in that bulletin.]

I then read the bulletin a second time; and, every person agreeing in
its accuracy, M. de Bassano sent it off to Prince Joseph by a courier

At the moment when it arrived, Paris was resounding with transports
of joy, to which the splendid victory of Ligny, and the good news
received from the armies of the West and of the Alps, had given rise.

Marshal Suchet, always fortunate, always able, had made himself master
of Montmelian, and from one triumph had proceeded to another, till he
had driven the Piedmontese from the passes and valleys of Mount Cenis.

General Desaix, one of his lieutenants, had driven back from the side
of Jura the enemy's advanced posts, taken Carrouge, crossed the Arva,
and, in spite of the difficulty of the country, made himself master of
all the defiles in the twinkling of an eye.

The war of la Vendée had justified the Emperor's conjectures.

The Marquis of Roche-jaquelin, ashamed of the defeat at Aisenay,
awaited with impatience an opportunity for redeeming the disgrace.
Informed, that a fresh English fleet was bringing him arms and stores,
he thought this opportunity was arrived; and immediately made
preparations to favour the landing announced, and, if necessary, to
give battle to the imperialists.

These preparations, badly contrived, and badly ordered, did not obtain
the unanimous assent of the army. Part of the generals, and of the
troops, already wearied and disgusted by marches and countermarches
without end and without utility, executed with ill will the orders
given them. Another part, questioning the reality of the
disembarkation, hesitated. In fine, the corps of M. d'Autichamp, one
of the most considerable, plainly refused, to take any part in this
hazardous expedition; and this example, for which the other divisions
waited, was soon imitated by MM. de Sapineau and Suzannet. La
Roche-jaquelin, too proud to retract, too presumptuous to be sensible
of the danger and folly of his resolutions, saw in the resistance
opposed to him nothing but odious treachery; and, in the delirium of
his anger, announced, as master, the dismissal of the rebellious
generals. One division alone, that of his brother, remaining faithful
to him, he put himself at its head, and rashly plunged into the
Marsh[60], where fresh disasters and death awaited him.

              [Footnote 60: The general name of that part of the
              country, which borders the coast.]

General Lamarque had penetrated at a glance the designs of his
imprudent adversary, and given orders to the formidable Travot, to
quit Nantes, and advance with all speed on the rear of the royal
army. This bold scheme was ably executed. Travot's advanced guard bore
down every thing that opposed its way, made itself master of St.
Gilles, kept off the English fleet, and obstructed the disembarkation.
Travot, with the rest of his troops, at the same time crossed the
river Vic at Bas-Oupton, and closed the road against La
Roche-jaquelin. The Vendeans, pressed on all sides, retreated, and
took post at St. Jean de Mont. Orders were given to General Esteve, to
attack them. They awaited him with firmness; and Esteve, knowing the
inexperience of their leader, feigned a retreat. The Vendeans,
deceived by this, came out of the intrenchments, by which they were
protected. The imperialists suddenly faced about, and soon dispersed
their credulous and unfortunate enemies with the bayonet. La
Roche-jaquelin, his brains turned, and in despair, ran about every
where to give orders, to which no one would listen, which no one would
follow, and at length got himself killed[61].

              [Footnote 61: This affair, and the death of La
              Roche-jaquelin, took place on the 11th of June, and were
              not known at Paris till the 19th.]

La Roche-jaquelin had been the principal instigator of this war from
zeal and from ambition; and it was supposed, that his death would be
followed by peace: but news of the approaching commencement of
hostilities revived the courage of the Vendeans, restored concord
among their chiefs, and they prepared for fresh battles.

General Lamarque, informed that MM. de Sapineau, de Suzannet, and
d'Autichamp, were united to favour a third disembarkation, went in
pursuit of them, at the head of the divisions of General Brayer and
Travot. He came up with them at la Roche Servière. Their position
appeared impregnable: but the imperial troops, animated to fight by
the news of the battle of Ligny received by the telegraph, performed
prodigies of valour; and had it not been for their generals, who were
sparing of French blood, it is probable, that the royal army, driven
from its intrenchments, defeated, and put to the rout, would have been
entirely annihilated.

This fratricidal victory, the last France should have to deplore, left
the Vendeans no other resource than peace. This they demanded, and in
a few days obtained. If the talents, the vigour, of Generals Lamarque,
Travot, and Brayer, &c., added new lustre to their military
reputation, their humanity and moderation acquired them still more
glorious claims to national gratitude. In hands less truly French,
this war would have covered the insurgent country with a funeral pall;
in their tutelary hands, it deprived the nation only of a few of its

So many joint successes, magnified too by report, had diffused
confidence and intoxication throughout Paris. The fears disseminated
by malevolence, or conceived by the anxious solicitude of the
patriots, were diminished. People began to contemplate the future with
security; they gave themselves up to the hope, that fortune was
becoming once more propitious to France; when this deceitful dream was
suddenly broken by the news of the misfortunes of our army, and by the
arrival of the Emperor.

On alighting at the Elyseum, the Emperor was received by the Duke of
Vicenza, his censor in prosperity, his friend in adversity. He
appeared sinking under grief and fatigue: his breast was affected, his
respiration difficult. After a painful sigh, he said to the duke: "The
army performed prodigies; a panic terror seized it; all was lost....
Ney conducted himself like a madman; he got my cavalry massacred for
me.... I can say no more.... I must have two hours rest, to enable me
to set about business: I am choking here:" and he laid his hand upon
his heart.

He gave orders for a bath to be prepared for him; and, after a few
moments' silence, resumed: "My intention is, to assemble the two
chambers in an imperial sitting. I will describe to them the
misfortunes of the army: I will demand from them the means of saving
their country: after that, I will set out again."--"Sire," answered
the Duke of Vicenza, "the news of your disasters has already
transpired. Men's minds are in great agitation: the dispositions of
the deputies appear more hostile than ever: and, since your Majesty
deigns to listen to me, it is my duty to say, that it is to be feared
the chamber will not act agreeably to your expectations. I am sorry,
Sire, to see you in Paris. It would have been better, not to have
separated from your army: that constitutes your strength, your
safety."--"I have no longer an army," replied the Emperor: "I have
nothing but fugitives. I shall find men, but how are they to be armed?
I have no muskets left. However, with unanimity every thing may be
repaired. I hope the deputies will second me; that they will feel the
responsibility, that will rest upon them. I think you have formed a
wrong judgment of their spirit: the majority is good; it is French. I
have against me only Lafayette, Lanjuinais, Flaugergues, and a few
others. These would fain have nothing to do with me, I know. I am a
restraint upon them. They would labour for themselves ... I will not
let them. My presence here will control them."

The arrival of Prince Joseph and Prince Lucien in succession
interrupted this discourse. They confirmed the Duke of Vicenza's
opinion respecting the ill disposition of the chamber; and advised the
Emperor, to defer the convocation of an imperial session, and allow
his ministers to act first.

While the Emperor was in the bath, the ministers and great officers of
state hastened to the Elyseum, and eagerly questioned the
aides-de-camp and officers, who were returned from Mont St. Jean. The
spectacle of the rout and destruction of the army was still present to
their eyes: they omitted no particular, and imprudently conveyed
terror and discouragement into every heart. They said aloud, that it
was all over with Napoleon; and whispered, that he had no other means
of saving France than by his abdication.

The Emperor, recovered from his fatigue, assembled his council. He
made the Duke of Bassano read the bulletin of the battle of Mont St.
Jean, and said: "Our misfortunes are great. I am come to repair them:
to impress on the nation, on the army, a great and noble movement. If
the nation rise, the enemy will be crushed: if disputation be
substituted instead of levies, instead of extraordinary measures, all
is lost. The enemy is in France. To save the country it is necessary,
that I should be invested with great power, _with a temporary
dictatorship_. For the good of the country I might seize on this
power: but it would be advantageous, and more national, that it should
be given me by the chambers." The ministers held down their heads, and
made no answer. The Emperor then called upon them, to give their
opinion on the measures, that circumstances required to be taken for
the public safety.

M. Carnot was of opinion, that it was necessary, to declare the
country in danger, call the federates and national guards to arms,
place Paris in a state of siege, defend it, at the last extremity
retire behind the Loire, form intrenchments there, recall the army of
La Vendée and the corps of observation in the South, and keep the
enemy in check, till a sufficient force had been collected and
organized, to resume acting on the offensive, and drive them out of

The Duke of Vicenza recalled to mind the events of 1814, and
maintained, that the occupation of the capital by the enemy would
decide the fate of the throne a second time. That it was necessary for
the nation to make a grand effort, to preserve its independence: that
the safety of the state did not depend on this or that measure; the
question was in the chambers, and their union with the Emperor.

The Duke of Otranto, and several other ministers, joined in this
opinion; and thought, that by acting towards the chambers with
confidence and good faith, they would be brought to feel, that it was
their duty to join with the Emperor, that by energetic measures they
might together preserve the honour and independence of the nation.

The Duke Decrès declared plainly, that they were wrong to flatter
themselves with the hope of gaining the deputies; that they were
ill-disposed, and appeared decided, to proceed to the most violent

Count Regnault added, he did not think, that the representatives would
consent to second the views of the Emperor; they seemed persuaded,
that it was no longer in his power, to save the country; and he was
afraid, that a great sacrifice would be necessary.--"Speak plainly,"
said the Emperor to him: "it is my abdication they want, is it
not?"--"I believe so, Sire," replied M. Regnault: "painful as it is to
me, it is my duty, to open your Majesty's eyes to your true situation.
I will add, it is even possible, that, if your Majesty should not
resolve to offer your abdication of your own accord, the chamber would
venture to demand it."

Prince Lucien warmly replied: "I have already found myself placed in
circumstances of difficulty; and I have seen, that, the more important
the crisis, the greater the energy we ought to display. If the chamber
will not second the Emperor, he will dispense with its assistance. The
safety of our country ought to be the first law of the state; and
since the chamber does not appear disposed, to join the Emperor in
saving France, he must save it alone. He must declare himself
dictator, place France in a state of siege, and call to its defence
all the patriots, and all good Frenchmen."

Count Carnot declared, it appeared to him indispensable, that, during
this crisis, the Emperor should be invested with great and imposing

The Emperor then took up the discourse, and said: "The presence of the
enemy on their native land will, I hope, bring the deputies to a
sense of their duty. The nation did not send them to displace, but to
support me. I do not fear them. Let them do what they will, I shall
still be the idol of the people and of the army. Were I to say a
single word, they would be all knocked on the head. But, while I fear
nothing on my own account, I fear every thing for France. If we
quarrel, instead of preserving a good understanding with each other,
we shall experience the fate of the Lower Empire: all will be lost....
The patriotism of the nation, its hatred to the Bourbons, its
attachment to myself, offer us still immense resources: our cause is
not desperate."

He then, with admirable skill and strength of expression, passed
successively in review the means of repairing the disasters of Mont
St. Jean; and delineated with a bold pencil the innumerable
calamities, with which discord, the foreigners, and the Bourbons
threatened France. Every thing he said carried conviction to the minds
of his ministers; their opinions, hitherto divided, were tending to an
agreement; when the council was interrupted by a message from the
chamber of representatives, containing the following resolutions.

"The chamber of representatives declares, that the independence of the
nation is threatened.

"The chamber declares itself in a state of permanence. Any attempt to
dissolve it is a crime of high treason: whoever shall be guilty of
such an attempt will be a traitor to his country, and immediately
condemned as one.

"The army of the line and national guard, who have fought, and still
fight, in defence of the liberty, the independence, and the territory
of France, have deserved well of their country.

"The ministers at war, of foreign affairs, and of the interior, are
desired, to repair immediately to the assembly[62]."

              [Footnote 62: These resolutions were sent to the chamber
              of peers also: but this chamber, knowing, that it had no
              right, to send for the Ministers, contented itself,
              _considering the present circumstances_, with giving its
              approbation to the first three articles.]

These resolutions had been adopted, almost at the first dash, on the
proposal of M. de Lafayette. Each of the articles was an infringement
of the constitution, and an usurpation of sovereign authority. The
Emperor at once foresaw all the consequences. "I was right in
thinking," said he with vexation, "that I ought to dismiss those
fellows, before I departed. It is all over; they are on the point of
ruining France." He broke up the sitting, adding: "I see Regnault did
not deceive me: _If it must be so, I will abdicate._" This imprudent
and fatal speech, which was reported immediately to the enemies of
Napoleon, strengthened their designs, and increased their boldness.
Scarcely had the Emperor uttered the words, however, but he was aware
of their impropriety; and, returning, announced, that, previously to
taking any decided step, it would be proper, to know, _where all this
would end_. Accordingly he directed M. Regnault, to repair to the
chamber, endeavour to calm it, and feel the ground. "You will announce
to them, that I am returned; that I have just convened the council of
ministers; that the army, after a signal victory, has fought a great
battle; that all was going on well; that the English were beaten; and
that we had taken from them six pair of colours; when some
ill-disposed persons excited a panic. That the army is assembling
together; that I have given orders, to stop the fugitives; that I am
come, to concert measures with my ministers, and with the chambers;
and that I am this moment engaged on those steps, which circumstances
require for the public safety."

By the Emperor's orders, M. Carnot set out at the same moment, to make
a similar communication to the chamber of peers. It was listened to
there with suitable calmness: but M. Regnault, with his utmost
efforts, could not moderate the impatience of the representatives; and
they imperiously renewed their desire to the ministers, by a second
message, to appear at their bar.

The Emperor, offended at the chamber's arrogating to itself an
authority over his ministers, forbade them to stir. The deputies,
finding they did not come, considered their delay as _a contempt for
the nation_. Some, to whom contempt both of the Emperor and of
constitutional principles was already familiar, moved, that the
ministers should be ordered to attend the assembly, setting all other
business aside. Others, alarmed by their own consciences, and, fearing
a politic stroke, created phantoms of their own imagination.
Persuaded, that Napoleon was marching troops, to maim and dissolve the
national representation, they demanded with loud cries, that the
national guard should be summoned, to protect the chamber. Others
moved, that the command of this guard should be taken from the Emperor
and General Durosnel, and conferred on General Lafayette.

The Emperor, weary of all this noise, authorised his ministers, to
inform the president, that they should soon be with him: but not
choosing to let it be thought, that they obeyed the injunctions of the
chamber, he deputed them to it as bearers of an imperial message drawn
up for the purpose. Prince Lucien was appointed to accompany them,
under the title of commissioner general. That this innovation might
not hurt the feelings of the ministers, the Emperor said to them, that
Prince Lucien, by means of his temporary office of commissioner
general, might answer the interrogatories of the representatives,
without its having any future consequences, and without giving the
chamber a right to assert, that their power of sending for the
ministers and interrogating them had been acknowledged and conceded.
But this was not the real motive. The Emperor had not been satisfied
with the lukewarmness, which the majority of the ministers had
displayed; and he was desirous of placing in hands more to be depended
on the task of defending his person and his throne. At six o'clock the
ministers, with Prince Lucien at their head, were introduced into the

The Prince announced, that the Emperor had appointed him commissioner
extraordinary, to concert with the representatives prudential
measures: he laid on the president's desk the commission and message
of the Emperor, and demanded, that the assembly would think proper to
form itself into a secret committee.

This message contained a brief sketch of the disasters experienced at
Mont St. Jean. It recommended to the representatives, to join the head
of the state to preserve their country from the misfortune of falling
again under the yoke of the Bourbons, or becoming, like the Poles, the
prey of foreigners. In fine it announced, that it appeared necessary
for the two chambers, to appoint each a committee of five members, to
concert with ministers the proper measures for securing the public
safety, and treating for a peace with the combined powers.

Scarcely was the reading finished, when questions put to the ministers
from all parts of the hall instantly threw the deliberations of the
assembly into confusion. All the deputies, who had risen, addressed to
them at once questions as absurd as they were arrogant, and were
astonished, indignant, that they did not satisfy their eager and
insatiable curiosity.

The disturbance being calmed, one member, M. Henry Lacoste, was able
to make himself heard. "The veil then is torn," said he: "our
misfortunes are made known; but, fearful as these disasters are,
perhaps they are not yet entirely disclosed to us. I shall not discuss
the communications made to us: the moment is not come, to call the
head of the state to account for the blood of our brave soldiers, and
the loss of the honour of the nation: but I require him, in the name
of the public safety, to disclose to us the secret of his thoughts, of
his policy; to teach us the means of closing the abyss, that yawns
beneath our feet. Ministers of Napoleon, you talk to us of the
national independence, you talk to us of peace; but what new basis
will you give to your negotiations? What new means of communication
have you in your power? You know, as well as we, that Europe has
declared war against Napoleon alone! Will you henceforth separate the
nation from Napoleon? For my part, I declare, that I see but one man
between us and peace. Let him speak, and the country will be saved."

Prince Lucien attempted, to answer this violent attack. "What!" said
he, "shall we still have the weakness to believe the words of our
enemies? When victory was for the first time faithless to us, did they
not swear, in the presence of God and man, that they would respect
our independence and our laws? Let us not fall a second time into the
snare, that they have set for our confidence, for our credulity. Their
aim, in their endeavour to separate the nation from the Emperor, is,
to disunite us, in order to vanquish us, and replunge us more easily
into that degradation and slavery, from which his return delivered us.
I conjure you, citizens, by the sacred name of our country, rally all
of you round the chief, whom the nation has so solemnly replaced at
its head. Consider, that our safety depends on our union; and that you
cannot separate yourselves from the Emperor, and abandon him to his
enemies, without ruining the state, without being faithless to your
oaths, without tarnishing for ever the national honour."

This speech, uttered amid the coil of parties, was drowned,
interrupted, by the tumultuous noise of the assembly: few of the
deputies listened to it, or heard it: their minds, however, astonished
by the blow aimed at Napoleon, appeared disquieted and irresolute. The
Duke of Vicenza, and the Prince of Eckmuhl, had given satisfactory
explanations, one of the means of coming to an understanding with the
allies, the other of the imaginary approach of troops intended to act
against the national representation. The friends of the Emperor had
succeeded in bringing over to his cause a majority of the assembly,
and every thing seemed to presage a favourable issue, when one of the
Emperor's enemies, M. de la Fayette, obtained a hearing. "You accuse
us," said he, addressing Prince Lucien, "of failing in our duties
towards our honour, and towards Napoleon. Have you forgotten all that
we have done for him? have you forgotten, that we followed him in the
sands of Africa, in the deserts of Russia, and that the bones of our
sons and brothers every where attest our fidelity? For him we have
done enough: it is our duty now, to save our country." A number of
voices rose together in confusion, to accuse or defend Napoleon. M.
Manuel, M. Dupin, displayed the dangers, with which France was
threatened. They hinted at the means of preserving it, but durst not
pronounce the word abdication: so difficult it is to overcome the
respect, that a great man inspires.

In fine, after a long debate, it was agreed, conformably to the
conclusions of the message, that a committee of five members,
consisting of the president and vice-presidents of the chamber,
Monsieur Lanjuinais, and MM. de la Fayette, Dupont de l'Eure,
Flaugergues, and Grenier, should concert measures with the council of
ministers, and with a committee of the chamber of peers (if this
chamber should think proper to appoint one), to collect every
information respecting the state of France, and propose every means
that might be conducive to the public safety.

Prince Lucien, in the same capacity of commissioner extraordinary,
repaired immediately to the chamber of peers; and this chamber, after
having heard the imperial message, hastened also to appoint a
committee; which was composed of Generals Drouot, Dejean, and
Andréossy, and MM. Boissy d'Anglas, and Thibaudeau.

On his return to the Elyseum, the prince did not conceal from the
Emperor, that the chamber had declared itself too strongly, to allow
any hope of ever reclaiming it: _and that it was necessary, either to
dissolve it immediately, or submit to an abdication._ Two of the
ministers present, the Duke of Vicenza and the Duke of Bassano,
remonstrated, that the chamber had acquired too great hold of the
public opinion, for an act of authority to be attempted against it.
They respectfully hinted to Napoleon, that it was more prudent to
submit: that, if he hesitated, the chamber would indubitably decree
his deposition, and perhaps he would not have it in his power, to
abdicate in favour of his son.

Napoleon, without promising, without refusing, without giving any
indication of his resolves, contented himself with the answer of the
Duke of Guise: "They dare not." But it was easy to perceive, that he
stood in fear of the chamber; that he thought his abdication
inevitable; and that he only sought, in the hope of some favourable
event, to put off the catastrophe as long as possible.

The committees of the two chambers, the ministers, and the ministers
of state, met the same day at eleven in the evening, Prince Lucien
being present.

It was decided by a majority of sixteen against five:

1st, That the safety of the country required the Emperor to consent,
that the two chambers should appoint a committee, to negotiate
directly with the combined powers, on the condition of their
respecting the independence of the nation, and the right every people
have, to give themselves such a constitution, as they may deem proper.

2dly, That it was advisable, to back these negotiations by the
complete display of the national force.

3dly, That the ministers of state should propose suitable measures for
supplying men, horses, and money; as well as those necessary for
curbing and repressing domestic enemies.

This resolution was combated by M. de la Fayette. He stated, that it
did not answer the general expectation; that the most certain, the
most speedy means of putting an end to the state of crisis, in which
France found itself, rested solely and exclusively in the abdication
of Napoleon; and that it was necessary to call upon him, in the name
of the country, to lay down the crown.

Prince Lucien declared, that the Emperor was ready, to make any
sacrifice, which the safety of France might require: but that the time
for recurring to this desperate resource was not yet arrived; and that
it was advisable, with a view to the interests of France itself, to
wait the result of the overtures, that should be made to the allied

The assembly agreed in this opinion, and broke up from weariness at
three o'clock in the morning.

General Grenier was appointed by his colleagues, to give the chamber
an account of the result of this conference: an embarrassing mission,
since the principal object of the conference, which, in the opinion
of the representatives, ought to have been, to determine on the
abdication of Napoleon, had been eluded, and left out of sight.
M. ***, whom I refrain from naming, advised him, to speak out plainly,
and to declare, that the committee, though it had not formally
declared it, felt the necessity of desiring the Emperor to abdicate.
But the inflexible and virtuous Dupont de l'Eure, always the friend of
rectitude and sincerity, raised his voice like a man of honour against
this shameful suggestion; and protested, that he would ascend the
tribune, to declare the truth, if the reporter dared to disregard or
falsify it. Accordingly General Grenier confined himself, to giving a
faithful account of the sitting of the committee: but he added, from
instructions just given him by the ministers of state, that the
chamber would presently receive a message, by which the Emperor would
declare, that he approved of the assembly's appointing ambassadors, to
send to the allies; and that, if he were an insuperable obstacle to
the nation's being admitted to treat of its independence, he should
always be ready, to make the sacrifice required of him.

This explanation answered every end: but, instead of calming the
minds of the representatives, it excited the irascibility of all
those, who, from fear of the enemy, from ambition, or from a mistaken
patriotism, considered Napoleon's immediate abdication necessary. They
did not perceive, that on the contrary it was of importance, to leave
Napoleon nominally on the throne, in order to give the negotiators an
opportunity of bartering with the foreign powers his abdication in
exchange for peace.

M. Regnault, witnessing the irritation that prevailed, went to
acquaint the Emperor, that the chamber appeared disposed, to pronounce
his deposition, if he did not abdicate immediately. The Emperor, not
accustomed to receive the law, was indignant at the force attempted to
be put upon him: "Since this is the case," said he, "I will not
abdicate. The chamber is composed of Jacobins, fanatics, and ambitious
men, who thirst after places and disturbance. I ought to have
denounced them to the nation, and expelled them: the time lost may be

The Emperor's agitation was extreme. He strode about his closet, and
muttered broken phrases, that it was impossible to comprehend. "Sire,"
at length answered M. Regnault, "do not endeavour, I conjure you, to
struggle any longer against the stream of events. Time passes on: the
enemy is advancing. Do not give the chamber, do not give the nation,
room to accuse you of having prevented it from obtaining peace. In
1814 you sacrificed yourself for the common safety; repeat to-day this
great, this generous sacrifice."

The Emperor pettishly replied: "I shall see: it has never been my
intention, to refuse to abdicate. I was a soldier; I will become one
again: but I want to be allowed, to think of it calmly, with a view to
the interests of France and of my son: tell them to wait."

During this conversation, the chamber was extremely agitated. The
president, informed by M. Regnier of the disposition of the Emperor,
announced, that a message would presently satisfy the wishes of all.
But, impatient to enjoy its work, it was unwilling, even to leave
Napoleon the merit of sacrificing himself freely for the safety of his

M. Duchène, who was the first to interrupt General Grenier's report by
his murmurs, moved, that the Emperor should be desired, in the name of
the safety of the state, to declare his abdication.

General Solignac proposed, to send a deputation to him, to express the
urgency of his decision.

M. de la Fayette, who seems called by fate to be the scourge of kings,
exclaimed, that, if Napoleon did not decide, he would move for his

A number of members, among whom General Sébastiani rendered himself
conspicuous by his violence, insisted, that Napoleon should be
compelled, to abdicate immediately.

At length it was agreed, "in order to save the honour of the head of
the state," to grant him an hour's grace; and the sitting was

Fresh importunities immediately assailed the Emperor. General
Solignac, I believe, and other deputies, came to summon him to
abdicate. Prince Lucien, who had never ceased to conjure the Emperor,
to make head against the storm, now thought the time was passed, and
that it was necessary to submit. Prince Joseph united with him, and
their joint advice at length overcame the resistance of the Emperor.
This determination he announced to the ministers, and said to the Duke
of Otranto with an ironical smile, "Write to those gentlemen, to make
themselves easy: they shall soon be satisfied[63]."

              [Footnote 63: In fact, the Duke of Otranto did write to
              M. Manuel.]

Prince Lucien then took up the pen, and wrote, from the dictation of
his august brother, the following declaration.

"_Declaration to the French People._

"In commencing a war, to maintain the independence of the nation, I
reckoned on the joint efforts of all, the unanimity of all, and the
concurrence of all the national authorities. From these I had reason,
to hope for success; and I set at defiance all the declarations of
foreign powers against me.

"Circumstances appear to me to be changed: I offer up myself as a
sacrifice to the animosity of the enemies of France: may they prove
themselves sincere in their declarations, and that they really aimed
at me personally alone! My political life is at an end: and I proclaim
my son, under the title of Napoleon II., Emperor of the French.

"The present ministers will form provisionally the council of
government. The interest I feel in what concerns my son induces me,
to desire the chambers, to form a regency without delay by a law.

"Unite, all of you, for the public safety, and to remain an
independent nation.

                              (Signed)  "NAPOLEON."

  "Palace of the Elyseum,
  June the 22d, 1815."

The minute of Prince Lucien was put into my hands by the Duke of
Bassano, to make two copies of it. When they were presented to the
Emperor, they still exhibited traces of my sorrow. He perceived them,
and said to me, with a very expressive look, "They would have it so."

The Duke of Bassano observed to him, that he made a great sacrifice to
peace; but that perhaps the allies would not deem it sufficiently
complete.--"What do you mean?" asked the Emperor.--"It is possible,
they may require the renunciation of the crown by your Majesty's
brothers."--"What! by my brothers Ah, Maret, then you would dishonour
us all!"

The Duke of Otranto, the Duke of Vicenza, the Duke Decrès, were
immediately employed, to carry the Emperor's declaration to the
chamber of deputies; and the Duke of Gaëta, Count Mollien, and M.
Carnot, to carry it to that of the peers.

The Prince of Eckmuhl had been sent previously to the former by the
Emperor, to give it information respecting the army, and amuse it till
the abdication should arrive.

Scarcely was the abdication sent off, when the Count de la Borde,
adjutant-general of the national guard, ran to inform the Emperor,
that there was not a moment to be lost, as they were going to put the
deposition to the vote. The Emperor, tapping him on the shoulder,
said: "These good people are in great haste, then: tell them to be
easy; I sent them my abdication a quarter of an hour ago." The
ministers and M. de la Borde had passed each other on the way.

When they appeared before the chamber, the president, apprehensive
that the enemies of Napoleon would insult his misfortunes by cowardly
applauses, reminded it, that its regulations prohibited every sign of
approbation or disapprobation: he then read the declaration.

The Duke of Otranto, who had been in secret one of the instigators of
the rage of certain deputies, pretended to be affected at the fate of
Napoleon, and recommended him to the attention and protection of the
chambers. This simulation of generosity disgusted every pure heart in
the assembly; it was reserved for the unfortunate Regnault, to rouse
their feelings. He reminded them of the benefits and victories of
Napoleon with so much eloquence and sensibility; he drew them a
picture so true, so affecting, so pathetic, of the misfortunes, to
which this great man, the hero of the nation, was about to devote
himself without reserve, and without conditions, to ransom his
country; that the eyes of his most obdurate enemies were moistened
with tears, and the whole assembly remained for some moments plunged
in a sad and painful silence. This silence, perhaps the noblest
homage, that Napoleon ever obtained, was at length interrupted; and
the chamber unanimously decreed, that a solemn deputation should wait
on Napoleon, to express to him, in the name of the nation, "the
respect and gratitude, with which they accepted the noble sacrifice he
had made to the independence and happiness of the French people."

Napoleon received coldly the congratulations of the deputies of the
chamber. What value could empty words have in his eyes? He answered

              [Footnote 64: This answer was cut short by the
              president: I give it here entire.]

"I thank you for the sentiments you express towards me: I wish, that
my abdication may procure the happiness of France; _but I have no
expectation of it_; it leaves the state without a head, without
political existence. The time wasted in overturning the monarchy might
have been employed in putting France into a condition to crush the
enemy. I recommend to the chamber, speedily to reinforce the armies:
whoever is desirous of peace ought to prepare for war. Do not leave
this great nation at the mercy of foreigners: be on your guard against
being deceived by your hopes. _There lies the danger._ In whatever
situation I may find myself, I shall always be at ease, if France be
happy. I recommend my son to France. I hope it will not forget, that I
abdicated only for him. I have made this great sacrifice also for the
good of the nation; it is only with my dynasty, that it can expect to
be free, happy, and independent."

The Emperor delivered this answer in such a noble and affecting tone,
that all present were deeply moved, and M. Lanjuinais himself could
not refrain from tears.

Count Regnault was congratulating himself on being the first
interpreter of the sentiments and gratitude of the nation; when the
Emperor interrupted him: "Since this deliberation is your work," said
he to him, "you ought to have remembered, that the title of Emperor is
never lost[65]:" and he turned his back upon him.

              [Footnote 65: The title of Emperor had not been given
              him in this deliberation. He had been called merely
              Napoleon Bonaparte.]

The chamber of peers hastened, to follow the example of the deputies.
The Emperor received it with kindness, and recommended to it, not to
forget that he had abdicated only in favour of his son.

The abdication of Napoleon gave free scope to the political
speculations of the representatives every one of them thought himself
called upon, to give the state a government and a head.

The republicans, still the dupes of their own illusions, flattered
themselves with the hope of introducing a federal government into

The Bonapartists, confident in the wishes of the nation, and the
promises of foreign powers, reckoned on decreeing the crown to
Napoleon II., and the regency to Maria Louisa.

The partisans of the Duke of Orleans, in whose ranks were found the
most distinguished personages and the ablest orators of the assembly,
secretly flattered themselves with seating on the throne the son of
kings and of the republic.

Some of the deputies, seduced by the brilliant reputation of the one,
or by the valour and family connexions of the other, inclined for the
Prince of Sweden, or the Prince of Orange.... In a word, they would
have any body, except the legitimate sovereign.

A small number of the deputies only remained neutral. Free from
ambition and personal interest, attentive to their country alone, they
thought of availing themselves of the passing events, only to turn
them to the advantage of liberty and the nation.

The parties, that thus divided the chamber, were not slow in entering
on their career.

M. Dupin, too skilful to manifest directly the intention of not
acknowledging Napoleon II., and declaring the throne vacant, took a
circuitous course. He proposed to the chamber, to form itself into a
national assembly to send ambassadors to negotiate for peace; to form
an executive committee, selected from the members of the two chambers;
and to give it in charge to another committee, to prepare the plan of
the new constitution, and to settle the conditions, on which the
throne might be filled by the prince, whom the people should choose.

M. Scipio Morgues, though not sitting under the same banners with M.
Dupin, took up the proposition; and, carrying it still farther, moved,
that the chamber should form itself into a constituent assembly: that
the government of the state should be entrusted provisionally to the
ministers, who should act in conjunction with a committee of five
members belonging to the chamber, with the president at their
head[66]; and that the throne should be declared vacant, till the will
of the people was known: so that the sovereign people would have had
the power of changing the established form of government, and
rendering France a republic, or a monarchy, as they pleased.

              [Footnote 66: The chamber of peers was of course thus
              annihilated, and excluded from any share in the

M. Regnault represented, that either of these propositions would tend
to throw the state into the labyrinth of a complete disorganization;
that they could not be adopted, without announcing to the foreign
powers, that there was no established order of things in France, no
acknowledged rights, no fixed principles, no basis for a government:
yet, soon falling himself into the error of his opponents, he
proposed, 1st, to name, instead of the council of regency, prescribed
by the fundamental laws, to which he had just referred, an executive
committee of five members, two from the chamber of peers, and three
from that of deputies, who should exercise the functions of government

2dly. In order not to disturb the unity of power, to leave to this
committee the choice and direction of the commissioners, to be sent to
negotiate with the allies.

In times of doubt and fear, a middle course is always most agreeable
to the majority; and the majority of the chamber adopted the sort of
conduct proposed by M. Regnier, without perceiving its inconsistency:
for, to elude the acknowledgment of the Emperor Napoleon II. was to
declare to foreigners, _what it had been desirous of avoiding_, that
there were no established rights in France, and that the throne and
even the government were vacant.

In the existing state of things there were only two courses to be
pursued: either to proclaim Napoleon II. constitutionally, as its
essence, its duty, its interest, prescribed:

Or, if, from a cowardly condescension, it would not decide any thing
without the assent of the allies, to unite the two chambers into a
national assembly, and wait the course of events. In this case it
would not have placed the fate of the revolution of the 20th of March
in the hands of five individuals; it would have acquired an imposing
and national character, which would have given to its acts, its
negotiations, and even its resistance, a degree of strength and
dignity, that the unusual kind of government, to which it had just
given birth, could never obtain.

The resolution taken by the representatives was immediately carried to
the chamber of peers.

Prince Lucien was the first who rose to combat it. He eloquently
exposed the principles, on which hereditary monarchies are founded. He
invoked the constitution, the solemn oaths taken in the _Champ de
Mai_, and conjured the peers, the faithful guardians of the fealty
sworn, and of the constituent laws of the monarchy, to reject this
unconstitutional resolution, and proclaim Napoleon II. Emperor of the

M. de Pontécoulant strongly resisted this proposal; declaring, that he
never would consent to acknowledge as sovereign a Prince not in
France, and a captive as regent. "Besides," added he, "by what right
does the Prince of Cannino come to speak within these walls? is he a

"If I be not a Frenchman in your eyes," exclaimed Prince Lucien, "I am
in the eyes of the whole nation."

Labedoyère darted rapidly to the tribune. "I have seen," said he,
"round the throne of the prosperous sovereign, men, who now shun it,
because he is in adversity. They are at this moment ready to receive
any prince, that foreigners may think proper to impose on them. But,
if they reject Napoleon II., the Emperor ought to have recourse to his
sword, and to those brave men, who, covered as they are with blood and
scars, still cry 'Long live the Emperor!' It was, in favour of his
son, that he abdicated: his abdication is void, if Napoleon II. be not
acknowledged. Shall French blood have been spilt again, only to make
us pass a second time under a foreign yoke? to bow the head beneath a
degraded government? to see our brave warriors drink the cup of
bitterness and humiliation, and deprived of the rewards due to their
services, their wounds, their glory? There are still here perhaps
generals," turning his eyes toward Marshal Ney, "who meditate new
treasons; but woe to all traitors: may they be devoted to infamy! may
their houses be rased, their families proscribed!" At these words the
most lively expressions of displeasure burst out in the assembly.
Labedoyère, interrupted, impiously exclaimed: "_Great God!_ is it then
decreed, that the voices of baseness alone shall be heard within these

This exclamation excited fresh murmurs. "We have already a foreign
war," said M. Boissy d'Anglas: "must we have a civil war also?
Unquestionably the Emperor has made the greatest of sacrifices to our
country, but the proposal, to proclaim Napoleon II. is unseasonable
and impolitic. I move the order of the day."

Messrs. de Ségur, de Flahaut, and Roederer, opposed this, and
strenuously maintained the rights of Napoleon II. "If the Emperor had
been killed," said they, "his son would succeed him as a matter of
right. He is politically deceased why should not his son succeed him?
The monarchy is composed of three branches: one of these branches is
dead; it must be replaced. We are strong only within the sphere of our
duties: let us not step out of the constitution, let us not give the
foreign powers a right to say to us, you are no longer any thing! They
have declared, that Napoleon alone was the obstacle to a peace: let us
put their good faith to the test. It is besides as advantageous, as it
is just and politic, to acknowledge Napoleon II., and to govern in his
name. Look at the soldiers, look at the people of Alsace, Franche
Comté, Lorraine, Burgundy, and Champagne, for whom, and in whose name,
have they lavished their generous blood? At home, the acknowledgment
of Napoleon II. would justify the nation and the army; abroad it would
reconcile us to Austria. Could the Emperor view us with the eyes of an
enemy, when we had adopted for our sovereign a child of his own

"The 67th article of the constitution," said M. Thibaudeau, "is still
the law of the two chambers: neither the chamber, nor the nation, nor
the provisional government we shall form, thinks of bringing back the
government, under which we groaned a whole year; but the proposal for
acknowledging Napoleon II. cannot be discussed at the present moment.
Let us leave things as they are, and adopt the resolution of the
chamber of deputies, _without prejudging any thing in regard to the
entirety of the abdication of Napoleon_."

The chamber, delighted at having discovered a method of preserving the
rights of Napoleon, without placing itself in manifest opposition to
the representatives, adopted this suggestion, and proceeded
immediately to the nomination of the two members to the committee of

The Duke of Vicenza and Baron Quinette had the suffrages in their

M. Carnot, the Duke of Otranto, and General Grenier, were at the same
time chosen by the other chamber.

The committee of government immediately entered on its functions under
the presidency of the Duke of Otranto.

Though the question of the entirety of the abdication remained
untouched upon, the Emperor nevertheless considered the creation of a
committee of government as a manifest violation of its conditions. He
reproached the ministers of state, and particularly M. Regnault, with
not having maintained the rights of his son: and made them sensible,
that it was incumbent on them, as they regarded their honour and
duty, to oblige the chambers to declare themselves. "I have not
abdicated," said he, "in favour of a new directory. I abdicated in
favour of my son. If they do not proclaim him, my abdication must be
null, and not made. The chambers well know, that the people, the army,
public opinion, desire it, will it; but the foreigners check them. It
is not by presenting themselves before the allies with their ears
hanging down, and their knee on the ground, that they will compel them
to acknowledge the independence of the nation. Had they been sensible
of their situation, they would spontaneously have proclaimed Napoleon
II. The foreign powers would then have seen, that you know how to have
but one will, one object, one rallying point: they would have seen,
that the 20th of March was not a party affair, the attempt of a
faction; but the result of the attachment of the French to me and to
my dynasty. The unanimity of the nation would have had more effect
upon them, than all your mean and degrading deference."

The effect produced by the sitting of the chamber of peers, in spite
of the pains taken to misrepresent it, roused the attention of the
Duke of Otranto, and of the Anti-Napoleon faction, of which he was
become the director and the head.

On the other hand the army of Marshal Grouchy, which was supposed to
be destroyed, had just re-entered France[67]. Prince Jerome, Marshal
Soult, Generals Morand, Colbert, Poret, Petit, and a number of other
officers, whom I regret not being able to name, had succeeded in
rallying the wreck of Mont St. Jean; and the army already formed a
body of fifty or sixty thousand men, whose sentiments in favour of the
Emperor had undergone no alteration.

              [Footnote 67: Conformably to the orders given him,
              Marshal Grouchy had confined himself on the 17th, to
              observing the Prussians: but this he had not done with
              the ardour and sagacity, that might have been expected
              of such a consummate general of horse. The timidity,
              with which he followed them, no doubt inspired them with
              the idea, that they might fall on the Emperor's rear
              with impunity.

              On the 18th, at nine in the morning only, he quitted his
              cantonments to march to Wavres: when he reached Walhain,
              he heard the cannonading at Mont St. Jean. Its
              continually increasing briskness left no doubt, that it
              was an extremely serious affair. General Excelmans
              proposed, to march to the guns by the right bank of the
              Dyle. "Do you not feel," said he to the marshal, "that
              the firing makes the ground tremble under our feet? let
              us march straight to the spot where they are fighting."
              This advice, had it been followed up, would have saved
              the army: but it was not. The marshal slowly continued
              his movements: at two o'clock he arrived before Wavres.
              The corps of General Vandamme and that of Gérard
              endeavoured to open a passage, and wasted time and men
              to no purpose. At seven o'clock he received, according
              to his own declaration, the order from the
              major-general, to march to St. Lambert and attack Bulow;
              which step ought to have been suggested to him before
              that time by the tremendous cannonading at Waterloo, and
              by the order _given in the first despatch received in
              the morning_, to draw near to the grand army, and place
              himself in a situation to co-operate with it. He did so
              then. He crossed the Dyle at the bridge of Limale, and
              made himself master of the heights, without meeting any
              resistance; but night being come, he halted.

              At three in the morning General Thielman attempted, to
              drive our troops back across the Dyle: but he was
              victoriously repulsed. The division of Teste, the
              cavalry of General Pajol, obliged him to evacuate Bielge
              and Wavres. The whole of the corps of Vandamme crossed
              the Dyle, took Rosieren, and became master of the road
              from Wavres to Brussels.

              Marshal Grouchy, though the Emperor had recommended to
              him, to keep open the communications, and to send him
              frequent accounts of himself, had given himself no
              concern about what was passing at Mont St. Jean; and was
              preparing blindly to pursue his own movements, when an
              aide-de camp of General Gressot came to announce to him
              (this was at noon) the disasters of the preceding day.
              The marshal was then sensible, but too late, of the
              horrible fault he had committed in remaining unconcerned
              on the right bank of the Dyle. He effected his retreat,
              in two columns, by Temploux and Namur.

              On the 20th in the morning, his rear-guard was attacked,
              and thrown into disorder. The division of Teste, the
              cavalry of Excelmans, extricated it from its confusion.
              The 20th of dragoons, and its worthy colonel, the young
              Briqueville, retook from the enemy two pieces of
              artillery, which they had captured. General Clary and
              his hussars cut down the horse; and the army reached
              Namur in tranquillity. The indefatigable division of
              General Teste was appointed to defend this town; and it
              maintained its post gloriously, till our wounded and
              baggage had evacuated it, and our troops were in safety
              on the heights of Dinan and Bouvine.

              On the 22d the whole of the army was assembled at
              Rocroi. On the 24th it formed a junction with the wreck
              of Mont St, Jean, which the Emperor had ordered, to bend
              its course towards Rheims. On the 25th it marched for
              the capital. During its retreat, it was exposed to the
              exasperated attacks of the Prussians. It repulsed them
              all with firmness and vigour. The noble desire of
              repairing the involuntary evil, that it had done us at
              Mont St. Jean, inflamed the minds of the soldiers with
              the most spirited ardour; and perhaps this army of brave
              fellows would have changed the fate of France under the
              walls of Paris, had not the inspirations of its
              patriotism, and generous despair, been repressed or

The Duke of Otranto and his party then perceived the necessity of
keeping terms with Napoleon and in a secret conference, which took
place at the house of the minister of police, and at which M. Manuel
and the deputies of most weight in the party of the Duke of Otranto
were present, it was confessed, that it appeared neither prudent nor
possible, to prevent the acknowledgment of Napoleon II.; and that they
would exert themselves merely to retain the authority in the hands of
the committee.

The next day, as had been foreseen, Count Defermont, dexterously
availing himself of a debate on the oath to be taken by the committee,
asked the assembly, in whose name the committee was to act? how the
titles of its acts should run? and, in fine, whether Napoleon II.
were, or were not, Emperor of the French? (_Yes, yes, yes!_) "The
abdication of Napoleon I. calls to the succession him," said he, "who
in the order established by the constitution is designated beforehand
as his heir." (Here a single voice called out, _The order of the
day!_) "On this fundamental point the slightest hesitation cannot
exist. If it did exist, it would be our duty, to put an end to it. We
must not allow people, to go and persuade the national guard of Paris,
or the armies, that we are waiting for Louis XVIII., and that we all
share the same sentiment." (_A great majority of the members rose, and
exclaimed, "Long live Napoleon II.!" These shouts were repeated with
transport by the tribunes, and by the officers of the line and of the
national guard, who were at the entrance of the hall._)

"It must frankly be confessed," said another member, M. Boulay de la
Meurthe, "that doubts have been started: some newspaper writers have
gone so far as to say, that the throne is vacant. Were such our
misfortune, this assembly, and our liberties, would be at an end. In
fact, what should we be? By what mandate are we here? We exist only
through the constitution.... It is the same constitution, that
proclaims Napoleon II. Emperor. His father has abdicated: you have
accepted his abdication without restriction the contract is formed,
Napoleon II. is Emperor by the course of events." (_Yes, yes! we ought
not even to deliberate._) "Besides, the Emperor gave his abdication
only under the express condition (_murmurs_).... These murmurs do not
terrify me: I have long made the sacrifice of my life. I will speak
the whole truth in presence of the nation. There exists a faction,
that would persuade us we have declared the throne vacant, in the hope
of filling up this vacancy immediately by the Bourbons. (_No, no!
never, never!_) This faction is that of the Duke of Orleans. It has
seduced some patriots, not too clear-sighted, who do not perceive,
that the Duke of Orleans would accept the throne only to resign it to
Louis XVIII. The assembly must speak out, and instantly declare, that
it acknowledges Napoleon II. as Emperor of the French."

Count Regnault spoke to the same purpose; but threw cold water on the
debate, by unskilfully introducing the mention of the foreign powers,
and asking in whose name the army was to fight.

The members of the opposition, who had hitherto confined themselves to
a few murmurs, and calling for the order of the day, now began to
speak. M. Dupin first endeavoured to prove, that the safety of the
country was the first thing to be considered. "Why," said he
afterward, "has the Emperor abdicated? Because he felt, that it was no
longer in his power, to save France. Now, I ask you, if Napoleon I.
could not save the state, how can Napoleon II. save it? Besides, are
not this prince and his mother captives? Have you any hope, that they
will be restored to you?

"What have been our ideas? We have wished, instead of a name, which
our enemies object to us, as the sole motive of the war, to bring
forward the French nation. Yes, it is in the name of the nation, that
we would fight, and that we would treat. It is from the nation we
await the choice of a sovereign. The nation precedes all governments,
and survives them all."

"Why do you not propose a republic?" a single voice exclaimed.

Numerous and violent murmurs had often interrupted M. Dupin. M.
Manuel, more adroit, felt the necessity of being also more temperate.
He appeared at first uncertain on the determination it would be proper
to take; and, after having brought all the parties on the stage, and
placed in the balance the hopes and fears, with which each might
inspire the nation, he exclaimed: "But is it an individual, then, is
it a family, that is in question? No; it is our country. Why should we
deprive ourselves of the means of saving it? Already we have made one
great stride[68]: but do we know, whether it will be great enough,
whether it will be sufficiently complete, to obtain from it the
results we wish? Let us leave it to time to act. In accepting the
abdication of Napoleon, you accepted the condition it carries with it;
and we ought to acknowledge Napoleon II., since the forms of the
constitution require it: but, in conforming to them in this respect,
it is impossible for us not to deviate from them, when the object is
to secure our independence; and it is to attain this object, that you
have thought proper, to place authority in the hands of men, who
particularly possess your confidence; in order that this or that
prince, appointed by the laws the guardian of the sovereign during a
minority, may not claim his rights, and become the arbiter of the fate
of France.

              [Footnote 68: That of forcing Napoleon to abdicate.]

"I move, therefore, the order of the day, for the following reasons:
1st, that Napoleon II. is become Emperor of the French, by the fact of
the abdication of Napoleon I., and by virtue of the constitution of
the empire.

"2dly, That the two chambers have willed and intended, by naming a
committee of government, to secure to the nation the guarantees it
requires, under the extraordinary circumstances, in which it is
placed, to preserve its liberty and tranquillity."

This specious proposal seduced the assembly. It was adopted amid the
most vociferous acclamations, and shouts of "Long live Napoleon II." a
thousand times repeated; without its suspecting, that this order of
the day, which appeared to it so decisive, signified nothing, except
that it proclaimed Napoleon II. because the constitution required it;
but that it declared, at the same time, that it was merely a matter of
form, and that it would be ready to give it up, when the provisional
government should deem it necessary.

This was the second time of the chamber's being the dupe of its
eagerness: yet it reckoned among its members men of great judgment and
talents; but the greater number, and it is the majority always that
gives the law, never having had a seat in our assemblies, allowed
themselves to be subjugated by the illusions of eloquence, and with so
much the more facility, because there existed in the assembly no fixed
notion, no paramount will, that might serve it as a beacon and guide.

The provisional government, influenced by M. Fouché, soon evinced,
that it had caught the true sense of M. Manuel's proposal. Two days
after, its acts were issued in the name of the French people. This
insult to the sincerity of the chamber, and to the sovereign it had
acknowledged, excited its astonishment, and its complaints. The
capital and the patriots murmured. The president of the government was
summoned, to explain and justify this strange proceeding. He answered:
"That it had never been the intention of the committee, to disavow
Napoleon II.; but this prince not having been yet acknowledged as
sovereign of France by any of the foreign powers, they could not treat
with them in his name; and the committee had thought it its duty, to
act provisionally in the name of the French people, in order to
deprive the enemy of every pretext for refusing to admit the

This explanation, strengthened by the hacknied support of the potent
words, our country, the public safety, foreign armies, appeared
plausible; and no more was said.

The Emperor himself, stunned by the force and rapidity of the blows,
that his enemies inflicted on him, thought no longer of defending
himself; and seemed to leave to Providence the care of watching over
him and his son. He complained: but his dissatisfaction expired on his
lips, and excited in him none of those resolutions, that might have
been expected from the fire and energy of his character.

The Duke of Otranto, however, and the deputies who had concurred with
him in pulling down Napoleon from his throne, did not look on his
residence at the Elyseum without alarm. They dreaded, lest, emboldened
by the daring counsels of Prince Lucien, by the attachment the army
retained for him, by the acclamations of the federates, and citizens
of all classes, who assembled daily under the walls of his palace, he
should attempt to renew a second 18th Brumaire. They demanded of the
chamber, therefore, by the mouth of M. Duchesne, that the _ex-Emperor_
should be desired, in the name of their country, to remove from the
capital. This demand having no effect, recourse was had to other
means. Endeavours were made to frighten him. Every day officious
advisers warned him, that attempts were making against his life: and
to give more probability to this clumsy scheme, his guard was suddenly
reinforced. Nay, one night, we were roused out of our beds by a
messenger from the commandant of Paris, General Hulin, who warned us
to be on our guard, as the Elyseum was going to be attacked, &c. But
so great was our contempt for these wretched impositions, we did not
even think it necessary, to mention it to Napoleon; and saw the return
of day, without having lost a single moment's rest. Nothing however
could have been more easy, than to carry off or assassinate Napoleon.
His palace, which ten days before could scarcely contain the bustling
crowd of ambitious men and courtiers, was now one vast solitude. All
those men, destitute of faith and honour, whom power attracts, and
adversity keeps at a distance, had deserted it. His guard had been
reduced to a few old grenadiers: and a single sentry, scarcely in
uniform, watched the gate of that Napoleon, that king of kings, who
lately reckoned millions of soldiers under his banners.

Napoleon himself, however, was aware, that his presence at Paris, and in
an imperial palace, might give the allies room to question the sincerity
of his abdication, and be detrimental to the re-establishment of peace.
He determined, therefore, to remove.

His private correspondence with the sovereigns, and some original
letters, concealed from their search in 1814, he caused to be
delivered into his own hands. He then directed us to burn the
petitions, letters, and addresses, that had been received since the
20th of March. I was employed in this business one day, when Napoleon
passed through the closet. He came up to me, and took a letter I had
in my hand. It was one from the Duke of .... He ran it over, and said
to me with a smile: "Don't burn this: keep it for yourself. It will be
an excellent recommendation, if you find yourself in any
trouble. * * * [TN: Missing words in the book] will not fail to
swear to those people, that he has maintained his fidelity toward them
inviolate; and when he knows, that you have in your hands substantial
proof of his having laid himself at my feet, and that I refused both
him and his services, he will be ready to quarter himself to serve
you, for fear you should blab." I thought the Emperor was jesting: he
perceived it, and resumed: "No, I tell you; don't burn that letter, or
any of those from persons of the same description: I give them to you
for your protection."--"But, Sire, they will accuse me of having
stolen them."--"If they complain, threaten, that you will print them
all as they are, and they will say no more: I know them."--"Since it
is your Majesty's desire, I will keep them." I did, in fact, set aside
a certain number of these letters. After the return of the king, I had
the complaisance, to restore some of them to the writers. This is not
said gratuitously: scarcely had their authors, whom I could name,
these letters in their possession, when they extolled their pretended
fidelity to the skies; and became the most virulent detractors, both
in their conversation and writing, of all who had embraced or served
the cause of the 20th of March.

On the 25th, at noon, Napoleon set off for Malmaison. He was received
there by the Princess Hortensia. This princess, so odiously
calumniated, and so worthy of respect, set us an example of courage
and resignation. Her situation, and that of Napoleon, must have
wounded her to the heart: yet she found sufficient strength of mind,
to suppress her sorrows, and console ours. She was attentive to the
Emperor, she was attentive to us, with such constant solicitude, such
perfect courteousness, that you would have supposed, she had nothing
to think of but the misfortunes of others. If the fate of Napoleon and
of France drew from us groans or imprecations, she ran to us; and,
restraining her own tears, reminded us with the wisdom of a
philosopher, and the sweetness of an angel, that we should surmount
our sorrows and regrets, and submit with docility to the decrees of

Napoleon was roused by the shock, that his departure from the Elyseum
gave him. At Malmaison he recovered his spirit, his activity, his
energy. Accustomed to see all his wishes, all his enterprises, crowned
with success, he had not learned, to contend against the sudden
attacks of misfortune; and, notwithstanding the firmness of his
character, they threw him occasionally into a state of irresolution,
during which a thousand thoughts, a thousand designs, jostled each
other in his mind, and deprived him of the possibility of coming to
any decision. But this moral catalepsy was not the effect of a
cowardly dejection, as has been asserted. His great mind remained
erect amid the temporary numbness of his faculties; and Napoleon, when
he awoke, was but so much the more terrible, and the more formidable.

A few minutes after his arrival, he was desirous of addressing once
more his old companions in arms, and expressing to them for the last
time his sentiments and regrets. The affection he bore them, and his
despair at being unable to avenge at their head the affront received
at Mont St. Jean, made him forget in his first sketch of a
proclamation, that he had broken with his own hands his sceptre and
his sword. He soon perceived, that the impassioned style, in which he
addressed his army, was not such, as his abdication imposed on him:
and accordingly he substituted the following address in the place of
the too animated effusions of his heart.

"_Napoleon to the brave Soldiers of the Army before Paris._

                                   "Malmaison, June the 25th, 1815.


"While I yield to the necessity, that compels me to retire from the
brave French army, I carry with me the pleasing certainty, that it
will justify, by the eminent services its country expects from it,
those praises, which our enemies themselves cannot refuse it.

"Soldiers, though absent, I shall mark your steps. I know all the
corps; and no one of them can obtain a signal advantage over the
enemy, without my doing justice to the courage it displays. Both you
and I have been calumniated. Men not worthy to judge of your actions
have seen, in the proofs of attachment you have given me, a zeal, of
which I was the sole object: let your future successes teach them,
that it was your country you served more especially in obeying me; and
that, if I had any share in your affection, I owe it to my ardent love
for France, our common mother.

"Soldiers, yet a few efforts, and the coalition is dissolved. Napoleon
will know you by the blows you strike.

"Save the honour, the independence of France: continue to the end such
as I have known you these twenty years, and you will be invincible."

The Emperor, who perhaps had intended by this proclamation, to turn
the remembrance and concern of his ancient soldiers toward himself,
inquired after the effect it had produced. He was informed, as was the
truth, that it had not been published in the Moniteur, and that the
army knew nothing of it. He showed no mark of vexation or discontent,
and began to talk of the two chambers.

Since the abdication, the peers and deputies had rivalled each other,
in their zeal and endeavours, to put France into a state, to awe its
enemies at home and abroad.

They had declared the war national, and summoned all Frenchmen to
their common defence.

They had authorized the government, to make requisitions in kind, for
victualling the army, and the conveyance of subsistence.

To raise the conscription of 1815.

To suspend the laws respecting personal liberty; and to arrest, or
place under inspection, every person charged with exciting
disturbances, or conveying intelligence to the enemy.

In fine, they had voted it an immense credit, for defraying
provisionally the expense of equipping and paying the army.

The committee, on its part, took, and executed with indefatigable
care, every measure, that circumstances demanded. Its task, it must be
confessed, was as difficult as perilous. Never was a government placed
in similar circumstances. They required, at least in the majority of
its members, great courage, great devotion, great patriotism: they
required an heroic disregard of ease, of liberty, of life, to assume
the responsibility incurred by power, and by events, towards the
nation, and towards the king.

The first act of the committee was, to replace in the hands of the
Prince of Essling the command in chief of the national guard, which
had before devolved on the Emperor. The Duke of Otranto was desirous
of taking the post of second in command from General Durosnel, whose
rectitude was embarrassing to him, in order to bestow it on M. T**,
who appeared to him no doubt more tractable. The Duke of Vicenza and
M. Carnot opposed this; and it was left with General Durosnel, to the
satisfaction of the national guard, which had already learned how to
value the excellent character of this officer.

Marshal Soult not choosing to accept the command, and General Rapp
having resigned his, the committee appointed Marshal Grouchy commander
of the army of the North.

General Reille was appointed commander of the 1st, 2d, and 6th corps,
united into one:

General Drouot commander of the guards:

Marshal Jourdan commander of the army of the Rhine.

Orders were given in all quarters, to replace the stores of the army,
remount the cavalry, march out the dépôts, and oblige the straggling
soldiers, to return to their colours.

In fine, the committee, after having had recourse to every possible
means of supporting the negotiations, by the simultaneous display of
the national forces, appointed MM. de la Fayette, de Pontécoulant, de
la Forêt, d'Argenson, Sébastiani, and Benjamin Constant, the last
being added in the character of secretary, to repair to the allied
sovereigns and their generals, to negotiate a suspension of
hostilities, and treat of peace.

The day on which these plenipotentiaries departed, M. S*** came to
congratulate Napoleon. "The allies," answered the Emperor, "are too
deeply interested in imposing the Bourbons on you, to give you my son.
My son will reign over France, but his time is not yet arrived. The
instructions given the deputies, I have been assured, are in favour of
my dynasty: if this be true, other persons should have been chosen to
defend it. La Fayette, Sébastiani, Pontécoulant, and Benjamin
Constant, have conspired against me. They are my enemies: and the
enemies of the father will never be the friends of the son. Besides,
the chambers have not sufficient energy, to display an independent
will: they obey the directions of Fouché. If they had bestowed on me
what they lavish on him, I would have saved France. My presence alone
at the head of the army would have done more, than all your
negotiations. I would have obtained my son, as the price of my
abdication: you will not obtain him. Fouché is not sincere: he has
sold himself to the Duke of Orleans. He will make fools of the
chambers; the allies will make a fool of him; and you will have Louis
XVIII. He thinks himself able, to manage every thing as he pleases;
but he is mistaken. He will find, that it requires a hand of a
different stamp from his, to guide the reins of a nation,
particularly when an enemy is in the land.... The chamber of peers has
not done its duty: it has behaved like a chicken. It has suffered
Lucien to be insulted, and my son to be dethroned. If it had stood
firm, it would have had the army on its side: the generals there would
have given it to it[69]. Its order of the day has ruined France, and
brought you back the Bourbons, I alone could repair all: but your
party-leaders will never consent to it: they would rather be swallowed
up in the gulf, than join with me to close it."

              [Footnote 69: Most of the peers held commands in the

The complaints, the regrets, the menaces, that Napoleon allowed
continually to escape him, alarmed the promoters of his fall more and
more. In the first moments of their warmth they had displayed some
boldness; but after their heads had grown cool, they appeared
themselves to be astonished at their own courage. They turned pale at
the very name of Napoleon and conjured the government night and day,
to make him embark as speedily as possible.

From the very day of his abdication, the Emperor had thought of
seeking an asylum in a foreign country. Accustomed to powerful
emotions, to extraordinary events, he familiarized himself to this
idea without difficulty; and appeared to take a momentary pleasure in
calculating the hazards of the present, and the chances of the future;
and balancing the fictions of hope against the dangers of reality.

The Emperor had never confounded the English nation with the political
system of its government. He considered the heart of a Briton as the
inviolable sanctuary of honour, generosity, and all the public and
private virtues, that stamp on man loftiness and dignity. This high
opinion prevailed in his mind over the fears, with which the known
principles and sentiments of the cabinet of London could not fail to
inspire him: and his first intention was, to retire to England, and
there place himself under the protection of hospitality and the laws.
He opened his mind to the Dukes of Bassano and Vicenza. The former did
not appear to relish this determination. The latter, without
condemning of approving it, advised him, if he persisted in taking
this step, to go on board a smuggling vessel; and, as soon as he
landed, to present himself to the magistrate of the place, and
declare, that he came with confidence to invoke the protection of the
English nation. Napoleon appeared, to relish this advice; but the
counsels of other persons induced him, to incline to the United
States. He then sent to the minister of marine for an account of the
American vessels, that were in our ports. The minister sent it to him
immediately. "Take notice, Sire," he wrote, "of the vessel at Havre.
Her captain is in my antechamber; his postchaise at my door. He is
ready to depart. I will answer for him. To-morrow, if you please, you
may be out of the reach of your enemies."

M. de Vicenza pressed the Emperor, to avail himself of this
opportunity. "I am well aware," answered the Emperor, "that there are
people, who wish me already gone; who want to get rid of me, and to
have me taken prisoner." The duke gave signs of surprise and reproach.
"Ah! Caulincourt, it is not you I am speaking of." The Duke of Vicenza
replied, that his advice came from his heart; and that he had no other
motive, than to see him safe from the dangers, with which he was
threatened by the approach of the allies.--The Emperor stopped him.
"What have I to fear? I have abdicated; _it is the business of France
to protect me!_"

Several Americans, who were at Paris, wrote of their own accord to
Napoleon, to offer him their services, and assure him, in the name of
their fellow-citizens, that he would be received at Washington with
the sentiments of respect, admiration, and devotion, that were his
due. Napoleon refused their offers. Not that he had any intention of
withdrawing himself from the effects of his abdication: but he had
changed his opinion; and considered, that it was his duty, not to quit
the country, unless it were exacted of him, till it was no longer in

The government, however, yielding to the continual importunities of
the deputies, and of M. Fouché, caused it to be hinted to him, that it
was proper he should come to some decision. The Emperor then declared,
that he was ready to repair with his family to the United States; and
that he would embark, as soon as two frigates were placed at his
disposal. The minister of marine was immediately authorized, to fit
out these two frigates. Baron Bignon received orders, to demand from
Lord Wellington the necessary passports and safeconducts: but the
committee, under pretence of not exposing the _frigates_ to fall into
the enemy's hands, decreed, that they should not put to sea, till the
safeconducts were arrived: a singular condition, that cannot be
explained honourably but by the supposition, that the government was
not desirous at bottom of letting Napoleon depart; no doubt
considering his presence in France as a circumstance, that would
render the allies more docile, and less exacting.

The promise made by the Emperor, and the measures taken to ensure his
departure, were not sufficient, to quiet the apprehensions of his
enemies. They were afraid, that he would avail himself of the delay,
which must take place before the safeconducts could arrive, to seize
on the sovereign authority by main force. Accordingly, they returned
to the charge; and the government, to put an end to their importunate
fears, and answer by anticipation the objections of the foreign
powers, consented to appoint a guardian to the late head of the state.
General Count Beker, a member of the chamber of deputies, was named
commander of the Emperor's guard; and, under this pretext, directed,
to repair to Malmaison, "to watch over the preservation
(_conservation_) of the person of Napoleon, and the respect due to
him; and to prevent ill-disposed persons from making use of his name,
to excite disturbances[70]."

              [Footnote 70: These are the literal terms of General
              Beker's commission.]

When the general made his appearance at Malmaison, it was supposed,
that he came to arrest Napoleon. An exclamation of sorrow escaped from
every heart. Gourgaud and some other officers swore, that no one
should lay a sacrilegious hand off the Emperor. I ran to inform
Napoleon of what was passing. He came out of his closet, and appeared
to our eyes

  Avec cet air serein, ce front majestueux,
  Tels que dans les combats, maître de son courage,
  Tranquille, il arrêtait ou pressait le carnage[71].

              [Footnote 71:
                    With air majestic, and with brow serene,
                    As, master of his fire, amid the fray,
                    He coolly urges, or restrains the sword.]

The Emperor ordered us, to respect the person and mission of General
Beker, and let him know, that he might appear without scruple, and
without fear. But this officer had already explained the purpose of
his journey; and a person came to inform the Emperor, that the object
of his mission was, not to arrest him, but to watch over the safety of
his person, placed under the protection of the national honour[72].

              [Footnote 72: I am eager here to pay the general the
              homage he merits. He knew perfectly well, how to
              reconcile his duty with the attentions and respect, that
              were due to Napoleon, and to his misfortune.]

This declaration deceived no one. It grieved us profoundly. The
Princess Hortensia's heart was torn by it. "O, my God!" said she,
sorrowfully lifting her eyes to Heaven; "was I born, to see the
Emperor a prisoner to the French in Malmaison?"

M. Fouché and his followers did not stop at this first precautionary
step; and, to deprive the Emperor of the means "of forming plots,"
they took from him in succession, under one pretence or other, most of
the officers, on whose attachment he could depend. Some were sent for
to be about the government, others received missions or commands. All
were spoken to in the sacred name of their country, and all obeyed. I
too was not forgotten and I received orders, as well as my colleague,
Baron Fain, to repair to Paris. I informed the Emperor of it. "Go,"
said he: "you have my consent. You will know what passes there, and
will acquaint me with it. I am sorry, that we did not think of sending
you in the suite of the plenipotentiaries: you would have reminded
Metternich of what was said at Bâle: you would have informed him, that
Fouché is labouring for the Duke of Orleans, &c. &c. Perhaps it may
not yet be too late. See Caulincourt from me, and tell him, to give
you some mission."

As soon as I arrived at the Tuileries, I expressed to the president of
the committee, and to M. de Vicence, a wish to make part of the
embassy. I reminded them of the proposals of M. Werner, &c. &c. M. de
Vicence thought, that my services might be very useful. The Duke of
Otranto answered me, that I must give up all thoughts of that; and
nothing more was said about it.

Thus Napoleon remained at Malmaison almost alone[73]; and there
retired, as Achilles to his tent, he was cursing his state of
idleness, when the minister of marine came to announce to him, in the
name of the government, that the enemy was at Compiègne; that the
committee, apprehensive for his safety, dispensed with his waiting for
the safeconducts, and requested him to depart incognito. The Emperor
promised to depart: but, when he heard at a distance the first report
of a cannon, his whole body thrilled, and he lamented in a tone of
despair, that he was condemned to remain far from the field of battle.
He ordered General Beker to be called: "The enemy is at Compiègne; at
Senlis!" said he to him: "to-morrow he will be at the gates of Paris.
I cannot conceive the blindness of the government. A man must be mad,
or a traitor to his country, to question the bad faith of the foreign
powers. These people understand nothing of affairs." General Beker
made a motion with his head, which Napoleon took for a sign of
approbation, and he went on: "All is lost: is it not so? In this case,
let them make me general; I will command the array; I will immediately
demand this (_speaking in an authoritative tone_): General, you shall
carry my letter; set off immediately a carriage is ready for you.
Explain to them, that it is not my intention, to seize again the
sovereign power: that I will fight the enemy, beat them, and compel
them by victory, to give a favourable turn to the negotiations: that
afterward, this great point obtained, I will pursue my journey. Go,
general, I depend on you; you shall quit me no more."

              [Footnote 73: His court, formerly so numerous, was now
              customarily composed only of the Duke of Bassano, Count
              Lavalette, General Flahaut, and the persons who were to
              go with him, as the following orderly officers, General
              Gourgaud, Counts Montholon and de Lascases, and the Duke
              of Rovigo. The attachment, that induced the latter to
              attend Napoleon, was so much the more to his honour, as
              Napoleon, when he returned from the island of Elba,
              reproached him very harshly with having neglected him.
              He passes however in the opinion of the public, though
              very erroneously, for being one of the contrivers of the
              20th of March: but he had always to complain of the
              public opinion. It imputes to him a number of wicked
              actions, in which he had really no share, and which he
              frequently indeed had endeavoured to prevent. The
              Emperor employed him on all occasions; because he found
              him possessed of a bold and clear judgment, an acute
              understanding, and great skill in perceiving the
              consequences of a thing, and acting with spirit.
              Unfavourable suspicions have been thrown on the motives,
              that induced Napoleon, to entrust to him the
              administrations of the police: but he was called to this
              important office solely because the Emperor had
              experience of the infidelity of the Duke of Otranto, who
              deserted him on all occasions of difficulty; and wished
              to supply his place by a man of tried attachment, a man
              who, unconnected with the revolution, and having no
              party to keep terms with, could serve him alone, and do
              his duty without tergiversation.]

General Beker, overcome by the ascendancy of his prisoner, set off
immediately. The letter, the former part of which I am sorry I cannot
warrant to be exact, was in substance as follows:

"_To the Committee of Government._

"In abdicating the sovereign authority, I did not renounce the noblest
right of a citizen, the right of defending my country.

"The approach of the enemy to the capital leaves no doubt of their
intentions, of their bad faith.

"Under these weighty circumstances, I offer my services as general,
still considering myself as the first soldier of my country."

The Duke of Otranto read this letter aloud, and exclaimed: "Is he
_laughing_ at us?"

M. Carnot appeared to be of opinion, that the Emperor should be
replaced at the head of the army.

The Duke of Otranto replied, that the Emperor no doubt had spared the
committee this trouble; that he had probably _stolen away_, the moment
General Beker departed; and was already haranguing the soldiers, and
reviewing them.

General Beker pledged himself, that Napoleon would await his return.

The president of the committee observed then, that the recall of
Napoleon would destroy for ever all hope of conciliation: that the
enemy, indignant at our Punic faith, would no longer grant us either
truce or quarter: that the character of Napoleon would not allow any
confidence, to be placed in his promises; and that, if he should meet
with any success, he would re-ascend the throne, and bury himself
under its ruins, rather than descend from it a second time, &c.

These observations united all their suffrages, and the members of the
committee answered the Emperor, "That their duty toward their country,
and the engagements the plenipotentiaries had entered into with the
foreign powers, did not permit them, to accept his offer." They
appointed M. Carnot, to go to Malmaison; explain to the Emperor his
situation, and that of France; and conjure him, to spare those
calamities, that he appeared desirous of bringing upon France and upon

The proposal of Napoleon was soon known all over Paris. It was first
reported, that he had wished, to resume the command; and at last, that
he had resumed it. In fact, immediately after the departure of General
Beker, Napoleon ordered his chargers to be saddled; and for three
hours it was supposed, that he was going to the army. But he had no
thought of basely availing himself of the absence of his guardian, to
make his escape. Such an idea was beneath a man, who had come to
attack and invade a kingdom with eight hundred soldiers.

General Beker returned to Malmaison. The Emperor snatched the answer
of the committee, ran it hastily through, and exclaimed: "I was sure
of it; these people have no energy. Well, general, since it is so, let
us be gone, let us be gone." He ordered M. de Flahaut to be called;
and directed him, to go to Paris immediately, and concert measures for
his departure and embarkation with the members of the committee.

The Prince of Eckmuhl was at the Tuileries when M. de Flahaut made his
appearance there. In the mission of this general he saw nothing but a
subterfuge of the Emperor, to defer his departure. "This Bonaparte of
yours," said he to him in a tone of anger and contempt, "will not
depart: but we must get rid of him: his presence hampers us, is
troublesome to us; it is injurious to the success of our negotiations.
If he hope, that we shall take him again, he deceives himself: we will
have nothing more to do with him. Tell him from me, that he must go;
and if he do not depart instantly, I will have him arrested, _I will
arrest him myself_." M. de Flahaut, burning with indignation,
answered: "I could not have believed, M. marshal, that a man, who was
at the knees of Napoleon but a week ago, could to-day hold such
language. I have too much respect for myself, I have too much respect
for the person and misfortunes of the Emperor, to report to him your
words; go yourself, M. marshal, it will befit you better than
me."--The Prince of Eckmuhl, irritated at this, reminded him, that he
was speaking to the minister at war, to the general in chief of the
army: and enjoined him, to repair to Fontainebleau, where he should
receive his orders.--"No, sir," replied Count de Flahaut briskly, "I
will not go; I will not abandon the Emperor I will preserve to the
last moment that fidelity to him, which so many others have
sworn."--"I will have you punished for your disobedience."--"You have
no longer the right to do so. From this moment I give in my
resignation. I can no longer serve under your orders, without
disgracing my epaulettes."

He went away. The Emperor perceived on his return, that something had
cut him to the heart. He questioned him; and at length brought him to
confess all that had passed. Accustomed since his abdication, to be
surprised at nothing, and to endure every thing without complaint,
Napoleon appeared neither astonished nor displeased at the insults of
his former minister. "Let him come," answered he coolly: "_I am ready,
if he desire it, to hold out my throat to him._ Your conduct, my dear
Flahaut, touches me; but your country wants you: remain in the army,
and forget, like me, the Prince of Eckmuhl and his dastardly menaces."

History, more rigid, will not forget them. Respect for misfortune has
always been placed in the foremost rank of military virtues. If the
warrior, who insults his disarmed enemy, lose the esteem of the brave,
what sentiment should he inspire, who abuses, insults, and threatens,
his friend, his benefactor, his prince, when under misfortunes?

In the bosom of faithful friendship the Emperor disburdened his mind of
the chagrin, that the refusal of his services by the committee
occasioned him. "Those people," said he to M. de Bassano, "are blinded
by their avidity of enjoying power, and continuing to act the sovereign.
They feel, that, if they replaced me at the head of the army, they would
be no longer any thing more than my shadow; and they are sacrificing me
and their country to their pride, to their vanity. They will ruin every
thing." After a few moments silence he added: "But why should I let them
reign? I abdicated, to save France, to save the throne of my son. If
this throne must be lost, I had rather lose it in the field of battle
than here. I can do nothing better for all of you, for my son, and for
myself, than throw myself into the arms of my soldiers. My presence
will electrify the army, will be a clap of thunder to the foreign
powers. They will be aware, that I return to the field, to conquer or
die: and, to get rid of me, they will grant all you ask. If, on the
contrary, you leave me to gnaw my sword here; they will laugh at you,
and you will be forced to receive Louis XVIII. _cap in hand_. We must
come to a close: if your five Emperors will not have me, to save France,
I must dispense with their consent. It will be sufficient for me, to
show myself, and Paris and the army will receive me a second time, as
their deliverer."--"I do not doubt it, Sire," answered M. de Bassano:
"but the chamber will declare against you: perhaps it will even venture,
to declare you outlawed. On the other hand, Sire, if fortune should not
prove favourable to your efforts; if the army, after performing
prodigies of valour, should be overpowered by numbers; what will become
of France? what will become of your Majesty? The enemy will be justified
in abusing their victory; and perhaps your Majesty would have to
reproach yourself with having caused the ruin of France for
ever."--"Come, I see, I must always give way." The Emperor remained some
minutes, without uttering another word. He then said: "You are right: I
ought not to take upon myself the responsibility of so great an event.
I ought to wait, till the voice of the people, of the soldiers, of the
chambers recall me. But how is it, that Paris does not call for me? Do
not the people then perceive, that the allies give you no credit for my
abdication?"--"Sire, so much uncertainty pervades their minds, that they
cannot come to an understanding with each other. If they were fully
convinced, that it is the intention of the allies, to restore Louis
XVIII., perhaps they would not hesitate to speak out; but they entertain
hopes, that the allies will keep their promises."--"That infamous Fouché
deceives you. The committee suffers itself, to be led by him. It will
have severe reproaches to make itself. There is nobody in it worth any
thing, except Caulincourt and Carnot: and they are badly fitted with
associates. What can they do with a traitor, a couple of blockheads[74],
and two chambers, that do not know what they would be at? You all
believe, like innocents, the fine promises of the foreign powers. You
believe, that they will give you a fowl in the pot, and a prince of
your own liking, do you not? You deceive yourselves. Alexander, in spite
of his magnanimous sentiments, suffers himself to be influenced by the
English: he is afraid of them; and the Emperor of Austria will do, as he
did in 1814, what others think proper."

              [Footnote 74: This epithet was not an insult in the
              mouth of Napoleon. He even applied it commonly to his
              ministers, when they showed any irresolution.]

This conversation was interrupted by the arrival of Generals P. and
Chartran. They had already been refused admittance twice: but this
time they declared, that they would not go away, till they had spoken
with the Emperor. Their business was, to get money from him. General
Chartran, as fatally inspired as Labedoyère, told him, that he had
ruined himself in his service; that the Bourbons were on the point of
returning; that he should be shot, if he had not money to make his
escape; and that money he must have. Napoleon caused a thousand
crowns, to be given to each; and they went away. The Princess
Hortensia, afraid that these illustrious Cossacks should do the
Emperor some ill turn, would generously have given them whatever they
asked. I had infinite difficulty in tranquillising her, and making her
understand, that they had more design on the purse than the person of

After they were departed, Napoleon gave me some commands for Paris. I
returned thither. The moment I entered the Tuileries, the committee
had just been informed, that the enemy, after having beaten our
troops, was advancing with all speed to Paris. This news rendered the
government uneasy; and, as there was no orderly officer then at hand,
the Duke of Vicenza requested me, to go and reconnoitre. I set off. On
my arrival at the entrance of Bourget, I met General Reille with his
army. He informed me, that the enemy was following him; but that there
was no reason, to be in fear for the capital. "I know not what is
passing there," said he to me; "but this very moment the brother of M.
de Talleyrand was brought before me. He had with him a false passport,
under the name of Petit. I had an inclination, to send him before the
committee of government: but he declared to me, that he was employed
by it on a mission as important as it was urgent; and as, at all
events, one enemy more can do us no injury, I thought it better to let
him pass, than risk the frustrating of his mission by useless delays."
I hastened to return, to calm the anxiety of the government.

As soon as I was at liberty, I flew to Malmaison. Napoleon, who felt
himself obliged by this continual posting, always condescended to
receive me immediately. I gave him an account of every thing, that
could be interesting to him. I did not omit to inform him, that the
enemy was already master of part of the environs of Paris; and that it
was important for him, to be on his guard. "I shall have no fear of
them to-morrow," said he to me; "I have promised Decrès to set out,
and I will be gone to-night. I am tired of myself, of Paris, of
France. Make your preparations, and do not be out of the
way."--"Sire," answered I, "when I promised yesterday, to attend your
Majesty, I consulted only my attachment; but when I imparted this
resolution to my mother, she conjured me by her gray hairs, not to
desert her. Sire, she is seventy-four years old[75]: she is blind; my
brothers have perished in the field of honour; she has only me, me
alone in the world, to protect her: and I confess to your Majesty,
that I had not the heart to refuse her."--"You have done well," said
Napoleon to me, "you owe yourself to your mother: remain with her. If
at some future time you should be master of your own actions, come to
me: you will always be well received."--"Your Majesty is resolved,
then," I replied, "to depart?"--"What would you have me do here
now?"--"Your Majesty is right: but...."--"But what? would you have me
remain?"--"Sire, I confess to your Majesty, I cannot look on your
departure without alarm."--"In fact the path is difficult; but fortune
and a fair wind...."--"Ah, Sire! fortune is no longer in our favour:
besides, whither will your Majesty go?"--"I will go to the United
States. They will give me land, or I will buy some, and we will
cultivate it. I will end, where mankind began: I will live on the
produce of my fields and my flock."--"That will be very well, Sire:
but do you think, that the English will suffer you, to cultivate your
fields in peace?"--"Why not? what harm could I do them?"--"What harm,
Sire! Has your Majesty then forgotten, that you have made England
tremble? As long as you are alive, Sire, or at least at liberty, she
will dread the effects of your hatred and your genius. You were
perhaps less dangerous to her on the degraded throne of Louis XVIII.,
than you would be in the United States. The Americans love and admire
you: you have a great influence over them; and you would perhaps
excite them to enterprises fatal to England."--"What enterprises? The
English well know, that the Americans would lose their lives to a man
in defence of their native soil; but they are not fond of making war
abroad. They are not yet arrived at a pitch, to give the English any
serious uneasiness. Some future day perhaps, they will be the avengers
of the seas; but this period, which I might have had it in my power to
accelerate, is now at a distance. The Americans advance to greatness
but slowly."--"Admitting, that the Americans can give England no
serious uneasiness at this moment, your presence in the United States
will at least furnish it with an occasion, to stir up Europe against
them. The combined powers will consider their work as imperfect, till
you are in their possession; and they will compel the Americans, if
not to deliver you up, at least to expel you from their
territory."--"Well! then I will go to Mexico. I shall there find
patriots, and will put myself at their head."--"Your Majesty forgets,
that they have leaders already: people bring about revolutions for
themselves, not for others; and the chiefs of the independents would
be disconcerted by your Majesty's presence, if they did not oblige
you, to seek an asylum elsewhere...."--"Well, I will leave them as
they are; and go to Caracas; if I do not find myself well received
there, I will go to Buenos Ayres; I will go to California; in fine, I
will go from shore to shore, till I meet with an asylum against the
malignancy and persecutions of men."--"Supposing your Majesty to speak
seriously, can you reasonably flatter yourself with continually
escaping the snares and fleets of the English?"--"If I cannot escape
them, they will take me: their government is good for nothing, but the
nation is great, noble, generous; they will treat me as I ought to be
treated. After all, what would you have me do? Do you wish, that I
should suffer myself to be taken here like a dolt by Wellington, and
give him the pleasure of parading me in triumph through the streets of
London like King John? Since my services are refused, there is but one
step I can take: to depart. The destinies will do the rest."--"There
is still another, Sire, if I dared suggest it to you: your Majesty is
not a man to run away."--"What do you call running away?" said
Napoleon with a proud and angry look: "where do you see me running
away?"--"I entreat your Majesty not to dwell on that expression."--"Go
on, go on."--"I think then, Sire, that your Majesty ought not thus to
quit France, first, for your safety's sake, next for your honour's.
The English are informed, that you have the intention of going to the
United States; and no doubt our coasts already swarm with their
cruisers. This is not all: your Majesty is aware of the hatred and
perfidy of the Duke of Otranto: and who can say, whether secret orders
have not been issued, to delay your departure, or retard the progress
of the vessels, that you may be taken by the English? I consider it
impossible, therefore, that your Majesty should escape them; or, if
you should escape, but that you must ultimately fall into their hands,
sooner or later. In this dilemma, it is right, at least, to endeavour
to fall as nobly as possible."--"What are you driving at?" said
Napoleon peevishly, thinking I meant to propose suicide to him: "I
know, I might say, like Hannibal, 'Let us deliver them from the terror
my name inspires:' but suicide is the business only of minds not
thoroughly steeled, or of distempered brains. _Whatever my destiny may
be, I will never hasten my end a single moment._"--"Such is not my
meaning, Sire; and, since your Majesty condescends to listen to me,
were I in your place, I would renounce the chimerical hope of finding
an asylum in a foreign country; and I would say to the chambers: I
abdicated, in order to disarm our enemies; I learn, that they are not
satisfied; if they must have my liberty, or my life, I am ready, to
place myself in their hands, happy to be able at this price, to save
France and my son. How noble it would be," exclaimed I, "to see
Napoleon the Great, after having laid down the crown placed on his
head by twenty years of victory, offering himself as a sacrifice to
the independence of his country!"--"Yes, yes," said Napoleon, "the
sacrifice would be noble; but a nation of thirty millions of souls,
that could suffer it, would be dishonoured for ever. Besides, to whom
shall I surrender myself? to Blucher? to Wellington? They have not the
power necessary, to treat with me on such conditions. They would begin
with making me their prisoner; and then would do with me, and with
France, whatever they took into their heads."--"I would surrender
myself, Sire, to the Emperor Alexander."--"To Alexander! you know
nothing of those Russians. It would cost the lives of both of us.
However, your idea deserves consideration: I will reflect upon it.
Before taking a step, that cannot be retracted, it is proper to look
at it twice. The sacrifice of myself would be nothing on my own
account; but perhaps it would be lost to France. The faith of an
enemy is never to be trusted. See if Maret and Lavalette be here, and
send them to me."

              [Footnote 75: The uneasiness given her by the terrors of
              1815 conducted her to the grave. I hope the reader will
              pardon me these particulars, and this note.]

Every thing, that bears the stamp of greatness of mind, seduces and
transports me. I confess, that my imagination was fired at the idea of
Napoleon generously devoting himself for France, and for his son. But
this remark of Napoleon's, "A nation of thirty millions of men, that
could suffer such a sacrifice, would be for ever dishonoured," a
remark that I had not foreseen, dissipated the enchantment. On
quitting the closet, I was stopped by the Duke of Rovigo, who said to
me: "You have been talking a long while with the Emperor, has any
thing new passed?"--"No," answered I; "we have been talking of his
departure:" and I gave him an account of our conversation. "Your
advice was noble," replied he; "but what I gave him was, I think,
preferable. It was, to come and fall with us before the walls of
Paris. He will not do so; because, in the first place, Fouché will not
leave it in his power; and, in the next, because the fear of
endangering every thing has laid hold of him. He will set off
to-night. God knows whither we shall go: but no matter, I will follow
him. My first object is, to know that he is out of danger. Besides, I
would rather ramble at a venture with him, than remain here. Fouché
thinks, that he shall get himself out of the scrape: he is mistaken;
he will be hanged like the rest, and more richly deserve it. France is
sunk, lost! I wish I was dead!"

While I was conversing with the Duke of Rovigo, Napoleon was
discussing the proposal, which I had ventured to submit to him.
Several times he was on the point of adopting it; but still recurred
to his prevailing idea, that such a sacrifice was unworthy a great
nation; and that France probably would derive no more advantage from
it, than had been derived from his abdication. All things considered,
therefore, Napoleon resolved, to entrust his fate "to fortune and the
winds." But the committee, advised by a despatch from our
plenipotentiaries, which I shall transcribe farther on, "that the
escape of Napoleon, before the conclusion of the negotiations, would
be considered by the allies as an act of bad faith on our part, and
would compromise the safety of France," directed him to be informed,
that unforeseen political circumstances compelled it, to subject his
departure anew to the arrival of the safeconduct. Thus Napoleon was
obliged to remain.

I returned to Paris. Here I learned, that the enemy had made immense
progress; and, according to custom, I was desirous of getting off, to
acquaint Napoleon with it. The barriers were strictly closed, and no
one could go out without permission. I endeavoured to obtain one. The
Duke of Otranto answered me, that my presence with the cabinet was
necessary; and ordered me to remain. I knew, that one Chauvin, who was
to go with the Emperor, was setting out for Malmaison. I ran to
acquaint him with what was passing; and directed him, to give the
information to Count Bertrand. At the same moment M. G. D.[76],
informed, I know not by what means, that the Prussians designed, to
carry off the Emperor; that Blucher had said, "If I can catch
Bonaparte, I will hang him up at the head of my army;" and that
Wellington had strenuously opposed this cowardly and criminal design,
M. G. D. hastened, to transmit this information to Napoleon; and soon
after found means, by favour of his employment in the national guard,
to repair in person to Malmaison. Napoleon made him relate at large
all he knew. When he was acquainted with the position of the
Prussians, he laid it down on the map[77], and said with a smile:
"Aha! so I have suffered myself in fact to be turned." He then sent an
orderly officer, to see whether the bridges of Bezons and Peck had
been broken down. He found, that the latter was not. "I desired it,
however: but I am not surprised at it."

              [Footnote 76: From accounts communicated to me.]

              [Footnote 77: That is, be marked out the enemy's
              positions with pins.]

The Emperor then made some arrangements, to secure himself against a
surprise: but these precautions were superfluous; he had found,
without calling for it, an inviolable rampart against the enterprises
of his enemies in the devotion of his old companions in arms. The
soldiers, officers, and generals, posted in the direction of
Malmaison, sent him assurances, that they would watch over him, and
were ready to pour out their blood to the last drop in his defence.
One of the commanders of the red lancers of the guard, the young de
Brock, rendered himself particularly distinguished by his
indefatigable zeal.

The schemes of Blucher, and the proximity of our troops to the place
where the Emperor was detained, gave the committee the most serious

They had at once to fear:

That Napoleon, roused by the sound of arms, and the acclamations of
his faithful soldiers, would be unable to repress the desire of coming
to fight at their head:

That the army, still idolizing its ancient general, would come to tear
him from his state of repose, and oblige him to lead it against the

Or, lastly, that the enemy would contrive to seize his person by
surprise, or by force.

The removal of the Emperor to a distance would quiet at once this
state of anxiety: but the despatch of the plenipotentiaries stood in
the way; and the committee, restrained by the fear of offending the
allies, dared not either oblige, or even authorize Napoleon to remove.
Meantime the Duke of Wellington informed M. Bignon, "that he had no
authority from his government, to give any answer whatever to the
demand of a passport and safeconduct for Napoleon Bonaparte." Having
no longer any plausible pretence for detaining him, and unwilling to
take on itself the disgrace and responsibility of events, the
committee no longer hesitated on the path it had to pursue: it
directed the Duke Decrès and Count Boulay, to go immediately to the
Emperor (it was half after three in the morning); to inform him, that
Lord Wellington had refused the safeconducts; and to notify to him
the injunction, to depart immediately.

The Emperor received this communication without any emotion, and
promised to be gone in the course of the day.

Orders were immediately given to General Beker, not to allow him to

To the prefect of the Lower Charente, to prevent his stay at
Rochefort, as far as possible:

To the commandant of the marine, not to suffer him to set foot on
shore, from the moment he should embark, &c. &c. &c.

Never was criminal surrounded with precautions more numerous, and at
the same time more useless.

If Napoleon, instead of yielding to the fear of compromising the
independence and existence of the nation, had wished to revive a
second 20th of March, neither the instructions of General Beker, nor
the threats of Marshal Davoust, nor the intrigues of M. Fouché, could
have prevented him: it would have been sufficient for him to make his
appearance. The people, the army, would have received him with
enthusiasm and not one of his enemies, the Prince of Eckmuhl at their
head, would have dared to lift their eyes, and oppose his triumph.

The moments preceding his departure were exceedingly affecting. He
conversed with the few friends, who had not deserted him, on the
great vicissitudes of fortune. He deplored the evils, which their
devotion to his person, and to his dynasty, would accumulate on their
heads; and exhorted them, to oppose their strength of mind, and the
purity of their consciences, to the persecutions of their enemies. The
fate of France, who can doubt it? was also the object of his anxious
and tender solicitude: he put up ardent prayers for its repose, its
happiness, and its prosperity.

When information was brought him, that all was ready, he pressed the
Princess Hortensia affectionately to his bosom; tenderly embraced his
friends, melting into tears; and recommended to them a new unity,
courage, and resignation. His demeanour was firm, his voice calm, his
countenance serene: not a complaint, not a reproach, escaped his lips.

On the 29th of June, at five in the afternoon, he threw himself into a
carriage prepared for his suite; and made General Gourgaud, and his
orderly officers, take that intended for himself. His eyes were
several times turned towards that last abode, so long the witness of
his happiness and his power. He thought, no doubt, that he should see
it again no more!

He had demanded, that an advice-boat should be placed under his
orders; and that rear-admiral Violette should have the command of his
convoy. The committee, which, in all its intercourse with the Emperor,
had not ceased to pay him the most respectful attention, readily
complied with these demands. Admiral Violette being absent, it was
agreed, that the command should be given to the senior captain of the
two frigates; and the following are the instructions given him.

"_Instructions for Captain Philibert, commanding the Saale, and Poncé,
commanding the Medusa._


"The two frigates are appointed, to carry him, who was lately our
Emperor, to the United States of America.

"He will embark in the Saale, with such persons of his suite as he
shall choose. The rest will embark in the Medusa.

"The baggage will be distributed between the two frigates agreeably to
his directions.

"If, previous to sailing, or on the voyage, the Medusa shall be found
to be a swifter sailer than the Saale, he will go on board the Medusa,
and captains Philibert and Poncé will exchange their commands.

"The profoundest secrecy is to be kept respecting the embarkation,
which will be conducted under the care of the maritime prefect, as
well as respecting the person on board.

"Napoleon travels, incognito; and he will make known himself the name
and title, by which he chooses to be called.

"Immediately after his embarkation, all communication with the shore
must cease.

"The commanders of the frigates, the officers, and the crews, will be
informed by their own hearts, that it is their duty, to treat him
personally with all the attention and respect due to his situation,
and to the crown he has worn.

"When on board, the highest honours will be paid him, unless refused
by himself. He will dispose of the interior of the frigates for his
own accommodation, in whatever manner he may deem most convenient,
without detriment to their means of defence. His table, and the
service of his person, will be conducted as he shall direct.

"Every thing that can contribute to his accommodation on the voyage
will be prepared, without regard to the expense; and the prefect has
received orders for this purpose.

"Such provision for himself and suite will be sent on board by the
prefect, as is compatible with the profound secrecy to be observed
respecting his abode and his embarkation.

"When Napoleon has embarked, the frigates will put to sea within
four-and-twenty hours at farthest, if the wind permit, and the enemy's
cruisers do not prevent their sailing.

"They will not remain in the road twenty-four hours after the
embarkation of Napoleon, unless he desire it; for it is of importance,
to depart as soon as possible.

"The frigates will proceed with all possible speed to the United
States of America; and will land Napoleon and his suite either at
Philadelphia, or at Boston, or at any other port of the United States,
that they can most easily and speedily reach.

"The commanders of the two frigates are forbidden to enter any
roadsteads, from which they might find difficulty or delay in
departing. They are authorized to do so, only if it should be
necessary for the safety of the vessels.

"They will avoid all the ships of war they may fall in with: if they
should be obliged to engage a superior force, the frigate, that has
not Napoleon on board, will sacrifice herself to detain the enemy; and
to give that, on board of which he is, an opportunity of escaping.

"I need not remind you, that the chambers and the government have
placed Napoleon under the protection of French loyalty.

"When arrived at the United States, the disembarkation will take place
with all possible celerity; and the frigates will not remain there
more than four-and-twenty hours, under any pretence whatever, unless
they be prevented from sailing by a superior force; and they will
return directly to France.

"The laws and regulations respecting the police of vessels at sea, and
the military subordination of the persons embarked as passengers to
the commanders of the vessels, will be strictly observed.

"I recommend to the captains' own sense of duty, as well as to their
delicacy, every circumstance not provided for by these presents.

"I have nothing to add to what I have said already, that the person of
Napoleon is placed under the safeguard of the loyalty of the French
people; and this trust is confided specially, on the present occasion,
to the captains of the Saale and the Medusa, and the officers and
crews of these two vessels.

"Such are the orders, which the committee of government has directed
me to transmit to captains Philibert and Poncé.

                       (Signed)  "The Duke DECRÈS."

On the 29th of June, the committee informed the two chambers by a
message, that "the approach of the enemy, and the fear of an internal
commotion, had imposed on it the sacred duty, of causing Napoleon to

The terms, in which this message was couched, gave reason to suppose,
that the Emperor had shown some resistance. M. de Lavalette called on
the Duke Decrès to explain the facts; and it was then known, that the
Emperor had not hesitated for a moment, to submit to the fate imposed
upon him by his abdication; and that, if he did not set out before, it
was because the committee had judged it proper to defer his departure,
till the arrival of the safeconducts demanded.

The Emperor had at first expressed his intention of not stopping on
the road. When he arrived at Rambouillet, he alighted from his
carriage, and said, that he would pass the night at the castle. He
made the grand marshal write to the keeper of the moveables of the
crown, to require him to send to Rochefort, where they would be
embarked, the necessary beds and furniture for seven or eight
principal apartments. He had previously claimed the library of Petit
Trianon, M. de Visconti's Greek Iconography, and a copy of the grand
work of the Egyptian Institute. The faculty of associating thoughts
the most serious with ideas of the greatest simplicity, occupations
the most vast with cares the most minute, was one of the
distinguishing features of the character of Napoleon.

At daybreak he received a courier from M. de ****. He read his
despatches, and then said to General Beker, casting a sorrowful look
toward Heaven: "The business is finished! it is all over with France!
let us begone!"

He was received on his journey with the most lively testimonies of
interest and attachment: but nothing could equal the transports, which
the troops and inhabitants of Niort expressed at seeing him. He
recommended to General Beker, to inform the government of this. "Tell
them, general, that they knew little of the spirit of France; that
they were too hasty in sending me away; that, if they had accepted my
proposal, the face of affairs would have been changed; that I might
still, in the name of the nation, exert a great influence on the
course of political transactions, in backing the negotiations of
government by an army, to which my name would serve as a rallying

The general was preparing, to forward to the committee the words of
the Emperor; and had just finished his despatch, when information was
brought that a heavy cannonade had been heard on the 30th. The Emperor
immediately made him add the following postscript, which the general
wrote from his dictation: "We hope, that the enemy will allow you
time, to cover Paris, and to see the issue of the negotiations. If,
under these circumstances, the English cruisers should prevent the
Emperor's departure, he is at your disposal as a soldier."

The Emperor continued his course; and, his journey from Niort to
Rochefort affording no remarkable incident, I resolved, though with
regret, to lose sight for a moment of this august victim, and return
to the government, that had succeeded him.

The government, impressed with the importance of its functions, had
not ceased, since its formation, to use its utmost endeavours, to
justify the confidence of the chambers. Its politics, which were
perfectly open, were included in these few words: no war, no Bourbons:
and its double resolve was, to make every concession to the allies,
necessary to obtain a peace conformable to the wishes of the nation;
or to oppose to them an inflexible resistance, if they resolved to
intrench on the independence of the nation, and impose on it a
sovereign not of its own choice.

The Duke of Otranto, president of the committee, appeared in the
council, and in public, to approve the principles and determinations
of his colleagues. In private, it was a different affair. Devoted in
appearance to all parties, he flattered and deceived them in turn, by
pretended confidential communications, and chimerical hopes. He spoke
of liberty to the republicans, of glory and Napoleon II. to the
Bonapartists, of legitimacy to the friends of the King, of guarantees
and a general peace to the partizans of the Duke of Orleans; and thus
contrived to secure himself on all sides, in case of need, favourable
chances and supporters[78]. Men familiar with his practices were not
the dupes of his artifices, and endeavoured to unmask them: but his
apparent conduct was so irreproachable, that their warnings were
considered as the result of personal prejudice, or unjust suspicion.

              [Footnote 78: The Emperor, informed of the manoeuvres of
              M. Fouché, said: "He is ever the same; always ready to
              thrust his foot into every one's slipper."]

Besides, it was agreed on all hands, that the fate of France depended
on the negotiations with foreign powers: and it was hoped, that the
plenipotentiaries, and particularly Messrs. d'Argenson and la Fayette,
whose principles were inflexible, would render every kind of surprise
or treachery impracticable.

These plenipotentiaries had left Paris on the 25th of June. Their
instructions were as follows:

_Instructions for Messieurs the Plenipotentiaries of the Committee of
Government to the Allied Powers._

                                        "Paris, June the 23d, 1815.

"The object of the mission of messieurs the plenipotentiaries,
appointed to repair to the allied powers, has no farther need of being
developed. It is in their hearts, as it is in the hearts of all
Frenchmen: the business is, to save their country.

"The salvation of the country is connected with two essential
subjects: the independence of the nation, and the integrity of its

"The independence of the nation cannot be complete, except the
constituent principles of the present organization of France be secure
from every foreign attack. One of the principles of this organization
is the inheritance of the throne in the imperial family. The Emperor
having abdicated, his rights have devolved on his son. The foreign
powers cannot make the least attack on this principle of inheritance,
established by our constitutions, without violating our independence.

"The declaration of the 13th, and the treaty of the 25th of March,
have received an important modification by the explanatory article,
which the British cabinet annexed to the ratification of this treaty:
an article, by which this cabinet announces, _that it has no intention
of pursuing the war for the purpose of imposing a particular
government on France_. This modification has been adopted by the
allies; it has been sanctioned by Lord Clancarty's letter of the 6th
of May, to the drawing up of which all the other plenipotentiaries
gave their assent; it has been sanctioned by a note of Prince
Metternich's, dated the 9th; and finally by the declaration of the
combined powers dated the 12th of the same month.

"It is this grand principle, acknowledged by the combined powers, to
which messieurs the plenipotentiaries ought particularly to appeal.

"We cannot conceal, that it is much to be feared, that the combined
powers will think themselves at present bound more by the
declarations, which they made before the commencement of hostilities.
They will not fail to object,

"That, if, previous to the war, they set up a distinction between the
nation and the Emperor, this distinction no longer exists, when the
nation, by uniting all its forces in the hands of this prince, has in
fact united his fate with its own:

"That, though, previous to the war, they were sincere in their
intention of not interfering in the internal concerns of France, they
are compelled to interfere in them now, precisely for the prevention
of any similar recurrence of war, and for ensuring tranquillity for
the future.

"It would be superfluous, to point out to messieurs the
plenipotentiaries the answers they may make to these objections. They
will find their best refutation in the sentiments of national honour,
which, after the whole nation had joined the Emperor, could not but
fight with him and for him; and could not separate from him, till some
act, such as that of an abdication, dissolved the ties between the
nation and its sovereign. It will be easy to them to demonstrate,
that, if this sacred duty of honour compelled the French nation, to
make war for its own defence, as well as that of the head, that was
attempted to be taken from it; the abdication of this head replaces
the nation in a state of peace with all the powers, since it was this
head alone, that they wished to remove: and that, if the declaration
made by the combined powers, of having no intention to impose on
France a particular government, were frank and sincere, this
sincerity, and this frankness, ought now to be manifested by their
respect for the national independence, when recent circumstances have
removed the only grievance, of which they thought themselves
authorised to complain.

"There is an objection of a more serious nature, which the combined
powers might bring forward first, if they be determined to avail
themselves of all the advantages, which their military position seems
to offer them. This objection would be that of an inclination to
refuse to acknowledge the committee of government, and the
plenipotentiaries, and the acts of the national representatives, as
proceeding from a state of things illegal in their eyes, because they
have constantly refused, to admit the principle, on which it is
founded. This objection, if it be strongly urged, and the combined
powers will not wave it, will leave little prospect of the possibility
of an accommodation. However messieurs the plenipotentiaries will
assuredly neglect no endeavour, to combat such objections; and they
will be in no want of arguments, to combat them with success,
particularly with respect to the British government, the present
dynasty of which reigns solely in virtue of those principles, the
application of which we in our turn have occasion to claim.

"Perhaps, too, without disavowing the independence of the French
nation, the allied sovereigns will persist in declaring, that they
have no proof, that the wishes of the nation are the wishes expressed
by the government, or even by the chambers; and that thus, in order to
know the real wishes of the nation, they must begin by restoring
things to the state in which they were before the month of March,
1815; leaving to the nation afterwards to decide, whether it ought to
retain its old government, or give itself a new one.

"The answer to these objections also will be found in that which
England itself formerly gave to the enemies, who were for disputing
its right of changing its government and its dynasty. England then
answered, that the simple fact of the possession of the sovereign
authority authorised foreign powers, to treat with him, who was
invested with it. Thus, in case the authorities actually existing in
France were not, what in fact they are, clothed in the most perfect
legality, the refusal to treat with them can be supported by no solid
argument. It would be declaring, that they are resolved to try, how
far they can carry the claims of force; and announcing to France, that
there is no security for her but in the resources of desperation.

"In fine, there is one less obnoxious chance, against which also we
ought to be provided. It is, that the combined powers, faithful at
least in part to their declaration, do not absolutely insist on
imposing the Bourbon family on France; but that, on the other hand,
they require the exclusion of the son of the Emperor Napoleon, under
pretence, that a long minority might give rise either to a dangerous
display of ambitious views on the part of the principal members
possessing the authority in France, or to internal commotions, the
shock of which would be felt abroad. Were the question brought to this
point, messieurs the plenipotentiaries would find in the principles of
the objection itself the principle of its answer; since the division
of power in the hands of a council commonly renders its authority
weaker, and the minority of a prince is always a period of slackness
and languor in the government. They would find it particularly in the
present temper of the French nation, in the want it feels of a long
peace, in the fears which the idea of a continuation or renewal of war
must inspire, and in the shackles imposed by the laws of the
constitution on the passions of the members of the government.
Besides, whatever its construction may be, they will find in all its
circumstances, and in a thousand others besides, very valid arguments,
to oppose to those, that may be alleged against the maintenance of
hereditary principles in the dynasty of the Emperor Napoleon.

"The first and most solid pledge, that the allies can give the French
nation of their intention to respect its independence, is to renounce
without reserve all design of subjecting it anew to the government of
the Bourbon family. The allied powers must now be well convinced
themselves, that the re-establishment of this family is incompatible
with the general tranquillity of France, and consequently with the
repose of Europe. If it be their wish, as they declare, to produce a
stable order of things in France and other nations, the purpose would
be completely defeated. The return of a family, strangers to our
manners, and continually surrounded by men, who have ceased to be
French, would rekindle a second time among us every kind of animosity,
and every passion; and it would be an illusion, to expect a stable
order to arise from the midst of so many elements of discord and
trouble. Thus the exclusion of the Bourbon family is an absolute
condition of the maintenance of the general tranquillity; and for the
general interest of Europe, as well as for the particular interest of
France, it is one of the points, to which messieurs the
plenipotentiaries must most strongly adhere.

"The question of the integrity of the territory of France is
intimately connected with that of its independence. If the war,
declared by the allied powers against the Emperor Napoleon, were in
fact declared against him alone, the integrity of our territory is not
threatened. It is of importance to the general balance of power, that
France should retain at least the limits assigned it by the treaty of
Paris. What the foreign cabinets themselves considered as proper and
necessary in 1814, they cannot look upon with other eyes in 1815. What
pretence can justify now a dismemberment of the French territory by
the foreign powers? Every thing in the system of Europe is altered;
all to the advantage of England, Russia, Austria, and Prussia; all to
the detriment of France. The French nation is not jealous; but it will
not be subjugated, or dismembered.

"Thus the efforts of messieurs the plenipotentiaries will have two
leading objects; the maintenance of the national independence, and the
preservation of the integrity of the French territories.

"These two objects are linked together, and mutually dependent on each
other: they cannot be separated, and no modification of either of them
can be admitted, without endangering the safety of the country.

"But if the foreign powers should make any proposals, capable of being
reconciled with our dearest interests; and they should be offered to
us as the ultimatum of our safety; messieurs the plenipotentiaries,
refraining from the expression of a premature opinion, will hasten
_to give an account of them, and to demand the orders of government_.

"Whatever may be the dispositions of the foreign powers; whether they
acknowledge the two principles, that are pointed out to messieurs the
plenipotentiaries as the bases of their mission; or the negotiations
lead to other discussions, of a nature to require enlarging upon; it
is highly important, on either supposition, that a general armistice
should be previously agreed on. The first care of messieurs the
plenipotentiaries must consequently be, to demand an armistice, and
insist on its being promptly concluded upon.

"There is one sacred duty, that the French nation cannot forget; which
is, _to stipulate the safety and inviolability of the Emperor Napoleon
out of its territory_. This is a debt of honour, which the nation
feels the necessity of acquitting toward a prince, who long covered it
with glory; and who in his misfortunes renounces the throne, that the
nation may be saved without him, since it appears, that with him it
cannot be saved.

"The choice of the place, to which the Emperor will have to retire,
may be a subject of discussion. Messieurs the plenipotentiaries will
appeal to the personal generosity of the sovereigns, to obtain a
residence to be fixed upon, with which the Emperor will have reason
to, be satisfied.

"Independently of the general considerations, which messieurs the
plenipotentiaries will have to urge to the allied sovereigns
indiscriminately, they will themselves judge of the various arguments,
which they will have to employ with respect to the different cabinets

"The interests of England, Austria, Russia, and Prussia, not being the
same; it will be proper, to exhibit under different points of view to
each of these cabinets the advantages, that the new order of things,
recently established in France, may offer them respectively. All the
powers will find in it a guarantee of the preservation of whatever
they possess, either of territory, or of influence: but, with these
general advantages, some of them must find themselves separately

"Austria may well be supposed, not to see with pleasure the
re-establishment of one branch of the Bourbon dynasty on the throne of
Fiance, while another branch of the same house reascends the throne of

"This circumstance, which belongs to the policy of the cabinet, may
also receive some support from family affection: the regard of his
Majesty the Emperor of Austria for his grandson may induce him, not to
oppose the high destiny offered to him. It may be, that the Austrian
cabinet may perceive in this bond of relationship a means of
strengthening its cause by the support of the French nation; and that,
alarmed at the aggrandisement of Russia and of Prussia, whose alliance
no doubt is a grievance to it, it may lay hold of the opportunity of
an advantageous reconciliation with France, so as in case of need to
find in it a powerful auxiliary against those two governments.

"Other reasons offer themselves, to incline the cabinet of Petersburg
toward us. The liberal opinions professed by the Emperor of Russia
authorize a language to be held to his minister, and even to this
potentate himself, to which few other sovereigns would be capable of
listening. There is room for thinking also, that this monarch takes
but little interest personally in the welfare of the Bourbon family,
whose conduct in general has not been pleasing to him. He had not much
reason to be satisfied with it, when he found it express its gratitude
almost exclusively to the Prince Regent of England. Besides, the
object of Russia is attained all its thirst of power, and its
self-love, are equally satisfied. Tranquil for a long time to come,
and victor without having fought, the Emperor Alexander may proudly
return to his dominions, and enjoy a success, that will not have cost
him a single man. The continuance of the war with France would now be
to him a war without an object. It would be repugnant to all the
calculations of good policy, and to the interests of his people.
Messieurs the plenipotentiaries will avail themselves of these
circumstances, and of many others also, to endeavour to neutralize a
power so formidable as Russia.

"That continental power, from which France has the least favour to
expect, is the court of Berlin: but this court is that of which the
forces have received the most violent check; and if Russia and Austria
be ever so little disposed; to enter into negotiations, Prussia will
be inevitably compelled to accede to them. Besides, even with this
court, arguments of great weight will not be wanting, to render it
more amicably disposed, if it will listen only to its real and
permanent interests.

"Messieurs the plenipotentiaries will find with the allied sovereigns
the British plenipotentiaries and it will be with these, perhaps, that
the negotiation will present most difficulties. The question with
respect to the allies is scarcely a matter of discussion: with this
power, every argument and every principle are in our favour; but it
remains to be seen, whether its will be not independent of all
principles, and of all arguments.

"The particulars noticed above were no doubt unnecessary; as every
thing there mentioned would have suggested itself to messieurs the
plenipotentiaries themselves. But these hints may not be without their
use, since their natural effect will be, to lead the minds of
messieurs the plenipotentiaries to more weighty considerations, and
more powerful motives, which they will know how to employ seasonably
for the grand purpose of the important and difficult mission with
which they are charged.

"Messieurs the plenipotentiaries will find in the reports made to the
Emperor by the Duke of Vicenza on the 12th of April and 7th of June
last, as well as in the justificatory pieces, that accompany these
reports, all the data they can require, to form a just estimate of our
situation with regard to the foreign powers, and to regulate their
conduct toward the ministers of these different powers."

On the 26th of June the plenipotentiaries had their first interview
with two Prussian officers delegated by Marshal Blucher. They gave an
account of it to the committee by the following despatch, addressed to
M. Bignon, who had the portfolio of foreign affairs.

                                        "Laon, June the 26th, 1815,
                                        "Ten o'clock in the evening.

"Monsieur le Baron Bignon,

"We have received the letter, which you did us the honour to write to
us yesterday the 25th, respecting the Emperor's intention of repairing
to the United States of America with his brothers.

"We have at length just received our passports, to proceed to the
head-quarters of the allied sovereigns, which we shall find at
Heidelberg or at Manheim. The Prince of Schoenburgh, aide-de-camp of
Marshal Blucher, accompanies us. We shall take the road through Metz;
and set off in an hour.

"Marshal Blucher has declared to us, by the Prince of Schoenburgh and
Count Noslitz, who was more particularly empowered by him, that France
will be in no degree restricted in the choice of a government: but in
the armistice he proposed, _he required for the security of his army
the fortified towns of Metz, Thionville, Mézières, Maubeuge,
Sarrelouis, and others_. He sets out with the principle, that he ought
to be secured against any attempts, which the party, that he supposes
the Emperor to have, may make. We combated this argument by
irrefragable reasons, without gaining any ground. You are sensible,
sir, that it was impossible for us, to accede to such demands.

"We did all in our power, to obtain the armistice on moderate terms;
but it was impossible for us, to come to any conclusion, 'because,'
said the prince, 'he is not authorized to grant one, and immense
advantages alone could induce him, to take such a step, as long as the
principal object is unattained.'

"We offered a suspension of hostilities, at least for five days. The
refusal was equally positive, and for the same motives. Count de
Noslitz has offered in the name of Prince Blucher, to receive at his
head-quarters, _and at those of the Duke of Wellington, any
commissioners you may send, who shall be exclusively employed in the
negotiations necessary to stay the march of the armies, and prevent
the effusion of blood_. It is a matter of urgency, that these
commissioners set out to-morrow even, and that they take the road to
Noyon, where orders will be given by Marshal Blucher to receive them.
Noyon will be his head-quarters. They cannot too often repeat, that
the Emperor has no great party in France; that he availed himself
rather of the faults of the Bourbons, than of any dispositions
existing in his favour; and that he could not fix the attention of the
nation, but for the allies failing to adhere to their declaration.

"We have hopes of seeing our negotiations take a successful turn,
though we cannot be insensible to their difficulties. The only means
of preventing the events of the war from occasioning their failure
absolutely consist in granting a truce of a few days. The choice of
negotiators may have some influence on this; and we repeat, there is
not a moment to be lost in sending them to the English and Prussian

"The two aides-de-camp of Prince Blucher declared repeatedly, that the
allies are in no respect tenacious of the restoration of the Bourbons:
but we have proofs, that they are inclined to approach as near as
possible to Paris, and then they may frame some pretence, to change
their language.

"All these things should only hasten still more the measures, to be
taken for re-organizing the army, and particularly for the defence of
Paris; an object to which their thoughts appear essentially turned.

"From the conversations we have had with the two aides-de-camp, it
follows definitively, and we repeat it with regret, that the person
of the Emperor will be one of the greatest difficulties. They think,
that the combined powers will require guarantees and precautions, that
he may never re-appear on the stage of the world. They assert, that
their people themselves demand security against his enterprises. _It
is our duty to observe, that his escape before the conclusion of our
negotiations would be considered as an act of bad faith on our part,
and might essentially involve the safety of France._ We have hopes,
however, that this affair also may be terminated to the Emperor's
satisfaction; since they have made few objections to his residence,
and that of his brothers, in England; which they appeared to prefer to
the scheme of a retreat in America.

"_The imperial prince has not been mentioned in any of our
conversations._ It was not our business, to start this subject, on
which they did not enter.

                    (Signed)       "H. SÉBASTIANI.
                                    Count de PONTÉCOULANT.
                                    LA FAYETTE.
                                    Count DE LA FORÊT.
                                    Benjamin CONSTANT."

The committee, immediately on the receipt of this despatch, appointed
Messieurs Andréossy, de Valence, Flaugergues, Boissy d'Anglas, and
Labenardiere, to repair in quality of commissioners to the
head-quarters of the allied armies, to demand a suspension of
hostilities, and negotiate an armistice.

The Duke of Otranto, ever eager to open an ostensible correspondence,
under cover of which he might carry on secret communications if
necessary, persuaded the government, that it would be proper to pave
the way for the commissioners by a previous step; and in consequence
he addressed a letter of congratulation to the Duke of Wellington, in
which he entreated him with pompous meanness, to bestow on France his
suffrage and protection.

Copies of the former instructions were delivered to the commissioners;
and to these were added the following:

"_Instructions for Messieurs the Commissioners appointed to treat for
an Armistice._

                                        "Paris, June the 27th, 1815.

"The first overtures made to our plenipotentiaries on the conditions,
at the price of which the commander in chief of one of the enemy's
armies would consent to an armistice, are of a nature to alarm us
respecting those, which the commanders of the armies of the other
powers might also demand, and to render the possibility of an
arrangement very problematical. However unfavourable our military
situation at the present moment may be, there are sacrifices, to which
the interest of the nation will not allow us to submit.

"It is evident, that the motive, on which Prince Blucher founded his
demand of six of our fortified towns, which were named, and some
others besides, which were not named, _the security of his army_, is
one of those allegations brought forward by force, to carry as far as
possible the advantages arising from the success of the moment. This
allegation is very easily refuted: since it may be termed an act of
derision, to demand pledges for the security of an army already master
of a considerable portion of our territory, and which is marching
without obstacle almost alone in the heart of France. There is another
declaration made on the part of Prince Blucher, calculated still more
to disquiet us: which is, that he can be induced only by immense
advantages, to take upon himself to conclude an armistice, for which
he has no authority. In this declaration there is a frankness of
exaction, that offers many difficulties in the way of accommodation.
However, though the committee of government is far from being inclined
to favour the cessions required, it does not tie itself up, by a
peremptory refusal, from entering into discussions of an arrangement,
the conditions of which are not carried beyond the bounds traced by
the true interests of the public.

"If, to arrive at a conclusion, we must submit to the cession of some
fortified town, it is thoroughly to be understood, that such a cession
ought not to take place, unless it were the guarantee of an armistice,
to be prolonged till peace is concluded. It is unnecessary to add,
that the delivery of such a town is not to take place; till the
armistice has been ratified by the respective governments.

"One of the points, that demands all the zeal of messieurs the
commissioners, is that of fixing the line, where the occupation of the
French territory by the enemy's armies is to stop.

"It would be of great importance, to obtain the line of the Somme;
which would place the foreign troops nearly thirty leagues from Paris,
messieurs the commissioners ought strongly to insist on keeping them
at least at this distance.

"If the enemy were yet more exacting, and we should be finally
compelled to greater condescension, a line traced between the Somme
and the Oise should not let them approach within twenty leagues of
Paris. The line, that separates the department of the Somme from that
of the Oise, might be taken, detaching from the latter the northern
part of the department of the Aisne, and thence a straight line
through the department of the Ardennes, which should be continued till
it reached the Meuse near Mézières.

"However, in fixing the line of the armistice, we must rely on the
ability of messieurs the commissioners, to endeavour to obtain the
most favourable arrangement.

"Their mission being to the English and Prussian armies in common,
there is no occasion to inform them, that it is indispensable for the
armistice to be common to both armies.

"It would be very important likewise, to introduce into the armistice,
as one of its clauses, that it should extend to the armies of all the
other enemies, taking for its basis the _status quo_ of the respective
armies, at the moment when information of the armistice should reach
them. If this stipulation be rejected, under pretence, that the
commanders of the English and Russian armies have no right, to make
arrangements in the names of the commanders of the armies of the other
powers; they may at least consent, to invite the others to accede to
it on the basis above mentioned.

"As even the negotiations for the armistice, from the nature of the
conditions already placed foremost, which must be the subject of more
serious debate, will inevitably occasion some delay, it is a
precaution rigidly necessary to be obtained, that, in order to treat
of an armistice, all movements should be stopped for a few days, or at
least for eight and forty hours.

"There is one precautionary arrangement, which messieurs the
commissioners must not neglect. This is, to stipulate, that the
enemy's armies shall levy no extraordinary contributions.

"Though the particular object of their mission is the conclusion of an
armistice, as it is scarcely to be imagined, that messieurs the
commissioners, in their intercourse with the Duke of Wellington and
Prince Blucher, will not hear from these generals either proposals, or
suggestions, or at least simple conjectures, respecting the views the
allied sovereigns may adopt with respect to the form of government in
France; messieurs the commissioners undoubtedly will not fail,
carefully to collect every thing, that may appear to them capable of
having any influence on the part to be taken definitively by the

"The copy of the instructions given to messieurs the plenipotentiaries
appointed to repair to the allied sovereigns, which has been delivered
to them, will make them acquainted with the bases, on which the
government has been desirous hitherto of founding its negotiations. It
is possible, that the course of events may oblige it, to _extend these
bases_: but messieurs the commissioners will judge, that, if absolute
necessity compel it, to assent to arrangements _of a different
nature_, so that we cannot preserve _the principle of our independence
in all its plenitude_, it is a sacred duty, to endeavour to emancipate
ourselves from the greater part of the inconveniences, that are
attached to the bare misfortune of its being modified.

"A copy of the letter, written from Laon by messieurs the
plenipotentiaries, and dated yesterday, the 26th, is also delivered to
messieurs the commissioners. The resolutions[79], which have been
taken to-day by the government, will furnish them with the means of
answering all the objections, that may be made to them on the danger
and possibility of the return of the Emperor Napoleon.

              [Footnote 79: These resolutions consisted in sending
              General Beker to Malmaison, to watch Napoleon.]

"That the language of messieurs the commissioners may perfectly accord
with all that has been done by the committee of government, copies of
the letters, that have been written to Lord Castlereagh and the Duke
of Wellington, respecting the approaching departure of Napoleon and
his brothers, are hereto annexed.

"On the questions relative to the form of government of France,
provisionally, messieurs the commissioners will confine themselves to
hearing the overtures, that may be made to them; and they will take
care, to transmit an account of them, in order that, according to the
nature of their reports, government may come to such a determination,
as the safety of our country may prescribe."

From this document it appears, that the committee, already foreseeing
the impossibility of preserving the throne to Napoleon II., was
disposed to enter into a discussion with the allies on the choice of a
sovereign. Bound by its mandate, it would never have consented
willingly, to covenant with the Bourbons; but it would have had no
repugnance, at least as I conjecture, to allow the crown to be placed
on the head of the King of Saxony, or of the Duke of Orleans.

The party of the latter prince, for which M. Fouché had collected
recruits, was reinforced by a great number of deputies and generals.
"The qualities of the duke; the remembrance of Jemappes, and of some
other victories under the republic, in which he was not unconcerned;
the possibility of forming a treaty, that should reconcile the
interests of all parties; the name of Bourbon, which might have been
employed abroad, without uttering it at home: all these motives, and
others besides, afforded in this choice a prospect of repose and
security even to those, who could not see in it the presage of

The King of Saxony had no other title to the suffrages of France, than
the heroic fidelity, which he had maintained toward it in 1814. But
after him the empire might have returned to Napoleon II.: and as a
prince, possessed of experience, wisdom, and virtue, may reign
indifferently over any people, and render them happy, the French
nation would have resigned itself to the government of a foreign
monarch, till the day when his death would have restored the sceptre
to the hands of its legitimate possessor.

The deference which the committee was prepared to pay to the will of
the allied powers, was not the effect of its own weakness. It was
enjoined it by the alarming reports, which Marshal Grouchy sent it
daily, of the defection and dejected state of the army.

The soldiers, it is true, discouraged by the abdication of the
Emperor, and the reports of the return of the Bourbons, appeared
irresolute. "Our wounds," said they, "will no longer entitle us to any
thing but proscription." The generals themselves, rendered timid by
their uncertainty of the future, spoke with circumspection: but all,
generals and soldiers, maintained the same sentiments in the bottom of
their hearts; and their hesitation, their lukewarmness, were the work
of their leader; who, in France as on the banks of the Dyle, wanting
resolution and strength of mind, did not take the trouble to conceal,
that he considered the national cause as lost, and awaited only a
favourable opportunity, to pacify the Bourbons and their allies by a
prompt and complete submission.

The committee, however, having their eyes opened by private letters,
conceived suspicions of the veracity of the marshal's reports. It
commissioned General Corbineau, to give it an account of the state of
the army. Informed of the truth, it was no longer afraid of being
obliged to submit humbly to the law of the victor: and, desirous of
preventing Marshal Grouchy, whose intentions had ceased to be a
mystery, from endangering the independence of the nation by an
inconsiderate act, it prohibited him from negotiating any armistice,
or commencing any negotiation; and ordered him, to lead his army to

The Prince of Eckmuhl, whose want of firmness was so wretchedly
displayed in the retreat from Moscow, could not resist this fresh
blow: the example of Marshal Grouchy led him away; and, persuaded like
him, that it was necessary to submit without delay, he declared to the
government, that there was not a moment to be lost in recalling the
Bourbons, and proposed to it, to send to the king the following

1st, To enter Paris without a foreign guard:

2d, To take the tri-coloured cockade:

3d, To guaranty security of person and property to all, whatever may
have been their functions, offices, votes, or opinions:

4th, To retain the two chambers:

5th, To ensure to persons in office the retention of their places, and
to the army that of their ranks, pensions, honours, and prerogatives:

6th, To retain the legion of honour, and its institution, as the first
order in the state.

The committee, too _clear-sighted_ to be caught by this proposal, was
eager to reject it; and, faithful to its system of concealing nothing
from the two chambers, acquainted the principal members with it;
repeating to: them, that, be the event what it might, "it would never
propose to them any thing pusillanimous, or contrary to its duty; and
that it would defend to the last extremity the independence of the
nation, the inviolability of the chambers, and the liberty and
security of the citizens."

The representatives answered this declaration by placing Paris in a
state of siege, and voting an address to the army[80]. "Brave
soldiers," such were its words; "a great reverse must have
astonished, but not dejected you. Your country has need of your
constancy and courage. To you it has confided the care of the national
glory; and you will answer its expectations.

              [Footnote 80: On the 2d of July the chamber voted an
              address to the French.

              This address, which perished in the birth, related to
              the political situation of France with respect to the
              allies. It appeared to me not very interesting, and I
              thought I might dispense with a particular account of
              it. It gave rise, however, to a remarkable incident. M.
              Manuel, who had the principal hand in drawing it up, had
              not thought proper, to speak of the Emperor's successor
              in it; and the chamber decided, to add in the address,
              that Napoleon II. had been called to the empire.]

"Plenipotentiaries have been sent to the allied powers ... the success
of the negotiations depends on you. Close round the tri-coloured flag,
consecrated by glory and the wishes of the nation. You will see us, if
necessary, in your ranks; and we will convince the world, that
twenty-five years of glory and sacrifices will never be effaced, and
that a people, who wills to be free, must ever remain so."

The attitude of the chamber and of the government did not remove the
apprehensions of the Prince of Eckmuhl. He returned to the charge; and
wrote to the president of the committee, in the night of the 29th,
"that he had vanquished his prejudices and opinions, and found, that
no means of safety existed but in concluding an armistice, and
immediately proclaiming Louis XVIII."

The president answered him:

"I am as well persuaded as you, M. marshal, that nothing better can be
done, than to treat with promptitude of an armistice: but we must
know, what the enemy wants. An injudicious conduct would produce three

"1st, That of having acknowledged Louis XVIII. previous to any
engagement on his side:

"2d, That of being equally compelled, to admit the enemy into Paris:

"3d, That of obtaining no conditions from Louis XVIII.

"I take upon myself, to authorize you, to send to the advanced posts
of the enemy, and to conclude an armistice, making every sacrifice,
that is compatible with our duties, and with our dignity. It is better
to give up fortified towns, than to sacrifice Paris."

The Duke of Otranto having laid this letter before the committee, it
thought, that the answer of its president _decided implicitly the
question of the recall of Louis XVIII._, and allowed the Prince of
Eckmuhl too great latitude. It made him write immediately a
supplementary letter, saying: "It is unnecessary to remind you, M.
marshal, that your armistice must be purely military, and must contain
no political question. It would be proper, that this demand of an
armistice should be made by a general of the line, and a major-general
of the national guard."

Thus in the space of the twenty-four hours, that preceded and followed
the Emperor's departure, the committee had to repel, and did repel,
the instigations more or less culpable of the minister at war, the
general in chief of the army, and the president of the government[81].

              [Footnote 81: The reader will be aware, that I reason
              here, as well as every where else, on the principles of
              the mandate given to the committee.]

The army, however, had arrived step by step at the gates of Paris.

Marshal Grouchy, dissatisfied and disconcerted, gave in his
resignation on the score of his health.

The Prince of Eckmuhl, who, by an air of sincerity, and reiterated
protestations of devotion and fidelity, had regained, thanks to the
Duke of Otranto, the confidence of the majority of the members of the
committee, was invested with the command in chief of the army.

On the 30th of June a message informed the chambers, that the enemies
were within sight of the capital; that the army, re-organized,
occupied a line of defence, by which Paris was protected; that it was
animated with the best disposition; and that its devotion equalled its

Deputations from the two chambers immediately set out, to carry to the
defenders of their country the expression of the principles, the
sentiments, and the hopes of the national representation. Their
patriotic language, their tri-coloured scarfs, and the name of
Napoleon II., which they took care to employ, electrified the
soldiery; and completely restored to them that confidence in
themselves, and that resolution to conquer or die, which are the
infallible presages of victory.

The moment for marching to battle was propitious. The Prince of
Eckmuhl solicited peace.

The Duke of Albuféra had just concluded an armistice with Marshal
Frimont, commander of the Austrian forces. The prince informed the
Duke of Wellington of it; and demanded of him, to cause a cessation of
hostilities, _till a decision of congress should take place_. "If I
appear on the field of battle with the idea of your talents," he
added, "I shall carry with me the conviction, that I am fighting for
the most sacred of causes, that of the defence and independence of my
country; and, whatever may be the result, my lord, I will merit your

If, instead of holding a language more suitable to a man half
vanquished, than to a French general accustomed to conquer, another
chief, differently inspired, had declared with noble firmness, that he
was ready, if a stop were not put to unjust aggressions, to give to
his eighty thousand brave soldiers the signal of victory or death; the
enemy would unquestionably have desisted from pursuing a war, now
become without object, without utility, and without glory. But the
Duke of Wellington, faithfully informed of the true state of things,
knew that the Prince of Eckmuhl, satisfied with having surmounted his
prejudices and opinions, appeared more disposed to neutralize the
courage of his troops, than to put it to the proof; and Wellington
refused the suspension of hostilities proposed. It entered into the
policy of the princes, who had taken up arms for legitimacy, to compel
us to receive Louis XVIII. _cap in hand_: and the consequence of this
was, that the allied generals avoided treating; as the sentiments of
the president of the committee, and of the general of the French army,
fully satisfied them, that they might wait without any risk, till
circumstances or treachery compelled us, to submit to the law of

Wellington had rejected the proposal of Marshal Davoust, under the
frivolous pretence, that the Emperor had resumed the command of the
army. It is naturally to be presumed, that the committee had not
neglected, to give the commissioners immediate information of the
departure of Napoleon, and of the circumstances, that had preceded it.
But it had hitherto received no communication from them. Their
correspondence, intentionally fettered by the allies, had been farther
prevented by our advanced posts; who, considering the persons
appointed to hold a parley as machinators of treason, stopped their
way with their muskets. The committee resolved, therefore, to obtain
news of them at any price: and, on the recommendation of the Duke of
Otranto, it despatched to them M. de Tromeling. It was not ignorant,
that this emigrant officer, a Vendean, and long detained in the Temple
as the companion of Sir Sidney Smith and Captain Wright, little
merited the confidence of the patriots. But the double-faced agents of
M. Fouché alone could open the enemy's lines; and it was obliged, in
spite of itself, to make use of them.

M. de Tromeling set out. Instead of delivering his despatches to the
commissioners, he was afraid of their being taken from him by the
enemy, and he destroyed them. The committee thought, that he had
rather deceived himself by his cunning; but it readily excused this
error, to attend wholly to the news he had brought.

Our commissioners arrived at the English head-quarters on the 28th,
and were eager to solicit a suspension of arms.

Lord Wellington informed them, that he wished to consult with Prince
Blucher on this point; and on the 29th of June, at half after eleven
in the evening, he sent them the following answer.

                              Head quarters of Prince Blucher,
                              June the 29th, 1815, 11-1/2 at night.


"I have the honour to acquaint you, that having consulted Marshal
Prince Blucher on your proposal for an armistice, his highness has
agreed with me, that, under present circumstances, no armistice can
take place, while Napoleon Bonaparte is in Paris, and at _liberty_;
and that the operations are in such a state, that he cannot stop them.

"I have the honour, &c.


On the 1st of July in the morning, they had a conference, of which
they gave an account to the government by the following despatch,
addressed to Baron Bignon, secretary of state, assistant to the
minister of foreign affairs.

                             "Louvres, July the 1st, 1815, forenoon.

"Monsieur le Baron,

"The despatches, Nos. 1, 2, and 3, which we have had the honour to
address to you, remain unanswered[82]. We are absolutely deprived of
the knowledge of what is passing at Paris, and in the rest of France.
To whatever cause this want of communication is to be ascribed, it
renders our situation painful, and is detrimental to the activity of
our proceedings. It may render them useless: we request you, to remedy
this as speedily as possible.

              [Footnote 82: As these despatches are now uninteresting,
              I have not inserted them.]

"At present we are authorized to think, that, as soon as you have made
known, that Napoleon Bonaparte is at a distance, a suspension of
hostilities for three days may be signed, in order to adjust an
armistice, during which a treaty for peace may take place.

"Directed by the instructions given us, to listen to what may be said
to us, and make you acquainted with it, we have to inform you, the
Duke of Wellington has repeated to us several times, that as soon as
our government has a head, peace will speedily be concluded.

"Speaking, as he says, merely as a private individual, but supposing
however, that his opinion may be taken into consideration, he more
than objects to the government of Napoleon II.; and thinks, that,
under such a reign, Europe could enjoy no security, and France no

"They say, that they do not pretend to oppose the choice of any other
head to the government. They repeat on every occasion, that the powers
of Europe do not pretend, to interfere in this choice: but they add,
that, if the prince chosen were such, as by the nature of his
situation to excite apprehensions for the tranquillity of Europe, by
rendering that of France problematical, it would be necessary for the
allied powers to have guarantees; and we have reason to believe, that
these guarantees would be cessions of territory.

"One person alone, Louis XVIII. seems to unite all the conditions,
that could prevent Europe from demanding guarantees for its security.

"Already, they say, he resides at Cambray. Quesney has opened its
gates to him. These places, and other towns, are in his power; either
by having delivered themselves up, or having been put into his hands
by the allies.

"The Duke of Wellington admits and enumerates a considerable part of
the faults committed by Louis XVIII. during his government of a few
months. He puts in the first rank his having given to the princes of
his family entrance into his council; his having had a ministry
without union, and without responsibility; his having created a
military household, not chosen from the soldiers of the army; and his
not having placed about him persons, who were truly interested in the
maintenance of the charter.

"It seems to him, that, by making known our grievances, _without
settling conditions_, engagements might be formed with the public,
which would remove its apprehensions for the future, by giving France
the guarantee, it might desire.

"If a discussion of conditions take place, others beside the actual
authorities might deliberate, resumed the Duke.

"If any time be lost, generals of other armies might interfere in the
negotiations; and they would be rendered more complicated by
additional interests.

"We add two proclamations of Louis XVIII. &c.

                    (Signed)       "ANDRÉOSSY,
                                   "Count BOISSY D'ANGLAS,

M. Bignon's despatch, announcing the departure of Napoleon, having
reached them after the conclusion of this first conference, they
hastened to communicate it to Lord Wellington; and to claim a
suspension of hostilities, in order to conclude an armistice, to which
the presence of Napoleon had hitherto been the only obstacle.

Lord Wellington answered them: "that it was necessary for him, to
confer with Prince Blucher, and that he would give them an answer in
the course of the day."

In the evening they had a fresh conference with this general, which
gave occasion to the following despatch:

                 "Louvres, July the 1st, half after 8 in the evening.

"Lord Wellington has communicated to us a letter from Manheim, written
in the names of the Emperors of Russia and Austria by MM. de
Nesselrode and de Metternich. This letter strongly urged the
continuance of operations; and declares, that, if any armistice be
entered into by the generals, who are at this moment near Paris, their
majesties will not consider it as putting any stop to their march, but
will order their troops, to approach Paris.

"The Count d'Artois has just arrived at the head-quarters of the Duke
of Wellington, who received us alone in his saloon. We did not
perceive the prince; he was in a separate apartment.

"We insisted on the execution of the promise given us. The Duke of
Wellington answered, that he had always declared to us, he could enter
into no definitive engagements, till he had conferred with Marshal
Prince Blucher; to whom he would go, to prevail on him to join with
him in agreeing on an armistice.

"He added, he would not conceal from us, that the Field Marshal had an
extreme aversion to every thing, that would stay his operations, which
extended already to the left bank of the Seine; and that he could not
avoid supporting his movements, if he could not bring him to agree in
his opinion.

"He communicated to us a proposal for an armistice, made by the Prince
of Eckmuhl, which he had just received.

"He assured us, that, as soon as he had seen Prince Blucher, he would
return, and join us at Louvres; and sent to request us, to repair to

"In talking on the possible conditions of an armistice, he insinuated,
that he should require the army to quit Paris; which we declined,
objecting, that on the contrary it was proper for the army of the
allies, to take remote positions; otherwise it would be impossible, to
deliberate freely on the important interests of our country, the
influence of which on those of Europe he appeared to acknowledge.

"The conference thus terminating, we have some reason to think, that
Lord Wellington will give the Count d'Artois to understand, that he
ought to remain at a much more considerable distance from Paris."

To this Baron Bignon immediately sent the following answer:

"_To Messieurs the Commissioners charged with the Armistice._

                                             July the 1st.

"You announced to us, gentlemen, that you were authorized to believe,
that, if Napoleon Bonaparte were away, a suspension of hostilities
might be signed, during which a treaty for peace might be entered
into. _The desired condition being fulfilled_, there is at the present
moment no motive, that can oppose a suspension of hostilities, and an
armistice. It is strongly to be desired, that the suspension of
hostilities, instead of being for three days only, should be at least
for five.

"We do not think, that the English and Prussians alone will attempt to
force our lines. It would be gratuitously incurring useless losses.
According to their own account, they can be joined by the Bavarians
only in the first fortnight of this month: so that it may be
convenient to them to wait for this reinforcement, which is an
additional reason for their not refusing an armistice, that will be
attended with as much or more advantage to themselves than to us. In
fine, if the allies do not choose, to forget altogether their solemn
declarations, what do they now require? The only obstacle, that,
according to them, opposed the conclusion of peace, is irrevocably
removed: thus nothing any longer opposes its re-establishment; and, to
arrive at peace, nothing is more urgent than an armistice.

"The committee of government has had laid before it all the
particulars, that you have transmitted, of the language held to you by
the Duke of Wellington. It desires, gentlemen, that you will persist
in distinguishing the political question of the form of government of
France from the actual question, the conclusion of an armistice.
Without repelling any of the overtures made you, it is easy, to give
the Duke of Wellington to understand, that, if, in the present state
of affairs, the political question of the government of France _must
inevitably become the subject of a sort of discussion between France
and the allied powers_, the general interest of France, and of the
powers themselves, is to do nothing precipitately; and not to decide
on a definitive part, till after having maturely weighed what will
offer real guarantees for the future. It is possible, that the allied
powers themselves, when better informed of the sentiments of the
French nation, will not persevere in the resolutions they may have
formed from different data. Napoleon is no longer at Paris, and has
not been for nearly a week. His political career is at an end. If any
national disposition in favour of the Bourbons existed, this
disposition would have been loudly manifested, and their recall would
have been already consummated. It is evident, therefore, that the
re-establishment of this family is not the will of the nation. It
remains for the allied sovereigns to examine, whether, in wishing to
impose it on the nation in despite of its will, they do not themselves
act contrary to their own intentions; since, instead of securing the
internal peace of France, they would only be sowing in it the seeds of
fresh discord.

"The proclamations of Louis XVIII. are known here: and the nature of
these proclamations already destroys all the hopes, that the language
of the Duke of Wellington might give. It may be judged from the spirit
that breathes in these pieces recently published, that the present
royal ministry either could not, or would not prevent, what the French
nation might expect from that government.

"For the rest, gentlemen, you should confine yourselves to hearing
every thing: you ought to affirm, that France itself desires nothing,
but what will be of the greatest benefit to the general interest: and
that, if it would prefer any plan to the re-establishment of the
Bourbons, it is because there is none, that offers it so many
inconveniences, and so few advantages.

"You must strongly repeat, gentlemen, to the Duke of Wellington and
Prince Blucher, that, if the French government warmly insist on an
armistice, it is because it perceives the possibility of coming to a
good understanding on points, on which opinions appear to be farthest
divided. It is because the communications and connexions, established
between their head-quarters and us, enable us thoroughly to appreciate
the true spirit of France. We think in particular, that the nobleness
of the Duke of Wellington's character, and the wisdom of the allied
sovereigns, cannot lead them to a desire, to force the French nation
to submit to a government, that is repugnant to the real wishes of the
great majority of the population."

This language, so remarkable for its moderation, was corroborated by
the _ostensible_ letter below, which the Duke of Otranto thought
proper to address to each of the generals in chief of the besieging

"My Lord (or Prince),

"Independently of the course of our negotiations, I make it my duty,
to write personally to your lordship on the subject of an armistice,
the refusal of which, I confess, seems to me inexplicable. Our
plenipotentiaries have been at head-quarters ever since the 28th of
June, and we have not yet a positive answer.

"Peace already exists, since the war has no longer an object. Our
right to independence, and the engagement taken by the sovereigns to
respect it, would not the less subsist after the taking of Paris. It
would be inhuman, therefore, it would be atrocious, to engage in
sanguinary battles, that would make no alteration in the questions to
be decided.

"I must speak candidly to your lordship; our state of possession, our
legal state, _which has the double sanction of the people and of the
chambers, is that of a government, where the grandson of the Emperor
of Austria is the head of the state. We cannot think of altering this
state of things, unless the nation acquires a certainty, that the
powers revoke their promises, and that the preservation of our present
government is in opposition to their common wishes_.

"What then can be more just, than to conclude an armistice? Are there
any other means of allowing the combined powers time to explain
themselves, and France time to be acquainted with their wishes?

"It will not escape your lordship, that already one great power finds
in our state of possession a personal right to interest itself in our
interior concerns. As long as this state remains unaltered, the two
chambers have hence an additional obligation, not to consent at
present to any measure capable of altering our possession.

"Is not the step, that has been adopted on our eastern frontier, the
most natural to follow? It was not confined to an armistice between
General Bubna and Marshal Suchet: it was stipulated, that we should
return to our limits according to the treaty of Paris; because, in
fact, the war ought to be considered as ended by the simple fact of
the abdication of Napoleon.

"Field-marshal Frimont, on his part, has agreed to the armistice, to
meet by preliminary arrangements those, that may take place between
the allies. We do not even know, whether England and Prussia have
changed their minds on the subject of our independence; for the march
of the armies cannot be any certain indication of the minds of the
cabinets. Neither can the will of two powers suffice us; it is their
general agreement we want to know. Would you anticipate this
agreement? Would you oppose an obstacle to it, in order to give rise
to a new political tempest from a state of things so near to peace?

"I am not afraid, for my own part, to anticipate all objections.
Perhaps you suppose, that the occupation of Paris by two of the allied
armies will second the views you may entertain of restoring Louis
XVIII. to the throne. But can an augmentation of the evils of war,
which can be ascribed to this motive alone, be a means of

"I must declare to your lordship, that every sinister attempt to
impose on us a government, before the allied powers have explained
themselves, would immediately oblige the chambers to take measures,
that would not leave the possibility of a reconciliation in any case.
It is even the interest of the King, that every thing should remain in
a state of suspension: force may replace him on the throne, but cannot
keep him there. It is neither by force, nor by surprise, nor by the
wishes of one party, that the national will can be brought to change
its government. It would even be in vain, at the present moment, to
offer us conditions, to render a new government more supportable.
There are no conditions that can be examined, as long as the necessity
of bending our necks to the yoke, of renouncing our independence, is
not proved to us. Now, my lord, this necessity cannot even be
suspected, before the allied powers are in accord. None of their
engagements have been revoked: our independence is under their
protection: it is we, who enter into their views; and, according to
the sense of their declaration, it is the besieging armies, that
deviate from them.

"According to these declarations, and never were there any more
solemn, every employment of force, in favour of the King, by these
armies, on that part of our territory, which is solely in their power,
will be considered by France as an avowal of the formal design of
imposing on us a government against our will. We may be allowed to ask
your lordship, whether you have received any such authority. Besides,
force is not a pacificator: a moral resistance repelled the late
government, that the King had been made to adopt: the more violence is
employed toward the nation, the more invincible would this resistance
be rendered. It cannot be the intention of the generals of the
besieging armies, to compromise their own governments; and to revoke
in fact the law, that the allied powers have imposed on themselves.

"My lord, the whole question lies in the compass of these few words.

"Napoleon has abdicated, as the allied powers desired: peace is
therefore restored: who the prince shall be, that is to reap the fruit
of this abdication, ought not even to be brought into the question.

"Is our state of possession to be altered by force? The allied powers
would not only violate their promises, promises made in the face of
the whole world, but they would not obtain their end. Is the change to
come from the will of the nation? Then it is necessary, in order to
lead this will to declare itself, for the allied powers first to make
known their formal refusal, to let our present government subsist. An
armistice, therefore, is indispensable.

"The full force of these considerations, my lord, it is impossible not
to perceive. Even in Paris, should the event of a battle open its
gates to you, I should still hold to your lordship the same language.
It is the language of all France. Were rivers of blood made
causelessly to flow, would the pretensions, that gave rise to them, be
more secure, or less odious?

"I hope soon to have an intercourse with your lordship, that will lead
us both to the work of peace, by means more conformable to reason and
justice. An armistice would allow us, to treat in Paris: and it will
be easy for us to come to an understanding on the great principle,
that the tranquillity of France is a condition inseparable from the
tranquillity of Europe. It is only from a close inspection of the
nation and of the army, that you can judge, on what the quietness and
stability of our future condition depend.

"I beg, &c. &c."

Though in this letter the Duke of Otranto pleaded the cause of
Napoleon IL, and pretended to be ignorant of the dispositions of the
allies, it was nevertheless very easy to perceive, that he considered
the question as irrevocably decided in favour of the Bourbons. Their
name, which he had long avoided mentioning, was incessantly on his
lips: but always the same, always inclined naturally and
systematically, to have more strings than one to his bow, he appeared
to incline alternately _for the younger branch, and for the reigning
branch_. At one time the former seemed to him to offer preferably, and
in a higher degree, all the guarantees the nation could desire: at
another he insinuated, that it would be possible, to come to an
accommodation with the King, if he would consent, to dismiss certain
dangerous persons, and make fresh concessions to France.

This change, too sudden not to be noticed, drew on his conduct more
than ever the scrutinizing eyes and reproaches of the antagonists of
the Bourbons.

He was accused of encouraging by impunity the newspaper writers and
pamphleteers, who openly advocated the recall of the ancient dynasty
of protecting the royalist party; and of having restored to liberty
one of its most subtle agents, Baron de Vitrolles.

He was charged with holding nocturnal conferences with this same M. de
Vitrolles, and several eminent royalists; and with daily sending
emissaries, unknown to his colleagues, to the King, to M. de
Talleyrand, and to the Duke of Wellington.

Two of the deputies, M. Durbach and General Solignac, went to him, and
declared, that they were acquainted with his manoeuvres; that his
ambition blinded him; that no compact could ever subsist between Louis
XVIII. and the murderer of his brother; and that sooner or later
France would take vengeance on this treason.

An old minister of state, M. Deferment, reproached him to his teeth
with privately selling the lives and liberties of the French.

Other accusations, not less serious, or less virulent, were addressed
to him by M. Carnot, and by General Grenier. "If he betray us," said
the latter, "I will blow his brains out."

The Duke of Otranto, accustomed to brave political storms, coolly
repelled these imputations. He reminded his accusers of the numerous
pledges he had given to the revolution. He offered his head as the
guarantee of his fidelity. His protestations, his oaths, and the
imperturbable assurance, with which he answered for the safety and
independence of the nation, if he were suffered to go on his own way,
allayed the storms: but he had too much penetration, not to be aware
of the ground on which he stood; he could not but feel, that he was
lost, if he did not hasten to a conclusion; and there is every reason
to believe, that he rejected _no means_ of arriving speedily at a
decisive result[83].

              [Footnote 83: If we may believe the declaration of M.
              Macirone, confirmed by the testimony of two other secret
              agents, MM. Maréchal and St. Jul***, the Duke of Otranto
              wrote to Lord Wellington, by a letter of which M.
              Macirone was the bearer, and which he concealed in his
              stockings, that the enthusiasm of the federates and
              Bonapartists was at the height; and that it would be
              impossible, to restrain them any longer, if the Duke of
              Wellington did not hasten, to come and put an end to
              their fury by the occupation of Paris.]

Blucher, however, to whom only a shadow of defence was opposed, had
crossed the Seine at the bridge of Pecq, which had been preserved by
the care of a journalist named Martainville, and appeared to intend,
to spread his troops round the south-west of Paris[84]. Our generals,
witnessing this adventurous march, were unanimously of opinion, that
the Prussians had compromised themselves. They summoned the Prince of
Eckmuhl to attack them; and he could not avoid assenting to it.

              [Footnote 84: It was just at this moment, that the
              Emperor declared to the government, that he was certain
              of crushing the enemy, if they would entrust him with
              the command of the army.]

The whole army, generals, officers, soldiers, were still animated with
a devotion, that nothing could rebut. Proud of the confidence placed
in them by the national representatives, they had answered their
appeal by an address full of spirit and patriotism; they had sworn to
each other, to die in defence of the honour and independence of the
nation; and they were impatient, to fulfil their oaths.

General Excelmans was sent after the Prussians with six thousand men.
A corps of fifteen thousand infantry, under the command of General
Vichery, was to follow him by the bridge of Sevres, and connect its
movements with six thousand foot of the 1st corps, and ten thousand
chosen horse, who were to march by the bridge of Neuilly. But at the
moment of executing these movements, the success of which would
unquestionably have ensured the destruction of the Prussian army,
counter-orders were issued by the Prince of Eckmuhl, from what motives
I know not. General Excelmans alone maintained the battle. He attacked
the enemy in advance of Versailles, drove them into an ambuscade, cut
them to pieces, and took from them their arms, baggage, and horses.
Generals Strulz, Piré, Barthe, and Vincent, colonels Briqueville,
Faudoas, St. Amand, Chaillou, Simonnet, Schmid, Paolini, and their
brave regiments, performed prodigies of valour, and were intrepidly
seconded by the citizens of the neighbouring communes, who had
preceded as sharpshooters the arrival of our troops on the field of
battle, and during the battle proved themselves worthy, to fight by
their side.

This victory filled the Parisian patriots with hope and joy. It
inspired them with the noble desire of imitating the fine example,
that had just been set them. But when it was known, that a general
engagement had been unanimously desired and agreed upon; and that the
enemy, had it not been for counter-orders, surprised and cut off,
would have been annihilated, this intoxication was changed into
depression, and a cry was raised on all hands of infamy and treason.

Excelmans and his brave men, not being supported, were obliged to
retreat. The Prussians advanced, the English moved out to support
them; they formed a junction, and came and encamped together on the
heights of Meudon.

The committee hastened to inform the commissioners of the critical
situation of Paris, and desired them, as the Duke of Wellington was
incessantly sending them from Caiphas to Pilate, to endeavour to see
Prince Blucher. They answered, "that they had never been able to have
any communication with the marshal; and that they could not establish
a conference with him, unless through the intervention of Lord
Wellington, without the risk of occasioning a rupture."

They added to their despatch a fresh letter, by which his lordship
announced to them, that "Prince Blucher continued to express to him
the greatest repugnance to the conclusion of an armistice," &c. &c.

The government no longer doubted the ill will of the English general.
Count Carnot said, "that they must address themselves definitively to
the brutal frankness of Blucher, rather than live in the uncertainty,
in which they were kept by the civilities of Wellington."

The Duke of Vicenza thought the same, that the only way of coming to a
conclusion was by bluntly making a proposal without the knowledge of
the English. He remarked to the committee, that the great repugnance
shown by Marshal Blucher to concluding an armistice, no doubt, arose
from his being probably unwilling, to negotiate under the direction
and influence of Wellington, to whose head-quarters he apparently
avoided paying a visit. That he would be much more tractable, if he
were addressed directly. That, by taking this step, they would also
have the advantage of removing the negotiations from the place, where
the Bourbons were; and of being able more easily to avoid the
political question, on which Wellington seemed far more decided than
Blucher. The commission, influenced by these observations, adopted the
advice of M. Carnot; and the Prince of Eckmuhl was ordered, to address
to Marshal Blucher direct proposals, founded principally on the
armistice concluded with the chiefs of the Austrian forces.

The prince immediately answered:

"If Marshal Frimont have thought himself authorised, to conclude an
armistice, this is no reason for our doing the same. We shall follow
up our victory: God has given us the means, and the will.

"Consider what you have to do. Do not precipitate a city anew into
calamities; for you are aware to what lengths an enraged soldiery may
go, if your capital be taken by assault. Would you draw down on your
head the curses of Paris, as you have those of Hamburgh?

"_We are resolved to enter Paris, to secure the honest people there
from the plunder; with which they are threatened by the populace_[85].
It is only in Paris, that we can conclude a secure armistice."

              [Footnote 85: From this passage it appears
              unquestionable, that Wellington had communicated M.
              Fouché's letter to Prince Blucher.]

This letter was revolting to the committee; but however great its just
indignation, there was now no middle path: _the commander in chief had
refused, to avail himself of a palpable fault of the enemy: the
opportunity of victory had been let slip: it was necessary, to
sustain a siege, or capitulate._

The committee, sensible of all the importance of the part it should
take, was desirous of having recourse to the skill, the councils, and
the responsibility of the most experienced men. It sent for the
immortal defenders of Genoa and Toulouse, the conqueror of Dantzic,
Generals Gazan, Duverney, and Evain, Major-General Ponton of the
engineers, who had distinguished himself at the siege of Hamburgh, and
in fine the presidents and committees (_bureaux_) of the two chambers.

Count Carnot, who had been to examine our positions and those of the
enemy in company with General Grenier, made a report on the situation
of Paris to the assembly.

He stated:

That the fortifications erected on the right bank of the Seine
appeared sufficient, to secure Paris against any assault on that side.
But that the left bank was entirely open, and presented a spacious
field to the enemy's attempts.

That the English and Prussian generals had moved the greater part of
their armies to this vulnerable point _with impunity_: and appeared
disposed, to attempt an attack with open force. That, if they failed
the first time, they might return to the charge a second; and renew
their attempts, till they rendered themselves masters of the capital.
That they would have fresh troops, to oppose to us continually; while
ours, obliged to be constantly on their guard, would soon be exhausted
with fatigue.

That the arrival of subsistence was becoming difficult; and that a
corps of sixty thousand Bavarians would apparently block up the way
between the Seine and Marne in the course of a few days.

That the enemy, already masters of the heights of Meudon, and the best
surrounding positions, might entrench themselves there, cut off our
retreat, and reduce Paris and the army, to surrender at discretion.

The president of the committee, after having called the attention of
the members of the assembly to these serious considerations, requested
them to give their opinions.

It was observed to him, that it appeared necessary, previously to make
known the present state of the negotiations. This the committee did
not refuse: but the communication having brought on a discussion
respecting the Bourbons, the committee reminded them, that they ought
to confine themselves to the military question; and that the point
was, purely and simply to decide, whether it were advisable or
possible, to defend Paris.

The Prince of Essling, being called upon, said, that this city would
be impregnable, if the inhabitants would make of it a second
Saragossa: but there was not sufficient harmony in their sentiments,
to think of a resolute resistance and the most prudent part would be,
to obtain a suspension of hostilities at any price.

The Duke of Dantzic declared, that he did not think it impossible, to
prolong their defence, by rapidly accelerating the works begun in the
plains of Montrouge.

The Duke of Dalmatia maintained, that the left bank of the Seine was
not tenable: that it was even very hazardous, since the occupation of
Aubervilliers, to remain on the right side: that if the line of the
canal, that joins St. Denis to Lavillette, should be forced, the enemy
might enter by the barrier of St. Denis pell-mell with our troops.

Some of the members, agreeing in opinion with the Duke of Dantzic,
demanded, that positive information should be procured respecting the
possibility of putting the left bank into a state of defence, previous
to coming to a decision. In fine, after some debate, it was decided,
that the assembly was not competent, to determine such a question:
and that it should be submitted to the examination and decision of a
council of war, which the Prince of Eckmuhl should convene for the
night following.

The occupation of Paris by the foreigners was the object of the
impatient wishes of the royalists, and of the men who had sold or
devoted themselves from policy, ambition, or fear, to the party of the
Bourbons. Persuaded, that it would decide the fate of France in 1815,
as it had done in 1814, they had omitted beforehand no step, no
promise, no threatening insinuation, that could tend to accomplish
their wishes and their triumph by the surrender of the city.

The Duke of Otranto, whether he were in concert with the royalists, or
considered the speedy capitulation of Paris necessary to his own
security; or were desirous of making a merit, at some future day, of
having brought France under the sway of its legitimate sovereign
without effusion of blood; appeared to consider it of great importance
that the defence of Paris should not be prolonged. "Every thing is on
the point of being settled," said he to the members, who had most
influence in the chambers and in the army: "let us be very careful
not to sacrifice a secure present to an uncertain future. The allies
are agreed, that we shall have _a_ Bourbon; but it is necessary, that
he submit to the conditions imposed on him by the nation. The chamber
will be retained, the generals will remain at the head of the army;
all will go well. Is it not better to submit, than to expose France to
be partitioned, or delivered over to the Bourbons bound hand and foot?
A prolonged resistance would have no other result, than to retard our
fall. It would rob us of the price of a voluntary submission, and
authorise the Bourbons to be implacable." If little disposition were
shown, to share his confidence and his sentiments; he imposed silence
on the refractory by all the forms of the most lively interest. "Your
opposition," he said to them, "astonishes and grieves me: would you
pass for an incendiary, and incur the penalty of being exiled? Let us
go on our own way, I conjure you: I will answer for the future."....
An internal presentiment warned the hearers, that this future would be
far from answering the expectations of M. Fouché: but his political
life, his great talents, his connexions with the foreign ministers,
the attention paid him in 1814 by the Emperor Alexander and the king
of Prussia, gave such weight, such an ascendancy, to his words, that
they ultimately did violence to their own reason, and gave themselves
up, though not without murmuring, to confidence and hope.

The council of war assembled on the night of the 1st of July at the
head-quarters at Lavillette, under the presidentship of the Prince of
Eckmuhl. Care was taken, it appeared, to keep away some suspected
generals; and not to neglect calling those officers, whose principles,
moderation, or weakness, was known. All the marshals present in the
capital were admitted; and they, who had lately refused to fight, did
not refuse to come to capitulate.

The committee, in order to prevent all political discussion, had
stated the questions, to which the members of the council were to
confine their deliberations: but this precaution, as might be
supposed, did not prevent their entering familiarly into the moral and
political considerations, that might influence the defence or
surrender of the place besieged. Marshal Soult pleaded the cause of
Louis XVIII.; and was eagerly seconded by other marshals, and several
generals, who, though they entered into the council under the
national colours, would willingly have gone out of it with the white

It is impossible, to recapitulate the opinions, given in turn or
confusedly by the fifty persons, who were called to take a share in
this great and important deliberation. Their speeches, or rather their
conversation, turned alternately on Paris and on the Bourbons.

"We are told," said the partisans of Louis XVIII. and the
capitulation, "that Paris, covered without by an army of eighty
thousand men; and defended within by the federates, the sharpshooters,
the national guard, and an immense population; might resist the
efforts of the allies for twenty days at least. We are told, that its
immense extent will render the arrival of provision easy. We admit the
possibility of all this: but what will be the ultimate effect of this
resistance? To allow the Emperor Alexander, and the Emperor of
Austria, time to arrive.... The allies, we know perfectly well,
promise to leave us the power of choosing our sovereign: but will they
keep their promises? and what conditions will they annex to them?
Already Wellington and Blucher have announced, that they will require
guarantees, and fortified towns, if Louis XVIII. be rejected. Is not
this equivalent to a formal declaration, that the allies are resolved,
to retain that sovereign on the throne? Let us voluntarily rally round
him, therefore, while we still can. His ministers led him astray, but
his intentions were always pure: he knows the faults he has committed;
he will be eager to repair them, and to give us the institutions yet
necessary, to consolidate the rights and liberties of the people on
bases not to be shaken."

"This reasoning may be just," answered their opponents; "but
experience, of more weight than any reasoning, has convinced us, that
we must not rely on empty promises. The hopes you have conceived rest
on conjecture, or on the word of the agents of the Bourbons. Before we
surrender ourselves into the hands of the King, he must make known to
us the guarantees, by which we are to be secured. If they be agreeable
to us, then we may deliberate but if we open our gates without
conditions, and previous to the arrival of Alexander, Wellington and
the Bourbons will make a jest of their promises, and oblige us to
submit to the will of the conqueror without pity. Besides, why should
we despair of the safety of France? Is the loss of a single battle,
then, to decide the fate of a great nation? Have we not still immense
resources, to oppose to the enemy? Have the federates, the national
guard, and all true Frenchmen, refused to shed their blood in defence
of the glory, the honour, and the independence of their country? While
we are fighting under the walls of the capital, the levy in mass of
the patriots will be arranged in the departments: and when our enemies
see, that we are determined to defend our independence, they will
rather respect it, than expose themselves to a patriotic and national
war for interests not their own. We must refuse, therefore, to
surrender; and place ourselves in a situation, by a vigorous defence,
to give the law, instead of receiving it."

"You maintain," it was replied, "that we may raise in mass the
federates and the patriots. But how will you arm them? we have no
muskets. Besides, can a levy in mass be organised on a sudden? Before
you could have a single battalion at your disposal, Paris would have
under its feeble ramparts sixty thousand Bavarians, and a hundred and
forty thousand Austrians more to fight. What will you do then? You
must ultimately surrender: and the blood you will have shed will be
lost without return, and without utility. But will not that we shall
have spilt of the enemy fall on our own heads? Will they not make us
expiate our mad and cruel resistance by a disgraceful capitulation? If
the allies, at the present moment, think themselves strong enough to
refuse you a suspension of hostilities, what will they do, when they
have their twelve hundred thousand soldiers on our territory? The
dismemberment of France, the pillage and devastation of the capital,
will be, perhaps, the fruit of the rash defence you propose to us."

These considerations, the force of which was generally felt, were
unanimously approved. It was acknowledged, that it would be
unquestionably most prudent, not to expose the capital to the
consequences and dangers of a siege, or of being taken by assault. It
was acknowledged, too, at least by implication, that, the return of
the Bourbons being inevitable, it was better to recall them
voluntarily, under good conditions, than to leave to the allies the
act of restoring them. But the members did not think proper, to
explain themselves on this delicate subject; and accordingly confined
themselves to laconic answers of the questions proposed by the

_Questions proposed by the Committee of Government to the Council of
War, assembled at la Villette, July the 1st, 1815._

"1st. What is the state of the intrenchments raised for the defence of
Paris?--_Answer._ The state of the intrenchments, and their supply of
ordnance, on the right bank of the Seine, though incomplete, is in
general satisfactory enough. On the left bank the intrenchments may be
considered as null.

"2d. The army, can it cover and defend Paris?--_Ans._ It may: but not
indefinitely. It ought not to expose itself to a want of provision, or
to have its retreat cut off.

"3d. If the army were attacked on all points, could it prevent the
enemy from penetrating into Paris on one side or the other?--_Ans._ It
would be difficult for the army to be attacked on all points at once:
but should this happen, there would be little hope of resistance.

"4th. In case of a defeat, could the commander in chief reserve, or
collect, sufficient means, to oppose a forcible entry?--_Ans._ No
general can answer for the consequences of a battle.

"5th. Is there sufficient ammunition for several battles?--_Ans._ Yes.

"6th. In fine, can you answer for the fate of the capital? and for how
long a time?--_Ans._ We can warrant nothing on this head.

                    (Signed)       "The Marshal Minister at War,
                                   "The Prince of ECKMUHL.

"July the 2d, 3 o'clock in the morning."

The answer of the council of war was transmitted immediately to the
Tuileries, and there became the subject of a long and profound

In fine, after having weighed the advantages and dangers of a
protracted defence; after having considered, that Paris, without hope
of succour, and surrounded on all sides, would either be taken by
assault, or forced to surrender at discretion that the army, without
any means of retreat, would find themselves perhaps reduced to choose
between the disgrace of surrendering themselves prisoners, and the
necessity of burying themselves under the ruins of the capital; the
committee decided unanimously, that Paris should not be defended, and
that they would submit to deliver it into the hands of the allies,
since the allies would not suspend hostilities at any other price.

General Ziethen, who commanded Prince Blucher's advanced guard, was
informed of this determination by the Prince of Eckmuhl. He returned
him the following answer:

"_To the Prince of Eckmuhl._

                                        "July the 2d.

"Monsieur General,

"General Revest has communicated to me verbally, that you demand an
armistice, to treat of the surrender of Paris.

"In consequence, M. General, I have to inform you, that I am in no way
authorized to accept an armistice. I dare not even announce this
demand to his Highness Marshal Prince Blucher: but however, if the
deputies of the government declare to my aide-de-camp, Count
Westphalen, that they will surrender the city, _and that the French
army will surrender itself also_, I will accept a suspension of

"I will then communicate it to his highness Prince Blucher, to treat
of the other articles.

                    (Signed)       "ZIETHEN."

When Brennus, abusing his victory, offered an insult to the
vanquished, the Romans ran to arms. We, less sensible, and less proud,
heard, without shuddering, the insult offered to our eighty thousand
brave soldiers, and accepted, without blushing, the disgrace thus
inflicted upon them and us!

Our only revenge was to despatch MM. de Tromeling and Macirone, the
former to Prince Blucher, the latter to Lord Wellington.

The Duke of Otranto, without the knowledge of the committee, delivered
to M. Macirone a confidential note in the following terms:

"The army is dissatisfied, because it is unhappy; encourage it: it
will become faithful and devoted.

"The chambers are indocile for the same reason; encourage every body,
and every body will be on your side.

"Let the army be sent away: the chambers will consent to it, on a
promise to add to the charter the guarantees specified by the King. In
order to come to a good understanding, it is necessary, that
explanations should take place: do not enter Paris, therefore, in less
than three days; in this interval every thing will be settled. _The
chambers will be gained; they will fancy themselves independent, and
will sanction every thing._ It is not force that must be employed with
them, but persuasion."

I know not whether M. de Tromeling were also furnished with a similar
note, or whether Lord Wellington interposed his authority; but Prince
Blucher, become on a sudden more tractable, consented to treat of the
surrender of Paris.

On the 3d of July, General Ziethen announced on his part to the Prince
of Eckmuhl, "that the deputies of the government might present
themselves: that they would be conducted to St. Cloud, where they
would find deputies from the English and Prussian generals."

Baron Bignon, Count de Bondy, and General Guilleminot, provided with
powers from the Prince of Eckmuhl (Blucher having declared, that he
would have nothing to do with any person but the chief of the French
army), repaired to the Prussian advanced posts, and were conducted to
St. Cloud; _where, without any regard to the laws of nations, they
were deprived of all means of communicating with the government, and
kept in a private prison, during the whole continuance of the

Baron Bignon, the principal negotiator, and his two colleagues,
defended the political rights, the private interests, the
inviolability of persons and property, national and individual, with
inestimable firmness and zeal. They were far from foreseeing, that
the following convention, which they considered as sacred, would
subsequently open such a fatal!! door to the interpretations of
vengeance and bad faith.


This day, July the 3d, 1815, the commissioners named by the commanders
in chief of the respective armies, namely:

M. Baron Bignon, having in charge the portfolio of foreign affairs; M.
Count Guilleminot, chief of the staff of the French army; M. Count de
Bondy, prefect of the department of the Seine; furnished with full
powers by Marshal the Prince of Eckmuhl, commander in chief of the
French army, on the one part;

And M. Major-General Baron de Muffling, furnished with powers by his
Highness Marshal Prince Blucher, commander-in-chief of the Prussian
army; and M. Colonel Hervey, furnished with full powers by his
excellency the Duke of Wellington, commander-in-chief of the English
army, on the other;

Have agreed on the following articles:


There shall be a suspension of hostilities between the allied armies
commanded by his highness Prince Blucher, his excellency the Duke of
Wellington, and the French army, under the walls of Paris.


To-morrow the French army shall commence its march, to retire behind
the Loire. The total evacuation of Paris shall be effected in three
days, and its movement of retiring behind the Loire shall be finished
in eight days.


The French army shall take with it its stores, field artillery,
military convoys, horses, and property of the regiments, without any
exception. This shall equally apply to what belongs to (_le personnel
des_) the dépôts, and the different branches of administration,
belonging to the army.


The sick and wounded, as well as the medical officers, whom it may be
necessary to leave with them, are under the particular protection of
MM. the commissaries in chief of the English and Prussian armies.


The military and non-military persons, mentioned in the preceding
article, may rejoin the corps to which they belong, as soon as they
are recovered.


The women and children of all persons belonging to the French army
shall be at liberty to remain in Paris.

These women shall meet with no obstruction to their quitting Paris, to
rejoin the army, or to taking with them their own property or that of
their husbands.


The officers of the line employed with the federates, or with the
sharpshooters of the national guard, may either rejoin the army, or
return to their place of residence, or to the place where they were


To-morrow, July the 4th, at noon, St. Denis, St. Ouen, Clichy, and
Neuilly, shall be delivered up; the next day, July the 5th, at the
same hour, Montmartre shall be delivered; and on the 3d day, July 6,
all the barriers shall be delivered.


The interior duty of Paris shall continue to be performed by the
national guard, and by the corps of municipal gendarmerie.


The commanders in chief of the English and Prussian armies _engage to
respect, and to make those under them respect, the present
authorities, as long as they subsist_.


_Public property_, except what relates to war, whether it belong to
the government, or depend on the municipal authority, _shall be
respected_, and the allied powers will not interfere in any manner in
its management, or in its conduct.


The persons and property of individuals shall be equally respected:
the inhabitants, and all persons in general, who happen to be in the
capital, shall continue to enjoy their rights and liberties, _without
being molested, or any inquiry being made into the functions they
occupy or may have occupied, their conduct, or their political


The foreign troops shall oppose no obstacle to the supply of the
capital with provision; and on the contrary shall protect the arrival
and free circulation of articles intended for it.


The present convention shall be observed, and serve as a rule for the
mutual conduct of the parties, till a peace is concluded.

In case of a rupture, it shall be announced in the usual forms at
least ten days beforehand.


_If any difficulties arise_, respecting the execution of some of the
articles of the present convention, _the interpretation shall be in
favour of the French army_, and of the city of Paris.


The present convention is declared common to all the allied armies,
saving the ratification of the powers, to which those armies belong.


The ratifications shall be exchanged to-morrow, at six o'clock in the
morning, at the bridge of Neuilly.


Commissioners shall be named by the respective parties, to superintend
the execution of the present convention.

Done and signed at St. Cloud, in triplicate, by the commissioners
undernamed, the day and year above mentioned,

                    (Signed)       Baron BIGNON.
                                   Count GUILLEMINOT.
                                   Count DE BONDY.
                                   Baron DE MUFFLING.
                                   B. HERVEY, Colonel.

Approved and ratified,

                    (Signed)       Marshal Prince ECKMUHL.

The title of capitulation was originally given to this treaty: but the
Duke of Otranto, aware of the power of words, and dreading the
impression this would produce, hastened to recall the copies already
distributed, and to substitute the milder title of convention. This
precaution, however, fascinated the eyes only of a few friendly
deputies. Numerous groups were formed: the government and Prince
Eckmuhl were openly charged with having a second time delivered up and
sold Paris to the allies and the Bourbons. The patriots, the
sharpshooters, the federates, who had offered to defend the city with
their lives, were equally indignant, that the city had been given up
without firing a single shot. They resolved, to seize on the heights
of Montmartre, join the army, and sell dearly to the enemy the last
sighs of liberty and of France. But their threatening clamours were
not unheard by the government. It called out the national guards; and
these at length appeased the malecontents, by opposing to them the
example of their own resignation.

The publication of the convention produced an effervescence not less
formidable in the camps. The generals assembled, to protest against
this impious act, and oppose its accomplishment. They declared, that
the Prince of Eckmuhl, _in whose house they had frequently caught M.
de Vitrolles_, had forfeited the esteem of the army, and was no longer
worthy to command it. They repaired to General Vandamme, and offered
him the command. But this officer, who had made one of the council of
war, which they did not know, and approved its sentiments, refused his
consent to their wishes. The soldiers, who had been made to swear by
the representatives of the people, that they would never suffer the
enemy to penetrate into the capital, spontaneously shared the
indignation of their leaders; and declared, like them, that they would
never consent, to surrender Paris. Some broke their arms, others
brandished them in the air with curses and threats; all swore, to die
on the spot, rather than desert it. A general insurrection appeared
inevitable and at hand; when the General, alarmed at the calamities it
might occasion, harangued the soldiers, and at length calmed their
irritation. The imperial guard, yielding to the ascendancy the brave
and loyal Drouot possessed over it, gave the first example of
submission, and every thing was restored to order.

The government, to justify its conduct, and prevent similar
insurrections in the other armies, and in the departments, published
the following proclamation, a pompous tissue of eloquent impostures,
and of fallacious promises[86].

              [Footnote 86: It was the performance of the Duke of

"_The Committee of Government to the French._


"Under the difficult circumstances, in which the reins of government
were entrusted to us, it was not in our power, to master the course of
events, and repel every danger: but it was our duty, to protect the
interests of the people, and of the army, equally compromised in the
cause of a prince, abandoned by fortune and by the national will.

"It was our duty, _to preserve_ to our country the precious remains of
those brave legions, whose courage is superior to misfortune, and who
have been the victims of a devotion, which their country now claims.

"It was our duty, to save the capital from the horrors of a siege, or
the chances of a battle to maintain the public tranquillity amid the
tumults and agitations of war, _to support the hopes of the friends of
liberty_, amid the fears and anxieties of a suspicious foresight. It
was above all our duty, to stop the useless effusion of blood. We had
to choose _between a secure national existence_, or run the risk of
exposing our country and its citizens to a general convulsion, that
would leave behind it neither hope, nor a future.

"_None of the means of defence_, that time and our resources
permitted, nothing that the service of the camps or of the city
required, have we neglected.

"While the pacification of the West was concluding, plenipotentiaries
went to meet the allied powers; and all the papers relative to this
negotiation have been laid before our representatives.

"The fate of the capital is regulated by a convention: its
inhabitants, whose firmness, courage, and perseverance, are above all
praise, will retain the guarding of it. _The declarations of the
sovereigns of Europe must inspire too great confidence, their promises
have been too solemn, for us to entertain any fears of our liberties,
and of our dearest interests, being sacrificed to victory._

"_At length we shall receive guarantees_, that will prevent the
alternate and transient triumphs of the factions, by which we have
been agitated these five and twenty years; that will terminate our
revolutions, and _melt down under one common protection_ all the
parties, to which they have given rise, and all those, against which
they have contended.

"Those guarantees, which have hitherto existed only in our principles
and in our courage, _we shall find_ in our laws, in our constitution,
in our representative system. For whatever may be the intelligence,
the virtues, the personal qualities of a monarch, these can never
suffice, to render the people secure against the oppressions of power,
the prejudices of pride, the injustice of courts, and the ambition of

"Frenchmen, peace is necessary to your commerce, to your arts, to the
improvement of your morals, to the development of the resources
remaining to you: be united, _and you are at the end of your
calamities_. The repose of Europe is inseparable from yours. Europe is
interested in your tranquillity, and in your happiness.

"Given at Paris, July the 5th, 1815.

               (Signed)       "The president of the committee,

                                   "The Duke of OTRANTO."

By the terms of the convention, the first column of the French was to
commence its march on the 4th. The soldiers, still irritated, declared
they would not set out, till they received their arrears of pay. The
treasury was empty, credit extinguished, the government at bay. The
Prince of Eckmuhl proposed, to seize the funds of the bank: but this
attempt struck the committee with horror. One resource alone, one only
hope, remained: this was to invoke the support of a banker, at that
time celebrated for his wealth, now celebrated for his public virtues.
M. Lafitte was applied to: the chances of the future did not deter
him; he listened only to the interest of his country; and several
millions, distributed by his assistance through the ranks of the army,
disarmed the mutineers, and crushed the seeds of a civil war.

The army began its march. Amid the despair, into which it had been
plunged by the capitulation, it had frequently called on Napoleon! The
committee, apprehensive that the Emperor, having no longer any
measures to keep, would come and put himself in a state of desperation
at the head of the patriots and soldiers, sent orders by a courier to
General Beker, "to effect the arrival of Napoleon at Rochefort without
delay; _and, without departing from the respect due to him, to employ
all the means necessary, to get him embarked_; as his stay in France
compromised the safety of the state, and was detrimental to the

The retreat of the army, the occupation of Paris by the foreigners,
and the presence of the King at Arnouville, unveiled the future; and
those men who were not blinded by incurable illusions, prepared to
fall again under the sway of the Bourbons.

Their partisans, their emissaries, their known agents (M. de Vitrolles
and others) had asserted, that the King, ascribing the revolution of
the 20th of March to the faults of his ministry, would shut his eyes
to all that had passed; and that a general absolution would be the
pledge of his return, and of his reconciliation with the French. This
consolatory assertion had already surmounted the repugnance of many;
when the proclamations of the 25th and 28th of June, issued at
Cambray, made their appearance[87]. These in fact acknowledged, that
the ministers of the King had committed faults; but, far from
promising a complete oblivion of those committed by his subjects, one
of them, the work of the Duke of Feltre, on the contrary announced,
"that the King, whose potent allies had cleared the way for him to his
dominions, by dispersing _the satellites of the tyrant_, was hastening
to return to them, to carry the existing laws into execution against
the guilty."

              [Footnote 87: They were published by order of the

Information was soon brought by the commissioners, returned from the
head quarters of the allies, and confirmed by the reports of MM.
Tromeling and Macirone, that Blucher and Wellington, already taking
advantage of our weakness, openly declared, that the authority of the
chambers and of the committee was illegal; and that the best thing
they could do would be, to give in their resignations, and proclaim
Louis XVIII.

All the good effected by the cajolery of M. Fouché, and the hope of a
happy reconciliation, now disappeared. Consternation seized the
weak-minded; indignation, men of a generous spirit. The committee,
disappointed of the hope of obtaining Napoleon II., or the Duke of
Orleans; who, according to the expression of the Duke of Wellington,
would have been only an usurper of a good family; could no longer
disguise from itself, that it was the intention of the foreign powers,
to restore Louis XVIII. to the throne; but it had imagined, that his
re-establishment would be the subject of an agreement between the
nation, the allied monarchs, and Louis.

When it was acquainted with the language held by the enemy's generals,
it foresaw, that the independence of the powers of the state,
stipulated by the convention, would not be respected; and it
deliberated, whether it would not be proper for it and the chambers,
to retire behind the Loire with the army. This measure, worthy of the
firmness of M. Carnot, who proposed it, was strongly combated by the
Duke of Otranto. He declared, that this step would ruin France; "that
the greater part of the generals would not assent to it, and that he
himself would be the first, to refuse to quit Paris. That it was at
Paris the whole must be decided: and that it was the duty of the
committee to remain there, to protect the high interests confided to
it, and contend for them to the last extremity."

The committee gave up the idea; not out of deference to the
observations of M. Fouché, for he had lost all his empire over it; but
because it was convinced on reflection, that things had gone too far,
for any benefit to be expected from this desperate step. It would
probably have rekindled the foreign war, and a civil war; and, though
the soldiers might be depended on, their leaders could no longer be
so, with the same security. Some, as General Sénéchal, had been
stopped at the advanced posts, when going over to the Bourbons. Others
had openly declared themselves in favour of Louis. The greater number
appeared inflexible: but this difference of opinion had brought on
distrust and dissensions; and in political wars all is lost, when
there is a divergency of wills and opinions. Besides it would have
been necessary, since the committee persisted in rejecting Napoleon,
to place at the head of the army some other chief, whose name, sacred
to glory, might serve as a stay and rallying point: and on whom could
the choice of the committee fall[88]?

              [Footnote 88: Events have justified the prudence of the
              marshals; but I am not judging of events, I am relating

Marshal Ney had been the first, to give the alarm, and despair of the
safety of the country[89].

              [Footnote 89: On the 23d of June, M. Carnot, after
              having delivered to the chamber of peers Napoleon's act
              of abdication, entered into some details of the state of
              the army. Marshal Ney rose, and said ... "What you have
              just heard is false, entirely false; Marshal Grouchy and
              the Duke of Dalmatia cannot assemble sixty thousand
              men.... Marshal Grouchy has been unable to rally more
              than seven or eight thousand; Marshal Soult could not
              maintain his post at Rocroy; you have no longer _any
              means_ of saving the country, but by negotiations." M.
              Carnot and General Flahaut immediately refuted this
              imprudent negation. General Drouot completely refuted
              the marshal in the following sitting.... "I have heard
              with regret," said he, "what had been said to diminish
              the glory of our armies, exaggerate our disasters, or
              depreciate our resources. I will say what I think, what
              I fear, and what I hope. On my frankness you may depend.
              My attachment to the Emperor cannot be doubted: but
              before all things, and above all things, I love my
              country." The general then gave a true and authenticated
              account of the battles of Ligny and Mont St. Jean; and,
              after having justified the Emperor from the faults,
              indirectly attempted to be imputed to him, continued:
              "Such are the particulars of this fatal day. It ought to
              have crowned the glory of the French army, destroyed all
              the vain hopes of the enemy, and perhaps soon given a
              peace to France.... But heaven decided otherwise....
              Though our losses are considerable, still our situation
              is not desperate: the resources yet left us are great,
              if we will employ them with energy ... such a
              catastrophe should not discourage a nation great and
              noble like ours.... After the battle of Cannæ, the Roman
              senate voted thanks to their vanquished general, because
              he had not despaired of the safety of the republic; and
              laboured incessantly, to furnish him with the means of
              repairing the disasters of which he had been the
              cause.... On an occasion less critical, would the
              representatives of the nation suffer themselves to be
              depressed? Or would they forget the dangers of their
              country, and waste their hours in ill-timed debates,
              instead of having recourse to a remedy, that should
              ensure the safety of France?"]

Marshal Soult had relinquished his command.

Marshal Massena, worn out by victories, had no longer the bodily
strength, that circumstances required.

Marshal Macdonald, deaf to the shout of war raised by his old
companions in arms, had suffered his sword, to remain peaceably in its

Marshal Jourdan was on the Rhine.

Marshal Mortier had been seized with the gout at Beaumont.

Marshal Suchet had displayed irresolution and repugnance from the

In fine, Marshals Davoust and Grouchy no longer possessed the
confidence of the army.

The committee, therefore, it is grating to the pride of a Frenchman to
confess it, would not have known to whose hands the fate of France
might be entrusted; and the part it took, that of waiting the issue of
events in the capital, if not the most dignified, was at least the
wisest and most prudent.

The representatives of the people, on their part, far from showing
themselves docile to the advice of Wellington and of Blucher,
displayed with more energy than ever the principles and sentiments
that animated them. They collected round the tri-coloured flag; and,
though the army had laid down its weapons, they were still resolved to
contend in defence of liberty, and the independence of the nation.

On the very day when the convention of Paris was notified to them by
the government, they exposed, in a new bill of rights, the fundamental
principles of a constitution, which alone, in their opinion, could
satisfy the wishes of the public: and declared, that the prince called
to reign over them should not ascend the throne, till he had given his
sanction to this bill and taken an oath to observe it, and cause it to
be observed.

Informed almost immediately by sinister rumours, that soon they would
be no longer allowed to deliberate, they resolved, on the motion of M.
Dupont de l'Eure, solemnly to express their last will in a kind of
political testament, drawn up in the following words.

"_Declaration of the Chamber of Representatives._

"The troops of the allied powers are about to occupy the capital.

"The chamber of representatives will nevertheless continue to sit amid
the inhabitants of Paris, to which place the express will of the
people has sent its proxies.

"But, under the present serious circumstances, the chamber of
representatives owes it to itself, owes it to France and to Europe, to
make a declaration of its sentiments and principles.

"It declares, therefore, that it makes a solemn appeal to the fidelity
and patriotism of the national guard of Paris, charged with the
protection of the national representatives.

"It declares, that it reposes itself with the highest confidence on
the moral principles, honour, and magnanimity, of the allied powers,
and on their respect for the independence of the nation, positively
expressed in their manifestoes.

"It declares, that the government of France, whoever may be its head,
ought to unite in its favour the wishes of the nation, legally
expressed; and form arrangements with the other governments, in order
to become a common bond and guarantee of peace between France and

"It declares, that a monarch cannot offer any real guarantees, if he
do not swear to the observance of a constitution, formed by the
deliberations of the national representatives, and accepted by the
people. Accordingly any government, that has no other title than the
acclamations and will of a party, or is imposed on it by force; any
government, that does not adopt the national colours, and does not

"The liberties of the citizens;

"Equality of rights, civil and political;

"The liberty of the press;

"Freedom of religious worship;

"The representative system;

"Free assent to levies and taxes;

"The responsibility of ministers;

"The irrevocability of sales of national property, from whatever
source originating;

"The inviolability of property;

"The abolition of titles, of the old and new hereditary nobility, and
of feudal claims;

"The abolition of all confiscation of property, the complete oblivion
of opinions and votes given up to the present day;

"The institution of the legion of honour;

"The recompenses due to the officers and soldiers;

"The succour due to their widows and children;

"The institution of a jury; the indefeasibleness of the office of

"The payment of the public debt;

"Would not ensure the tranquillity of France and of Europe.

"If the fundamental principles, announced in this declaration, should
be disregarded or violated, the representatives of the French people,
acquitting themselves this day of a sacred duty, enter their protest
beforehand, in the face of the whole world, against violence and
usurpation. They entrust they maintenance of the arrangements, which
they now proclaim, to all good Frenchmen, to all generous hearts, to
all enlightened minds, to all men jealous of liberty, and, in fine, to
future generations."

This sublime protest was considered by the assembly as a funeral
monument, erected to patriotism and fidelity. All the members arose,
and adopted it spontaneously, with shouts a thousand times repeated of
"Long live the nation! Liberty for ever!" It was resolved, that it
should be sent immediately to the chamber of peers: "It must be made
known," said M. Dupin, "that the whole of the national representation
shares the noble sentiments expressed in this declaration. It must be
made known to all worthy and reasonable men, the friends of judicious
liberty, that their wishes have found interpreters here, and that
force itself cannot prevent us from uttering them."

At the same moment M. Bedoch announced, that our plenipotentiaries
were returned; and that one of them, M. Pontécoulant, had affirmed,
that "the foreign powers, and particularly the Emperor Alexander, had
shown favourable dispositions he had frequently heard it said and
repeated, that it was not the intention of the allied sovereigns, to
put any constraint on France in the choice of a government; and that
the Emperor Alexander would be at Nancy in a few days[90]."

              [Footnote 90: The plenipotentiaries, who set out from
              Laon on the 26th of June, arrived on the 1st of July at
              Hagueneau, the head-quarters of the allied sovereigns.

              The sovereigns did not think fit, to give them an
              audience; and Count Walmoden was appointed on the part
              of Austria, Count Capo d'Istria on that of Russia,
              General Knesbeck on that of Prussia, to hear their
              proposals. The English ambassador, Lord Stewart, having
              no powers _ad hoc_, was simply invited, to be present at
              the conferences.

              Lord Stewart did not fail, as was foreseen in the
              instructions given to the plenipotentiaries, to dispute
              the legality of the existence of the chambers and of the
              committee; and asked the French deputies, by what right
              the nation pretended to expel their King, and choose
              another sovereign. By the same right, answered M. de la
              Fayette, as Great Britain had to depose James, and crown

              This answer stopped the mouth of the English minister.

              The plenipotentiaries, warned by this question of the
              disposition of the allies, exerted themselves less for
              obtaining Napoleon II., than for rejecting Louis XVIII.
              They declared, I am told, that France had an insuperable
              aversion to this sovereign and his family; and that
              there was no prince, it would not consent to adopt,
              rather than return under their sway. In fine, they
              hinted, that the nation might agree to take the Duke of
              Orleans, or the King of Saxony, if it were impossible
              for it to retain the throne for the son of Maria Louisa.

              The foreign ministers, after some insignificant
              discourse, politely put an end to the conference; and in
              the evening the French plenipotentiaries received their
              dismissal by the following note:

                   _Hagueneau, July the 1st._

                   "According to the stipulation of the treaty of
                   alliance, which says, that none of the contracting
                   parties shall treat of peace or an armistice, but
                   by common consent, the three courts, that find
                   themselves together, Austria, Russia, and Prussia,
                   declare, that they cannot at present enter into any
                   negotiation. The cabinets will assemble together,
                   as soon as possible.

                   "The three powers consider it as an essential
                   condition of peace, and of real tranquillity, that
                   Napoleon Bonaparte shall be incapable of disturbing
                   the repose of France, and of Europe, for the
                   future: and in consequence of the events, that
                   occurred in the month of March last, _the powers
                   must insist, that Napoleon Bonaparte be placed in
                   their custody_.

                                 (Signed)  WALMODEN.
                                           Capo d'ISTRIA.

General Sébastiani confirmed these explanations. The chamber, feeling
its hopes revive, immediately ordered, that its declaration should be
carried to the foreign monarchs by a deputation of its members. "They
will understand our language," said M. Dupont de l'Eure, with a noble
feeling: "it is worthy of them, and of the great nation we represent."

Thus, at the very moment when the chamber was about to expire, its
dying looks were still turned with pleasing confidence toward the
foreign kings, whom the inconstancy of fortune had rendered the
arbiters of France. It appealed particularly, in all its wishes, to
that loyal and magnanimous prince, who had already preserved the
French from the calamities of conquest, and who appeared destined to
preserve it from evils still more deplorable. His name, uttered with
respect, with gratitude, issued from every mouth; it was sufficient,
to calm disquietude, allay grief, and revive hope; it seemed to be the
pledge of peace, independence, and happiness, to the nation. O
Alexander! this high esteem, this tender confidence, of a whole people
not thy own, doubt not, will be placed by posterity in the first rank
of thy claims to glory.

The committee, however, dissuaded the representatives from applying to
the sovereigns. It remonstrated to them, that the foreign powers
refused to acknowledge the legal character of the chambers, and this
step would expose them to humiliations unworthy the majesty of the
nation. The representatives, convinced of their mistake, did not
persevere: they tranquilly resumed their labours on the
constitution[91], and continued, while the despotic sword of kings
hung over their heads, stoically to discuss the imprescriptible rights
of the people.

              [Footnote 91: This constitution, founded on the
              additional act, differed from it only in abolishing
              hereditary mobility. M. Manuel, however, who displayed
              talents of the first order in this discussion, was of
              opinion, that the order of nobility should not be
              suppressed, being essentially necessary in a monarchy.
              Had I to draw up an eulogy of the additional act, or a
              charge against those who hold it in contempt, I would
              only refer them to his constitution.]

The Duke of Wellington, when the convention was signed, had expressed
a desire, to confer with the Duke of Otranto on its execution. The
committee did not oppose their interview. It was a certain means of
knowing definitively what was to be depended on, with regard to the
dispositions of the allies. It was agreed, that the president of the
committee should reproduce the arguments of the letter of the 1st of
July; that he should endeavour, to keep out the Bourbons, and turn the
temporary vacancy of the throne to the advantage of the nation and of

The Duke of Otranto, on his return, informed the committee, "that
Wellington had formally declared in favour of Louis XVIII.; and had
said, that this sovereign would make his entrance into Paris on the
8th of July.

"That General Pozzo di Borgo had repeated the same declaration in the
name of the Emperor of Russia; and had communicated to him a letter
from Prince Metternich, and from Count Nesselrode, expressing the
resolution, to acknowledge only Louis XVIII, and to admit no proposal
to the contrary." He added, "that the Duke of Wellington had conducted
him to the King: that he had gone _for his sake_ (_pour son compte_);
that he had left him ignorant of nothing with respect to the situation
of France, or to the disposition of people's minds against the return
of his family. That the King had listened to him with attention, and
with approbation that he had manifested an inclination, to add to the
charter fresh guarantees, and to remove all idea of reaction. _That,
as to the expressions in the proclamations, they would rather furnish
opportunities for clemency, than means of severity._" In fine, he
added, "that he had spoken of the tri-coloured cockade, but that all
explanation had been refused: that the opposition appeared to him, to
proceed less from the King, than from those about him, and from M. de

After this interview, the Duke of Otranto appeared to act separately
from his colleagues; and no longer made his appearance with
punctuality at their frequent meetings.

The newspapers soon made public, that he was appointed minister of
police to the King. This he had concealed from the committee. The
royalists congratulated him on this mark of favour; the patriots
loaded him with curses, considering it as the reward of his treachery.

The King's party, which had hitherto kept itself in obscurity, was
desirous of making reparation for this long and pusillanimous
inactivity by some brilliant act. It plotted the disarming of the
posts of the national guard, under favour of night; seizing the
Tuileries, dissolving the committee and the chambers, and proclaiming
Louis XVIII.

Some precautions taken by the Prince of Essling taught the
conspirators, that their designs were known: and they prudently left
the execution of them to foreign bayonets. They had not to wait long.
On the 7th of July, at five o'clock in the afternoon, several Prussian
battalions, in spite of the convention, surrounded the palace, where
the government was sitting. An officer of the staff delivered to the
committee a demand from Prince Blucher of a contribution of a hundred
millions in cash, and a hundred millions in articles for the troops.
The committee declared with firmness, that this requisition was
contrary to the convention; and that it would never consent, to make
itself an accomplice in such exactions. During this debate, the
Prussians had forced the gates of the Tuileries, and invaded the
courts and avenues of the palace. The committee being no longer free,
and not choosing to become an instrument of oppression, ceased its

Its first care was, to record by an authentic protest, _that it had
yielded only to force, and that the rights of the nation remained
intact_. The Duke of Otranto, the docile composer of the public papers
of the government, took up the pen for this purpose: but the
committee, fearing the effects this protest might have on the public
tranquillity, thought it better, to content itself with sending to the
two chambers the following message.

"Mr. President,

"Hitherto we had reason to believe, that the allied sovereigns were
not unanimous in their intentions, respecting the choice of a prince
to reign over France. Our plenipotentiaries gave us the same assurance
on their return. The ministers and generals of the allied powers,
however, declared yesterday in the conferences they held with the
president of the committee, that all the sovereigns had engaged, to
replace Louis XVIII. on the throne; and that this evening, or
to-morrow, he would make his entry into the capital.

"The foreign troops are come to occupy the Tuileries, where the
government sits. In this state of things, we can do nothing, but put
up prayers for our country; and, our deliberations being no longer
free, we think it our duty to separate."

This message, the last testimonial of the audacious duplicity of the
Duke of Otranto, now become a minister of the King, contained in
addition what follows. "Fresh guarantees will be added to the charter;
and we have not lost the hope of retaining the colours so dear to the
nation:" but this paragraph, of which I give only the substance, was
afterwards suppressed.

The chamber of peers, which had received with coldness the bill of
rights, and the declaration of the chamber of representatives,
separated without a murmur[92].

              [Footnote 92: This chamber, after the abdication of
              Napoleon, was merely a superfetation. The departure of
              those peers, who formed part of the army, completed its
              reduction to an absolute nullity. Without patriotism,
              without energy, it confined itself to sanctioning with
              an ill grace the measures adopted by the
              representatives. M. Thibaudeau, M. de Ségur, M. de
              Bassano, and a few others, alone raised themselves to a
              level with the state of affairs. M. Thibaudeau in
              particular distinguished himself, on the 28th of June
              and the 2d of July, by two speeches on our political
              situation; which were considered then, as they long will
              be, as noble specimens of courage, patriotism, and

The chamber of deputies received its sentence of death with heroic
tranquillity. When M. Manuel, repeating the memorable words of
Mirabeau, exclaimed: "We are here by the will of the people; we will
not depart, till compelled by the bayonet: it is our duty, to devote
to our country our last moments; and, if necessary, the last drop of
our blood:" all the members of the assembly rose, in testimony of
their assent; and declared, that they would remain firm at their

But they were not allowed, to fulfil this glorious resolution. The
president, M. Lanjuinais, betraying their courage, and despising their
will, dissolved the sitting, and retired. "M. President," said General
Solignac to him, "the muse of history is here, and will record your

The next morning, they found the avenues of their palace occupied by
foreigners, and the doors of the assembly closed. M. de Cazes, at the
head of some royal volunteers, had taken away the keys. This act of
violence, against which they protested, at length removed the bandage
from their eyes: they perceived the error they had committed, in too
hastily removing Napoleon from the throne, and blindly entrusting to
other hands the fate of their country[93].

              [Footnote 93: I repeat here a preceding observation,
              that I confine myself to a relation of facts, without
              deciding upon them.]

Thus terminated, after a month's existence, that assembly, which the
French had chosen, to confirm the imperial dynasty, to secure their
liberties and their tranquillity; but which, through precipitancy,
want of foresight, and an excess of zeal and patriotism, had given
rise to nothing but convulsions and calamities.

The dissolution of the chambers, and of the government, put an end to
all illusions.

The tri-coloured flags, that had been retained, disappeared.

The shouts of "Long live the nation!" and "Liberty for ever!" ceased.

M. Fouché went to announce to his new master, that the whole was

And on the 8th of July Louis XVIII. in triumph took possession of his
capital[94], and of his throne.

              [Footnote 94: On the 8th of July M. de Vitrolles caused
              the following official article to be inserted in the

                   "Paris, July the _7th_.--The committee of
                   government made known to the King, by the mouth of
                   its president, that it had just dissolved itself."

                   This article, written with the intention, to make
                   France and Europe believe, that the committee had
                   voluntarily deposited its authority in the hands of
                   the King, called forth strong remonstrances from
                   the Duke of Vicenza. Incapable of paltering with
                   his duty, or with the truth, he went immediately to
                   the King's minister, the Duke of Otranto;
                   reproached him severely with having compromised the
                   committee and declared, that he would not quit his
                   house, till he had obtained a formal disavowal of
                   it. The minister protested, that the article was
                   not written by him; and consented to disavow it.

                   Count Carnot, Baron Quinette, and General Grenier,
                   having joined the Duke of Vicenza, the latter
                   wrote, in the Duke of Otranto's closet, the letter
                   subjoined; the boldness and firmness of which, I
                   trust, it is unnecessary to remark.

                   "Monsieur le Duc.--As the committee of government,
                   on its retiring, neither ought nor could charge
                   your excellency with any mission, we desire you, to
                   cause the article inserted in the Moniteur of this
                   day, the 8th of July, to be disavowed; and to
                   procure the insertion of our last message to the
                   two chambers.

                         (Signed)  CAULINCOURT.

              The Duke of Otranto answered this letter by the
              following declaration:

                   "Gentlemen.--The committee of government having
                   dissolved itself on the 7th of July, every act
                   emanating from it posterior to its message to the
                   chambers is null, and ought to be considered as not
                   having taken place.

                   "Your remonstrance against the article inserted in
                   the Moniteur of the 8th of July is just. I disavow
                   it, as totally unfounded, and published without my

                         (Signed)  The Duke of OTRANTO."]

At the moment when this prince re-entered the Tuileries, Napoleon was
busied at Rochefort on the means of quitting France. His presence
excited such enthusiasm among the people, the mariners, and the
soldiers, that the shore uninterruptedly resounded with shouts of
"Long live the Emperor!" and these shouts, repeated from mouth to
mouth, could not but teach those, who had flattered themselves with
having mastered the will of Napoleon, how easy it would be for him, to
shake off his chains, and laugh at their vain precautions. But
faithful to his determination, he firmly resisted the impulse of
circumstances; and the continual solicitations made him, to put
himself at the head of the patriots and the army. "It is too late," he
incessantly repeated: "the evil is now without remedy: it is no longer
in my power, to save the country. A civil war now would answer no
end, would be of no utility. To myself alone it might prove
advantageous, by affording me the means of procuring personally more
favourable conditions: but these I must purchase by the inevitable
destruction of all that France possesses of most generous and most
magnanimous and such a result inspires me with horror[95]."

              [Footnote 95: The words recorded by M. de Lascases.]

Up to the 29th of June, the day when the Emperor quitted Malmaison, no
English vessel had been seen off the coast of Rochefort, and there is
every reason to believe, that Napoleon, if circumstances had allowed
him to embark immediately after his abdication, would have reached the
United States without obstruction. But when he arrived at the
sea-coast, he found every outlet occupied by the enemy, and appeared
to retain little hope of escaping.

The 8th of July[96] he went on board the frigate la Saale, prepared to
receive him. His suite was embarked on board the Medusa; and the next
day, the 9th, the two vessels anchored at the Isle of Aix. Napoleon,
always the same, ordered the garrison under arms, examined the
fortifications most minutely, and distributed praise or blame, as if
he had still been sovereign master of the state.

              [Footnote 96: At the same moment Louis XVIII. entered
              Paris. It was another remarkable singularity, that the
              King entered the capital the first time on the same day,
              on which the Emperor went on board the brig, that
              conveyed him to Porto Ferrajo.]

On the 10th, the wind, hitherto contrary, became fair; but an English
fleet of eleven vessels was cruising within sight of the port, and it
was impossible to get to sea.

On the 11th, the Emperor, weary of this state of anxiety, sent Count
de Las Cases, now become his secretary, to sound the disposition of
the English admiral; to inquire, whether he were authorised to allow
him liberty, to repair to England, or to the United States.

The admiral answered, that he had no orders: that still he was ready,
to receive Napoleon, and convey him to England: but that it was not in
his power, to answer whether he would obtain permission to remain
there, or to repair to America.

Napoleon, little satisfied with this answer, caused two half-decked
vessels to be purchased, with intention, under favour of night, to
reach a Danish smack, with which he had contrived to hold

This step having failed, some young midshipmen, full of courage and
devotion, proposed to him, to go on board the two barks; and swore
they would forfeit their lives, if they did not convey him to New
York. Napoleon was not deterred by so long a voyage in such slight
vessels: but he knew, that they could not avoid stopping on the coasts
of Spain and Portugal, to take in water and provision; and he would
not expose himself and people, to the danger of falling into the hands
of the Portuguese or Spaniards.

Being informed, that an American vessel was at the mouth of the
Gironde, he sent off General Lallemand on the spur, to ascertain the
existence of the vessel, and the sentiments of the captain. The
general returned with all speed, to inform him, that the captain would
be happy and proud, to extricate him from the persecutions of his
enemies: but Napoleon, yielding, as it is said, to the advice of some
persons about him, gave up the idea of attempting this passage, and
determined to throw himself on the generosity of the English.

On the 14th he caused the admiral to be informed, that the next day he
would repair on board his vessel.

On the 15th in the morning, he went off in the brig l'Épervier, and
was received on board the Bellerophon with the honours due to his
rank, and to his misfortune. General Beker, who had orders not to quit
him, attended him. The moment they came alongside, the Emperor said to
him: "Withdraw, general; I would not have it be believed, that a
Frenchman is come to deliver me into the hands of my enemies."

On the 16th the Bellerophon set sail for England.

The Emperor had prepared a letter to the Prince Regent, which General
Gourgaud was directed, to carry to him immediately. It was as follows.

                              "Rochefort, July the 13th, 1815.

"Royal Highness,

"Exposed to the factions, that distract my country, and to the enmity
of the greatest powers of Europe, I have terminated my political
career; and I come, like Themistocles, to seat myself on the hearth of
the British people. I put myself under the protection of its laws,
which I claim of your Royal Highness, as the most powerful, the most
constant, and the most generous of my enemies."

General Gourgaud had orders, to make known to the Prince, if he
deigned to admit him to his presence or to his ministers, that it was
Napoleon's intention, to retire into any of the counties of England;
and to live there peaceable and unknown, under the name of Colonel

The Emperor showed no apprehension, no anxiety, on the passage. He
relied with security on the noble character of the English.

When he arrived at Plymouth, he was not permitted, to set his foot on
shore; and he was soon informed, the allied powers had decided, that
he should be considered as a prisoner of war, and confined at St.

He protested solemnly to the English admiral, and in the face of
Heaven and of mankind, against this violation of the most sacred
rights; against the violence put upon his person, and upon his

This protest proving vain, he submitted with calm and majestic
resignation to the decree of his enemies. He was removed on board the
Northumberland, which immediately set sail for St. Helena.

On passing Cape la Hogue, he descried the coast of France. Immediately
he saluted it; and, stretching out his hands toward the shore,
exclaimed with a voice of deep emotion: "Adieu, land of the brave!
adieu, dear France! a few traitors less, and thou wilt still be the
great nation, and mistress of the world."

On the 17th of October the parched rocks were pointed out to him, that
were soon to become the walls of his prison. He contemplated them
without complaint, without agitation, without fear.

On the 18th he landed; and, after having protested anew against this
violence done his person, he repaired to the place of his captivity
with a firm and confident step.

Thus terminated the political life of Napoleon.

Some have been astonished, that he chose to survive himself. He might
have killed himself; nothing is easier for a man. But was such an end
worthy of him? A king, a great king, ought not to die the desperate
death of a conspirator, of the head of a party. To use the proper
words of the illustrious captive at St. Helena, he ought to be
superior to the rudest attacks of adversity.

No! it was worthy of the great Napoleon, to oppose the inflexibility
of his mind to the fickleness of fortune; and like the Roman, who was
reproached with not having died by his own hand after a great
catastrophe, he too made answer: "I have done more, I have lived!"





Prince Talleyrand, dismissed, a peer of France.

M. Dambray, dismissed, a peer of France.

M. L'Abbé de Montesquiou, dismissed, a peer of France.

General Dupont, dismissed, a peer of France.

Marshal Soult, dismissed, proscribed.

The Duke of Feltre, dismissed, dead.

The Comte de Blacas, dismissed, a peer of France.


Comte Ferrand, dismissed, a peer of France.

The Viscount de Chateaubriand, dismissed, a peer of France.

Baron de Vitrolles, dismissed.


Marshal Marmont, major-general of the royal guards.

Marshal Macdonald, major-general of the royal guards.

Marshal Victor, major-general of the royal guards.

Marshal Gouvion de St. Cyr, minister at war.



The Prince Cambacérès, banished, returned.

The Prince of Eckmuhl, a peer of France.

The Duke of Vicenza, retired from public affairs.

The Duke of Decrès, retired from public affairs.

The Duke of Otranto, banished.

The Duke of Gaëta, a peer of France, (secret letter, _lettre close_).

Count Mollien, a peer of France.

M. Carnot, proscribed.

The Duke of Bassano, proscribed.


Count Defermont, proscribed, recalled.

Count Regnault de St. Jean d'Angely, proscribed, recalled: died in
consequence of his exile.

Count Boulay de la Meurthe, proscribed.

Count Merlin de Douay, proscribed.

Count Andréossy, a peer of France.


Marshal Ney, shot.

Marshal Brune, massacred.

The Prince of Eckmuhl, a peer of France.

Prince Massena, dismissed, died.

Marshal Mortier, a peer of France.

Marshal Jourdan, a peer of France.

Marshal Soult, proscribed, recalled.

Marshal Lefevre, a peer of France.

Marshal Suchet, a peer of France.

Marshal Grouchy, proscribed.

The Duke of Rovigo, condemned to death for non-appearance.

Count Bertrand, condemned to death for non-appearance.

General Drouot, tried, acquitted, retired from the service.

General Cambronne, tried, acquitted, retired from the service.


General Marchand, tried, acquitted.

General Debelle, condemned to death, pardoned.

Colonel Labedoyère, shot.


General Brayer, condemned to death for non-appearance.

General Mouton Duvernet, shot.

General Girard, killed at Ligny.


(Vol. I. Page 205.)

General d'Erlon, condemned to death for non-appearance.

General Lefevre Desnouettes, condemned to death for non-appearance.

The Generals Lallemand (brothers), condemned to death for


General Clausel, condemned to death for non-appearance.

The Generals Faucher (brothers), shot.


Marshal Grouchy, proscribed.

General Chartran, shot.


General Travot, condemned to death, imprisoned for life.

General Lamarque, proscribed, recalled.


General Decaen, tried, acquitted.

General Rapp, a peer of France.

General Reille, a peer of France.

General de Lobau, proscribed, recalled.

General d'Erlon, condemned to death for non-appearance.

General Gérard, retired from the service.

General Vandamme, proscribed.

General Excelmans, proscribed, recalled.

General Pajol, retired from the service.

General Foi, retired from the service [one of the new fifth of the
chamber of deputies.--_Tr._].

General Fressinet, proscribed.

General de Bourmont, commandant of the cavalry of the guard.


M. Lanjuinais, president, a peer of France.

M. Dupont de l'Eure, dismissed from his office of president of the
court of Rouen. A deputy in the present chamber. Leader of the

M. Durbach, proscribed, recalled.

M. M. Defermont, Boulay, Regnault, proscribed.

M. Lafayette, a deputy, in opposition.

M. Manuel, a deputy, in opposition.

M. Roi, minister of state, a deputy.

M. Dupin, counsellor at law, celebrated for his talents and


General Sébastiani, in actual service.

Count de Pontécoulant, a peer of France.

Count Delaforest, a peer of France.

Count Andréossy, a peer of France.

Count Boissy d'Anglas, a peer of France.

Count de Valence, excluded from the chamber of peers.

M. de la Besnardiere, retired from public affairs.

M. Lafayette, a deputy, in opposition.

M. D'Argenson, a deputy, in opposition.

M. Flaugergues, without any employment, neuter in his opinions.

M. Benjamin Constant, a political writer and deputy.

M. Delavalette, condemned to death, saved from the scaffold by
conjugal affection, and the heroism of three Englishmen, Sir Robert
Wilson, Mr. Bruce, and Mr. Hutchinson.

General Grenier, a deputy, in opposition.

Baron Quinette, banished, recalled.

M. Thibaudeau, proscribed.

General Beker, a peer of France.

General Flahaut, naturalized in England.

M. de Tromeling, a major-general in actual service.

The author of these Memoirs, independent.


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