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Title: Ten Years' Exile - Memoirs of That Interesting Period of the Life of the Baroness De Stael-Holstein, Written by Herself, during the Years 1810, 1811, 1812, and 1813, and Now First Published from the Original Manuscript, by Her Son.
Author: Staël, Madame de (Anne-Louise-Germaine), 1766-1817
Language: English
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Memoirs of That Interesting Period
of the Life of the Baroness De Stael-Holstein,

Written by Herself, during the Years 1810, 1811, 1812, and 1813,
and Now First Published from the Original Manuscript,
by Her Son.

Translated from the French

Printed for
Treuttel and Wurtz, Treuttel Jun. and Richter,
Foreign Booksellers to his Royal Highness Prince Leopold of
30, Soho Square.


Howlett & Brimmer, Printers,
10, Filth Street, Soho Square.

PREFACE BY THE EDITOR (Augustus, Baron de Stael-Holstein.)

The production which is now submitted to the reader, is not a
complete work, and ought not to be criticized as such. It consists
of Fragments of her Memoirs, which my mother had intended to
complete at her leisure, and which would have probably undergone
alterations, of the nature of which I am ignorant, if a longer life
had been allowed her to revise and finish them.

This reflection was sufficient to make me examine most scrupulously
if I was authorized to give them publicity. The fear of any sort of
responsibility cannot be present to the mind, when our dearest
affections are in question; but the heart is agitated by a painful
anxiety when we are left to guess at those wishes, the declaration
of which would have been a sacred and invariable rule. Nevertheless,
after having seriously reflected on what duty required of me, I am
satisfied that I have fulfilled my mother's intentions, in engaging
to leave out in this edition of her works*, no production
susceptible of being printed. My fidelity in adhering to this
engagement gives me the right of disavowing beforehand, all which at
any future period, persons might pretend to add to this collection,
which, I repeat, contains every thing, of which my mother had not
formally forbid the publication.

(* Les Oeuvres completes de Madame la Baronne de Stael, publiees par
son Fils. Precedees d'une notice sur le caractere et les ecrits de
Madame de Stael, par Madame Necker de Saussure. Paris, 17 vols. 8vo.
and 17 vols. in 12mo.)

The title of TEN YEARS' EXILE, is that of which the authoress
herself made choice; I have deemed it proper to retain it, although
the work, being unfinished, comprises only a period of seven years.
The narrative begins in 1800, two years previous to my mother's
first exile, and stops at 1804, after the death of M. Necker. It
recommences in 1810, and breaks off abruptly at her arrival in
Sweden, in the autumn of 1812. Between the first and second part of
these Memoirs there is therefore an interval of nearly six years. An
explanation of this will be found in a faithful statement of the
manner in which they were composed.

I will not anticipate my mother's narrative of the persecution to
which she was subjected during the imperial government: that
persecution, equally mean and cruel, forms the subject of the
present publication, the interest of which I should only weaken. It
will be sufficient for me to remind the reader, that after having
exiled her from Paris, and subsequently sent her out of France,
after having suppressed her work on Germany with the most arbitrary
caprice, and made it impossible for her to publish anything, even on
subjects wholly unconnected with politics; that government went so
far as to make her almost a prisoner in her own residence, to forbid
her all kind of travelling, and to deprive her of the pleasures of
society and the consolations of friendship. It was while she was in
this situation that my mother began her Memoirs, and one may readily
conceive what must have been at that time the disposition of her

During the composition of the work, the hope of one day giving it to
the world scarcely presented itself in the most distant futurity.
Europe was still bent to that degree under the yoke of Napoleon,
that no independent voice could make itself be heard: on the
Continent the press was completely chained, and the most rigorous
measures excluded every work printed in England. My mother
thought less, therefore, of composing a book, than of preserving the
traces of her recollections and ideas. Along with the narrative of
circumstances personal to herself, she incorporated with it various
reflections which were suggested to her, from the beginning of
Bonaparte's power, by the state of France, and the progress of
events. But if the printing such a work would at that time have
been an act of unheard of temerity, the mere act of writing it
required a great deal of both courage and prudence, particularly in
the position in which she was placed. My mother had every reason to
believe that all her movements were narrowly watched by the police:
the prefect who had replaced M. de Barante at Geneva, pretended to
be acquainted with every thing that passed in her house, and the
least pretence would have been sufficient to induce them to possess
themselves of her papers. She was obliged therefore, to take the
greatest precautions. Scarcely had she written a few pages, when she
made one of her most intimate friends transcribe them, taking care
to substitute for the proper names those of persons taken from the
history of the English Revolution. Under this disguise she carried
off her manuscript, when in 1812 she determined to withdraw herself
by flight from the rigors of a constantly increasing persecution.

On her arrival in Sweden, after having travelled through Russia, and
narrowly escaped the French armies advancing on Moscow, my mother
employed herself in copying out fairly the first part of her
Memoirs, which, as I have already mentioned, goes no farther than
1804. But prior to continuing them in the order of time, she wished
to take advantage of the moment, during which her recollections were
still strong, to give a narrative of the remarkable circumstances of
her flight, and of the persecution which had rendered that step in a
manner a duty. She resumed, therefore, the history of her life at
the year 1810, the epoch of the suppression of her work on Germany,
and continued it up to her arrival at Stockholm in 1812: from that
was suggested the title of Ten Years' Exile. This explains also,
why, in speaking of the imperial government, my mother expresses
herself sometimes as living under its power, and at other times, as
having escaped from it.

Finally, after she had conceived the plan of her Considerations
on the French Revolution, she extracted from the first part of Ten
Years Exile, the historical passages and general reflections which
entered into her new design, reserving the individual details for
the period when she calculated on finishing the memoirs of her life,
and when she flattered herself with being able to name all the
persons of whom she had received generous proofs of friendship,
without being afraid of compromising them by the expressions of her

The manuscript confided to my charge consisted therefore of two
distinct parts: the first, the perusal of which necessarily offered
less interest, contained several passages already incorporated in
the Considerations on the French Revolution; the other formed a sort
of journal, of which no part was yet known to the public. I have
followed the plan traced by my mother, by striking out of the first
part of the manuscript, all the passages which, with some
modifications, have already found a place in her great political
work. To this my labour as editor has been confined, and I have not
allowed myself to make the slightest addition.

The second part I deliver to the public exactly as I found it,
without the least alteration, and I have scarcely felt myself
entitled to make slight corrections of the style, so important did
it appear to me to preserve in this sketch the entire vividness of
its original character. A perusal of the opinions which she
pronounces upon the political conduct of Russia, will satisfy
every one of my scrupulous respect for my mother's manuscript; but
without taking into account the influence of gratitude on elevated
minds, the reader will not fail to recollect, that at that time
the sovereign of Russia was fighting in the cause of liberty and
independence. Was it possible to foresee that so few years would
elapse before the immense forces of that empire should become the
instruments of the oppression of unhappy Europe?

If we compare the Ten Years' Exile with the Considerations on the
French Revolution, it will perhaps be found that the reign of
Napoleon is criticized in the first of these works with greater
severity than in the other, and that he is there attacked with an
eloquence not always exempt from bitterness. This difference may be
easily explained: one of these works was written after the fall of
the despot, with the calm and impartiality of the historian; the
other was inspired by a courageous feeling of resistance to tyranny;
and at the period of its composition, the imperial power was at its

I have not selected one moment in preference to another for the
publication of Ten Years' Exile; the chronological order has been
followed in this edition, and the posthumous works are naturally
placed at the end of the collection. In other respects, I am not
afraid of the charge of exhibiting a want of generosity, in
publishing, after the fall of Napoleon, attacks directed against his
power. She, whose talents were always devoted to the defence of the
noblest of causes, she, whose house was successively the asylum of
the oppressed of all parties, would have been too far above such a
reproach. It could only be addressed, at all events, to the editor
of the Ten Years' Exile; but I confess it would but very little
affect me. It would certainly be assigning too fine a part to
despotism, if, after having imposed the silence of terror during its
triumph, it could call upon history to spare it after its

The recollections of the last government have no doubt afforded a
pretence for a great deal of persecution; no doubt men of integrity
have revolted at the cowardly invectives which are still permitted
against those, who having enjoyed the favors of that government,
have had sufficient dignity not to disavow their past conduct;

Finally, there is no doubt but fallen grandeur captivates the
imagination. But it is not merely the personal character of
Napoleon that is here in question; it is not he who can now be an
object of animadversion to generous minds; no more can it be those
who, under his reign, have usefully served their country in the
different branches of the public administration; but that which we
can never brand with too severe a stigma, is the system of
selfishness and oppression of which Bonaparte is the author. But
is not this deplorable system still in full sway in Europe? and have
not the powerful of the earth carefully gathered up the shameful
inheritance of him whom they have overthrown? And if we turn our
eyes towards our own country, how many of these instruments of
Napoleon do we not see, who, after having fatigued him with their
servile complaisance, have come to offer to a new power the tribute
of their petty machiavelism? Now, as then, is it not upon the basis
of vanity and corruption that the whole edifice of their paltry
science rests, and is it not from the traditions of the imperial
government that the counsels of their wisdom are extracted?

In painting in stronger colours, therefore, this fatal government,
we are not insulting over a fallen enemy, but attacking a still
powerful adversary; and if, as I hope, the Ten Years' Exile are
destined to increase the horror of arbitrary governments, I may
venture to indulge the pleasing idea, that by their publication I
shall be rendering a service to the sacred cause to which my mother
never ceased to be faithful.


 Preface, by the Editor

 Part The First

 Chapter 1. Causes of Bonaparte's animosity against me

 Chapter 2. Commencement of opposition in the Tribunate.--My first
            Persecution on that account.--Fouche

 Chapter 3. System of Fusion adopted by Bonaparte.--Publication of
            my Work on Literature

 Chapter 4. Conversation of my Father with Bonaparte.--Campaign of

 Chapter 5. The Infernal Machine.--Peace of Luneville

 Chapter 6. Corps diplomatique during the Consulate.--Death of the
            Emperor Paul

 Chapter 7. Paris in 1801

 Chapter 8. Journey to Coppet.--Preliminaries of Peace with

 Chapter 9. Paris in 1802.--Bonaparte President of the Italian
            Republic.--My return to Coppet

 Chapter 10. New symptoms of Bonaparte's ill will to my Father and
             Myself.--Affairs of Switzerland

 Chapter 11. Rupture with England.--Commencement of my Exile

 Chapter 12. Departure for Germany.--Arrival at Weimar

 Chapter 13. Berlin.--Prince Louis-Ferdinand

 Chapter 14. Conspiracy of Moreau and Pichegru

 Chapter 15. Assassination of the Duke d'Enghien

 Chapter 16. Illness and Death of M. Necker

 Chapter 17. Trial of Moreau

 Chapter 18. Commencement of the Empire

 Part the Second

 Chapter 1. Suppression of my Work on Germany.--Banishment from

 Chapter 2. Return to Coppet--Different Persecutions.

 Chapter 3. Journey in Switzerland with M. de Montmorency

 Chapter 4. Exile of M. de Montmorency and Madame Recamier.--New

 Chapter 5. Departure from Coppet

 Chapter 6. Passage through Austria;--1812

 Chapter 7. Residence at Vienna

 Chapter 8. Departure from Vienna

 Chapter 9. Passage through Poland

 Chapter 10. Arrival in Russia

 Chapter 11. Kiow

 Chapter 12. Road from Kiow to Moscow

 Chapter 13. Appearance of the Country--Character of the Russians

 Chapter 14. Moscow

 Chapter 15. Road from Moscow to Petersburg

 Chapter 16. St. Petersburg

 Chapter 17. The Imperial Family

 Chapter 18. Manners of the great Russian Nobility

 Chapter 19. Establishments for Public Education.--Institute of St.

 Chapter 20. Departure for Sweden.--Passage through Finland


Part The First


Causes of Bonaparte's animosity against me.

It is not with the view of occupying the public attention with what
relates to myself, that I have determined to relate the
circumstances of my ten years' exile; the miseries which I have
endured, however bitterly I may have felt them, are so trifling in
the midst of the public calamities of which we are witnesses, that I
should be ashamed to speak of myself if the events which concern me
were not in some degree connected with the great cause of threatened
humanity. The Emperor Napoleon, whose character exhibits itself
entire in every action of his life, has persecuted me with a minute
anxiety, with an ever increasing activity, with an inflexible
rudeness; and my connections with him contributed to make him known
to me, long before Europe had discovered the key of the enigma.

I shall not here enter into a detail of the events that preceded the
appearance of Bonaparte upon the political stage of Europe; if I
accomplish the design I have of writing the life of my father, I
will there relate what I have witnessed of the early part of the
revolution, whose influence has changed the fate of the whole
world. My object at present is only to retrace what relates to
myself in this vast picture; in casting from that narrow point of
view some general surveys over the whole, I flatter myself with
being frequently overlooked, in relating my own history.

The greatest grievance which the Emperor Napoleon has against me, is
the respect which I have always entertained for real liberty. These
sentiments have been in a manner transmitted to me as an
inheritance, and adopted as my own, ever since I have been able to
reflect on the lofty ideas from which they are derived, and the
noble actions which they inspire. The cruel scenes which have
dishonored the French revolution, proceeding only from tyranny under
popular forms, could not, it appears to me, do any injury to the
cause of liberty: at the most, we could only feel discouraged with
respect to France; but if that country had the misfortune not to
know how to possess that noblest of blessings, it ought not on that
account to be proscribed from the face of the earth. When the sun
disappears from the horizon of the Northern regions, the inhabitants
of those countries do not curse his rays, because they are still
shining upon others more favored by heaven.

Shortly after the 18th Brumaire, Bonaparte had heard that I had been
speaking strongly in my own parties, against that dawning
oppression, whose progress I foresaw as clearly as if the future had
been revealed to me. Joseph Bonaparte, whose understanding and
conversation I liked very much, came to see me, and told me, "My
brother complains of you. Why, said he to me yesterday, why does not
Madame de Stael attach herself to my government? what is it she
wants? the payment of the deposit of her father? I will give orders
for it: a residence in Paris? I will allow it her. In short, what is
it she wishes?" "Good God!" replied I, "it is not what I wish, but
what I think, that is in question." I know not if this answer was
reported to him, but if it was, I am certain that he attached no
meaning to it; for he believes in the sincerity of no one's
opinions; he considers every kind of morality as nothing more than a
form, to which no more meaning is attached than to the conclusion of
a letter; and as the having assured any one that you are his most
humble servant would not entitle him to ask any thing of you, so if
any one says that he is a lover of liberty,--that he believes in
God,--that he prefers his conscience to his interest, Bonaparte
considers such professions only as an adherence to custom, or as
the regular means of forwarding ambitious views or selfish
calculations. The only class of human beings whom he cannot well
comprehend, are those who are sincerely attached to an opinion,
whatever be the consequences of it: such persons Bonaparte looks
upon as boobies, or as traders who outstand their market, that is to
say, who would sell themselves too dear. Thus, as we shall see in
the sequel, has he never been deceived in his calculations but by
integrity, encountered either in individuals or nations.


Commencement of opposition in the Tribunate--My first persecution
on that account--Fouche.

Some of the tribunes, who attached a real meaning to the
constitution, were desirous of establishing in their assembly an
opposition analogous to that of England; as if the rights, which
that constitution professed to secure, had anything of reality in
them, and the pretended division of the bodies of the state were
anything more than a mere affair of etiquette, a distinction between
the different anti-chambers of the first consul, in which
magistrates under different names could hold together, I confess
that I saw with pleasure the aversion entertained by a small number
of the tribunes, to rival the counsellors of state in servility. I
had especially a strong belief that those who had previously allowed
themselves to be carried too far in their love for the republic
would continue faithful to their opinions, when they became the
weakest, and the most threatened.

One of these tribunes, a friend of liberty, and endowed with one of
the most remarkable understandings ever bestowed upon man, M.
Benjamin Constant, consulted me upon a speech which he purposed to
deliver, for the purpose of signalizing the dawn of tyranny: I
encouraged him in it with all the strength of my conviction.
However, as it was well known that he was one of my intimate
friends, I could not help dreading what might happen to me in
consequence. I was vulnerable in my taste for society. Montaigne
said formerly, I am a Frenchman through Paris: and if he thought so
three centuries ago, what must it be now, when we see so many
persons of extraordinary intellect collected in one city, and so
many accustomed to employ that intellect in adding to the pleasures
of conversation. The demon of ennui has always pursued me; by the
terror with which he inspires me, I could alone have been capable of
bending the knee to tyranny, if the example of my father, and his
blood which flows in my veins, had not enabled me to triumph over
this weakness. Be that as it may, Bonaparte knew this foible of mine
perfectly: he discerns quickly the weak side of any one; for it is
by their weaknesses that he subjugates people to his sway. To the
power with which he threatens, to the treasures with which he
dazzles, he joins the dispensation of ennui, and that is a source
of real terror to the French. A residence at forty leagues from the
capital, contrasted with the advantages collected in the most
agreeable city in the world, fails not in the long run to shake the
greater part of exiles, habituated from their infancy to the charms
of a Parisian life.

On the eve of the day when Benjamin Constant was to deliver his
speech, I had a party, among whom were Lucien Bonaparte, MM. ----
and general others, whose conversation in different degrees
possesses that constant novelty of interest which is produced by the
strength of ideas and the grace of expression. Every one of these
persons, with the exception of Lucien, tired of being proscribed by
the directory, was preparing to serve the new government, requiring
only to be well rewarded for their devotion to its power. Benjamin
Constant came up and whispered to me, "Your drawing room is now
filled with persons with whom you are pleased: if I speak, tomorrow
it will be deserted:--think well of it." "We must follow our
conviction," said I to him. This reply was dictated by enthusiasm;
but, I confess, if I had foreseen what I have suffered since that
day, I should not have had the firmness to refuse M. Constant's
offer of renouncing his project, in order not to compromise me.

At present, so far as opinion is affected, it is nothing to incur
the disgrace of Bonaparte: he may make you perish, but he cannot
deprive you of respect. Then, on the contrary, France was not
enlightened as to his tyrannical views, and as all who had suffered
from the revolution expected to obtain from him the return of a
brother, or a friend, or the restoration of property, any one who
was bold enough to resist him was branded with the name of Jacobin,
and you were deprived of good society along with the countenance of
the government: an intolerable situation, particularly for a woman,
and of which no one can know the misery without having experienced

On the day when the signal of opposition was exhibited in the
tribunate by my friend, I had invited several persons whose society
I was fond of, but all of whom were attached to the new government.
At five o'clock I had received ten notes of apology; the first and
second I bore tolerably well, but as they succeeded each other
rapidly, I began to be alarmed. In vain did I appeal to my
conscience, which advised me to renounce all the pleasures attached
to the favour of Bonaparte: I was blamed by so many honorable
people, that I knew not how to support myself on my own way of
thinking. Bonaparte had as yet done nothing exactly culpable; many
asserted that he preserved France from anarchy: in short, if at that
moment he had signified to me any wish of reconciliation, I should
have been delighted: but a step of that sort he will never take
without exacting a degradation, and, to induce that degradation, he
generally enters into such passions of authority, as terrify into
yielding every thing. I do not wish by that to say that Bonaparte
is not really passionate: what is not calculation in him is hatred,
and hatred generally expresses itself in rage: but calculation is in
him so much the strongest, that he never goes beyond what it is
convenient for him to show, according to circumstances and persons.
One day a friend of mine saw him storming at a commissary of war,
who had not done his duty; scarcely had the poor man retired,
trembling with apprehension, when Bonaparte turned round to one of
his aides-du-camp, and said to him, laughing, I hope I have given
him a fine fright; and yet the moment before, you would have
believed that he was no longer master of himself.

When it suited the first consul to exhibit his ill-humour against
me, he publicly reproached his brother Joseph for continuing to
visit me. Joseph felt it necessary in consequence to absent himself
from my house for several weeks, and his example was followed by
three fourths of my acquaintance. Those who had been proscribed on
the 18th Fructidor, pretended that at that period, I had been guilty
of recommending M. de Talleyrand to Barras, for the ministry of
foreign affairs: and yet, these people were then continually about
that same Talleyrand, whom they accused me of having served. All
those who behaved ill to me, were cautious in concealing that they
did so for fear of incurring the displeasure of the first consul.
Every day, however, they invented some new pretext to injure me,
thus exerting all the energy of their political opinions against a
defenceless and persecuted woman, and prostrating themselves at the
feet of the vilest Jacobins, the moment the first consul had
regenerated them by the baptism of his favor.

Fouche, the minister of police, sent for me to say, that the first
consul suspected me of having excited my friend who had spoken in
the tribunate. I replied to him, which was certainly the truth, that
M. Constant was a man of too superior an understanding to make his
opinions matter of reproach to a woman, and that besides, the speech
in question contained absolutely nothing but reflections on the
independence which every deliberative assembly ought to possess, and
that there was not a word in it which could be construed into a
personal reflection on the first consul. The minister admitted as
much. I ventured to add some words on the respect due to the liberty
of opinions in a legislative body; but I could easily perceive that
he took no interest in these general considerations; he already knew
perfectly well, that under the authority of the man whom he wished
to serve, principles were out of the question, and he shaped his
conduct accordingly. But as he is a man of transcendant
understanding in matters of revolution, he had already laid it down
as a system to do the least evil possible, the necessity of the
object admitted. His preceding conduct certainly exhibited little
feeling of morality, and he was frequently in the habit of talking
of virtue as an old woman's story. A remarkable sagacity, however,
always led him to choose the good as a reasonable thing, and his
intelligence made him occasionally do what conscience would have
dictated to others. He advised me to go into the country, and
assured me, that in a few days, all would be quieted. But at my
return, I was very far from finding it so.


System of Fusion adopted by Bonaparte--Publication of my work
on Literature.

While we have seen the Christian kings take two confessors to
examine their consciences more narrowly, Bonaparte chose two
ministers one of the old and the other of the new regime, whose
business it was to place at his disposal the Machiavelian means of
two opposite systems. In all his nominations, Bonaparte followed
nearly the same rule, of taking, as it may be said, now from the
right, and now from the left, that is to say, choosing alternately
his officers among the aristocrats, and among the jacobins: the
middle party, that of the friends of liberty, pleased him less than
all the others, composed as it was of the small numbers of persons,
who in France, had an opinion of their own. He liked much better to
have to do with persons who were attached to royalist interests, or
who had become stigmatized by popular excesses. He even went so far
as to wish to name as a counsellor of state a conventionalist
sullied with the vilest crimes of the days of terror; but he was
diverted from it by the shuddering of those who would have had to
sit along with him. Bonaparte would have been delighted to have
given that shining proof that he could regenerate, as well as
confound, every thing.

What particularly characterizes the government of Bonaparte, is his
profound contempt for the intellectual riches of human nature;
virtue, mental dignity, religion, enthusiasm, these, these are in
his eyes, the eternal enemies of the continent, to make use of his
favorite expression; he would reduce man to force and cunning, and
designate every thing else as folly or stupidity. The English
particularly irritate him, as they have found the means of being
honest, as well as successful, a thing which Bonaparte would have us
regard as impossible. This shining point of the world has dazzled
his eyes from the very first days of his reign.

I do not believe, that when Bonaparte put himself at the head of
affairs, he had formed the plan of universal monarchy: but I
believe that his system was, what he himself described it a few days
after the 18th Brumaire to one of my friends: "Something new must
be done every three months, to captivate the imagination of the
French Nation; with them, whoever stands still is ruined." He
flattered himself with being able to make daily encroachments on the
liberty of France, and the independence of Europe: but, without
losing sight of the end, he knew how to accommodate himself to
circumstances; when the obstacle was too great, he passed by it, and
stopped short when the contrary wind blew too strongly. This man, at
bottom so impatient, has the faculty of remaining immoveable when
necessary; he derives that from the Italians, who know how to
restrain themselves in order to attain the object of their passion,
as if they were perfectly cool in the choice of that object. It is
by the alternate employment of cunning and force, that he has
subjugated Europe; but, to be sure, Europe is but a word of great
sound. In what did it then consist? In a few ministers, not one of
whom had as much understanding as many men taken at hap-hazard from
the nation which they governed.

Towards the spring of 1800, I published my work on Literature, and
the success it met with restored me completely to favor with
society; my drawing room became again filled, and I had once more
the pleasure of conversing, and conversing in Paris, which, I
confess has always been to me the most fascinating of all pleasures.
There was not a word about Bonaparte in my book, and the most
liberal sentiments were, I believe, forcibly expressed in it. But
the press was then far from being enslaved as it is at present; the
government exercised a censorship upon newspapers, but not upon
books; a distinction which might be supported, if the censorship had
been used with moderation: for newspapers exert a popular influence,
while books, for the greater part, are only read by well informed
people, and may enlighten, but not inflame opinion. At a later
period, there were established in the senate, I believe in derision,
a committee for the liberty of the press, and another for personal
liberty, the members of which are still renewed every three months.
Certainly the bishopricks in partibus, and the sinecures in England
afford more employment than these committees.

Since my work on Literature, I have published Delphine, Corinne, and
finally my work on Germany, which was suppressed at the moment it
was about to make its appearance. But although this last work has
occasioned me the most bitter persecution, literature does not
appear to me to be less a source of enjoyment and respect, even for
a female. What I have suffered in life, I attribute to the
circumstances which associated me, almost at my entry into the
world, with the interests of liberty, which were supported by my
father and his friends; but the kind of talent which has made me
talked of as a writer, has always been to me a source of greater
pleasure than pain. The criticisms of which one's works are the
objects, can be very easily borne, when one is possessed of some
elevation of soul, and when one is more attached to noble ideas for
themselves, than for the success which their promulgation can
procure us. Besides, the public, at the end of a certain time,
appears to me always equitable; self-love must accustom itself to do
credit to praise; for in due time, we obtain as much of that as we
deserve. Finally, if we should have even to complain long of
injustice, I conceive no better asylum against it than philosophical
meditation, and the emotion of eloquence. These faculties place at
our disposal a whole world of truths and sentiments, in which we can
breathe at perfect freedom.


Conversation of my father with Bonaparte.--Campaign of Marengo.

Bonaparte set out in the spring of 1800, to make the campaign of
Italy, which was distinguished by the battle of Marengo. He went by
Geneva, and as he expressed a desire to see M. Necker, my father
waited upon him, more with the hope of serving me, than from any
other motive. Bonaparte received him extremely well, and talked to
him of his plans of the moment, with that sort of confidence which
is in his character, or rather in his calculation; for it is thus we
must always style his character. My father, at first seeing him,
experienced nothing of the impression which I did; he felt no
restraint in his presence, and found nothing extraordinary in his
conversation. I have endeavoured to account to myself for this
difference in our opinions of the same person; and, I believe, that
it arose, first, because the simple and unaffected dignity of my
father's manners ensured him the respect of all who conversed with
him; and second, because the kind of superiority attached to
Bonaparte proceeding more from ability in evil action, than from the
elevation of good thoughts, his conversation cannot make us conceive
what distinguishes him; he neither could nor would explain his own
Machiavelian instinct. My father uttered not a word to him of his
two millions deposited in the public treasury; he did not wish to
appear interested but for me, and said to him, among other things,
that as the first consul loved to surround himself with illustrious
names, he ought to feel equal pleasure in encouraging persons of
celebrated talent, as the ornament of his power. Bonaparte replied
to him very obligingly, and the result of this conversation ensured
me, at least for some time longer, a residence in France. This was
the last occasion when my father's protecting hand was extended over
my existence; he has not been a witness of the cruel persecution I
have since endured, and which would have irritated him even more
than myself.

Bonaparte repaired to Lausanne to prepare the expedition of Mount
St. Bernard; the old Austrian general could not believe in the
possibility of so bold an enterprise, and in consequence made
inadequate preparations to oppose it. It was said, that a small body
of troops would have been sufficient to destroy the whole French
army in the midst of the mountainous passes, through which Bonaparte
led it; but in this, as well as in several other instances, the
following verses of J. B. Rousseau might be very well applied to the
triumphs of Bonaparte:

 L'experience indecile
 Du compagnon de Paul Emile,
 Fit tout le succes d'Annibal.

(The unruly inexperience of the colleague of Paulus Emilius, was the
cause of all the victories of Hannibal).

I arrived in Switzerland to pass the summer according to custom with
my father, nearly about the time when the French army was crossing
the Alps. Large bodies of troops were seen continually passing
through these peaceful countries, which the majestic boundary of the
Alps ought to shelter from political storms. In these beautiful
summer evenings, on the borders of the lake of Geneva, I was almost
ashamed, in the presence of that beautiful sky and pure water, of
the disquietude I felt respecting the affairs of this world: but it
was impossible for me to overcome my internal agitation: I could
not help wishing that Bonaparte might be beaten, as that seemed the
only means of stopping the progress of his tyranny. I durst not,
however, avow this wish, and the prefect of the Leman, M. Eymar (an
old deputy to the Constituent Assembly), recollecting the period
when we cherished together the hope of liberty, was continually
sending me couriers to inform me of the progress of the French in
Italy. It would have been difficult for me to make M. Eymar (who was
in other respects a most interesting character,) comprehend that the
happiness of France required that her army should then meet with
reverses, and I received the supposed good news which he sent me,
with a degree of restraint which was very little in unison with my
character. Was it necessary since that to be continually hearing of
the triumphs of him who made his successes fall indiscriminately
upon the heads of all? and out of so many victories, has there ever
arisen a single gleam of happiness for poor France?

The battle of Marengo was lost for a couple of hours: the negligence
of General Melas, who trusted too much to the advantages he had
gained, and the audacity of General Desaix, restored the victory to
the French arms. While the fate of the battle was almost desperate,
Bonaparte rode about slowly on horseback, pensive, and looking
downward, more courageous against danger than misfortune, attempting
nothing, but waiting the turn of the wheel. He has behaved several
times in a similar way, and has found his advantage in it. But I
cannot help always thinking, that if Bonaparte had fairly
encountered among his adversaries a man of character and probity, he
would have been stopped short in his career. His great talent lies
in terrifying the feeble, and availing himself of unprincipled
characters. When he encounters honour any where, it may be said that
his artifices are disconcerted, as evil spirits are conjured by the
sign of the cross.

The armistice which was the result of the battle of Marengo, the
conditions of which included the cession of all the strong places in
the North of Italy, was most disadvantageous to Austria. Bonaparte
could not have gained more by a succession of victories. But it
might be said that the continental powers appeared to consider it
honorable to give up what would have been worth still more if they
had allowed them to be taken. They made haste to sanction the
injustice of Napoleon, and to legitimate his conquests, while they
ought, if they could not conquer, at least not to have seconded him.
This certainly was not asking too much of the old cabinets of
Europe; but they knew not how to conduct themselves in so novel a
situation, and Bonaparte confounded them so much by the union of
promises and threats, that in giving up, they believed they were
gaining, and rejoiced at the word peace, as much as if this word
had preserved its old signification. The illuminations, the
reverences, the dinners, and firing of cannon to celebrate this
peace, were exactly the same as formerly: but far from cicatrizing
the wounds, it introduced into the government which signed it a most
certain and effectual principle of dissolution.

The most remarkable circumstance in the fortune of Napoleon is the
sovereigns whom he found upon the throne. Paul I. particularly did
him incalculable service; he had the same enthusiasm for him that
his father had felt for Frederic the Second, and he abandoned
Austria at the moment when she was still attempting to struggle.
Bonaparte persuaded him that the whole of Europe would be pacified
for centuries, if the two great empires of the East and West were
agreed; and Paul, who had something chivalrous in his disposition,
allowed himself to be entrapped by these fallacies. It was an
extraordinary piece of good fortune in Bonaparte to meet with a
crowned head so easily duped, and who united violence and weakness
in such equal degrees: no one therefore regretted Paul more than he
did, for no one was it so important to him to deceive.

Lucien, the minister of the interior, who was perfectly acquainted
with his brother's schemes, caused a pamphlet to be published, with
the view of preparing men's minds for the establishment of a new
dynasty. This publication was premature, and had a bad effect;
Fouche availed himself of it to ruin Lucien. He persuaded Bonaparte
that the secret was revealed too soon, and told the republican
party, that Bonaparte disavowed what his brother had done. In
consequence Lucien was then sent ambassador to Spain. The system of
Bonaparte was to advance gradually in the road to power; he was
constantly spreading rumours of the plans he had in agitation, in
order to feel the public opinion. Generally even he was anxious to
have his projects exaggerated, in order that the thing itself, when
it took place, might be a softening of the apprehension which had
circulated in public. The vivacity of Lucien on this occasion
carried him too far, and Bonaparte judged it advisable to sacrifice
him to appearances for some time.


The infernal machine.--Peace of Luneville.

I returned to Paris in the month of November 1800. Peace was
not yet made, although Moreau by his victories had rendered it more
and more necessary to the allied powers. Has he not since regretted
the laurels of Stockach and Hohenlinden, when France has not been
less enslaved than Europe, over which he made her triumph? Moreau
recognized only his country in the orders of the first consul; but
such a man ought to have formed his opinion of the government which
employed him, and to have acted under such circumstances, upon his
own view of the real interests of his country. Still, it must be
allowed that at the period of the most brilliant victories of
Moreau, that is to say, in the autumn of 1800, there were but few
persons who had penetrated the secret projects of Bonaparte; what
was evident at a distance, was the improvement of the finances, and
the restoration of order in several branches of the administration.
Napoleon was obliged to begin by the good to arrive at the bad; he
was obliged to increase the French army, before he could employ it
for the purposes of his personal ambition.

One evening when I was conversing with some friends, we heard a very
loud explosion, but supposing it to be merely the firing of some
cannon by way of exercise, we paid no attention to it, and continued
our conversation. We learned a few hours afterwards that in going to
the opera, the first consul had narrowly escaped being destroyed by
the explosion of what has been called the infernal machine. As he
escaped, the most lively interest was expressed towards him:
philosophers proposed the re-establishment of fire and the wheel for
the punishment of the authors of this outrage; and he could see on
all sides a nation presenting its neck to the yoke. He discussed
very coolly at his own house the same evening what would have
happened if he had perished. Some persons said that Moreau would
have replaced him: Bonaparte pretended that it would have been
General Bernadotte. "Like Antony," said he, "he would have
presented to the inflamed populace the bloody robe of Caesar." I
know not if he really believed that France would have then called
Bernadotte to the head of affairs, but what I am quite sure of is,
that he said so for the purpose of exciting envy against that

If the infernal machine had been contrived by the jacobins, the
first consul might have immediately redoubled his tyranny; public
opinion would have seconded him: but as this plot proceeded from
the royalist party, he could not derive much advantage from it. He
endeavoured rather to stifle, than avail himself of it, as he wished
the nation to believe that his enemies were only the enemies of
order, and not the friends of another order, that is to say, of the
old dynasty. What is very remarkable, is, that on the occasion of a
royalist conspiracy, Bonaparte caused, by a senatus consultum, one
hundred and thirty jacobins to be transported to the island of
Madagascar, or rather to the bottom of the sea, for they have never
been heard of since. This list was made in the most arbitrary manner
possible; names were put upon it, or erased, according to the
recommendations of counsellors of state, who proposed, and of
senators, who sanctioned it. Respectable people said, when the
manner in which this list had been made was complained of, that it
was composed of great criminals; that might be very true, but it is
the right and not the fact which constitutes the legality of
actions. When the arbitrary transportation of one hundred and thirty
citizens is submitted to, there is nothing to prevent, as we have
since seen, the application of the same treatment to the most
respectable persons.--Public opinion, it is said, will prevent this,
Opinion! what is it without the authority of law? what is it without
independent organs to express it? Opinion was in favor of the Duke
d'Enghien, in favor of Moreau, in favor of Pichegru:--was it able to
save them? There will be neither liberty, dignity, nor security in a
country where proper names are discussed when injustice is about to
be committed. Every man is innocent until condemned by a legal
tribunal; and the fate of even the greatest of criminals, if he is
withdrawn from the law, ought to make good people tremble in common,
with others. But, as is the custom in the English House of Commons,
when an opposition member goes out, he requests a ministerial member
to pair off with him, not to alter the strength of either party,
Bonaparte never struck the jacobins or the royalists without
dividing his blows equally between them: he thus made friends of
all those whose vengeance he served, We shall see in the sequel that
he always reckoned on the gratification of this passion to
consolidate his government: for he knows that it is much more to be
depended on than affection. After a revolution, the spirit of party
is so bitter, that a new chief can subdue it more by serving its
vengeance, than by supporting its interests: all abandon, if
necessary, those who think like themselves, provided they can
sacrifice those who think differently.

The peace of Luneville was proclaimed: Austria only lost in this
first peace the republic of Venice, which she had formerly received
as an indemnity for Belgium; and this ancient mistress of the
Adriatic, once so haughty and powerful, again passed from one master
to the other.


Corps diplomatique during the Consulate.--Death of the Emperor

I passed that winter in Paris very tranquilly. I never went to the
first consul's--I never saw M. de Talleyrand. I knew Bonaparte did
not like me: but he had not yet reached the degree of tyranny which
he has since displayed. Foreigners treated me with distinction,--the
corps diplomatique were my constant visitors,--and this European
atmosphere served me as a safeguard.

A minister just arrived from Prussia fancied that the republic still
existed, and began by putting forward some of the philosophical
notions he had acquired in his intercourse with Frederick the Great:
it was hinted to him that he had quite mistaken his ground, and that
he must rather avail himself of his knowledge of courts. He took the
hint very quickly, for he is a man whose distinguished powers are in
the service of a character particularly supple. He ends the sentence
you begin, and begins that which he thinks you will end; and it is
only in turning the conversation upon the transactions of former
ages, on ancient literature, or upon subjects unconnected with
persons or things of the present day, that you discover the
superiority of his understanding.

The Austrian Ambassador was a courtier of a totally different stamp,
but not less desirous of pleasing the higher powers. The one had all
the information of a literary character; the other knew nothing of
literature beyond the French plays, in which he had acted the parts
of Crispin and Chrysalde. It is a known fact, that when ambassador
to Catherine II, he once received despatches from his court, when
he happened to be dressed as an old woman; and it was with
difficulty that the courier could be made to recognize his
ambassador in that costume. M. de C. was an extremely common-place
character; he said the same things to almost every one he met in a
drawing room: he spoke to every person with a kind of cordiality in
which sentiments and ideas had no part. His manners were engaging,
and his conversation pretty well formed by the world; but to send
such a man to negotiate * with the revolutionary strength and
roughness that surrounded Bonaparte, was a most pitiable spectacle.
An aide-de-camp of Bonaparte complained of the familiarity of M. de
C.; he was displeased that one of the first noblemen of the Austrian
monarchy should squeeze his hand without ceremony. These new
debutans in politeness could not conceive that ease was in good
taste. In truth, if they had been at their ease, they would have
committed strange inconsistencies, and arrogant stiffness was much
better suited to them in the new part they wished to play. Joseph
Bonaparte, who negociated the peace of Luneville, invited M. de C.
to his charming country seat of Morfontaine, where I happened to
meet him. Joseph was extremely fond of rural occupation, and would
walk with ease and pleasure in his gardens for eight hours in
succession. M. de C. tried to follow him, more out of breath than
the Duke of Mayenne, whom Henry IV. amused himself with making walk
about, notwithstanding his corpulence. The poor man talked very much
of fishing, among the pleasures of the country, because it allowed
him to sit down; he absolutely warmed in speaking of the innocent
pleasure of catching some little fish with the line.

When he was ambassador at Petersburg, Paul I. had treated him with
the greatest indignity. He and I were playing at backgammon in the
drawing room at Morfontaine, when one of my friends came in and
informed us of the sudden death of that Sovereign. M. de C.
immediately began making the most official lamentations possible on
this event. "Although I had reason to complain of him," said he, "I
shall always acknowledge the excellent qualities of this prince,
and I cannot help regretting his loss." He thought rightly that the
death of Paul was a fortunate event for Austria, and for Europe, but
he had in his conversation, a court mourning, that was really quite
intolerable. It is to be hoped, that the progress of time will rid
the world of the courtier spirit, the most insipid of all others, to
say nothing more.

Bonaparte was extremely alarmed at the death of Paul, and it is
said, that on that occasion he uttered the first--Ah, my God! that
was ever heard to proceed from his lips. He had no reason, however,
to disturb himself; for the French were then more disposed to endure
tyranny than the Russians.

I was invited to general Berthier's one day, when the first consul
was to be of the party; and as I knew that he expressed himself very
unfavourably about me, it struck me that he might perhaps accost me
with some of those rude expressions, which he often took pleasure in
addressing to females, even to those who paid their court to him; I
wrote down therefore as they occured to me, before I went to the
entertainment, a variety of tart and piquant replies which I might
make to what I supposed he might say to me. I did not wish to be
taken by surprise, if he allowed himself to insult me, for that
would have been to show a want both of character and understanding;
and as no person could promise themselves not to be confused in the
presence of such a man, I prepared myself before hand to brave him.
Fortunately the precaution was unnecessary; he only addressed the
most common questions possible to me; and the same thing happened to
all of his opponents, to whom he attributed the possibility of
replying to him: at all times, however, he never attacks, but when
he feels himself much the strongest. During supper, the first consul
stood behind the chair of Madame Bonaparte, and balanced himself
sometimes on one leg, and sometimes on the other, in the manner of
the princes of the house of Bourbon. I made my neighbour remark this
vocation for royalty, already so decided.


Paris in 1801

The opposition in the tribunate still continued; that is to say,
about twenty members out of a hundred, tried to speak out against
the measures of every kind, with which tyranny was preparing. A
grand question arose, in the law which gave to the government the
fatal power of creating special tribunals to try persons accused of
state crimes; as if the handing over a man to these extraordinary
tribunals, was not already prejudging the question, that is to say,
if he is a criminal, and a criminal of state; and as if, of all
crimes, political crimes were not those which required the greatest
precaution and independence in the manner of examining them, as the
government is in such causes almost always a party interested.

We have since seen what are the military commissions to try crimes
of state; and the death of the Duke d'Eughien marks to all the
horror which that hypocritical power ought to inspire, which covers
murder with the mantle of the law.

The resistance of the tribunate, feeble as it was, displeased the
first consul; not that it was any obstacle to his designs, but it
kept up the habit of thinking in the nation, which he wished to
stifle entirely. He put into the journals among other things, an
absurd argument against the opposition. Nothing is so simple or so
proper, was it there said, as an opposition in England, because the
king is the enemy of the people; but in a country, where the
executive government is itself named by the people, it is opposing
the nation to oppose its representative. What a number of phrases of
this kind have the scribes of Napoleon deluged the public with for
ten years! In England or America the meanest peasant would laugh in
your face at a sophism of this nature; in France, all that is
desired, is to have a phrase ready, with which to give to one's
interest the appearance of conviction.

Very few persons showed themselves strangers to the desire of having
places; a great number were ruined, and the interest of their wives
and children, or of their nephews and nieces, if they had no
children, or of their cousins, if they had no nephews, obliged
them, they said, to seek employment from the government. The
great strength of the heads of the state in France, is the
prodigious taste that the people have for places; vanity even makes
them more sought for, than the emolument attached to them. Bonaparte
received thousands of petitions for every office, from the highest
to the lowest. If he had not had naturally a profound contempt for
the human race, he would have conceived it in running over
petitions, signed by names illustrious from their ancestry, or
celebrated by revolutionary actions in complete opposition to the
new functions they were ambitious of fulfilling.

The winter of 1801 at Paris was made extremely agreeable to me, by
the readiness with which Fouche granted the applications I made to
him for the return of different emigrants: in this way he left me,
in the midst of my disgrace, the pleasure of being useful, and I
retain a most grateful recollection to him for it. It must be
confessed, that in the actions of women, there is always a little
coquetry, and that the greater part of their very virtues are mixed
with the desire of pleasing, and of being surrounded by friends,
whose attachment to them is heightened by the feeling of obligation.
In this point of view only, can our sex be pardoned for being fond
of influence: but there are occasions when we ought even to
sacrifice the pleasure of obliging to preserve our dignity: for we
may do every thing for the sake of others, excepting to degrade our
character. Our own conscience is as it were the treasure of the
Almighty, which we are not permitted to make use of for the
advantage of others.

Bonaparte was still at some expense on account of the Institute,
upon which he piqued himself so much when he was in Egypt: but there
was among the men of letters, and the savants, a petty philosophical
opposition, unfortunately of a very bad description, which was
entirely directed against the re-establishment of religion. By a
fatal caprice, the enlightened spirits in France wished to console
themselves for the slavery of this world, by endeavouring to destroy
the hopes of a better: this singular inconsistency would not have
happened under the protestant religion; but the catholic clergy had
enemies, whom their courage and misfortunes had not yet disarmed;
and perhaps, it is really difficult to make the authority of the
pope, and of priests subject to the pope, harmonize with the
independence of a state. Be that as it may, the Institute exhibited
for religion, independant of its ministers, none of that profound
respect, inseparable from a lofty combination of mind and genius;
and Bonaparte was left to support, against men of more value than
himself, opinions which were of more value than them.

In this year (1801), the first consul ordered the king of Spain to
make war upon Portugal, and the feeble monarch of that illustrious
nation condemned his army to this expedition, equally servile and
unjust, against a neighbour, who had no hostile intentions, and
whose only offence was his alliance with that England, which has
since shewn itself so true a friend to Spain: and all this in
obedience to the man who was preparing to deprive him of his very
existence. When we have seen these same Spaniards giving with so
much energy the signal of the resurrection of the world, we learn to
know what nations are, and what are the consequences of refusing
them a legal means of expressing their opinion, and regulating their
own destiny.

Towards the spring of 1801, the first consul took it into his head
to make a king, and a king of the house of Bourbon: he bestowed
Tuscany upon him, designating it by the classical name of Etruria,
for the purpose of commencing the grand masquerade of Europe. This
infanta of Spain was ordered to Paris for the purpose of exhibiting
to the French the spectacle of a prince of the ancient dynasty
humbled before the first consul; more humbled by his gifts than he
ever could have been by his persecution. Bonaparte tried upon this
royal lamb the experiment of making a king wait in his antechamber:
he allowed himself to be applauded at the theatre, upon the
recitation of this verse:

 "J'ai fait des rois, madame, et n'ai pas voulu l'etre:"

(I have made kings, madam, and have not wished to be one:) promising
himself to be more than a king, when the opportunity should offer.
Every day Some fresh blunder of this poor king of Etruria was the
subject of conversation: he was taken to the Museum, to the Cabinet
of Natural History, and some of his questions about quadrupeds and
fishes, which a well educated child of twelve years old would have
been ashamed to put, were quoted as proofs of intelligence. In the
evening, he was conducted to entertainments, where the female opera
dancers came and mixed with the ladies of the new court; the little
monarch, in spite of his devotion, preferred dancing with them, and
in return sent them next day presents of elegant and good books for
their instruction. This period of transition from revolutionary
habits to monarchical pretensions in France, was a most singular
one; as there was as little independence in the one, as dignity in
the other, their absurdities harmonised perfectly together; each of
them in their own way formed a group round the parti-coloured
potentate, who at the same time employed the forcible means of both

For the last time, the 14th of July, the anniversary of the
revolution, was celebrated this year, and a pompous proclamation was
put forth to remind the people of the advantages resulting from that
day, not one of which advantages the first consul had not made up
his mind to destroy. Of all the collections that were ever made,
that of the proclamations of this man is the most singular: it is a
complete encyclopedia of contradictions; and if chaos itself were
employed to instruct the earth, it would doubtless, in a similar
way, throw at the heads of mankind, eulogiums of peace and war, of
knowledge and prejudices, of liberty and despotism, praises and
insults upon all governments and all religions.

It was at this period that Bonaparte sent General Leclerc to Saint
Domingo, and designated him in his decree our brother-in-law. This
first royal we, which associated the French with the prosperity of
this family, was a most bitter pill to me. He obliged his beautiful
sister to accompany her husband to Saint Domingo, where her health
was completely ruined: a singular act of despotism for a man who is
not accustomed to great severity of principles in those about his
person; but he makes use of morality only to harass some and dazzle
others. A peace was in the sequel concluded with the chief of the
negroes, Toussaint-Louverture. This man was, no doubt, a great
criminal, but Bonaparte had signed conditions with him, in complete
violation of which Toussaint was conducted to a prison in France,
where he ended his days in the most miserable manner. Perhaps
Bonaparte himself hardly recollects this crime, because he has been
less reproached with it than others.

In a great forge, we see with astonishment the violence of the
machines which are set in motion by a single will: these hammers,
those flatteners seem so many persons, or rather devouring animals.
Should you attempt to resist their force, they would annihilate you;
notwithstanding, all this apparent fury is calculated beforehand,
and a single mover gives action to these springs. The tyranny of
Bonaparte is represented to my eyes by this image; he makes
thousands of men perish, as these wheels beat the iron, and his
agents are the greater part of them equally insensible; the
invisible impulse of these human machines proceeds from a will at
once violent and methodical, which transforms moral life into its
servile instrument. Finally, to complete the comparison, it is
sufficient to seize the mover to restore every thing to a state of


Journey to Coppet.--Preliminaries of peace with England.

I went, according to my usual happy custom, to spend the summer with
my father. I found him extremely indignant at the state of affairs;
and as he had all his life been as much attached to real liberty as
he detested popular anarchy, he felt inclined to draw his pen
against the tyranny of one, after having so long fought against that
of the many. My father was fond of glory, and however prudent his
character, hazards of every kind did not displease him, when the
public esteem was to be deserved by incurring them, I was quite
sensible of the danger to which any work of his which should
displease the first consul, would expose myself; but I could not
resolve to stifle this song of the swan, who wished to make himself
heard once more on the tomb of French liberty. I encouraged him
therefore in his design, but we deferred to the following year the
question whether what he wrote should be published.

The news of the signature of the preliminaries of peace between
England and France, came to put the crown to Bonaparte's good
fortune. When I learned that England had recognised his power, it
seemed to me that I had been wrong in hating it; but circumstances
were not long in relieving me from this scruple. The most remarkable
article of these preliminaries was the complete evacuation of Egypt:
that expedition therefore had had no other result than to make
Bonaparte talked of. Several publications written in places beyond
the reach of Bonaparte's power, accuse him of having made Kleber be
assassinated in Egypt, because he was jealous of his influence; and
I have been assured by persons worthy of credit, that the duel in
which General D'Estaing was killed by General Regnier was provoked
by a discussion on this point. It appears to me, however, scarcely
credible that Bonaparte should have had the means of arming a Turk
against the life of a French general, at a moment when he was far
removed from the theatre of the crime. Nothing ought to be said
against him of which there are not proofs; the discovery of a single
error of this kind among the most notorious truths would tarnish
their lustre. We must not fight Bonaparte with any of his own

I delayed my return to Paris to avoid being present at the great
fete in honour of the peace. I know no sensation more painful than
these public rejoicings in which the heart refuses to participate.
We feel a sort of contempt for this booby people which comes to
celebrate the yoke preparing for it: these dull victims dancing
before the palace of their sacrificer: this first consul designated
the father of the nation which he was about to devour: this mixture of
stupidity on one side, and cunning on the other: the stale hypocrisy
of the courtiers throwing a veil over the arrogance of the master:
all inspired me with an insurmountable disgust. It was necessary
however to constrain one's feelings, and during these solemnities
you were exposed to meet with official congratulations, which at
other times it was more easy to avoid.

Bonaparte then proclaimed that peace was the first want of the
world: every day he signed some new treaty, therein resembling the
care with which Polyphemus counted the sheep as he drove them into
his den. The United States of America also made peace with France,
and sent as their plenipotentiary, a man who did not know a word of
French, apparently ignorant that the most complete acquaintance with
the language was barely sufficient to penetrate the truth, in a
government which knew so well how to conceal it.

The first consul, on the presentation of Mr. Livingston,
complimented him, through an interpreter, on the purity of manners
in America, and added "the old world is very corrupt;" then turning
round to M. de ----, he repeated twice, "explain to him that the
old world is very corrupt: you know something of it, don't you?"
This was one of the most agreeable speeches he ever addressed in
public to this courtier, who was possessed of better taste than his
fellows, and wished to preserve some dignity in his manners,
although he sacrificed that of the mind to his ambition.

Meantime, however, monarchical institutions were rapidly advancing
under the shadow of the republic. A pretorian guard was organized:
the crown diamonds were made use of to ornament the sword of the
first consul, and there was observable in his dress, as well as in
the political situation of the day, a mixture of the old and new
regime: he had his dresses covered with gold, and his hair cropped,
a little body, and a large head, an indescribable air of awkwardness
and arrogance, of disdain and embarrassment, which altogether formed
a combination of the bad graces of a parvenu, with all the audacity
of a tyrant. His smile has been cried up as agreeable; my own
opinion is, that in any other person it would have been found
unpleasant; for this smile, breaking out from a confirmed serious
mood, rather resembled an involuntary twitch than a natural
movement, and the expression of his eyes was never in unison with
that of his mouth; but as his smile had the effect of encouraging
those who were about him, the relief which it gave them made it be
taken for a charm. I recollect once being told very gravely by a
member of the Institute, a counsellor of state, that Bonaparte's
nails were perfectly well made. Another time a courtier exclaimed,
"The first consul's hand is beautiful!" "Ah! for heaven's sake,
Sir," replied a young nobleman of the ancient noblesse, who was not
then a chamberlain, "don't let us talk politics." The same courtier,
speaking affectionately of the first consul, said, "He frequently
displays the most infantine sweetness." Certainly, in his own
family, he amused himself sometimes with innocent games; he has been
seen to dance with his generals; it is even said that at Munich, in
the palace of the king and queen of Bavaria, to whom no doubt this
gaiety appeared very odd, he assumed one evening the Spanish costume
of the Emperor Charles VII. and began dancing an old French country
dance, la Monaco.


Paris in 1802.--Bonaparte President of the Italian republic.--My
return to Coppet.

Every step of the first consul announced more and more openly his
boundless ambition. While the peace with England was negotiating at
Amiens, he assembled at Lyons the Cisalpine Consulta, consisting of
the deputies from Lombardy and the adjacent states, which had been
formed into a republic under the directory, and who now inquired
what new form of government they were to assume. As people were not
yet accustomed to the idea of the unity of the French republic being
transformed into the unity of one man, no one ever dreamt of the
same person uniting on his own head the first consulship of France
and the presidency of Italy; it was expected therefore that Count
Melzi would be nominated to the office, as the person most
distinguished by his knowledge, his illustrious birth, and the
respect of his fellow citizens. All of a sudden the report got
abroad that Bonaparte was to get himself nominated; and at this
news a moment of life seemed still perceptible in the public
feeling. It was said that the French constitution deprived of the
right of citizenship whoever accepted employment in a foreign
country; but was he a Frenchman, who only wanted to make use of the
great nation for the oppression of Europe, and vice versa? Bonaparte
juggled the nomination of president out of all these Italians, who
only learned a few hours before proceeding to the scrutiny, that
they must appoint him. They were told to join the name of Count
Melzi, as vice-president, to that of Bonaparte. They were assured
that they would only be governed by the former, who would always
reside among them, and that the latter was merely ambitious of an
honorary title. Bonaparte said to them himself in his usual emphatic
manner, "Cisalpines, I shall preserve only the great idea of your
interests." But the great idea meant the complete power. The day
after this election, they were seriously occupied in making a
constitution, as if any one could exist by the side of this iron
hand. The nation was divided into three classes; the possidenti, the
dotti, and the commerrianti. The landholders, to be taxed; the
literary men, to be silenced; and the merchants, to have all the
ports shut against them. These sounding words in Italian are even
better adapted to the purposes of quackery than the corresponding

Bonaparte had changed the name of Cisalpine republic into that of
Italian republic, thereby giving Europe an anticipation of his
future conquests in the rest of Italy. Such a step was every thing
but pacific, and yet it did not prevent the signature of the treaty
of Amiens; so much did Europe, and even England itself, then desire
peace! I was at the English ambassador's at the moment of his
receiving the terms of this treaty. He read them aloud to the
persons who were dining with him, and it is impossible for me to
express the astonishment I felt at every article. England restored
all her conquests; she restored Malta, of which it had been said,
when it was taken by the French, that if there had been nobody in
the fortress, they would never have been able to enter it. In short,
she gave up every thing, and without compensation, to a power which
she had constantly beaten at sea. What an extraordinary effect of
the passion for peace! And yet this man, who had so miraculously
obtained such advantages, had not the patience to make use of them
for a few years, to put the French navy in a state to meet that of
England, Scarcely had the treaty of Amiens been signed, when
Napoleon, by a senatus-consultum, annexed Piedmont to France. During
the twelve months the peace lasted, everyday was marked by some new
proclamation, provoking to a breach of the treaty. The motives of
this conduct it is easy to penetrate; Bonaparte wished to dazzle the
French nation, now by unexpected treaties of peace, at other times
by wars which would make him necessary to it. He believed that a
period of disturbance was favourable to usurpation. The newspapers,
which were instructed to boast of the advantages of peace in the
spring of 1802, said then "We are approaching the moment when
systems of politics will become of no effect." If Bonaparte had
really wished it, he might at that period have easily bestowed
twenty years of peace upon Europe, in the state of terror and ruin
to which it was reduced.

The friends of liberty in the tribunate were still endeavouring to
struggle against the constantly increasing power of the first
consul; but they had not then the advantage of being seconded by
public opinion. The greater number of the opposition tribunes were
every way deserving of esteem: but there were three or four persons
who acted along with them, who had been guilty of revolutionary
excesses, and the government took especial care to throw upon all,
the blame which could only attach to a few. It is certain, however,
that men collected in a public assembly generally end in
electrifying themselves with the sparks of mental dignity; and this
tribunate, even such as it was, would, had it been allowed to
continue, have prevented the establishment of tyranny. Already the
majority of votes had nominated, as a candidate for the senate,
Daunou, an honest and enlightened republican, but certainly not a
man to be dreaded. This was sufficient, however, to determine the
first consul to the elimination of the tribunate; which means to
make twenty of the most energetic members of the assembly retire one
by one, on the designation of the senators, and to have them
replaced by twenty others, devoted to the government. The eighty who
remained, were each year to undergo the same operation by fourths. A
lesson was in this manner given them of what they were expected to
do, to retain their places, or in other words, their salary of
fifteen thousand francs; the first consul wishing to preserve some
time longer this mutilated assembly, which might serve for two or
three years more as a popular mask to his tyrannical acts.

Among the proscribed tribunes were several of my friends; but my
opinion was in this instance altogether independent of my
attachments. Perhaps, however, I might feel a greater degree of
irritation at the injustice which fell upon persons with whom I was
connected, and I have no doubt that I allowed myself the expression
of some sarcastic remarks on this hypocritical method of
interpreting the unfortunate constitution, into which they had
endeavoured to prevent the entrance of the smallest spark of

There was at that time formed round general Bernadotte, a party of
generals and senators, who wished to have his opinion, if some means
could not be devised to stop the progress of the usurpation, which
was now rapidly approaching. He proposed a variety of plans, all
founded upon some legislative measure or other, considering any
other means as contrary to his principles. But to obtain any such
measure, it required a deliberation of at least some members of the
senate, and not one of them was found bold enough to subscribe such
an instrument. While this most perilous negociation continued, I was
in the habit of seeing general Bernadotte and his friends very
frequently; this was more than enough to ruin me, if their designs
were discovered. Bonaparte remarked that people always came away
from my house less attached to him than when they entered it; in
short he determined to single me out as the only culprit, among
many, who were much more so than I was, but whom it was of more
consequence to him to spare.

Just at this time I set out for Coppet, and reached my father's
house in a most painful state of anxiety and mental oppression. My
letters from Paris informed me, that after my departure, the first
consul had expressed himself very warmly on the subject of my
connections with general Bernadotte. There was every appearance of
his being resolved to punish me; but he paused at the idea of
sacrificing general Bernadotte; either because his military talents
were necessary to him; restrained by the family ties which connected
them; afraid of the greater popularity of Bernadotte with the French
army; or finally because there is a certain charm in his manners,
which renders it difficult even to Bonaparte to become entirely his
enemy. What provoked the first consul still more than the opinions
which he attributed to me, was the number of strangers who came to
visit me. The Prince of Orange, son of the Stadtholder, did me the
honour to dine with me, for which he was reproached by Bonaparte.
The existence of a woman, who was visited on account of her literary
reputation, was but a trifle; but that trifle was totally
independant of him, and was sufficient to make him resolve to crush

In this year, 1802, the affair of the princes, who had possessions
in Germany was settled. The whole of that negociation was conducted
at Paris, to the great profit, it was said, of the ministers who
were employed in it. Be that as it may, it was at this period that
began the diplomatic spoliation of Europe, which was only stopped at
its very extremities.

All the great noblemen of feudal Germany, were seen at Paris
exhibiting their ceremonial, whose obsequious formalities were much
more agreeable to the first consul than the still easy manner of the
French; and asking back what belonged to them with a servility which
would almost make one lose the right to one's own property, so much
had it the air of regarding the authority of justice as nothing.

A nation singularly proud, the English, was not at this time
altogether exempt from a degree of curiosity about the person of the
first consul, approaching to homage. The ministerial party regarded
him in his proper light; but the opposition, which ought to have a
greater hatred of tyranny, as it is supposed to be more enthusiastic
for liberty, the opposition party, and Fox himself, whose talents
and goodness of heart one cannot recollect without admiration, and
the tenderest emotion, committed the error of shewing too much
attention to Bonaparte, thereby serving to prolong the mistake of
those, who wished still to confound with the French revolution, the
most decided enemy of the first principles of that revolution.


New symptoms of Bonaparte's ill will to my father and myself.
--Affairs of Switzerland.

At the beginning of the winter 1802-3, when I saw by the papers that
so many illustrious Englishmen, and so many of the most intelligent
persons in France were collected in Paris, I felt, I confess, the
strongest desire to be among them. I do not dissemble, that a
residence in Paris has always appeared to me the most agreeable of
all others; I was born there--there I have passed my infancy and
early youth--and there only could I meet the generation which had
known my father, and the friends who had with us passed through the
horrors of the revolution. This love of country, which has attached
the most strongly constituted minds, lays still stronger hold of us,
when it unites the enjoyments of intellect with the affections of
the heart, and the habits of imagination. French conversation exists
nowhere but in Paris, and conversation has been since my infancy, my
greatest pleasure. I experienced such grief at the apprehension of
being deprived of this residence, that my reason could not support
itself against it. I was then in the full vivacity of life, and it
is precisely the want of animated enjoyment, which leads most
frequently to despair, as it renders that resignation very
difficult, without which we cannot support the vicissitudes of life.

The prefect of Geneva had received no orders to refuse me my
passports for Paris, but I knew that the first consul had said in
the midst of his circle, that I would do well not to return; and he
was already in the habit, on subjects of this nature, of dictating
his pleasure in conversation, in order to prevent his being called
upon, by the anticipation of his orders. If he had in this manner
said, that such and such an individual ought to go and hang himself,
I believe that he would have been displeased, if the submissive
subject had not in obedience to the hint, bought a rope and prepared
the gallows. Another proof of his ill will to me, was the manner in
which the French journals criticized my romance of Delphine, which
appeared at this time; they thought proper to denounce it as
immoral, and the work which had received my father's approbation was
condemned by these courtier criticks. There might be found in that
book, that fire of youth, and ardour after happiness, which ten
years, and those years of suffering, have taught me to direct in
another manner. But my censors were not capable of feeling this sort
of error, and merely acted in obedience to that voice which ordered
them to pull to pieces the work of the father, prior to attacking
that of the daughter. In fact we heard from all quarters, that the
true reason of the first consul's anger, was this last work of my
father, in which the whole scaffolding of his monarchy was
delineated by anticipation. My father, and also my mother, during
her life-time, had both the same predilection for a Paris residence
that I had. I was extremely sorrowful at being separated from my
friends, and at being unable to give my children that taste for the
fine arts, which is acquired with difficulty in the country; and as
there was no positive prohibition of my return in the letter of the
consul Lebrun,* but merely some significant hints, I formed a
hundred projects of returning, and trying if the first consul, who
at that time was still tender of public opinion, would venture to
brave the murmurs which my banishment would not fail to excite. My
father, who condescended sometimes to reproach himself for being
partly the cause of spoiling my fortune, conceived the idea of going
himself to Paris, to speak to the first consul in my favor. I
confess, that at first I consented to accept this proof of my
father's attachment; I represented to myself such an idea of the
ascendancy which his presence would produce, that I thought it
impossible to resist him; his age, the fine expression of his looks,
and the union of so much noble mindedness, and refinement of
intellect, appeared to me likely even to captivate Bonaparte
himself. I knew not at that time, to what a degree the consul was
irritated against his book; but fortunately for me, I reflected that
these very advantages were only more likely to excite in the first
consul a stronger desire of humbling their possessor. Assuredly he
would have found means, at least in appearance, of accomplishing
that desire; as power in France has many allies, and if the spirit
of opposition has been frequently displayed, it has only been
because the weakness of the government has offered it an easy
victory. It cannot be too often repeated, that what the French love
above all things, is success, and that with them, power easily
succeeds in making misfortune ridiculous. Finally, thank God! I
awoke from the illusion to which I had given myself up, and
positively refused the noble sacrifice which my father proposed to
make for me. When he saw me completely decided not to accept it, I
perceived how much it would have cost him. I lost him fifteen months
afterwards, and if he had then executed the journey he proposed, I
should have attributed his illness to that cause, and remorse would
have still kept my wound festering.

* This letter is the same which is spoken of in the 4th part of the
Considerations on the French revolution, chap. 7.

It was also during the winter of 1802-3, that Switzerland took arms
against the unitarian constitution which had been imposed upon her.
Singular mania of the French revolutionists to compel all countries
to adopt a political organization similar to that of France! There
are, doubtless, principles common to all countries, such as those
which secure the civil and political rights of free people; but of
what consequence is it whether there should be a limited monarchy,
as in England, or a federal republic, like the United States, or the
Thirteen Swiss Cantonss? and was it necessary to reduce Europe to a
single idea, like the Roman people to a single head, in order to be
able to command and to change the whole in one day!

The first consul certainly attached no importance to this or that
form of constitution, or even to any constitution whatever; but what
was of consequence to him, was to make the best use he could of
Switzerland for his own interest, and with that view, he conducted
himself prudently. He combined the various plans which were offered
to him, and drew up a form of constitution which conciliated
sufficiently well the ancient habits with the modern pretensions,
and in causing himself to be named Mediator of the Swiss
Confederation, he drew more persons from that country, than he could
have driven from it, if he had governed it directly. He made the
deputies nominated by the cantons and principal cities of
Switzerland come to Paris; and on the 9th of January 1803, he had a
conference of seven hours with ten delegates, chosen from the
general deputation. He dwelt upon the necessity of re-establishing
the democratic cantons in their former state, pronouncing on this
occasion some declamations on the cruelty of depriving shepherds
dispersed among the mountains, of their sole amusement, namely,
popular assemblies; stating also, (what concerned him more nearly,)
the reasons he had for mistrusting the aristocratic cantons. He
insisted strongly on the importance of Switzerland to France. These
were his words, as they are given in a narrative of this conference:
"I can declare that since I have been at the head of this
government, no power has taken the least interest in Switzerland:
'twas I who made the Helvetic republic be acknowledged at Luneville:
Austria cared not the least for it. At Amiens I wished to do the
same, and England refused it: but England has nothing to do with
Switzerland. If she had expressed the least apprehension that I
wished to be declared your Landamann, I would have been so. It has
been said that England encouraged the last insurrection; if the
English cabinet had taken a single official step, or if there had
been a syllable said about it in the London Gazette, I would have
immediately united you with France." What incredible language! Thus,
the existence of a people who had secured their independence in the
midst of Europe by the most heroic efforts, and maintained it for
five centuries by wisdom and moderation, this existence would have
been annihilated by a movement of spleen which the least accident
might have excited in a being so capricious. Bonaparte added in this
same conference, that it was unpleasant to him to have a
constitution to make, because it exposed him to be hissed, which he
had no partiality for. This expression (etre siffle) bears the stamp
of the deceitfully affable vulgarity in which he frequently took
pleasure in indulging. Roederer and Desmeunier wrote the act of
mediation from his dictation, and the whole passed during the time
that his troops occupied Switzerland. He has since withdrawn them,
and this country, it must be confessed, has been better treated by
Napoleon than the rest of Europe, although both in a political and
military point of view more completely dependent upon him;
consequently it will remain tranquil in the general insurrection.
The people of Europe were disposed to such a degree of patience that
it has required a Bonaparte to exhaust it.

The London newspapers attacked the first consul bitterly enough; the
English nation was too enlightened not to perceive the drift of his
actions. Whenever any translations from the English papers were
brought to him, he used to apostrophize Lord Whitworth, who answered
him with equal coolness and propriety that the King of Great Britain
himself was not protected from the sarcasms of newswriters, and that
the constitution permitted no violation of their liberty on that
score. However, the English government caused M. Peltier to be
prosecuted for some articles in his journal directed against the
first consul. Peltier had the honour to be defended by Mr.
Mackintosh, who made upon this occasion one of the most eloquent
speeches that has been read in modern times; I will mention farther
on, under what circumstances this speech came into my hands.


Rupture with England.--Commencement of my Exile.

I was at Geneva, living from taste and from circumstances in the
society of the English, when the news of the declaration of war
reached us. The rumour immediately spread that the English
travellers would all be made prisoners: as nothing similar had ever
been heard of in the law of European nations, I gave no credit to
it, and my security was nearly proving injurious to my friends:
they contrived however, to save themselves. But persons entirely
unconnected with political affairs, among whom was Lord Beverley,
the father of eleven children, returning from Italy with his wife
and daughters, and a hundred other persons provided with French
passports, some of them repairing to different universities for
education, others to the South for the recovery of their health, all
travelling under the safeguard of laws recognised by all nations,
were arrested, and have been languishing for ten years in country
towns, leading the most miserable life that the imagination can
conceive. This scandalous act was productive of no advantage;
scarcely two thousand English, including very few military, became
the victims of this caprice of the tyrant, making a few poor
individuals suffer, to gratify his spleen against the invincible
nation to which they belong.

During the summer of 1803 began the great farce of the invasion of
England; flat-bottomed boats were ordered to be built from one end
of France to the other; they were even constructed in the forests on
the borders of the great roads. The French, who have in all things a
very strong rage for imitation, cut out deal upon deal, and heaped
phrase upon phrase: while in Picardy some erected a triumphal arch,
on which was inscribed, "the road to London," others wrote, "To
Bonaparte the Great. We request you will admit us on board the
vessel which will bear you to England, and with you the destiny and
the vengeance of the French people." This vessel, on board of which
Bonaparte was to embark, has had time to wear herself out in
harbour. Others put, as a device for their flags in the roadstead,
"a good wind, and thirty hours". In short, all France resounded with
gasconades, of which Bonaparte alone knew perfectly the secret.

Towards the autumn I believed myself forgotten by Bonaparte: I
heard from Paris that he was completely absorbed in his English
expedition, that he was preparing to set out for the coast, and to
embark himself to direct the descent. I put no faith in this
project; but I flattered myself that he would be satisfied if I
lived at a few leagues distance from Paris, with the small number of
friends who would come that distance to visit a person in disgrace.
I thought also that being sufficiently well known to make my
banishment talked of all over Europe, the first consul would wish to
avoid this eclat. I had calculated according to my own wishes; but I
was not yet thoroughly acquainted with the character of the man who
was to domineer over Europe. Far from wishing to keep upon terms
with persons who had distinguished themselves, in whatever line that
was, he wished to make all such merely a pedestal for his own
statue, either by treading them underfoot, or by making them
subservient to his designs.

I arrived at a little country seat, I had at ten leagues from Paris,
with the project of establishing myself during the winter in this
retreat, as long as the system of tyranny lasted. I only wished to
see my friends there, and to go occasionally to the theatre, and to
the museum. This was all the residence I wished in Paris, in the
state of distrust and espionnage which had begun to be established,
and I confess I cannot see what inconsistency there would have been
in the first consul allowing me to remain in this state of voluntary
exile. I had been there peaceably for a month, when a female, of
that description which is so numerous, endeavouring to make herself
of consequence at the expense of another female, more distinguished
than herself, went and told the first consul that the roads were
covered with people going to visit me. Nothing certainly could be
more false. The exiles whom the world went to see, were those who in
the eighteenth century were almost as powerful as the monarchs who
banished them; but when power is resisted, it is because it is not
tyrannical; for it can only be so by the general submission. Be that
as it may, Bonaparte immediately seized the pretext, or the motive
that was given him to banish me, and I was apprized by one of my
friends, that a gendarme would be with me in a few days with an
order for me to depart. One has no idea, in countries where routine
at least secures individuals from any act of injustice, of the
terror which the sudden news of arbitrary acts of this nature
inspires. It is besides extremely easy to shake me; my imagination
more readily lays hold of trouble than hope, and although I have
often found my chagrin dissipated by the occurrence of novel
circumstances, it always appears to me, when it does come, that
nothing can deliver me from it. In fact it is very easy to be
unhappy, especially when we aspire to the privileged lots of

I withdrew immediately on receiving the above intimation to the
house of a most excellent and intelligent lady*, to whom I ought to
acknowledge I was recommended by a person who held an important
office in the government*; I shall never forget the courage with
which he offered me an asylum himself: but he would have the same
good intentions at present, when he could not act in that manner
without completely endangering his existence. In proportion as
tyranny is allowed to advance, it grows, as we look at it, like a
phantom, but it seizes with the strength of a real being. I arrived
then, at the country seat of a person whom I scarcely knew, in the
midst of a society to which I was an entire stranger, and bearing in
my heart the most cutting chagrin, which I made every effort to
disguise. During the night, when alone with a female who had been
for several years devoted to my service, I sat listening at the
window, in expectation of hearing every moment the steps of a horse
gendarme; during the day I endeavoured to make myself agreeable, in
order to conceal my situation. I wrote a letter from this place to
Joseph Bonaparte, in which I described with perfect truth the extent
of my unhappiness. A retreat at ten leagues distance from Paris, was
the sole object of my ambition, and I felt despairingly, that if I
was once banished, it would be for a great length of time, perhaps
for ever. Joseph and his brother Lucien generously used all their
efforts to save me, and they were not the only ones, as will
presently be seen.

* Madame de Latour.
* Regnault de Saint-Jean-d'Angely.

Madame Recamier, so celebrated for her beauty, and whose character
is even expressed in her beauty, proposed to me to come and live at
her country seat at St. Brice, at two leagues from Paris. I accepted
her offer, for I had no idea that I could thereby injure a person so
much a stranger to political affairs; I believed her protected
against every thing, notwithstanding the generosity of her
character. I found collected there a most delightful society, and
there I enjoyed for the last time, all that I was about to quit. It
was during this stormy period of my existence, that I received the
speech of Mr. Mackintosh; there I read those pages, where he gives
us the portrait of a jacobin, who had made himself an object of
terror during the revolution to children, women and old men, and who
is now bending himself double under the rod of the Corsican, who
ravishes from him, even to the last atom of that liberty, for which
he pretended to have taken arms. This morceau of the finest
eloquence touched me to my very soul; it is the privilege of
superior writers sometimes, unwittingly, to solace the unfortunate
in all countries, and at all times. France was in a state of such
complete silence around me, that this voice which suddenly responded
to my soul, seemed to me to come down from heaven; it came from a
land of liberty. After having passed a few days with Madame
Recamier, without hearing my banishment at all spoken of, I
persuaded myself that Bonaparte had renounced it. Nothing is more
common than to tranquillize ourselves against a threatened danger,
when we see no symptoms of it around us. I felt so little
disposition to enter into any hostile plan or action against this
man, that I thought it impossible for him not to leave me in peace;
and after some days longer, I returned to my own country seat,
satisfied that he had adjourned his resolution against me, and was
contented with having frightened me. In truth I had been
sufficiently so, not to make me change my opinion, or oblige me to
deny it, but to repress completely that remnant of republican habit
which had led me the year before, to speak with too much openness.

I was at table with three of my friends, in a room which commanded
a view of the high road, and the entrance gate; it was now the end
of September. At four o'clock, a man in a brown coat, on horseback,
stops at the gate and rings: I was then certain of my fate. He asked
for me, and I went to receive him in the garden. In walking towards
him, the perfume of the flowers, and the beauty of the sun
particularly struck me. How different are the sensations which
affect us from the combinations of society, from those of nature!
This man informed me, that he was the commandant of the gendarmerie
of Versailles; but that his orders were to go out of uniform, that
he might not alarm me; he shewed me a letter signed by Bonaparte,
which contained the order to banish me to forty leagues distance
from Paris, with an injunction to make me depart within four and
twenty hours; at the same time, to treat me with all the respect due
to a lady of distinction. He pretended to consider me as a
foreigner, and as such, subject to the police: this respect for
individual liberty did not last long, as very soon afterwards, other
Frenchmen and Frenchwomen were banished without any form of trial. I
told the gendarme officer, that to depart within twenty four hours,
might be convenient to conscripts, but not to a woman and children,
and in consequence, I proposed to him to accompany me to Paris,
where I had occasion to pass three days to make the necessary
arrangements for my journey. I got into my carriage with my children
and this officer, who had been selected for this occasion, as the
most literary of the gendarmes. In truth, he began complimenting me
upon my writings. "You see," said I to him, "the consequences of
being a woman of intellect, and I would recommend you, if there is
occasion, to dissuade any females of your family from attempting
it." I endeavoured to keep up my spirits by boldness, but I felt the
barb in my heart.

I stopt for a few minutes at Madame Recamier's; I found there
General Junot, who from regard to her, promised to go next morning
to speak to the first consul in my behalf; and he certainly did so
with the greatest warmth. One would have thought, that a man so
useful from his military ardor to the power of Bonaparte, would have
had influence enough with him, to make him spare a female; but the
generals of Bonaparte, even when obtaining numberless favours for
themselves, have no influence with him. When they ask for money or
places, Bonaparte finds that in character; they are in a manner then
in his power, as they place themselves in his dependance; but if,
what rarely happens to them, they should think of defending an
unfortunate person, or opposing an act of injustice, he would make
them feel very quickly, that they are only arms employed to support
slavery, by submitting to it themselves.

I got to Paris to a house I had recently hired, but not yet
inhabited; I had selected it with care in the quarter and exposition
which pleased me; and had already in imagination set myself down in
the drawing room with some friends, whose conversation is in my
opinion, the greatest pleasure the human mind can enjoy. Now, I only
entered this house, with the certainty of quitting it, and I passed
whole nights in traversing the apartments, in which I regretted the
deprivation of still more happiness than I could have hoped for in
it. My gendarme returned every morning, like the man in Blue-beard,
to press me to set out on the following day, and every day I was
weak enough to ask for one more day. My friends came to dine with
me, and sometimes we were gay, as if to drain the cup of sorrow, in
exhibiting ourselves in the most amiable light to each other, at the
moment of separating perhaps for ever. They told me that this man,
who came every day to summon me to depart, reminded them of those
times of terror, when the gendarmes came to summon their victims to
the scaffold.

Some persons may perhaps be surprized at my comparing exile to
death; but there have been great men, both in ancient and modern
times, who have sunk under this punishment. We meet with more
persons brave against the scaffold, than against the loss of
country. In all codes of law, perpetual banishment is regarded as
one of the severest punishments; and the caprice of one man inflicts
in France, as an amusement, what conscientious judges only condemn
criminals to with regret. Private circumstances offered me an
asylum, and resources of fortune, in Switzerland, the country of my
parents; in those respects, I was less to be pitied than many
others, and yet I have suffered cruelly. I consider it, therefore,
to be doing a service to the world, to signalize the reasons, why no
sovereign should ever be allowed to possess the arbitrary power of
banishment. No deputy, no writer, will ever express his thoughts
freely, if he can be banished when his frankness has displeased; no
man will dare to speak with sincerity, if the happiness of his whole
family is to suffer for it. Women particularly, who are destined to
be the support and reward of enthusiasm, will endeavour to stifle
generous feelings in themselves, if they find that the result of
their expression will be, either to have themselves torn from the
objects of their affection, or their own existence sacrificed, by
accompanying them in their exile.

On the eve of the last day which was granted me, Joseph Bonaparte
made one more effort in my favour; and his wife, who is a lady of
the most perfect sweetness and simplicity, had the kindness to come
and propose to me to pass a few days at her country seat at
Morfontaine. I accepted her invitation most gratefully, for I could
not but feel sensibly affected at the goodness of Joseph, who
received me in his own house, at the very time that I was the object
of his brother's persecution. I passed three days there, and
notwithstanding the perfect politeness of the master and mistress of
the house, felt my situation very painfully.

I saw only men connected with the government and breathed only the
air of that authority which had declared itself my enemy; and yet
the simplest rules of politeness and gratitude forbid me from
shewing what I felt. I had only my eldest son with me, who was then
too young for me to converse with him on such subjects. I passed
whole hours in examining the gardens of Morfontaine, among the
finest that could be seen in France, and the possessor of which,
then tranquil, appeared to me really an object of envy. He has been
since exiled upon thrones, where I am sure he has often regretted
his beautiful retreat.


Departure for Germany.--Arrival at Weimar.

I hesitated about the course I was to adopt on quitting France.
Should I return to my father, or should I go into Germany? My father
would have welcomed his poor bird, ruffled by the storm, with
ineffable goodness; but I dreaded the disgust of returning, sent
back in this manner, to a country, which I was accused of finding
rather monotonous. I was also desirous of exhibiting myself, by the
kind reception which I had been promised in Germany, superior to the
outrage I had received from the first consul; and of placing in
public contrast the kind reception of the ancient dynasties, with
the rude impertinence of that which was preparing to subjugate
France. This movement of self-love triumphed, for my misfortune; I
should have again seen my father, if I had returned to Geneva.

I requested Joseph to ascertain if I might go into Prussia, for it
was necessary for me to be at least certain, that the French
ambassador would not reclaim me abroad as a Frenchwoman, while in
France I was proscribed as a foreigner. Joseph went in consequence
to St. Cloud. I was obliged to wait his answer at a public-house, at
two leagues from Paris, not daring to return to my own house in the
city. A whole day passed before this answer reached me. Not wishing
to attract notice by remaining longer at the house where I was, I
made a tour of the walls of Paris in search of another, at the same
distance of two leagues, but on a different road. This wandering
life, at a few steps from my friends and my own residence,
occasioned me such painful sensations as I cannot recollect without
shuddering. The room is still present to me; the window where I
passed the whole day, looking out for the messenger, a thousand
painful details, which misfortune always draws after it, the extreme
generosity of some friends, the veiled calculations of others,
altogether put my mind in such a cruel state of agitation, as I
could not wish to my greatest enemy. At last this message, on which
I still placed some hopes, arrived. Joseph sent me some excellent
letters of recommendation for Berlin, and bid me adieu in a most
noble and touching manner. I was obliged, therefore, to depart.
Benjamin Constant was good enough to accompany me; but as he also
was very fond of Paris, I felt extremely for the sacrifice he made
me. Every step the horses advanced made me ill, and when the
postillions boasted of having driven me quickly, I could not help
sighing at the disagreeable service they were rendering me. In this
way I travelled forty leagues without being able to regain my
self-possession. At last we stopped at Chalons, and Benjamin
Constant, rallying his spirits, relieved by his wonderful powers of
conversation, at least for some moments, the weight which oppressed
me. Next day we continued our route as far as Metz, where I wished
to stop to wait for news from my father. There I passed fifteen
days, and met one of the most amiable and intelligent men whom
France and Germany combined could produce, M. Charles Villers. I was
delighted with his society, but it renewed my regret for that first
of pleasures, a conversation, in which there reigns the most perfect
harmony in all that is felt, with all that is expressed.

My father was extremely indignant at the treatment I had received at
Paris; he considered that his family were in this manner proscribed,
and driven as criminals out of that country which he had so
faithfully served. He recommended me to pass the winter in Germany,
and not to return to him until the spring. Alas! alas! I calculated
on then carrying back to him the harvest of new ideas which I was
going to collect in this journey. For several years preceding he was
frequently telling me that my letters and conversation were all that
kept up his connection with the world. His mind had so much vivacity
and penetration, that one was excited to think by the pleasure of
talking to him. I made observations to report to him,--I listened,
to repeat to him. Ever since I have lost him, I see and feel only
half what I did, when I had the object in view of giving him
pleasure by the picture of my impressions. At Frankfort, my
daughter, then five years old, fell dangerously ill. I knew nobody
in that city, and was entirely ignorant of the language; even the
physician to whose care I entrusted my child scarcely spoke a word
of French. Oh! how much my father shared with me in all my trouble!
what letters he wrote me! what a number of consultations of
physicians, all copied with his own hand, he sent me from Geneva!
Never were the harmony of sensibility and reason carried further;
never was there any one like him, possessed of such lively emotion
for the sufferings of his friends, always active in assisting them,
always prudent in the choice of the means of being so; in short,
admirable in every thing. My heart absolutely requires this
declaration, for what is now to him even the voice of posterity!

I arrived at Weimar, where I resumed my courage, on seeing, through
the difficulties of the language, the immense intellectual riches
which existed out of France. I learned to read German; I listened
attentively to Goethe and Wieland, who, fortunately for me, spoke
French extremely well. I comprehended the mind and genius of
Schiller, in spite of the difficulty he felt in expressing himself
in a foreign language. The society of the duke and duchess of Weimar
pleased me exceedingly, and I passed three months there, during
which the study of German literature gave all the occupation to my
mind which it requires to prevent me from being devoured by my own


Berlin.--Prince Louis-Ferdinand.

I left Weimar for Berlin, and there I saw that charming queen, since
destined to so many misfortunes. The king received me with great
kindness, and I may say that during the six weeks I remained in that
city, I never heard an individual who did not speak in praise of the
justice of his government. This, however does not prevent me from
thinking it always desirable for a country to possess constitutional
forms, to guarantee to it, by the permanent co-operation of the
nation, the advantages it derives from the virtues of a good king.
Prussia, under the reign of its present monarch, no doubt possessed
the greater part of these advantages; but the public spirit which
misfortune has developed in it did not then exist; the military
regime had prevented public opinion from acquiring strength, and the
absence of a constitution, in which every individual could make
himself known by his merit, had left the state unprovided with men
of talent, capable of defending it. The favor of a king, being
necessarily arbitrary, cannot be sufficient to excite emulation;
circumstances which are peculiar to the interior of courts, may keep
a man of great merit from the helm of affairs, or place there a very
ordinary person. Routine, likewise, is singularly powerful in
countries where the regal power has no one to contradict it; even
the justice of a king leads him to place barriers around him, by
keeping every one in his place; and it was almost without example in
Prussia, to find a man deprived of his civil or military employments
on account of incapacity. What an advantage therefore ought not the
French army to have, composed almost entirely of men born of the
revolution, like the soldiers of Cadmus from the teeth of the
dragon! What an advantage it had over those old commanders of the
Prussian fortified places and armies, to whom every thing that was
new was entirely unknown! A conscientious monarch who has not
the happiness, and I use the word designedly, the happiness to have
a parliament as in England, makes a habit of every thing, in order
to avoid making too much use of his own will: and in the present
times we must abandon ancient usages, and look for strength of
character and understanding, wherever they can be found. Be that as
it may, Berlin was one of the happiest and most enlightened cities
in the world.

The writers of the eighteenth century were certainly productive of
infinite good to Europe, by the spirit of moderation, and the taste
for literature, with which their works inspired the greater part of
the sovereigns: it must be admitted, however, that the respect
which the friends of knowledge paid to French intellect has been one
of the causes which has ruined Germany for such a length of time.
Many people regarded the French armies as the propagators of the
ideas of Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Voltaire; while the fact was,
that, if any traces of the opinions of these great men remained in
the instruments of the power of Bonaparte, it was only to liberate
them from what they called prejudices, and not to establish a single
regenerating principle. But there were at Berlin and in the North of
Germany, at the period of the spring of 1804, a great many old
partizans of the French revolution, who had not yet discovered that
Bonaparte was a much more bitter enemy of the first principles of
that revolution, than the ancient European aristocracy.

I had the honor to form an acquaintance with Prince Louis-Ferdinand,
the same whose warlike ardor so transported him, that his death was
almost the precursor of the first reverses of his country. He was a
man full of ardor and enthusiasm, but who, for want of glory,
cultivated too much the emotions which agitate life. What
particularly irritated him against Bonaparte was his practice of
calumniating all the persons he dreaded, and even of degrading in
public opinion those whom he employed, in order, at all risks, to
keep them more strongly dependant on him. Prince Louis said to me
frequently, "I will allow him to kill, but, moral assassination is
what revolts me." And in truth let us only consider the state in
which we have seen ourselves placed, since this great libeller
became master of all the newspapers of the European continent, and
could, as he has frequently done, pronounce the bravest men to be
cowards, and the most irreproachable women to be subjects of
contempt, without our having any means of contradicting or punishing
such assertions.


Conspiracy of Moreau and Pichegru.

The news had just arrived at Berlin of the great conspiracy of
Moreau, of Pichegru, and of George Cadoudal. There was certainly
among the principal heads of the republican and royalist parties a
strong desire to overturn the authority of the first consul, and to
oppose themselves to the still more tyrannical authority which he
resolved to establish on making himself be declared emperor: but it
has been said, and perhaps not without foundation, that this
conspiracy, which has so well served Bonaparte's tyranny, was
encouraged by himself, from his wish to take advantage of it, with a
Machiavelian art, of which it is of consequence to observe all the
springs. He sent an exiled jacobin into England, who could only
obtain his return to France by services to be performed for the
first consul. This man presented himself, like Sinon in the city of
Troy describing himself as persecuted by the Greeks. He saw several
emigrants who had neither the vices nor the faculties necessary to
detect a certain kind of villainy. He found it therefore a matter of
great ease to entrap an old bishop, an old officer, in short some of
the wrecks of a government, under which it was scarcely known what
factions were. In the sequel he wrote a pamphlet in which he
mystified, with a great deal of wit, all who had believed him, and
who in truth ought to have made up what they wanted in sagacity by
firmness of principle, that is to say, never to place the least
confidence in a man capable of bad actions. We have all our own way
at looking at things; but from the moment that a person has shewn
himself to be treacherous or cruel, God alone can pardon, for it
belongs to him only to read the human heart sufficiently to know if
it is changed; man ought to keep himself for ever at a distance from
the person who has lost his esteem. This disguised agent of
Bonaparte pretended that the elements of revolt existed in France to
a great extent; he went to Munich to find an English envoy, Mr. Drake,
whom he also contrived to deceive. A citizen of Great Britain ought
to have kept clear of this web of artifice, composed of the crossed
threads of jacobinism and tyranny.

George and Pichegru, who were entirely devoted to the Bourbon party,
came into France secretly, and concerted with Moreau, whose wish was
to rid France of the first consul, but not to deprive the French
nation of its right to choose that form of government by which it
desired to be ruled. Pichegru wished to have a conversation with
General Bernadotte, who refused it, being dissatisfied with the
manner in which the enterprise was conducted, and desiring first of
all, to have a guarantee for the constitutional freedom of France.
Moreau, whose moral character is most excellent, whose military
talent is unquestionable, and whose understanding is just and
enlightened, allowed himself in conversation, to go too great
lengths in blaming the first consul, before he could be at all
certain of overthrowing him. It is a defect very natural to a
generous mind to express its opinion, even inconsiderately; but
General Moreau attracted too much the notice of Bonaparte, not to
make such conduct the cause of his destruction. A pretext was
wanting to justify the arrest of a man who had gained so many
battles, and this pretext was found in his conversation, if it could
not be in his actions.

Republican forms were still in existence; people called each other
citizen, whilst the most terrible inequality, that which liberates
some from the yoke of the law, while others are under the dominion
of despotism, reigned over all France. The days of the week were
still reckoned according to the republican calendar; boasts were
made of being at peace with the whole of continental Europe; reports
were, (as they still continue to be,) continually presenting upon
the making of roads and canals, the building of bridges and
fountains; the benefits of the government were extolled to the
skies; in short, there was not the least apparent reason for
endeavouring to change a state of things, with which the nation was
said to be so perfectly satisfied. A plot therefore, in which the
English, and the Bourbons should be named, was a most desirable
event to the government, in order to stir up once more the
revolutionary elements of the nation, and to turn those elements to
the establishment of an ultra-monarchical power, under the pretence
of preventing the return of the ancient regime. The secret of this
combination, which appears very complicated, is in fact very
simple: it was necessary to alarm the revolutionists as to the
danger to which their interests would be exposed, and to propose to
complete their security, by a final abandonment of their principles;
and so it was done.

Pichegru was become a decided royalist, as he had formerly been a
republican; his opinion had been completely turned; his character
was superior to his understanding; but the one was as little
calculated as the other to draw men after him. George had more
elasticity about him, but he was not fitted either by nature or
education for the rank of chief. As soon as it was known that these
two were at Paris, Moreau was immediately arrested, the barriers
were shut, death was denounced to any one who should give an asylum
to Pichegru or George, and all the measures of jacobinism were put
in force to protect the life of one man. This man is not only of too
much importance in his own eyes to stick at any thing, when his own
interests are in question, but it likewise entered into his
calculations to alarm men's minds, to recall the days of terror, in
short to inspire the nation, if possible, with the desire of
throwing itself entirely upon him, in order to escape the troubles
which it was the tendency of all his measures to increase. The
retreat of Pichegru was discovered, and George was arrested in a
cabriolet; for, being unable to live longer in any house, he in this
manner traversed the streets night and day, to keep himself out of
sight of his pursuers. The police agent who seized him, was
recompensed with the legion of honour. I imagine that French
soldiers would have wished him any reward but that.

The Moniteur was filled with addresses to the first consul,
congratulating him on his escape from this danger; this incessant
repetition of the same phrases, bursting from every corner of
France, offers such a concord in slavery as is perhaps unexampled in
the history of any other people. You may in turning over the
Moniteur, find, according to the different epochs, exercises upon
liberty, upon despotism, upon philosophy, and upon religion, in
which the departments and good cities of France strive to say the
same thing in different terms; and one feels astonished that men so
intelligent as the French, should attach themselves entirely to
success in the style, and never once have had the desire of
exhibiting ideas of their own; one might say that the emulation of
words was all that they required. These hymns of dictation, however,
with the points of admiration which accompany them, announced that
France was completely tranquil, and that the small number of the
emissaries of perfidious Albion were seized. One general, it is.
true, amused himself with reporting, that the English had thrown
bales of Levant cotton on the coast of Normandy, to give France the
plague; but these inventions of grave buffoonery were only regarded
as pieces of flattery addressed to the first consul; and the chiefs
of the conspiracy, as well as their agents, being in the power of
the government, there was reason for believing that calm was
restored in France; but Bonaparte had not vet attained his object.


Assassination of the Duke d'Enghien.

I resided at Berlin on the Spree Quay, and my apartment was on the
ground floor. One morning I was awoke at eight o'clock, and told
that Prince Louis-Ferdinand was on horseback under my windows, and
wished me to come and speak to him. Much astonished at this early
visit, I hastened to get up and go to him. He was a singularly
graceful horseman, and his emotion heightened the nobleness of his
countenance. "Do you know," said he to me, "that the Duke d'Enghien
has been carried off from the Baden territory, delivered to a
military commission, and shot within twenty four hours after his
arrival in Paris?" "What nonsense!" I answered, "don't you see that
this can only be a report spread by the enemies of France?" In fact
I confess that my hatred of Bonaparte, strong as it was, never went
the length of making me believe in the possibility of his committing
such an atrocity. "As you doubt what I tell you," replied Prince
Louis, "I will send you the Moniteur, in which you will read the
sentence." He left me at these words, and the expression of his
countenance was the presage of revenge or death. A quarter of an
hour afterwards, I had in my hands this Moniteur of the 21st March,
(30th Pluviose), which contained the sentence of death pronounced by
the military commission sitting at Vincennes, against the person
called Louis d'Enghien! It is thus that the French designated the
descendant of heroes, who were the glory of their country. Even if
they abjured all the prejudices of illustrious birth, which the
return of monarchical forms would necessarily recall, could they
blaspheme in thus manner the recollection of the battles of Lens and
Rocroi? This Bonaparte who has gained so many battles, does not even
know how to respect them; with him there is neither past nor future;
his imperious and contemptuous soul will recognize nothing for
opinion to hold sacred; he admits only respect for the force which
is in existence. Prince Louis wrote to me, beginning his note in
these words, "The person called Louis of Prussia begs to know of
Madame de Stael, &c." He felt the insult offered to the royal blood
from which he sprung, to the recollection of the heroes, in the roll
of whom he burned to place his name. How was it possible, after this
horrible action, for a single monarch in Europe to connect himself
with such a man? Necessity, will it be said? There is a sanctuary in
the soul to which his empire never ought to penetrate; if there were
not, what would virtue be upon this earth? a mere liberal amusement
which could only suit the peaceful leisure of private individuals.

A lady of my acquaintance related to me, that a few days after the
death of the Duke d'Enghien, she went to take a walk round the
castle of Vincennes; the ground, still fresh, marked the spot where
he had been buried; some children were playing with little quoits
upon this mound of turf, the only monument for the ashes of such a
man. An old invalid, with silvered locks, was sitting at a little
distance, and remained some time looking at these children; at last
he arose, and leading them away by the hand, said to them, shedding
some tears, "Do not play there, my children, I beseech you." These
tears were all the honors that were paid to the descendant of the
great Conde, and the earth did not long bear the impression of them.

For a moment at least, public opinion seemed to awaken in France,
and indignation, was general. But when these generous flames were
extinguished, despotism was but the more easily established, from
the vain efforts which had been made to resist it. The first consul
was for some days rather uneasy at the disposition of men's minds.
Fouche himself blamed this action; he made use of this expression,
so characteristic of the present regime: "It is worse than a crime;
it is a fault." There are many ideas in this short phrase; but
fortunately we may reverse it with truth, by affirming that the
greatest of faults is crime. Bonaparte asked an honest senator, what
was thought of the death of the Duke d'Enghien. "General," replied
he, "it has given great affliction." "I am not astonished at it,"
said Bonaparte, "a house which has long reigned in a country always
interests:" thus wishing to connect with motives of party interest
the most natural feeling that the human heart can experience.
Another time he put the same question to a tribune, who, from the
desire of pleasing him, answered: "Well, general, if our enemies
take measures against us, we are in the right to do the same against
them;" not perceiving that this was tantamount to a confession that
the deed was atrocious. The first consul affected to consider this
act as dictated by reasons of state. One day, about this period, in
a discussion with an intelligent man about the plays of Corneille,
he said, "You see that the public safety, or to express it better,
that state necessity, has with the moderns been substituted in the
place of the fatality of the ancients: there is, for instance, such
a man, who naturally would be incapable of a crime, but political
circumstances impose it upon him as a law. Corneille is the only one
who has shewn, in his tragedies, an acquaintance with state
necessity; on that account, if he had lived in my time, I would have
made him my prime minister." All this appearance of good humour in
the discussion was intended to prove that there was nothing of
passion in the death of the Duke d'Enghien, and that circumstances,
meaning such as the head of the state is exclusively the judge of,
might cause and justify every thing. That there was nothing of
passion in his resolution about the Duke d'Enghien, is perfectly
true; people would have it that rage inspired the crime,--it had
nothing to do with it. By what could this rage have been provoked?
The Duke d'Enghien had in no way provoked the first consul:
Bonaparte hoped at first to have got hold of the Duke de Berry, who
it was said, was to have landed in Normandy, if Pichegru had given
him notice that it was a proper time. This prince is nearer the
throne than the Duke d'Enghien, and besides, he would by coming into
France have infringed the existing laws. It therefore suited
Bonaparte in every way better to have sacrificed him than the Duke
d'Enghien; but as he could not get at the first, he chose the
second, in discussing the matter in cold blood. Between the order
for carrying him off, and that for his execution, more than eight
days had elapsed, and Bonaparte ordered the punishment of the Duke
d'Enghien long beforehand, as coolly, as he has since sacrificed
millions of men to the caprices of his ambition. We now ask, what
were the motives of this horrible action, and I believe it is very
easy to penetrate them. First, Bonaparte wished to secure the
revolutionary party, by contracting with it an alliance of blood. An
old jacobin, when he heard the news, exclaimed, "So much the better!
General Bonaparte is now become one of the convention." For a long
time the jacobins would only have a man who had voted for the death
of the king, for the first magistrate of the republic; that was what
they termed, giving pledges to the revolution. Bonaparte fulfilled
this condition of crime, substituted for that of property required
in other countries; he thus afforded the certainty that he would
never serve the Bourbons; and thus such of that party as attached
themselves to his, burnt their vessels, never to return.

On the eve of causing himself to be crowned by the same men who had
proscribed royalty, and of re-establishing a noblesse composed of
the partisans of equality, he believed it necessary to satisfy them
by the horrible guarantee of the assassination of a Bourbon. In the
conspiracy of Pichegru and Moreau, Bonaparte knew that the
republicans and royalists had united against him; this strange
coalition, of which the hatred he inspired was the sole bond, had
astonished him. Several persons who held places under him, were
marked out for the service of that revolution which was to break his
power, and it was of consequence to him that henceforward all his
agents should consider themselves ruined beyond redemption, if their
master was overturned; and, finally, above all, he wished at the
moment of his seizing the crown to inspire such terror, that no one
in future should think of resisting him. Every thing was violated in
this single action: the European law of nations, the constitution
such as it then existed, public shame, humanity, and religion.
Nothing could go beyond it; every thing was therefore to be dreaded
from the man who had committed it. It was thought for some time in
France, that the murder of the Duke d'Enghien was the signal of a
new system of revolution, and that the scaffolds were about to be
re-erected. But Bonaparte only wished to teach the French one thing,
and that was, that he dared do every thing; in order that they might
give him credit for the evil he abstained from, as others get it for
the good they do. His clemency was praised when he allowed a man to
live; it had been seen how easy it was for him to cause one to
perish. Russia, Sweden, and above all England, complained of this
violation of the Germanic empire; the German princes themselves were
silent, and the weak sovereign on whose territory the outrage had
been committed, requested in a diplomatic note, that nothing more
should be said of the event that had happened. Did not this gentle
and veiled expression, applied to such an act, characterize the
meanness of those princes, who made their sovereignty consist only
in their revenues, and treated a state as a capital, of which they
must get the interest paid as quietly as they could?


Illness and death of M. Necker.

My father lived long enough to hear of the assassination of the Duke
d'Enghien, and the last lines which I received, that were traced by
his own hand, expressed his indignation at this atrocity.

In the midst of the most complete security, I found one day upon my
table two letters, announcing to me that my father was dangerously
ill. The courier who brought them was concealed from me, as well as
the news of his death. I set out immediately with the strongest
hope, which I preserved in spite of all the circumstances which
ought to have extinguished it. When the real truth became known to
me at Weimar, I was seized with a mingled sensation of inexpressible
terror and despair. I saw myself without support in the world, and
compelled to rely entirely on myself for sustaining my soul against
misfortune. Many objects of attachment still remained to me, but the
sentiment of affectionate admiration which I felt for my father,
exercised a sway over me with which no other could come in
competition. Grief, which is the truest of prophets, predicted to me
that I should never more be happy at heart, as I had been, whilst
this man of all-powerful sensibility watched over my fate; and not a
single day has elapsed since the month of April 1804, in which I
have not connected all my troubles with his loss. So long as my
father lived, I suffered only from imagination; for in the affairs
of real life, he always found means to be of service to me; after I
lost him, I came in direct communication with destiny. It is
nevertheless still to the hope that he is praying for me in heaven,
that I am indebted for the fortitude I retain. It is not merely the
affection of a daughter, but the most intimate knowledge of his
character which makes me affirm that I have never seen human nature
carried nearer to perfection than it was in his soul; if I was not
convinced of the truth of a future state, I should become mad with
the idea that such a being could have ceased to exist. There was so
much of immortality in his thoughts and feelings, that it happens to
me a hundred times, whenever I feel emotions that elevate me above
myself, I believe I still hear him.

During my melancholy journey from Weimar to Coppet, I could not help
envying the existence of every object that circulated in nature,
even the birds and insects which were flying round me; I asked only
a day, a single day, to talk to him once more, to excite his
compassion; I envied those forest trees whose existence is
prolonged for centuries; but the inexorable silence of the grave has
something in it which confounds the human intellect; and although it
is the truth of all others the best known to us, the strength of the
impression it leaves can never be effaced. As I approached my
father's residence, one of my friends pointed out to me on the
mountain some clouds which bore the resemblance of an immense human
figure, which would disappear towards the evening: it seemed to me
that the heavens thus offered me the symbol of the loss I had just
sustained. He was a man truly great: a man, who in no circumstances
of his life ever preferred the most important of his interests to
the least of his duties;--a man, whose virtues were inspired to that
degree by his goodness, that he could have dispensed with
principles, and whose principles were so strict that he might have
dispensed with goodness.

On my arrival at Coppet, I learned that my father, during the
illness of nine days which had deprived me of him, had been
continually and anxiously occupying himself about my fate. He
reproached himself for his last book, as the cause of my exile; and
with a trembling hand, he wrote, during his fever, a letter to the
first consul, in which he assured him that I had nothing whatever to
do with the publication of his last work, but that on the contrary,
I had desired that it should not be printed. This voice of a dying
man had so much solemnity! this last prayer of a man who had played
so important a part in France, asking as an only favor, the return
of his children to the place of their birth, and an act of oblivion
to the imprudences which a daughter, then young, might have
committed,--all this appeared to me irresistible: and well as I
ought to have known the character of the man, that happened to me,
which I believe is in the nature of all who ardently desire the
cessation of a great affliction:--I hoped contrary to all
expectation. The first consul received this letter, and doubtless
must have thought me an extreme simpleton to flatter myself for a
moment that he would be in the least moved by it. Certainly, I am in
that point quite of his opinion.


Trial of Moreau.

The trial of Moreau still proceeded, and although the journals
preserved the most profound silence on the subject, the publicity of
the pleadings was sufficient to rouse the minds, and never did the
public opinion in Paris show itself so strongly against Bonaparte as
it did at that period. The French have more need than any other
people of a certain degree of liberty of the press; they require to
think and to feel in common; the electricity of the emotions of
their neighbours is necessary to make them experience the shock in
their turn, and their enthusiasm never displays itself in an
isolated manner. Whoever wishes to become their tyrant therefore
does well to allow no kind of manifestation to public opinion;
Bonaparte joins to this idea, which is common to all despots, an
artifice peculiar to the present time, to wit, the art of
proclaiming some factitious opinion in journals which have the
appearance of being free, they make so many phrases in the sense
which they are ordered. It must be confessed that our French writers
are the only ones who can in this manner every morning embellish the
same sophism, and who hug themselves in the very superfluity of
servitude. While the instruction of this famous affair was in
progress, the journals informed Europe that Pichegru had strangled
himself in the Temple; all the gazettes were filled with a surgical
report, which appeared very improbable, notwithstanding the care
with which it was drawn up. If it is true that Pichegru had perished
the victim of assassination, let us figure to ourselves the
situation of a brave general, surprised by cowards in the bottom of
his dungeon,--defenceless,--condemned for several days to that
prison solitude which sinks the courage of the soul,--ignorant even
if his friends will ever know in what manner he perished,--if his
death will be revenged,--if his memory will not be outraged!
Pichegru had, in his first interrogatory, exhibited a great deal of
courage, and threatened, it was said, to exhibit proofs of the
promises which Bonaparte had made to the Vendeans of effecting the
return of the Bourbons. Some persons pretend that he had been
subjected to the torture, as well as two other conspirators, (one of
whom, named Picot, shewed his mutilated hands at the tribunal), and
that they dared not expose to the eyes of the French people one of
its old defenders subjected to the torture of slaves. I give no
credit to this conjecture; we must always, in the actions of
Bonaparte, look for the calculation which has dictated them, and we
shall find none in this latter supposition: while it is, perhaps,
true, that the appearance of Moreau and Pichegru together at the bar
of a tribunal would have inflamed public opinion to its highest
pitch. Already the crowd in the tribunes was immense; several
officers, at the head of whom was a loyal man, General Lecourbe,
exhibited the most lively and courageous interest for General
Moreau. When he repaired to the tribunal, the gendarmes who guarded
him always respectfully presented arms to him. Already it had begun
to be felt that honor was on the side of the persecuted; but
Bonaparte, by his all at once making himself be declared emperor,
in the midst of this fermentation, entirely diverted mens' minds by
this new perspective, and concealed his progress better in the midst
of the storm by which he was surrounded, than he could have done in
the calm.

General Moreau pronounced before the tribunal one of the best
speeches which history presents to us; he recalled, with perfect
modesty, the battles which he had gained since Bonaparte governed
France; he excused himself for having frequently expressed himself,
perhaps with too much freedom, and contrasted in an indirect manner
the character of a Breton with that of a Corsican; in short, he
exhibited at Once a great deal of mind, and the most perfect
presence of mind, at a moment so critical. Regnier at that time
united the ministry of police with that of justice, in the room of
Fouchc, who had been disgraced. He repaired to Saint Cloud on
leaving the tribunal. The emperor asked him what sort of speech
Moreau had made: "Contemptible," said he. "In that case," said the
emperor, "let it be printed, and distributed all over Paris." When
Bonaparte found afterwards how much his minister had been mistaken,
he returned at last to Fouche, the only man who could really second
him, from his carrying, unfortunately for the world, a sort of
skilful moderation into a system that had no limits.

An old jacobin, one of Bonaparte's condemned spirits, was employed
to speak to the judges, to induce them to condemn Moreau to death.
"That is necessary" said he to them, "to the consideration due to
the emperor, who caused him to be arrested; but you ought to make
the less scruple in consenting to it, as the emperor is resolved to
pardon him." "And who will enable us to pardon ourselves, if we
cover ourselves with such infamy?" replied one of the judges,* whose
name I am not at liberty to mention, for fear of exposing him.
General Moreau was condemned to two years' imprisonment; George and
several others of his friends to death; one of the MM. de Polignac
to two, and the other to four years' imprisonment: and both of them
are still confined, as well as several others, of whom the police
laid hold, when the period of their sentence had expired. Moreau
requested to have his imprisonment commuted for perpetual
banishment; perpetual in this instance should be called for life,
for the misery of the world is placed on the head of one man.
Bonaparte readily consented to this banishment, which suited his
views in all respects. Frequently, on Moreau's passage to the place
where he was to embark, the mayors of the towns, whose business it
was to viser his passport of banishment, shewed him the most
respectful attention. "Gentlemen," said one of them to his audience,
"make way for General Moreau," and he made an obeisance to him as he
would have done to the emperor. There was still a France in the
hearts of men, but the idea of acting according to one's opinion had
already ceased to exist, and at present it is difficult to know if
there remains any, it has been so long stifled. When he arrived at
Cadiz, these same Spaniards, who were a few years after destined to
give so great an example, paid every possible homage to a victim of
tyranny. When Moreau passed through the English fleet, their vessels
saluted him as if he had been the commander of an allied army. Thus
the supposed enemies of France took upon them to acquit her debt to
one of her most illustrious defenders. When Bonaparte caused Moreau
to be arrested, he said, "I might have made him come to me, and have
told him: 'Listen, you and I cannot remain upon the same soil; go
therefore, as I am the strongest;' and I believe he would have gone.
But these chivalrous manners are puerile in public matters."
Bonaparte believes, and has had the art to persuade several of the
Machiavelian apprentices of the new generation, that every generous
feeling is mere childishness. It is high time to teach him that
virtue also has something manly in it, and more manly than crime
with all its audacity.

* M. Clavier.


Commencement of the Empire.

The motion to call Bonaparte to the Empire was made in the tribunate
by a conventionalist, formerly a jacobin, supported by Jaubert, an
advocate, and deputy from the merchants of Bourdeaux, and seconded
by Simeon, a man of understanding and good sense, who had been
proscribed as a royalist under the republic. It was Bonaparte's wish
that the partisans of the old regime, and those of the permanent
interests of the nation, should unite in choosing him. It was
settled that registers should be opened all over France, to enable
every one to express his wish regarding the elevation of Bonaparte
to the throne. But without waiting for the result of this, prepared
as it was before-hand, he took the title of emperor by a senatus
consultum, and this unfortunate senate had not even the strength to
put constitutional limits to this new monarchy. A tribune, whose
name I wish I dared mention,* had the honor to make a special motion
for that purpose. Bonaparte, in order to anticipate this idea,
adroitly sent for some of the senators, and told them, "I feel very
much at thus being placed in front; I like my present situation much
better. The continuation of the republic is, however, no longer
possible; people are quite tired out with it: I believe that the
French wish for royalty. I had at first thought of recalling the old
Bourbons, but that would have only ruined them, and myself. It is my
thorough conviction, that there must be at last a man at the head of
all this; perhaps, however, it would be better to wait some time
longer I have made France a century older in the last five years;
liberty, that is a good civil code, and modern nations care little
for any thing but property. However, if you will believe me, name a
committee, organise the constitution, and, I tell you fairly." added
he smiling, "take precautions against my tyranny; take them, believe
me." This apparent good nature seduced the senators, who, to say the
truth, desired nothing better than to be seduced. One of them, a men
of letters, of some distinction, but one of those philosophers who
are always finding philanthropic motives for being satisfied with
power, said to one of my friends, "It is wonderful! with what
simplicity the emperor allows himself to be told every thing! The
other day, I made him a discourse an hour long, to prove the
absolute necessity of founding the new dynasty on a charter which
should secure the rights of the nation." And what reply did he make
you? was asked. "He clapped me on the shoulder with the most perfect
good humour, and told me: 'You are quite right, my dear senator; but
trust me, this is not the moment for it'." And this senator, like
many others, was quite satisfied with having spoken, though his
opinion was not in the least degree acted upon. The feelings of
self-importance have a prodigiously greater influence over the
French than those of character.

* M. Gallois.

A very odd peculiarity in the French, and which Bonaparte has
penetrated with great sagacity, is, that they, who are so ready to
perceive what is ridiculous in others, desire nothing better than to
render themselves ridiculous, as soon as their vanity finds its
account in it in some other way. Nothing certainly presents a
greater subject for pleasantry, than the creation of an entirely new
noblesse, such as Bonaparte established for the support of his new
throne. The princesses and queens, citizenesses of the day before,
could not themselves refrain from laughing at hearing themselves
styled, your majesty. Others, more serious, delighted in having
their title of monseigneur repeated from morning to night, like
Moliere's City Gentleman. The old archives were rummaged for the
discovery of the best documents on etiquette; men of merit found a
grave occupation in making coats of armour for the new families;
finally, no day passed which did not afford some scene worthy of the
pen of Moliere; but the terror, which formed the back ground of the
picture, prevented the grotesque of the front from being laughed at
as it deserved to be. The glory of the French generals illustrated
all, and the obsequious courtiers contrived to slide themselves in
under the shadow of military men, who doubtless deserved the severe
honors of a free state, but not the vain decorations of such a
court. Valor and genius descend from heaven, and whoever is gifted
with them has no need of other ancestors. The distinctions which are
accorded in republics or limited monarchies ought to be the reward
of services rendered to the country, and every one may equally
pretend to them; but nothing savours so much of Tartar despotism as
this crowd of honors emanating from one man, and having his caprice
for their source.

Puns without end were darted against this nobility of yesterday;
and a thousand expressions of the new ladies were quoted, which
presumed little acquaintance with good manners. And certainly there
is nothing so difficult to learn, as the kind of politeness which is
neither ceremonious nor familiar: it seems a trifle, but it
requires a foundation in ourselves; for no one acquires it, if it is
not inspired by early habits or elevation of mind. Bonaparte himself
is embarrassed on occasions of representation; and frequently in his
own family, and even with foreigners, he seems to feel delighted in
returning to those vulgar actions and expressions which remind him
of his revolutionary youth. Bonaparte knew very well that the
Parisians made pleasantries on his new nobility; but he knew also
that their opinions would only be expressed in vulgar jokes, and not
in strong actions. The energy of the oppressed went not beyond the
equivoque of a pun; and as in the East they have been reduced to the
apologue, in France they sunk still lower, namely, to the clashing
of syllables. A single instance of a jeu de mots deserves, however,
to survive the ephemeral success of such productions; one day as the
princesses of the blood were announced, some one added, of the blood
of Enghien. And in truth, such was the baptism of this new dynasty.

Several of the old nobility who had been ruined by the revolution,
were not unwilling to accept employments at court. It is well known
by what a gross insult Bonaparte rewarded their complaisance. "I
proposed to give them rank in my army, and they declined it; I
offered them places in the administration, and they refused them;
but when I opened my anti-chambers, they rushed into them in
crowds." They had no longer any asylum but in his power. Several
gentlemen, on this occasion, set an example of the most noble
resistance; but how many others have represented themselves as
menaced before they had the least reason for apprehension! and how
many more have solicited for themselves or their families,
employments at court, which all of them, ought to have spurned at!
The military or the administrative careers are the only ones in
which we can flatter ourselves with being useful to our country,
whoever may be the chief who governs it; but employments at court
render you dependant on the man, and not on the state.

Registers were made to receive votes for the empire, like those
which had been opened for the consulship for life; even all those
who did not sign, were, as in the former instance, reckoned as
voting for; and the small number of individuals who thought proper
to write no, were dismissed from their employments. M. de Lafayette,
the constant friend of liberty, again exhibited an invariable
resistance; he had the greater merit, because already in this
country of bravery, they no longer knew how to estimate courage. It
is quite necessary to make this distinction, as we see the divinity
of fear reign in France over the most intrepid warriors. Bonaparte
would not even subject himself to the law of hereditary monarchy,
but reserved the power of adopting and choosing his successor in the
manner of the East. As he had then no children, he wished not to
give his own family the least right; and at the very moment of his
elevating them to ranks to which assuredly they had no pretensions,
he subjected them to his will by profoundly combined decrees, which
entwined the new thrones with chains.

The fourteenth of July was again celebrated this year, (1804)
because it was said the empire consecrated all the benefits of the
revolution. Bonaparte had said that storms had strengthened the
roots of government; he pretended that the throne would guarantee
liberty: he repeated in all manner of ways, that Europe would be
tranquillized by the re-establishment of monarchy in the government
of France. In fact, the whole of Europe, with the exception of
illustrious England, recognized his new dignity: he was styled my
brother, by the knights of the ancient royal brotherhood. We have
seen in what manner he has rewarded them for their fatal
condescension. If he had been sincerely desirous of peace, even old
King George himself, whose reign has been the most glorious in the
English annals, would have been obliged to recognize him as his
equal. But, a very few days after his coronation, Bonaparte
pronounced some words which disclosed all his purposes: "People
laugh at my new dynasty; in five years time it will be the oldest in
all Europe." And from that moment he has never ceased tending
towards this end.

A pretext was required, to be always advancing, and this pretext was
the liberty of the seas. It is quite incredible how easy it is to
make the most intelligent people on earth swallow any nonsense for
gospel. It is still one of those contrasts which would be altogether
inexplicable, if unhappy France had not been stripped of religion
and morality by a fatal concurrence of bad principles and
unfortunate events. Without religion no man is capable of any
sacrifice, and as without morality no one speaks the truth, public
opinion is incessantly led astray. It follows therefore, as we have
already said, that there is no courage of conscience, even when that
of honor exists: and that with admirable intelligence in the
execution, no one even asks himself what all this is to lead to?

At the time that Bonaparte formed the resolution to overturn the
thrones of the Continent, the sovereigns who occupied them were all
of them very honorable persons. The political and military genius of
the world was extinct, but the people were happy; although the
principles of free constitutions were not admitted into the
generality of states, the philosophical ideas which had for fifty
years been spreading over Europe had at least the merit of
preserving from intolerance, and mollifying the reign of despotism.
Catherine II. and Frederic II. both cultivated the esteem of the
French authors, and these two monarchs, whose genius might have
subjected the world, lived in presence of the opinion of enlightened
men and sought to captivate it. The natural bent of men's minds was
directed to the enjoyment and application of liberal ideas, and
there was scarcely an individual who suffered either in his person
or in his property. The friends of liberty were undoubtedly in the
right, in discovering that it was necessary to give the faculties an
opportunity of developing themselves; that it was not just that a
whole people should depend on one man; and that a national
representation afforded the only means of guaranteeing the
transitory benefits that might be derived from the reign of a
virtuous sovereign. But what came Bonaparte to offer? Did he bring a
greater liberty to foreign nations? There was not a monarch in
Europe who would in a whole year have committed the acts of
arbitrary insolence which signalized every day of his life. He came
solely to make them exchange their tranquillity, their independence,
their language, their laws, their fortunes, their blood, and their
children, for the misfortune and the shame of being annihilated as
nations, and despised as men. He began finally that enterprize of
universal monarchy, which is the greatest scourge by which mankind
can be menaced, and the certain cause of eternal war.

None of the arts of peace at all suit Bonaparte: he finds no
amusement but in the violent crises produced by battles. He has
known how to make truces, but he has never said sincerely, enough;
and his character, irreconcileable with the rest of the creation, is
like the Greek fire, which no strength in nature has been known to



There is at this place in the manuscript a considerable vacuum, of
which I have already given an explanation*, and which I am not
sufficiently informed to make the attempt to fill up. But to put the
reader in a situation to follow my mother's narrative, I will run
over rapidly the principal circumstances of her life during the five
years which separate the first part of these memoirs from the

* See the Preface.

On her return to Switzerland after the death of her father, the
first desire she felt was to seek some alleviation of her sorrow in
giving to the world the portrait of him whom she had just lost, and
in collecting the last traces of his thoughts. In the Autumn of
1804, she published the MSS. of her father, with a sketch of his
public and private character.

My mother's health, impaired by misfortune, necessitated her to go
and breathe the air of the South. She set out for Italy. The
beautiful sky of Naples, the recollections of antiquity, and the
chefs-d'oeuvre of art, opened to her new sources of enjoyment, to
which she had been hitherto a stranger; her soul, overwhelmed with
grief, seemed to revive to these new impressions, and she recovered
sufficient strength to think and to write. During this journey, she
was treated by the diplomatic agents of France without favor, but
without injustice. She was interdicted a residence at Paris; she was
banished from her friends and her habits; but tyranny had not, at
least at that time, pursued her beyond the Alps; persecution had not
as yet been established as a system, as it was afterwards. I even
feel a real pleasure in mentioning that some letters of
recommendation sent her by Joseph Bonaparte, contributed to render
her residence at Rome more agreeable.

She returned from Italy in the summer of 1805, and passed a year at
Coppet and Geneva, where several of her friends were collected.
During this period she began to write Corinne.

During the following year, her attachment to France, that feeling
which had so much power over her heart, made her quit Geneva and go
nearer to Paris, to the distance of forty leagues from it, which was
still permitted to her. I was then pursuing my studies, preparatory
to entering into the Polytechnic school; and from her great goodness
to her children, she wished to watch over their education, as near
as her exile could allow her. She went in consequence to settle at
Auxerre, a little town where she had no acquaintance, but of which
the prefect, M. de la Bergerie, behaved to her with great kindness
and delicacy.

From Auxerre she went to Rouen: this was approaching some leagues
nearer the centre to which all the recollections and all the
affections of her youth attracted her. There she could at least
receive letters daily from Paris; she had penetrated without any
obstacle the inclosure, entrance into which had been forbidden to
her; she might hope that the fatal circle would progressively be
contracted. Those only who have suffered banishment will be able to
understand what passed in her heart. M. de Savoie-Rollin was then
prefect of the Lower Seine; it is well known by what glaring
injustice he was removed some years afterwards, and I have reason to
believe that his friendship for my mother, and the interest which he
shewed for her, during her residence at Rouen, were no slight causes
of the rigor of which he became the object.

Fouche was still minister of police. His system was, as my mother
has said, to do as little evil as possible, the necessity of the
object admitted. The Prussian monarchy had just fallen; there was no
longer any enemy upon the Continent to struggle with the government
of Napoleon; no internal resistance shackled his progress, or could
afford the least pretext for the employment of arbitrary measures;
what motive, therefore, could he have for prolonging the most
gratuitous persecution of my mother? Fouche then permitted her to
come and settle at the distance of twelve leagues from Paris, upon
an estate belonging to M. de Castellane. There she finished Corinne,
and superintended the printing of it. In other respects, the retired
life she there led, the extreme prudence of her whole conduct, and
the very small number of persons who were not prevented by the fear
of disgrace from coming to visit her, might have been sufficient to
tranquillize the most suspicious despotism. But all this did not
satisfy Bonaparte; he wanted my mother to renounce entirely the
employment of her talents, and to interdict her from writing even
upon subjects the most unconnected with politics. It will be seen
that even at a later period this abnegation was not sufficient to
preserve her from a continually increasing persecution.

Scarcely had Corinne made her appearance, when a new exile commenced
for my mother, and she saw all the hopes vanish, with which she had
for some months been consoling herself. By a fatality which rendered
her grief more pungent, it was on the 9th of April, the anniversary
of her father's death, that the order which again banished her from
her country, and her friends, was signified to her. She returned to
Coppet, with a bleeding heart, and the prodigious success of Corinne
afforded very little diversion to her sorrow.

Friendship, however, succeeded in accomplishing what literary glory
had failed to do; and, thanks to the proofs of affection which she
received on her return to Switzerland, the summer passed more
agreeably than she could have hoped. Several of her friends left
Paris to come to see her, and Prince Augustus of Prussia, to whom
peace had restored his liberty, did us the honor to stop several
months at Coppet, prior to his return to his native country.

Ever since her journey to Berlin, which had been so cruelly
interrupted by the death of her father, my mother had regularly
continued the study of the German literature and philosophy; but a
new residence in Germany was necessary to enable her to complete the
picture of that country, which she proposed to present to France. In
the autumn of 1807, she set out for Vienna, and she there once more
found, in the society of the Prince de Ligne, of the Princess
Lubomirski, &c. &c. that urbanity of manners and ease of
conversation, which had such charms in her eyes. The Austrian
government, exhausted by the war, had not then the strength to be an
oppressor on its own account, and notwithstanding preserved towards
France, an attitude which was not without dignity and independence.
The objects of Napoleon's hatred might still find an asylum at
Vienna; the year she passed in that city, was therefore, the most
tranquil one she had enjoyed since the commencement of her exile.

On her return to Switzerland, where she spent two years in writing
her reflections upon Germany, she was not long in perceiving the
progress which the imperial tyranny was every day making, and the
contagious rapidity with which the passion for places, and the fear
of disgrace, were spreading. No doubt several friends, both at
Geneva and in France, preserved to her during her misfortunes, a
courageous and unshaken fidelity; but, whoever had any connection
with the government, or aspired to any employment, began to keep at
a distance from her house, and to dissuade timid people from
approaching it. My mother suffered a great deal from all these
symptoms of servitude, which she detected with incomparable
sagacity; but the more unhappy she was, the more she felt the desire
of diverting from the persons who were about her, the miseries of
her situation, and of diffusing around her that life and
intellectual movement, which solitude seemed to exclude.

Her talent for declamation was the means of amusement which had the
greatest influence over herself, at the same time that it varied the
pleasures of her society. It was at this period, and while she was
still laboring on her great work on Germany, that she composed and
played at Coppet, the greater part of the little pieces which are
collected in the 16th volume of her works*, under the title of
Dramatic Essays.

* Or the Second Volume of her OEuvres inedites.

Finally, at the beginning of summer, 1810, having finished the three
volumes of Germany, she wished to go and superintend the printing of
them, at 40 leagues distance from Paris, a distance which was still
permitted to her, and where she might hope to see again those of her
old friends, whose affections had not bent before the disgrace of
the Emperor.

She went, therefore, to reside in the neighbourhood of Blois, in'
the old castle of Chaumont-sur-Loire, which had in former times been
inhabited by the Cardinal d'Amboise, Diana of Poitiers, and
Catherine de Medicis. The present proprietor of this romantic
residence, M. Le Ray, with whom my parents were connected by the
ties of friendship and business, was then in America. But just at
the time we were occupying his chateau, he returned from the United
States with his family, and though he was very urgent in wishing us
to remain in his house, the more he pressed us politely to do so,
the more anxiety we felt, lest we should incommode him. M. de
Salaberry relieved us from this embarrassment with the greatest
kindness, by placing at our disposal his house at Fosse. At
this period my mother's narrative recommences.

Part The Second


Suppression of my Work on Germany.--Banishment from France.

Being unable to remain longer in the castle of Chaumont, the
proprietors of which had returned from America, I went and fixed
myself at a farm called Fosse, which a generous friend lent me.* The
house was inhabited by a Vendean soldier, who certainly did not keep
it in the nicest order, but who had a loyal good nature that made
every thing easy, and an originality of character that was very
amusing. Scarcely had we arrived, when an Italian musician, whom I
had with me to give lessons to my daughter, began playing upon the
guitar; my daughter accompanied upon the harp the sweet voice of my
beautiful friend Madame Recamier; the peasants collected round the
windows, astonished to see this colony of troubadours, which had
come to enliven the solitude of their master. It was there I passed
my last days in France, with some friends, whose recollection lives
in my heart. Certainly this intimate assemblage, this solitary
residence, this agreeable occupation with the fine arts did no harm
to any one. We frequently sung a charming air composed by the Queen
of Holland, and of which the burden is: 'Do what you ought, happen
what may'. After dinner, we had imagined the idea of seating
ourselves round a green table and writing letters to each other,
instead of conversing. These varied and multiplied tetes-a-tete
amused us so much, that we were impatient to get from table, where
we were talking, in order to go and write to one another. When any
strangers came in accidentally, we could not bear the interruption
of our habits; and our penny post (it is thus we called it) always
went its round. The inhabitants of the neighbouring town were
somewhat astonished at these new manners, and looked upon them as
pedantic, while there was nothing in this game, but a resource
against the monotony of solitude. One day a gentleman of the
neighbourhood who had never thought of any thing in his life but the
chase, came to take my boys with him into the woods; he remained
sometime seated at our active but silent table; Madame Recamier
wrote a little note with her beautiful hand to this jolly sportsman,
in order that he might not be too much a stranger to the circle in
which he was placed. He excused himself from receiving it, assuring
us that he could never read writing by day-light: we laughed a
little at the disappointment which the benevolent coquetry of our
beautiful friend had met with, and thought that a billet from her
hand would not have always had the same fate. Our life passed in
this manner, without any of us, if I may judge from myself, finding
the time at all burdensome.

* M. de Salaberry.

The opera of Cinderella was making a great noise at Paris; I wished
to go and see it represented at a paltry provincial theatre at
Blois. Coming out of the theatre on foot, the people of the place
followed me in crowds from curiosity, more desirous of knowing me
because I was an exile, than from any other motive. This kind of
celebrity which I derived from misfortune, much more than from
talent, displeased the minister of police, who wrote sometime after
to the prefect of Loir and Cher, that I was surrounded by a court.
"Certainly," said I to the prefect* "it is not power at least which
gives it me."

* M. de Corbigny, an amiable and intelligent man.

I had always the intention of repairing to England by the way of
America; but I was anxious to terminate my work on Germany. The
season was now advancing; we were already at the fifteenth of
September, and I began to foresee that the difficulty of embarking
my daughter with me would detain me another winter, in some town, I
knew not where, at forty leagues from Paris. I was then desirous
that it should be Vendome, where I knew several clever people, and
where the communication with the capital was easy. After having
formerly had one of the most brilliant establishments in Paris, I
was now contented to anticipate considerable pleasure from
establishing myself at Vendome; fate however denied me even this
modest happiness.

On the 23d of September I corrected the last proof of Germany; after
six years' labor, I felt the greatest delight in putting the word
End to my three volumes. I made a list of one hundred persons to
whom I wished to send copies, in different parts of France and
Europe; I attached great importance to this book, which I thought
well adapted to communicate new ideas to France; it appeared to me
that a sentiment elevated without being hostile, had inspired it,
and that people would find in it a language which was no longer

Furnished with a letter from my publisher, which assured me that the
censorship had authorised the publication of my work, I believed
that I had nothing to apprehend, and set out with my friends for an
estate of M. Mathieu de Montmorency, at five leagues from Blois. The
house belonging to this estate is situated in the middle of a
forest; there I walked about with the man whom I most respect in the
world, since I have lost my father. The fineness of the weather, the
magnificence of the forest, the historical recollections which the
place recalled, being the scene of the battle of Fretteval, fought
between Philip Augustus and Richard Coeur-de-Lion, all contributed
to fill my mind with the most quiet and delightful impressions. My
worthy friend, who is only occupied in this world with rendering
himself worthy of heaven, in this conversation, as in all those we
have had together, paid no attention to affairs of the day, and only
sought to do good to my soul. We resumed our journey the next day,
and in these plains of the Vendomois, where you meet not with a
single habitation, and which like the sea seem to present every
where the same appearance, we contrived to lose ourselves
completely. It was already midnight, and we knew not what road to
take, in a country every where the same, and where fertility is as
monotonous as sterility is elsewhere, when a young man on horseback,
perceiving our embarrassment, came and requested us to pass the
night in the chateau of his parents.* We accepted his invitation,
which was doing us a real service, and we found ourselves all of a
sudden in the midst of the luxury of Asia, and the elegance of
France. The masters of the house had spent a considerable time in
India, and their chateau was adorned with every thing they had
brought back from their travels. This residence excited my
curiosity, and I found myself extremely comfortable in it. Next day
M. de Montmorency gave me a note from my son which pressed me to
return home, as my work had met with fresh difficulties from the
censorship. My friends who were with me in the chateau conjured me
to go; I had not the least suspicion of what they were concealing
from me, and thinking there was nothing but what Augustus's letter
mentioned,* whiled away the time in examining the Indian curiosities
without any idea of what was in store for me. At last I got into the
carriage, and my brave and intelligent Vendean whom his own dangers
had never moved, squeezed my hand, with tears in his eyes: I guessed
immediately that they were making a mystery to me of some new
persecution, and M. de Montmorency, in reply to my interrogations,
at last acquainted me that the minister of the police had sent his
myrmidons to destroy the ten thousand copies which had been printed
of my book, and that I had received an order to quit France within
three days. My children and friends had wished me not to hear this
news while I was among strangers; but they had taken every possible
precaution to prevent the seizure of my manuscript, and they
succeeded in saving it, some hours before I was required to deliver
it up. This new blow affected me most severely, I had flattered
myself with an honorable success by the publication of my book: if
the censors had in the first instance refused to authorise its being
printed, that would have appeared to me very simple; but after
having submitted to all their observations, and made all the alterations
required of me, to learn that my work was destroyed, and that I must
separate my self from the friends who had supported my courage, all
this made me shed tears. But I endeavored once more to get the
better of my feelings, in order to determine what was best to be
done in a crisis where the step I was about to take might have so
much influence on the fortunes of my family. As we drew near my
habitation, I gave my writing desk, which contained some further
notes upon my book, to my youngest son; he jumped over a wall to get
into the house by the garden. An English lady*, my excellent friend,
came out to meet me and inform me of all that had happened. I
observed at a distance some, gendarmes who were wandering round
residence, but it did not appear that they were in search of me:
they were no doubt in pursuit of some other unfortunates, conscripts,
exiles, persons in surveillance, or, in short, of some of the
numerous classes of oppressed which the present government of France
has created.

* (Note of the Editor.)
Uneasy at not seeing my mother arrive, I took horse to go and meet
her, in order to soften as much as was in my power, the news which
she had to learn upon her return; but I lost myself like her, in the
uniform plains of the Vendomois, and it was only in the middle of
the night that a fortunate chance conducted me to the gate of the
chateau where the rites of hospitality had been given to her. I
caused M. de Montmorency to be awakened, and after having informed
him of this new instance of the persecution which the imperial
police directed against my mother, I set off again to finish putting
her papers in safety, leaving to M. de Montmorency the charge of
preparing her for the new blow with which she was threatened.

* Miss Randall.

The prefect of Loir and Cher came to require the delivery of my
manuscript: I gave him, merely to gain time, a rough copy which
remained with me, and with which he was satisfied. I have learned
that he was extremely ill-treated a few months afterwards, to punish
him for having shewn me some attention: and the chagrin he felt at
having incurred the disgrace of the emperor, was, it is said, one of
the causes of the illness which carried him off in the prime of
life. Unfortunate country, where the circumstances are such, that a
man of his understanding and talent should sink under the chagrin of

I saw in the papers, that some American vessels had arrived in the
ports of the Channel, and I determined to make use of my passport
for America, in the hope that it would be possible to touch at an
English port. At all events I required some days to prepare for this
voyage, and I was obliged to address myself to the minister of police
to ask for that indulgence. It has been already seen that the custom
of the French government is to order women, as well as soldiers, to
depart within twenty-four hours. Here follows the minister's reply:
it is curious to observe his style*.

* (Note of the Editor.)
This is the same letter which was printed in the Preface to Germany,

Paris, 3d October, 1810.

"I have received the letter, madam, which you did me the honor to
write to me. Your son will have informed you that I saw no
impropriety in your delaying your departure for seven or eight days:
I hope they will be sufficient for the arrangements which you have
yet to make, as I cannot grant you any more.

"You must not seek for the cause of the order which I have signified
to you, in the silence which you have observed with regard to the
emperor in your last work; that would be a great mistake; he could
find no place there which was worthy of him; but your exile is a
natural consequence of the line of conduct you have constantly
pursued for several years past. It has appeared to me that the air
of this country did not at all agree with you, and we are not yet
reduced to seek for models in the nations whom you admire.

"Your last work is not at all French; it is by my orders that the
impression has been seized. I regret the loss which it will occasion
to the bookseller; but it is not possible for me to allow it to

"You know, madam, that you would not have been permitted to quit
Coppet but for the desire you had expressed to go to America. If my
predecessor allowed you to reside in the department of Loir and
Cher, you had no reason to look upon this license as any revocation of the
arrangements which had been fixed with regard to you. At present you
compel me to make them be strictly executed; for this you have no
one to blame but yourself.

"I have signified to M. Corbigny* to look to the punctual execution
of the order I have given him, as soon as the term I grant you is

* Prefect of Loir and Cher.

"I regret extremely, madam, that you have forced me to begin my
correspondence with you by an act of severity; it would have been
much more agreeable to me to have only had to offer you the
assurance of the high consideration with which I have the honor
to be, madam,

"Your most humble, and most obedient servant,
Signed the DUKE of ROVIGO.

"P. S, I have reasons, madam, for mentioning to you that the ports
of Lorient, La Rochelle, Bourdeaux, and Rochefort, are the only ones in
which you can embark. I request you to let me know which of them you

* This postscript is easily understood; its object was to prevent me
from going to England.

The stale hypocrisy with which I was told that the air of this
country did not agree with me, and the denial of the real cause of
the suppression of my book, are worthy of remark. In fact, the
minister of police had shown more frankness in expressing himself
verbally respecting me: he asked, why I never named the emperor or
the army in my work on Germany? On its being objected that the work
being purely literary, I could not well have introduced such
subjects, "Do you think," then replied the minister, "that we have
made war for eighteen years in Germany, and that a person of such
celebrity should print a book upon it, without saying a word about
us? This book shall be destroyed, and the author deserves to be sent
to Vincennes."

On receiving the letter of the minister of police, I paid no
attention to any part but that passage of it which interdicted me
the ports of the Channel. I had already learned, that suspecting my
intention of going to England, they would endeavour to prevent me.
This new mortification was really above my strength to bear; on
quitting my native country, I must go to that of my adoption; in
banishing myself from the friends of my whole life, I required at
least to find those friends of whatever is good and noble, with
whom, without knowing them personally, the soul always sympathises.
I saw at once all that supported my imagination crumbling to pieces;
for a moment longer I would have embarked on board any vessel bound
for America, in the hope of her being captured on her passage; but I
was too much shaken to decide at once on so strong a resolution; and
as the two alternatives of America and Coppet were the only ones
that were left me, I determined on accepting the latter; for a
profound sentiment always attracted me to Coppet, in spite of the
disagreeables I was there subjected to.

My two sons both endeavoured to see the emperor at Fontainbleau,
where he then was; they were told they would be arrested if they
remained there; a fortiori, I was interdicted from going to it myself.
I was obliged to return into Switzerland from Blois, where I was,
without approaching Paris nearer than forty leagues. The minister
of police had given notice, in corsair terms, that at thirty-eight
leagues I was a good prize. In this manner, when the emperor
exercises the arbitrary power of banishment, neither the exiled
persons, nor their friends, nor even their children, can reach
his presence to plead the cause of the unfortunates who are thus
torn from the objects of their affection and their habits; and these
sentences of exile, which are now irrevocable, particularly where
women are the objects, and which the emperor himself has rightly
termed proscriptions, are pronounced without the possibility of
making any justification be heard, supposing always that the crime
of having displeased the emperor admits of any.

Although the forty leagues were ordered me, I was necessitated to
pass through Orleans, a very dull town, but inhabited by several
very pious ladies, who had retired thither for an asylum. In walking
about the town on foot, I stopped before the monument erected to the
memory of Joan of Arc: certainly, thought I to myself, when she
delivered France from the power of the English, that same France was
much more free, much more France than it is at present. One feels a
singular sensation in wandering through a town, where you neither know,
nor are known to a soul. I felt a kind of bitter enjoyment in picturing
to myself my isolated situation in its fullest extent, and in still
looking at that France which I was about to quit, perhaps for ever,
without speaking to a person, or being diverted from the impression
which the country itself made upon me. Occasionally persons passing
stopped to look at me, from the circumstance I suppose of my
countenance having, in spite of me, an expression of grief; but they
soon went on again, as it is long since mankind have been accustomed
to witness persons suffering.

At fifty leagues from the Swiss frontier, France is bristled with
citadels, houses of detention, and towns serving as prisons; and
every where you see nothing but individuals deprived of their liberty
by the will of one man, conscripts of misfortune, all chained at a
distance from the places where they would have wished to live. At
Dijon, some Spanish prisoners, who had refused to take the oath,
regularly came every day to the market place to feel the sun at
noon, as they then regarded him rather as their countryman; they
wrapt themselves up in a mantle, frequently in rags, but which they
knew how to wear with grace, and they gloried in their misery, as it
arose from their boldness; they hugged themselves in their sufferings,
as associating them with the misfortunes of their intrepid country.
They were sometimes seen going into a coffee house, solely to read the
newspaper, in order to penetrate the fate of their friends through
the lies of their enemies; their countenances were then immoveable,
but not without expression, exhibiting strength under the command of
their will. Farther on, at Auxonne, was the residence of the English
prisoners, who had the day before saved from fire, one of the houses
of the town where they were kept confined. At Besancon, there were
more Spaniards. Among the French exiles to be met with in every part
of France, an angelic creature inhabited the citadel of Besancon, in
order not to quit her father. For a long period, and amidst every
sort of danger, Mademoiselle de Saint Simon shared the fortunes of
him who had given her birth.

At the entrance of Switzerland, on the top of the mountains which
separate it from France, you see the castle of Joux, in which
prisoners of state are detained, whose names frequently never reach
the ear of their relations. In this prison Toussaint Louverture
actually perished of cold; he deserved his fate on account of his
cruelty, but the emperor had the least right to inflict it upon him,
as he had engaged to guarantee to him his life and liberty. I passed
a day at the foot of this castle, during very dreadful weather, and
could not help thinking of this negro transported all at once into
the Alps, and to whom this residence was the hell of ice; I thought
of the more noble beings, who had been shut up there, of those who
were still groaning in it, and I said to myself also that if I was
there, I should never quit it with life. It is impossible to convey
an idea to the small number of free nations which remain upon the
earth, of that absence of all security, the habitual state of the
human creatures who live under the empire of Napoleon. In other
despotic governments there are laws, and customs, and a religion,
which the sovereign never infringes, however absolute he may be; but
in France, and in Europe France, as every thing is new, the past can
be no guarantee, and every thing may be feared as well as hoped
according as you serve, or not, the interests of the man who dares
to propose himself, as the sole object of the existence of the whole
human race.


Return to Coppet.--Different persecutions.

In returning to Coppet, dragging my wing like the pigeon in
Lafontaine, I saw the rainbow rise over my father's house; I dared
take my part in this token of the covenant; there had been nothing
in my sorrowful journey to prevent me from aspiring to it. I was
then almost resigned to living in this chateau, renouncing the idea
of ever publishing more on any subject; but it was at least
necessary, in making the sacrifice of talents, which I flattered
myself with possessing, to find happiness in my affections, and this
is the manner in which my private life was arranged, after having
stript me of my literary existence.

The first order received by the prefect of Geneva, was to intimate
to my two sons, that they were interdicted going into France without
a new permission of the police. This was to punish them for having
wished to speak to Bonaparte in favor of their mother. Thus the
morality of the present government is to loosen family ties, in
order to substitute in all cases the emperor's will. Several
generals have been mentioned as declaring, that if Napoleon ordered
them to throw their wives and children into the river, they would
not hesitate to obey him. The translation of this is, that they
prefer the money which the emperor gives them, to the family which
they have from nature. There are many instances of this way of
thinking, but there are few who would have impudence enough to give
utterance to it. I felt a mortal grief at seeing for the first time
my situation bear upon my sons, scarcely entered into life. We feel
ourselves very firm in our own conduct, when it is founded on
sincere conviction; but when others begin to suffer on our account,
it is almost impossible to keep from reproaching ourselves. Both my
sons, however, most generously diverted this feeling from me, and we
supported each other mutually by the recollection of my father.

A few days afterwards the prefect of Geneva wrote me a second
letter, to require me, in the name of the minister of police, to
deliver up the proof sheets of my book which were still in my hands;
the minister knew exactly the number I had sent and kept, and his
spies had done their duty well. In my answer, I gave him the
satisfaction of admitting that he had been correctly informed; but I
told him at the same time that this copy was not in Switzerland, and
that I neither could nor would give it up. I added, however, that I
would engage never to have it printed on the Continent, and I had no
great merit in making this promise, for what Continental government
would then have suffered the publication of any book forbidden, by
the emperor?

A short time afterwards, the prefect of Geneva* was dismissed, and
it was generally believed on my account; he was one of my friends,
yet he had not deviated one iota from the orders he had received:
although he was one of the most honorable and enlightened men in
France, his principles led him to the scrupulous obedience of the
government, whose servant he was; but no ambitious view, or personal
calculation gave him the zeal required. It was another great source
of chagrin to be, or to be regarded as being, the cause of the
dismissal of such a man. He was generally regretted in his
department, and from the moment it was believed that I was the cause
of his disgrace, all who had any pretensions to places avoided my
house as they would the most fatal contagion. There still remained
to me, however at Geneva, more friends than any other provincial
town in France could have offered me; for the inheritance of liberty
has left in that city much generous feeling; but it is impossible to
have an idea of the anxiety one feels, when one is afraid of
compromising those who come to visit you. I made a point of getting
the most exact information of all the relations of any lady before I
invited her; for if she had only a cousin who wanted a place, or had
one, it was demanding an act of Roman heroism to expect her to come
and dine with me; At last, in the month of March 1811, a new prefect
arrived from Paris. He was a man admirably well adapted to the
reigning system: that is to say, having a very general acquaintance
with facts, coupled with a total absence of principles in matters of
government; calling every fixed rule mere abstraction, and placing
his conscience in devotion to the reigning power. The first time I
saw him, he told me that talents like mine were made to celebrate
the emperor, who was a subject well worthy of the kind of enthusiasm
which I had shown in Corinna. I gave him for answer, that persecuted
as I was by the emperor, any thing like praise of him coming from
me, would have the air of a petition, and that I was persuaded that
the emperor himself would find my eulogiums very ridiculous under
such circumstances. He combatted this opinion very strongly: he
returned to my house several times to beg me, in the name of my own
interest, as he styled it, to write something in favor of the
emperor, were it but a sheet of four pages; that would be
sufficient, he assured me, to put an end to all the disagreeables I
suffered. He repeated what he told me to every person of my
acquaintance. Finally, one day he came to propose to me to celebrate
in verse the birth of the king of Rome; I told him, laughing, that I
had not a single idea on the subject, and that I should confine
myself to wishes for his having a good nurse. This joke put an end
to the prefect's negociations with me, upon the necessity of my
writing in favor of the present government.

* M. de Barante, father of M. Prosper de Barante, member of the
* Chamber of Peers.

A short time afterwards the physicians ordered my youngest son the
baths of Aix, in Savoy, at twenty leagues from Coppet. I chose the
early part of May to go there, a time of the year when the waters
are quite deserted. I gave the prefect notice of this little
journey, and went to shut myself up in a kind of village, where
there was not at the time a single person of my acquaintance. I had
hardly been there ten days, before a courier arrived from the
prefect of Geneva to order me to return. The prefect of Mont-Blanc,
in whose department I was, was also afraid lest I should leave Aix
to go to England, as he said, to write against the emperor; and
although London was not very near to Aix in Savoy, he sent his
gendarmes every where about, to forbid my being furnished with post
horses on the road. I am at present tempted to laugh at all this
prefectorial activity against a poor thing like myself; but at that
time the very sight of a gendarme was enough to make me die with
fright. I was always alarmed lest from a banishment so rigorous the
change might shortly be to a prison, which was to me more terrible
than death itself. I knew that if I was once arrested, that if this
eclat were once got over, the emperor would not allow himself again
to be spoken to about me, even if any one had the courage to do so;
which was not very probable at that court, where terror was the
prevailing sentiment every minute of the day, and in the most
trifling concerns of life.

On my return to Geneva, the prefect signified to me not only that he
forbid me from going under any pretence to the countries united to
France, but that he advised me not to travel in Switzerland, and
never to go in any direction beyond two leagues from Coppet. I
objected to him that being domiciliated in Switzerland, I did not
clearly understand by what right a French authority could forbid me
from travelling in a foreign country. The prefect no doubt thought
me rather a simpleton to discuss at that moment a point of right,
repeated his advice to me in a tone singularly approaching to an
order. I confined myself my protest: but the very next day I learned
that one of the most distinguished literati of Germany, M. Schlegel,
who had for eight years been employed in the education of my sons,
had received an order not only to leave Geneva, but to quit Coppet.
I wished still to represent that in Switzerland the prefect of
Geneva had no orders to give; but I was told, that if I liked better
to receive this order through the French ambassador, I might be
gratified: that the ambassador would address the landamann, and the
landamann would apply to the canton of Vaud, who would immediately
send M. Schlegel from my house. By making despotism go this
roundabout, I might have gained ten days, but nothing more. I then
wished to know why I was deprived of the society of M. Schlegel, my
own friend, and that of my children. The prefect, who was
accustomed, like the greater part of the emperor's agents, to couple
very smooth words with very harsh acts, told me that it was from
regard to me that the government banished M. Schlegel from my house
as he made me an Anti-gallican. Much affected by this proof of the
paternal care of the government, I asked what Mr. S. had ever done
against France: the prefect objected to his literary opinions, and
referred among other things to a pamphlet of his, in which, in a
comparison between the Phedra of Euripides and that of Racine, he
had given the preference to the former. How very delicate for a
Corsican monarch to take in this manner act and cause (sic) for the
slightest shades of French literature! But the real truth was, M.
Schlegel was banished because he was my friend, because his
conversation animated my solitude, and because the system was now
begun to be acted upon, which soon became evident, of making a
prison of my soul, in tearing from me every enjoyment of intellect
and friendship.

I resumed the resolution of leaving Switzerland, which the pain of
quitting my friends and the ashes of my parents had made me so often
give up; but there remained a very difficult problem to solve, and
that was to find the means of departure. The French government threw
so many difficulties in the way of a passport for America, that I
durst no longer think of that plan. Besides, I had reason to be
afraid lest at the moment of my embarkation they should pretend to
have discovered that I was going to England, and that the decree
might be applied to me, which condemned to imprisonment all who
attempted to go there without the authority of the government. It
seemed to me, therefore, much preferable to go to Sweden, that
honorable country, whose new chief already gave indications of the
glorious conduct which he has since known how to sustain. But by
what road to get to Sweden? The prefect had given me to understand
in all ways, that wherever France commanded, I should be arrested,
and how was I to reach the point where she did not command? I must
necessarily pass through Russia, as the whole of Germany was under
the French dominion. But to get to Russia, I must cross Bavaria and
Austria. I could trust my self in the Tyrol, although it was united
to a state of the confederation, on account of the courage which its
unfortunate inhabitants had shewn. As to Austria, in spite of the
fatal debasement into which she had sunk, I had sufficient
confidence in her monarch to believe that he would not deliver me
up; but I knew also that he could not defend me. After having
sacrificed the ancient honor of his house, what strength remained to
him of any kind? I spent my days, therefore, in studying the map of
Europe to escape from it, as Napoleon studied it to make himself its
master, and my campaign, as well as his, always had Russia for its
field. This power was the last asylum of the oppressed; it was
therefore that which the conqueror of Europe wished to overthrow.


Journey in Switzerland with M. de Montmorency.

Determined to go by the way of Russia, I required a passport to
enter it. But a fresh difficulty occurred; I must write to
Petersburgh to obtain this passport: such was the formality which
circumstances rendered necessary; and although I was certain of
meeting with no refusal from the known generous character of the
emperor Alexander, I had reason to be afraid that in the ministerial
offices it might be mentioned that I had asked for a passport, and
in that way get to the French ambassador's ears, which would lead
to my arrest, and prevent me from executing my project. It was
necessary, therefore, to go first to Vienna, to ask for my passport
from thence, and there wait for it. The six weeks which would be
required to send my letter and receive an answer, would be passed
under the protection of a ministry which had given the archduchess
of Austria to Bonaparte;-could I trust myself to it? It was clear,
however, that by remaining as a hostage, under the hand of Napoleon,
I not only renounced the exercise of my own talents, but I prevented
my sons from following any public career; they could enter into no
service, either for Bonaparte or against him; it was impossible to
find an establishment for my daughter, as it was necessary either to
separate myself from her, or to confine her to Coppet; and yet if I
was arrested in my flight, there was an end of the fortune of my
children, who would not have wished to separate themselves from my

It was in the midst of all these perplexities, that a friend of
twenty years standing, M. Mathieu de Montmorency proposed to come
and see me, as he had already done several times since my exile.
It is true that I was written to from Paris, that the Emperor had
expressed his displeasure against everyone who should go to Coppet,
and especially against M. de Montmorency, if he again went there.
But I confess I made light of these expressions of the Emperor,
which he throws out sometimes to terrify people, and struggled very
feebly with M. de Montmorency, who generously sought to tranquillize
me by his letters. I was wrong, no doubt; but who could have
persuaded themselves that an old friend of a banished woman would
have it charged to him as a crime, his going to spend a few days
with her. The life of M. de Montmorency, entirely consecrated to
works of piety, or to family affections, estranged him so completely
from all politics, that unless it would even go the length of
banishing the saints, it seemed to me impossible that the government
would attack such a man. I asked myself likewise, cui bono; a
question I have always put to myself whenever any action of Napoleon
was in discussion. I know that he will, without hesitation, do all
the evil which can be of use to him for the least thing; but I do
not always conjecture the lengths to which his prodigious egotism
extends in all directions, towards the infinitely little, as well as
the infinitely great.

Although the prefect had made me be told that he recommended me not
to travel in Switzerland, I paid no attention to an advice which
could not be made a formal order. I went to meet M. de Montmorency
at Orbd, and from thence I proposed to him, as the object of a
promenade in Switzerland, to return by way of Fribourg, to see the
establishment of female Trappists, at a short distance front that of
the men in Val-Sainte.

We reached the convent in the midst of a severe shower, after having
been obliged to come nearly a mile on foot. As we were flattering
ourselves with being admitted, the Procureur of la Trappe, who has
the direction of the female convent, told us that nobody could be
received there. I tried, however, to ring the bell at the gate of
the cloister; a nun appeared behind the latticed opening through
which the portress may speak to strangers.

"What do you want?" said she to me, in a voice without modulation as
we might suppose that of a ghost. "I should wish to see the interior
of your convent."--"That is impossible."--"But I am very wet, and
want to dry myself."--She immediately touched a spring which opened
the door of an outer apartment, in which I was allowed to rest
myself; but no living creature appeared. I had hardly been seated a
few minutes, when becoming impatient at being unable to penetrate
into the interior of the house, I rung again; the same person again
appeared, and I asked her if no females were ever admitted into the
convent; she answered that it was only in cases when any one had the
intention of becoming a nun. "But," said I to her, "how can I know
if I wish to remain in your house, if I am not permitted to examine
it."--"Oh, that is quite useless," replied she, "I am very sure
that you have no vocation for our state," and with these words
immediately shut her wicket. I know not by what signs this nun had
satisfied herself of my worldly dispositions; it is possible that a
quick manner of speaking, so different from theirs, is sufficient to
make them distinguish travellers, who are merely curious. The hour
of vespers approaching, I could go into the church to hear the nuns
sing; they were behind a black plose grating, through which nothing
could be seen. You only heard the noise of their wooden shoes, and
of the wooden benches as they raised them to sit down. Their singing
had nothing of sensibility in it, and I thought I could remark both
by their manner of praying, and in the conversation which I had
afterwards with the father Trappist, who directed them, that it was
not religious enthusiasm, such as we conceive it, but severe and
grave habits which could support such a kind of life. The tenderness
of piety would even exhaust the strength; a sort of ruggedness of
soul is necessary to so rude an existence.

The new Father Abbe of the Trappists, settled in the vallies of the
Canton of Fribourg, has added to the austerities of the order. One
can have no idea of the minute degrees of suffering imposed upon the
monks; they go so far as even to forbid them, when they have been
standing for some hours in succession, from leaning against the
wall, or wiping the perspiration from their forehead; in short every
moment of their life is filled with suffering, as the people of the
world fills theirs with enjoyment. They rarely live to be old, and
those to whom this lot falls, regard it as a punishment from heaven.
Such an establishment would be barbarous if any one was compelled to
enter it, or if there was the least concealment of what they suffer
there. But on the contrary, they distribute to whoever wishes to
read it, a printed statement, in which the rigors of the order are
rather exaggerated than softened; and yet there are novices who are
willing to take the vows, and those who are received never run away,
although they might do it without the least difficulty. The whole
rests, as it appears to me, upon the powerful idea of death; the
institutions and amusements of society are destined in the world to
turn our thoughts entirely upon life; but when the contemplation of
death gets a certain hold of the human heart, joined to a firm
belief in the immortality of the soul, there are no bounds to the
disgust which it may take to every thing which forms a subject of
interest in the world; and a state of suffering appearing the road
to a future life, such minds follow it with avidity, like the
traveller, who willingly fatigues himself, in order to get sooner
over the road which leads him to the object of his wishes. But what
equally astonished and grieved me, was to see children brought
up with this severity: their poor locks shaved off, their young
countenances already furrowed, that deathly dress with which they
were covered before they knew any thing of life, before they had
voluntarily renounced it, all this made my soul revolt against the
parents who had placed them there. When such a state is not the
adoption of a free and determined choice on the part of the person
who professes it, it inspires as much horror as it at first created
respect. The monk with whom I conversed, spoke of nothing but death;
all his ideas came from that subject, or connected themselves with
it; death is the sovereign monarch of this residence. As we talked
of the temptations of the world, I expressed to the father Trappist
my admiration of his conduct in thus sacrificing all, to withdraw
himself from their influence. "We are cowards" said he to me, "who
have retired into a fortress, because we feel we want the courage
to meet our enemy in the open field." This reply was equally modest
and ingenious*.

A few days after we had visited these places, the French government
ordered the seizure of the father Abbe, M. de L'Estrange; the
confiscation of the property of the order, and the dismissal of the
fathers from Switzerland.

* (Note of the Editor.)I accompanied my mother in the excursion here
related. Struck with the wild beauty of the place, and interested by
the spiritual conversation of the Trappist who had attended us, I
besought him to grant me hospitality until the following day, as I
proposed going over the mountain on foot, in order to see the great
convent of the Val-Sainte, and rejoining my mother and M. de
Montmorency at Fribourg. This monk, with whom I continued to
converse, had not much difficulty in discovering that I hated the
imperial government, and I could guess that he fully participated in
that sentiment. Afterwards, after thanking him for his kindness, I
entirely lost sight of him, nor did I imagine, that he had preserved
the least recollection of me.

Five years afterwards, in the first months of the Restoration, I was
not a little surprised at receiving a letter from this same

He had no doubt, he said, that now the legitimate monarch was
restored to his throne, I must have a number of friends at court,
and he requested me to employ their influence in procuring to his
order the restoration of the property which it possessed in France.
This letter was signed "Father A .... priest and procureur of La
Trappe," and he added, as a postscript, "If a twenty-three years'
emigration' and four campaigns in a regiment of horse-chasseurs in
the army of Conde, give me any claims to the royal favor, I beg you
will make use of them."

I could not help laughing, both at the idea which this good monk had
of my influence at court, and at the use of it which he required
from a protestant. I sent his letter to M. de Montmorency, whose
influence was much greater than mine, and I have reason to believe
that the petition was granted.

In other respects, these Trappists were not, in the deep vales
of the Canton of Fribourg, such strangers to politics as their
residence and their habit would lead one to believe.

I have since learned that they served as a medium for the
correspondence of the French clergy with the pope, then a prisoner
at Savonne. Certainly, although this does not at all excuse the
rigor with which they were treated by Bonaparte, it gives a
sufficient explanation of it.
(End of editor's note.)

I know not of what M. de L'Estrange was accused; but it is scarcely
probable that such a man should have meddled with the affairs
of the world, much less the monks, who never quitted their solitude.
The Swiss government caused search to be made every where for M. de
L'Estrange, and I hope for its honor, that it took care not to find
him. However, the unfortunate magistrates of countries which are
called allies of France, are very often employed to arrest persons
designated to them, ignorant whether they are delivering innocent
or guilty victims to the great Leviathan, which thinks proper to
swallow them up. The property of the Trappists was seized, that is
to say, their tomb, for they hardly possessed any thing else, and
the order was dispersed. It is said, that a Trappist at Genoa had
mounted the pulpit to retract the oath of allegiance which he had
taken to the emperor, declaring that since the captivity of the
pope, he considered every priest as released from this oath. At his
coming out from performing this act of repentance, he was, report
also says, tried by a military commission, and shot. One would think
that he was sufficiently punished, without rendering the whole order
responsible for his conduct.

We regained Vevay by the mountains, and I proposed to M. de
Montmorency to proceed as far as the entrance of the Valais, which I
had never seen. We stopped at Bex, the last Swiss village, for the
Valais was already united to France. A Portuguese brigade had left
Geneva to go and occupy the Valais: singular state of Europe, to
have a Portuguese garrison at Geneva going to take possession of a
part of Switzerland in the name of France! I had a curiosity to see
the Cretins of the Valais, of whom I had so often heard. This
miserable degradation of man affords ample subject for reflection;
but it is excessively painful to see the human countenance thus
become an object of horror and repugnance. I remarked, however, in
several of these poor creatures, a degree of vivacity bordering on
astonishment, produced on them by external objects. As they never
recognize what they have already seen, they feel each time fresh
surprize, and the spectacle of the world, with all its details, is
thus for ever new to them; it is, perhaps, the compensation for
their sad state, for certainly there is one. It is some years since
a Cretin, having committed assassination, was condemned to death: as
he was led to the scaffold, he took it into his head, seeing himself
surrounded with a crowd of people, that he was accompanied in this
manner to do him honor, and he laughed, held himself erect, and put
his dress in order, with the idea of rendering himself more worthy
of the fete. Was it right to punish such a being for the crime which
his arm had committed?

There is at three leagues from Bex, a famous cascade, where the
water falls from a very lofty mountain. I proposed to my friends to
go and see it, and we returned before dinner. It is true that this
cascade was upon the territory of the Valais, consequently then upon
the French territory, and I forgot that I was not allowed more of
that than the small space of ground which separates Coppet from
Geneva. When I returned home, the prefect not only blamed me for
having presumed to travel in Switzerland, but made it the greatest
proof of his indulgence to keep silence on the crime I had
committed, in setting my foot on the territory of the French empire.
I might have said, in the words of Lafontaine's fable:

*Je tondu de ce pre la largeur de ma langue

(I grazed of this meadow the breadth of my tongue.) But I confessed
with great simplicity the fault I had committed in going to see this
Swiss cascade, without dreaming that it was in France.


Exile of M. de Montmorency and Madame Recamier--New persecutions.

This continual chicanery upon my most trifling actions, rendered my
life odious to me, and I could not divert myself by occupation;
for the recollection of the fate of my last work, and the certainty
of never being able to publish any thing in future, operated as a
complete damper to my mind, which requires emulation to be capable
of labor. Notwithstanding, I could not yet resolve to quit for ever
the borders of France, the abode of my father, and the friends who
remained faithful to me. Every day I thought of departing, and every
day I found in my own mind some reason for remaining, until the last
blow was aimed at my soul; God knows what I have suffered from it.

M. de Montmorency came to pass several days with me at Coppet, and
the wickedness of detail in the master of so great an empire is so
well calculated, that by the return of the courier who announced his
arrival at Coppet, my friend received his letter of exile. The
emperor would not have been satisfied if this order had not been
signified to him at my house, and if there had not been in the
letter itself of the minister of police, a word to signify that I
was the cause of this exile. M. de Montmorency endeavoured, in every
possible way, to soften the news to me, but, I tell it to Bonaparte,
that he may applaud himself on the success of his scheme, I shrieked
with agony on learning the calamity which I had drawn on the head of
my generous friend; and never was my heart, tried as it had been for
so many years, nearer to despair. I knew not how to lull the rending
thoughts which succeeded each other in my bosom, and had recourse to
opium to suspend for some hours the anguish which I felt. M. do
Montmorency, calm and religious, invited me to follow his example;
the consciousness of the devotedness to me which he had condescended
to show, supported him: but for me, I reproached myself for the
bitter consequences of this devotedness, which now separated him
from his family and friends. I prayed to the Almighty without
ceasing, but grief would not quit its hold of me for a moment, and
life became a burden to me.

While I was in this state, I received a letter from Madame Recamier,
that beautiful person who has received the admiration of the whole
of Europe, and who has never abandoned an unfortunate friend. She
informed me, that on her road to the waters of Aix in Savoy, to
which she was proceeding, she intended stopping at my house, and
would be there in two days. I trembled lest the lot of M. de
Montmorency should also become hers. However improbable it was, I
was ordained to fear every thing from hatred so barbarous and
minute, and I therefore sent a courier to meet Madame Recamier, to
beseech her not to come to Coppet. To know that she who had never
failed to console me with the most amiable attention was only a few
leagues distant from me; to know that she was there, so near to my
habitation, and that I was not allowed to see her again, perhaps for
the last time! all this I was obliged to bear. I conjured her not to
stop at Coppet; she would not yield to my entreaties; she could not
pass under my windows without remaining some hours with me, and it
was with convulsions of tears that I saw her enter this chateau, in
which her arrival had always been a fete. She left me the next day,
and repaired instantly to one of her relations at fifty leagues
distance from Switzerland. It was in vain; the fatal blow of exile
smote her also; she had had the intention of seeing me, and that was
enough; for the generous compassion which had inspired her, she must
be punished. The reverses of fortune which she had met with made the
destruction of her natural establishment extremely painful to her.
Separated from all her friends, she has passed whole months in a
little provincial town, a prey to the extremes of every feeling of
insipid and melancholy solitude. %Such was the lot to which I was
the cause of condemning the most brilliant female of her time; and
thus regardless did the chief of the French, that people so renowned
for their gallantry, show himself towards the most beautiful woman
in Paris. In one day he smote virtue and distinguished birth in M.
de Montmorency; beauty in Madame Recamier, and if I dare say it, the
reputation of high talents in myself. Perhaps he also flattered
himself with attacking the memory of my father in his daughter, in
order that it might be truly said that in this world, under his
reign, the dead and the living, piety, beauty, wit, and celebrity,
all were as nothing. Persons made themselves culpable by being found
wanting in the delicate shades of flattery towards him, in refusing
to abandon any one who had been visited by his disgrace. He
recognises but two classes of human creatures, those who serve him,
and those, who without injuring, wish to have an existence
independent of him. He is unwilling that in the whole universe, from
the details of housekeeping to the direction of empires, a single
will should act without reference to his.

"Madam de Stael," said the prefect of Geneva, "has contrived to make
herself a very pleasant life at Coppet; her friends and foreigners
come to see her: the emperor will not allow that." And why did he
torment me in this manner? that I might print an eulogium upon him:
and of what consequence was this eulogium to him, among the millions
of phrases which fear and hope were constantly offering at his
shrine? Bonaparte once said: "If I had the choice, either of doing a
noble action myself, or of inducing my adversary to do a mean one, I
would not hesitate to prefer the debasement of my enemy." In this
sentence you have the explanation of the particular pains which he
took to torment my existence. He knew that I was attached to my
friends, to France, to my works, to my tastes, to society; in taking
from me every thing which composed my happiness, his wish was to
trouble me sufficiently to make me write some piece of insipid
flattery, in the hope that it would obtain me my recall. In refusing
to lend myself to his wishes, I ought to say it, I have not had the
merit of making a sacrifice; the emperor wished me to commit a
meanness, but a meanness entirely useless; for at a time when
success was in a manner deified, the ridicule would not have been
complete, if I had succeeded in returning to Paris, by whatever
means I had effected it. To satisfy our master, whose skill in
degrading whatever remains of lofty mind is unquestionable, it was
necessary that I should dishonor myself in order to obtain my return
to France,--that he should turn into mockery my zeal in praise of
him, who had never ceased to persecute me,--and that this zeal
should not be of the least service to me. I have denied him this
truly refined satisfaction; it is all the merit I have had in the
long contest which has subsisted between his omnipotence and my

M. de Montmorency's family, in despair at his exile, were anxious,
as was natural, that he should separate himself from the sad cause
of this calamity, and I saw that friend depart without knowing if he
would ever again honor with his presence my residence on this earth.
On the 31st of August, 1811, I broke the first and last of the ties
which bound me to my native country; I broke them, at least so far
as regards human connections, which can no longer exist between us;
but I never lift my eyes towards heaven without thinking of my
excellent friend, and I venture to believe also, that in his prayers
he answers me. Beyond this, fate has denied me all other
correspondence with him.

When the exile of my two friends became known, I was assailed by a
whole host of chagrins of every kind; but a great misfortune renders
us in a manner insensible to fresh troubles. It was reported that
the minister of police had declared that he would have a soldier's
guard mounted at the bottom of the avenue of Coppet, to arrest
whoever came to see me. The prefect of Geneva, who was instructed,
by order of the emperor he said, to annul me (that was his
expression), never missed an opportunity of insinuating, or even
declaring publicly, that no one who had any thing either to hope or
fear from the government ought to venture near me. M. de
Saint-Priest, formerly minister of Louis XVI. and the colleague of
my father, honored me with his affection; his daughters who dreaded,
and with reason, that he might be sent from Geneva, united their
entreaties with mine that he would abstain from visiting me.
Notwithstanding, in the middle of winter, at the age of
seventy-eight, he was banished not only from Geneva, but from
Switzerland; for it is fully admitted, as has been seen in my own
case, that the emperor can banish from Switzerland as well as from
France; and when any objections are made to the French agents, on
the score of being in a foreign country, whose independence is
recognised, they shrug up their shoulders, as if you were wearying
them with Metaphysical quibbles. And really it is a perfect quibble
to wish to distinguish in Europe anything but prefect-kings, and
prefects receiving their orders directly from the emperor of France.
If there is any difference between the soi-disant allied countries
and the French provinces, it is that the first are rather worse
treated. There remains in France a certain recollection of having
been called the great nation, which sometimes obliges the emperor to
be measured in his proceedings; it was so at least, but every day
even that becomes less necessary. The motive assigned for the
banishment of M. de Saint-Priest was, that he had not induced his
sons to abandon the service of Russia. His sons had, during the
emigration, met with the most generous reception in Russia; they had
there been promoted, their intrepid courage had there been properly
rewarded; they were covered with wounds, they were distinguished
among the first for their military talents; the eldest was now more
than thirty years of age. How was it possible for a father to ask
that the existence of his sons, thus established, should be
sacrificed to the honor of coming to place themselves en
surveillance on the French territory? for that was the enviable lot
which was reserved for them. It was a source of melancholy
satisfaction to me, that I had not seen M. de Saint-Priest for four
months previous to his banishment; had it not been for that, no one
would have doubted that it was I who had infected him with the
contagion of my disgrace.

Not only Frenchmen, but foreigners, were apprised that they must not
go to my house. The prefect kept upon the watch to prevent even old
friends from seeing me. One day, among others, he deprived me, by
his official vigilance, of the society of a German gentleman, whose
conversation was extremely agreeable to me, and I could not help
telling him, on this occasion, that he might have spared himself
this extraordinary degree of persecution. "How!" replied he, "it was
to do you a service that I acted in this manner; I made your friend
sensible that he would compromise you by going to see you." I could
not refrain from a smile at this ingenious argument. "Yes,"
continued he with the most perfect gravity, "the emperor, seeing you
preferred to himself, would be displeased with you for it." "So
that" I replied, "the emperor expects that my private friends, and
shortly, perhaps, my own children, should forsake me to please him;
that seems to me rather too much. Besides, I do not well see how a
person in my situation can be compromised; and what you say reminds
me of a revolutionist who was applied to, in the times of terror, to
use his endeavours to save one of his friends from the scaffold. I
am afraid, said he, that my speaking in his favor would only injure
him." The prefect smiled at my quotation, but continued that train
of reasoning, which, backed as it is with four hundred thousand
bayonets, always appears the soundest. A man at Geneva said to me,
"Do not you think that the prefect declares his opinion with a great
deal of frankness?" "Yes," I replied, "he says with sincerity that
he is devoted to the man of power; he says with courage that he is
of the strongest side; I am not exactly sensible of the merit of
such an avowal."

Several independent ladies at Geneva continued to show me marks of
the greatest kindness, of which I shall always retain a deep
recollection. But even to the clerks in the custom houses, regarded
themselves as in a state of diplomacy with me; and from prefects to
sub-prefects, and from the cousins of one and the other, a profound
terror would have seized them all, if I had not spared them, as much
as was in my power, the anxiety of paying or not paying a visit.
Every courier brought reports of other friends of mine being exiled
from Paris, for having kept up connections with me; it became a
matter of strict duty for me to avoid seeing a single Frenchman of
the least note; and very often I was even apprehensive of injuring
persons in the country where I was living, whose courageous
friendship never failed itself towards me. I felt two opposite
sensations, and both, I believe, equally natural; melancholy at
being forsaken, and cruel anxiety for those who showed attachment to
me. It is difficult to conceive a situation in life more painful at
every moment; for the space of nearly two years that I endured it, I
may say truly that I never once saw the day return without a feeling
of desolation at having to support the existence which that day
renewed. But why should not you leave it then? will be said, and was
said incessantly to me from all quarters. A man whom I ought not to
name*, but who I trust knows how much I esteem the elevation of his
character and conduct, said to me: "If you remain, he will treat you
as Elizabeth did Mary Stuart:--nineteen years of misery, and the
catastrophe at last." Another person, witty but unguarded in his
expressions, wrote to me, that it was dishonorable to remain after
so much ill-treatment. I had no need of these recommendations to
wish, passionately wish, to depart; from the moment that I could no
longer see my friends, that I was only a burden to my children's
existence, was it not time to determine? The prefect, however,
repeated in every possible way, that if I went off, I should be
seized; that at Vienna, as well as at Berlin, I should be reclaimed;
and that I could not make the least preparation for departure
without his being informed of it; for he knew, he said, every thing
that passed in my house. In that respect he was a boaster, and, as
the event has proved, exhibited mere fatuity in matters of
espionnage. But who would not have been terrified at the tone of
assurance with which he told all my friends that I could not move a
step without being seized by the gendarmes!

* Count Elzearn de Sabran.


Departure from Coppet.

I passed eight months in a state I cannot describe, every day making
a trial of my courage, and every day shrinking at the idea of a
prison. All the world certainly fears it; but my imagination has
such a dread of solitude, my friends are so necessary to me, to
support and animate me, and to turn my attention to a new
perspective when I sink under the intensity of painful sensations,
that never has death presented itself to me under such terrible
features as a prisoner a dungeon, where I might remain for years
without ever hearing a friendly voice. I have been told that one of
the Spaniards who defended Saragossa with the most astonishing
intrepidity, utters the most dreadful shrieks in the tower at
Vincennes, where he is kept confined; so much does this frightful
solitude affect even the most energetic minds! Besides, I could not
disguise from myself that I was not courageous; I have a bold
imagination, but a timid character, and all kinds of perils appear
to me like phantoms. The species of talent which I possess brings
images to me with such living freshness, that if the beauties of
nature are improved by it, dangers are made more dreadful. Sometimes
I was afraid of a prison, sometimes of robbers, if I was obliged to
go through Turkey, in the event of Russia being shut against me by
political combinations: sometimes also the immense sea which I must
cross between Constantinople and London, filled me with terror for
my daughter and myself. Nevertheless I had always the wish to
depart; an inward feeling of boldness excited me to it; but I might
say, like a well known Frenchman, "I tremble at the dangers to which
my courage is about to expose me." In truth, what adds to the
horrible barbarity of persecuting females, is, that their nature is
both irritable and weak; they suffer more acutely from trouble, and
are less capable of the strength required to escape from it.

I was also affected by another kind of terror: I was afraid that the
moment the emperor knew of my departure, he would insert in the
newspapers one of those articles which he knows so well how to
dictate, when he wishes to commit moral assassination. A senator
told me one day, that Napoleon was the best journalist he ever knew;
and certainly if this expression meant to designate the art of
defaming individuals and nations, he possesses it in the highest
degree. Nations are not affected by it; but he has acquired in the
revolutionary times he has passed through, a certain tact in
calumnies suitable to vulgar comprehension, which makes him find the
expressions best adapted for circulation among those whose wit is
confined to repeating the phrases published by the government for
their use. If the Moniteur accused any one of robbing on the
highway, no French, German, or Italian journal could admit his
justification, It is almost impossible to represent to one's self
what a man is, at the head of a million of soldiers, and possessed
of ten millions of revenue, having all the prisons of Europe at his
disposal, with the kings for his gaolers, and using the press as his
mouth-piece, at a time when people have hardly the intimacy of
friendship to make a reply; finally, with the ability of turning
misfortune into ridicule: execrable power, whose ironical enjoyment
is the last insult which the infernal genii can make the human race

Whatever independence of character one had, I believe that no one
could refrain from shuddering at the idea of having such power
directed against one's self; at least I confess having felt this
movement very strongly; and in spite of the melancholy of my
situation, I frequently said to myself, that a roof for shelter, a
table for sustenance, and a garden for exercise, formed a lot with
which one must learn to be contented; but even this lot, such as it
was, no one could be certain of retaining in peace; a word might
escape, a word might be repeated, and this man, whose power was
continually on the increase, to what a point might he not at last be
irritated? When the sun shone brightly, my courage returned; but
when the sky was covered with clouds, travelling terrified me, and I
discovered in myself a taste for indolent pursuits, foreign to my
nature, but which fear had given birth to; physical happiness
appeared to me then greater than I had previously regarded it, and
every sort of exertion alarmed me. My health also, cruelly affected
by so many troubles, weakened the energy of my character, so that
during this period I put the patience of my friends to a most severe
test, by an eternal discussion of the plans in deliberation, and
overwhelming them with my uncertainties.

I tried a second time to obtain a passport for America; they made me
wait till the middle of winter before they gave me the answer I
required, which terminated in a refusal. I then offered to enter
into an engagement never to print any thing upon any subject, not
even a bouquet to Iris, provided I was allowed to live at Rome; I
had the vanity to remind them that it was the author of Corinna who
asked permission to go and live in Italy. Doubtless the minister of
police had never found a similar motive inscribed upon his
registers, and the air of the south, which was so necessary to my
health, was mercilessly refused me.

They never ceased declaring to me that my whole life should be spent
in the circle of two leagues, which separates Coppet from Geneva. If
I remained, I must separate myself from my sons, who were of an age
to seek a profession; and if my daughter shared my fortune, I
imposed upon her the most melancholy perspective. The city of
Geneva, which has preserved such noble traces of liberty, was,
notwithstanding, gradually allowing herself to be gained over by the
interests which connected her with the distributors of places in
France. Every day the number of persons with whom I could be in
intelligence diminished; and all my feelings became a weight upon my
soul, in place of being a source of life. There was an end of my
talents, of my happiness, of my existence, for it is frightful to be
of no service to one's children, and to be the cause of injuring
one's friends. Finally, the news I received, announced to me from
all quarters the formidable preparations of the emperor: it was
evident that he wished first to make himself master of the ports of
the Baltic by the destruction of Russia, and that afterwards he
reckoned on making use of the wrecks of that power to lead them
against Constantinople: and his subsequent intention was to make
that the point of starting for the conquest of Asia and Africa. A
short time before he left Paris, he had said, "I am tired of this
old Europe." And in truth she is no longer sufficient for the
activity of her master. The last outlets of the Continent might be
closed from one moment to another, and I was about to find myself in
Europe as in a garrisoned town, where all the gates are guarded by

I determined therefore on going off, while there yet remained one
means of getting to England, and that means the tour of the whole of
Europe. I fixed the 15th of May for my departure, the preparations
for which had been arranged long before-hand in the most profound
secrecy. On the eve of that day, my strength abandoned me entirely,
and for a moment I almost persuaded myself that such a degree of
terror as I felt could only proceed from the consciousness of
meditating a bad action. Sometimes I consulted all sort of presages
in the most foolish manner; at others, which was much wiser, I
interrogated my friends and myself on the morality of my resolution.
It appears to me that the part of resignation in all things may be
the most religious, and I am not surprised that pious men should
have gone so far as to feel a sort of scruple about resolutions
proceeding from free will. Necessity appears to bear a sort of
divine character, while man's resolution may be connected with his
pride. It is certain, however, that none of our faculties have been
given us in vain, and that of deciding for one's self has also its
use, On another side, all persons of mediocre intellect are
continually astonished that talent has different desires from
theirs. When it is successful, all the world might do the same; but
when it is productive of trouble, when it excites to stepping out of
the common track, these same people regard it no longer but as a
disease, and almost as a crime. I heard continually buzzing about me
the commonplaces with which the world suffers itself to be led: "Has
not she plenty of money? Can she not live well and sleep well in a
good house?" Some persons of a higher cast felt that I had not even
the certainty of my sad situation, and that it might get worse,
without ever getting better. But the atmosphere which surrounded me
counselled repose, because, for the last six months I had not been
assailed by any new persecution, and because men always believe that
what is, is what will be. It was in the midst of all these
dispiriting circumstances that I was called upon to take one of the
strongest resolutions which can occur in the private life of a
female. My servants, with the exception of two confidential persons,
were entirely ignorant of my secret; the greatest part of those who
visited me had not the least idea of it, and by a single action, I
was going to make an entire change in my own life and that of my
family. Torn to pieces by uncertainty, I wandered over the park of
Coppet; I seated myself in all the places where my father had been
accustomed to repose himself and contemplate nature; I regarded once
more these same beauties of water and verdure which we had so often
admired together. I bid them adieu, and recommended myself to their
sweet influence. The monument which encloses the ashes of my father
and my mother, and in which, if the good God permits, mine also will
be deposited, was one of the principal causes of the regret I felt
at banishing myself from the place of my residence; but I found
almost always on approaching it, a sort of strength which appeared
to me to come from on high. I passed an hour in prayer before that
iron gate which inclosed the mortal remains of the noblest of human
beings, and there, my soul was convinced of the necessity of
departure. I recalled the famous verses of Claudian*, in which he
expresses the kind of doubt which arises in the most religious minds
when they see the earth abandoned to the wicked, and the destiny of
mortals as it were floating at the mercy of chance. I felt that I
had no longer the strength necessary to feed the enthusiasm which
developed in me whatever good qualities I possessed, and that I must
listen to the voice of those of similar sentiments with myself, for
the purpose of strengthening my confidence in my own resources, and
preserving that self-respect which my father had instilled into me.
In this state of anxiety, I invoked several times the memory of my
father, of that man, the Fenelon of politics, whose genius was in
every thing opposed to that of Bonaparte; and genius he certainly
had, for it requires at least as much of that to put one's self in
harmony with heaven, as to invoke to one's aid all the instruments
which are let loose by the absence of laws divine and human. I went
once more to look at my father's study, where his easy chair, his
table, and his papers, still remained in their old situation; I
embraced each venerated mark, I took his cloak which till then I had
ordered to be left upon his chair, and carried it away with me, that
I might wrap myself in it, if the messenger of death approached me.
When these adieus were terminated, I avoided as much as I could any
other leave-takings, which affected me too much, and wrote to the
friends whom I quitted, taking care that my letters should not reach
them until several days after my departure.

* Saepe mihi dubiam traxitisententia mentem,
  Curarent Superi terras, an nullus inesset
  Rector, et incerto fluerent mortalia casu.

Abstulit hunc tandem Rufini poena tumultum,
 Absolvitque Deos.    Jam non ad culmina rerum
 Injustos crevisse queror; tolluntur in altum
 Ut lapsu graviore raent.

The next day, Saturday the 23rd of May,
1812, at two o'clock in the afternoon, I got into my carriage,
saying that I should return to dinner. I took no packet whatever
with me; I had my fan in my hand, and my daughter hers; only my son
and Mr. Rocca carried in their pockets what was necessary for some
days journey. In descending the avenue of Coppet, in thus quitting
that chateau which had become to me like an old and valued friend, I
was ready to faint: my son took my hand, and said, "My dear mother,
think that you are setting out for England*." That word revived my
spirits: I was still, however, at nearly two thousand leagues
distance from that goal, to which the usual road would have so
speedily conducted me: but every step brought me at least something
nearer to it. When I had proceeded a few leagues, I sent back one of
my servants to apprize my establishment that I should not return
until the next day, and I continued travelling night and day as far
as a farmhouse beyond Berne, where I had fixed to meet Mr. Schlegel,
who was so good as to offer to accompany me; there also I had to
leave my eldest son, who had been educated, up to the age of
fourteen, by the example of my father, whose features he reminds one
of. A second time all my courage abandoned me; that Switzerland,
still so tranquil and always so beautiful, her inhabitants, who know
how to be free by their virtues, even though they have lost their
political independence: the whole country detained me: it seemed to
tell me not to quit it. It was still time to return: I had not yet
made an irreparable step. Although the prefect had thought proper to
interdict me from travelling in Switzerland, I saw clearly that it
was only from the fear of my going beyond it. Finally, I had not yet
crossed the barrier which left me no possibility of returning; the
imagination feels a difficulty in supporting this idea. On the other
hand, there was also something irreparable in the resolution of
remaining; for after that moment, I felt, and the event has proved
the feeling correct, that I could no longer escape. Besides, there
is an indescribable sort of shame in recommencing such solemn
farewells, and one can scarcely resuscitate for one's friends more
than once. I know not what would have become of me, if this
uncertainty, even at the very moment of action, had lasted much
longer; for my head was quite confused with it. My children decided
me, and especially my daughter, then scarcely fourteen years old. I
committed myself, in a manner, to her, as if the voice of God had
made itself be heard by the mouth of a child*.

* England was then the hope of all who suffered for the cause of
liberty; how comes it, that after the victory, her ministers have so
cruelly deceived the expectation of Europe?
(Note by the Editor.)

My son took his leave, and after he was out of my sight, I could
say, like Lord Russel: the bitterness of death is past. I got into
my carriage with my daughter: uncertainty once terminated, I
collected all my strength within myself, and I found sufficient of
that for action which had altogether failed me for deliberation.

Note by the Editor:
* It was but a trifle to have succeeded in quitting Coppet, by
deceiving* the vigilance of the prefect of Geneva; it was also
necessary to obtain passports for the purpose of going through
Austria, and that these passports should be under a name which
would attract no attention from the different polices which then
divided Germany. My mother entrusted me with this commission, and
the emotion which I experienced from it will never cease to be
present to my thoughts. It was undoubtedly a decisive step; if
the passports were refused, my mother sunk again into a much more
cruel situation; her plans were known; flight was thenceforward
become impracticable, and the rigors of her exile would have
every day been more intolerable. I thought I could not do better
than to address myself directly to the Austrian minister, with
that confidence in the feelings of his equals which is the first
movement of every honest man. M. de Schraut made no hesitation in
granting me the so much desired passports, and I hope he will
allow me to express in this place the gratitude which I still
retain to him for them. At a period when Europe was still bending
under the yoke of Napoleon, during which the persecution directed
against my mother estranged from her persons who probably owed to
her courageous friendship the preservation of their fortunes, or
their lives, I was not surprised, but I was most sensibly
affected by the generous proceeding of the Austrian minister.

I left my mother to return to Coppet, to which the interests of her
fortune recalled me; and some days afterwards, my brother, of whom a
cruel death has deprived us almost at the moment of entrance into
his career set off to rejoin my mother at Vienna with her servants
and travelling carriage. It was only this second departure which
gave the hint to the police of the prefect of the Leman: so true it
is, that to the other qualities of espionnage we must still add
stupidity. Fortunately my mother was already far beyond the reach of
the gendarmes, and she could continue the journey of which the
narrative follows. (En of Note by the Editor).


Passage through Austria;--1812.

In this manner, after ten years of continually increasing
persecutions, first sent away from Paris, then banished into
Switzerland, afterwards confined to my own chateau, and at last
condemned to the dreadful punishment of never seeing my friends, and
of being the cause of their banishment: in this manner was I obliged
to quit, as a fugitive, two countries, France and Switzerland, by
order of a man less French than myself: for I was born on the
borders of that Seine where his tyranny alone naturalizes him. The
air of this fine country is not a native air to him: can he then
comprehend the pain of being banished from it, he who considers this
fertile country only as the instrument of his victories? Where is
his country? it is the earth which is subject to him. His fellow
citizens? they are the slaves who obey his orders. He complained one
day of not having had under his command, like Tamerlane, nations to
whom reasoning was unknown. I imagine that by this time he is
satisfied with Europeans: their manners, like their armies, now bear
a sufficient resemblance to those of Tartars.

I had nothing to fear in Switzerland, as
I could always prove that I had a right to be there; but to leave
it, I had only a foreign passport: I must go through one of the
confederated states, and if any French agent had required the
government of Bavaria to hinder me from passing, who does not know
with what regret, but at the same time, with what obedience it would
have executed the orders thus received? I entered into the Tyrol
with a great respect for that country, which had fought from
attachment to its ancient masters, but with a great contempt for
such of the Austrian ministers as had advised the abandonment of men
compromised by their attachment to their sovereign. It is said that
a subaltern diplomatist, head of the spy department in Austria,
thought proper one day, during the war, to maintain at the emperor's
table, that the Tyrolese should be abandoned: M. de H., a gentleman
of the Tyrol, counsellor of state in the Austrian service, who in
his actions and writings has exhibited the courage of a warrior, and
the talents of an historian, replied to these unworthy observations
with the contempt they deserved: the emperor signified his entire
approbation to M. de H., and showed by that at least that his
private feelings were strangers to the political conduct which he
was made to adopt. Thus it is that the greater part of the European
sovereigns, at the moment of Bonaparte making himself master of
France, who were extremely upright persons as individuals, were
already become mere cyphers as kings, as the government of their
states was entirely committed to circumstances and to their

The aspect of the Tyrol reminds one of Switzerland: there is not,
however, so much vigour and originality in the landscape, nor have
the villages the same appearance of plenty; it is in short a fine
country, which has been wisely governed, but never been free; and it
is only as a mountaineer people, that it has shown itself capable of
resistance. Very few instances of remarkable men can be mentioned
from the Tyrol: first, the Austrian government is scarcely fit to
develope genius; and, besides, the Tyrol, by its manners as well as
by its geographical position, should have formed a part of the Swiss
confederation: its incorporation with the Austrian monarchy not
being conformable to its nature, it has only developed by that union
the noble qualities of mountaineers, courage and fidelity.

The postilion who drove us showed us a rock on which the emperor
Maximilian, grandfather of Charles the Fifth, had nearly perished:
the ardor of the chace had stimulated him to such a degree, that he
had followed the chamois to heights from which it was impossible to
descend. This tradition is still popular in the country, so
necessary to nations is the admiration of the past. The memory of
the last war was still quite alive in the bosoms of the people; the
peasants showed us the summits of mountains on which they had
entrenched themselves: their imagination delighted in retracing the
effect of their fine warlike music, when it echoed from the tops of
the hills into the vallies. When we were shown the palace of the
prince-royal of Bavaria, at Inspruck, they told us that Hofer, the
courageous peasant and head of the insurrection, had lived there;
they gave us an instance of the intrepidity shown by a female, when
the French entered into her chateau: in short, every thing displayed
in them the desire of being a nation, much more than personal
attachment to the house of Austria.

In one of the churches at Inspruck is the famous tomb of Maximilian.
I went to see it, flattering myself with the certainty of not being
recognized by any person, in a place remote from the capitals where
the French agents reside. The figure of Maximilian in bronze, is
kneeling upon a sarcophagus, in the body of the church, and thirty
statues of the same metal ranged on each side of the sanctuary
represent the relations and ancestors of the emperor. So much past
grandeur, so much of the ambition formidable in its day, collected
in a family meeting round a tomb, formed a spectacle which led one
to profound reflection: there you saw Philip the Good, Charles the
Rash, and Mary of Bergundy; and in the midst of these historical
personages Dietrich of Berne, a fabulous hero: the closed visor
concealed the countenances of the knights, but when this visor was
lifted up a brazen countenance appeared under a helmet of brass, and
the features of the knight were of bronze, like his armour. The
visor of Dietrich of Berne is the only one which cannot be lifted
up, the artist meaning in that manner to signify the mysterious veil
which covers the history of this warrior,

From Inspruck I had to pass by Saltzburg, from thence to reach the
Austrian frontiers.

It seemed as if all my anxieties would be at an end, when I was once
entered on the territory of that monarchy which I had known so
secure and so good. But the moment which I most dreaded was the
passage from Bavaria to Austria, for it was there that a courier
might have preceded me, to forbid my being allowed to pass. In spite
of this apprehension, I had not been very expeditious, for my
health, which had been seriously injured by all I had suffered, did
not allow me to travel by night. I have often felt, during this
journey, that the greatest terror cannot overcome a sort of physical
depression, which makes one dread fatigue more than death. I
flattered myself, however, with arriving without any obstacle, and
already my fear was dissipated on approaching the object which I
thought secured, when on our entrance into the inn at Saltzburg, a
man came up to Mr. Schlegel who accompanied me, and told him in
German, that a French courier had been to inquire after a carriage
coming from Inspruck with a lady and a young girl, and that he had
left word he would return to get intelligence of them. I lost not a
word of what the innkeeper mentioned, and became pale with terror.
Mr. Schlegel also was alarmed on my account: he made some farther
inquiries, all of which made it certain, that this was a French
courier, that he came from Munich, that he had been as far as the
Austrian frontier to wait for me, and not finding me there, that he
had returned to meet me. Nothing appeared more clear: this was just
what I had dreaded before my departure, and during the journey. It
was impossible for me now to escape, as this courier, who it was
said was already at the post-house, would necessarily overtake me.
I determined on the spur of the moment to leave my carriage, my
daughter, and Mr. Schlegel at the inn, and to go alone and on foot
into the streets of the town, and take the chance' of entering the
first house whose master or mistress had a physiognomy that pleased
me. I would obtain of them an asylum for a few days; during this
time, my daughter and Mr. Schlegel might say that they were going to
rejoin me in Austria, and I should leave Salzburg afterwards in the
disguise of a country woman. Hazardous in the extreme as this
resource appeared, no other remained to me, and I was preparing for
the task, in fear and trembling, when who should enter my apartment
but this so much dreaded courier, who was no other than Mr. Rocca.
After having accompanied me the first day of my journey, he returned
to Geneva to terminate some business, and now came to rejoin me;
he had passed himself off as a French courier, in order to take
advantage of the terror which the name inspires, particularly to the
allies of France, and to obtain horses more quickly. He had taken
the Munich road, and had hurried on as far as the Austrian frontier,
to make himself sure that no one had preceded or announced me. He
returned to meet me, to tell me that I had nothing to fear, and to
get upon the box of my carriage as we passed that frontier, which
appeared to me the most dreadful, but also the last of my dangers.
In this manner my cruel apprehension was changed into a most
pleasing sentiment of gratefulness and security.

We walked about the town of Salzburg, which contains many noble
edifices, but like the greater part of the ecclesiastical
principalities of Germany, now presents a most dreary aspect. The
tranquil resources of that kind of government have terminated with
it. The convents also were preservers; one is struck with the number
of establishments and edifices which have been erected by bachelor
masters in their residence: all these peaceable sovereigns have
benefited their people. An archbishop of Salzburg in the last
century has cut a road which is prolonged for several hundred paces
under a mountain, like the grotto of Pausilippo at Naples: on the
front of the entrance gate there is a bust of the archbishop, under
which is an inscription: Tesaxa loquuntur. (The stones speak of
thee). There is a degree of grandeur in this inscription.

I entered at last into that Austria, which four years before I had
seen so happy; already I was struck by a sensible change, produced
by the depreciation of paper-money, and the variations of every kind
which the uncertainty of the financial measures had introduced into
its value. Nothing demoralizes a people so much as these continual
fluctuations which make every man a broker, and hold out to the
working classes a means of getting money by sharping, instead of by
their labour. I no longer found in the people the same probity which
had struck me four years before: this paper-money sets the
imagination at work with the hope of rapid and easy gains; and the
hazardous chances overturn the gradual and certain existence which
is the basis of the honesty of the middling classes. During my
residence in Austria, a man was hanged for forging notes at the very
moment when the government had reduced the value of the old ones; he
called out, on his way to execution that it was not he who had
robbed, but the state. And, in truth, it is impossible to make the
common people comprehend that it is just to punish them for having
speculated in their own affairs, in the same way as the government
had done in its own. But this government was the ally of the French
government, and doubly its ally, as its monarch was the very patient
father-in-law of a very terrible son-inlaw. What resources therefore
could remain to him? The marriage of his daughter had been the means
of liberating him from two millions of contributions-at most; the
rest had been required with the kind of justice of which the other
is so easily capable, and which consists in treating his friends and
his enemies alike: from this proceeded the penury of the treasury.
Another misfortune also resulted from the last war, and especially
from the last peace: the inutility of the generous feeling which had
illustrated the Austrian arms in the battles of Essling and Wagram,
had cooled the national attachment to the sovereign, which had
formerly been very strong. The same thing has happened to all the
sovereigns who have treated with the emperor Napoleon; he has made
use of them as receivers to levy imposts on his account; he has
forced them to squeeze their subjects to pay him the taxes he
demanded; and when it has suited him to dethrone these sovereigns,
the people, previously alienated from them by the very wrongs they
had committed in obedience to the emperor, have not raised an arm to
defend them against him. The emperor Napoleon has the art of making
countries said to be at peace, so singularly miserable that any
change is agreeable to them, and having been once compelled to give
men and money to France, they scarcely feel the inconvenience of
being wholly united to it. They are wrong, however, for any thing is
better than to lose the name of a nation, and as the miseries of
Europe are caused by one man, care should be taken to preserve what
may be restored when he is no more.

Before I reached Vienna, as I waited for my second son, who was to
rejoin me with my servants and baggage, I stopped a day at Molk,
that celebrated abbey, placed upon an eminence, from which Napoleon
had contemplated the various windings of the Danube, and praised the
beauty of the country upon which he was going to pounce with his
armies. He frequently amuses himself in this manner in making
poetical pieces on the beauties of nature, which he is about to
ravage, and upon the effects of war, with which he is going to
overwhelm mankind. After all, he is in the right to amuse himself in
all ways, at the expense of the human race, which tolerates his
existence. Man is only arrested in the career of evil by obstacles
or remorse; no one has yet opposed to Napoleon the one, and he has
very easily rid himself of the other. For me, who, solitary,
followed his footsteps on the terrace from which the country could
be seen to a great distance, I admired its fertility, and felt
astonished at seeing how soon the bounty of heaven repairs the
disasters occasioned by man. It is only moral riches which disappear
altogether, or are at least lost for centuries.


Residence at Vienna.

I arrived at Vienna on the 6th of June, very fortunately just two
hours before the departure of a courier whom Count Stackelberg, the
Russian ambassador, was dispatching to Wilna, where the emperor
Alexander then was. M. de Stackelberg, who behaved to me with that
noble delicacy which is so prominent a trait in his character, wrote
by this courier for my passport, and assured me that within three
weeks I might reckon on having an answer. It then became a question
where I was to pass these three weeks; my Austrian friends, who had
given me the most amiable reception, assured me that I might remain
at Vienna without the least fear. The court was then at Dresden, at
the great meeting of all the German princes, who came to present
their homage to the emperor of France. Napoleon had stopped at
Dresden under the pretext of still negociating there to avoid the
war with Russia, in other words, to obtain by his policy the same
result as he could by his arms. He would not at first admit the king
of Prussia to his banquet at Dresden; he knew too well what
repugnance the heart of that unfortunate monarch must have to what
he conceives himself obliged to do. It is said that M. de Metternich
obtained this humiliating favor for him. M. de Hardenberg, who
accompanied him, made the remark to the emperor Napoleon, that
Prussia had paid one third more than the promised contributions. The
emperor turning his back to him, replied: "An apothecary's bill,"--
for he has a secret pleasure in making use of vulgar expressions,
the more to humble those who are the objects of it. He assumed a
sufficient degree of coquetry in his way of living with the emperor
and empress of Austria as it was of importance to him that the
Austrian government should take an active part in his war with
Russia. In a conversation with M. de Metternich, I have been assured
that he said, "You see very well that I can never have the least
interest in diminishing the power of Austria, as it now exists; for,
first of all, it suits me that my father-in-law should be a prince
of great consideration: besides, I have more confidence in the old
than in the new dynasties. Has not General Bernadotte already taken
the side of making peace with England?" And in fact, the Prince
Royal of Sweden, as will be seen in the sequel, had courageously
declared himself for the interests of the country which he governed.

The emperor of France having left Dresden to review his armies, the
empress went to spend some time at Prague with her own family.
Napoleon himself, at his departure, regulated the etiquette that was
to subsist between the father and the daughter, and one may
conjecture that it was not very easy, as he loves etiquette almost
as much from suspicion as from vanity, in other words, as a means of
isolating individuals among themselves, under the pretence of
marking the distinction of their ranks.

The first ten days, which I passed at Vienna, passed unclouded, and
I was delighted at thus finding myself again in a pleasing society,
whose manner of thinking corresponded with my own; for the public
opinion was unfavorable to the alliance with Napoleon, and the
government had concluded it without being supported by the national
assent. In fact, how could a war, the ostensible object of which was
the re-establishment of Poland, be undertaken by the power which had
contributed to the partition, and which still retained in its hands
with greater obstinacy than ever the third of that same Poland?
Thirty thousand men were sent by the Austrian government to restore
the confederation of Poland at Warsaw, and nearly as many spies were
attached to the movements of the Poles in Gallicia, who wished to
have deputies at this confederation. The Austrian government was
therefore obliged to speak against the Poles, at the very time that
it was acting in their cause, and to say to her subjects of
Gallicia: "I forbid you to be of the opinion which I support." What
metaphysics! they would be found very intricate, if fear did not
explain every thing.

The Poles are the only nation, of those which Bonaparte drags after
him, that create any interest. I believe they know as well as we do,
that they are only the pretence for the war, and that the emperor
does not care a fig for their independence. He has not even been
able to refrain from expressing several times to the emperor
Alexander his disdain for Poland, solely because she wishes to be
free: but it suits his purposes to put her in the van against
Russia, and the Poles avail themselves of that circumstance to
restore their national independence. I know not if they will
succeed, for it is with difficulty that despotism ever gives
liberty, and what they will regain in their own cause, if
successful, they will lose in the cause of Europe. They will be
Poles, but Poles as much enslaved as the three nations upon whom
they will no longer depend. Be that as it may, the Poles are the
only Europeans who can serve under the banners of Napoleon without
blushing. The princes of the Rhenish Confederation think to find
their interest in it by the loss of their honor; but Austria by a
combination truly remarkable, at once sacrifices in it both her
honor and her interest. The emperor Napoleon wished the archduke
Charles to take the command of these thirty thousand men; but the
archduke fortunately saved himself from this insult; and when I saw
him walking alone in a brown coat, in the alleys of the Prater, I
recovered all my old respect for him.

The same subaltern diplomatist who had so unworthily advised the
abandonment of the Tyrolese, was entrusted, during the absence of
Prince Metternich from Vienna, with the police of foreigners, and he
acquitted himself as you shall see. The first few days he allowed me
to remain undisturbed; I had formerly passed a winter at Vienna, and
been very well received by the emperor and empress, and by the whole
court: it was, therefore, rather awkward to tell me that this time I
would not be received, because I was in disgrace with the emperor
Napoleon; particularly as this disgrace was partly occasioned by the
praises which I had bestowed in my book on the morality and literary
genius of the Germans. But what was much more awkward was to run the
risk of giving the least umbrage to a power, to which it must be
confessed, they might very well sacrifice me, after all they had
already done for it. I suppose, therefore, that after I had been
some days at Vienna, the chief of the police received some more
exact information of the nature of my situation with Bonaparte, and
in consequence thought it necessary to watch me; and this was his
method of inspection. He placed spies at my gate in the street, who
followed me on foot, when my carriage drove slowly, and got into
cabriolets in order not to lose sight of me, when I took an airing
into the country. This method of exercising the police appeared to
me to unite both the French machiavelism, and German clumsiness. The
Austrians have persuaded themselves that they have been beat,
because they had not so much wit as the French, and that the wit of
the French consists In their police system; in consequence they have
set about making a methodical espionage, organizing that ostensibly
which should it all events be concealed; and although destined by
nature to be very honest people, they have made it a kind of duty to
imitate a state which unites the extremes of jacobinism and

I could not help, however, being uneasy at this espionnage, when
the least common sense was sufficient to see that flight was now my
only object. They tried to alarm me about the arrival of my Russian
passport; they pretended that I might have to wait several months
for it and that then the war would prevent me from passing. It was
easy for me to judge that I could not remain at Vienna after the
French ambassador returned to it; what would then become of me? I
intreated M. de Stackelberg to give me some means of passing by
Odessa, to repair to Constantinople. But Odessa being Russian, a
passport from Petersburg was equally necessary to go there; there
therefore remained no road open but the direct one to Turkey through
Hungary; and this road passing on the borders of Servia was subject
to a thousand dangers. I might still reach the port of Salonica by
going across the interior of Greece; the archduke Francis had taken
this road to get into Sardinia; but the archduke Francis is a good
horseman, and of that I was scarcely capable: still less could I
think of exposing so young a person as my daughter to such a
journey. I was obliged, therefore, although the idea was most
painful to me, to determine on parting with her, and sending her by
the way of Denmark and Sweden in the charge of persons in whom I
could confide. I concluded at all hazards an agreement with an
Armenian to take me to Constantinople. From thence I proposed to
pass by Greece, Sicily, Cadiz, and Lisbon, and however hazardous was
this voyage, it offered a fine perspective to the imagination. I
addressed the office for foreign affairs, directed by a subaltern
during the absence of M. de Metternich, for a passport which would
enable me to leave Austria by Hungary, or by Gallicia, according as
I might go to Petersberg or to Constantinople. I was told that I
must make my election; that they could not give me a passport to go
by two different frontiers, and that even to go to Presburg, which
is the first city of Hungary, only six leagues from Vienna, it was
necessary to have an authority from the committee of the States.
Certainly I could not help thinking that Europe, which was formerly
so open to all travellers, is become, under the influence of the
emperor Napoleon, like a great net, in which you get entangled at
every step. How many restraints and shackles there are upon the
slightest movements! And can it be conceived that the unhappy
governments which France oppresses, console themselves for it by
making the miserable remains of power which has been left them, fall
heavy in a thousand ways upon their subjects!


Departure from Vienna.

Obliged to make my election, I decided at last for Gallicia, which
would conduct me to the country I preferred, namely, to Russia. I
flattered myself, that once at a distance from Vienna, all these
vexations, excited no doubt by the French government, would cease;
and that at all events, I might, if it was necessary, quit Gallicia,
and regain Bucharest by Transylvania. The geography of Europe, such
as Napoleon has constituted it, is but too well learned by
misfortune; the turnings which I was obliged to take to avoid his
power were already near two thousand leagues; and now at my
departure even from Vienna I was constrained to borrow the Asiatic
territory to escape from it. I departed, therefore, without having
received my Russian passport, hoping thereby to quiet the uneasiness
which the subaltern police of Vienna appeared to feel about the
presence of a female who was in disgrace with the emperor Napoleon.
I requested one of my friends to rejoin me, by travelling night and
day, as soon as the answer from Russia arrived, and I proceeded on
my road. I did very wrong in taking this step, for at Vienna I was
protected by my friends and by public opinion; I could there easily
address myself to the emperor or to his prime minister: but once
confined to a provincial town, I had only to do with the stupid
wickedness of a subaltern, who wished to make a merit with the
French government, of his conduct towards me; this was the method he

I stopped for some days at Brunn, the capital of Moravia, where an
English colonel, a Mr. Mills, was detained in exile; he was a man of
the most perfect goodness and obliging manners, and according to the
English expression, altogether inoffensive. He was made dreadfully
miserable, without the least pretence or utility. But the Austrian
ministry is apparently persuaded that it will derive an air of
strength from turning persecutor; its counsellors are not mistaken;
and as was said by a man of wit, their manner of governing in
matters of police, resembles the sentinels placed upon the half
destroyed citadel of Brunn,--they keep a strict guard round the
ruins. Scarcely had I arrived at Brunn when all sorts of
difficulties were started about my passports, and those of my
companions. I asked permission to send my son to Vienna, to give the
necessary explanations upon these points. I was told that neither
myself nor my son would be allowed to go one league backwards. I
know not if the emperor, or M. de Metternich were informed of all
these absurd acts, but I encountered at Brunn, in the agents of
government, a dread of compromising themselves which appeared to me
quite worthy of the present French regime; and it must even be
admitted that when the French are afraid, they are more excusable,
for under the emperor Napoleon they run the risk of exile,
imprisonment, or death.

The governor of Moravia, a man in other respects very estimable,
informed me that I was ordered to go through Gallicia as quickly as
possible, and that I was forbid stopping more than twenty-four hours
at Lanzut, where I had the intention of going. Lanzut is the estate
of the princess Lubomirska, the sister of prince Adam Czartorinski,
marshal of the Polish Confederation, which the Austrian troops were
going to support. The princess Lubomirska was herself generally
respected from her personal character, and the liberal use which she
made of her splendid fortune; besides, her attachment to the house
of Austria was conspicuous, and although a Pole by birth, she had
never participated in the spirit of opposition which has always been
exhibited in Poland to the Austrian government. Her nephew and
niece, Prince Henry and the princess Theresa, with whom I had the
honor to be intimate, are both of them endowed with the most
brilliant and amiable qualities; they might no doubt be supposed to
entertain a strong attachment to their Polish country, but it was
then rather difficult to make a crime of this opinion, when the
prince of Schwarzenberg was sent at the head of thirty thousand men
to fight for the restoration of Poland. To what miserable shifts are
those princes reduced, who are constantly told that they must yield
to circumstances? it is proposing to them to govern with every wind.
The successes of Bonaparte excite the envy of the greater part of
the governors of Germany; they persuade themselves that they were
beat because they were too honest, whereas it was because they had
not been honest enough. If the Germans had imitated the Spaniards,
if they had said:--whatever be the consequences, we will not bear a
foreign yoke: they would still be a nation, and their princes would
not be dangling, I do not say in the anti-chambers of the emperor
Napoleon, but in those of all the persons on whom a ray of his favor
is fallen. The emperor of Austria and his intelligent companion
certainly preserve as much dignity as they can in their situation;
but this situation is so artificial in itself, that it is impossible
to give lustre to it. None of the actions of the Austrian government
in favor of French interests can be attributed to any thing but
fear; and this new muse inspires very sorrowful strains.

I tried to represent to the governor of Moravia, that if I was thus
hurried with so much politeness towards the frontier, I knew not
what would become of me, having no Russian passport, and that I
should be obliged, from inability to go either forward or backward,
to pass my life at Brody, a frontier town between Russia and
Austria, inhabited by Jews, who have settled there to carry on the
trade of carrying from the one empire to the other. "What you say
is very true," replied the governor, "but here is my order." For
some time past governments have found the art of inculcating that a
civil agent is subject to the same discipline as a military officer;
with the latter reflection is altogether forbidden, or at least
rarely finds a place; but one would have some difficulty in making
men responsible in the eye of the law, such as are all the
magistrates of England, comprehend, that they are not allowed to
have an opinion upon the order that is given them. And what is the
consequence of this servile obedience? If it had only the head of
the state for its object, it might still be considered proper in an
absolute monarchy; but during the absence of that head, or his
representative, a subaltern may abuse at his pleasure those measures
of police, the infernal inventions of arbitrary governments, and of
which real greatness will never make use.

I departed for Gallicia, and this time, I confess, I was completely
depressed; the phantom of tyranny followed me every where; I saw
those Germans, whom I had known so upright, depraved by the fatal
marriage, which seemed to have even altered the blood of the
subjects, as it had done that of their sovereign. I thought that
Europe existed only beyond the seas, or the Pyrenees, and I
despaired of reaching an asylum to my inclination. The spectacle of
Gallicia was not of a kind to revive any hopes of the destiny of the
human race. The Austrians have not acquired the art of making
themselves beloved by the foreign nations which are subject to them.
During the period they were in possession of Venice, the first thing
they did was to put down the Carnival, which had become in a manner
an institution, so long a time had elapsed since the Venetian
carnival was talked of. The rudest people of the monarchy were
selected to govern that gay city; no wonder therefore that the
nations of the south should almost prefer being pillaged by the
French to being governed by the Austrians.

The Poles love their country as an unfortunate friend: the country
is dull and monotonous, the people ignorant and lazy; they have
always wished for liberty; they have never known how to acquire it.
But the Poles think that they can and may govern Poland, and the
feeling is very natural. The education however of the people is so
much neglected, and all kind of industry is so foreign to them, that
the Jews have possessed themselves of the entire trade, and make the
peasants sell them for a quantity of brandy the whole harvest of the
approaching year. The distance between the nobility and the
peasantry is so immense, the contrast between the luxury of the one,
and the frightful misery of the other is so shocking, that it is
probable the Austrians have given them better laws than those which
previously existed. But a proud people, and the Poles are so even in
their misery, does not wish to be humbled, even when they are
benefited, and in that point the Austrians have never failed. They
have divided Gallicia into circles, each of which is commanded by a
German functionary; sometimes a person of distinction accepts this
employment, but it is much more frequently a kind of brute, taken
from the subaltern ranks, and who in virtue of his office commands
in the most despotic manner the greatest noblemen of Poland. The
police, which in the present times has replaced the secret tribunal,
authorizes the most oppressive measures. Now let us only imagine
what the police can be, namely, the most subtle and arbitrary power
in the government, entrusted to the rude hands of the captain of a
circle. At every post-house in Gallicia there are to be seen three
descriptions of persons who gather round travellers' carriages: the
Jew traders, the Polish beggars, and the German spies. The country
appears exclusively inhabited by these three classes of men. The
beggars, with their long beards and ancient Sarmatian costume,
excite deep commiseration; it is very true that if they would work
they need not be in that state; but I know not whether it is pride
or laziness which makes them disdain the culture of the enslaved

You meet upon the high roads processions of men and women carrying
the standard of the cross, and singing Psalms; a profound expression
of melancholy reigns upon their countenance: I have seen them, when
not money, but food of a better sort than they had been accustomed
to was given them, turn up their eyes to heaven with astonishment,
as if they considered themselves unfit to enjoy its bounty. The
custom of the common people in Poland is to embrace the knees of the
nobility when they meet them; you cannot stir a step in a village
without having the women, children, and old men saluting you in this
manner. In the midst of this spectacle of wretchedness you might see
some men in shabby attire, who were spies upon misery: for that was
the only object which could offer itself to their eyes. The captains
of the circles refused passports to the Polish noblemen, for fear
they should see one another, or lest they should go to Warsaw. They
obliged these noblemen to appear before them every eight days, in
order to certify their presence. The Austrians thus proclaimed in
all manner of ways that they knew they were detested in Poland, and
they separated their troops into two equal divisions: the first
entrusted with supporting externally the interests of Poland, and
the second employed in the interior to prevent the Poles from aiding
the same cause. I do not believe that any country was ever more
wretchedly governed than Gallicia was at that time, at least under
political considerations; and it was apparently to conceal this
spectacle from general observation that so many difficulties were
made in allowing a stranger to reside in, or even to pass through
the country.

I return to the manner in which the Austrian police behaved to me to
hasten my journey. In this road it is necessary to have your
passport examined by each captain of a circle; and every third post
you found one of the chief towns of the circle. They had put up
placards in the police offices of all these towns that a strict eye
must be kept on me as I passed through. If it was not for the
singular impertinence of treating a female in this manner, and that
a female who had been persecuted for doing justice to Germany, one
could not help laughing at the excess of stupidity which could
publish in capital letters measures of police, the whole strength of
which consists in their secrecy. It reminded me of M. de Sartines,
who had formerly proposed to give spies a livery. It is not that the
director of all these absurdities is, as some say, devoid of
understanding: but he has such a strong desire to please the French
government, that he even seeks to do himself honor by his
meannesses, as publickly as possible. This proclaimed inspection was
executed with as much ingenuity as it was conceived: a corporal, or
a clerk, or perhaps both together, came to look at my carriage,
smoking their pipes, and when they had gone the round of it, they
went their way without even deigning to tell me if there was any
thing the matter with it; if they had done that, they would have
been at least good for something. I made very slow progress to wait
for the Russian passport, now my only means of safety in the
circumstances in which I was placed. One morning I turned out of my
road to go and see a ruined castle, which belonged to the princess
Lubomirska. To get to it, I had to go over roads, of which, without
having travelled in Poland, it is impossible to form an idea. In the
middle of a sort of desert which I was crossing alone with my son, a
person on horseback saluted me in French; I wished to answer him,
but he was already at a distance. I cannot express the effect which
the sound of that dear language produced upon me, at a moment so
cruel. Ah! if the French were but once free, how one would love
them! they would then be the first themselves to despise their
allies. I descended into the court yard of this castle, which was
entirely in ruins. The keeper, with his wife and children, came to
meet me, and embraced my knees. I caused them to be informed by a
bad interpreter, that I knew the princess Lubomirska; that name was
sufficient to inspire them with confidence; they had no doubt of the
truth of what I said, although I travelled with a very shabby
equipage. They introduced me into a sort of hall, which resembled a
prison, and at the moment of my entrance, one of the women came into
it to burn perfumes. They had neither white bread nor meat, but an
exquisite Hungarian wine, and every where the wrecks of magnificence
stood by the side of the greatest misery. This contrast is of
frequent recurrence in Poland: there are no beds, even in houses
fitted up with the most finished elegance. Every thing appears
sketched in this country, and nothing terminated in it; but what one
can never sufficiently praise is the goodness of the people, and the
generosity of the great: both are easily excited by all that is good
and beautiful, and the agents whom Austria sends there seem like
wooden men in the midst of this flexible nation.

At last my Russian passport arrived, and I shall be grateful for it
to the end of my life, so great was the pleasure it gave me. My
friends at Vienna had succeeded at the same time in dissipating the
malignant influence of those who thought to please France by
tormenting me. This time I flattered myself with being entirely
sheltered from any farther trouble; but I forgot that the circular
order to the captains of the circles to keep me under inspection,
was not yet revoked, and that it was only direct from the ministry
that I had the promise of having these ridiculous torments put an
end to. I thought, however, that I might venture to follow my first
plan, and stop at Lanzut, that castle of the princess Lubomirska, so
famous in Poland for the union of the most perfect taste and
magnificence. I anticipated extreme pleasure from again seeing
prince Henry Lubomirska, whose society, as well as that of his
amiable lady, had made me pass at Geneva many agreeable moments. I
proposed to myself to remain there two days, and to continue my
journey with great speed, as news came from all quarters that war
was declared between France and Russia. I don't quite see what there
was in this plan of mine so dreadful to the tranquillity of Austria;
it was a most singular idea to be jealous of my connection with the
Poles, because they served under Bonaparte. No doubt, and I repeat
it, the Poles cannot be confounded with the other nations who are
tributary to France: it is frightful to be obliged to hope for
liberty only from a despot, and to expect the independence of one's
own nation only from the slavery of the rest of Europe. But finally,
in this Polish cause, the Austrian ministry was more to be suspected
than I was, for it furnished troops to support it, while I only
consecrated my poor forces to proclaim the justice of the cause of
Europe, then defended by Russia. Besides, the Austrian ministry, in
common with all the governments in alliance with Bonaparte, has no
longer any knowledge of what constitutes opinion, conscience, or
affection: the one single idea which they retain, the inconsistency
of their own conduct and the art with which Napoleon's diplomacy has
entangled them, is that of mere brute force; and to please that they
do every thing.


Passage through Poland.

I arrived in the beginning of July at the chief town of the circle,
in which Lanzut is situated; my carriage stopped before the
posthouse, and my son went, as usual, to have my passport examined.
I was astonished, at the end of a quarter of an hour, not to see him
return, and I requested M. Schlegel to go and ascertain the cause of
his delay. They both came back immediately, followed by a man whose
countenance I shall never, during my life, forget: an affected
smile, upon the most stupid features, gave the most disagreeable
expression to his countenance. My son, almost beside himself,
informed me that the captain of the circle had declared to him that
I could not remain more than eight hours at Lanzut, and that to
secure my obedience to this order, one of his commissaries should
follow me to the castle, should enter into it with me, and should
not quit me until I had left it. My son had represented to this
captain, that overcome as I was with fatigue, I required more than
eight hours to repose myself, and that the sight of a commissary of
police, in my weak state, might give me a very fatal shock. To all
these representations the captain replied with a brutality which is
quite peculiar to German subalterns; nowhere also do you meet with
that obsequious respect for power which immediately succeeds to
arrogance towards the weak. The mental movements of these men
resemble the evolutions of a review day; they make a half turn to
the right, and a half turn to the left, according to the word of
command which is given to them.

The commissary intrusted with the inspection of me, fatigued himself
in bowing to the very ground, but would not in the least modify his
charge. He got into a caleche, the horses of which followed me so
close that they touched the hind wheels of my berline. The idea of
entering, escorted in this manner, into the residence of an old
friend, into a paradise of delight, where I had been feasting my
ideas by anticipation, with spending several days; this idea I say
made me so ill, that I could not get the better of it; joined to
that also was, I believe, the irritation of finding at my heels this
insolent spy, a very fit subject, certainly, to outwit, if I had had
the desire, but who did his duty with an intolerable mixture of
pedantry and rigor*: I was seized with a nervous attack in the
middle of the road, and they were obliged to lift me out of my
carriage, and lay me down on the side of the ditch. This wretched
commissary fancied that this was an occasion to take compassion on
me, and without getting out of his carriage himself, he sent his
servant to find me a glass of water. I cannot express how angry I
felt with myself for the weakness of my nerves; the compassion of
this man was a last insult, which I would at least have wished to
spare myself. He set off again at the same time that I did, and I
made my entry, along with him, into the court yard of the castle of
Lanzut. Prince Henry, not in the least suspecting any thing of the
kind, came to meet me with the most amiable gaiety; he was at first
frightened at the paleness of my looks, but when I told him, which I
did immediately, what sort of guest I had brought with me, from that
moment his coolness, firmness, and friendship for me did not belie
themselves for a moment. But can one conceive a state of things in
which a commissary of police should plant himself at the table of a
great nobleman like prince Henry, or rather at that of any person
whatever, without his consent?

(Note of the Editor)
* To explain how strong and well-founded was the anguish which my
mother experienced at this point of her journey, I ought to mention
that the attention of the Austrian police was not then confined to
her only. The description of M. Rocca had been sent all along the
road, with an order to arrest him in quality of his being a French
officer; and although he had resigned his commission, and his wounds
had incapacitated him from continuing his military service, there is
no doubt, that if he had been delivered up to France, the forfeiture
of his life would have been the consequence. He had therefore
travelled alone, and under a borrowed name, and it was at Lanzut
that he had given my mother the rendezvous. Having arrived there
before her, and not in the least suspecting that she would be
escorted by a commissary of police, he came out to meet her, full of
joy and confidence. The danger to which he was thus, insensibly,
exposing himself, transfixed my mother with terror, and she had
barely time to give him a signal to return back; and had it not been
for the generous presence of mind of a Polish gentleman, who
supplied M. Rocca with the means of escaping, he would infallibly
have been recognized and arrested by the commissary. Ignorant of
what might be the fate of her manuscript, under what circumstances,
public or private, she might ever publish it, my mother felt herself
under the necessity of entirely suppressing these details, to which
I am at present allowed to give publicity.
(End of Note of the Editor.)

After supper this commissary came up to my son, and said to him,
with that coaxing tone of voice which I particularly dislike, when
it is used to say cutting words, "I ought, according to my orders,
to pass the night in your mother's apartment, in order to be certain
that she has no communication with any one; but from regard to her,
I will not do it." "You may add also," said my son, "from regard to
yourself, for if you should dare to put your foot in my mother's
apartment during the night, I will throw you out of the window."
"Ah! Monsieur le Baron," replied the commissary, bowing lower than
usual, because this threat had a false air of power which did not
fail to affect him. He went to lay down, and the next day at
breakfast, the prince's secretary managed him so well, by giving him
plenty to eat and drink, that I might, I believe, have remained
several hours longer, but I was ashamed at having been the occasion
of such a scene in the house of my amiable host. I did not even
allow myself time to examine those beautiful gardens, which remind
us of the southern climate whose productions they offer, nor that
house, which has been the asylum of persecuted French emigrants, and
where the artists have sent the tribute of their talents in return
for the services rendered them by the lady of the castle. The
contrast between such delightful and striking impressions and the
grief and indignation I felt, was intolerable; the recollection of
Lanzut, which I have so many reasons for loving, even now makes me
shudder, when I think of it.

I took my departure then from this residence, shedding bitter tears,
and not knowing what else was in store for me during the fifty
leagues I had yet to travel in the Austrian territory. The
commissary accompanied me to the borders of his circle, and when he
took his leave, asked me if I was satisfied with him; the stupidity
of the fellow quite disarmed my resentment. A peculiar feature in
all this persecution, which formerly never entered into the
character of the Austrian government, is, that it is executed by its
agents with as much rudeness as awkwardness: these ci-devant honest
people carry into the base commissions with which they are entrusted
the same scrupulous exactness that they formerly did into the good
ones, and their limited conception of this new method of government,
which was not known to them, makes them commit a hundred blunders,
either from want of skill or clumsiness. It is like taking the club
of Hercules to kill a fly, and during this useless exertion the most
important matters may escape them.

On leaving the circle of Lanzut, I still found as far as Leopol, the
capital of Gallicia, grenadiers placed from post to post to make
sure of my progress. I should have felt regret at making these brave
fellows thus lose their time, had it not been for the thought that
they were much better there, than with the unfortunate army
delivered by Austria to Napoleon. On arriving at Leopol, I found
again ancient Austria in the governor and commandant of the
province, who both received me with the greatest politeness, and
gave me, what I wished above every thing, an order for passing from
Austria into Russia. Such was the end of my residence in this
monarchy, which I had formerly seen powerful, just and upright. Her
alliance with Napoleon while it lasted, degraded her to the lowest
rank among nations. History will doubtless not forget that she has
shown herself very warlike in her long wars against France, and that
her last effort to resist Bonaparte was inspired by a national
enthusiasm worthy of all praise; but the sovereign of this country,
by yielding to his counsellors rather than to his own character, has
destroyed for ever that enthusiasm, by checking its ebullition. The
unfortunate men who perished on the plains of Essling and Wagram,
that there might still be an Austrian monarchy and a German people,
could have hardly expected that their companions in arms would be
fighting three years afterwards for the extension of Bonaparte's
empire to the borders of Asia, and that there might not be in the
whole of Europe, even a desert, where the objects of his
proscription, from kings to subjects, might find an asylum; for such
is the object, and the sole object, of the war excited by France
against Russia.


Arrival in Russia.

One had hardly been accustomed to consider Russia as the most free
state in Europe; but such is the weight of the yoke which the
Emperor of France has imposed upon all the Continental states, that
on arriving at last in a country where his tyranny can no longer
make itself felt, you fancy yourself in a republic. It was on the
14th of July that I made my entrance into Russia; this co-incidence
with the anniversary of the first day of the Revolution particularly
struck me; and thus closed for me the circle of the history of
France which had commenced on the 14th of July 1789.* When the
barrier which separates Austria from Russia was opened to let me
pass, I made an oath never to set my foot in a country subjected in
any degree to the emperor Napoleon. Will this oath ever allow me to
revisit beautiful France?

* (Note by the Editor) It was on the 14th of July, 1817, that my
mother was taken from us, and received into the bosom of God. What
mind is there that would not be affected with religious emotion on
meditating on the mysterious co-incidences which the destiny of the
human race presents!
(End of Note by the Editor.)

The first person who received me in Russia was a Frenchman, who had
formerly been a clerk in my father's bureaux; he talked to me of him
with tears in his eyes, and that name thus pronounced appeared to me
of happy augury. In fact, in that Russian empire, so falsely termed
barbarous, I have experienced none but noble and delightful
impressions: may my gratitude draw down additional blessings on this
people and their sovereign! I entered Russia at the moment when the
French army had already penetrated a considerable distance into the
Russian territory, and yet no restraint or vexation of any kind
impeded for a moment the progress of a foreign traveller; neither I,
nor my companions, knew a syllable of Russian; we only spoke French,
the language of the enemies who were ravaging the empire: I had not
even with me, by a succession of disagreeable chances, a single
servant who could speak Russian, and had it not been for a German
physician (Dr. Renner) who in the most handsome manner volunteered
his services as our interpreter as far as Moscow, we should have
justly merited the epithet of deaf and dumb, applied by the Russians
to persons unacquainted with their language. Well! even in this
state, our journey would have been quite safe and easy, so great is
the hospitality of the nobles and the people of Russia! On our first
entrance we learned that the direct road to Petersburg was already
occupied by the armies, and that we must go to Moscow in order to
get the means of conveyance there. This was another round of 200
leagues; but we had already made 1500, and I now feel pleased at
having seen Moscow.

The first province we had to cross, Volhynia, forms a part of
Russian Poland; it is a fertile country, over-run with Jews, like
Gallicia, but much less miserable. I stopped at the chateau of a
Polish nobleman to whom I had been recommended, who advised me to
hasten my journey, as the French were marching upon Volhynia, and
might easily enter it in eight days. The Poles, in general, like the
Russians much better than they do the Austrians; the Russians and
Poles are both of Sclavonian origin: they have been enemies, but
respect each other mutually, while the Germans, who are further
advanced in European civilization than the Sclavonians, have not
learned to do them justice in other respects. It was easy to see
that the Poles in Volhynia were not at all afraid of the entrance of
the French; but although their opinions were known, they were not in
the least subjected to that petty persecution which only excites
hatred without restraining it. The spectacle, however, of one nation
subjected by another, is always a painful one;--centuries must
elapse before the union is sufficiently established to make the
names of victor and vanquished be forgotten.

At Gitomir, the chief town of Volhynia, I was told that the Russian
minister of police had been sent to Wilna, to learn the motive of
the emperor Napoleon's aggression, and to make a formal protest
against his entry into the Russian territory. One can hardly credit
the numberless sacrifices made by the emperor Alexander, in order to
preserve peace. And in fact, far from Napoleon having it in his
power to accuse the emperor Alexander of violating the treaty of
Tilsit, the latter might have been reproached with a too scrupulous
fidelity to that fatal treaty; and it was rather he who had the
right of declaring war against Napoleon, as having first violated
it. The emperor of France in his conversation with M. Balasheff, the
minister of police, gave himself up to those inconceivable
indiscretions which might be taken for abandon, if we did not know
that it suits him to increase the terror which he inspires by
exhibiting himself as superior to all kinds of calculation. "Do you
think," said he to M. Balasheff, "that I care a straw for these
Polish jacobins?" And I have been really assured that there is in
existence a letter, addressed several years since to M. de Romanzoff
by one of Napoleon's ministers, in which it was proposed to strike
out the name of Poland and the Poles from all European acts. How
unfortunate for this nation that the emperor Alexander had not taken
the title of king of Poland, and thereby associated the cause of
this oppressed people with that of all generous minds! Napoleon
asked one of his generals, in the presence of M. de Balasheff, if he
had ever been at Moscow, and what sort of city it was. The general
replied that it had appeared to him to be rather a large village
than a capital. And how many churches are there in it?--continued
the emperor. About sixteen hundred:--was the reply. That is quite
inconceivable, rejoined Napoleon, at a time when the world has
ceased to be religious. Pardon me, sire, said M. de Balashoff, the
Russians and Spaniards are so still. Admirable reply! and which
presaged, one would hope, that the Russians would be the Castilians
of the North.

Nevertheless, the French army made rapid progress, and one has been
so accustomed to see the French triumphing over every thing abroad,
although at home they know not how to resist any sort of yoke, that
I had some reason to apprehend meeting them already on the road to
Moscow. What a capricious destiny, for me to flee at first from the
French, among whom I was born, and who had carried my father in
triumph, and now to flee from them even to the borders of Asia! But,
in short, what destiny is there, great or little, which the man
selected to humble man does not overthrow? I thought I should be
obliged to go to Odessa, a city which had become prosperous under
the enlightened administration of the Duke of Richelieu, and from
thence I might have gone to Constantinople and into Greece; I
consoled myself for this long voyage by the idea of a poem on
Richard Coeur-de-Lion, which I have the intention of writing, if
life and health are spared me. This poem is designed to paint the
manners and character of the East, and to consecrate a grand epoch
in the English history, that when the enthusiasm of the Crusades
gave place to the enthusiasm of liberty. But as we cannot paint what
we have not seen, no more than we can express properly what we have
not felt, it was necessary for me to go to Constantinople, into
Syria, and into Sicily, there to follow the steps of Richard. My
travelling companions, better acquainted with my strength than I was
myself, dissuaded me from such an undertaking, and assured me that
by using expedition, I could travel post much quicker than an army.
It will be seen that I had not in fact a great deal of time to



Determined to continue my journey through Russia, I proceeded
towards Kiow, the principal city of the Ukraine, and formerly of all
Russia, for this empire began by fixing its capital in the South.
The Russians had then continual communication with the Greeks
established at Constantinople, and in general with the people of the
East, whose habits they have adopted in a variety of instances. The
Ukraine is a very fertile country, but by no means agreeable; you
see large plains of wheat which appear to be cultivated by invisible
hands, the habitations and inhabitants are so rare. You must not
expect, in approaching Kiow, or the greater part of what are called
cities in Russia, to find any thing resembling the cities of the
West; the roads are not better kept, nor do country houses indicate
a more numerous population. On my arrival at Kiow, the first object
that met my eyes was a cemetery, and this was the first indication
to me of being near a place where men were collected. The houses at
Kiow generally resemble tents, and at a distance, the city appears
like a camp; I could not help fancying that the moveable residences
of the Tartars had furnished models for the construction of those
wooden houses, which have not a much greater appearance of solidity.
A few days are sufficient for building them; they are very often
consumed by fire, and an order is sent to the forest for a house, as
you would send to market to lay in your winter stock of provisions.
In the middle of these huts, however, palaces have been erected, and
a number of churches, whose green and gilt cupolas singularly draw
the attention. When towards the evening the sun darts his rays on
these brilliant domes, you would fancy that it was rather an
illumination for a festival, than a durable edifice.

The Russians never pass a church without making the sign of the
cross, and their longbeards add greatly to the religious expression
of their physiognomy. They generally wear a large blue robe,
fastened round the waist by a scarlet band: the dresses of the women
have also something Asiatic in them: and one remarks that taste for
lively colours which we derive from the East, where the sun is so
beautiful, that one likes to make his eclat more conspicuous by the
objects which he shines upon. I speedily contracted such a
partiality to these oriental dresses, that I could not bear to see
Russians dressed like other Europeans; they seemed to me then
entering into that great regularity of the despotism of Napoleon,
which first makes all nations a present of the conscription, then of
the war-taxes, and lastly, of the Code Napoleon, in order to govern
in the same manner, nations of totally different characters.

The Dnieper, which the ancients called Borysthenes, passes by Kiow,
and the old tradition of the country affirms, that it was a boatman,
who in crossing it found its waters so pure that he was led to found
a town on its banks. In fact, the rivers are the most beautiful
natural objects in Russia. It would be difficult to find any small
streams, their course would be so much obstructed by the sand. There
is scarcely any variety of trees; the melancholy birch is
incessantly recurring in this uninventive nature; even the want of
stones might be almost regretted, so much is the eye sometimes
fatigued with meeting neither hill nor valley, and to be always
making progress without encountering new objects. The rivers relieve
the imagination from this fatigue; the priests, therefore, bestow
their benedictions on these rivers. The emperor, empress, and the
whole court attend the ceremony of the benediction of the Neva, at
the moment of the severest cold of winter. It is said that Wladimir,
at the commencement of the eleventh century, declared, that all the
waters of the Borysthenes were holy, and that plunging in them was
sufficient to make a man a Christian; the baptism of the Greeks
being performed by immersion, millions of men went into this river
to abjure their idolatry. It was this same Vladimir who sent
deputies to different countries, to learn which of all the religions
it best suited him to adopt; he decided for the Greek ritual, on
account of the pomp of its ceremonies. Perhaps also he preferred it
for more important reasons; in fact the Greek faith by excluding the
papal power, gives the sovereign of Russia the spiritual and
temporal power united.

The Greek religion is necessarily less intolerant than the Roman
Catholic; for being itself reproached as a schism, it can hardly
complain of heretics; all religions therefore are admitted into
Russia, and from the borders of the Don to those of the Neva, the
fraternity of country unites men, even though their theological
opinions may separate them. The Greek priests are allowed to marry,
and scarcely any gentleman embraces this profession: it follows that
the clergy has very little political ascendancy; it acts upon the
people, but it is very submissive to the emperor.

The ceremonies of the Greek worship are at least as beautiful as
those of the catholics; the church music is heavenly; every thing in
this worship leads to meditation; it has something of poetry and
feeling about it, but it appears better adapted to captivate the
imagination than to regulate the conduct. When the priest comes out
of the sanctuary, in which he remains shut up while he communicates,
you would say that you saw the gates of light opening; the cloud of
incense which surrounds him, the gold and silver, and precious
stones, which glitter on his robes and in the church, seem to come
from countries where the sun is an object of adoration. The devout
sentiments which are inspired by gothic architecture in Germany,
France and England, cannot be at all compared with the effect of the
Greek churches; they rather remind us of the minarets of the Turks
and Arabs than of our churches. As little must we expect to find, as
in Italy, the splendor of the fine arts; their most remarkable
ornaments are virgins and saints crowned with rubies and diamonds.
Magnificence is the character of every thing one sees in Russia;
neither the genius of man nor the gifts of nature constitute its

The ceremonies of marriage, of baptism, and of burial, are noble and
affecting; we find in them some ancient customs of Grecian idolatry,
but only those which, having no connection with doctrine, can add to
the impression of the three great scenes of life, birth, marriage
and death. The Russian peasants still continue the custom of
addressing the dead previous to a final separation from his remains.
Why is it, say they, that thou hast abandoned us? Wert thou then
unhappy on this earth? Was not thy wife fair and good? Why therefore
hast thou left her? The dead replies not, but the value of existence
is thus proclaimed in the presence of those who still preserve it.

At Kiow we were shown some catacombs which reminded us a little of
those at Rome, and to which pilgrimages are made on foot from Casan
and other cities bordering on Asia; but these pilgrimages cost less
in Russia, than they would anywhere else, although the distances are
much greater. It is in the character of the people to have no fear
of fatigue or of any bodily suffering; in this nation there is both
patience and activity, both gaiety and melancholy. You see united
the most striking contrasts, and it is that which makes one predict
great things of them; for generally it is only in beings of superior
order that we find an union of opposite qualities; the mass is in
general of a uniform color.

I made at Kiow the trial of Russian hospitality. The governor of the
province, General Miloradowitsch, loaded me with the most amiable
attentions; he had been an aide-de-camp of Suwarow, like him
intrepid; he inspired me with greater confidence than I then had in
the military successes of the Russians. Before this, I had only
happened to meet some officers of the German school, who had
entirely got rid of their Russian character. I saw in General
Miloradowitsch a real Russian; brave, impetuous, confident, and
wholly free from that spirit of imitation which sometimes entirely
robs his countrymen even of their national character. He told me a
number of anecdotes of Suwarow, which prove that that warrior
studied a great deal, although he preserved the original instinct
which is connected with the immediate knowledge of men and things.
He carefully concealed his studies to strike with greater force the
imagination of his troops, by assuming in all things an air of

The Russians have, in my opinion, much greater resemblance to the
people of the South, or rather of the East, than to those of the
North. What is European in them belongs merely to the manners of the
court, which are nearly the same in all countries; but their nature
is eastern. General Miloradowitsch related to me that a regiment of
Kalmucks had been put into garrison at Kiow, and that the prince of
these Kalmucks came to him one day, to confess that he suffered very
much from passing the winter cooped up in a town, and wished to
obtain permission to encamp in the neighbouring forest. Such a cheap
pleasure it was impossible to refuse him; he and all his regiment
went in consequence, in the middle of the snow, to take up their
abode in their chariots, which at the same time serve them for huts.
The Russian soldiers bear nearly in the same degree the fatigues and
privations of climate or of war, and the people of all classes
exhibit a contempt of obstacles and of physical suffering, which
will carry them successfully through the greatest undertakings. This
Kalmuck prince, to whom wooden houses appeared a residence too
delicate in the middle of winter, gave diamonds to the ladies who
pleased him at a ball; and as he could not make himself understood
by them, he substituted presents for compliments, in the manner
practised in India and other silent countries of the East, where
speech has less influence than with us. General Miloradowitsch
invited me the very evening of my departure, to a ball at the house
of a Moldavian princess, to which I regretted very much being unable
to go. All these names of foreign countries and of nations which are
scarcely any longer European, singularly awaken the imagination. You
feel yourself in Russia at the gate of another earth, near to that
East from which have proceeded so many religious creeds, and which
still contains in its bosom incredible treasures of perseverance and


Road from Kiow to Moscow.

About nine hundred versts still separated Kiow from Moscow. My
Russian coachmen drove me along like lightning, singing airs, the
words of which I was told were compliments and encouragements to
their horses, "Go along," they said, "my friends: we know one
another: go quick." I have as yet seen nothing at all barbarous in
this people; on the contrary their forms have an elegance and
softness about them which you find no where else. Never does a
Russian coachman pass a female, of whatever age or rank she may be,
without saluting her, and the female returns it by an inclination of
the head which is always noble and graceful. An old man who could
not make himself understood by me, pointed to the earth, and then to
the heaven, to signify to me, that the one would shortly be to him
the road to the other. I know very well that the shocking
barbarities which disfigure the history of Russia may be urged,
reasonably, as evidence of a contrary character; but these I should
rather lay to the charge of the boyars, the class which was depraved
by the despotism which it exercised or submitted to, than to the
nation itself. Besides, political dissentions, everywhere and at all
times, distort national character, and there is nothing more
deplorable than that succession of masters, whom crimes have
elevated or overturned; but such is the fatal condition of absolute
power on this earth. The civil servants of the government, of an
inferior class, all those who look to make their fortune by their
suppleness or intrigues, in no degree resemble the inhabitants of
the country, and I can readily believe all the ill that has been and
may be said of them; but to appreciate properly the character of a
warlike nation, we must look to its soldiers, and the class from
which its soldiers are taken, the peasantry.

Although I was driven along with great rapidity, it seemed to me
that I did not advance a step, the country was so extremely
monotonous. Plains of sand, forests of birch tree, and villages at a
great distance from each other, composed of wooden houses all built
upon the same plan: these were the only objects that my eyes
encountered. I felt that sort of nightmare which sometimes seizes
one during the night, when you think you are always marching and
never advancing. The country appeared to me like the image of
infinite space, and to require eternity to traverse it. Every
instant you met couriers passing, who went along with incredible
swiftness; they were seated on a wooden bench placed across a little
cart drawn by two horses, and nothing stopped them for a moment. The
jolting of their carriage sometimes made them spring two feet above
it, but they fell with astonishing address, and made haste to call
out in Russian, forward, with an energy similar to that of the
French on a day of battle. The Sclavonian language is singularly
echoing; I should almost say there is something metallic about it;
you would think you heard a bell striking, when the Russians
pronounce certain letters of their alphabet, quite different from
those which compose the dialects of the West.

We saw passing some corps de reserve approaching by forced marches
to the theatre of war; the Cossacks were repairing, one by one, to
the army, without order or uniform, with a long lance in their hand,
and a kind of grey dress, whose ample hood they put over their head.
I had formed quite another idea of these people; they live behind
the Dnieper; there their way of living is independent, in the manner
of savages; but during war they allow themselves to be governed
despotically. One is accustomed to see, in fine uniforms of
brilliant colors, the most formidable armies. The dull colors of the
Cossack dress excite another sort of fear; one might say that they
are ghosts who pounce upon you.

Half way between Kiow and Moscow, as we were already in the vicinity
of the armies, horses became more scarce. I began to be afraid of
being detained in my journey, at the very moment when the necessity
of speed became most urgent; and when I had to wait for five or six
hours in front of a post-house, (as there was seldom an apartment
into which I could enter) I thought with trembling of that army
which might overtake me at the extremity of Europe, and render my
situation at once tragical and ridiculous; for it is thus with the
failure of an undertaking of this kind. The circumstances which
compelled me to it not being generally known, I might have been
asked why I quitted my own house, even although it had been made a
prison to me, and there are good enough people who would not have
failed to say, with an air of compunction, that it was very unlucky,
but I should have done better to stay where I was. If tyranny had
only its direct partisans on its side, it could never maintain
itself; the astonishing thing, and which proves human misery more
than all, is, that the greater part of mediocre people enlist
themselves in the service of events: they have not the strength to
think deeper than a fact, and when an oppressor has triumphed, and a
victim has been destroyed, they hasten to justify, not exactly the
tyrant, but the destiny whose instrument he is. Weakness of mind and
character is no doubt the cause of this servility: but there is also
in man a certain desire of finding destiny, whatever it may be, in
the right, as if it was a way of living in peace with it.

I reached at last that part of my road which removed me from the
theatre of war, and arrived in the governments of Orel and Toula,
which have been so much talked of since, in the bulletins of the two
armies. I was received in these solitary abodes, for so the
provincial towns in Russia appear, with the most perfect
hospitality. Several gentlemen of the neighbourhood came to my inn,
to compliment me on my writings, and I confess having been flattered
to find that my literary reputation had extended to this distance
from my native country. The lady of the governor received me in the
Asiatic style, with sherbet and roses; her apartment was elegantly
furnished with musical instruments and pictures. In Europe you see
every where the contrast of wealth and poverty; but in Russia it may
be said that neither one nor the other makes itself remarked.

The people are not poor; the great know how to lead, when it is
necessary, the same life as the people: it is the mixture of the
hardest privations and of the most refined enjoyments which
characterizes the country. These same noblemen, whose residence
unites all that the luxury of different parts of the world has most
attractive, live, while they are travelling, on much worse food than
our French peasantry, and know how to bear, not only during war, but
in various circumstances of life, a physical existence of the most
disagreeable kind. The severity of the climate, the marshes, the
forests, the deserts, of which a great part of the country is
composed, place man in a continual struggle with nature. Fruits, and
even flowers, only grow in hot-houses; vegetables are not generally
cultivated; and there are no vines any where. The habitual mode of
life of the French peasants could not be obtained in Russia but at a
very great expense. There they have only necessaries by luxury:
whence it happens that when luxury is unattainable, even necessaries
are renounced. What the English call comforts are hardly to be met
with in Russia. You will never find any thing sufficiently perfect
to satisfy in all ways the imagination of the great Russian
noblemen; but when this poetry of wealth fails them, they drink
hydromel, sleep upon a board, and travel day and night in an open
carriage, without regretting the luxury to which one would think
they had been habituated. It is rather as magnificence that they
love fortune, than from the pleasures they derive from it:
resembling still in that point the Easterns, who exercise
hospitality to strangers, load them with presents, and yet
frequently neglect the every day comforts of their own life. This is
one of the reasons which explains that noble courage with which
the Russians have supported the ruin which has been occasioned them
by the burning of Moscow. More accustomed to external pomp than to
the care of themselves, they are not mollified by luxury, and the
sacrifice of money satisfies their pride as much or more than the
magnificence of their expenditure. What characterizes this people,
is something gigantic of all kinds: ordinary dimensions are not at
all applicable to it. I do not by that mean to say that neither real
grandeur nor stability are to be met with in it: but the boldness
and the imagination of the Russians know no bounds: with them every
thing is colossal rather than well proportioned, audacious rather
than reflective, and if they do not hit the mark, it is because they
overshoot it.


Appearance of the Country.--Character of the Russians.

I was always advancing nearer to Moscow, but nothing yet indicated
the approach to a capital. The wooden villages were equally distant
from each other, we saw no greater movement upon the immense plains
which are called high roads; you heard no more noise; the country
houses were not more numerous: there is so much space in Russia that
every thing is lost in it, even the chateaux, even the population.
You might suppose you were travelling through a country from which
the people had just taken their departure. The absence of birds adds
to this silence; cattle also are rare, or at least they are placed
at a great distance from the road. Extent makes every thing
disappear, except extent itself, like certain ideas in metaphysics,
of which the mind can never get rid, when it has once seized them.

On the eve of my arrival at Moscow, I stopped in the evening of a
very hot day, in a pleasant meadow: the female peasants, in
picturesque dresses, according to the custom of the country, were
returning from their labour, singing those airs of the Ukraine, the
words of which, in praise of love and liberty, breathe a sort of
melancholy approaching to regret. I requested them to dance, and
they consented. I know nothing more graceful than these dances of
the country, which have all the originality which nature gives to
the fine arts; a certain modest voluptuousness was remarkable in
them; the Indian bayaderes should have something analogous to that
mixture of indolence and vivacity which forms the charm of the
Russian dance. This indolence and vivacity are indicative of reverie
and passion, two elements of character which civilization has yet
neither formed nor subdued. I was struck with the mild gaiety of
these female peasants, as I had been, in different degrees, with
that of the greater part of the common people with whom I had come
in contact in Russia. I can readily believe that they are terrible
when their passions are provoked; and as they have no; education,
they know not how to curb their violence. As another result of this
ignorance, they have few principles of morality, and theft is very
frequent in Russia as well as hospitality; they give as they take,
according as their imagination is acted upon by cunning or
generosity, both of which excite the admiration of this people. In
this mode of life there is a little resemblance to savages; but it
strikes me that at present there are no European nations who have
much vigor but those who are what is called barbarous, in other
words, unenlightened, or those who are free: but the nations which
have only acquired from civilization an indifference for this or
that yoke, provided their own fire-side is not disturbed: those
nations, which have only learned from civilization the art of
explaining power and of reasoning servitude, are made to be
vanquished. I frequently imagine to myself what may now be the
situation of the places which I have seen so tranquil, of those
amiable young girls, of those long bearded peasants, who followed so
peaceably the lot which providence had traced for them; they have
perished or fled, for not one of them entered into the service of
the victor.

A thing worthy of remark, is the extent to which public spirit is
displayed in Russia. The reputation of invincible which their
multiplied successes have given to this nation, the natural pride of
the nobility, the devotedness inherent in the character of the
people, the profound influence of religion, the hatred of
foreigners, which Peter I. endeavoured to destroy in order to
enlighten and civilize his country, but which is not less settled in
the blood of the Russians, and is occasionally roused, all these
causes combined make them a most energetic people. Some bad
anecdotes of the preceding reigns, some Russians who have contracted
debts with the Parisian shopkeepers, and some bon-mots of Diderot,
have put it into the heads of the French, that Russia consisted only
of a corrupt court, military chamberlains, and a people of slaves.
This is a great mistake. This nation it is true requires a long
examination to know it thoroughly, but in the circumstances in which
I observed it, every thing was salient, and a country can never be
seen to greater advantage than at a period of misfortune and
courage. It cannot be too often repeated, this nation is composed of
the most striking contrasts. Perhaps the mixture of European
civilization and of Asiatic character is the cause.

The manner of the Russians is so obliging that you might imagine
yourself, the very first day, intimate with them, and probably at
the end of ten years you would not be so!

The silence of a Russian is altogether extraordinary; this silence
is solely occasioned by what he takes a deep interest in. In other
respects, they talk as much as you will; but their conversation
teaches you nothing but their politeness; it betrays neither their
feelings nor opinions. They have been frequently compared to the
French, in my opinion with the least justice in the world. The
flexibility of their organs makes imitation in all things a matter
of ease to them; they are English, French, or German in their
manners, according to circumstances; but they never cease to be
Russians, that is to say uniting impetuosity and reserve, more
capable of passion than friendship, more bold than delicate, more
devout than virtuous, more brave than chivalrous, and so violent in
their desires that nothing can stop them, when their gratification
is in question. They are much more hospitable than the French; but
society does not with them, as with us, consist of a circle of
clever people of both sexes, who take pleasure in talking together.
They meet, as we go to a fete, to see a great deal of company, to
have fruits and rare productions from Asia or Europe; to hear music,
to play; in short to receive vivid emotions from external objects,
rather than from the heart or understanding, both of which they
reserve for actions and not for company. Besides, as they are in
general very ignorant, they find very little pleasure in serious
conversation, and do not at all pique themselves on shining by the
wit they can exhibit in it. Poetry, eloquence and literature are not
yet to be found in Russia; luxury, power, and courage are the
principal objects of pride and ambition; all other methods of
acquiring distinction appear as yet effeminate and vain to this

But the people are slaves, it will be said: what character therefore
can they be supposed to have? It is not certainly necessary for me
to say that all enlightened people wish to see the Russian people
freed from this state, and probably no one wishes it more strongly
than the Emperor Alexander: but the Russian slavery has no
resemblance in its effects to that of which we form the idea in the
West; it is not as under the feudal system, victors who have imposed
severe laws on the vanquished; the ties which connect the grandees
with the people resemble rather what was called a family of slaves
among the ancients, than the state of serfs among the moderns. There
is no middling class in Russia, which is a great drawback on the
progress of literature and the arts; for it is generally in that
class that knowledge is developed: but the want of any intermedium
between the nobility and the people creates a greater affection
between them both. The distance between the two classes appears
greater, because there are no steps between these two extremities,
which in fact border very nearly on each other, not being separated
by a middling class. This is a state of social organization quite
unfavorable to the knowledge of the higher classes, but not
so to the happiness of the lower. Besides, where there is no
representative government, that is to say, in countries where the
sovereign still promulgates the law which he is to execute, men are
frequently more degraded by the very sacrifice of their reason and
character, than they are in this vast empire, in which a few simple
ideas of religion and country serve to lead the great mass under the
guidance of a few heads. The immense extent of the Russian empire
also prevents the despotism of the great from pressing heavily in
detail upon the people; and finally, above all, the religious and
military spirit is so predominant in the nation, that allowance may
be made for a great many errors, in favor of those two great sources
of noble actions. A person of fine intellect said, that Russia
resembled the plays of Shakspeare, in which all that is not faulty
is sublime, and all that is not sublime is faulty; an observation of
remarkable justice. But in the great crisis in which Russia was
placed when I passed through it, it was impossible not to admire the
energetic resistance, and resignation to sacrifices exhibited by
that nation; and one could not almost dare, at the contemplation of
such virtues, to allow one's self even to notice what at other times
one would have censured.



Gilded cupolas announced Moscow from afar; however, as the
surrounding country is only a plain, as well as the whole of Russia,
you may arrive in that great city without being struck with its
extent. It has been well said by some one, that Moscow was rather a
province than a city. In fact, you there see huts, houses, palaces,
a bazaar as in the East, churches, public buildings, pieces of
water, woods and parks. The variety of manners, and of the nations
of which Russia is composed, are all exhibited in this immense
residence. Will you, I was asked, buy some Cashmere shawls in the
Tartar quarter? Have you seen the Chinese town? Asia and Europe are
found united in this immense city. There is more liberty enjoyed in
it than at Petersburg, where the court necessarily exercises great
influence. The great nobility settled at Moscow were not ambitious
of places; but they proved their patriotism by munificent gifts to
the state, either for public establishments during peace, or as aids
during the war. The colossal fortunes of the great Russian nobility
are employed in making collections of all kinds, and in enterprises
of which the Arabian Nights have given the models; these fortunes
are also frequently lost by the unbridled passions of their
possessors. When I arrived at Moscow, nothing was talked of but the
sacrifices that were made on account of the war. A young Count de
Momonoff raised a regiment for the state, and would only serve in it
as a sublieutenant; a Countess Orloff, amiable and wealthy in the
Asiatic style, gave the fourth of her income. As I was passing
before these palaces surrounded by gardens, where space was thrown
away in a city as elsewhere in the middle of the country, I was told
that the possessor of this superb residence had given a thousand
peasants to the state: and another, two hundred. I had some
difficulty in accommodating myself to the expression, giving men,
but the peasants themselves offered their services with ardor, and
their lords were in this war only their interpreters.

As soon as a Russian becomes a soldier, his beard is cut off, and
from that moment he is free. A desire was felt that all those who
might have served in the militia should also be considered as free:
but in that case the nation would have been entirely so, for it rose
almost en masse. Let us hope that this so much desired emancipation
may be effected without violence: but in the mean time one would
wish to have the beards preserved, so much strength and dignity do
they add to the physiognomy. The Russians with long beards never
pass a church without making the sign of the cross, and their
confidence in the visible images of religion is very affecting.
Their churches bear the mark of that taste for luxury which they
have from Asia: you see in them only ornaments of gold, and silver,
and rubies. I was told that a Russian had proposed to form an
alphabet with precious stones, and to write a Bible in that manner.
He knew the best manner of interesting the imaginations of the
Russians in what they read. This imagination however has not as yet
manifested itself either in the fine arts or in poetry. They reach a
certain point in all things very quickly, and do not go beyond that.
Impulse makes them take the first steps: but the second belong to
reflection, and these Russians, who have nothing in common with the
people of the North, are as yet very little capable of meditation.

Several of the palaces of Moscow are of wood, in order that they may
be built quicker, and that the natural inconstancy of the nation, in
every thing unconnected with country or religion, may be satisfied
by an easy change of residence. Several of these fine edifices have
been constructed for an entertainment; they were destined to add to
the eclat of a day, and the rich manner in which they were decorated
has made them last up to this period of universal destruction. A
great number of houses are painted green, yellow, or rose color, and
are sculptured in detail like dessert ornaments. The citadel of the
Kremlin, in which the emperors of Russia defended themselves against
the Tartars, is surrounded by a high wall, embattled and flanked
with turrets, which, by their odd shapes, remind one of a Turkish
minaret rather than a fortress like those of the West of Europe. But
although the external character of the buildings of the city be
oriental, the impression of Christianity was found in that,
multitude of churches so much venerated, and which attracted your
notice at every step. One was reminded of Rome in seeing Moscow;
certainly not from the monuments being of the same style, but
because the mixture of solitary country and magnificent palaces, the
grandeur of the city and the infinite number of its churches give
the Asiatic Rome some points of resemblance to the European Rome.

It was about the beginning of August, that I was allowed to see the
interior of the Kremlin; I got there by the same staircase which the
emperor Alexander had ascended a few days preceding, surrounded by
an immense people, who loaded him with their blessings, and promised
him to defend his empire at all hazards. This people has kept its
word. The halls were first thrown open to me in which the arms of
the ancient warriors of Russia are contained; the arsenals of this
kind, in other parts of Europe, are much more interesting. The
Russians have taken no part in the times of chivalry; they never
mingled in the Crusades. Constantly at war with the Tartars, Poles,
and Turks, the military spirit has been formed among them in the
midst of the atrocities of all kinds brought in the train of Asiatic
nations, and of the tyrants who governed Russia. It is not therefore
the generous bravery of the Bayards or the Percys, but the
intrepidity of a fanatical courage which has been exhibited in this
country for several centuries. The Russians, in the relations of
society, which are so new to them, are not distinguished by the
spirit of chivalry, such as the people of the West conceive it; but
they have always shown themselves terrible to their enemies. So many
massacres have taken place in the interior of Russia, up to the
reign of Peter the Great, and even later, that the morality of the
nation, and particularly that of the great nobility, must have
suffered severely from them. These despotic governments, whose sole
restraint is the assassination of the despot, overthrow all
principles of honor and duty in the minds of men: but the love of
their country and an attachment to their religious creed have been
maintained in their full strength, amidst the wrecks of this bloody
history, and the nation which preserves such virtues may yet
astonish the world.

From the ancient arsenal I was conducted into the apartments
formerly occupied by the czars, and in which the robes are preserved
which they wore on the day of their coronation. These apartments
have no sort of beauty, but they agreed very well with the hard life
which the czars led and still lead. The greatest magnificence reigns
in the palace of Alexander; but he himself sleeps upon the floor,
and travels like a Cossack officer.

They exhibited in the Kremlin a divided throne, which was filled at
first by Peter I. and Ivan his brother. The princess Sophia, their
sister, placed herself behind the seat of Ivan, and dictated to him
what to say; but this borrowed strength was not able to cope long
with the native strength of Peter I. and he soon reigned alone. It
is from the period of his reign that the czars have ceased to wear
the Asiatic costume. The great wig of the age of Louis XIV. came in
with Peter I. and without touching upon the admiration inspired by
this great man, one cannot help feeling the disagreeable contrast
between the ferocity of his genius and the ceremonious regularity of
his dress. Was he in the right in doing away as much as he could,
oriental manners from the bosom of his people? was it right to fix
his capital in the north, and at the extremity of his empire? These
are great questions which are not yet answered: centuries only can
afford the proper commentaries upon such lofty ideas.

I ascended to the top of the cathedral steeple, called Ivan Veliki,
which commands a view of the whole city; from thence I saw the
palace of the czars, who conquered by their arms the crowns of
Casan, Astracan, and Siberia. I heard the church music, in which
the catholikos, prince of Georgia, officiated in the midst of the
inhabitants of Moscow, and formed a Christian meeting between Asia
and Europe. Fifteen hundred Churches attested the devotion of the
Muscovite people.

The commercial establishments at Moscow had quite an Asiatic
character; men in turbans, and others dressed in the different
costumes of all the people of the East, exhibited the rarest
merchandize: the furs of Siberia and the muslins of India there
offered all the enjoyments of luxury to those great noblemen, whose
imagination is equally pleased with the sables of the Samoiedes and
with the rubies of the Persians. Here, the gardens and the palace
Razoumowski contained the most beautiful collection of plants and
minerals; there, was the fine library of the Count de Bouterlin,
which he had spent thirty years of his life in collecting: among the
books he possessed, there were several which contained manuscript
notes in the hand-writing of Peter I. This great man never imagined
that the same European civilization, of which he was so jealous,
would come to destroy the establishments for public instruction
which he had founded in the middle of his empire, with a view to
form by study the impatient spirit of the Russians. Farther on, was
the Foundling House, one of the most affecting institutions of
Europe; hospitals for all classes of society might be remarked in
the different quarters of the city: finally, the eye in its
wanderings could rest upon nothing but wealth or benevolence, upon
edifices of luxury or of charity; upon churches or on palaces, which
diffused happiness or distinction upon a large portion of the human
race. You saw the windings of the Moskwa, of that river, which,
since the last invasion by the Tartars, had never rolled with blood
in its waves: the day was delightful; the sun seemed to take a
pleasure in shedding his rays upon these glittering cupolas. I was
reminded of the old archbishop Plato, who had just written a
pastoral letter to the emperor Alexander, the oriental style of
which had extremely affected me: he sent the image of the Virgin
from the borders of Europe, to drive far from Asia the man who
wished to bear down upon the Russians with the whole weight of the
nations chained to his steps. For a moment the thought struck me
that Napoleon might yet set his foot upon this same tower from which
I was admiring the city, which his presence was about to extinguish;
for a moment I dreamed that he would glory in replacing, in the
palace of the czars, the chief of the great horde, which had also
once had possession of it: but the sky was so beautiful, that I
repelled the apprehension. A month afterwards, this beautiful city
was in ashes, in order that it should be said, that every country
which had been in alliance with this man, should be destroyed by the
fires which are at his disposal. But how gloriously have the
Russians and their monarch redeemed this error! The misery of Moscow
may be even said to have regenerated the empire, and this religious
city has perished like a martyr, the shedding of whose blood gives
new strength to the brethren who survive him.

The famous Count Rostopchin, with whose name the emperor's bulletins
have been filled, came to see me, and invited me to dine with him.
He had been minister for foreign affairs to Paul I., his
conversation had something original about it, and you could easily
perceive that his character would show itself in a very strong
manner, if circumstances required it. The Countess Rostopchin was
good enough to give me a book which she had written on the triumphs
of religion, the style and morality of which were very pure. I went
to visit her at her country-house, in the interior of Moscow. I was
obliged to cross a lake and a wood in* order to reach it: it was to
this house, one of the most agreeable residences in Russia, that
Count Rostopchin himself set-fire, on the approach of the French
army. Certainly an action of this kind was likely to excite a
certain kind of admiration, even in enemies. The emperor Napoleon
has, notwithstanding, compared Count Rostopchin to Marat, forgetting
that the governor of Moscow sacrificed his own interests, while
Marat set fire to the houses of others, which certainly makes a
considerable difference. The only thing which Count Rostopchin could
properly be reproached with, was his concealing too long the bad
news from the armies, either from flattering himself, or believing
it to be necessary to flatter others. The English, with that
admirable rectitude which distinguishes all their actions, publish
as faithful an account of their reverses as they do of their
victories, and enthusiasm is with them sustained by the truth,
whatever that may be. The Russians cannot yet reach that moral
perfection, which is the result of a free constitution.

No civilized nation has so much in common with savages as the
Russian people, and when their nobility possess energy, they
participate also in the defects and good qualities of that
unshackled nature. The expression of Diderot has been greatly
vaunted: The Russians are rotten before they are ripe. I know
nothing more false; their very vices, with some exceptions, are not
those of corruption, but of violence. The desires of a Russian, said
a very superior man, would blow up a city: fury and artifice take
possession of them by turns, when they wish to accomplish any
resolution, good or bad. Their nature is not at all changed by the
rapid civilization which was given them by Peter I.; it has as yet
only formed their manners: happily for them, they are always what we
call barbarians, in other words, led by an instinct frequently
generous, but always involuntary, which only admits of reflection in
the choice of the means, and not in the examination of the end; I
say happily for them, not that I wish to extol barbarism, but I
designate by this name a certain primitive energy which can alone
replace in nations the concentrated strength of liberty.

I saw at Moscow the most enlightened men in the career of science
and literature; but there, as well as at Petersburg, the professors'
chairs are almost entirely filled with Germans. There is in Russia a
great scarcity of well-informed men in any branch; young people in
general only go to the University to be enabled sooner to enter into
the military profession. Civil employments in Russia confer a rank
corresponding to a grade in the army; the spirit of the nation is
turned entirely towards war: in every thing else, in administration,
in political economy, in public instruction, &c. the other nations
of Europe have hitherto borne away the palm from the Russians. They
are making attempts, however, in literature; the softness and
brilliancy of the sounds of their language are remarked even by
those who do not understand it; and it should be very well adapted
for poetry and music. But the Russians have, like so many other
continental nations, the fault of imitating the French literature,
which, even with all its beauties, is only fit for the French
themselves. I think that the Russians ought rather to make their
literary studies derive from the Greeks than from the Latins. The
characters of the Russian alphabet, so similar to those of the
Greeks, the ancient communication of the Russians with the Byzantine
empire, their future destinies, which will probably lead them to the
illustrious monuments of Athens and Sparta, all this ought to turn
the Russians to the study of Greek: but it is above all necessary
that their writers should draw their poetry from the deepest
inspiration of their own soul. Their works, up to this time, have
been composed, as one may say, by the lips, and never can a nation
so vehement be stirred up by such shrill notes.


Road from Moscow to Petersburg.

I quitted Moscow with regret: I stopped a short time in a wood near
the city, where on holidays the inhabitants go to dance, and
celebrate the sun, whose splendor is of such short duration, even at
Moscow. What is it then I see, in advancing towards the North? Even
these eternal birch trees, which weary you with their monotony,
become very rare, it is said, as you approach Archangel; they are
preserved there, like orange trees in France. The country from
Moscow to Petersburg is at first sandy, and afterwards all marsh:
when it rains, the ground becomes black, and the high road becomes
undistinguishable. The houses of the peasants, however, every where
indicate a state of comfort; they are decorated with columns, and
the windows are surrounded with arabesques carved in wood. Although
it was summer when I passed through this country, I already felt the
threatening winter which seemed to conceal itself behind the clouds:
of the fruits which were offered to me, the flavor was bitter,
because their ripening had been too much hastened; a rose excited
emotion in me as a recollection of our fine countries, and the
flowers themselves appeared to carry their heads with less pride, as
if the icy hand of the North had been already prepared to pluck

I passed through Novogorod, which was, six centuries ago, a republic
associated with the Hanse towns, and which has preserved for a long
period a spirit of republican independence. Persons have been
pleased to say that freedom was not reclaimed in Europe before the
last century; on the contrary, it is rather despotism, which is a
modern invention. Even in Russia the slavery of the peasants was
only introduced in the sixteenth century. Up to the reign of Peter
I. the form of all the ukases was: The boyars have advised, the czar
will decree. Peter I. although in many ways he has done infinite
good to Russia, humbled the grandees, and united in himself the
temporal and spiritual power, in order to remove all obstacles to
his designs. Richelieu acted in the same manner in France; Peter I.
was therefore a great admirer of his. It will be recollected that on
being shown his tomb at Paris, he exclaimed, "Great man! I would
give one half of my empire to learn from thee how to govern the
other." The czar on this occasion was a great deal too modest, for
he had the advantage over Richelieu of being a great warrior, and
what is more, the founder of the navy and commerce of his country;
while Richelieu has done nothing but govern tyrannically at home,
and craftily abroad. But to return to Novogorod. Ivan Vasilewitch
possessed himself of it in 1470, and destroyed its liberties; he
removed from it to the Kremlin at Moscow, the great bell called in
Russian, Wetchevoy kolokol, at the sound of which the citizens had
been accustomed to assemble at the market place, to deliberate on
public matters. With the loss of liberty, Novogorod had the
mortification to see the gradual disappearance of its population,
its commerce, and its wealth: so withering and destructive is the
breath of arbitrary power, says the best historian of Russia. Even
at the present day the city of Novogorod presents an aspect of
singular melancholy; avast inclosure indicates that it was formerly
large and populous, and you see nothing in it but scattered houses,
the inhabitants of which seem to be placed there like figures
weeping over the tombs. The same spectacle is now probably offered
by the beautiful city of Moscow; but the public spirit will rebuild
it, as it has reconquered it.


St. Petersburg.

From Novogorod to Petersburg, you see scarcely anything but marshes,
and you arrive in one of the finest cities in the world, as if, with
a magic wand, an enchanter had made all the wonders of Europe and
Asia start up from the middle of the deserts. The foundation of
Petersburg offers the greatest proof of that ardor of Russian will,
which recognizes nothing as impossible: everything in the environs
is humble; the city is built upon a marsh, and even the marble rests
on piles; but you forget when looking at these superb edifices,
their frail foundations, and cannot help meditating on the miracle
of so fine a city being built in so short a time. This people which
must always be described by contrasts, possesses an unheard of
perseverance in its struggles with nature or with hostile armies.
Necessity always found the Russians patient and invincible, but in
the ordinary course of life they are very unsteady. The same men,
the same masters, do not long inspire them with enthusiasm;
reflection alone can guarantee the duration of feelings and opinions
in the habitual quiet of life, and the Russians, like all people
subject to despotism, are more capable of dissimulation than

On my arrival at Petersburg my first sentiment was to return thanks
to heaven for being on the borders of the sea. I saw waving on the
Neva the English flag, the symbol of liberty, and I felt that on
committing myself to the ocean, I might return under the immediate
power of the Deity; it is an illusion which one cannot help
entertaining, to believe one's self more under the hand of
Providence, when delivered to the elements than when depending on
men, and especially on that man who appears to be a revelation of
the evil principle on this earth.

Just facing the house which I inhabited at Petersburg was the statue
of Peter I.; he is represented on horseback climbing a steep
mountain, in the midst of serpents who try to stop the progress of
his horse. These serpents, it is true, are put there to support the
immense weight of the horse and his rider; but the idea is not a
happy one: for in fact it is not envy which a sovereign can have to
dread: neither are his adulators his enemies: and Peter I.
especially had nothing to fear during his life, but from Russians
who regretted the ancient customs of their country. The admiration
of him, however, which is still preserved is the best proof of the
good he did to Russia: for despots have no flatterers a hundred
years after their death. On the pedestal of the statue is written:
To Peter the First, Catherine the Second. This simple, yet proud,
inscription has the merit of truth. These two great monarchs have
elevated the Russian pride to the highest pitch; and to teach a
nation to regard itself as invincible, is to make it such, at least
within its own territory: for conquest is a chance which probably
depends more upon the faults of the vanquished than upon the genius
of the victor,

It is said, and properly, that you cannot, at Petersburg, say of a
woman, that she is as old as the streets, the streets themselves are
so modern. The buildings still possess a dazzling whiteness, and at
night when they are lighted by the moon, they look like large white
phantoms regarding, immoveable, the course of the Neva. I know not
what there is particularly beautiful in this river, but the waves of
no other I had yet seen ever appeared to me so limpid. A succession
of granite quays, thirty versts in length, borders its course, and
this magnificent labour of man is worthy of the transparent water
which it adorns. Had Peter I. directed similar undertakings towards
the South of his empire, he would not have obtained what he wished,
a navy; but he would perhaps have better conformed to the character
of his nation. The Russian inhabitants of Petersburg have the look
of a people of the South condemned to live in the North, and making
every effort to struggle with a climate at variance 'with their
nature. The inhabitants of the North are generally very indolent,
and dread the cold, precisely because he is their daily enemy. The
lower classes of the Russians have none of these habits; the
coachmen wait for ten hours at the gate, during winter, without
complaining; they sleep upon the snow, under their carriage, and
transport the manners of the Lazzaroni of Naples to the Sixtieth
degree of latitude. You may see them laying on the steps of
staircases, like the Germans in their down; sometimes they sleep
standing, with their head reclined against the wall. By turns
indolent and impetuous, they give themselves up alternately to
sleep, or to the most fatiguing employments. Some of them get drunk,
in which they differ from the people of the South, who are very
sober; but the Russians are so also, and to an extent hardly
credible, when the difficulties of war require it.

The great Russian noblemen also show, in their way, the tastes of
inhabitants of the South. You must go and see the different country
houses which they have built in the middle of an island formed by
the Neva, in the centre of Petersburg. The plants of the South, the
perfumes of the East, and the divans of Asia, embellish these
residences. By immense hot houses, in which the fruits of all
countries are ripened, an artificial climate is created. The
possessors of these palaces endeavour not to lose the least ray of
sun while he appears on their horizon; they treat him like a friend
who is about to take his departure, whom they have known formerly in
a more fortunate country.

The day after my arrival, I went to dine with one of the most
considerable merchants of the city, who exercised hospitality a la
Russe; that is to say, he placed a flag on the top of his house to
signify that he dined at home, and this invitation was sufficient
for all his friends. He made us dine in the open air, so much
pleasure was felt from these poor days of summer, of which a few yet
remained, to which we should have scarcely given the name in the
South of Europe. The garden was very agreeable; it was embellished
with trees and flowers; but at four paces from the house the deserts
and the marshes were again to be seen. In the environs of
Petersburg, nature has the look of an enemy who resumes his
advantages, when man ceases for a moment to struggle with him.

The next morning I repaired to the church of Our Lady of Casan,
built by Paul I. on the model of St. Peter's at Rome. The interior
of this church, decorated with a great number of columns of granite
is exceedingly beautiful; but the building itself displeases,
precisely because it reminds us of St. Peter's: and because it
differs from it so much the more, from the mere wish of imitation.
It is impossible to create in two years what cost the labour of a
century to the first artists of the universe. The Russians would by
rapidity escape from time as they do from space: but time only
preserves what it has founded, and the fine arts, of which
inspiration seems the first source, cannot nevertheless dispense
with reflection.

From Our Lady of Casan I went to the convent of St. Alexander
Newski, a place consecrated to one of the sovereign heroes of
Russia, who extended his conquests to the borders of the Neva. The
empress Elizabeth, daughter of Peter I. had a silver coffin made for
him, upon which it is customary to put a piece of money, as a pledge
of the vow which is recommended to the Saint. The tomb of Suwarow is
in this convent of Alexander Newski, but his name is its only
decoration; it is enough for him, but not for the Russians, to whom
he rendered such important services. This nation, however, is so
thoroughly military, that lofty achievements of that description
excite less astonishment in it than other nations.

The greatest families of Russia have erected tombs to their
relatives in the cemetery which belongs to the church of Newski, but
none of these monuments are worthy of remark; they are not
beautiful, regarded as objects of art, and no grand idea there
strikes the imagination. It is certain that the idea of death
produces little effect on the Russians; whether it is from courage,
or from the inconstancy of their impressions, long regrets are
hardly in their character; they are more susceptible of superstition
than emotion: superstition attaches to this life, and religion to
another; superstition is allied to fatality, and religion to virtue;
it is from the vivacity of earthly desires that we become
superstitious, and it is on the contrary by the sacrifice of these
same desires, that we are religious.

M. de Romanzow, the minister of foreign affairs in Russia, loaded me
with the most amiable attentions, and it was with regret that I
considered him as so implicated in the system of the emperor
Napoleon, that he must necessarily retire, like the English
ministers, when that system was abandoned. Doubtless, in an absolute
monarchy, the will of the master explains every thing; but the
dignity of a prime minister perhaps requires that words of an
opposite tendency should not proceed from the same mouth. The
sovereign represents the state, and the state may change its system
of politics whenever circumstances require it; but the minister is
only a man, and a man, on questions of this nature, ought to have
but one opinion in the course of his life. It is impossible to have
better manners than Count Romanzow, or to receive strangers more
nobly. I was at his house when the English envoy, Lord Tyrconnel,
and Admiral Bentinck were announced, both of them men of remarkably
fine appearance: they were the first English who had re-appeared on
that continent, from which the tyranny of one man had banished them.
After ten years of such fearful struggle, after ten years during
which victories and disasters had always found the English true to
the compass of their politics' conscience, they returned at last
into the country which first emancipated itself from the universal
monarchy. Their accent, their simplicity, their fierte, all awakened
in the soul that sentiment of truth in all things, which Napoleon
has discovered the art of obscuring in the eyes of those who have
only read his journals, and listened to his agents. I do not even
know if Napoleon's adversaries on the continent, constantly
surrounded with a false opinion which never ceases to deafen them,
can venture to trust themselves without apprehension to their own
feelings. If I can judge of them by myself, I know that frequently,
after having heard all the advices of prudence or meanness with
which one is overwhelmed in the Bonapartist atmosphere, I scarcely
knew what to think of my own opinion; my blood forbid me to renounce
it, but my reason was not always sufficient to preserve me from so
many sophisms. It was therefore with the most lively emotion that I
heard once more the voice of that England, with which we are almost
always sure to agree, when we endeavour to deserve our own esteem,
and that of persons of integrity.

The following day, I was invited by Count Orloff to come and spend
the day in the island which bears his name, and which is the most
agreeable of all those formed by the Neva; oaks, a rare production
in this country, overshadow the garden. The Count and Countess
Orloff employ their fortune in receiving strangers with equal
facility and magnificence; you are at your ease with them, as in a
country retreat, and you enjoy there all the luxury of cities. Count
Orloff is one of the most learned noblemen to be met with in Russia,
and his love of his country bears a profound character, with which
it is impossible to help being affected. The first day I passed at
his house, peace had just been proclaimed with England; it was a
Sunday; and in his garden, which was on that day opened to all
comers, we saw a great number of these long-bearded merchants, who
keep up in Russia the costume of the Moujiks, that is to say of the
peasants. A number of them collected to hear the delightful band of
music of Count Orloff; it gave us the English air of God save the
King, which is the song of liberty in a country, of which the
monarch is its first guardian. We were all much affected, and
applauded this air, which is become national for all Europeans; for
there are no longer but two kinds of men in Europe, those who serve
tyranny, and those who have learned to hate it. Count Orloff went up
to the Russian merchants, and told them that the peace between
England and Russia was celebrating; they immediately made the sign
of the cross, and thanked heaven that the sea was once more open to

The isle Orloff is in the centre of all those which the great
noblemen of Petersburg, and the emperor and empress themselves, have
selected for their residence during summer. Not far from it is the
isle Strogonoff, the rich owner of which has brought from Greece
antiquities of great value. His house was open every day during his
life, and whoever had once been presented might return when they
chose; he never invited any one to dinner or supper on a particular
day; it was understood that once admitted, you were always welcome;
he frequently knew not half the persons who dined at his table: but
this luxurious hospitality pleased him like any other kind of
magnificence. The same practice prevails in many other houses at
Petersburg; it is natural to conclude from that, that what we call
in France the pleasures of conversation cannot be there met with:
the company is much too numerous to allow a conversation of any
interest even to be kept up in it. In the best society the most
perfect good manners prevail, but there is neither sufficient
information among the nobility, nor sufficient confidence among
persons living habitually under the influence of a despotic court
and government, to allow them to know any thing of the charms of
intimacy. The greater part of the great noblemen of Russia express
themselves with so much elegance and propriety, that one frequently
deceives one's self at the outset about the degree of wit and
acquirements of those with whom you are conversing. The debut is
almost always that of a gentleman or lady of fine understanding: but
sometimes also, in the long run, you discover nothing but the debut.
They are not accustomed in Russia to speak from the bottom of their
heart or understanding; they had in former times such fear of their
masters, that they have not yet been able to accustom themselves to
that wise freedom, for which they are indebted to the character of

Some Russian gentlemen have tried to distinguish themselves in
literature, and have given proofs of considerable talent in this
career; but knowledge is not yet sufficiently diffused to create a
public judgment formed by individual opinions. The character of the
Russians is too passionate to allow them to like ideas in the least
degree abstract; it is by facts only that they are amused; they have
not yet had time or inclination to reduce facts to general ideas. In
addition, every significant idea is always more or less dangerous,
in the midst of a court where mutual observation, and more
frequently envy are the predominant feelings.

The silence of the East is here transformed into amiable words, but
which generally never penetrate beyond the surface. One feels
pleasure for a moment in this brilliant atmosphere, which is an
agreeable dissipation of life; but in the long run no information is
acquired in it, no faculties are developed in it, and men who pass
their life in this manner never acquire any capacity for study or
business. Far otherwise was it with the society of Paris; there we
have seen men whose characters have been entirely formed by the
lively or serious conversation to which the intercourse between the
nobility and men of letters gave birth.


The Imperial Family.

I had at last the pleasure of seeing that monarch, equally absolute
by law and custom, and so moderate from his own disposition. The
empress Elizabeth, to whom I was at first presented, appeared to me
the tutelary angel of Russia. Her manners are extremely reserved,
but what she says is full of life, and it is from the focus of all
generous ideas that her sentiments and opinions have derived
strength and warmth. While I listened to her, I was affected by
something inexpressible, which did not proceed from her grandeur,
but from the harmony of her soul; so long was it since I had known
an instance of concord between power and virtue. As I was conversing
with the empress, the door opened, and the emperor Alexander did me
the honor to come and talk to me. What first struck me in him was
such an expression of goodness and dignity, that the two qualities
appear inseparable, and in him to form only one. I was also very
much affected with the noble simplicity with which he entered upon
the great interests of Europe, almost among the first words he
addressed to me. I have always regarded, as a proof of mediocrity,
that apprehension of treating serious questions, with which the best
part of the sovereigns of Europe have been inspired; they are afraid
to pronounce a word to which any real meaning can be attached. The
emperor Alexander on the contrary, conversed with me as statesmen in
England would have done, who place their strength in themselves, and
not in the barriers with which they are surrounded. The emperor
Alexander, whom Napoleon has endeavoured to misrepresent, is a man
of remarkable understanding and information, and I do not believe
that in the whole extent of his empire he could find a minister
better versed than himself in all that belongs to the judgment and
direction of public affairs. He did not disguise from me his regret
for the admiration to which he had surrendered himself in his
intercourse with Napoleon. His grandfather had, in the same way,
entertained a great enthusiasm for Frederic II. In these sort of
illusions, produced by an extraordinary character, there is always a
generous motive, whatever may be the errors that result from it. The
emperor Alexander, however, described with great sagacity the effect
produced upon him by these conversations with Bonaparte, in which he
said the most opposite things, as if one must be astonished at each,
without thinking of their being contradictory. He related to me also
the lessons a la Machiavel which Napoleon had thought proper to give
him: "You see," said he, "I am careful to keep my ministers and
generals at variance among themselves, in order that each may reveal
to me the faults of the other; I keep up around me a continual
jealousy by the manner I treat those who are about me: one day one
thinks himself the favorite, the next day another, so that no one is
ever certain of my favor." What a vulgar and vicious theory! And
will there never arise a man superior to this man, who will
demonstrate its inutility? That which is wanting to the sacred cause
of morality, is, that it should contribute in a very striking manner
to great success in this world; he who feels all the dignity of this
cause will sacrifice with pleasure every success, but it is still
necessary to teach those presumptuous persons who imagine they
discover depth of thinking in the vices of the soul, that if in
immorality there is sometimes wit, in virtue there is genius. In
obtaining the conviction of the good faith of the emperor Alexander,
in his relations with Napoleon, I was at the same time persuaded
that he would not imitate the example of the unfortunate sovereigns
of Germany, and would sign no peace with him who is equally the
enemy of people and kings. A noble soul cannot be twice deceived by
the same person. Alexander gives and withdraws his confidence with
the greatest reflection. His youth and personal advantages have
alone, at the beginning of his reign, made him be suspected of
levity; but he is serious, even as much so as a man may be who has
known misfortune. Alexander expressed to me his regret at not being
a great captain: I replied to this noble modesty, that a sovereign
was much more rare than a general, and that the support of the
public feelings of his people, by his example, was achieving the
greatest victory, and the first of the kind which had ever been
gained. The emperor talked to me with enthusiasm of his nation, and
of all that it was capable of becoming. He expressed to me the
desire, which all the world knows him to entertain, of ameliorating
the state of the peasants still subject to slavery. "Sire," said I
to him, "your character is a constitution for your empire, and your
conscience is the guarantee of it." "Were that even the case,"
replied he, "I should only be a fortunate accident."* Noble words!
The first of the kind, I believe, which an absolute monarch ever
pronounced! How many virtues it requires, in a despot, properly to
estimate despotism! and how many virtues also, never to abuse it,
when the nation which he governs is almost astonished at such signal
moderation. At Petersburg especially, the great nobility have less
liberality in their principles than the emperor himself. Accustomed
to be the absolute masters of their peasants, they wish the monarch,
in his turn, to be omnipotent, for the purpose of maintaining the
hierarchy of despotism. The state of citizens does not yet exist in
Russia; it begins however to be forming; the sons of the clergy,
those of the merchants, and some peasants who have obtained of their
lords the liberty of becoming artists, may be considered as a third
order in the state. The Russian nobility besides bears no
resemblance to that of Germany or France; a man becomes noble in
Russia, as soon as he obtains rank in the army. No doubt the great
families, such as the Narischkins, the Dolgoroukis, the Gallitzins,
&c. will always hold the first rank in the empire; but it is not
less true that the advantages of the aristocracy belong to men, whom
the monarch's pleasure has made noble in a day; and the whole
ambition of the citizens is in consequence to have their sons made
officers, in order that they may belong to the privileged class. The
result of this is, that young men's education is finished at fifteen
years of age; they are hurried into the army as soon as possible,
and everything else is neglected. This is not the time certainly to
blame an order of things, which has produced so noble a resistance;
were tranquility restored, it might be truly said, that under civil
considerations, there are great deficiencies in the internal
administration of Russia. Energy and grandeur exist in the nation;
but order and knowledge are still frequently wanting, both in the
government, and in the private conduct of individuals. Peter I. by
making Russia European, certainly bestowed upon her great
advantages; but these advantages he more than counter-balanced by
the establishment of a despotism prepared by his father, and
consolidated by him; Catherine II. on the contrary tempered the use
of absolute power, of which she was not the author. If the political
state of Europe should ever be restored to peace: in other words if
one man were no longer the dispenser of evil to the world, we should
see Alexander solely occupied with the improvement of his country!
and in attempting to establish laws which would guarantee to it that
happiness, of which the duration is as yet only secured for the life
of its present ruler.

* (Note by the Editor)
* This expression has been already quoted in the third volume of the
Considerations on the French Revolution; but it deserves to be
repeated. All this, however, it must be remembered, was written at
the end of 1812.
(End of Note by the Editor.)

From the emperor's I went to his respectable mother's, that princess
to whom calumny has never been able to impute a sentiment
unconnected with the happiness of her husband, her children, or the
family of unfortunate persons of whom she is the protectress. I
shall relate, farther on, in what manner she governs that empire of
charity, which she exercises in the midst of the omnipotent empire
of her son. She lives in the palace of the Taurida, and to get to
her apartments you have to cross a hall, built by prince Potemkin,
of incomparable grandeur; a winter garden occupies a part of it, and
you see the trees and plants through the pillars which surround the
middle inclosure. Every thing in this residence is colossal; the
conceptions of the prince who built it were fantastically gigantic.
He had towns built in the Crimea, solely that the empress might see
them on her passage; he ordered the assault of a fortress, to please
a beautiful woman, the princess Dolgorouki, who had disdained his
suit, The favor of his Sovereign mistress created him such as he
showed himself; but there is remarkable, notwithstanding, in the
characters of most of the great men of Russia, such as Menzikoff,
Suwarow, Peter I. himself, and in yet older times Ivan Vasilievitch,
something fantastical, violent, and ironical combined. Wit was with
them rather an arm than an enjoyment, and it was by the imagination
that they were led. Generosity, barbarity, unbridled passions, and
religious superstition, all met in the same character. Even now
civilization in Russia has not penetrated beyond the surface, even
among the great nobility; externally they imitate other nations, but
all are Russians at heart, and in that consists their strength and
originality, the love of country being next to that of God, the
noblest sentiment which men can feel. That country must certainly be
exceedingly different from those which surround it to inspire a
decided attachment; nations which are confounded with one another by
slight shades of difference, or which are divided into several
separate states, never devote themselves with real passion to the
conventional association to which they have attached the name of


Manners of the Great Russian Nobility.

I went to spend a day at the country seat of prince Narischkin,
great chamberlain of the court, an amiable, easy and polished man,
but who cannot exist without a fete; it is at his house that you
obtain a correct notion of that vivacity in their tastes, which
explains the defects and qualities of the Russians. The house of M.
de Narischkin is always open, and if there happen to be only twenty
persons at his country seat, he begins to be weary of this
philosophical retreat. Polite to strangers, always in movement, and
yet perfectly capable of the reflection required to stand well at
court: greedy of the enjoyments of imagination, but placing these
only in things and not in books; impatient every where but at court,
witty when it is to his advantage to be so, magnificent rather than
ambitious, and seeking in everything for a certain Asiatic grandeur,
in which fortune and rank are more conspicuous than personal
advantages. His country seat is as agreeable as it is possible for a
place of the kind to be, created by the hand of man: all the
surrounding country is marshy and barren; so as to make this
residence a perfect Oasis. On ascending the terrace, you see the
gulph of Finland, and perceive in the distance, the palace which
Peter I. built upon its borders; but the space which separates it
from the sea and the palace is almost a waste, and the park of M.
Narischkin alone charms the eye of the observer. We dined in the
house of the Moldavians, that is to say, in a saloon built according
to the taste of these people; it was arranged so as to protect from
the heat of the sun, a precaution rather needless in Russia. However
the imagination is impressed to that degree with the idea that you
are living among a people who have only come into the North by
accident, that it appears natural to find there the customs of the
South, as if the Russians were some day or other to bring to
Petersburg the climate of their old country. The table was covered
with the fruits of all countries, according to the custom taken from
the East, of only letting the fruits appear, while a crowd of
servants carried round to each guest the dishes of meat and
vegetables they required.

We were entertained with a concert of that horn music which is
peculiar to Russia, and of which mention has been often made. Of
twenty musicians, each plays only one and the same note, every time
it returns; each of these men in consequence bears the name of the
note which he is employed to execute. When one of them is seen going
along, people say: that is the sol, that is the mi, or that is the
re of M. Narischkin. The horns go on increasing from rank to rank,
and this music has been by some one called, very properly, a living
organ. At a distance the effect is very fine: the exactness and the
purity of the harmony excite the most noble ideas; but when you come
near to these poor performers, who are there like pipes, yielding
only one sound, and quite unable to participate by their own
emotions in the effect produced, the pleasure dies away: one does
not like to see the fine arts transformed into mechanical arts, to
be acquired by dint of strength like exercise.

Some of the inhabitants of the Ukraine, dressed in scarlet, came
afterwards to sing to us some of the airs of their country, which
are singularly pleasing: they are sometimes gay and sometimes
melancholy, and sometimes both united. These airs sometimes break
off abruptly in the midst of the melody, as if the imagination of
the people was tired before finishing what at first pleased them, or
found it more piquant to suspend the charm at the very moment its
influence was greatest. It is thus that the Sultana of the Arabian
Nights always breaks off her story, when its interest is at the

M. Narischkin in the midst of this variety of pleasures, proposed to
us to drink a toast to the united arms of the Russians and English,
and gave at the same moment a signal to his artillery, which gave
almost as loud a salute as that of a sovereign. The inebriety of
hope seized all the guests; as for me, I felt myself bathed in
tears. Was it possible that a foreign tyrant should reduce me to
wish that the French should be beat? I wish, said I then, for the
fall of him, who is equally the oppressor of France and Europe; for
the true French will triumph if he is repulsed. The English and the
Russian guests, and particularly M. Narischkin, approved my idea,
and the name of France, formerly like that of Armida in its effects,
was once more heard with kindness by the knights of the east, and of
the sea, who were going to fight against her. Calrnucks with flat
features are still brought up in the houses of the Russian nobility,
as if to preserve a specimen of those Tartars who were conquered by
the Sclavonians. In the palace of Narischkin there were two or three
of these half-savage Calmucks running about. They are agreeable
enough in their infancy, but at the age of twenty they lose all the
charms of youth: obstinate, though slaves, they amuse their masters
by their resistance, like a squirrel fighting with the wires of his
cage. It was painful to look at this specimen of the human race
debased; I thought I saw, in the midst of all the pomp of luxury, an
image of what man may become, when he derives no dignity either from
religion or the laws, and this spectacle was calculated to humble
the pride which the enjoyments of splendor may inspire.

Long carriages for promenade, drawn by the most beautiful horses,
conducted us, after dinner, into the park. It was now the end of
August, but the sun was pale, the grass of an almost artificial
green, because it was only kept up by unremitting attention. The
flowers themselves appeared to be an aristocratic enjoyment, so much
expense was required to have them. No warbling of birds was heard in
the woods, they did not trust themselves to this summer of a moment;
neither were any cattle observable in the meadows: one could not
dare to give them plants which had required such pains to cultivate.
The water scarcely flowed, and only by the help of machines which
brought it into the gardens, where the whole of this nature had the
air of being a festival decoration, which would disappear when the
guests retired. Our caliches stopped in front of a building in the
garden, which represented a Tartar camp; there, all the musicians
united began a new concert: the noise of horns and cymbals quite
intoxicated the ideas. The better to complete this entire banishment
of thinking, we had an imitation, during summer, of their sledges,
the rapidity of which consoles the Russians for their winter; we
rolled upon boards, from the top of a mountain in wood with the
quickness of lightning. This amusement charmed the ladies as much as
the gentlemen, and allowed them to participate a little in those
pleasures of war, which consist in the emotion of danger, and in the
animated promptitude of all the movements. Thus passed the time; for
every day saw a renewal of what appeared to me to be a fete. With
some slight differences, the greater part of the great houses of
Petersburg lead the same kind of life: it is impossible, as one may
readily see, for any kind of continued conversation to be kept up in
it, and learning is of no utility in this kind of society; but where
so much is done only from the desire of collecting in one's house a
great multitude of persons, entertainments are after all the only
means of preventing the ennui which a crowd in the saloons always

In the midst of all this noise, is there any room for love? will be
asked by the Italian ladies, who scarcely know any other interest in
society than the pleasure of seeing the person by whom they wish to
be beloved. I passed too short a time at Petersburg to obtain
correct ideas of the interior arrangements of families; it appeared
to me, however, that on one hand, there was more domestic virtue
than was said to exist; but that on the other hand, sentimental love
was very rarely known. The customs of Asia, which meet you at every
step, prevent the females from interfering with the domestic cares
of their establishment: all these are directed by the husband, and
the wife only decorates herself with his gifts, and receives the
persons whom he invites. The respect for morality is already much
greater than it was at Petersburg in the time of those emperors and
empresses who depraved opinion by their example. The two present
empresses have made those virtues beloved, of which they are
themselves the models. In this respect, however, as in a great many
others, the principles of morality are not properly fixed in the
minds of the Russians. The ascendancy of the master has always been
so great over them, that from one reign to another* all maxims upon
all subjects may be changed. The Russians, both men and women,
generally carry into love their characteristic impetuosity, but
their disposition to change makes them also easily renounce the
objects of their choice. A certain irregularity in the imagination
does not allow them to find happiness in what is durable. The
cultivation of the understanding, which multiplies sentiment by
poetry and the fine arts, is very rare among the Russians, and with
these fantastic and vehement dispositions, love is rather a fete or
a delirium than a profound and reflected affection. Good company in
Russia is therefore a perpetual vortex, and perhaps the extreme
prudence to which a despotic government accustoms people, may be the
cause that the Russians are charmed at not being led, by the
enticement of conversation, to speak upon subjects which may lead to
any consequence whatever. To this reserve, which, under different
reigns, has been but too necessary to them, we must attribute the
want of truth of which they are accused. The refinements of
civilization in all countries alter the sincerity of character, but
when a sovereign possesses the unlimited power of exile,
imprisonment, sending to Siberia, &c. &c. it is something too strong
for human nature. We may meet with men independent enough to disdain
favor, but heroism is required to brave persecution, and heroism
cannot be an universal quality.

None of these reflections, we know, apply to the present government,
its head being, as emperor, perfectly just, and as a man, singularly
generous. But the subjects preserve the defects of slavery long
after the sovereign himself would wish to remove them. We have seen,
however, during the continuance of this war, how much virtue has
been shown by Russians of all ranks, not even excepting the
courtiers. While I was at Petersburg, scarcely any young men were to
be seen in company; all had gone to the army. Married men, only
sons, noblemen of immense fortunes, were serving in the capacity of
simple volunteer, and the sight of their estates and houses ravaged,
has never made them think of the losses in any other light than as
motives of revenge, but never of capitulating with the enemy. Such
qualities more than counterbalance all the abuses, disorders, and
misfortunes which an administration still vicious, a civilization
yet new, and despotic institutions, may have introduced.


Establishments for Public Education.--Institute of Saint Catherine.

We went to see the cabinet of natural history, which is remarkable
by the productions of Siberia which it contains. The furs of that
country have excited the cupidity of the Russians, as the Mexican
gold mines did that of the Spaniards. There was a time in Russia,
when the current money consisted of sable and squirrel skins, so
universal was the desire of being provided with the means of
guarding against the cold. The most curious thing in the museum at
Petersburg, is a rich collection of bones of antediluvian animals,
and particularly the remains of a gigantic Mammoth, which have been
found almost whole among the ices of Siberia. It appears from
geological observations, that the world has a much older history
than that which we know: infinity is fearful in all things. At
present, the inhabitants, and even the animals of this extremity of
the inhabited globe are almost penetrated with the cold, which makes
nature expire, a few leagues beyond their country; the color of the
animals is confounded with that of the snow, and the Dearth seems to
be lost in the ices and fogs which terminate this lower creation. I
was struck with the countenances of the inhabitants of Kamstchatka,
which are perfectly imitated in the museum at Petersburg. The
priests of that country, called Shamanes, are a kind of
improvisators; they wear, over their tunick of bark, a sort of steel
net, to which some pieces of iron are attached, the noise of which
is very great when the improvisator is agitated; he has moments of
inspiration which a good deal resemble nervous attacks, and it is
rather by sorcery, than talent, that he makes an impression on the
people. The imagination, in such dreary countries, is scarcely
remarkable but by fear, and the earth herself appears to repel man
by the terror with which she inspires him. I afterwards saw the
citadel, in the circumference of which is the church where the
coffins of all the sovereigns, from the time of Peter the Great,
are deposited: these coffins are not shut up in monuments; they are
exposed in the same way as they were on the day of their funeral,
and one might fancy one's self quite close to these corpses, from
which a single board appears to separate us. When Paul I. came to
the throne, he caused the remains of his father, Peter I. To be
crowned, who not having received that honor during his life, could
not be placed in the citadel. By the orders of Paul I. the
ceremonial of interment for both his father and mother was
recommenced. Both were exposed afresh: four chamberlains once more
kept guard over the bodies, as if they had only died the day before;
and the two coffins are now placed by the side of each other,
compelled to live in pe*&ce under the empire of death. Among the
sovereigns who have stayed the despotic power transmitted to them by
Peter I. there are several whom a bloody conspiracy has cast from
the throne. The same courtiers, who have not the strength to tell
their master the least truth, know how to conspire against him, and
the deepest dissimulation necessarily accompanies this kind of
political revolution; for they must load, with the appearance of
respect, the person whom they wish to assassinate. And yet, what
would become of a country governed despotically, if a lawless tyrant
had not to dread the edge of the poniard? Horrible alternative, and
which is sufficient to show the nature of the institutions where
crime must be reckoned as the balance of power.

I paid homage to Catherine II. by going to her country residence,
Czarskozelo. This palace and garden are arranged with great art and
magnificence; but the air was already very cold, although we Were
only at the first of September, and it was a singular contrast to
see the flowers of the South agitated by the winds of the North. All
the traits which have been collected of Catherine II. penetrate one
with admiration for her as a sovereign; and I know not whether the
Russians are not more indebted to her than to Peter I. for that
fortunate persuasion of their invincibility which has so much
contributed to their victories, The charm of a female tempered the
action of power, and mingled chivalrous gallantry with the
successes, the homage of which was paid to her. Catherine II. had,
in the highest degree, the good sense of government; a brilliant
understanding than hers would less resembled genius, and her lofty
reason inspired profound respect in the Russians, who distrust their
own imagination, and wish to have it directed with wisdom. Close to
Czarskozelo is the palace of Paul I., a charming residence, as the
empress dowager and her daughters have there placed the
chefs-d'oeuvrefc of their talents and good taste. This place reminds
us of that admirable mother and her daughters, whom nothing has been
able to turn aside from their domestic virtues.

I allowed myself to indulge in the pleasure excited by the novel
objects of my daily visits, and I know not how, I had quite
forgotten the war on which the fate of Europe depended; the pleasure
I had in hearing expressed by all the world the sentiments which I
had so long stifled in my soul, was so strong, that it appeared to
me there was nothing more to dread, and that such truths were
omnipotent as soon as they were known. Nevertheless a succession of
reverses had taken place, without the public being informed of them.
A man of wit said that all was mystery at Petersburg, although
nothing was a secret; and in fact the truth is discovered in the
end; but the habit of silence is such among the Russian courtiers,
that they dissemble the day before what will be notorious the next,
and are always unwilling to reveal what they know. A stranger told
me that Smolensk was taken and Moscow in the greatest danger.
Discouragement immediately seized me. I fancied that I already saw a
repetition of the deplorable history of the Austrian and Prussian
treaties of peace, the result of the conquest of their capitals.
This was the third time the same game had been played, and it might
again succeed. I did not perceive the public spirit; the apparent
inconstancy of the impressions of the Russians prevented me from
observing it. Despondency had frozen all minds, and I was ignorant,
that with these men of vehement impressions, this despondency is the
forerunner of a dreadful awakening. In the same way, you remark in
the common people, an inconceivable idleness up to the very moment
when their activity is roused; then it knows no obstacle, dreads no
danger, and seems to triumph equally over the elements and men.

I had understood that the internal administration, that of war as
well as of justice, frequently fell into the most venal hands, and
that by the dilapidations which the subaltern agents allowed
themselves, it was impossible to form any just idea either of the
number of troops, or of the measures taken to provision them; for
lying and theft are inseparable, and in a country of such recent
civilization the intermediate class have neither the simplicity of
the peasantry, nor the grandeur of the boyars; and no public opinion
yet exists to keep in check this third class, whose existence is so
recent, and which has lost the naivete of popular faith without
having acquired the point of honor. A display of jealous feeling was
also remarked between the military commanders. It is in the very
nature of a despotic government to create, even in spite of itself,
jealousy in those who surround it: the will of one man being able to
change entirely the fortune of every individual, fear and hope have
too much scope not to be constantly agitating this jealousy, which
is also very much excited by another feeling, the hatred of
foreigners. The general who commanded the Russian army, General
Barclay de Tolly, although born on the territories of the empire,
was not of the pure Sclavonian race, and that was enough to make him
be considered incapable of leading the Russians to victory: he had,
besides, turned his distinguished talents towards systems of
encampment, positions, and manoeuvres, while the military art, which
best suits the Russians, is attack. To make them fall back, even
from a wise and well reasoned calculation, is to cool in them that
impetuosity from which they derive all their strength. The prospects
of the campaign were therefore the most inauspicious possible, and
the silence which was maintained on that account was still more
alarming. The English give in their public papers the most exact
account, man by man, of the wounded, prisoners and killed in each
action; noble candour of a government which is equally sincere
towards the nation and its monarch, recognizing in both the same
right to have a knowledge of what concerns the nation. I walked
about with deep melancholy in that beautiful city of Petersburg
which might become the prey of the conqueror. When I returned in the
evening from the islands, and saw the gilded point of the citadel
which seemed to spout out in the air like a ray of fire, while the
Neva reflected the marble quays and the palaces which surround it, I
represented to myself all these wonders faded by the arrogance of a
man who would come to say, like Satan on the top of a mountain, "The
kingdoms of the earth are mine." All that was beautiful and good at
Petersburg appeared to me in the presence of approaching
destruction, and I could not enjoy them without having these painful
ideas constantly pursuing me.

I went to see the establishments for education, founded by the
empress, and there, even more than in the palaces, my anxiety was
redoubled; for the breath of Bonaparte's tyranny is sufficient, if
it approach institutions tending to the improvement of the human
race, to alter their purity. The institute of St. Catherine is
formed of two houses, each containing two hundred and fifty young
ladies of the nobility and citizens; they are educated under the
inspection of the empress, with a degree of care that even exceeds
what a rich family would pay to its own children. Order and elegance
are remarkable in the most minute details of this institute, and the
sentiment of the purest religion and morality there presides over
all that the fine arts can develope. The Russian females have so
much natural grace, that on entering the hall where all the young
ladies saluted us, I did not observe one who did not give to this
simple action all the politeness and modesty which it was capable of
expressing. They were invited to exhibit us the different kinds of
talent which distinguished them, and one of them, who knew by heart
pieces of the best French authors, repeated to me several of the
most eloquent pages of my father's Course of Religious Morals. This
delicate attention probably came from the empress herself. I felt
the most lively emotion in hearing that language uttered, which for
so many years had had no asylum but in my heart. Beyond the empire
of Bonaparte, in all countries posterity commences, and justice is
shown towards those who even in the tomb, have felt the attack of
his imperial calumnies. The young ladies of the institute of St.
Catherine, before sitting down to table, sung psalms in chorus: this
great number of voices, so pure and sweet, occasioned me an emotion
of tender feeling mingled with bitterness. What would war do, in the
midst of such peaceable establishments? Where could these doves fly
to, from the arms of the conqueror? After this meal, the young
ladies assembled in a superb hall, where they all danced together.
There was nothing striking in their features as to beauty, but their
gracefulness was extraordinary; these were daughters of the East,
with all the decency which Christian manners have introduced among
women. They first executed an old dance to the tune of Long live
Henry the Fourth, Long live this valiant King! What a distance there
was between the times which this tune reminded one of, and the
present period! Two little chubby girls of ten years old finished
the ballet by the Russian step: this dance sometimes assumes the
voluptuous character of love, but executed by children, the
innocence of that age was mingled with the' national originality. It
is impossible to paint: the interest inspired by these amiable
talents, cultivated by the delicate and generous hand of a female
and a sovereign.

An establishment for the deaf and dumb, and another for the blind,
are equally under the inspection of the empress. The emperor, on his
side, pays great attention to the school of cadets, directed by a
man of very superior understanding, General Klinger. All these
establishments are truly useful, but they might be reproached with
being too splendid. At least it would be desirable to found in
different parts of the empire, not schools so superior, but
establishments which would communicate elementary instruction to the
people. Every thing has commenced in Russia by luxury, and the
building has, it may be said, preceded the foundation. There are
only two great cities in Russia, Petersburg and Moscow; the others
scarcely deserve to be mentioned; they are besides separated at very
great distances: even the chateaux of the nobility are at such
distances from each other, that it is with difficulty the
proprietors can communicate with each other. Finally, the
inhabitants are so dispersed in this empire, that the knowledge of
some can hardly be of use to others. The peasants can only reckon by
means of a calculating machine, and the clerks of the post
themselves follow the same method. The Greek popes have much less
knowledge than the Catholic curates, or the Protestant ministers; so
that the clergy in Russia are really not fit to instruct the people,
as in the other countries of Europe. The great bond of the nation is
in religion and patriotism; but there is in it no focus of
knowledge, the rays of which might spread over all parts of the
empire, and the two capitals have not yet learned to communicate to
the provinces what they have collected in literature and the fine
arts. If this country could have remained at peace, it would have
experienced all sorts of improvement under the beneficent reign of
Alexander. But who knows if the virtues which this war has
developed, may not be exactly those which are likely to regenerate

The Russians have not yet had, up to the present time, men of genius
but for the military career; in all other arts they are only
imitators; printing, however, has not been introduced among them
more than one hundred and twenty years. The other nations of Europe
have become civilized almost simultaneously, and have been able to
mingle their natural genius with acquired knowledge; with the
Russians this mixture has not yet operated. In the same manner as we
see two rivers after their junction, flow in the same channel
without confounding their waters, in the same manner nature and
civilization are united among the Russians without identifying the
one with the other: and according to circumstances the same man at
one time presents himself to you as a European who seems only to
exist in social forms, and at another time as a Sclavonian who only
listens to the most furious passions. Genius will come to them in
the fine arts, and particularly in literature, when they shall have
found out the means of infusing their real disposition into
language, as they show it in action.

I witnessed the performance of a Russian tragedy, the subject of
which was the deliverance of the Muscovites, when they drove back
the Tartars beyond Casan. The prince of Smolensko appeared in the
ancient costume of the boyars, and the Tartar army was called the
golden horde. This piece was written almost entirely according to
the rules of the French drama; the rhythm of the verses, the
declamation, and the division of the scenes, was entirely French;
one situation only was peculiar to Russian manners, and that was the
profound terror which the dread of her father's curse has inspired
in a young female. Paternal authority is almost as strong among the
Russians as among the Chinese, and it is always among the people
that we must seek for the germ of national character. The good
company of all countries resembles each other, and nothing is so
unfit as that elegant world to furnish subjects for tragedy. Among
all those which the history of Russia presents, there is one by
which I was particularly struck. Ivan the Terrible, already old, was
besieging Novorogod. The boyars seeing him very much enfeebled,
asked him if he would not give the command of the assault to his
son. His rage at this proposition was so great, that nothing could
appease him; his son prostrated himself at his feet, but he repulsed
him with a blow of such violence, that two days after the
unfortunate prince died of it. The father, then reduced to despair,
became equally indifferent to war and to power, and only survived
his son a few months. This revolt of an old despot against the
progress of time has in it something grand and solemn, and the
melting tenderness which succeeds to the paroxysm of rage in that
ferocious soul, represents man as he comes from the hand of nature,
now irritated by selfishness, and again restrained by affection.

A law of Russia inflicted the same punishment on the person who
lamed a man in the arm as on one who killed him. In fact, man in
Russia is principally valuable by his military strength; all other
kinds of energy are adapted to manners and institutions which the
present state of Russia has not yet developed. The females at
Petersburg, however, seemed to be penetrated with that patriotic
honor which constitutes the moral power of a state. The princess
Dolgoronki, the baroness Strogonoff, and several others equally of
the first rank, already knew that a part of their fortunes had
suffered greatly by the ravaging of the province of Smolensko, and
they appeared not to think of it otherwise than to encourage their
equals to sacrifice every thing like them. The princess Dolgorouki
related to me that an old long-bearded Russian, seated on an
eminence overlooking Smoleusko, thus, in tears, addressed his little
grandson, whom he held upon his knees: "Formerly, my child, the
Russians went to gain victories at the extremity of Europe; now,
strangers come to attack them in their own homes." The grief of this
old man was not vain, and we shall soon see how dearly his tears
have been purchased.


Departure for Sweden.--Passage through Finland.

The emperor quitted Petersburg, and I learned that he was gone to
Abo, where he was to meet General Bernadotte, Prince Royal of
Sweden. This news left no farther doubt about the determination of
that prince to take part in the present war, and nothing could be
more important at that moment for the salvation of Russia, and
consequently for that of Europe We shall see the influence of it
developed in the sequel of this narrative. The news of the entrance
of the French into Smolensko arrived during the conferences of the
prince of Sweden with the emperor of Russia; and it was there that
Alexander contracted the engagement with himself and the Prince
Royal, his ally, never to sign a treaty of peace. "Should Petersburg
be taken," said he, "I will retire into Siberia. I will there resume
our ancient customs, and like our long-bearded ancestors, we will
return anew to conquer the Empire." "This resolution will liberate
Europe," exclaimed the Prince Royal, and his prediction begins to be

I saw the Emperor Alexander a second time upon his return from Abo,
and the conversation I had the honor of holding with him, satisfied
me to that degree of the firmness of his determination, that in
spite of the capture of Moscow, and all the reports which followed
it, I firmly believed that he would never yield. He was so good as
to tell me, that after the capture of Smolensko, Marshal Berthier
had written to the Russian commander in chief respecting some
military matters, and terminated his letter by saying that the
Emperor Napoleon always preserved the tenderest friendship for the
Emperor Alexander, a stale mystification which the emperor of Russia
received as it deserved. Napoleon had given him some lessons in
politics, and lessons in war, abandoning himself in the first to the
quackery of vice, and in the second to the pleasure of exhibiting a
disdainful carelessness. He was deceived in the Emperor Alexander;
he had mistaken the nobleness of his character for dupery; he had
not been able to perceive that if the emperor of Russia had allowed
himself to go too far in his enthusiasm for him, it was because
he believed him a partizan of the first principles of the French
revolution, which agreed with his own opinions; but never had
Alexander the idea of associating with Napoleon to reduce
Europe to slavery. Napoleon thought in that, as well as in all
other circumstances, to succeed in blinding a man by a false
representation of his interest; but he encountered conscience, and
his calculations were entirely baffled; for that is an element, of
the strength of which he knows nothing, and which he never allows to
enter into his combinations.

Although General Barclay de Tolly was a military man of great
reputation, yet as he had met with reverses at the beginning of the
campaign, the general opinion designated as his successor, a general
of great renown, Prince Kutusow; he took the command fifteen days
before the entry of the French into Moscow, but he got to the army
only six days before the great battle which took place almost at the
gates of that city, at Borodino. I went to see him the day before
his departure; he was an old man of the most graceful manners, and
lively physiognomy, although he had lost an eye by one of the
numerous wounds he had received in the course of a fifty years'
service. On looking at him, I was afraid that he had not sufficient
strength to struggle with the rough young men who were pouncing upon
Russia from all corners of Europe: but the Russian courtiers at
Petersburg become Tartars at the army: and we have seen by Suwarow
that neither age nor honors can enervate their physical and moral
energy. I was moved at taking leave of this illustrious Marshal
Kutusow; I knew not whether I was embracing a conqueror or a martyr,
but I saw that he had the fullest sense of the grandeur of the cause
in which he was employed. It was for the defence, or rather for the
restoration of all the moral virtues which man owes to Christianity,
of all the dignity he derives from God, of all the independence
which he is allowed by nature; it was for the rescuing of all these
advantages from the clutches of one man, for the French are as
little to be accused as the Germans and Italians who followed his
train, of the crimes of his armies. Before his departure, Marshal
Kutusow went to offer up prayers in the church of Our Lady of Casan,
and all the people who followed his steps, called out to him to be
the saviour of Russia. What a moment for a mortal being! His age
gave him no hope of surviving the fatigues of the campaign; but
there are moments when man has a wish to die for the satisfaction of
his soul. Certain of the generous opinions and of the noble conduct
of the Prince of Sweden, I was more than ever confirmed in the
resolution of going to Stockholm, previous to embarking for England;
towards the end of September I quitted Petersburg to repair to
Sweden through Finland. My new friends, those whom a community of
sentiment had brought about me, came to bid me adieu; Sir Robert
Wilson, who seeks every where an opportunity of fighting, and
inflaming his friends by his spirit: M. de Stein, a man of antique
character, who only lived in the hope of seeing the deliverance of
his country; the Spanish envoy; and the English minister, Lord
Tyrconnel; the witty Admiral Bentinck; Alexis de Noailles, the only
French emigrant from the imperial tyranny, the only one who was
there, like me, to bear witness for France; Colonel Dornberg, that
intrepid Hessian whom nothing has turned from the object of his
pursuit; and several Russians, whose names have been since
celebrated by their exploits. Never was the fate of the world
exposed to greater dangers; no one dared to say so, but all knew it:
I only, as a female, was not exposed to it; but I might reckon what
I had suffered as something. I knew not in bidding adieu to these
worthy knights of the human race, which of them I should ever see
again, and already two of them are no longer in existence. When the
passions of man rouse man against his fellows, when nations attack
each other with fury, we recognize, with sorrow, human destiny in
the miseries of humanity; but when a single being, similar to the
idols of the Laplanders, to whom the incense of fear is offered up,
spreads misery over the earth in torrents, we experience a sort of
superstitious fear which leads us to consider all honorable persons
as his victims.

On entering into Finland, every thing indicates that you have passed
into another country, and that you have to do with a very different
race from the Sclavonians. The Finns are said to come immediately
from the North of Asia; their language also is said to have no
resemblance to the Swedish, which is an intermediate one between the
English and the German. The countenances of the Finns, however, are
generally perfectly German: their fair hair, and white complexions,
bear no resemblance to the vivacity of the Russian countenance; but
their manners are also much milder; the common people have a settled
probity, the result of protestant instruction, and purity of
manners. On Sundays, the young women are seen returning from sermon
on horseback, and the young men following them. You will frequently
receive hospitality from the pastors of Finland, who regard it as
their duty to give a lodging to travellers, and nothing can be more
pure or delightful than the reception you meet with in those
families; there are scarcely any noblemens' seats in Finland, so
that the pastors are generally the most important personages of the
country. In several Finnish songs, the young girls offer to their
lovers to sacrifice the residence of the pastor, even if it was
offered to them to share. This reminds me of the expression of a
young shepherd, "If I was a king, I would keep my sheep on
horseback." The imagination itself scarcely goes beyond what is

The aspect of nature is very different in Finland to what it is in
Russia; in place of the marshes and plains which surround St.
Petersburg, you find rocks, almost mountains, and forests: but after
a time, these mountains, and those forests, composed of the same
trees, the fir and the birch, become monotonous. The enormous blocks
of granite which are seen scattered through the country, and on the
borders of the high roads, give the country an air of vigor; but
there is very little life around these great bones of the earth, and
vegetation begins to decrease from the latitude of Finland to the
last degree of the animated world. We passed through a forest half
consumed by fire; the north winds which add to the force of the
flames, render these fires very frequent, both in the towns and in
the country. Man has in all ways great difficulty in maintaining the
struggle with nature in these frozen climates. You meet with few
towns in Finland, and those few are very thinly peopled. There is no
centre, no emulation, nothing to say, and very little to do, in a
northern Swedish or Russian province, and during eight months of the
year, the whole of animated nature is asleep.

The Emperor Alexander possessed himself of Finland after the treaty
of Tilsit, and at a period when the deranged intellects of the
monarch who then reigned in Sweden, Gustavus IV., rendered him
incapable of defending his country. The moral character of this
prince was very estimable, but from his infancy, he had been
sensible himself that he could not hold the reins of government. The
Swedes fought in Finland with the greatest courage; but without a
warlike chief on the throne, a nation which is not numerous cannot
triumph over a powerful enemy. The Emperor Alexander became master
of Finland by conquest, and by treaties founded on force; but we
must do him the justice to say, that he treated this new province
very well, and respected the liberties she enjoyed. He allowed the
Finns all their privileges relative to the raising of taxes and men;
he sent very generous assistance to the towns which had been burnt,
and his favors compensated to a certain extent what the Finns
possessed as rights, if free men can ever accede voluntarily to that
sort of exchange. Finally, one of the prevailing ideas of the
nineteenth century, natural boundaries, rendered Finland as
necessary to Russia, as Norway to Sweden; and it must be admitted as
a truth, that wherever these natural limits have not existed, they
have been the source of perpetual wars.

I embarked at Abo, the capital of Finland. There is an university in
that city, and they make some attempts in it to cultivate the
intellect: but the vicinity of the bears and wolves during the
winter is so close, that all ideas are absorbed in the necessity of
ensuring a tolerable physical existence; and the difficulty which is
felt in obtaining that in the countries of the north, consumes at
great part of the time which' is elsewhere consecrated to the
enjoyment of the intellectual arts. As some compensation, however,
it may be said that the very difficulties with which nature
surrounds men give greater firmness to their character, and prevent
the admission into their mind of all the disorders occasioned by
idleness. I could not help, however every moment regretting those
rays of the South which had penetrated to my very soul.

The mythological ideas of the inhabitants of the North are
constantly representing to them ghosts and phantoms; day is there
equally favorable to apparitions as night; something pale and cloudy
seems to summon the dead to return to the earth, to breathe the cold
air, as the tomb with which the living are surrounded. In these
countries the two extremities are generally more conspicuous than
the intermediate ones; where men are entirely occupied with
conquering their existence from nature, mental labors very easily
become mystical, because man draws entirely from himself, and is in
no degree inspired by external objects.

Since I have been so cruelly persecuted by the Emperor, I have lost
all kind of confidence in destiny; I have however a stronger belief
in the protection of providence, but it is not in the form of
happiness on this earth. The result is, that all resolutions terrify
me, and yet exile obliges me frequently to adopt some. I dreaded the
sea, although every one said, all the world makes this passage, and
no harm happens to any one. Such is the language which encourages
almost all travellers: but the imagination does not allow itself to
be chained by this kind of consolation, and that abyss, from which
so slight an obstacle separates you, is always tormenting to the
mind. Mr. Schlegel saw the terror I felt about the frail vessel
which was to carry us to Stockholm. He showed me, near Abo, the
prison in which one of the most unfortunate kings of Sweden, Eric
XIV. had been confined some time before he died in another prison
near Gripsholm. "If you were confined there," he said to me, "how
much would you envy the passage of this sea, which at present so
terrifies you." This just reflection speedily gave another turn to
my ideas, and the first days of our voyage were sufficiently
pleasant. We passed between the islands, and although there was more
danger close to the land than in the open sea, one never feels the
same terror which the sight of the waves appearing to touch the sky
makes one experience. I made them show me the land in the horizon,
as far as I could perceive it; infinity is as fearful to the sight
as it is pleasant to the soul. We passed by the isle of Aland, where
the plenipotentiaries of Peter I. and Charles XII. negociated a
peace, and endeavored to fix boundaries to their ambition in this
frozen part of the world, which the blood of their subjects alone
had been able to thaw for a moment. We hoped to reach Stockholm the
following day, but a decidedly contrary wind obliged us to cast
anchor by the side of an island entirely covered with rocks
interspersed with trees, which hardly grew higher than the stones
which surrounded them. We hastened, however, to take a walk on this
island, in order to feel the earth under our feet.

I have always been very subject to ennui, and far from knowing how
to occupy myself at those moments of entire leisure which seem
destined for study.

 Here the manuscript breaks off.

After a passage which was not without danger, my mother was landed
safely at Stockholm. She was received in Sweden with the greatest
kindness, and spent eight months there, and it was there she wrote
the present journal. Shortly after, she departed for London, and
there published her work on Germany, which the Imperial police had
suppressed. But her health, already cruelly affected by Bonaparte's
persecutions, having suffered from the fatigues of a long voyage,
she felt herself obliged without farther delay to undertake the
history of the political life of her father, and to adjourn to a
future period all other labors, until she had finished that which
her filial affection made her regard as a duty. She then conceived
the plan of her Considerations on the French Revolution. That work
even she was not spared to finish, and the manuscript of her Ten
Years' Exile remained in her portfolio in the state in which I now
publish it.

(End of Note by the Editor.)

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large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.