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´╗┐Title: Complete Project Gutenberg Collection of Memoirs of Napoleon
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Language: English
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His Private Secretary
Edited by R. W. Phipps
Colonel, Late Royal Artillery





His Private Secretary

Edited by R. W. Phipps
Colonel, Late Royal Artillery




In introducing the present edition of M. de Bourrienne's Memoirs to the
public we are bound, as Editors, to say a few Words on the subject.
Agreeing, however, with Horace Walpole that an editor should not dwell
for any length of time on the merits of his author, we shall touch but
lightly on this part of the matter. We are the more ready to abstain
since the great success in England of the former editions of these
Memoirs, and the high reputation they have acquired on the European
Continent, and in every part of the civilised world where the fame of
Bonaparte has ever reached, sufficiently establish the merits of M. de
Bourrienne as a biographer. These merits seem to us to consist chiefly
in an anxious desire to be impartial, to point out the defects as well as
the merits of a most wonderful man; and in a peculiarly graphic power of
relating facts and anecdotes. With this happy faculty Bourrienne would
have made the life of almost any active individual interesting; but the
subject of which the most favourable circumstances permitted him to treat
was full of events and of the most extraordinary facts. The hero of his
story was such a being as the world has produced only on the rarest
occasions, and the complete counterpart to whom has, probably, never
existed; for there are broad shades of difference between Napoleon and
Alexander, Caesar, and Charlemagne; neither will modern history furnish
more exact parallels, since Gustavus Adolphus, Frederick the Great,
Cromwell, Washington, or Bolivar bear but a small resemblance to
Bonaparte either in character, fortune, or extent of enterprise. For
fourteen years, to say nothing of his projects in the East, the history
of Bonaparte was the history of all Europe!

With the copious materials he possessed, M. de Bourrienne has produced a
work which, for deep interest, excitement, and amusement, can scarcely be
paralleled by any of the numerous and excellent memoirs for which the
literature of France is so justly celebrated.

M. de Bourrienne shows us the hero of Marengo and Austerlitz in his
night-gown and slippers--with a 'trait de plume' he, in a hundred
instances, places the real man before us, with all his personal habits
and peculiarities of manner, temper, and conversation.

The friendship between Bonaparte and Bourrienne began in boyhood, at the
school of Brienne, and their unreserved intimacy continued during the
most brilliant part of Napoleon's career. We have said enough, the
motives for his writing this work and his competency for the task will be
best explained in M. de Bourrienne's own words, which the reader will
find in the Introductory Chapter.

M. de Bourrienne says little of Napoleon after his first abdication and
retirement to Elba in 1814: we have endeavoured to fill up the chasm thus
left by following his hero through the remaining seven years of his life,
to the "last scenes of all" that ended his "strange, eventful
history,"--to his deathbed and alien grave at St. Helena. A completeness
will thus be given to the work which it did not before possess, and
which we hope will, with the other additions and improvements already
alluded to, tend to give it a place in every well-selected library, as
one of the most satisfactory of all the lives of Napoleon.

LONDON, 1836.



The Memoirs of the time of Napoleon may be divided into two
classes--those by marshals and officers, of which Suchet's is a good
example, chiefly devoted to military movements, and those by persons
employed in the administration and in the Court, giving us not only
materials for history, but also valuable details of the personal and
inner life of the great Emperor and of his immediate surroundings. Of
this latter class the Memoirs of Bourrienne are among the most

Long the intimate and personal friend of Napoleon both at school and from
the end of the Italian campaigns in 1797 till 1802--working in the same
room with him, using the same purse, the confidant of most of his
schemes, and, as his secretary, having the largest part of all the
official and private correspondence of the time passed through his hands,
Bourrienne occupied an invaluable position for storing and recording
materials for history. The Memoirs of his successor, Meneval, are more
those of an esteemed private secretary; yet, valuable and interesting as
they are, they want the peculiarity of position which marks those of
Bourrienne, who was a compound of secretary, minister, and friend. The
accounts of such men as Miot de Melito, Raederer, etc., are most
valuable, but these writers were not in that close contact with Napoleon
enjoyed by Bourrienne. Bourrienne's position was simply unique, and we
can only regret that he did not occupy it till the end of the Empire.
Thus it is natural that his Memoirs should have been largely used by
historians, and to properly understand the history of the time, they must
be read by all students. They are indeed full of interest for every one.
But they also require to be read with great caution. When we meet with
praise of Napoleon, we may generally believe it, for, as Thiers
(Consulat., ii. 279) says, Bourrienne need be little suspected on this
side, for although be owed everything to Napoleon, he has not seemed to
remember it. But very often in passages in which blame is thrown on
Napoleon, Bourrienne speaks, partly with much of the natural bitterness
of a former and discarded friend, and partly with the curious mixed
feeling which even the brothers of Napoleon display in their Memoirs,
pride in the wonderful abilities evinced by the man with whom he was
allied, and jealousy at the way in which he was outshone by the man he
had in youth regarded as inferior to himself. Sometimes also we may even
suspect the praise. Thus when Bourrienne defends Napoleon for giving, as
he alleges, poison to the sick at Jaffa, a doubt arises whether his
object was to really defend what to most Englishmen of this day, with
remembrances of the deeds and resolutions of the Indian Mutiny, will seem
an act to be pardoned, if not approved; or whether he was more anxious to
fix the committal of the act on Napoleon at a time when public opinion
loudly blamed it. The same may be said of his defence of the massacre of
the prisoners of Jaffa.

Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne was born in 1769, that is, in the
same year as Napoleon Bonaparte, and he was the friend and companion of
the future Emperor at the military school of Brienne-le-Chateau till
1784, when Napoleon, one of the sixty pupils maintained at the expense of
the State, was passed on to the Military School of Paris. The friends
again met in 1792 and in 1795, when Napoleon was hanging about Paris, and
when Bourrienne looked on the vague dreams of his old schoolmate as only
so much folly. In 1796, as soon as Napoleon had assured his position at
the head of the army of Italy, anxious as ever to surround himself with
known faces, he sent for Bourrienne to be his secretary. Bourrienne had
been appointed in 1792 as secretary of the Legation at Stuttgart, and
had, probably wisely, disobeyed the orders given him to return, thus
escaping the dangers of the Revolution. He only came back to Paris in
1795, having thus become an emigre. He joined Napoleon in 1797, after the
Austrians had been beaten out of Italy, and at once assumed the office of
secretary which he held for so long. He had sufficient tact to forbear
treating the haughty young General with any assumption of familiarity in
public, and he was indefatigable enough to please even the never-resting
Napoleon. Talent Bourrienne had in abundance; indeed he is careful to
hint that at school if any one had been asked to predict greatness for
any pupil, it was Bourrienne, not Napoleon, who would have been fixed on
as the future star. He went with his General to Egypt, and returned with
him to France. While Napoleon was making his formal entry into the
Tuileries, Bourrienne was preparing the cabinet he was still to share
with the Consul. In this cabinet--our cabinet, as he is careful to call
it--he worked with the First Consul till 1802.

During all this time the pair lead lived on terms of equality and
friendship creditable to both. The secretary neither asked for nor
received any salary: when he required money, he simply dipped into the
cash-box of the First Consul. As the whole power of the State gradually
passed into the hands of the Consul, the labours of the secretary became
heavier. His successor broke down under a lighter load, and had to
receive assistance; but, perhaps borne up by the absorbing interest of
the work and the great influence given by his post, Bourrienne stuck to
his place, and to all appearance might, except for himself, have come
down to us as the companion of Napoleon during his whole life. He had
enemies, and one of them--[Boulay de la Meurthe.]--has not shrunk from
describing their gratification at the disgrace of the trusted secretary.
Any one in favour, or indeed in office, under Napoleon was the sure mark
of calumny for all aspirants to place; yet Bourrienne might have
weathered any temporary storm raised by unfounded reports as successfully
as Meneval, who followed him. But Bourrienne's hands were not clean in
money matters, and that was an unpardonable sin in any one who desired to
be in real intimacy with Napoleon. He became involved in the affairs of
the House of Coulon, which failed, as will be seen in the notes, at the
time of his disgrace; and in October 1802 he was called on to hand over
his office to Meneval, who retained it till invalided after the Russian

As has been said, Bourrienne would naturally be the mark for many
accusations, but the conclusive proof of his misconduct--at least for any
one acquainted with Napoleon's objection and dislike to changes in
office, whether from his strong belief in the effects of training, or his
equally strong dislike of new faces round him--is that he was never again
employed near his old comrade; indeed he really never saw the Emperor
again at any private interview, except when granted the naval official
reception in 1805, before leaving to take up his post at Hamburg, which
he held till 1810. We know that his re-employment was urged by Josephine
and several of his former companions. Savary himself says he tried his
advocacy; but Napoleon was inexorable to those who, in his own phrase,
had sacrificed to the golden calf.

Sent, as we have said, to Hamburg in 1805, as Minister Plenipotentiary to
the Duke of Brunswick, the Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and to the Hanse
towns, Bourrienne knew how to make his post an important one. He was at
one of the great seats of the commerce which suffered so fearfully from
the Continental system of the Emperor, and he was charged to watch over
the German press. How well he fulfilled this duty we learn from
Metternich, who writes in 1805: "I have sent an article to the newspaper
editors in Berlin and to M. de Hofer at Hamburg. I do not know whether
it has been accepted, for M. Bourrienne still exercises an authority so
severe over these journals that they are always submitted to him before
they appear, that he may erase or alter the articles which do not please

His position at Hamburg gave him great opportunities for both financial
and political intrigues. In his Memoirs, as Meneval remarks, he or his
editor is not ashamed to boast of being thanked by Louis XVIII. at St.
Ouen for services rendered while he was the minister of Napoleon at
Hamburg. He was recalled in 1810, when the Hanse towns were united, or,
to use the phrase of the day, re-united to the Empire. He then hung
about Paris, keeping on good terms with some of the ministers--Savary,
not the most reputable of them, for example. In 1814 he was to be found
at the office of Lavallette, the head of the posts, disguising, his
enemies said, his delight at the bad news which was pouring in, by
exaggerated expressions of devotion. He is accused of a close and
suspicious connection with Talleyrand, and it is odd that when Talleyrand
became head of the Provisional Government in 1814, Bourrienne of all
persons should have been put at the head of the posts. Received in the
most flattering manner by Louis XVIII, he was as astonished as poor
Beugnot was in 1815, to find himself on 13th May suddenly ejected from
office, having, however, had time to furnish post-horses to Manbreuil for
the mysterious expedition, said to have been at least known to
Talleyrand, and intended certainly for the robbery of the Queen of
Westphalia, and probably for the murder of Napoleon.

In the extraordinary scurry before the Bourbons scuttled out of Paris in
1814, Bourrienne was made Prefet of the Police for a few days, his tenure
of that post being signalised by the abortive attempt to arrest Fouche,
the only effect of which was to drive that wily minister into the arms of
the Bonapartists.

He fled with the King, and was exempted from the amnesty proclaimed by
Napoleon. On the return from Ghent he was made a Minister of State
without portfolio, and also became one of the Council. The ruin of his
finances drove him out of France, but he eventually died in a madhouse at

When the Memoirs first appeared in 1829 they made a great sensation.
Till then in most writings Napoleon had been treated as either a demon or
as a demi-god. The real facts of the case were not suited to the tastes
of either his enemies or his admirers. While the monarchs of Europe had
been disputing among themselves about the division of the spoils to be
obtained from France and from the unsettlement of the Continent, there
had arisen an extraordinarily clever and unscrupulous man who, by
alternately bribing and overthrowing the great monarchies, had soon made
himself master of the mainland. His admirers were unwilling to admit the
part played in his success by the jealousy of his foes of each other's
share in the booty, and they delighted to invest him with every great
quality which man could possess. His enemies were ready enough to allow
his military talents, but they wished to attribute the first success of
his not very deep policy to a marvellous duplicity, apparently considered
by them the more wicked as possessed by a parvenu emperor, and far
removed, in a moral point of view, from the statecraft so allowable in an
ancient monarchy. But for Napoleon himself and his family and Court
there was literally no limit to the really marvellous inventions of his
enemies. He might enter every capital on the Continent, but there was
some consolation in believing that he himself was a monster of
wickedness, and his Court but the scene of one long protracted orgie.

There was enough against the Emperor in the Memoirs to make them
comfortable reading for his opponents, though very many of the old
calumnies were disposed of in them. They contained indeed the nearest
approximation to the truth which had yet appeared. Metternich, who must
have been a good judge, as no man was better acquainted with what he
himself calls the "age of Napoleon," says of the Memoirs: "If you want
something to read, both interesting and amusing, get the Memoires de
Bourrienne. These are the only authentic Memoirs of Napoleon which have
yet appeared. The style is not brilliant, but that only makes them the
mere trustworthy." Indeed, Metternich himself in his own Memoirs often
follows a good deal in the line of Bourrienne: among many formal attacks,
every now and then he lapses into half involuntary and indirect praise of
his great antagonist, especially where he compares the men he had to deal
with in aftertimes with his former rapid and talented interlocutor. To
some even among the Bonapartists, Bourrienne was not altogether
distasteful. Lucien Bonaparte, remarking that the time in which
Bourrienne treated with Napoleon as equal with equal did not last long
enough for the secretary, says he has taken a little revenge in his
Memoirs, just as a lover, after a break with his mistress, reveals all
her defects. But Lucien considers that Bourrienne gives us a good enough
idea of the young officer of the artillery, of the great General, and of
the First Consul. Of the Emperor, says Lucien, he was too much in
retirement to be able to judge equally well. But Lucien was not a fair
representative of the Bonapartists; indeed he had never really thought
well of his brother or of his actions since Lucien, the former "Brutus"
Bonaparte, had ceased to be the adviser of the Consul. It was well for
Lucien himself to amass a fortune from the presents of a corrupt court,
and to be made a Prince and Duke by the Pope, but he was too sincere a
republican not to disapprove of the imperial system. The real
Bonapartists were naturally and inevitably furious with the Memoirs.
They were not true, they were not the work of Bourrienne, Bourrienne
himself was a traitor, a purloiner of manuscripts, his memory was as bad
as his principles, he was not even entitled to the de before his name.
If the Memoirs were at all to be pardoned, it was because his share was
only really a few notes wrung from him by large pecuniary offers at a
time when he was pursued by his creditors, and when his brain was already

The Bonapartist attack on the Memoirs was delivered in full form, in two
volumes, 'Bourrienne et ses Erreurs, Volontaires et Involontaires'
(Paris, Heideloff, 1830), edited by the Comte d'Aure, the Ordonnateur en
Chef of the Egyptian expedition, and containing communications from
Joseph Bonaparte, Gourgaud, Stein, etc.'

   --[In the notes in this present edition these volumes are referred
   to in brief 'Erreurs'.]--

Part of the system of attack was to call in question the authenticity of
the Memoirs, and this was the more easy as Bourrienne, losing his
fortune, died in 1834 in a state of imbecility. But this plan is not
systematically followed, and the very reproaches addressed to the writer
of the Memoirs often show that it was believed they were really written
by Bourrienne. They undoubtedly contain plenty of faults. The editor
(Villemarest, it is said) probably had a large share in the work, and
Bourrienne must have forgotten or misplaced many dates and occurrences.
In such a work, undertaken so many years after the events, it was
inevitable that many errors should be made, and that many statements
should be at least debatable. But on close investigation the work stands
the attack in a way that would be impossible unless it had really been
written by a person in the peculiar position occupied by Bourrienne. He
has assuredly not exaggerated that position: he really, says Lucien
Bonaparte, treated as equal with equal with Napoleon during a part of his
career, and he certainly was the nearest friend and confidant that
Napoleon ever had in his life.

Where he fails, or where the Bonapartist fire is most telling, is in the
account of the Egyptian expedition. It may seem odd that he should have
forgotten, even in some thirty years, details such as the way in which
the sick were removed; but such matters were not in his province; and it
would be easy to match similar omissions in other works, such as the
accounts of the Crimea, and still more of the Peninsula. It is with his
personal relations with Napoleon that we are most concerned, and it is in
them that his account receives most corroboration.

It may be interesting to see what has been said of the Memoirs by other
writers. We have quoted Metternich, and Lucien Bonaparte; let us hear
Meneval, his successor, who remained faithful to his master to the end:
"Absolute confidence cannot be given to statements contained in Memoirs
published under the name of a man who has not composed them. It is known
that the editor of these Memoirs offered to M. de Bourrienne, who had
then taken refuge in Holstein from his creditors, a sum said to be thirty
thousand francs to obtain his signature to them, with some notes and
addenda. M. de Bourrienne was already attacked by the disease from which
he died a few years latter in a maison de sante at Caen. Many literary
men co-operated in the preparation of his Memoirs. In 1825 I met M. de
Bourrienne in Paris. He told me it had been suggested to him to write
against the Emperor. 'Notwithstanding the harm he has done me,' said he,
'I would never do so. Sooner may my hand be withered.' If M. de
Bourrienne had prepared his Memoirs himself, he would not have stated
that while he was the Emperor's minister at Hamburg he worked with the
agents of the Comte de Lille (Louis XVIII.) at the preparation of
proclamations in favour of that Prince, and that in 1814 he accepted the
thanks of the King, Louis XVIII., for doing so; he would not have said
that Napoleon had confided to him in 1805 that he had never conceived the
idea of an expedition into England, and that the plan of a landing, the
preparations for which he gave such publicity to, was only a snare to
amuse fools. The Emperor well knew that never was there a plan more
seriously conceived or more positively settled. M. de Bourrienne would
not have spoken of his private interviews with Napoleon, nor of the
alleged confidences entrusted to him, while really Napoleon had no longer
received him after the 20th October 1802. When the Emperor, in 1805,
forgetting his faults, named him Minister Plenipotentiary at Hamburg, he
granted him the customary audience, but to this favour he did not add the
return of his former friendship. Both before and afterwards he
constantly refused to receive him, and he did not correspond with him."
(Meneval, ii. 378-79). And in another passage Meneval says: "Besides,
it would be wrong to regard these Memoirs as the work of the man whose
name they bear. The bitter resentment M. de Bourrienne had nourished for
his disgrace, the enfeeblement of his faculties, and the poverty he was
reduced to, rendered him accessible to the pecuniary offers made to him.
He consented to give the authority of his name to Memoirs in whose
composition he had only co-operated by incomplete, confused, and often
inexact notes, materials which an editor was employed to put in order."
And Meneval (iii. 29-30) goes on to quote what he himself had written in
the Spectateur Militaire, in which he makes much the same assertions, and
especially objects to the account of conversations with the Emperor after
1802, except always the one audience on taking leave for Hamburg.
Meneval also says that Napoleon, when he wished to obtain intelligence
from Hamburg, did not correspond with Bourrienne, but deputed him,
Meneval, to ask Bourrienne for what was wanted. But he corroborates
Bourrienne on the subject of the efforts made, among others by Josephine,
for his reappointment.

Such are the statements of the Bonaparists pure; and the reader, as has
been said, can judge for himself how far the attack is good. Bourrienne,
or his editor, may well have confused the date of his interviews, but he
will not be found much astray on many points. His account of the
conversation of Josephine after the death of the Due d'Enghien may be
compared with what we know from Madame de Remusat, who, by the way, would
have been horrified if she had known that he considered her to resemble
the Empress Josephine in character.

We now come to the views of Savary, the Due de Rovigo, who avowedly
remained on good terms with Bourrienne after his disgrace, though the
friendship of Savary was not exactly a thing that most men would have
much prided themselves on. "Bourrienne had a prodigious memory; he spoke
and wrote in several languages, and his pen ran as quickly as one could
speak. Nor were these the only advantages he possessed. He knew the
routine of public business and public law. His activity and devotion
made him indispensable to the First Consul. I knew the qualities which
won for him the unlimited confidence of his chief, but I cannot speak
with the same assurance of the faults which made him lose it. Bourrienne
had many enemies, both on account of his character and of his place"
(Savary, i. 418-19).

Marmont ought to be an impartial critic of the Memoirs. He says,
"Bourrienne . . . had a very great capacity, but he is a striking
example of the great truth that our passions are always bad counsellors.
By inspiring us with an immoderate ardour to reach a fixed end, they
often make us miss it. Bourrienne had an immoderate love of money. With
his talents and his position near Bonaparte at the first dawn of
greatness, with the confidence and real good-will which Bonaparte felt
for him, in a few years he would have gained everything in fortune and in
social position. But his eager impatience mined his career at the moment
when it might have developed and increased" (Marmont, i. 64). The
criticism appears just. As to the Memoirs, Marmont says (ii. 224), "In
general, these Memoirs are of great veracity and powerful interest so
long as they treat of what the author has seen and heard; but when he
speaks of others, his work is only an assemblage of gratuitous
suppositions and of false facts put forward for special purposes."

The Comte Alexandre de Puymaigre, who arrived at Hamburgh soon after
Bourrienne had left it in 1810, says (page 135) of the part of the
Memoirs which relates to Hamburg, "I must acknowledge that generally his
assertions are well founded. This former companion of Napoleon has only
forgotten to speak of the opinion that they had of him in this town.

"The truth is, that he was believed to have made much money there."

Thus we may take Bourrienne as a clever, able man, who would have risen
to the highest honours under the Empire had not his short-sighted
grasping after lucre driven him from office, and prevented him from ever
regaining it under Napoleon.

In the present edition the translation has been carefully compared with
the original French text. Where in the original text information is
given which has now become mere matter of history, and where Bourrienne
merely quotes the documents well enough known at this day, his possession
of which forms part of the charges of his opponents, advantage has been
taken to lighten the mass of the Memoirs. This has been done especially
where they deal with what the writer did not himself see or hear, the
part of the Memoirs which are of least valve and of which Marmont's
opinion has just been quoted. But in the personal and more valuable part
of the Memoirs, where we have the actual knowledge of the secretary
himself, the original text has been either fully retained, or some few
passages previously omitted restored. Illustrative notes have been added
from the Memoirs of the successor of Bourrienne, Meneval, Madame de
Remusat, the works of Colonel Iung on 'Bonaparte et Son Temps', and on
'Lucien Bonaparte', etc., and other books. Attention has also been paid
to the attacks of the 'Erreurs', and wherever these criticisms are more
than a mere expression of disagreement, their purport has been recorded
with, where possible, some judgment of the evidence. Thus the reader
will have before him the materials for deciding himself how far,
Bourrienne's statements are in agreement with the facts and with the
accounts of other writers.

At the present time too much attention has been paid to the Memoirs of
Madame de Remusat. She, as also Madame Junot, was the wife of a man on
whom the full shower of imperial favours did not descend, and, womanlike,
she saw and thought only of the Court life of the great man who was never
less great than in his Court. She is equally astonished and indignant
that the Emperor, coming straight from long hours of work with his
ministers and with his secretary, could not find soft words for the
ladies of the Court, and that, a horrible thing in the eyes of a
Frenchwoman, when a mistress threw herself into his arms, he first
thought of what political knowledge he could obtain from her.
Bourrienne, on the other hand, shows us the other and the really
important side of Napoleon's character. He tells us of the long hours in
the Cabinet, of the never-resting activity of the Consul, of Napoleon's
dreams, no ignoble dreams and often realised, of great labours of peace
as well as of war. He is a witness, and the more valuable as a reluctant
one, to the marvellous powers of the man who, if not the greatest, was at
least the one most fully endowed with every great quality of mind and
body the world has ever seen.

R. W. P.


The trading upon an illustrious name can alone have given birth to the
multitude of publications under the titles of historical memoirs, secret
memoirs, and other rhapsodies which have appeared respecting Napoleon.
On looking into them it is difficult to determine whether the impudence
of the writers or the simplicity of certain readers is most astonishing.
Yet these rude and ill digested compilations, filled with absurd
anecdotes, fabricated speeches, fictitious crimes or virtues, and
disfigured by numerous anachronisms, instead of being consigned to just
contempt and speedy oblivion, have been pushed into notice by
speculators, and have found zealous partisans and enthusiastic

   --[This Introduction has been reprinted as bearing upon the
   character of the work, but refers very often to events of the
   day at the time of its first appearance.]--

For a time I entertained the idea of noticing, one by one, the numerous
errors which have been written respecting Napoleon; but I have renounced
a task which would have been too laborious to myself, and very tedious to
the reader. I shall therefore only correct those which come within the
plan of my work, and which are connected with those facts, to a more
accurate knowledge of which than any other person can possess I may lay
claim. There are men who imagine that nothing done by Napoleon will ever
be forgotten; but must not the slow but inevitable influence of time be
expected to operate with respect to him? The effect of that influence
is, that the most important event of an epoch soon sinks, almost
imperceptibly and almost disregarded, into the immense mass of historical
facts. Time, in its progress, diminishes the probability as well as the
interest of such an event, as it gradually wears away the most durable

I attach only a relative importance to what I am about to lay before the
public. I shall give authentic documents. If all persons who have
approached Napoleon, at any time and in any place, would candidly record
what they saw and heard, without passion, the future historian would be
rich in materials. It is my wish that he who may undertake the difficult
task of writing the history of Napoleon shall find in my notes
information useful to the perfection of his work. There he will at least
find truth. I have not the ambition to wish that what I state should be
taken as absolute authority; but I hope that it will always be consulted.

I have never before published anything respecting Napoleon. That
malevolence which fastens itself upon men who have the misfortune to be
somewhat separated from the crowd has, because there is always more
profit in saying ill than good, attributed to me several works on
Bonaparte; among others, 'Les Memoires secrets d'un Homnae qui ne l'a pas
quitte', par M. B-------, and 'Memoires secrets sur Napoleon Bonaparte,
par M. de B------, and 'Le Precis Historique sur Napoleon'. The initial
of my name has served to propagate this error. The incredible ignorance
which runs through those memoirs, the absurdities and inconceivable
silliness with which they abound, do not permit a man of honour and
common sense to allow such wretched rhapsodies to be imputed to him. I
declared in 1816, and at later periods in the French
and foreign journals, that I had no hand in those publications, and I
here formally repeat this declaration.

But it may be said to me, Why should we place more confidence in you than
in those who have written before you?

My reply shall be plain. I enter the lists one of the last I have read
all that my predecessors have published confident that all I state is
true. I have no interest in deceiving, no disgrace to fear, no reward to
expect. I ether wish to obscure nor embellish his glory. However great
Napoleon may have been, was he not also liable to pay his tribute to the
weakness of human nature? I speak of Napoleon such as I have seen him,
known him, frequently admired and sometimes blamed him. I state what I
saw, heard, wrote, and thought at the time, under each circumstance that
occurred. I have not allowed myself to be carried away by the illusions
of the imagination, nor to be influenced by friendship or hatred. I
shall not insert a single reflection which did not occur to me at the
very moment of the event which gave it birth. How many transactions and
documents were there over which I could but lament!--how many measures,
contrary to my views, to my principles, and to my character!--while the
best intentions were incapable of overcoming difficulties which a most
powerful and decided will rendered almost insurmountable.

I also wish the future historian to compare what I say with what others
have related or may relate. But it will be necessary for him to attend
to dates, circumstances, difference of situation, change of temperament,
and age,--for age has much influence over men. We do not think and act
at fifty as at twenty-five. By exercising this caution he will be able
to discover the truth, and to establish an opinion for posterity.

The reader must not expect to find in these Memoirs an uninterrupted
series of all the events which marked the great career of Napoleon; nor
details of all those battles, with the recital of which so many eminent
men have usefully and ably occupied themselves. I shall say little about
whatever I did not see or hear, and which is not supported by official

Perhaps I shall succeed in confirming truths which have been doubted, and
in correcting errors which have been adopted. If I sometimes differ from
the observations and statements of Napoleon at St. Helena, I am far from
supposing that those who undertook to be the medium of communication
between him and the public have misrepresented what he said. I am well
convinced that none of the writers of St. Helena can be taxed with the
slightest deception; disinterested zeal and nobleness of character are
undoubted pledges of their veracity. It appears to me perfectly certain
that Napoleon stated, dictated, or corrected all they have published.
Their honour is unquestionable; no one can doubt it. That they wrote
what he communicated must therefore be believed; but it cannot with equal
confidence be credited that what he communicated was nothing but the
truth. He seems often to have related as a fact what was really only an
idea,--an idea, too, brought forth at St. Helena, the child of
misfortune, and transported by his imagination to Europe in the time of
his prosperity. His favourite phrase, which was every moment on his
lips, must not be forgotten--"What will history say--what will posterity
think?" This passion for leaving behind him a celebrated name is one
which helongs to the constitution of the human mind; and with Napoleon
its influence was excessive. In his first Italian campaign he wrote thus
to General Clarke: "That ambition and the occupation of high offices were
not sufficient for his satisfaction and happiness, which he had early
placed in the opinion of Europe and the esteem of posterity." He often
observed to me that with him the opinion of posterity was the real
immortality of the soul.

It may easily be conceived that Napoleon wished to give to the documents
which he knew historians would consult a favourable colour, and to
direct, according to his own views, the judgment of posterity on his
actions: But it is only by the impartial comparison of periods,
positions, and age that a well founded decision will be given. About his
fortieth year the physical constitution of Napoleon sustained
considerable change; and it may be presumed that his moral qualities were
affected by that change. It is particularly important not to lose sight
of the premature decay of his health, which, perhaps, did not permit him
always to, possess the vigour of memory otherwise consistent enough with
his age. The state of our organisation often modifies our recollections,
our feelings, our manner of viewing objects, and the impressions we
receive. This will be taken into consideration by judicious and thinking
men; and for them I write.

What M. de Las Casas states Napoleon to have said in May 1816 on the
manner of writing his history corroborates the opinion I have expressed.
It proves that all the facts and observations he communicated or dictated
were meant to serve as materials. We learn from the Memorial that M. de
Las Casas wrote daily, and that the manuscript was read over by Napoleon,
who often made corrections with his own hand. The idea of a journal
pleased him greatly. He fancied it would be a work of which the world
could afford no other example. But there are passages in which the order
of events is deranged; in others facts are misrepresented and erroneous
assertions are made, I apprehend, not altogether involuntarily.

I have paid particular attention to all that has been published by the
noble participators of the imperial captivity. Nothing, however, could
induce me to change a word in these Memoirs, because nothing could take
from me my conviction of the truth of what I personally heard and saw.
It will be found that Napoleon in his private conversations often
confirms what I state; but we sometimes differ, and the public must judge
between us. However, I must here make one observation.

When Napoleon dictated or related to his friends in St. Helena the facts
which they have reported he was out of the world,--he had played his
part. Fortune, which, according to his notions, had conferred on him all
his power and greatness, had recalled all her gifts before he sank into
the tomb. His ruling passion would induce him to think that it was due
to his glory to clear up certain facts which might prove an unfavourable
escort if they accompanied him to posterity. This was his fixed idea.
But is there not some ground for suspecting the fidelity of him who
writes or dictates his own history? Why might he not impose on a few
persons in St. Helena, when he was able to impose on France and Europe,
respecting many acts which emanated from him during the long duration of
his power? The life of Napoleon would be very unfaithfully written were
the author to adopt as true all his bulletins and proclamations, and all
the declarations he made at St. Helena. Such a history would frequently
be in contradiction to facts; and such only is that which might be
entitled, 'The History of Napoleon, written by Himself'.

I have said thus much because it is my wish that the principles which
have guided me in the composition of these Memoirs may be understood.
I am aware that they will not please every reader; that is a success to
which I cannot pretend. Some merit, however, may be allowed me on
account of the labour I have undergone. It has neither been of a slight
nor an agreeable kind. I made it a rule to read everything that has been
written respecting Napoleon, and I have had to decipher many of his
autograph documents, though no longer so familiar with his scrawl as
formerly. I say decipher, because a real cipher might often be much more
readily understood than the handwriting of Napoleon. My own notes, too,
which were often very hastily made, in the hand I wrote in my youth, have
sometimes also much embarrassed me.

My long and intimate connection with Bonaparte from boyhood, my close
relations with him when General, Consul, and Emperor, enabled me to see
and appreciate all that was projected and all that was done during that
considerable and momentous period of time. I not only had the
opportunity of being present at the conception and the execution of the
extraordinary deeds of one of the ablest men nature ever formed, but,
notwithstanding an almost unceasing application to business, I found
means to employ the few moments of leisure which Bonaparte left at my
disposal in making notes, collecting documents, and in recording for
history facts respecting which the truth could otherwise with difficulty
be ascertained; and more particularly in collecting those ideas, often
profound, brilliant, and striking, but always remarkable, to which
Bonaparte gave expression in the overflowing frankness of confidential

The knowledge that I possessed much important information has exposed me
to many inquiries, and wherever I have resided since my retirement from
public affairs much of my time has been spent in replying to questions.
The wish to be acquainted with the most minute details of the life of a
man formed on an unexampled m del [?? D.W.] is very natural; and the
observation on my replies by those who heard them always was,
"You should publish your Memoirs!"

I had certainly always in view the publication of my Memoirs; but, at the
same time, I was firmly resolved not to publish them until a period
should arrive in which I might tell the truth, and the whole truth.
While Napoleon was in the possession of power I felt it right to resist
the urgent applications made to me on this subject by some persons of
the highest distinction. Truth would then have sometimes appeared
flattery, and sometimes, also, it might not have been without danger.
Afterwards, when the progress of events removed Bonaparte to a far
distant island in the midst of the ocean, silence was imposed on me by
other considerations,-by considerations of propriety and feeling.

After the death of Bonaparte, at St. Helena, reasons of a different
nature retarded the execution of my plan. The tranquillity of a secluded
retreat was indispensable for preparing and putting in order the abundant
materials in my possession. I found it also necessary to read a great
number of works, in order to rectify important errors to which the want
of authentic documents had induced the authors to give credit. This
much-desired retreat was found. I had the good fortune to be introduced,
through a friend, to the Duchesse de Brancas, and that lady invited me to
pass some time on one of her estates in Hainault. Received with the most
agreeable hospitality, I have there enjoyed that tranquillity which could
alone have rendered the publication of these volumes practicable.



The Editor of the 1836 edition had added to the Memoirs several chapters
taken from or founded on other works of the time, so as to make a more
complete history of the period. These materials have been mostly
retained, but with the corrections which later publications have made
necessary. A chapter has now been added to give, a brief account of the
part played by the chief historical personages during the Cent Tours, and
another at the end to include the removal of the body of Napoleon from
St. Helena to France.

Two special improvements have, it is hoped, been made in this edition.
Great care has been taken to get names, dates, and figures rightly
given,--points much neglected in most translations, though in some few
cases, such as Davoust, the ordinary but not strictly correct spelling
has been followed to suit the general reader. The number of references
to other works which are given in the notes wall, it is believed, be of
use to any one wishing to continue the study of the history of Napoleon,
and may preserve them from many of the errors too often committed. The
present Editor has had the great advantage of having his work shared by
Mr. Richard Bentley, who has brought his knowledge of the period to bear,
and who has found, as only a busy man could do, the time to minutely
enter into every fresh detail, with the ardour which soon seizes any one
who long follows that enticing pursuit, the special study of an
historical period.

January 1885
R. W. P.





   Authentic date of Bonaparte's birth--His family ruined by the
   Jesuits--His taste for military amusements--Sham siege at the
   College of Brienne--The porter's wife and Napoleon--My intimacy with
   Bonaparte at college--His love for the mathematics, and his dislike
   of Latin--He defends Paoli and blames his father--He is ridiculed by
   his comrades--Ignorance of the monks--Distribution of prizes at
   Brienne--Madame de Montesson and the Duke of Orleans--Report of M.
   Keralio on Bonaparte--He leaves Brienne.

NAPOLEON BONAPARTE was born at Ajaccio, in Corsica, on the 15th of August
1769; the original orthography of his name was Buonaparte, but he
suppressed the during his first campaign in Italy. His motives for so
doing were merely to render the spelling conformable with the
pronunciation, and to abridge his signature. He signed Buonaparte even
after the famous 13th Vendemiaire.

It has been affirmed that he was born in 1768, and that he represented
himself to be a year younger than he really was. This is untrue. He
always told me the 9th of August was his birthday, and, as I was born on
the 9th of July 1769, our proximity of age served to strengthen our union
and friendship when we were both at the Military College of Brienne.

The false and absurd charge of Bonaparte having misrepresented his
age, is decidedly refuted by a note in the register of M. Berton,
sub-principal of the College of Brienne, in which it is stated that
M. Napoleon de Buonaparte, ecuyer, born in the city of Ajaccio, in
Corsica, on the 15th of August 1769, left the Royal Military College of
Brienne on the 17th October 1784.

The stories about his low extraction are alike devoid of foundation. His
family was poor, and he was educated at the public expense, an advantage
of which many honourable families availed themselves. A memorial
addressed by his father, Charles Buonaparte, to the Minister of War
states that his fortune had been reduced by the failure of some
enterprise in which he had engaged, and by the injustice of the Jesuits,
by whom he had been deprived of an inheritance. The object of this
memorial was to solicit a sub-lieutenant's commission for Napoleon, who
was then fourteen years of age, and to get Lucien entered a pupil of the
Military College. The Minister wrote on the back of the memorial, "Give
the usual answer, if there be a vacancy;" and on the margin are these
words--"This gentleman has been informed that his request is inadmissible
as long as his second son remains at the school of Brienne. Two brothers
cannot be placed at the same time in the military schools." When
Napoleon was fifteen he was sent to Paris until he should attain the
requisite age for entering the army. Lucien was not received into the
College of Brienne, at least not until his brother had quitted the
Military School of Paris.

Bonaparte was undoubtedly a man of good family. I have seen an authentic
account of his genealogy, which he obtained from Tuscany. A great deal
has been said about the civil dissensions which forced his family to quit
Italy and take refuge in Corsica. On this subject I shall say nothing.

Many and various accounts have been given of Bonaparte's youth.

   --[The following interesting trait of Napoleon's childhood is
   derived from the 'Memoirs of the Duchesse d'Arbranes':--"He was one
   day accused by one of his sisters of having eaten a basketful of
   grapes, figs, and citrons, which had come from the garden of his
   uncle the Canon. None but those who were acquainted with the
   Bonaparte family can form any idea of the enormity of this offence.
   To eat fruit belonging to the uncle the Canon was infinitely more
   criminal than to eat grapes and figs which might be claimed by
   anybody else. An inquiry took place. Napoleon. denied the fact,
   and was whipped. He was told that if he would beg pardon he should
   be forgiven. He protested that he was innocent, but he was not
   believed. If I recollect rightly, his mother was at the time on a
   visit to M. de Marbeuf, or some other friend. The result of
   Napoleon's obstinacy was, that he was kept three whole days on bread
   and cheese, and that cheese was not 'broccio'. However, he would
   not cry: he was dull, but not sulky. At length, on the fourth day
   of his punishment a little friend of Marianne Bonaparte returned
   from the country, and on hearing of Napoleon's disgrace she
   confessed that she and Marianne had eaten the fruit. It was now
   Marianne's turn to be punished. When Napoleon was asked why he had
   not accused his sister, he replied that though he suspected that she
   was guilty, yet out of consideration to her little friend, who had
   no share in the falsehood, he had said nothing. He was then only
   seven years of age" (vol. i. p. 9, edit. 1883).]--

He has been described in terms of enthusiastic praise and exaggerated
condemnation. It is ever thus with individuals who by talent or
favourable circumstances are raised above their fellow-creatures.
Bonaparte himself laughed at all the stories which were got up for the
purpose of embellishing or blackening his character in early life.
An anonymous publication, entitled the 'History of Napoleon Bonaparte',
from his Birth to his last abdication, contains perhaps the greatest
collection of false and ridiculous details about his boyhood. Among
other things, it is stated that he fortified a garden to protect himself
from the attacks of his comrades, who, a few lines lower down, are
described as treating him with esteem and respect. I remember the
circumstances which, probably, gave rise to the fabrication inserted in
the work just mentioned; they were as follows.

During the winter of 1783-84, so memorable for heavy falls of snow,
Napoleon was greatly at a loss for those retired walks and outdoor
recreations in which he used to take much delight. He had no alternative
but to mingle with his comrades, and, for exercise, to walk with them up
and down a spacious hall. Napoleon, weary of this monotonous promenade,
told his comrades that he thought they might amuse themselves much better
with the snow, in the great courtyard, if they would get shovels and make
hornworks, dig trenches, raise parapets, cavaliers, etc. "This being
done," said he, "we may divide ourselves into sections, form a siege, and
I will undertake to direct the attacks." The proposal, which was
received with enthusiasm, was immediately put into execution. This
little sham war was carried on for the space of a fortnight, and did not
cease until a quantity of gravel and small stones having got mixed with
the snow of which we made our bullets, many of the combatants, besiegers
as well as besieged, were seriously wounded. I well remember that I was
one of the worst sufferers from this sort of grapeshot fire.

It is almost unnecessary to contradict the story about the ascent in the
balloon. It is now very well known that the hero of that headlong
adventure was not young Bonaparte, as has been alleged, but one of his
comrades, Dudont de Chambon, who was somewhat eccentric. Of this his
subsequent conduct afforded sufficient proofs.

Bonaparte's mind was directed to objects of a totally different kind.
He turned his attention to political science. During some of his
vacations he enjoyed the society of the Abby Raynal, who used to converse
with him on government, legislation, commercial relations, etc.

On festival days, when the inhabitants of Brienne were admitted to our
amusements, posts were established for the maintenance of order. Nobody
was permitted to enter the interior of the building without a card
signed by the principal, or vice-principal. The rank of officers or
sub-officers was conferred according to merit; and Bonaparte one day had the
command of a post, when the following little adventure occurred, which
affords an instance of his decision of character.

The wife of the porter of the school,

   --[This woman, named Haute, was afterwards placed at Malmaison, with
   her husband. They both died as concierges of Malmaison. This shows
   that Napoleon had a memory.--Bourrienne.]--

who was very well known, because she used to sell milk, fruit, etc., to
the pupils, presented herself one Saint Louis day for admittance to the
representation of the 'Death of Caesar, corrected', in which I was to
perform the part of Brutus. As the woman had no ticket, and insisted on
being admitted without one, some disturbance arose. The serjeant of the
post reported the matter to the officer, Napoleon Bonaparte, who in an
imperious tone of voice exclaimed: "Send away that woman, who comes here
with her camp impudence." This was in 1782.

Bonaparte and I were eight years of, age when our friendship commenced.
It speedily became very intimate, for there was a certain sympathy of
heart between us. I enjoyed this friendship and intimacy until 1784,
when he was transferred from the Military College of Brienne to that of
Paris. I was one among those of his youthful comrades who could best
accommodate themselves to his stern character. His natural reserve, his
disposition to meditate on the conquest of Corsica, and the impressions
he had received in childhood respecting the misfortunes of his country
and his family, led him to seek retirement, and rendered his general
demeanour, though in appearance only, somewhat unpleasing. Our equality
of age brought us together in the classes of the mathematics and 'belles
lettres'. His ardent wish to acquire knowledge was remarkable from the
very commencement of his studies. When he first came to the college he
spoke only the Corsican dialect, and the Sieur Dupuis,

   --[He afterwards filled the pout of librarian to Napoleon at

who was vice-principal before Father Berton, gave him instructions in the
French language. In this he made such rapid progress that in a short
time he commenced the first rudiments of Latin. But to this study he
evinced such a repugnance that at the age of fifteen he was not out of
the fourth class. There I left him very speedily; but I could never get
before him in the mathematical class, in which he was undoubtedly the
cleverest lad at the college. I used sometimes to help him with his
Latin themes and versions in return for the aid he afforded me in the
solution of problems, at which he evinced a degree of readiness and
facility which perfectly astonished me.

When at Brienne, Bonaparte was remarkable for the dark color of his
complexion (which, subsequently, the climate of France somewhat changed),
for his piercing and scrutinising glance, and for the style of his
conversation both with his masters and comrades. His conversation almost
always bore the appearance of ill-humour, and he was certainly not very
amiable. This I attribute to the misfortunes his family had sustained
and the impressions made on his mind by the conquest of his country.

The pupils were invited by turns to dine with Father Berton, the head of
the school. One day, it being Bonaparte's turn to enjoy this indulgence,
some of the professors who were at table designedly made some
disrespectful remarks on Paoli, of whom they knew the young Corsican was
an enthusiastic admirer. "Paoli," observed Bonaparte, "was a great man;
he loved his country; and I will never forgive my father, who was his
adjutant, for having concurred in the union of Corsica with France. He
ought to have followed Paoli's fortune, and have fallen with him."

   --[The Duchesse d'Abrantes, speaking of the personal characteristics
   of Bonaparte in youth and manhood, says, "Saveria told me that
   Napoleon was never a pretty boy, as Joseph was, for example: his
   head always appeared too large for his body, a defect common to the
   Bonaparte family. When Napoleon grew up, the peculiar charm of his
   countenance lay in his eye, especially in the mild expression it
   assumed in his moments of kindness. His anger, to be sure, was
   frightful, and though I am no coward, I never could look at him in
   his fits of rage without shuddering. Though his smile was
   captivating, yet the expression of his month when disdainful or
   angry could scarcely be seen without terror. But that forehead
   which seemed formed to bear the crowns of a whole world; those
   hands, of which the most coquettish women might have been vain, and
   whose white skin covered muscles of iron; in short, of all that
   personal beauty which distinguished Napoleon as a young man, no
   traces were discernible in the boy. Saveria spoke truly when she
   said, that of all the children of Signora Laetitia, the Emperor was
   the one from whom future greatness was least to be prognosticated"
   (vol. i. p. 10, edit. 1883)]--

Generally speaking, Bonaparte was not much liked by his comrades at
Brienne. He was not social with them, and rarely took part in their
amusements. His country's recent submission to France always caused in
his mind a painful feeling, which estranged him from his schoolfellows.
I, however, was almost his constant companion. During play-hours he used
to withdraw to the library, where he-read with deep interest works of
history, particularly Polybius and Plutarch. He was also fond of
Arrianus, but did not care much for Quintus Gurtius. I often went off to
play with my comrades, and left him by himself in the library.

The temper of the young Corsican was not improved by the teasing he
frequently experienced from his comrades, who were fond of ridiculing him
about his Christian name Napoleon and his country. He often said to me,
"I will do these French all the mischief I can;" and when I tried to
pacify him he would say, "But you do not ridicule me; you like me."

Father Patrauld, our mathematical professor, was much attached to
Bonaparte. He was justly proud of him as a pupil. The other professors,
in whose classes he was not distinguished, took little notice of him.
He had no taste for the study of languages, polite literature, or the
arts. As there were no indications of his ever becoming a scholar, the
pedants of the establishment were inclined to think him stupid. His
superior intelligence was, however, sufficiently perceptible, even
through the reserve under which it was veiled. If the monks to whom the
superintendence of the establishment was confided had understood the
organisation of his mind, if they had engaged more able mathematical
professors, or if we had had any incitement to the study of chemistry,
natural philosophy, astronomy, etc., I am convinced that Bonaparte would
have pursued these sciences with all the genius and spirit of
investigation which he displayed in a career, more brilliant it is true,
but less useful to mankind. Unfortunately, the monks did not perceive
this, and were too poor to pay for good masters. However, after
Bonaparte left the college they found it necessary to engage two
professors from Paris, otherwise the college would have fallen to
nothing. These two new professors, MM. Durfort and Desponts, finished
my education; and I regretted that they did not come sooner. The
often-repeated assertion of Bonaparte having received a careful
education at Brienne is therefore untrue. The monks were incapable of
giving it him; and, for my own part, I must confess that the extended
information of the present day is to me a painful contrast with the
limited course of education I received at the Military College. It is
only surprising that the establishment should have produced a single
able man.

Though Bonaparte had no reason to be satisfied with the treatment he
received from his comrades, yet he was above complaining of it; and when
he had the supervision of any duty which they infringed, he would rather
go to prison than denounce the criminals.

I was one day his accomplice in omitting to enforce a duty which we were
appointed to supervise. He prevailed on me to accompany him to prison,
where we remained three days. We suffered this sort of punishment
several times, but with less severity.

In 1783 the Duke of Orleans and Madame de Montesson visited Brienne; and,
for upwards of a month, the magnificent chateau of the Comte de Brienne
was a Versailles in miniature. The series of brilliant entertainments
which were given to the august travellers made them almost forget the
royal magnificence they had left behind them.

The Prince and Madame de Montesson expressed a wish to preside at the
distribution of the prizes of our college. Bonaparte and I won the
prizes in the class of mathematics, which, as I have already observed,
was the branch of study to which he confined his attention, and in which
he excelled. When I was called up for the seventh time Madame de
Montesson said to my mother, who had come from Sens to be present at the
distribution, "Pray, madame, crown your son this time; my hands are

There was an inspector of the military schools, whose business it was to
make an annual report on each pupil, whether educated at the public
expense or paid for by his family. I copied from the report of 1784 a
note which was probably obtained surreptitiously from the War Office. I
wanted to purchase the manuscript, but Louis Bonaparte bought it. I did
not make a copy of the note which related to myself, because I should
naturally have felt diffident in making any use of it. It would,
however, have served to show how time and circumstances frequently
reversed the distinctions which arise at school or college. Judging from
the reports of the inspector of military schools, young Bonaparte was
not, of all the pupils at Brienne in 1784, the one most calculated to
excite prognostics of future greatness and glory.

The note to which I have just alluded, and which was written by M. de
Kerralio, then inspector of the military schools, describes Bonaparte in
the following terms:


   M. de Buonaparte (Napoleon), born 15th August 1769, height 4 feet 10
   inches 10 lines, is in the fourth class, has a good constitution,
   excellent health, character obedient, upright, grateful, conduct
   very regular; has been always distinguished by his application to
   mathematics. He knows history and geography very passably. He is
   not well up in ornamental studies or in Latin in which he is only in
   the fourth class. He will be an excellent sailor. He deserves to
   be passed on to the Military School of Paris.

Father Berton, however, opposed Bonaparte's removal to Paris, because
he had not passed through the fourth Latin class, and the regulations
required that he should be in the third. I was informed by the
vice-principal that a report relative to Napoleon was sent from the
College of Brienne to that of Paris, in which he was described as being
domineering, imperious, and obstinate.

   --[Napoleon remained upwards of five years at Brienne, from April
   1779 till the latter end of 1784. In 1783 the Chevalier Keralio,
   sub-inspector of the military schools, selected him to pass the year
   following to the military school at Paris, to which three of the
   best scholars were annually sent from each of the twelve provincial
   military schools of France. It is curious as well as satisfactory
   to know the opinion at this time entertained of him by those who
   were the best qualified to judge. His old master, Le Guille,
   professor of history at Paris, boasted that, in a list of the
   different scholars, he had predicted his pupil's subsequent career.
   In fact, to the name of Bonaparte the following note is added: "a
   Corsican by birth and character--he will do something great, if
   circumstances favour him." Menge was his instructor in geometry,
   who also entertained a high opinion of him. M. Bauer, his German
   master, was the only one who saw nothing in him, and was surprised
   at being told he was undergoing his examination for the artillery.

I knew Bonaparte well; and I think M. de Keralio's report of him was
exceedingly just, except, perhaps, that he might have said he was very
well as to his progress in history and geography, and very backward in
Latin; but certainly nothing indicated the probability of his being an
excellent seaman. He himself had no thought of the navy.

   --[Bourrienne is certainly wrong as to Bonaparte having no thought
   of the navy. In a letter of 1784 to the Minister of War his father
   says of Napoleon that, "following the advice of the Comte de
   Marbeuf, he has turned his studies towards the navy; and so well has
   he succeeded that he was intended by M. de Keralio for the school of
   Paris, and afterwards for the department of Toulon. The retirement
   of the former professor (Keralio) has changed the fate of my son."
   It was only on the failure of his intention to get into the navy
   that his father, on 15th July 1784 applied for permission for him to
   enter the artillery; Napoleon having a horror of the infantry, where
   he said they did nothing. It was on the success of this application
   that he was allowed to enter the school of Parts (Iung, tome i. pp.
   91-103). Oddly enough, in later years, on 30th August 1792, having
   just succeeded in getting himself reinstated as captain after his
   absence, overstaying leave, he applied to pass into the Artillerie
   de la Marine. "The application was judged to be simply absurd, and
   was filed with this note, 'S. R.' ('sans reponse')" (Iung, tome ii.
   p. 201)]--

In consequence of M. de Keralio's report, Bonaparte was transferred to
the Military College of Paris, along with MM. Montarby de Dampierre, de
Castres, de Comminges, and de Laugier de Bellecourt, who were all, like
him, educated at the public expense, and all, at least, as favorably

What could have induced Sir Walter Scott to say that Bonaparte was the
pride of the college, that our mathematical master was exceedingly fond
of him, and that the other professors in the different sciences had equal
reason to be satisfied with him? What I have above stated, together with
the report of M. de Keralio, bear evidence of his backwardness in almost
every branch of education except mathematics. Neither was it, as Sir
Walter affirms, his precocious progress in mathematics that occasioned
him to be removed to Paris. He had attained the proper age, and the
report of him was favourable, therefore he was very naturally included
among the number of the five who were chosen in 1784.

In a biographical account of Bonaparte I have read the following
anecdote:--When he was fourteen years of age he happened to be at a party
where some one pronounced a high eulogium on Turenne; and a lady in the
company observed that he certainly was a great man, but that she should
like him better if he had not burned the Palatinate. "What signifies
that," replied Bonaparte, "if it was necessary to the object he had in

This is either an anachronism or a mere fabrication. Bonaparte was
fourteen in the year 1783. He was then at Brienne, where certainly he
did not go into company, and least of all the company of ladies.



   Bonaparte enters the Military College of Paris--He urges me to
   embrace the military profession--His report on the state of the
   Military School of Paris--He obtains a commission--I set off for
   Vienna--Return to Paris, where I again meet Bonaparte--His singular
   plans for raising money--Louis XVI, with the red cap on his head--
   The 10th of August--My departure for Stuttgart--Bonaparte goes to
   Corsica--My name inscribed on the list of emigrants--Bonaparte at
   the siege of Toulon--Le Souper de Beaucaire--Napoleon's mission to
   Genoa--His arrest--His autographical justification
   --Duroc's first connection with Bonaparte.

Bonaparte was fifteen years and two months old when he went to the
Military College of Paris.

   --[Madame Junot relates some interesting particulars connected with
   Napoleon's first residence in Paris:
   "My mother's first care," says she, "on arriving in Paris was to
   inquire after Napoleon Bonaparte. He was at that time in the
   military school at Paris, having quitted Brienne in the September of
   the preceding year.

   "My uncle Demetrius had met him just after he alighted from the coach
   which brought him to town; 'And truly.' said my uncle, 'he had the
   appearance of a fresh importation. I met him in the Palms Royal,
   where he was gaping and staring with wonder at everything he saw.
   He would have been an excellent subject for sharpers, if, indeed, he
   had had anything worth taking!' My uncle invited him to dine at his
   house; for though my uncle was a bachelor, he did not choose to dine
   at a 'traiteur' (the name 'restaurateur' was not then introduced).
   He told my mother that Napoleon was very morose. 'I fear,' added
   he, 'that that young man has more self-conceit than is suitable to
   his condition. When he dined with me he began to declaim violently
   against the luxury of the young men of the military school. After a
   little he turned the conversation on Mania, and the present
   education of the young Maniotes, drawing a comparison between it and
   the ancient Spartan system of education. His observations on this
   head be told me he intended to embody in a memorial to be presented
   to the Minister of War. All this, depend upon it, will bring him
   under the displeasure of his comrades; and it will be lucky if he
   escape being run through.' A few days afterwards my mother saw
   Napoleon, and then his irritability was at its height. He would
   scarcely bear any observations, even if made in his favour, and I am
   convinced that it is to this uncontrollable irritability that he
   owed the reputation of having been ill-tempered in his boyhood, and
   splenetic in his youth. My father, who was acquainted with almost
   all the heads of the military school, obtained leave for him
   sometimes to come out for recreation. On account of an accident (a
   sprain, if I recollect rightly) Napoleon once spent a whole week at
   our house. To this day, whenever I pass the Quai Conti, I cannot
   help looking up at a 'mansarde' at the left angle of the house on
   the third floor. That was Napoleon's chamber when he paid us a
   visit, and a neat little room it was. My brother used to occupy the
   one next to it. The two young men were nearly of the same age: my
   brother perhaps had the advantage of a year or fifteen months. My
   mother had recommended him to cultivate the friendship of young
   Bonaparte; but my brother complained how unpleasant it was to find
   only cold politeness where he expected affection. This
   repulsiveness on the part of Napoleon was almost offensive, and must
   have been sensibly felt by my brother, who was not only remarkable
   for the mildness of his temper and the amenity and grace of his
   manner, but whose society was courted in the most distinguished
   circles of Paris on account of his accomplishments. He perceived in
   Bonaparte a kind of acerbity and bitter irony, of which he long
   endeavoured to discover the cause. 'I believe,' said Albert one day
   to my mother, 'that the poor young man feels keenly his dependent
   situation.'" ('Memoirs of the Duchesse d'Abrantes, vol. i. p. 18,
   edit. 1883).]--

I accompanied him in a carriole as far as Nogent Sur Seine, whence the
coach was to start. We parted with regret, and we did not meet again
till the year 1792. During these eight years we maintained an active
correspondence; but so little did I anticipate the high destiny which,
after his elevation, it was affirmed the wonderful qualities of his
boyhood plainly denoted, that I did not preserve one of the letters
he wrote to me at that period, but tore them up as soon as they were

   --[I remember, however, that in a letter which I received from him
   about a year after his arrival in Paris he urged me to keep my
   promise of entering the army with him. Like him, I had passed
   through the studies necessary for the artillery service; and in 1787
   I went for three months to Metz, in order to unite practice with
   theory. A strange Ordinance, which I believe was issued in 1778 by
   M. de Segur, required that a man should possess four quarterings of
   nobility before he could be qualified to serve his king and country
   as a military officer. My mother went to Paris, taking with her the
   letters patent of her husband, who died six weeks after my birth.
   She proved that in the year 1640 Louis XIII. had, by letters
   patent, restored the titles of one Fauvelet de Villemont, who in
   1586 had kept several provinces of Burgundy subject to the king's
   authority at the peril of his life and the loss of his property; and
   that his family had occupied the first places in the magistracy
   since the fourteenth century. All was correct, but it was observed
   that the letters of nobility had not been registered by the
   Parliament, and to repair this little omission, the sum of twelve
   thousand francs was demanded. This my mother refused to pay, and
   there the matter rested.]--

On his arrival at the Military School of Paris, Bonaparte found the
establishment on so brilliant and expensive a footing that he immediately
addressed a memorial on the subject to the Vice-Principal Berton of

   --[A second memoir prepared by him to the same effect was intended
   for the Minister of War, but Father Berton wisely advised silence to
   the young cadet (Iung, tome i. p. 122). Although believing in the
   necessity of show and of magnificence in public life, Napoleon
   remained true to these principles. While lavishing wealth on his
   ministers and marshals, "In your private life," said be, "be
   economical and even parsimonious; in public be magnificent"
   (Meneval, tome i. p. 146).]--

He showed that the plan of education was really pernicious, and far from
being calculated to fulfil the object which every wise government must
have in view. The result of the system, he said, was to inspire the
pupils, who were all the sons of poor gentlemen, with a love of
ostentation, or rather, with sentiments of vanity and self-sufficiency;
so that, instead of returning happy to the bosom of their families, they
were likely to be ashamed of their parents, and to despise their humble
homes. Instead of the numerous attendants by whom they were surrounded,
their dinners of two courses, and their horses and grooms, he suggested
that they should perform little necessary services for themselves, such
as brushing their clothes, and cleaning their boots and shoes; that they
should eat the coarse bread made for soldiers, etc. Temperance and
activity, he added, would render them robust, enable them to bear the
severity of different seasons and climates, to brave the fatigues of war,
and to inspire the respect and obedience of the soldiers under their
command. Thus reasoned Napoleon at the age of sixteen, and time showed
that he never deviated from these principles. The establishment of the
military school at Fontainebleau is a decided proof of this.

As Napoleon was an active observer of everything passing around him, and
pronounced his opinion openly and decidedly, he did not remain long at
the Military School of Paris. His superiors, who were anxious to get rid
of him, accelerated the period of his examination, and he obtained the
first vacant sub-lieutenancy in a regiment of artillery.

I left Brienne in 1787; and as I could not enter the artillery,
I proceeded in the following year to Vienna, with a letter of
recommendation to M. de Montmorin, soliciting employment in the French
Embassy at the Court of Austria.

I remained two months at Vienna, where I had the honour of twice seeing
the Emperor Joseph. The impression made upon me by his kind reception,
his dignified and elegant manners, and graceful conversation, will never
be obliterated from my recollection. After M. de Noailles had initiated
me in the first steps of diplomacy, he advised me to go to one of the
German universities to study the law of nations and foreign languages.
I accordingly repaired to Leipsic, about the time when the French
Revolution broke out.

I spent some time at Leipsic, where I applied myself to the study of the
law of nations, and the German and English languages. I afterwards
travelled through Prussia and Poland, and passed a part of the winter of
1791 and 1792 at Warsaw, where I was most graciously received by Princess
Tyszicwiez, niece of Stanislaus Augustus, the last King of Poland, and
the sister of Prince Poniatowski. The Princess was very well informed,
and was a great admirer of French literature: At her invitation I passed
several evenings in company with the King in a circle small enough to
approach to something like intimacy. I remember that his Majesty
frequently asked me to read the Moniteur; the speeches to which he
listened with the greatest pleasure were those of the Girondists. The
Princess Tyszicwiez wished to print at Warsaw, at her own expense, a
translation I had executed of Kotzebue's 'Menschenhass and Reue, to which
I gave the title of 'L'Inconnu'.

   --[A play known on the English stage as The Stranger.]--

I arrived at Vienna on the 26th of March 1792, when I was informed of the
serious illness of the Emperor, Leopold II, who died on the following
day. In private companies, and at public places, I heard vague
suspicions expressed of his having been poisoned; but the public, who
were admitted to the palace to see the body lie in state, were soon
convinced of the falsehood of these reports. I went twice to see the
mournful spectacle, and I never heard a word which was calculated to
confirm the odious suspicion, though the spacious hall in which the
remains of the Emperor were exposed was constantly thronged with people.

In the month of April 1792 I returned to Paris, where I again met

   --[Bonaparte is said, on very doubtful authority, to have spent five
   or six weeks in London in 1791 or 1792, and to have "lodged in a
   house in George Street, Strand. His chief occupation appeared to be
   taking pedestrian exercise in the streets of London--hence his
   marvellous knowledge of the great metropolis which used to astonish
   any Englishmen of distinction who were not aware of this visit. He
   occasionally took his cup of chocolate at the 'Northumberland,'
   occupying himself in reading, and preserving a provoking taciturnity
   to the gentlemen in the room; though his manner was stern, his
   deportment was that of a gentleman." The story of his visit is
   probably as apocryphal as that of his offering his services to the
   English Government when the English forces wore blockading the coast
   of Corsica,]--

and our college intimacy was fully renewed. I was not very well off, and
adversity was hanging heavily on him; his resources frequently failed
him. We passed our time like two young fellows of twenty-three who have
little money and less occupation. Bonaparte was always poorer than I.
Every day we conceived some new project or other. We were on the
look-out for some profitable speculation. At one time he wanted me to
join him in renting several houses, then building in the Rue Montholon,
to underlet them afterwards. We found the demands of the landlords
extravagant--everything failed.

At the same time he was soliciting employment at the War Office, and I at
the office of Foreign Affairs. I was for the moment the luckier of the

While we were spending our time in a somewhat vagabond way,

   --[It was before the 20th of June that in our frequent excursions
   around Paris we went to St. Cyr to see his sister Marianne (Elisa).
   We returned to dine alone at Trianon.--Bourrienne.]--

the 20th of June arrived. We met by appointment at a restaurateur's in
the Rue St. Honore, near the Palais Royal, to take one of our daily
rambles. On going out we saw approaching, in the direction of the
market, a mob, which Bonaparte calculated at five or six thousand men.
They were all in rags, ludicrously armed with weapons of every
description, and were proceeding hastily towards the Tuilleries,
vociferating all kinds of gross abuse. It was a collection of all that
was most vile and abject in the purlieus of Paris. "Let us follow the
mob," said Bonaparte. We got the start of them, and took up our station
on the terrace of the banks of the river. It was there that he witnessed
the scandalous scenes which took place; and it would be difficult to
describe the surprise and indignation which they excited in him. When
the King showed himself at the windows overlooking the garden, with the
red cap, which one of the mob had put on his head, he could no longer
repress his indignation. "Che coglione!"
he loudly exclaimed. "Why have they let in all that rabble! They should
sweep off four or five hundred of them with the cannon; the rest would
then set off fast enough."

When we sat down to dinner, which I paid for, as I generally did, for I
was the richer of the two, he spoke of nothing but the scene we had
witnessed. He discussed with great good sense the causes and
consequences of this unrepressed insurrection. He foresaw and developed
with sagacity all that would ensue. He was not mistaken. The 10th of
August soon arrived. I was then at Stuttgart, where I was appointed
Secretary of Legation.

At St. Helena Bonaparte said, "On the news of the attack of the
Tuilleries, on the 10th of August, I hurried to Fauvelet, Bourrienne's
brother, who then kept a furniture warehouse at the Carrousel." This is
partly correct. My brother was connected with what was termed an
'enterprise d'encan national', where persons intending to quit France
received an advance of money, on depositing any effects which they wished
to dispose of, and which were sold for them immediately. Bonaparte had
some time previously pledged his watch in this way.

After the fatal 10th of August Bonaparte went to Corsica, and did not
return till 1793. Sir Walter Scott says that after that time he never
saw Corsica again. This is a mistake, as will be shown when I speak of
his return from Egypt.

   --[Sir Walter appears to have collected his information for the Life
   of Napoleon only from those libels and vulgar stories which
   gratified the calumnious spirit and national hatred. His work is
   written with excessive negligence, which, added to its numerous
   errors, shows how much respect he must have entertained for his
   readers. It would appear that his object was to make it the inverse
   of his novels, where everything is borrowed from history. I have
   been assured that Marshal Macdonald having offered to introduce
   Scott to some generals who could have furnished him with the most
   accurate, information respecting military events, the glory of which
   they had shared, Sir Walter replied, "I thank you, but I shall
   collect my information from unprofessional reports."--Bourrienne.]--

Having been appointed Secretary of Legation to Stuttgart, I set off for
that place on the 2d of August, and I did not again see my ardent young
friend until 1795. He told me that my departure accelerated his for
Corsica. We separated, as may be supposed, with but faint hopes of ever
meeting again.

By a decree of the 28th of March of 1793, all French agents abroad were
ordered to return to France, within three months, under pain of being
regarded as emigrants. What I had witnessed before my departure for
Stuttgart, the excitement in which I had left the public mind, and the
well-known consequences of events of this kind, made me fear that I
should be compelled to be either an accomplice or a victim in the
disastrous scenes which were passing at home. My disobedience of the law
placed my name on the list of emigrants.

It has been said of me, in a biographical publication, that "it was as
remarkable as it was fortunate for Bourrienne that, on his return, he got
his name erased from the list of emigrants of the department of the
Yonne, on which it had been inscribed during his first journey to
Germany. This circumstance has been interpreted in several different
ways, which are not all equally favourable to M. de Bourrienne."

I do not understand what favourable interpretations can be put upon a
statement entirely false. General Bonaparte repeatedly applied for the
erasure of my name, from the month of April 1797, when I rejoined him at
Leoben, to the period of the signature of the treaty of Campo-Formio; but
without success. He desired his brother Louis, Berthier, Bernadotte, and
others, when he sent them to the Directory, to urge my erasure; but in
vain. He complained of this inattention to his wishes to Bottot, when he
came to Passeriano, after the 18th Fructidor. Bottot, who was secretary
to Barras, was astonished that I was not erased, and he made fine
promises of what he would do. On his return to France he wrote to
Bonaparte: "Bourrienne is erased." But this was untrue. I was not
erased until November 1797, upon the reiterated solicitations of General

It was during my absence from France that Bonaparte, in the rank of 'chef
de bataillon', performed his first campaign, and contributed so
materially to the recapture of Toulon. Of this period of his life I have
no personal knowledge, and therefore I shall not speak of it as an
eye-witness. I shall merely relate some facts which fill up the interval
between 1793 and 1795, and which I have collected from papers which he
himself delivered to me. Among these papers is a little production,
entitled 'Le Souper de Beaucaire', the copies of which he bought up at
considerable expense, and destroyed upon his attaining the Consulate.
This little pamphlet contains principles very opposite to those he wished
to see established in 1800, a period when extravagant ideas of liberty
were no longer the fashion, and when Bonaparte entered upon a system
totally the reverse of those republican principles professed in
'Le Souper de Beaucaire.

   --[This is not, as Sir Walter says, a dialogue between Marat and a
   Federalist, but a conversation between a military officer, a native
   of Nismes, a native of Marseilles, and a manufacturer from
   Montpellier. The latter, though he takes a share in the
   conversation, does not say much. 'Le Souper de Beaucaire' is given
   at full length in the French edition of these Memoirs, tome i. pp.
   319-347; and by Iung, tome ii. p. 354, with the following remarks:
   "The first edition of 'Le Souper de Beaucaire' was issued at the
   cost of the Public Treasury, in August 1798. Sabin Tournal, its
   editor, also then edited the 'Courrier d'Avignon'. The second
   edition only appeared twenty-eight years afterwards, in 1821,
   preceded by an introduction by Frederick Royou (Paris: Brasseur
   Aine, printer, Terrey, publisher, in octavo). This pamphlet did not
   make any sensation at the time it appeared. It was only when
   Napoleon became Commandant of the Army of Italy that M. Loubet,
   secretary and corrector of the press for M. Tournal, attached some
   value to the manuscript, and showed it to several persona. Louis
   Bonaparte, later, ordered several copies from M. Aurel. The
   pamphlet, dated 29th duly 1793, is in the form of a dialogue between
   an officer of the army, a citizen of Nismes, a manufacturer of
   Montpellier, and a citizen of Marseilles. Marseilles was then in a
   state of insurrection against the Convention. Its forces had seized
   Avignon, but had been driven out by the army of Cartesna, which was
   about to attack Marseilles itself." In the dialogue the officer
   gives most excellent military advice to the representative of
   Marseilles on the impossibility of their resisting the old soldiers
   of Carteaux. The Marseilles citizen argues but feebly, and is
   alarmed at the officer's representations; while his threat to call
   in the Spaniards turns the other speakers against him. Even Colonel
   Iung says, tome ii. p. 372, "In these concise judgments is felt the
   decision of the master and of the man of war..... These marvellous
   qualities consequently struck the members of the Convention, who
   made much of Bonaparte, authorised him to have it published at the
   public expense, and made him many promises." Lanfrey, vol. i. pp.
   201, says of this pamphlets "Common enough ideas, expressed in a
   style only remarkable for its 'Italianisms,' but becoming singularly
   firm and precise every time the author expresses his military views.
   Under an apparent roughness, we find in it a rare circumspection,
   leaving no hold on the writer, even if events change."]--

It may be remarked, that in all that has come to us from St. Helena, not
a word is said of this youthful production. Its character sufficiently
explains this silence. In all Bonaparte's writings posterity will
probably trace the profound politician rather than the enthusiastic

Some documents relative to Bonaparte's suspension and arrest, by order of
the representatives Albitte and Salicetti, serve to place in their true
light circumstances which have hitherto been misrepresented. I shall
enter into some details of this event, because I have seen it stated that
this circumstance of Bonaparte's life has been perverted and
misrepresented by every person who has hitherto written about him; and
the writer who makes this remark, himself describes the affair
incorrectly and vaguely. Others have attributed Bonaparte's misfortune
to a military discussion on war, and his connection with Robespierre the

   --[It will presently be seen that all this is erroneous, and that
   Sir Walter commits another mistake when he says that Bonaparte's
   connection with Robespierre was attended with fatal consequences to
   him, and that his justification consisted in acknowledging that his
   friends were very different from what he had supposed them to be.

It has, moreover, been said that Albitte and Salicetti explained to the
Committee of Public Safety the impossibility of their resuming the
military operations unaided by the talents of General Bonaparte. This is
mere flattery. The facts are these:

On the 13th of July 1794 (25th Messidor, year II), the representatives of
the people with the army of Italy ordered that General Bonaparte should
proceed to Genoa, there, conjointly with the French 'charge d'affaires',
to confer on certain subjects with the Genoese Government. This mission,
together with a list of secret instructions, directing him to examine the
fortresses of Genoa and the neighbouring country, show the confidence
which Bonaparte, who was then only twenty-five, inspired in men who were
deeply interested in making a prudent choice of their agents.

Bonaparte set off for Genoa, and fulfilled his mission. The 9th
Thermidor arrived, and the deputies, called Terrorists, were superseded
by Albitte and Salicetti. In the disorder which then prevailed they were
either ignorant of the orders given to General Bonaparte, or persons
envious of the rising glory of the young general of artillery inspired
Albitte and Salicetti with suspicions prejudicial to him. Be this as it
may, the two representatives drew up a resolution, ordering that General
Bonaparte should be arrested, suspended from his rank, and arraigned
before the Committee of Public Safety; and, extraordinary as it may
appear, this resolution was founded in that very journey to Genoa which
Bonaparte executed by the direction of the representatives of the people.

   --[Madame Junot throws some light on this Persecution of Bonaparte
   by Salicetti. "One motive (I do not mean to say the only one),"
   remarks this lady, "of the animosity shown by Salicetti to
   Bonaparte, in the affair of Loano, was that they were at one time
   suitors to the same lady. I am not sure whether it was in Corsica
   or in Paris, but I know for a fact that Bonaparte, in spite of his
   youth, or perhaps I should rather say on account of his youth, was
   the favoured lover. It was the opinion of my brother, who was
   secretary to Salicetti, that Bonaparte owed his life to a
   circumstance which is not very well known. The fact is, that
   Salicetti received a letter from Bonaparte, the contents of which
   appeared to make a deep impression on him. Bonaparte's papers had
   been delivered into Salicetti's hands, who, after an attentive
   perusal of them, laid them aside with evident dissatisfaction. He
   then took them up again, and read them a second time. Salicetti
   declined my brother's assistance is the examination of the papers,
   and after a second examination, which was probably as unsatisfactory
   as the first, he seated himself with a very abstracted air. It
   would appear that he had seen among the papers some document which
   concerned himself. Another curious fact is, that the man who had
   the care of the papers after they were sealed up was an inferior
   clerk entirely under the control of Salicetti; and my brother, whose
   business it was to have charge of the papers, was directed not to
   touch them. He has often spoken to me of this circumstance, and I
   mention it here as one of importance to the history of the time.
   Nothing that relates to a man like Napoleon can be considered
   useless or trivial.

   "What, after all, was the result of this strange business which
   might have cost Bonaparte his head?--for, had he been taken to Paris
   and tried by the Committee of Public Safety, there is little doubt
   that the friend of Robespierre the younger would have been condemned
   by Billaud-Varennes and Collot d'Herbois. The result was the
   acquittal of the accused. This result is the more extraordinary,
   since it would appear that at that time Salicetti stood in fear of
   the young general. A compliment is even paid to Bonaparte in the
   decree, by which he was provisionally restored to liberty. That
   liberation was said to be granted on the consideration that General
   Bonaparte might be useful to the Republic. This was foresight; but
   subsequently when measures were taken which rendered Bonaparte no
   longer an object of fear, his name was erased from the list of
   general officers, and it is a curious fact that Cambaceres, who was
   destined to be his colleague in the Consulate, was one of the
   persons who signed the act of erasure" (Memoirs of the Duchesse
   d'Abrantes, vol. i, p. 69, edit. 1843).]--

Bonaparte said at St. Helena that he was a short time imprisoned by order
of the representative Laporte; but the order for his arrest was signed by
Albitte, Salicetti, and Laporte.

   --[Albitte and Laporte were the representatives sent from the
   Convention to the army of the Alps, and Salicetti to the army of

Laporte was not probably the most influential of the three, for Bonaparte
did not address his remonstrance to him. He was a fortnight under

Had the circumstance occurred three weeks earlier, and had Bonaparte been
arraigned before the Committee of Public Safety previous to the 9th
Thermidor, there is every probability that his career would have been at
an end; and we should have seen perish on the scaffold, at the age of
twenty-five, the man who, during the twenty-five succeeding years, was
destined to astonish the world by his vast conceptions, his gigantic
projects, his great military genius, his extraordinary good fortune, his
faults, reverses, and final misfortunes.

It is worth while to remark that in the post-Thermidorian resolution just
alluded to no mention is made of Bonaparte's association with Robespierre
the younger. The severity with which he was treated is the more
astonishing, since his mission to Genoa was the alleged cause of it.
Was there any other charge against him, or had calumny triumphed over the
services he had rendered to his country? I have frequently conversed
with him on the subject of this adventure, and he invariably assured me
that he had nothing to reproach himself with, and that his defence, which
I shall subjoin, contained the pure expression of his sentiments, and the
exact truth.

In the following note, which he addressed to Albitte and Salicetti, he
makes no mention of Laporte. The copy which I possess is in the
handwriting of, Junot, with corrections in the General's hand. It
exhibits all the characteristics of Napoleon's writing: his short
sentences, his abrupt rather than concise style, sometimes his elevated
ideas, and always his plain good sense.


You have suspended me from my duties, put me under arrest, and declared
me to be suspected.

Thus I am disgraced before being judged, or indeed judged before being

In a revolutionary state there are two classes, the suspected and the

When the first are aroused, general measures are adopted towards them for
the sake of security.

The oppression of the second class is a blow to public liberty. The
magistrate cannot condemn until after the fullest evidence and a
succession of facts. This leaves nothing to arbitrary decision.

To declare a patriot suspected is to deprive him of all that he most
highly values--confidence and esteem.

In what class am I placed?

Since the commencement of the Revolution, have I not always been attached
to its principles?

Have I not always been contending either with domestic enemies or foreign

I sacrificed my home, abandoned my property, and lost everything for the

I have since served with some distinction at Toulon, and earned a part of
the laurels of the army of Italy at the taking of Saorgio, Oneille, and

On the discovery of Robespierre's conspiracy, my conduct was that of a
man accustomed to look only to principles.

My claim to the title of patriot, therefore cannot be disputed.

Why, then, am I declared suspected without being heard, and arrested
eight days after I heard the news of the tyrant's death

I am declared suspected, and my papers are placed under seal.

The reverse of this course ought to have been adopted. My papers should
first have been sealed; then I should have been called on for my
explanation; and, lastly, declared suspected, if there was reason for
coming to, such a decision.

It is wished that I should go to Paris with an order which declares me
suspected. It will naturally be presumed that the representatives did
not draw up this decree without accurate information, and I shall be
judged with the bias which a man of that class merits.

Though a patriot and an innocent and calumniated man, yet whatever
measures may be adopted by the Committee I cannot complain.

If three men declare that I have committed a crime, I cannot complain of
the jury who condemns me.

Salicetti, you know me; and I ask whether you have observed anything in
my conduct for the last five years which can afford ground of suspicion?

Albitte, you do not know me; but you have received proof of no fact
against me; you have not heard me, and you know how artfully the tongue
of calumny sometimes works.

Must I then be confounded with the enemies of my country and ought the
patriots inconsiderately to sacrifice a general who has not been useless
to the Republic? Ought the representatives to reduce the Government to
the necessity of being unjust and impolitic?

Hear me; destroy the oppression that overwhelms me, and restore me to the
esteem of the patriots.

An hour after, if my enemies wish for my life, let them take it. I have
often given proofs how little I value ft. Nothing but the thought that I
may yet be useful to my country makes me bear the burden of existence
with courage.

It appears that this defence, which is remarkable for its energetic
simplicity, produced an effect on Albitte and Salicetti. Inquiries more
accurate, and probably more favourable to the General, were instituted;
and on the 3d Fructidor (20th August 1794) the representatives of the
people drew up a decree stating that, after a careful examination of
General Bonaparte's papers, and of the orders he had received relative to
his mission to Genoa, they saw nothing to justify any suspicion of his
conduct; and that, moreover, taking into consideration the advantage that
might accrue to the Republic from the military talents of the said
General Bonaparte, it was resolved that he should be provisionally set at

   --[With reference to the arrest of Bonaparte (which lasted thirteen
   days) see 'Bourrienne et ses Erreurs', tome i. pp. 16-28, and Iung,
   tome ii. pp. 443-457. Both, in opposition to Bourrienne, attribute
   the arrest to his connection with the younger Robespierre.
   Apparently Albitte and Salicetti wets not acquainted with the secret
   plan of campaign prepared by the younger Robespierre and by
   Bonaparte, or with the real instructions given for the mission to
   Genoa. Jealousy between the representatives in the staff of the
   army of the Alps and those with the army of Italy, with which
   Napoleon was, also played a part in the affair. Iung looks on
   Salicetti as acting as the protector of the Bonapartes; but Napoleon
   does not seem to have regarded him in that light; see the letter
   given in Tunot, vol. i. p. 106, where in 1795 he takes credit for
   not returning the ill done to him; see also the same volume, p. 89.
   Salicetti eventually became Minister of Police to Joseph, when King
   of Naples, in 1806; but when he applied to return to France,
   Napoleon said to Mathieu Dumas, "Let him know that I am not powerful
   enough to protect the wretches who voted for the death of Louis XVI.
   from the contempt and indignation of the public" (Dumas, tome iii.
   p. 318). At the same time Napoleon described Salicetti as worse
   than the lazzaroni.]--

Salicetti afterwards became the friend and confidant of young Bonaparte;
but their intimacy did not continue after his elevation.

What is to be thought of the motives for Bonaparte's arrest and
provisional liberation, when his innocence and the error that had been
committed were acknowledged? The importance of the General's military
talents, though no mention is made about the impossibility of dispensing
with them, is a pretence for restoring him to that liberty of which he
had been unjustly deprived.

It was not at Toulon, as has been stated, that Bonaparte took Duroc into
the artillery, and made him his 'aide de camp'.

   --[Michel Duroc (1773-1813) at first only aide de camp to Napoleon,
   was several times entrusted with special diplomatic missions (for
   example, to Berlin, etc.) On the formation of the Empire he became
   Grand Marechal du Palais, and Duc de Frioul. He always remained in
   close connection with Napoleon until he was killed in 1813. As he
   is often mentioned in contemporary memoirs under his abbreviated
   title of 'Marshal', he has sometimes been erroneously included in
   the number of the Marshals of the Empire--a military rank he never
   attained to.]--

The acquaintance was formed at a subsequent period, in Italy. Duroc's
cold character and unexcursive mind suited Napoleon, whose confidence he
enjoyed until his death, and who entrusted him with missions perhaps
above his abilities. At St. Helena Bonaparte often declared that he was
much attached to Duroc. I believe this to be true; but I know that the
attachment was not returned. The ingratitude of princes is proverbial.
May it not happen that courtiers are also sometimes ungrateful?--[It is
only just to Duroc to add that this charge does not seem borne out by the
impressions of those more capable than Bourrienne of judging in the



   Proposal to send Bonaparte to La Vendee--He is struck off the list
   of general officers--Salicetti--Joseph's marriage with Mademoiselle
   Clary--Bonaparte's wish to go to Turkey--Note explaining the plan of
   his proposed expedition--Madame Bourrienne's character of Bonaparte,
   and account of her husband's arrest--Constitution of the year III--
   The 13th Vendemiaire--Bonaparte appointed second in command of the
   army of the interior--Eulogium of Bonaparte by Barras, and its
   consequences--St. Helena manuscript.

General Bonaparte returned to Paris, where I also arrived from Germany
shortly after him. Our intimacy was resumed, and he gave me an account
of, all that had passed in the campaign of the south. He frequently
alluded to the persecutions he had suffered, and he delivered to me the
packet of papers noticed in the last chapter, desiring me to communicate
their contents to my friends. He was very anxious, he said, to do away
with the supposition that he was capable of betraying his country, and,
under the pretence of a mission to Genoa, becoming a SPY on the interests
of France. He loved to talk over his military achievements at Toulon and
in Italy. He spoke of his first successes with that feeling of pleasure
and gratification which they were naturally calculated to excite in him.

The Government wished to send him to La Vendee, with the rank of
brigadier-general of infantry. Bonaparte rejected this proposition on
two grounds. He thought the scene of action unworthy of his talents, and
he regarded his projected removal from the artillery to the infantry as a
sort of insult. This last was his most powerful objection, and was the
only one he urged officially. In consequence of his refusal to accept
the appointment offered him, the Committee of Public Safety decreed that
he should be struck off the list of general officers.

   --[This statement as to the proposed transfer of Bonaparte to the
   infantry, his disobedience to the order, and his consequent
   dismissal, is fiercely attacked in the 'Erreurs', tome i. chap. iv.
   It is, however, correct in some points; but the real truths about
   Bonaparte's life at this time seem so little known that it may be
   well to explain the whole matter. On the 27th of March 1795
   Bonaparte, already removed from his employment in the south, was
   ordered to proceed to the army of the west to command its artillery
   as brigadier-general. He went as far as Paris, and then lingered
   there, partly on medical certificate. While in Paris he applied, as
   Bourrienne says, to go to Turkey to organise its artillery. His
   application, instead of being neglected, as Bourrienne says, was
   favourably received, two members of the 'Comite de Saint Public'
   putting on its margin most favorable reports of him; one, Jean
   Debry, even saying that he was too distinguished an officer to be
   sent to a distance at such a time. Far from being looked on as the
   half-crazy fellow Bourrienne considered him at that time, Bonaparte
   was appointed, on the 21st of August 1795, one of four generals
   attached as military advisers to the Committee for the preparation
   of warlike operations, his own department being a most important
   one. He himself at the time tells Joseph that he is attached to the
   topographical bureau of the Comite de Saint Public, for the
   direction of the armies in the place of Carnot. It is apparently
   this significant appointment to which Madame Junot, wrongly dating
   it, alludes as "no great thing" (Junot, vol. i, p. 143). Another
   officer was therefore substituted for him as commander of Roches
   artillery, a fact made use of in the Erreurs (p. 31) to deny his
   having been dismissed--But a general re-classification of the
   generals was being made. The artillery generals were in excess of
   their establishment, and Bonaparte, as junior in age, was ordered on
   13th June to join Hoche's army at Brest to command a brigade of
   infantry. All his efforts to get the order cancelled failed, and as
   he did not obey it he was struck off the list of employed general
   officers on the 15th of September 1795, the order of the 'Comite de
   Salut Public' being signed by Cambaceres, Berber, Merlin, and
   Boissy. His application to go to Turkey still, however, remained;
   and it is a curious thing that, on the very day he was struck off
   the list, the commission which had replaced the Minister of War
   recommended to the 'Comite de Saint Public' that he and his two
   aides de camp, Junot and Livrat, with other officers, under him,
   should be sent to Constantinople. So late as the 29th of September,
   twelve days later, this matter was being considered, the only
   question being as to any departmental objections to the other
   officers selected by him, a point which was just being settled. But
   on the 13th Vendemiaire (5th October 1795), or rather on the night
   before, only nineteen days after his removal, he was appointed
   second in command to Barras, a career in France was opened to him,
   and Turkey was no longer thought of.

   Thiers (vol. iv, p. 326) and most writers, contemporary and
   otherwise, say that Aubry gave the order for his removal from the
   list. Aubry, himself a brigadier-general of artillery, did not
   belong to the 'Comite de Salut Public' at the time Bonaparte was
   removed from the south; and he had left the Comite early is August,
   that is, before the order striking Bonaparte off was given. Aubry
   was, however, on the Comite in June 1795, and signed the order,
   which probably may have originated from him, for the transfer of
   Bonaparte to the infantry. It will be seen that, in the ordinary
   military sense of the term, Napoleon was only in Paris without
   employment from the 15th of September to the 4th or 6th of October
   1796; all the rest of the time in Paris he had a command which he
   did not choose to take up. The distress under which Napoleon is
   said to have laboured in pecuniary matters was probably shared by
   most officers at that time; see 'Erreurs', tome i. p. 32. This
   period is fully described in Iung, tome ii. p. 476, and tome iii.
   pp. 1-93.]--

Deeply mortified at this unexpected stroke, Bonaparte retired into
private life, and found himself doomed to an inactivity very uncongenial
with his ardent character. He lodged in the Rue du Mail, in an hotel
near the Place des Victoires, and we recommenced the sort of life we had
led in 1792, before his departure for Corsica. It was not without a
struggle that he determined to await patiently the removal of the
prejudices which were cherished against him by men in power; and he hoped
that, in the perpetual changes which were taking place, those men might
be superseded by others more favourable to him. He frequently dined and
spent the evening with me and my elder brother; and his pleasant
conversation and manners made the hours pass away very agreeably. I
called on him almost every morning, and I met at his lodgings several
persons who were distinguished at the time; among others Salicetti, with
whom he used to maintain very animated conversations, and who would often
solicit a private interview with him. On one occasion Salicetti paid him
three thousand francs, in assignats, as the price of his carriage, which
his straitened circumstances obliged him to dispose of.

   --[Of Napoleon's poverty at this time Madame Junot says, "On
   Bonaparte's return to Paris, after the misfortunes of which he
   accused Salicetti of being the cause, he was in very destitute
   circumstances. His family, who were banished from Corsica, found an
   asylum at Marseilles; and they could not now do for him what they
   would have done had they been in the country whence they derived
   their pecuniary resources. From time to time he received
   remittances of money, and I suspect they came from his excellent
   brother Joseph, who had then recently married 'Mademoiselle Clary;
   but with all his economy these supplies were insufficient.
   Bonaparte was therefore in absolute distress. Junot often used to
   speak of the six months they passed together in Paris at this time.
   When they took an evening stroll on the Boulevard, which used to be
   the resort of young men, mounted on fine horses, and displaying ell
   the luxury which they were permitted to show at that time, Bonaparte
   would declaim against fate, and express his contempt for the dandies
   with their whiskers and their 'orielles de chiene', who, as they
   rode Past, were eulogising in ecstasy the manner in which Madame
   Scio sang. And it is on such beings as these,' he would say, 'that
   Fortune confers her favours. Grand Dieu! how contemptible is human
   nature!'" (Memoirs of the Duchesse d'Abrantes, vol. i. p. 80,
   edit. 1883.)]--

I could, easily perceive that our young friend either was or wished to be
initiated in some political intrigue; and I moreover suspected that
Salicetti had bound him by an oath not to disclose the plans that were

He became pensive, melancholy, and anxious; and he always looked with
impatience for Salicetti's daily visit.

   --[Salicetti was implicated in the insurrection of the 20th May
   1795, 1st Prairial, Year III., and was obliged to fly to Venice.]--

Sometimes, withdrawing his mind from political affairs, he would envy the
happiness of his brother Joseph, who
had just then married Mademoiselle Clary, the daughter of a rich and
respectable merchant of Marseilles. He would often say, "That Joseph is
a lucky rogue."

Meanwhile time passed away, and none of his projects succeeded--none of
his applications were listened to. He was vexed by the injustice with
which he was treated, and tormented by the desire of entering upon some
active pursuit. He could not endure the thought of remaining buried in
the crowd. He determined to quit France; and the favourite idea, which
he never afterwards relinquished, that the East is a fine field for
glory, inspired him with the wish to proceed to Constantinople, and to
enter the service of the Grand Seignior. What romantic plans, what
stupendous projects he conceived! He asked me whether I would go with
him? I replied in the negative. I looked upon him as a half-crazy young
fellow, who was driven to extravagant enterprises and desperate
resolutions by his restless activity of mind, joined to the irritating
treatment he had experienced, and, perhaps, it may be added, his want of
money. He did not blame me for my refusal to accompany him; and he told
me that Junot, Marmont, and some other young officers whom he had known
at Toulon, would be willing to follow his fortunes.

He drew up a note which commenced with the words 'Note for . . .'
It was addressed to no one, and was merely a plan. Some days after he
wrote out another, which, however, did not differ very materially from
the first, and which he addressed to Aubert and Coni. I made him a fair
copy of it, and it was regularly for forwarded. It was as follows:--


At a moment when the Empress of Russia has strengthened her union with
the Emperor of Germany (Austria), it is the interest of France to do
everything in her power to increase the military power of Turkey.

That power possesses a numerous and brave militia but is very backward in
the scientific part of the art of war.

The organization and the service of the artillery, which, in our modern
tactics, so powerfully facilitate the gaining of battles, and on which,
almost exclusively, depend the attack and defence of fortresses, are
especially the points in which France excels, and in which the Turks are
most deficient.

They have several times applied to us for artillery officers, and we have
sent them some; but the officers thus sent have not been sufficiently
powerful, either in numbers or talent, to produce any important result.

General Bonaparte, who, from his youth, has served in the artillery, of
which he was entrusted with the command at the siege of Toulon, and in
the two campaigns of Italy, offers his services to proceed to Turkey,
with a mission from the (French) Government.

He proposes to take along with him six or seven officers, of different
kinds, and who may be, altogether, perfect masters of the military art.

He will have the satisfaction of being useful to his country in this new
career, if he succeed in rendering the Turkish power more formidable, by
completing the defence of their principal fortresses, and constructing
new ones.

This note shows the error of the often-repeated assertion, that he
proposed entering the service of the Turks against Austria. He makes no
mention of such a thing; and the two countries were not at war.

   --[The Scottish biographer makes Bonaparte say that it would be
   strange if a little Corsican should become King of Jerusalem. I
   never heard anything drop from him which supports the probability of
   such a remark, and certainly there is nothing in his note to warrant
   the inference of his having made it.--Bourrienne.]--

No answer was returned to this note. Turkey remained unaided, and
Bonaparte unoccupied. I must confess that for the failure of this
project, at least I was not sorry. I should have regretted to see a
young man of great promise, and one for whom I cherished a sincere
friendship, devote himself to so uncertain a fate. Napoleon has less
than any man provoked the events which have favoured him; no one has more
yielded to circumstances from which he was so skilful to derive
advantages. If, however, a clerk of the War Office had but written on
the note, "Granted," that little word would probably have changed the
fate of Europe.

Bonaparte remained in Paris, forming schemes for the gratification of his
ambition, and his desire of making a figure in the world; but obstacles
opposed all he attempted.

Women are better judges of character than men. Madame de Bourrienne,
knowing the intimacy which subsisted between us, preserved some notes
which she made upon Bonaparte, and the circumstances which struck her as
most remarkable, during her early connection with him. My wife did not
entertain so favourable an opinion of him as I did; the warm friendship I
cherished for him probably blinded me to his faults. I subjoin Madame de
Bourrienne's notes, word for word:

On the day after our second return from Germany, which was in May 1795,
we mat Bonaparte in the Palais Royal, near a shop kept by a man named
Girardin. Bonaparte embraced Bourrienne as a friend whom he loved and
was glad to see. We went that evening to the Theatre Francais. The
performance consisted of a tragedy; and 'Le Sourd, ou l'Auberge pleine'.
During the latter piece the audience was convulsed with laughter. The
part of Dasnieres was represented by Batiste the younger, and it was
never played better. The bursts of laughter were so loud and frequent
that the actor was several times obliged to stop in the midst of his
part. Bonaparte alone (and it struck me as being very extraordinary) was
silent, and coldly insensible to the humour which was so irresistibly
diverting to everyone else. I remarked at this period that his character
was reserved, and frequently gloomy. His smile was hypocritical, and
often misplaced; and I recollect that a few days after our return he gave
us one of these specimens of savage hilarity which I greatly disliked,
and which prepossessed me against him. He was telling us that, being
before Toulon, where he commanded the artillery, one of his officers was
visited by his wife, to wham he had been but a short time married, and
whom he tenderly loved. A few days after, orders were given for another
attack upon the town, in which this officer was to be engaged. His wife
came to General Bonaparte, and with tears entreated him to dispense with
her husband's services that day. The General was inexorable, as he
himself told us, with a sort of savage exaltation. The moment for the
attack arrived, and the officer, though a very brave man, as Bonaparte
him self-assured us, felt a presentiment of his approaching death. He
turned pale and trembled. Ha was stationed beside the General, and
during an interval when the firing from the town was very heavy,
Bonaparte called out to him, "Take care, there is a shell coming!" The
officer, instead of moving to one side, stooped down, and was literally
severed in two. Bonaparte laughed loudly while he described the event
with horrible minuteness. At this time we saw him almost every day. He
frequently came to dine with us. As there was a scarcity of bread, and
sometimes only two ounces per head daily were distributed in the section,
it was customary to request one's guests to bring their own bread, as it
could not be procured for money. Bonaparte and his brother Louis (a
mild, agreeable young man, who was the General's aide de army) used to
bring with them their ration bread, which was black, and mixed with bran.
I was sorry to observe that all this bad bread fell to the share of the
poor aide de camp, for we provided the General with a finer kind, which
was made clandestinely by a pastrycook, from flour which we contrived to
smuggle from Sens, where my husband had some farms. Had we been
denounced, the affair might have cost us our heads.

We spent six weeks in Paris, and we went frequently with Bonaparte to the
theatres, and to the fine concerts given by Garat in the Rue St. Marc.
These were the first brilliant entertainments that took place after the
death of Robespierre. There was always something original in Bonaparte's
behaviour, for he often slipped away from us without saying a word; and
when we were supposing he had left the theatre, we would suddenly
discover him in the second or third tier, sitting alone in a box, and
looking rather sulky.

Before our departure for Sens, where my husband's family reside, and
which was fixed upon for the place of my first accouchement, we looked
out for more agreeable apartments than we had in the Rue Grenier St.
Lazare, which we only had temporarily. Bonaparte used to assist us in
our researches. At last we took the first floor of a handsome new house,
No. 19 Rue des Marais. Bonaparte, who wished to stop in Paris, went to
look at a house opposite to ours. Ha had thoughts of taking it for
himself, his uncle Fesch (afterwards Cardinal Fesch), and a gentleman
named Patrauld, formerly one of his masters at the Military School. One
day he said, "With that house over there, my friends in it, and a
cabriolet, I shall be the happiest fellow in the world."

We soon after left town for Sens. The house was not taken by him, for
other and great affairs were preparing. During the interval between our
departure and the fatal day of Vendemiaire several letters passed between
him and his school companion. These letters were of the most amiable and
affectionate description. They have been stolen. On our return, in
November of the same year, everything was changed. The college friend
was now a great personage. He had got the command of Paris in return for
his share in the events of Vendemiaire. Instead of a small house in the
Rue des Marais, he occupied a splendid hotel in the Rue des Capucines;
the modest cabriolet was converted into a superb equipage, and the man
himself was no longer the same. But the friends of his youth were still
received when they made their morning calls. They were invited to grand
dejeuners, which were sometimes attended by ladies; and, among others, by
the beautiful Madame Tallien and her friend the amiable Madame de
Beauharnais, to whom Bonaparte had begun to pay attention. He cared
little for his friends, and ceased to address them in the style of
familiar equality.

After the 13th of Vendemiaire M. de Bourrienne saw Bonaparte only at
distant periods. In the month of February 1796 my husband was arrested,
at seven in the morning, by a party of men, armed with muskets, on the
charge of being a returned emigrant. He was torn from his wife and his
child, only six months old, being barely allowed time to dress himself.
I followed him. They conveyed him to the guard-house of the Section, and
thence I know not whither; and, finally, in the evening, they placed him
in the lockup-house of the prefecture of police, which, I believe, is now
called the central bureau. There he passed two nights and a day, among
men of the lowest description, some of whom were even malefactors. I and
his friends ran about everywhere, trying to find somebody to rescue him,
and, among the rest, Bonaparte was applied to. It was with great
difficulty he could be seen. Accompanied by one of my husband's friends,
I waited for the commandant of Paris until midnight, but he did not come
home. Next morning I returned at an early hour, and found him. I stated
what had happened to my husband, whose life was then at stake. He
appeared to feel very little for the situation of his friend, but,
however; determined to write to Merlin, the Minister of Justice. I
carried the letter according to its address, and met the Minister as he
was coming downstairs, on his way to the Directory. Being in grand
costume, he wore a Henri IV. hat, surmounted with a multitude of plumes,
a dress which formed a singular contrast with his person. He opened the
letter; and whether it was that he cared as little for the General as for
the cause of M. do Bourrienne's arrest, he replied that the matter was no
longer in his hands, and that it was now under the cognisance of the
public administrators of the laws. The Minister then stepped into his
carriage, and the writer was conducted to several offices in his hotel.
She passed through them with a broken heart, for she met with none but
harsh men, who told her that the prisoner deserved death. From them she
learned that on the following day he would be brought before the judge of
the peace for his Section, who would decide whether there was ground for
putting him on his trial. In fact, this proceeding took place next day.
He was conveyed to the house of the judge of the peace for the Section of
Bondy, Rue Grange-sue-Belles, whose name was Lemaire. His countenance
was mild; and though his manner was cold, he had none of the harshness
and ferocity common to the Government agents of that time. His
examination of the charge was long, and he several times shook his head.
The moment of decision had arrived, and everything seemed to indicate
that the termination would be to place the prisoner under accusation.
At seven o'clock be desired me to be called. I hastened to him, and
beheld a most heart rending scene. Bourrienne was suffering under a
hemorrhage, which had continued since two o'clock, and had interrupted
the examination. The judge of the peace, who looked sad, sat with his
head resting on his hand. I threw myself at his feet and implored his
clemency. The wife and the two daughters of the judge visited this scene
of sorrow, and assisted me in softening him. He was a worthy and feeling
man, a good husband and parent, and it was evident that he struggled
between compassion and duty. He kept referring to the laws on the
subject, and, after long researches said to me, "To-morrow is Decadi, and
no proceedings can take place on that day. Find, madams, two responsible
persons, who will answer for the appearance of your husband, and I will
permit him to go home with you, accompanied by the two guardians." Next
day two friends were found, one of whom was M. Desmaisons, counsellor of
the court, who became bail for M. de Bourrienne. He continued under
these guardians six months, until a law compelled the persons who were
inscribed on the fatal list to remove to the distance of ten leagues from
Paris. One of the guardians was a man of straw; the other was a knight
of St. Louis. The former was left in the antechamber; the latter made,
every evening, one of our party at cards. The family of M. de
Bourrienne have always felt the warmest gratitude to the judge of the
peace and his family. That worthy man saved the life of M. de
Bourrienne, who, when he returned from Egypt, and had it in his power to
do him some service, hastened to his house; but the good judge was no

The letters mentioned in the narrative were at this time stolen from me
by the police officers.

Everyone was now eager to pay court to a man who had risen from the crowd
in consequence of the part he had acted at an, extraordinary crisis, and
who was spoken of as the future General of the Army of Italy. It was
expected that he would be gratified, as he really was, by the restoration
of some letters which contained the expression of his former very modest
wishes, called to recollection his unpleasant situation, his limited
ambition, his pretended aversion for public employment, and finally
exhibited his intimate relations with those who were, without hesitation,
characterised as emigrants, to be afterwards made the victims of
confiscation and death.

The 13th of Vendemiaire (5th October 1795) was approaching. The National
Convention had been painfully delivered of a new constitution, called,
from the epoch of its birth, "the Constitution of Year III." It was
adopted on the 22d of August 1795. The provident legislators did not
forget themselves. They stipulated that two-thirds of their body should
form part of the new legislature. The party opposed to the Convention
hoped, on the contrary, that, by a general election, a majority would be
obtained for its opinion. That opinion was against the continuation of
power in the hands of men who had already so greatly abused it.

The same opinion was also entertained by a great part of the most
influential Sections of Paris, both as to the possession of property and
talent. These Sections declared that, in accepting the new constitution,
they rejected the decree of the 30th of August, which required the
re-election of two-thirds The Convention, therefore, found itself
menaced in what it held most dear--its power;--and accordingly resorted
to measures of defence. A declaration was put forth, stating that the
Convention, if attacked, would remove to Chalons-sur-Marne; and the
commanders of the armed force were called upon to defend that body.

The 5th of October, the day on which the Sections of Paris attacked the
Convention, is certainly one which ought to be marked in the wonderful
destiny of Bonaparte.

With the events of that day were linked, as cause and effect, many great
political convulsions of Europe. The blood which flowed ripened the
seeds of the youthful General's ambition. It must be admitted that the
history of past ages presents few periods full of such extraordinary
events as the years included between 1795 and 1815. The man whose name
serves, in some measure, as a recapitulation of all these great events
was entitled to believe himself immortal.

Living retired at Sens since the month of July, I only learned what had
occasioned the insurrection of the Sections from public report and the
journals. I cannot, therefore, say what part Bonaparte may have taken in
the intrigues which preceded that day. He was officially characterised
only as secondary actor in the scene. The account of the affair which
was published announces that Barras was, on that very day,
Commander-in-chief of the Army of the Interior, and Bonaparte second in
command. Bonaparte drew up that account. The whole of the manuscript
was in his handwriting, and it exhibits all the peculiarity of his style
and orthography. He sent me a copy.

Those who read the bulletin of the 13th Vendemiaire, cannot fail to
observe the care which Bonaparte took to cast the reproach of shedding
the first blood on the men he calls rebels. He made a great point of
representing his adversaries as the aggressors. It is certain he long
regretted that day. He often told me that he would give years of his
life to blot it out from the page of his history. He was convinced that
the people of Paris were dreadfully irritated against him, and he would
have been glad if Barras had never made that Speech in the Convention,
with the part of which, complimentary to himself, he was at the time so
well pleased. Barras said, "It is to his able and prompt dispositions
that we are indebted for the defence of this assembly, around which he
had posted the troops with so much skill." This is perfectly true, but
it is not always agreeable that every truth should be told. Being out of
Paris, and a total stranger to this affair, I know not how far he was
indebted for his success to chance, or to his own exertions, in the part
assigned to him by the miserable Government which then oppressed France.
He represented himself only as secondary actor in this sanguinary scene
in which Barras made him his associate. He sent to me, as already
mentioned, an account of the transaction, written entirely in his own
hand, and distinguished by all the peculiarities of--his style and

   --[Joseph Bonaparte, in a note on this peerage, insinuates that the
   account of the 13th Vendemiaire was never sent to Sens, but was
   abstracted by Bourrienne, with other documents, from Napoleon's
   Cabinet (Erreurs, tome i. p. 239).]--

"On the 13th," says Bonaparte, "at five o'clock in the morning, the
representative of the people, Barras, was appointed Commander-in-chief of
the Army of the Interior, and General Bonaparte was nominated second in

"The artillery for service on the frontier was still at the camp of
Sablons, guarded solely by 150 men; the remainder was at Marly with 200
men. The depot of Meudon was left unprotected. There were at the
Feuillans only a few four-pounders without artillerymen, and but 80,000
cartridges. The victualling depots were dispersed throughout Paris.
In many Sections the drums beat to arms; the Section of the Theatre
Francais had advanced posts even as far as the Pont Neuf, which it had

"General Barras ordered the artillery to move immediately from the camp
of Sablons to the Tuileries, and selected the artillerymen from the
battalions of the 89th regiment, and from the gendarmerie, and placed
them at the Palace; sent to Meudon 200 men of the police legion whom he
brought from Versailles, 50 cavalry, and two companies of veterans; he
ordered the property which was at Marly to be conveyed to Meudon; caused
cartridges to be brought there, and established a workshop at that place
for the manufacture of more. He secured means for the subsistence of the
army and of the Convention for many days, independently of the depots
which were in the Sections.

"General Verdier, who commanded at the Palais National, exhibited great
coolness; he was required not to suffer a shot to be fired till the last
extremity. In the meantime reports reached him from all quarters
acquainting him that the Sections were assembled in arms, and had formed
their columns. He accordingly arrayed his troops so as to defend the
Convention, and his artillery was in readiness to repulse the rebels.
His cannon was planted at the Feuillans to fire down the Rue Honore.
Eight-pounders were pointed at every opening, and in the event of any
mishap, General Verdier had cannon in reserve to fire in flank upon the
column which should have forced a passage. He left in the Carrousel
three howitzers (eight-pounders) to batter down the houses from which the
Convention might be fired upon. At four o'clock the rebel columns
marched out from every street to unite their forces. It was necessary to
take advantage of this critical moment to attack the insurgents, even had
they been regular troops. But the blood about to flow was French; it was
therefore for these misguided people, already guilty of rebellion, to
embrue their hands in the blood of their countrymen by striking the first

"At a quarter before five o'clock the insurgents had formed. The attack
was commenced by them on all sides. They were everywhere routed. French
blood was spilled: the crime, as well as the disgrace, fell this day upon
the Sections.

"Among the dead were everywhere to be recognized emigrants, landowners,
and nobles; the prisoners consisted for the most part of the 'chouans' of

"Nevertheless the Sections did not consider themselves beaten: they took
refuge in the church of St. Roch, in the theatre of the Republic, and in
the Palais Egalite; and everywhere they were heard furiously exciting the
inhabitants to arms. To spare the blood which would have been shed the
next day it was necessary that no time should be given them to rally, but
to follow them with vigour, though without incurring fresh hazards. The
General ordered Montchoisy, who commanded a reserve at the Place de la
Resolution, to form a column with two twelve-pounders, to march by the
Boulevard in order to turn the Place Vendome, to form a junction with the
picket stationed at headquarters, and to return in the same order of

"General Brune, with two howitzers, deployed in the streets of St.
Nicaise and St. Honore. General Cartaux sent two hundred men and a
four-pounder of his division by the Rue St. Thomas-du-Louvre to debouch
in the square of the Palais Egalite. General Bonaparte, who had his
horse killed under him, repaired to the Feuillans.

"The columns began to move, St. Roch and the theatre of the Republic were
taken, by assault, when the rebels abandoned them, and retreated to the
upper part of the Rue de la Loi, and barricaded themselves on all sides.
Patrols were sent thither, and several cannon-shots were fired during the
night, in order to prevent them from throwing up defences, which object
was effectually accomplished.

"At daybreak, the General having learned that some students from the St.
Genevieve side of the river were marching with two pieces of cannon to
succour the rebels, sent a detachment of dragoons in pursuit of them, who
seized the cannon and conducted them to the Tuileries. The enfeebled
Sections, however, still showed a front. They had barricaded the Section
of Grenelle, and placed their cannon in the principal streets. At nine
o'clock General Beruyer hastened to form his division in battle array in
the Place Vendome, marched with two eight-pounders to the Rue des
Vieux-Augustins, and pointed them in the direction of the Section Le
Pelletier. General Vachet, with a corps of 'tirailleurs', marched on his
right, ready to advance to the Place Victoire. General Brune marched to
the Perron, and planted two howitzers at the upper end of the Rue
Vivienne. General Duvigier, with his column of six hundred men, and two
twelve-pounders, advanced to the streets of St. Roch and Montmartre.
The Sections lost courage with the apprehension of seeing their retreat
cut off, and evacuated the post at the sight of our soldiers, forgetting
the honour of the French name which they had to support. The Section of
Brutus still caused some uneasiness. The wife of a representative had
been arrested there. General Duvigier was ordered to proceed along the
Boulevard as far as the Rue Poissonniere. General Beruyer took up a
position at the Place Victoire, and General Bonaparte occupied the

"The Section of Brutus was surrounded, and the troops advanced upon the
Place de Greve, where the crowd poured in from the Isle St. Louis, from
the Theatre Francais, and from the Palace. Everywhere the patriots had
regained their courage, while the poniards of the emigrants, armed
against us, had disappeared. The people universally admitted their

"The next day the two Sections of Les Pelletier and the Theatre Francais
were disarmed."

The result of this petty civil war brought Bonaparte forward; but the
party he defeated at that period never pardoned him for the past, and
that which he supported dreaded him in the future. Five years after he
will be found reviving the principles which he combated on the 5th of
October 1795. On being appointed, on the motion of Barras,
Lieutenant-General of the Army of the Interior, he established his
headquarters in the Rue Neuve des Capucines. The statement in the
'Manuscrit de Sainte Helene, that after the 13th Brumaire he remained
unemployed at Paris, is therefore obviously erroneous. So far from
this, he was incessantly occupied with the policy of the nation, and
with his own fortunes. Bonaparte was in constant, almost daily,
communication with every one then in power, and knew how to profit by
all he saw or heard.

To avoid returning to this 'Manuscrit de Sainte Helene', which at the
period of its appearance attracted more attention than it deserved, and
which was very generally attributed to Bonaparte, I shall here say a few
words respecting it. I shall briefly repeat what I said in a note when
my opinion was asked, under high authority, by a minister of Louis XVIII.

No reader intimately acquainted with public affairs can be deceived by
the pretended authenticity of this pamphlet. What does it contain?
Facts perverted and heaped together without method, and related in an
obscure, affected, and ridiculously sententious style. Besides what
appears in it, but which is badly placed there, it is impossible not to
remark the omission of what should necessarily be there, were Napoleon
the author. It is full of absurd and of insignificant gossip, of
thoughts Napoleon never had, expressions unknown to him, and affectations
far removed from his character. With some elevated ideas, more than one
style and an equivocal spirit can be seen in it. Professed coincidences
are put close to unpardonable anachronisms, and to the most absurd
revelations. It contains neither his thoughts, his style, his actions,
nor his life. Some truths are mimed up with an inconceivable mass of
falsehoods. Some forms of expression used by Bonaparte are occasionally
met with, but they are awkwardly introduced, and often with bad taste.

It has been reported that the pamphlet was written by M. Bertrand,
formerly an officer of the army of the Vistula, and a relation of the
Comte de Simeon, peer of France.

   --['Manuscrit de Sainte Helene d'une maniere inconnue', London.
   Murray; Bruxelles, De Mat, 20 Avril 1817. This work merits a note.
   Metternich (vol, i. pp. 312-13) says, "At the time when it appeared
   the manuscript of St. Helena made a great impression upon Europe.
   This pamphlet was generally regarded as a precursor of the memoirs
   which Napoleon was thought to be writing in his place of exile. The
   report soon spread that the work was conceived and executed by
   Madame de Stael. Madame de Stael, for her part, attributed it to
   Benjamin Constant, from whom she was at this time separated by some
   disagreement." Afterwards it came to be known that the author was
   the Marquis Lullin de Chateauvieux, a man in society, whom no one
   had suspected of being able to hold a pen: Jomini (tome i. p. 8
   note) says. "It will be remarked that in the course of this work
   [his life of Napoleon] the author has used some fifty pages of the
   pretended 'Manuscrit de Sainte Helene'. Far from wishing to commit
   a plagiarism, he considers he ought to render this homage to a
   clever and original work, several false points of view in which,
   however, he has combated. It would have been easy for him to
   rewrite these pages in other terms, but they appeared to him to be
   so well suited to the character of Napoleon that he has preferred to
   preserve them." In the will of Napoleon occurs (see end of this
   work): "I disavow the 'Manuscrit de Sainte Helene', and the other
   works under the title of Maxims, Sentences, etc., which they have
   been pleased to publish during the last six years. Such rules are
   not those which have guided my life: This manuscript must not be
   confused with the 'Memorial of Saint Helena'.]--



   On my return to Paris I meet Bonaparte--His interview with Josephine
   --Bonaparte's marriage, and departure from Paris ten days after--
   Portrait and character of Josephine--Bonaparte's dislike of national
   property--Letter to Josephine--Letter of General Colli, and
   Bonaparte's reply--Bonaparte refuses to serve with Kellerman--
   Marmont's letters--Bonaparte's order to me to join the army--My
   departure from Sens for Italy--Insurrection of the Venetian States.

After the 13th Vendemiaire I returned to Paris from Sens. During the
short time I stopped there I saw Bonaparte less frequently than formerly.
I had, however, no reason to attribute this to anything but the pressure
of public business with which he was now occupied. When I did meet him
it was most commonly at breakfast or dinner. One day he called my
attention to a young lady who sat opposite to him, and asked what I
thought of her. The way in which I answered his question appeared to
give him much pleasure. He then talked a great deal to me about her, her
family, and her amiable qualities; he told me that he should probably
marry her, as he was convinced that the union would make him happy. I
also gathered from his conversation that his marriage with the young
widow would probably assist him in gaining the objects of his ambition.
His constantly-increasing influence with her had already brought him into
contact with the most influential persons of that epoch. He remained in
Paris only ten days after his marriage, which took place on the 9th of
March 1796. It was a union in which great harmony prevailed,
notwithstanding occasional slight disagreements. Bonaparte never, to my
knowledge, caused annoyance to his wife. Madame Bonaparte possessed
personal graces and many good qualities.

   --["Eugene was not more than fourteen years of age when he ventured
   to introduce himself to General Bonaparte, for the purpose of
   soliciting his father's sword, of which he understood the General
   had become possessed. The countenance, air, and frank manner of
   Eugene pleased Bonaparte, and he immediately granted him the boon he
   sought. As soon as the sword was placed in the boy's hands he
   burst into tears, and kissed it. This feeling of affection for his
   father's memory, and the natural manner in which it was evinced,
   increased the interest of Bonaparte in his young visitor. Madame de
   Beauharnais, on learning the kind reception which the General had
   given her son, thought it her duty to call and thank him. Bonaparte
   was much pleased with Josephine on this first interview, and he
   returned her visit. The acquaintance thus commenced speedily led to
   their marriage."--Constant]--

   --[Bonaparte himself, at St. Helena, says that he first met
   Josephine at Barras' (see Iung's Bonaparte, tome iii. p. 116).]--

   --["Neither of his wives had ever anything to complain of from
   Napoleon's personal manners" (Metternich, vol. 1 p. 279).]--

   --[Madame de Remusat, who, to paraphrase Thiers' saying on
   Bourrienne himself, is a trustworthy witness, for if she received
   benefits from Napoleon they did not weigh on her, says, "However,
   Napoleon had some affection for his first wife; and, in fact, if he
   has at any time been touched, no doubt it has been only for her and
   by her" (tome i. p. 113). "Bonaparte was young when he first knew
   Madame de Beauharnais. In the circle where he met her she had a
   great superiority by the name she bore and by the extreme elegance
   of her manners. . . . In marrying Madame de Beauharnais,
   Bonaparte believed he was allying himself to a very grand lady; thus
   this was one more conquest" (p. 114). But in speaking of
   Josephine's complaints to Napoleon of his love affairs, Madame de
   Remusat says, "Her husband sometimes answered by violences, the
   excesses of which I do not dare to detail, until the moment when,
   his new fancy having suddenly passed, he felt his tenderness for his
   wife again renewed. Then he was touched by her sufferings, replaced
   his insults by caresses which were hardly more measured than his
   violences and, as she was gentle and untenacious, she fell back into
   her feeling of security" (p. 206).]--

   --[Miot de Melito, who was a follower of Joseph Bonaparte, says, "No
   woman has united go much kindness to so much natural grace, or has
   done more good with more pleasure than she did. She honoured me
   with her friendship, and the remembrance of the benevolence she has
   shown me, to the last moment of her too short existence, will never
   be effaced from my heart" (tome i. pp.101-2).]--

   --[Meneval, the successor of Bourrienne is his place of secretary to
   Napoleon, and who remained attached to the Emperor until the end,
   says of Josephine (tome i. p. 227), "Josephine was irresistibly
   attractive. Her beauty was not regular, but she had 'La grace, plus
   belle encore que la beaute', according to the good La Fontaine. She
   had the soft abandonment, the supple and elegant movements, and the
   graceful carelessness of the creoles.--(The reader must remember
   that the term "Creole" does not imply any taint of black blood, but
   only that the person, of European family, has been born in the West
   Indies.)--Her temper was always the same. She was gentle and

I am convinced that all who were acquainted with her must have felt bound
to speak well of her; to few, indeed, did she ever give cause for
complaint. In the time of her power she did not lose any of her friends,
because she forgot none of them. Benevolence was natural to her, but she
was not always prudent in its exercise. Hence her protection was often
extended to persons who did not deserve it. Her taste for splendour and
expense was excessive. This proneness to luxury became a habit which
seemed constantly indulged without any motive. What scenes have I not
witnessed when the moment for paying the tradesmen's bills arrived! She
always kept back one-half of their claims, and the discovery of this
exposed her to new reproaches. How many tears did she shed which might
have been easily spared!

When fortune placed a crown on her head she told me that the event,
extraordinary as it was, had been predicted: It is certain that she put
faith in fortune-tellers. I often expressed to her my astonishment that
she should cherish such a belief, and she readily laughed at her own
credulity; but notwithstanding never abandoned it: The event had given
importance to the prophecy; but the foresight of the prophetess, said to
be an old regress, was not the less a matter of doubt.

Not long before the 13th of Vendemiaire, that day which opened for
Bonaparte his immense career, he addressed a letter to me at Sens, in
which, after some of his usually friendly expressions, he said, "Look out
a small piece of land in your beautiful valley of the Yonne. I will
purchase it as soon as I can scrape together the money. I wish to retire
there; but recollect that I will have nothing to do with national

Bonaparte left Paris on the 21st of March 1796, while I was still with my
guardians. He no sooner joined the French army than General Colli, then
in command of the Piedmontese army, transmitted to him the following
letter, which, with its answer, I think sufficiently interesting to
deserve preservation:

   GENERAL--I suppose that you are ignorant of the arrest of one of my
   officers, named Moulin, the bearer of a flag of truce, who has been
   detained for some days past at Murseco, contrary to the laws of war,
   and notwithstanding an immediate demand for his liberation being
   made by General Count Vital. His being a French emigrant cannot
   take from him the rights of a flag of truce, and I again claim him
   in that character. The courtesy and generosity which I have always
   experienced from the generals of your nation induces me to hope that
   I shall not make this application in vain; and it is with regret
   that I mention that your chief of brigade, Barthelemy, who ordered
   the unjust arrest of my flag of truce, having yesterday by the
   chance of war fallen into my hands, that officer will be dealt with
   according to the treatment which M. Moulin may receive.

   I most sincerely wish that nothing may occur to change the noble and
   humane conduct which the two nations have hitherto been accustomed
   to observe towards each other. I have the honour, etc.,
                            (Signed) COLLI.

   CEVA. 17th April 1796.

Bonaparte replied as follows:

   GENERAL--An emigrant is a parricide whom no character can render
   sacred. The feelings of honour, and the respect due to the French
   people, were forgotten when M. Moulin was sent with a flag of truce.
   You know the laws of war, and I therefore do not give credit to the
   reprisals with which you threaten the chief of brigade, Barthelemy.
   If, contrary to the laws of war, you authorise such an act of
   barbarism, all the prisoners taken from you shall be immediately
   made responsible for it with the most deplorable vengeance, for I
   entertain for the officers of your nation that esteem which is due
   to brave soldiers.

The Executive Directory, to whom these letters were transmitted, approved
of the arrest of M. Moulin; but ordered that he should be securely
guarded, and not brought to trial, in consequence of the character with
which he had been invested.

About the middle of the year 1796 the Directory proposed to appoint
General Kellerman, who commanded the army of the Alps, second in command
of the army of Italy.

On the 24th of May 1796 Bonaparte wrote to, Carnot respecting, this plan,
which was far from being agreeable to him. He said, "Whether I shall be
employed here or anywhere else is indifferent to me: to serve the
country, and to merit from posterity a page in our history, is all my
ambition. If you join Kellerman and me in command in Italy you will undo
everything. General Kellerman has more experience than I, and knows how
to make war better than I do; but both together, we shall make it badly.
I will not willingly serve with a man who considers himself the first
general in Europe."

Numbers of letters from Bonaparte to his wife have been published.
I cannot deny their, authenticity, nor is it my wish to do so. I will,
however, subjoin one which appears to me to differ a little from the
rest. It is less remarkable for exaggerated expressions of love, and a
singularly ambitious and affected style, than most of the correspondence
here alluded to. Bonaparte is announcing the victory of Arcola to

                       VERONA, the 29th, noon.

   At length, my adored Josephine, I live again. Death is no longer
   before me, and glory and honour are still in my breast. The enemy
   is beaten at Arcola. To-morrow we will repair the blunder of
   Vaubois, who abandoned Rivoli. In eight days Mantua will be ours,
   and then thy husband will fold thee in his arms, and give thee a
   thousand proofs of his ardent affection. I shall proceed to Milan
   as soon as I can: I am a little fatigued. I have received letters
   from Eugene and Hortense. I am delighted with the children. I will
   send you their letters as soon as I am joined by my household, which
   is now somewhat dispersed.

   We have made five thousand prisoners, and killed at least six
   thousand of the enemy. Adieu, my adorable Josephine. Think of me
   often. When you cease to love your Achilles, when your heart grows
   cool towards him, you wilt be very cruel, very unjust. But I am
   sure you will always continue my faithful mistress, as I shall ever
   remain your fond lover ('tendre amie'). Death alone can break the
   union which sympathy, love, and sentiment have formed. Let me have
   news of your health. A thousand and a thousand kisses.

It is impossible for me to avoid occasionally placing myself in the
foreground in the course of these Memoirs. I owe it to myself to answer,
though indirectly, to certain charges which, on various occasions, have
been made against me. Some of the documents which I am about to insert
belong, perhaps, less to the history of the General-in-Chief of the army
of-Italy than to that of his secretary; but I must confess I wish to show
that I was not an intruder, nor yet pursuing, as an obscure intriguer,
the path of fortune. I was influenced much more by friendship than by
ambition when I took a part on the scene where the rising-glory of the
future Emperor already shed a lustre on all who were attached to his
destiny. It will be seen by the following letters with what confidence
I was then honoured; but these letters, dictated by friendship, and not
written for history, speak also of our military achievements; and
whatever brings to recollection the events of that heroic period must
still be interesting to many.

                    HEADQUARTERS AT MILAN,
               20th Prairial, year IV. (8th June 1796).

   The General-in-Chief has ordered me, my dear Bourrienne, to make
   known to you the pleasure he experienced on hearing of you, and his
   ardent desire that you should join us. Take your departure, then,
   my dear Bourrienne, and arrive quickly. You may be certain of
   obtaining the testimonies of affection which are your due from all
   who know you; and we much regret that you were not with us to have a
   share in our success. The campaign which we have just concluded
   will be celebrated in the records of history. With less than 30,000
   men, in a state of almost complete destitution, it is a fine thing
   to have, in the course of less than two months, beaten, eight
   different times, an army of from 65 to 70,000 men, obliged the King
   of Sardinia to make a humiliating peace, and driven the Austrians
   from Italy. The last victory, of which you have doubtless had an
   account, the passage of the Mincio, has closed our labours. There
   now remain for us the siege of Mantua and the castle of Milan; but
   these obstacles will not detain us long. Adieu, my dear Bourrienne:
   I repeat General Bonaparte's request that you should repair hither,
   and the testimony of his desire to see you.
   Receive, etc.,                (Signed) MARMONT.
   Chief of Brigade (Artillery) and Aide de camp to the

I was obliged to remain at Sens, soliciting my erasure from the emigrant
list, which I did not obtain, however, till 1797, and to put an end to a
charge made against me of having fabricated a certificate of residence.
Meanwhile I applied myself to study, and preferred repose to the
agitation of camps. For these reasons I did not then accept his friendly
invitation, notwithstanding that I was very desirous of seeing my young
college friend in the midst of his astonishing triumphs. Ten months
after, I received another letter from Marmont, in the following terms:--

                  HEADQUARTERS GORIZIA
             2d Germinal, year V. (22d March 1797).

   The General-in-Chief, my dear Bourrienne, has ordered me to express
   to you his wish for your prompt arrival here. We have all along
   anxiously desired to see you, and look forward with great pleasure
   to the moment when we shall meet. I join with the General, my dear
   Bourrienne, in urging you to join the army without loss of time.
   You will increase a united family, happy to receive you into its
   bosom. I enclose an order written by the General, which will serve
   you as a passport. Take the post route and arrive as soon as you
   can. We are on the point of penetrating into Germany. The language
   is changing already, and in four days we shall hear no more Italian.
   Prince Charles has been well beaten, and we are pursuing him. If
   this campaign be fortunate, we may sign a peace, which is so
   necessary for Europe, in Vienna. Adieu, my dear Bourrienne: reckon
   for something the zeal of one who is much attached to you.
                    (Signed) MARMONT.


     Headquarters, Gorizia, 2d Germinal, year V.

   The citizen Bourrienne is to come to me on receipt
   of the present order.
               (Signed) BONAPARTE.

The odious manner in which I was then harassed, I know not why, on the
part of the Government respecting my certificate of residence, rendered
my stay in France not very agreeable. I was even threatened with being
put on my trial for having produced a certificate of residence which was
alleged to be signed by nine false witnesses. This time, therefore, I
resolved without hesitation to set out for the army. General Bonaparte's
order, which I registered at the municipality of Sens, answered for a
passport, which otherwise would probably have been refused me. I have
always felt a strong sense of gratitude for his conduct towards me on
this occasion.

Notwithstanding the haste I made to leave Sens, the necessary formalities
and precautions detained me some days, and at the moment I was about to
depart I received the following letter:

             19th Germinal, Year V. (8th April 1797).

   The General-in-Chief again orders me, my dear Bourrienne, to urge
   you to come to him quickly. We are in the midst of success and
   triumphs. The German campaign begins even more brilliantly than did
   the Italian. You may judge, therefore, what a promise it holds out
   to us. Come, my dear Bourrienne, immediately--yield to our
   solicitations--share our pains and pleasures, and you will add to
   our enjoyments.

   I have directed the courier to pass through Sens, that he may
   deliver this letter to you, and bring me back your answer.
                  (Signed) MARMONT.

To the above letter this order was subjoined:

   The citizen Fauvelet de Bourrienne is ordered to leave Sens, and
   repair immediately by post to the headquarters of the army of Italy.
                  (Signed) BONAPARTE.

I arrived at the Venetian territory at the moment when the insurrection
against the French was on the point of breaking out. Thousands of
peasants were instigated to rise under the pretext of appeasing the
troubles of Bergamo and Brescia. I passed through Verona on the 16th of
April, the eve of the signature of the preliminaries of Leoben and of the
revolt of Verona. Easter Sunday was the day which the ministers of Jesus
Christ selected for preaching "that it was lawful, and even meritorious,
to kill Jacobins." Death to Frenchmen!--Death to Jacobins! as they
called all the French, were their rallying cries. At the time I had not
the slightest idea of this state of things, for I had left Sens only on
the 11th of April.

After stopping two hours at Verona, I proceeded on my journey without
being aware of the massacre which threatened that city. When about a
league from the town I was, however, stopped by a party of insurgents on
their way thither, consisting, as I estimated, of about two thousand men.
They only desired me to cry 'El viva Santo Marco', an order with which I
speedily complied, and passed on. What would have become of me had I
been in Verona on the Monday? On that day the bells were rung, while the
French were butchered in the hospitals. Every one met in the streets was
put to death. The priests headed the assassins, and more than four
hundred Frenchmen were thus sacrificed. The forts held out against the
Venetians, though they attacked them with fury; but repossession of the
town was not obtained until after ten days. On the very day of the
insurrection of Verona some Frenchmen were assassinated between that city
and Vicenza, through which I passed on the day before without danger; and
scarcely had I passed through Padua, when I learned that others had been
massacred there. Thus the assassinations travelled as rapidly as the

I shall say a few words respecting the revolt of the Venetian States,
which, in consequence of the difference of political opinions, has been
viewed in very contradictory lights.

The last days of Venice were approaching, and a storm had been brewing
for more than a year. About the beginning of April 1797 the threatening
symptoms of a general insurrection appeared. The quarrel commenced when
the Austrians entered Peschiera, and some pretext was also afforded by
the reception given to Monsieur, afterwards Louis XVIII. It was certain
that Venice had made military preparations during the siege of Mantua in
1796. The interests of the aristocracy outweighed the political
considerations in our favour. On, the 7th of June 1796 General Bonaparte
wrote thus to the Executive Directory:

   The Senate of Venice lately sent two judges of their Council here to
   ascertain definitively how things stand. I repeated my complaints.
   I spoke to them about the reception given to Monsieur. Should it be
   your plan to extract five or six millions from Venice, I have
   expressly prepared this sort of rupture for you. If your intentions
   be more decided, I think this ground of quarrel ought to be kept up.
   Let me know what you mean to do, and wait till the favourable
   moment, which I shall seize according to circumstances; for we must
   not have to do with all the world at once.

The Directory answered that the moment was not favourable; that it was
first necessary to take Mantua, and give Wurmser a sound beating.
However, towards the end of the year 1796 the Directory began to give
more credit to the sincerity of the professions of neutrality made on the
part of Venice. It was resolved, therefore, to be content with obtaining
money and supplies for the army, and to refrain from violating the
neutrality. The Directory had not then in reserve, like Bonaparte,
the idea of making the dismemberment of Venice serve as a compensation
for such of the Austrian possessions as the French Republic might retain.

In 1797 the expected favourable moment had arrived. The knell of Venice
was rung; and Bonaparte thus wrote to the Directory on the 30th of April:
"I am convinced that the only course to be now taken is to destroy this
ferocious and sanguinary Government." On the 3d of May, writing from
Palma Nuova, he says: "I see nothing that can be done but to obliterate
the Venetian name from the face of the globe."

Towards the end of March 1797 the Government of Venice was in a desperate
state. Ottolini, the Podesta of Bergamo, an instrument of tyranny in the
hands of the State inquisitors, then harassed the people of Bergamo and
Brescia, who, after the reduction of Mantua, wished to be separated from
Venice. He drew up, to be sent to the Senate, a long report respecting
the plans of separation, founded on information given him by a Roman
advocate, named Marcelin Serpini; who pretended to have gleaned the facts
he communicated in conversation with officers of the French army. The
plan of the patriotic party was, to unite the Venetian territories on the
mainland with Lombardy, and to form of the whole one republic. The
conduct of Ottolini exasperated the party inimical to Venice, and
augmented the prevailing discontent. Having disguised his valet as a
peasant, he sent him off to Venice with the report he had drawn up on
Serpini's communications, and other information; but this report never
reached the inquisitors. The valet was arrested, his despatches taken,
and Ottolini fled from Bergamo. This gave a beginning to the general
rising of the Venetian States. In fact, the force of circumstances alone
brought on the insurrection of those territories against their old
insular government. General La Hoz, who commanded the Lombard Legion,
was the active protector of the revolution, which certainly had its
origin more in the progress of the prevailing principles of liberty than
in the crooked policy of the Senate of Venice. Bonaparte, indeed, in his
despatches to the Directory, stated that the Senate had instigated the
insurrection; but that was not quite correct, and he could not wholly
believe his own assertion.

Pending the vacillation of the Venetian Senate, Vienna was exciting the
population of its States on the mainland to rise against the French. The
Venetian Government had always exhibited an extreme aversion to the
French Revolution, which had been violently condemned at Venice. Hatred
of the French had been constantly excited and encouraged, and religious
fanaticism had inflamed many persons of consequence in the country. From
the end of 1796 the Venetian Senate secretly continued its armaments, and
the whole conduct of that Government announced intentions which have been
called perfidious, but the only object of which was to defeat intentions
still more perfidious. The Senate was the irreconcilable enemy of the
French Republic. Excitement was carried to such a point that in many
places the people complained that they were not permitted to arm against
the French. The Austrian generals industriously circulated the most
sinister reports respecting the armies of the Sombre-et-Meuse and the
Rhine, and the position of the French troops in the Tyrol. These
impostures, printed in bulletins, were well calculated to instigate the
Italians, and especially the Venetians, to rise in mass to exterminate
the French, when the victorious army should penetrate into the Hereditary

The pursuit of the Archduke Charles into the heart of Austria encouraged
the hopes which the Venetian Senate had conceived, that it would be easy
to annihilate the feeble remnant of the French army, as the troops were
scattered through the States of Venice on the mainland. Wherever the
Senate had the ascendency, insurrection was secretly fomented; wherever
the influence of the patriots prevailed, ardent efforts were made to
unite the Venetian terra firma to the Lombard Republic.

Bonaparte skillfully took advantage of the disturbances, and the
massacres consequent on them, to adopt towards the Senate the tone of an
offended conqueror. He published a declaration that the Venetian
Government was the most treacherous imaginable. The weakness and cruel
hypocrisy of the Senate facilitated the plan he had conceived of making a
peace for France at the expense of the Venetian Republic. On returning
from Leoben, a conqueror and pacificator, he, without ceremony, took
possession of Venice, changed the established government, and, master of
all the Venetian territory, found himself, in the negotiations of Campo
Formio, able to dispose of it as he pleased, as a compensation for the
cessions which had been exacted from Austria. After the 19th of May he
wrote to the Directory that one of the objects of his treaty with Venice
was to avoid bringing upon us the odium of violating the preliminaries
relative to the Venetian territory, and, at the same time, to afford
pretexts and to facilitate their execution.

At Campo Formio the fate of this republic was decided. It disappeared
from the number of States without effort or noise. The silence of its
fall astonished imaginations warmed by historical recollections from the
brilliant pages of its maritime glory. Its power, however, which had
been silently undermined, existed no longer except in the prestige of
those recollections. What resistance could it have opposed to the man
destined to change the face of all Europe?



   Signature of the preliminaries of peace--Fall of Venice--My arrival
   and reception at Leoben--Bonaparte wishes to pursue his success--
   The Directory opposes him--He wishes to advance on Vienna--Movement
   of the army of the Sombre-et-Mouse--Bonaparte's dissatisfaction--
   Arrival at Milan--We take up our residence at Montebello--Napoleon's
   judgment respecting Dandolo and Melzi.

I joined Bonaparte at Leoben on the 19th of April, the day after the
signature of the preliminaries of peace. These preliminaries resembled
in no respect the definitive treaty of Campo Formio. The still
incomplete fall of the State of Venice did not at that time present an
available prey for partition. All was arranged afterwards. Woe to the
small States that come in immediate contact with two colossal empires
waging war!

Here terminated my connection with Bonaparte as a comrade and equal, and
those relations with him commenced in which I saw him suddenly great,
powerful, and surrounded with homage and glory. I no longer addressed
him as I had been accustomed to do. I appreciated too well his personal
importance. His position placed too great a social distance between him
and me not to make me feel the necessity of fashioning my demeanour
accordingly. I made with pleasure, and without regret, the easy
sacrifice of the style of familiar companionship and other little
privileges. He said, in a loud voice, when I entered the salon where he
was surrounded by the officers who formed his brilliant staff, "I am glad
to see you, at last"--"Te voila donc, enfin;", but as soon as we were
alone he made me understand that he was pleased with my reserve, and
thanked me for it. I was immediately placed at the head of his Cabinet.
I spoke to him the same evening respecting the insurrection of the
Venetian territories, of the dangers which menaced the French, and of
those which I had escaped, etc. "Care thou' nothing about it," said he;

   --[He used to 'tutoyer' me in this familiar manner until his return
   to Milan.]--

"those rascals shall pay for it. Their republic has had its day, and is
done." This republic was, however, still existing, wealthy and powerful.
These words brought to my recollection what I had read in a work by one
Gabriel Naude, who wrote during the reign of Louis XIII. for Cardinal de
Bagin: "Do you see Constantinople, which flatters itself with being the
seat of a double empire; and Venice, which glories in her stability of a
thousand years? Their day will come."

In the first conversation which Bonaparte had with me, I thought I could
perceive that he was not very well satisfied with the preliminaries. He
would have liked to advance with his army to Vienna. He did not conceal
this from me. Before he offered peace to Prince Charles, he wrote to the
Directory that he intended to pursue his success, but that for this
purpose he reckoned on the co-operation of the armies of the
Sambre-et-Meuse and the Rhine. The Directory replied that he must not
reckon on a diversion in Germany, and that the armies of the
Sambre-et-Meuse and the Rhine were not to pass that river. A resolution
so unexpected--a declaration so contrary to what he had constantly
solicited, compelled him to terminate his triumphs, and renounce his
favourite project of planting the standard of the republic on the
ramparts of Vienna, or at least of levying contributions on the suburbs
of that capital.

A law of the 23d of August 1794 forbade the use of any other names than
those in the register of births. I wished to conform to this law, which
very foolishly interfered with old habits. My eldest brother was living,
and I therefore designated myself Fauvelet the younger. This annoyed
General Bonaparte. "Such change of name is absolute nonsense," said he.
"I have known you for twenty years by the name of Bourrienne. Sign as
you still are named, and see what the advocates with their laws will do."

On the 20th of April, as Bonaparte was returning to Italy, he was obliged
to stop on an island of the Tagliamento, while a torrent passed by, which
had been occasioned by a violent storm. A courier appeared on the right
bank of the river. He reached the island. Bonaparte read in the
despatches of the Directory that the armies of the Sambre-et-Meuse and
the Rhine were in motion; that they were preparing to cross the Rhine,
and had commenced hostilities on the very day of the signing of the
preliminaries. This information arrived seven days after the Directory
had written that "he must not reckon on the co-operation of the armies of
Germany." It is impossible to describe the General's vexation on reading
these despatches. He had signed the preliminaries only because the
Government had represented the co-operation of the armies of the Rhine as
impracticable at that moment, and shortly afterwards he was informed that
the co-operation was about to take place! The agitation of his mind was
so great that he for a moment conceived the idea of crossing to the left
bank of the Tagliamento, and breaking off the negotiations under some
pretext or other. He persisted for some time in this resolution, which,
however, Berthier and some other generals successfully opposed. He
exclaimed, "What a difference would there have been in the preliminaries,
if, indeed, there had been any!"

His chagrin, I might almost say his despair, increased when, some days
after his entry into the Venetian States, he received a letter from
Moreau, dated the 23d of April, in which that general informed him that,
having passed the Rhine on the 20th with brilliant success, and taken
four thousand prisoners, it would not be long before he joined him.
Who, in fact, can say what would have happened but for the vacillating
and distrustful policy of the Directory, which always encouraged low
intrigues, and participated in the jealousy excited by the renown of the
young conqueror? Because the Directory dreaded his ambition they
sacrificed the glory of our arms and the honour of the nation; for it
cannot be doubted that, had the passage of the Rhine, so urgently
demanded by Bonaparte, taken place some days sooner, he would have been
able, without incurring any risk, to dictate imperiously the conditions
of peace on the spot; or, if Austria were obstinate, to have gone on to
Vienna and signed it there. Still occupied with this idea, he wrote to
the Directory on the 8th of May: "Since I have received intelligence of
the passage of the Rhine by Hoche and Moreau, I much regret that it did
not take place fifteen days sooner; or, at least, that Moreau did not say
that he was in a situation to effect it." (He had been informed to the
contrary.) What, after this, becomes of the unjust reproach against
Bonaparte of having, through jealousy of Moreau, deprived France of the
advantages which a prolonged campaign would have procured her? Bonaparte
was too devoted to the glory of France to sacrifice it to jealousy of the
glory of any individual.

In traversing the Venetian States to return to Milan, he often spoke to
me of Venice. He always assured me that he was originally entirely
unconnected with the insurrections which had agitated that country; that
common sense would show, as his project was to advance into the basin of
the Danube, he had no interest in having his rear disturbed by revolts,
and his communications interrupted or cut off: "Such an idea," said he,
"would be absurd, and could never enter into the mind of a man to whom
even his enemies cannot deny a certain degree of tact." He acknowledged
that he was not vexed that matters had turned out as they had done,
because he had already taken advantage of these circumstances in the
preliminaries and hoped to profit still more from them in the definitive
peace. "When I arrive at Milan," said he, "I will occupy myself with
Venice." It is therefore quite evident to me that in reality the
General-in-Chief had nothing to do with the Venetian insurrections; that
subsequently he was not displeased with them; and that, later still, he
derived great advantage from them.

We arrived at Milan on the 5th of May, by way of Lawbook, Thrust,
Palma-Nova, Padua, Verona, and Mantua. Bonaparte soon took up his
residence at Montebello, a very fine chateau, three leagues from Milan,
with a view over the rich and magnificent plains of Lombard. At
Montebello commenced the negotiations for the definitive peace which
were terminated at Passeriano. The Marquis de Gallo, the Austrian
plenipotentiary, resided half a league from Montebello.

During his residence at Montebello the General-in-Chief made an excursion
to the Lake of Como and to the Ago Maguire. He visited the Borromean
Islands in succession, and occupied himself on his return with the
organization of the towns of Venice, Genoa, and Milan. He sought for men
and found none. "Good God," said he, "how rare men are! There are
eighteen millions in Italy, and I have with difficulty found two, Dandolo
and Melzi."

He appreciated them properly. Dandolo was one of the men who, in those
revolutionary times, reflected the greatest honour upon Italy. After
being a member of the great council of the Cisalpine Republic, he
exercised the functions of Proveditore-General in Dalmatia. It is only
necessary to mention the name of Dandolo to the Dalmatians to learn from
the grateful inhabitants how just and vigorous his administration was.
The services of Melzi are known. He was Chancellor and Keeper of the
Seals of the Italian monarchy, and was created Duke of Lodi.

   --[Francesco, Comte de Melzi d'Eryl (1753-1816), vice President of
   the Italian Republic, 1802; Chancellor of the Kingdom of Italy,
   1805; Duc de Loth, 1807.]--

In those who have seen the world the truth of Napoleon's reproach excites
little astonishment. In a country which, according to biographies and
newspapers, abounds with extraordinary men, a woman of much
talent--(Madame Roland.)--said, "What has most surprised me, since the
elevation of my husband has afforded me the opportunity of knowing many
persons, and particularly those employed in important affairs, is the
universal mediocrity which exists. It surpasses all that the imagination
can conceive, and it is observable in all ranks, from the clerk to the
minister. Without this experience I never could have believed my species
to be so contemptible."

Who does not remember Oxenstiern's remark to his son, who trembled at
going so young to the congress of Munster: "Go, my son. You will see by
what sort of men the world is governed."



   Napoleon's correspondence--Release of French prisoners at Olmutz--
   Negotiations with Austria--Bonaparte's dissatisfaction--Letter of
   complaint from Bonaparte to the Executive Directory--Note respecting
   the affairs of Venice and the Club of Clichy, written by Bonaparte
   and circulated in the army--Intercepted letter of the Emperor

During the time when the preliminaries of Leoben suspended military
operations, Napoleon was not anxious to reply immediately to all letters.
He took a fancy to do, not exactly as Cardinal Dubois did, when he threw
into the fire the letters he had received, saying, "There! my
correspondents are answered," but something of the same kind. To satisfy
himself that people wrote too much, and lost, in trifling and useless
answers, valuable time, he told me to open only the letters which came by
extraordinary couriers, and to leave all the rest for three weeks in the
basket. At the end of that time it was unnecessary to reply to
four-fifths of these communications. Some were themselves answers; some
were acknowledgments of letters received; others contained requests for
favours already granted, but of which intelligence had not been
received. Many were filled with complaints respecting provisions, pay,
or clothing, and orders had been issued upon all these points before the
letters were written. Some generals demanded reinforcements, money,
promotion, etc. By not opening their letters Bonaparte was spared the
unpleasing office of refusing. When the General-in-Chief compared the
very small number of letters which it was necessary to answer with the
large number which time alone had answered, he laughed heartily at his
whimsical idea. Would not this mode of proceeding be preferable to that
of causing letters to be opened by any one who may be employed, and
replying to them by a circular to which it is only necessary to attach a

During the negotiations which followed the treaty of Leoben, the
Directory ordered General Bonaparte to demand the liberty of MM. de La
Fayette, Latour-Marbourg, and Bureau de Puzy, detained at Olmutz since
1792 as prisoners of state. The General-in-Chief executed this
commission with as much pleasure as zeal, but he often met with
difficulties which appeared to be insurmountable. It has been very
incorrectly stated that these prisoners obtained their liberty by one of
the articles of the preliminaries of Leoben. I wrote a great deal on
this subject to the dictation of General Bonaparte, and I joined him only
on the day after the signature of these preliminaries. It was not till
the end of May of the year 1797 that the liberation of these captives was
demanded, and they did not obtain their freedom till the end of August.
There was no article in the treaty, public or secret, which had reference
to them. Neither was it at his own suggestion that Bonaparte demanded
the enlargement of the prisoners, but by order of the Directory. To
explain why they did not go to France immediately after their liberation
from Olmutz, it is necessary to recollect that the events of the 18th
Fructidor occurred between the period when the first steps were taken to
procure their liberty and the date of their deliverance. It required all
Bonaparte's ascendency and vigour of character to enable him to succeed
in his object at the end of three months.

We had arrived at the month of July, and the negotiations were tediously
protracted. It was impossible to attribute the embarrassment which was
constantly occurring to anything but the artful policy of Austria: Other
affairs occupied Bonaparte. The news from Paris engrossed all his
attention. He saw with extreme displeasure the manner in which the
influential orators of the councils, and pamphlets written in the same
spirit as they spoke, criticised him, his army, his victories, the
affairs of Venice, and the national glory. He was quite indignant at the
suspicions which it was sought to create respecting his conduct and
ulterior views.

The following excerpts, attributed to the pens of Dumouriez or Rivarol,
are specimens of some of the comments of the time:


   General Bonaparte is, without contradiction, the most brilliant
   warrior who has appeared at the head of the armies of the French
   Republic. His glory is incompatible with democratic equality, and
   the services he has rendered are too great to be recompensed except
   by hatred and ingratitude. He is very young, and consequently has
   to pursue a long career of accusations and of persecutions.

   ........Whatever may be the crowning event of his military career,
   Bonaparte is still a great man. All his glory is due to himself
   alone; because he alone has developed a character and a genius of
   which no one else has furnished an example.


   Regard, for instance, this wretched war. Uncertain in Champagne, it
   becomes daring under Dumouriez, unbridled under the brigands who
   fought the Vendeeans, methodic under Pichegru, vulgar under Jourdan,
   skilled under Moreau, rash under Bonaparte. Each general has put
   the seal of his genius on his career, and has given life or death to
   his army. From the commencement of his career Bonaparte has
   developed an ardent character which is irritated by obstacles, and a
   quickness which forestalls every determination of the enemy. It is
   with heavier and heavier blows that, he strikes. He throws his army
   on the enemy like an unloosed torrent. He is all action, and he is
   so in everything. See him fight, negotiate, decree, punish, all is
   the matter of a moment. He compromises with Turin as with Rome. He
   invades Modena as he burns Binasco. He never hesitates; to cut the
   Gordian knot is always his method.

Bonaparte could not endure to have his conduct predicated; and enraged at
seeing his campaigns depreciated, his glory and that of his army

   --[The extraordinary folly of the opposition to the Directory in
   throwing Bonaparte on to the side of the Directory, will be seen by
   reading the speech of Dumolard, so often referred to by Bourrienne
   (Thiers, vol. v. pp. 110-111), and by the attempts of Mathieu Dumas
   to remove the impression that the opposition slighted the fortunate
   General. (See Dumas, tome iii. p. 80; see also Lanfrey, tome i.
   pp. 257-299).]--

and intrigues formed against him in the Club of Clichy, he wrote the
following letter to the Directory:--


   I have just received, Citizens-Directors, a copy of the motion of
   Dumolard (23d June 1797).

   This motion, printed by order of the Assembly, it is evident, is
   directed against me. I was entitled, after, having five times
   concluded peace, and given a death-blow to the coalition, if not to
   civic triumphs, at least to live tranquilly under the protection of
   the first magistrates of the Republic. At present I find myself
   ill-treated, persecuted, and disparaged, by every shameful means,
   which their policy brings to the aid of persecution. I would have
   been indifferent to all except that species of opprobrium with which
   the first magistrates of the Republic endeavour to overwhelm me.
   After having deserved well of my country by my last act, I am not
   bound to hear myself accused in a manner as absurd as atrocious.
   I have not expected that a manifesto, signed by emigrants, paid by
   England, should obtain more credit with the Council of Five Hundred
   than the evidence of eighty thousand men--than mine! What! we were
   assassinated by traitors--upwards of four hundred men perished; and
   the first magistrates of the Republic make it a crime to have
   believed the statement for a moment. Upwards of four hundred
   Frenchmen were dragged through the streets. They were assassinated
   before the eyes of the governor of the fort. They were pierced with
   a thousand blows of stilettos, such as I sent you and the
   representatives of the French people cause it to be printed, that if
   they believed this fact for an instant, they were excusable. I know
   well there are societies where it is said, "Is this blood, then, so

   If only base men, who are dead to the feeling of patriotism and
   national glory, had spoken of me thus, I would not have complained.
   I would have disregarded it; but I have a right to complain of the
   degradation to which the first magistrates of the Republic reduce
   those who have aggrandised, and carried the French name to so high a
   pitch of glory. Citizens-Directors, I reiterate the demand I made
   for my dismissal; I wish to live in tranquillity, if the poniards of
   Clichy will allow me to live. You have employed me in negotiations.
   I am not very fit to conduct them.

About the same time he drew up the following note respecting the affairs
of Venice, which was printed without the author's name, and circulated
through the whole army:--


   Bonaparte, pausing before the gates of Turin, Parma, Rome, and
   Vienna, offering peace when he was sure of obtaining nothing but
   fresh triumphs--Bonaparte, whose every operation exhibits respect
   for religion, morality, and old age; who, instead of heaping, as he
   might have done, dishonour upon the Venetians, and humbling their
   republic to the earth, loaded her with acts of kindness, and took
   such great interest in her glory--is this the same Bonaparte who is
   accused of destroying the ancient Government of Venice, and
   democratising Genoa, and even of interfering in the affairs of the
   prudent and worthy people of the Swiss Cantons? Bonaparte had
   passed the Tagliamento, and entered Germany, when insurrections
   broke out in the Venetian States; these insurrections were,
   therefore, opposed to Bonaparte's project; surely, then, he could
   not favour them. When he was in the heart of Germany the Venetians
   massacred more than four hundred French troops, drove their quarters
   out of Verona, assassinated the unfortunate Laugier, and presented
   the spectacle of a fanatical party in arms. He returned to Italy;
   and on his arrival, as the winds cease their agitation at the
   presence of Neptune, the whole of Italy, which was in commotion,
   which was in arms, was restored to order.

   However, the deputies from Bonaparte drew up different articles
   conformable to the situation of the country, and in order to
   prevent, not a revolution in the Government, for the Government was
   defunct, and had died a natural death, but a crisis, and to save the
   city from convulsion, anarchy, and pillage. Bonaparte spared a
   division of his army to save Venice from pillage and massacre. All
   the battalions were in the streets of Venice, the disturbers were
   put down, and the pillage discontinued. Property and trade were
   preserved, when General Baragney d'Hilliers entered Venice with his
   division. Bonaparte, as usual, spared blood, and was the protector
   of Venice. Whilst the French troops remained they conducted
   themselves peaceably, and only interfered to support the provisional

   Bonaparte could not say to the deputies of Venice, who came to ask
   his protection and assistance against the populace, who wished to
   plunder them, "I cannot meddle with your affairs." He could not say
   this, for Venice, and all its territories, had really formed the
   theatre of war; and, being in the rear of the army of Italy, the
   Republic of Venice was really under the jurisdiction of that army.
   The rights of war confer upon a general the powers of supreme police
   over the countries which are the seat of war. As the great
   Frederick said, "There are no neutrals where there is war."
   Ignorant advocates and babblers have asked, in the Club of Clichy,
   why we occupy the territory of Venice. These declaimers should
   learn war, and they would know that the Adige, the Brenta, and the
   Tagliamento, where we have been fighting for two years, are within
   the Venetian States. But, gentlemen of Clichy, we are at no loss to
   perceive your meaning. You reproach the army of Italy for having
   surmounted all difficulties--for subduing all Italy for having twice
   passed the Alps--for having marched on Vienna, and obliged Austria
   to acknowledge the Republic that, you, men of Clichy, would destroy.
   You accuse Bonaparte, I see clearly, for having brought about peace.
   But I know you, and I speak in the name of eighty thousand soldiers.
   The time is gone when base advocates and wretched declaimers could
   induce soldiers to revolt. If, however, you compel them, the
   soldiers of the army of Italy will soon appear at the Barrier of
   Clichy, with their General. But woe unto you if they do!

   Bonaparte having arrived at Palma-Nova, issued a manifesto on the 2d
   of May 1797. Arrived at Mestre, where he posted his troops, the
   Government sent three deputies to him, with a decree of the Great
   Council, without Bonaparte having solicited it and without his
   having thought of making any change in the Government of that
   country: The governor of Venice was an old man, ninety-nine years-of
   age, confined by illness to his apartment. Everyone felt the
   necessity of renovating this Government of twelve hundred years'
   existence, and to simplify its machinery, in order to preserve its
   independence, honour, and glory. It was necessary to deliberate,
   first, on the manner of renovating the Government; secondly, on the
   means of atoning for the massacre of the French, the iniquity of
   which every one was sensible..

   Bonaparte, after having received the deputation at Mestre, told them
   that in order to obtain satisfaction, for the assassination of his
   brethren is arms, he wished the Great Council to arrest the
   inquisitors. He afterwards granted them an armistice, and appointed
   Milan as the place of conference. The deputies arrived at Milan on
   the . . . A negotiation commenced to re-establish harmony between
   the Governments. However, anarchy, with all its horrors, afflicted
   the city of Venice. Ten thousand Sclavonians threatened to pillage
   the shops. Bonaparte acquiesced in the proposition submitted by the
   deputies, who promised to verify the loss which had been sustained
   by pillage.

Bonaparte also addressed a manifesto to the Doge, which appeared in all
the public papers. It contained fifteen articles of complaint, and was
followed by a decree ordering the French Minister to leave Venice, the
Venetian agents to leave Lombard, and the Lion of St. Mark to be pulled
down in all the Continental territories of Venice.

The General-in-Chief now openly manifested his resolution of marching on
Paris; and this disposition, which was well known in the army, was soon
communicated to Vienna. At this period a letter from the Emperor Francis
II. to his brother, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, was intercepted by
Bonaparte. I translated the letter, which proved to him that Francis II.
was acquainted with his project. He likewise saw with pleasure the
assurances which the Emperor gave his brother of his love of peace, as
well as the wavering of the imperial resolves, and the incertitude
respecting the fate of the Italian princes, which the Emperor easily
perceived to depend on Bonaparte. The Emperor's letter was as follows:--

   MY DEAR BROTHER--I punctually received your third letter, containing
   a description of your unhappy and delicate situation. You may be
   assured that I perceive it as clearly as you do yourself; and I pity
   you the more because, in truth, I do not know what advice to give
   you. You are, like me, the victim of the former inactivity of the
   princes of Italy, who ought, at once, to have acted with all their
   united forces, while I still possessed Mantua. If Bonaparte's
   project be, as I learn, to establish republics in Italy, this is
   likely to end in spreading republicanism over the whole country. I
   have already commenced negotiations for peace, and the preliminaries
   are ratified. If the French observe them as strictly as I do, and
   will do, then your situation will be improved; but already the
   French are beginning to disregard them. The principal problem which
   remains to be solved is, whether the French Directory approve of
   Bonaparte's proceedings, and whether the latter, as appears by some
   papers distributed through his army, is not disposed to revolt
   against his country, which also seems to be probable, from his
   severe conduct towards Switzerland, notwithstanding the assurances
   of the Directory, that he had been ordered to leave the country
   untouched. If this should be the case, new and innumerable
   difficulties may arise. Under these circumstances I can, at
   present, advise nothing; for, as to myself, it is only time and the
   circumstances of the moment which can point out how I am to act.

   There is nothing new here. We are all well; but the heat is
   extraordinary. Always retain your friendship and love for me.
   Make my compliments to your wife, and believe me ever

        Your best Friend and Brother,

   HETZENDORF, July 20, 1797.



   Unfounded reports--Carnot--Capitulation of Mantua--General Clarke--
   The Directory yields to Bonaparte--Berthier--Arrival of Eugene
   Beauharnais at Milan--Comte Delannay d'Entraigues--His interview
   with Bonaparte--Seizure of his papers--Copy of one describing a
   conversation between him and Comte de Montgaillard--The Emperor
   Francis--The Prince de Conde and General Pichegru.

While Bonaparte was expressing his opinion on his campaigns and the
injustice with which they had been criticised, it was generally believed
that Carnot dictated to him from a closet in the Luxembourg all the plans
of his operations, and that herthier was at his right hand, without whom,
notwithstanding Carnot's plans, which were often mere romances, he would
have been greatly embarrassed. This twofold misrepresentation was very
current for some time; and, notwithstanding it was contrary to the
evidence of facts, it met with much credence, particularly abroad. There
was, however, no foundation for the opinion: Let us render to Caesar that
which is Caesar's due. Bonaparte was a creator in the art of war, and no
imitator. That no man was superior to him in that art is incontestable.
At the commencement of the glorious campaign in Italy the Directory
certainly sent out instructions to him; but he always followed his own
plans, and continually, wrote back that all would be lost if movements
conceived at a distance from the scene of action were to be blindly
executed. He also offered to resign. At length the Directory perceived
the impossibility of prescribing operations of war according to the view
of persons in Paris; and when I became the secretary of the
General-in-Chief I saw a despatch of the Directory, dated May, 1796,
committing the whole plan of the campaign to his judgment; and assuredly
there was not a single operation or movement which did not originate
with him. Carnot was obliged to yield to his firmness. When the
Directory, towards the end of 1796, felt disposed to treat for peace,
General Clarke, appointed to conclude the armistice, was authorised, in
case Mantua should not be taken before the negotiation was brought to a
close, to propose leaving the blockade in statu quo. Had such a
condition been adopted it would doubtless hays been stipulated that the
Emperor of Austria should be allowed to provision the garrison and
inhabitants of the city day by day. Bonaparte, convinced that an
armistice without Mantua would by no means conduce to peace, earnestly
opposed such a condition. He carried his point; Mantua capitulated, and
the result is well known. Yet he was not blind to the hazards of war;
while preparing, during the blockade, an assault on Mantua, he wrote
thus to the Directory: "A bold stroke of this nature depends absolutely
for success on a dog or a goose." This was about a question of

Bonaparte was exceedingly sensitive to the rumours which reached him
respecting Carnot and Berthier. He one day said to me: "What gross
stupidity, is this? It is very well to say to a general, 'Depart for
Italy, gain battles, and sign a peace at Vienna;' but the execution that
is not so easy. I never attached any value to the plans which the
Directory sent me. Too many circumstances occur on the spot to modify
them. The movement of a single corps of the enemy's army may confound a
whole plan arranged by the fireside. Only fools can believe such stuff!
As for Berthier, since you have been with me, you see what he is--he is a
blockhead. Yet it is he who does it all; it is he who gathers a great
part of the glory of the army of Italy." I told him that this erroneous
opinion could not last long; that each person would be allowed his merit,
and that at least posterity would judge rightly. This observation seemed
to please him.

Berthier was a man full of honour, courage, and probity, and exceedingly
regular in the performance of his duties. Bonaparte's attachment to him
arose more from habit than liking. Berthier did not concede with
affability, and refused with harshness. His abrupt, egotistic, and
careless manners did not, however, create him many enemies, but, at the
same time, did not make him many friends. In consequence of our frequent
intercourse he had contracted the friendly practice of speaking to me in
the second person singular; but he never wrote to me is that style. He
was perfectly acquainted with the disposition of all the corps, and could
name their commanders and their respective forces. Day or night he was
always at hand and made out with clearness all the secondary orders which
resulted from the dispositions of the General-in-Chief. In fact, he was,
an excellent head of the staff of an army; but that is all the praise
that can be given, and indeed he wished for no greater. He had such
entire confidence in Bonaparte, and looked up to him with so much
admiration, that he never would have presumed to oppose his plans or give
any advise. Berthier's talent was very limited, and of a special nature;
his character was one of extreme weakness. Bonaparte's friendship for
him and the frequency of his name in the bulletins and official
despatches have unduly elevated his reputation. Bonaparte, giving his
opinion to the Directory respecting the generals employed in his army,
said, "Berthier has talents, activity, courage, character--all in his
favour." This was in 1796. He then made an eagle of him; at St. Helena
he called him a goose. He should neither have, raised him so high nor
sunk him so low.

Berthier neither merited the one nor the other. Bonaparte was a man of
habit; he was much attached to all the people about him, and did not like
new faces. Berthier loved him. He carried out his orders well, and that
enabled him to pass off with his small portion of talent.

It was about this time that young Beauharnais came to Milan. He was
seventeen years old. He had lived in Paris with his mother since the
departure of Bonaparte. On his arrival he immediately entered the
service as 'aide de camp' to the General-in-Chief, who felt for him an
affection which was justified by his good qualities.

Comte Delaunay d'Entraigues, well known in the French Revolution, held a
diplomatic post at Venice when that city was threatened by the French.
Aware of his being considered the agent of all the machinations then
existing against France, and especially against the army of Italy, he
endeavoured to escape; but the city being, surrounded, he was seized,
together with all his papers. The apparently frank manners of the Count
pleased Bonaparte, who treated him with indulgence. His papers were
restored, with the exception of three relating to political subjects.
He afterwards fled to Switzerland, and ungratefully represented himself
as having been oppressed by Bonaparte. His false statements have induced
many writers to make of him an heroic victim. He was assassinated by his
own servant in 1802.

I kept a copy of one of his most interesting papers. It has been much
spoken of, and Fauche-Borel has, I believe, denied its authenticity and
the truth of its contents. The manner in which it fell into the hands of
the General-in-Chief, the importance attached to it by d'Entraigues, the
differences I have observed between the manuscript I copied and versions
which I have since read, and the, knowledge of its, authenticity, having
myself transcribed it from the handwriting of the Count, who in my
presence vouched for the truth of the facts it details--all these
circumstances induce me to insert it here, and compel me to doubt that it
was, as Fauche-Borel asserted, a fabrication.

This manuscript is entitled, 'My Conversation with Comte de Montgaillard,
on the 4th of December 1796, from Six in the Afternoon till midnight, in
the presence of the Abbe Dumontel.'

[On my copy are written the words, "Extracts from this conversation, made
by me, from the original." I omitted what I thought unimportant, and
transcribed only the most interesting passages. Montgaillard spoke of
his escape, of his flight to England, of his return to France, of his
second departure, and finally of his arrival at Bale in August 1795.]

   The Prince de Conde soon afterwards, he said, called me to Mulheim,
   and knowing the connections I had had in France, proposed that I
   should sound General Pichegru, whose headquarters were at Altkirch,
   where he then was, surrounded by four representatives of the

   I immediately went to Neufchatel, taking with me four or five
   hundred Louis. I cast my eyes on Fauche-Borel, the King's printer
   at Neufchatel, and also yours and mine, as the instrument by which
   to make the first overture, and I selected as his colleague M.
   Courant, a native of Neufchatel. I persuaded them to undertake the
   business: I supplied them with instructions and passports. They
   were foreigners: so I furnished them with all the necessary
   documents to enable them to travel in France as foreign merchants
   and purchasers of national property. I went to Bale to wait for
   news from them.

   On the 13th of August Fauche and Courant set out for the
   headquarters at Altkirch. They remained there eight days without
   finding an opportunity to speak to Pichegru, who was surrounded by
   representatives and generals. Pichegru observed them, and seeing
   them continually wheresoever he went, he conjectured that they had
   something to say to him, and he called out in a loud voice, while
   passing them, "I am going to Huningen." Fauche contrived to throw
   himself in his way at the end of a corridor. Pichegru observed him,
   and fixed his eyes upon him, and although it rained in torrents, he
   said aloud, "I am going to dine at the chateau of Madame Salomon."
   This chateau was three leagues from Huningen, and Madame Salomon was
   Pichegru's mistress.

   Fauche set off directly to the chateau, and begged to speak with
   General Pichegru. He told the general that, being in the possession
   of some of J. J. Rousseau's manuscripts, he wished to publish them
   and dedicate them to him. "Very good," said Pichegru; "but I should
   like to read them first; for Rousseau professed principles of
   liberty in which I do not concur, and with which I should not like
   to have my name connected."--"But," said Fauche, "I have something
   else to speak to you about."--"What is it, and on whose behalf?"--
   "On behalf of the Prince de Conde."--"Be silent, then, and follow

   He conducted Fauche alone into a retired cabinet, and said to
   him, "Explain yourself; what does Monseigneur le Prince de Conde
   wish to communicate to me?" Fauche was embarrassed, and stammered
   out something unintelligible. "Compose yourself." said Pichegru;
   "my sentiments are the same, as the Prince de Conde's. What does he
   desire of me?" Fauche, encouraged by these words, replied, "The
   Prince wishes to join you. He counts on you, and wishes to connect
   himself with you."

   "These are vague and unmeaning words," observed Pichegru. "All this
   amounts to nothing. Go back, and ask for written instructions, and
   return in three days to my headquarters at Altkirch. You will find
   me alone precisely at six o'clock in the evening."

   Fauche immediately departed, arrived at Bale, and informed me of all
   that had passed. I spent the night in writing a letter to General
   Pichegru. (The Prince de Conde, who was invested with all the
   powers of Louis XVIII, except that of granting the 'cordon-bleu',
   had, by a note in his own handwriting, deputed to me all his powers,
   to enable me to maintain a negotiation with General Pichegru).

   I therefore wrote to the general, stating, in the outset, everything
   that was calculated to awaken in him that noble sentiment of pride
   which is the instinct of great minds; and after pointing out to him
   the vast good it was in his power to effect, I spoke of the
   gratitude of the King, and the benefit he would confer on his
   country by restoring royalty. I told him that his Majesty would
   make him a marshal of France, and governor of Alsace, as no one
   could better govern the province than he who had so valiantly
   defended it. I added that he would have the 'cordon-rouge', the
   Chateau de Chambord, with its park, and twelve pieces of cannon
   taken from the Austrians, a million of ready money, 200,000 livres
   per annum, and an hotel in Paris; that the town of Arbors,
   Pichegru's native place, should bear his name, and be exempt from
   all taxation for twenty-five years; that a pension of 200,000 livres
   would be granted to him, with half reversion to his wife, and 50,000
   livres to his heirs for ever, until the extinction of his family.
   Such were the offers, made in the name of the King, to General
   Pichegru. (Than followed the boons to be granted to the officers
   and soldiers, an amnesty to the people, etc). I added that the
   Prince de Coude desired that he would proclaim the King in the
   camps, surrender the city of Huningen to him, and join him for the
   purpose of marching on Paris.

   Pichegru, having read my letter with great attention, said to
   Fauche, "This is all very well; but who is this M. de Montgaillard
   who talks of being thus authorised? I neither know him nor his
   signature. Is he the author?"--"Yes," replied Fauche. "But," said
   Pichegru, "I must, before making any negotiation on my part, be
   assured that the Prince de Conde, with whose handwriting I am well
   acquainted, approves of all that has been written is his name by M.
   de Montgaillard. Return directly to M. de Montgaillard, and tell
   him to communicate my answer to the Prince."

   Fauche immediately departed, leaving M. Courant with Pichegru. He
   arrived at Bale at nine o'clock in the evening. I set off directly
   for Malheim, the Prince de Conde's headquarters, and arrived there
   at half-past twelve. The Prince was in bed, but I awoke him. He
   made me sit down by his bedside, and our conference then commenced.

   After having informed the Prince of the state of affairs, all that
   remained was to prevail on him to write to General Pichegru to
   confirm the truth of what had been stated in his name. This matter,
   which appeared so simple, and so little liable to objection,
   occupied the whole night. The Prince, as brave a man as can
   possibly be, inherited nothing from the great Conde but his
   undaunted courage. In other respects he is the most insignificant
   of men; without resources of mind, or decision of character;
   surrounded by men of mediocrity, and even baseness; and though he
   knows them well, he suffers himself to be governed by them.

   It required nine hours of hard exertion on my part to get him to
   write to General Pichegru a letter of eight lines. 1st. He did not
   wish it to be in his handwriting. 2d. He objected to dating it
   3d. He was unwilling to call him General, lest he should recognise
   the republic by giving that title. 4th. He did not like to address
   it, or affix his seal to it.

   At length he consented to all, and wrote to Pichegru that he might
   place full confidence in the letters of the Comte de Montgaillard.
   When all this was settled, after great difficulty, the Prince next
   hesitated about sending the letter; but at length he yielded. I set
   off for Bale, and despatched Fauche to Altkirch, to General

   The general, after reading the letter of eight lines, and
   recognising the handwriting and signature, immediately returned it
   to Fauche, saying, "I have seen the signature: that is enough for
   me. The word of the Prince is a pledge with which every Frenchman
   ought to be satisfied. Take back his letter." He then inquired
   what was the Prince's wish. Fauche explained that he wished--1st.
   That Pichegru should proclaim the King to his troops, and hoist the
   White flag. 2d. That he should deliver up Huningen to the Prince.
   Pichegru objected to this. "I will never take part in such a plot,"
   said he; "I have no wish to make the third volume of La Fayette and
   Dumouriez. I know my resources; they are as certain as they are
   vast. Their roots are not only in my army, but in Paris, in the
   Convention, in the departments, and in the armies of those generals,
   my colleagues, who think as I do. I wish to do nothing by halves.
   There must be a complete end of the present state of things. France
   cannot continue a Republic. She must have a king, and that king
   must be Louis XVIII. But we must not commence the counter-
   revolution until we are certain of effecting it. 'Surely and
   rightly' is my motto. The Prince's plan leads to nothing. He would
   be driven from Huningen in four days, and in fifteen I should be
   lost. My army is composed both of good men and bad. We must
   distinguish between them, and, by a bold stroke, assure the former
   of the impossibility of drawing back, and that their only safety
   lies in success. For this purpose I propose to pass the Rhine, at
   any place and any time that may be thought necessary. In the
   advance I will place those officers on whom I can depend, and who
   are of my way of thinking. I will separate the bad, and place them
   in situations where they can do no harm, and their position shall be
   such as to prevent them from uniting. That done, as soon as I shall
   be on the other side of the Rhine, I will proclaim the King, and
   hoist the white flag. Conde's corps and the Emperor's army will
   then join us. I will immediately repass the Rhine, and re-enter
   France. The fortresses will be surrendered, and will be held in the
   King's name by the Imperial troops. Having joined Conde's army, I
   immediately advance. All my means now develop themselves on every
   side. We march upon Paris, and in a fortnight will be there. But
   it is necessary that you should know that you must give the French
   soldier wine and a crown in his hand if you would have him cry 'Vive
   le Roi! Nothing must be wanting at the first moment. My army must
   be well paid as far as the fourth or fifth march in the French
   territory. There go and tell all this to the Prince, show my
   handwriting, and bring me back his answer."

   During these conferences Pichegru was surrounded by four
   representatives of the people, at the head of whom was Merlin de
   Thionville, the most insolent and the most ferocious of inquisitors.
   These men, having the orders of the Committee, pressed Pichegru to
   pass the Rhine and go and besiege Manheim, where Merlin had an
   understanding with the inhabitants. Thus, if on the one hand the
   Committee by its orders made Pichegru wish to hasten the execution
   of his plan, on the other he had not a moment to lose; for to delay
   obeying the orders of the four representatives was to render himself
   suspected. Every consideration, therefore, called upon the Prince
   to decide, and decide promptly. Good sense required him also to do
   another thing, namely, to examine without prejudice what sort of man
   Pichegru was, to consider the nature of the sacrifice he made, and
   what were his propositions. Europe acknowledged his talents, and he
   had placed the Prince in a condition to judge of his good faith.
   Besides, his conduct and his plan afforded fresh proofs of his
   sincerity. By passing the Rhine and placing himself between the
   armies of Conde and Wurmser, he rendered desertion impossible; and,
   if success did not attend his attempt, his own acts forced him to
   become an emigrant. He left in the power of his fierce enemies his
   wife, his father, his children. Everything bore testimony to his
   honesty; the talents he had shown were a pledge for his genius, his
   genius for his resources; and the sacrifices he would have to make
   in case of failure proved that he was confident of success.

   What stupid conceit was it for any one to suppose himself better
   able to command Pichegru's army than Pichegru himself!--to pretend
   to be better acquainted with the frontier provinces than Pichegru,
   who commanded them, and had placed his friends in them as commanders
   of the towns! This self-conceit, however, ruined the monarchy at
   this time, as well as at so many others. The Prince de Conde, after
   reading the plan, rejected it in toto. To render it successful it
   was necessary to make the Austrians parties to it. This Pichegru
   exacted, but the Prince of Conde would not hear a word of it,
   wishing to have confined to himself the glory of effecting the
   counter-revolution. He replied to Pichegru by a few observations,
   and concluded his answer by returning to his first plan--that
   Pichegru should proclaim the King without passing the Rhine, and
   should give up Huningen; that then the army of Conde by itself, and
   without the aid of the Austrians, would join him. In that case he
   could promise 100,000 crowns in louis, which he had at Bale, and
   1,400,000 livres, which he had in good bills payable at sight.

   No argument or entreaty had any effect on the Prince de Condo. The
   idea of communicating his plan to Wurmser and sharing his glory with
   him rendered him blind and deaf to every consideration. However, it
   was necessary to report to Pichegru the observations of the Prince
   de Conde, and Courant was commissioned to do so.

This document appeared so interesting to me that while Bonaparte was
sleeping I was employed in copying it. Notwithstanding posterior and
reiterated denials of its truth, I believe it to be perfectly correct.

Napoleon had ordered plans of his most famous battles to be engraved, and
had paid in advance for them. The work was not done quickly enough for
him. He got angry, and one day said to his geographer, Bacler d'Albe,
whom he liked well enough, "Ah! do hurry yourself, and think all this is
only the business of a moment. If you make further delay you will sell
nothing; everything is soon forgotten!"

We were now in July, and the negotiations were carried on with a
tardiness which showed that something was kept in reserve on both sides.
Bonaparte at this time was anything but disposed to sign a peace, which
he always hoped to be able to make at Vienna, after a campaign in
Germany, seconded by the armies of the Rhine and the Sambre-et-Meuse.
The minority of the Directory recommended peace on the basis of the
preliminaries, but the majority wished for more honourable and
advantageous terms; while Austria, relying on troubles breaking out in
France, was in no haste to conclude a treaty. In these circumstances
Bonaparte drew up a letter to be sent to the Emperor of Austria, in which
he set forth the moderation of France; but stated that, in consequence of
the many delays, nearly all hope of peace had vanished. He advised the
Emperor not to rely on difficulties arising in France, and doubted, if
war should continue and the Emperor be successful in the next campaign,
that he would obtain a more advantageous peace than was now at his
option. This letter was never sent to the Emperor, but was communicated
as the draft of a proposed despatch to the Directory. The Emperor
Francis, however, wrote an autograph letter to the General-in-Chief of
the army of Italy, which will be noticed when I come to the period of its
reception: It is certain that Bonaparte at this time wished for war. He
was aware that the Cabinet of Vienna was playing with him, and that the
Austrian Ministers expected some political convulsion in Paris, which
they hoped would be favourable to the Bourbons. He therefore asked for
reinforcements. His army consisted of 35,900 men, and he desired it to
be raised to 60,000 infantry and 10,000 cavalry ready for the field.

General Desaix, profiting by the preliminaries of Leoben, came in the end
of July to visit the scene of the army of Italy's triumphs. His
conversations with Bonaparte respecting the army of the Rhine were far
from giving him confidence in his military situation in Italy, or
assurance of support from that army in the event of hostilities
commencing beyond the mountains. It was at this period that their
intimacy began. Bonaparte conceived for Desaix the greatest esteem and
the sincerest friendship.

   --[Desaix discontented with the conduct of affairs in Germany,
   seceded from the army of the Rhine, to which he belonged, to join
   that of Napoleon. He was sent to Italy to organise the part of the
   Egyptian expedition starting from Civita Vecchia. He took with him
   his two aides de camp, Rapp and Savary (later Duc de Rovigo), both
   of whom, on his death, were given the same post with Bonaparte.]--

When Desaix was named temporary commander of the force called the army of
England, during the absence of General Bonaparte, the latter wrote to the
Directory that they could not have chosen a more distinguished officer
than Desaix; these sentiments he never belied. The early death of Desaix
alone could break their union, which, I doubt not, would eventually have
had great influence on the political and military career of General

All the world knows the part which the General-in-Chief of the army of
Italy took at the famous crisis of the 18th Fructidor; his proclamation,
his addresses to the army, and his celebrated order of the day.
Bonaparte went much into detail on this subject at St. Helena; and I
shall now proceed to state what I knew at the time respecting that
memorable event, which was in preparation in the month of June.



   The royalists of the interior--Bonaparte's intention of marching on
   Paris with 25,000 men--His animosity against the emigrants and the
   Clichy Club--His choice between the two parties of the Directory--
   Augereau's order of the day against the word 'Monsieur'--Bonaparte
   wishes to be made one of the five Directors--He supports the
   majority of the Directory--La Vallette, Augereau, and Bernadotte
   sent to Paris--Interesting correspondence relative to the 18th

Bonaparte had long observed the struggle which was going on between the
partisans of royalty and the Republic. He was told that royalism was
everywhere on the increase. All the generals who returned from Paris to
the army complained of the spirit of reaction they had noticed.
Bonaparte was constantly urged by his private correspondents to take one
side or the other, or to act for himself. He was irritated by the
audacity of the enemies of the Republic, and he saw plainly that the
majority of the councils had an evident ill-will towards him. The
orators of the Club of Clichy missed no opportunity of wounding his
self-love in speeches and pamphlets. They spared no insults, disparaged
his success, and bitterly censured his conduct in Italy, particularly
with respect to Venice. Thus his services were recompensed by hatred or
ingratitude. About this time he received a pamphlet, which referred to
the judgments pronounced upon him by the German journals, and more
particularly by the Spectator of the North, which he always made me

Bonaparte was touched to the quick by the comparison make between him and
Moreau, and by the wish to represent him as foolhardy ("savants sous
Moreau, fougueuse sous Buonaparte"). In the term of "brigands," applied
to the generals who fought in La Vendee, he thought he recognized the
hand of the party he was about to attack and overthrow. He was tired of
the way in which Moreau's system of war was called "savants." But what
grieved him still more was to see sitting in the councils of the nation
Frenchmen who were detractors and enemies of the national glory.

He urged the Directory to arrest the emigrants, to destroy the influence
of foreigners, to recall the armies, to suppress the journals sold to
England, such as the 'Quotidienne', the 'Memorial', and the 'The', which
he accused of being more sanguinary than Marat ever was. In case of
there being no means of putting a stop to assassinations and the
influence of Louis XVIII., he offered to resign.

His resolution of passing the Alps with 25,000 men and marching by Lyons
and Paris was known in the capital, and discussions arose respecting the
consequences of this passage of another Rubicon. On the 17th of August
1797 Carnot wrote to him: "People attribute to you a thousand absurd
projects. They cannot believe that a man who has performed so many great
exploits can be content to live as a private citizen." This observation
applied to Bonaparte's reiterated request to be permitted to retire from
the service on account of the state of his health, which, he said,
disabled him from mounting his horse, and to the need which he constantly
urged of having two years' rest.

The General-in-Chief was justly of opinion that the tardiness of the
negotiations and the difficulties which incessantly arose were founded on
the expectation of an event which would change the government of France,
and render the chances of peace more favourable to Austria. He still
urgently recommended the arrest of the emigrants, the stopping of the
presses of the royalist journals, which he said were sold to England and
Austria, the suppression of the Clichy Club. This club was held at the
residence of Gerard Desodieres, in the Rue de Clichy. Aubry, was one of
its warmest partisans, and he was the avowed enemy of the revolutionary
cause which Bonaparte advocated at this period. Aubry's conduct at this
time, together with the part he had taken in provoking Bonaparte's
dismissal in 1795, inspired the General with an implacable hatred of him.

Bonaparte despised the Directory, which he accused of weakness,
indecision, pusillanimity, wasteful expenditure, of many errors, and
perseverance in a system degrading to the national glory.

   --[The Directory merited those accusations. The following sketches
   of two of their official sittings present a singular contrast:

   "At the time that the Directory were first installed in the
   Luxembourg (27th October 1795)." says M. Baileul, "there was hardly
   a single article of furniture in it. In a small room, round a
   little broken table, one of the legs of which had given way from
   age, on which table they had deposited a quire of letter-paper, and
   a writing desk 'a calamet', which luckily they had had the
   precaution to bring with them from the Committee of Public safety,
   seated on four rush-bottomed chairs, in front of some logs of wood
   ill-lighted, the whole borrowed from the porter Dupont; who would
   believe that it was in this deplorable condition that the member's
   of the new Government, after having examined all the difficulties,
   nay, let me add, all the horrors of their situation, resolved to
   confront all obstacles, and that they would either deliver France
   from the abyss in which she was plunged or perish in the attempt?
   They drew up on a sheet of letter-paper the act by which they
   declared themselves constituted, and immediately forwarded it to the
   Legislative Bodies."

   And the Comte de La Vallette, writing to M. Cuvillier Fleury, says:
   "I saw our five kings, dressed in the robes of Francis I., his hat,
   his pantaloons, and his lace: the face of La Reveilliere looked like
   a cork upon two pins, with the black and greasy hair of Clodion. M.
   de Talleyrand, in pantaloons of the colour of wine dregs, sat in a
   folding chair at the feet of the Director Barras, in the Court of
   the Petit Luxembourg, and gravely presented to his sovereigns as
   ambassador from the Grand Duke of Tuscany, while the French were
   eating his master's dinner, from the soup to the cheese. At the
   right hand there were fifty musicians and singers of the Opera,
   Laine, Lays, Regnault, and the actresses, not all dead of old age,
   roaring a patriotic cantata to the music of Mehul. Facing them, on
   another elevation, there were two hundred young and beautiful women,
   with their arms and bosoms bare, all in ecstasy at the majesty of
   our Pentarchy and the happiness of the Republic. They also wore
   tight flesh-coloured pantaloons, with rings on their toes. That was
   a sight that never will be seen again. A fortnight after this
   magnificent fete, thousands of families wept over their banished
   fathers, forty-eight departments were deprived of their
   representatives, and forty editors of newspapers were forced to go
   and drink the waters of the Elbe, the Synamary or the Ohio! It
   would be a curious disquisition to seek to discover what really were
   at that time the Republic and Liberty."]

He knew that the Clichy party demanded his dismissal and arrest. He was
given to understand that Dumolard was one of the most decided against
him, and that, finally, the royalist party was on the point of

Before deciding for one party or the other Bonaparte first thought of
himself. He did not imagine that he had yet achieved enough to venture
on possessing himself of that power which certainly he might easily have
obtained. He therefore contented himself with joining the party which
was, for the moment, supported by public opinion. I know he was
determined to march upon Paris with 25,000 men had affairs taken a turn
unfavourable to the Republic, which he preferred to royalty. He
cautiously formed his plan. To defend the Directory was, he conceived,
to defend his own future fortune; that is to say, it was protecting a
power which appeared to have no other object than to keep a place for him
until his return.

The parties which rose up in Paris produced a reaction in the army. The
employment of the word 'Monsieur' had occasioned quarrels, and even
bloodshed. General Augereau, in whose division these contests had taken
place, published an order of the day, setting forth that every individual
in his division who should use the word 'Monsieur', either verbally or in
writing, under any pretence whatever, should be deprived of his rank, and
declared incapable of serving in the Republican armies. This order was
read at the head of each company.

Bonaparte viewed the establishment of peace as the close of his military
career. Repose and inactivity were to him unbearable. He sought to take
part in the civil affairs of the Republic, and was desirous of becoming
one of the five Directors, convinced that, if he obtained that object, he
would speedily stand single and alone. The fulfilment of this wish would
have prevented the Egyptian expedition, and placed the imperial crown
much sooner upon his head. Intrigues were carried on in Paris in his
name, with the view of securing to him a legal dispensation on the score
of age. He hoped, though he was but eight-and-twenty, to supersede one
of the two Directors who were to go out of office.

   --[The Directors had to be forty years of ago before they could be

His brothers and their friends made great exertions for the success of
the project, which, however, was not officially proposed, because it was
too adverse to the prevailing notions of the day, and seemed too early a
violation of the constitution of the year III., which, nevertheless, was
violated in another way a few months after.

The members of the Directory were by no means anxious to have Bonaparte
for their colleague. They dissembled, and so did he. Both parties were
lavish of their mutual assurances of friendship, while they cordially
hated each other. The Directory, however, appealed for the support of
Bonaparte, which he granted; but his subsequent conduct clearly proves
that the maintenance of the constitution of the year III. was a mere
pretest. He indeed defended it meanwhile, because, by aiding the triumph
of the opposite party, he could not hope to preserve the influence which
he exercised over the Directory. I know well that, in case of the Clichy
party gaining the ascendency, he was determined to cross the Alps with
his army, and to assemble all the friends of the Republic at Lyons,
thence to march upon Paris.

In the Memorial of St. Helena it is stated, in reference to the 18th
Fructidor, "that the triumph of the majority of the councils was his
desire and hope, we are inclined to believe from the following fact,
viz., that at the crisis of the contest between the two factions a secret
resolution was drawn up by three of the members of the Directory, asking
him for three millions to support the attack on the councils, and that
Napoleon, under various pretences, did not send the money, though he
might easily have done so."

This is not very comprehensible. There was no secret resolution of the
members who applied for the three millions. It was Bonaparte who offered
the money, which, however, he did not send; it was he who despatched
Augereau; and he who wished for the triumph of the Directorial majority.
His memory served him badly at St. Helena, as will be seen from some
correspondence which I shall presently submit to the reader. It is very
certain that he did offer the money to the Directory; that is to say, to
three of its members.

   --[Barras, La Revelliere-Lepaux, and Rewbell, the three Directors
   who carried out the 'coup d'etat' of the 18th Fructidor against
   their colleagues Carnot and Bartholemy. (See Thiers' "French
   Revolution", vol. v. pp. 114,139, and 163.)]--

Bonaparte had so decidedly formed his resolution that on the 17th of
July, wishing to make Augereau his confidant, he sent to Vicenza for him
by an extraordinary courier.

Bonaparte adds that when Bottot, the confidential agent of Barras, came
to Passeriano, after the 18th Fructidor, he declared to him that as soon
as La Vallette should make him acquainted with the real state of things
the money should be transmitted. The inaccuracy of these statements will
be seen in the correspondence relative to the event. In thus distorting
the truth Napoleon's only object could have been to proclaim his
inclination for the principles he adopted and energetically supported
from the year 1800, but which, previously to that period, he had with no
less energy opposed.

He decidedly resolved to support the majority of the Directory, and to
oppose the royalist faction; the latter, which was beginning to be
important, would have been listened to had it offered power to him.
About the end of July he sent his 'aide de camp' La Vallette to Paris.
La Vallette was a man of good sense and education, pleasing manners,
pliant temper, and moderate opinions. He was decidedly devoted to
Bonaparte. With his instructions he received a private cipher to enable
him to correspond with the General-in-Chief.

Augereau went, after La Vallette, on the 27th of July. Bonaparte
officially wrote to the Directory that Augereau "had solicited leave to
go to Paris on his own private business."

But the truth is, Augereau was sent expressly to second the revolution
which was preparing against the Clichy party and the minority of the

Bonaparte made choice of Augereau because he knew his staunch republican
principles, his boldness, and his deficiency in political talent. He
thought him well calculated to aid a commotion, which his own presence
with the army of Italy prevented him from directing in person; and
besides, Augereau was not an ambitious rival who might turn events to his
own advantage. Napoleon said, at St. Helena, that he sent the addresses
of the army of Italy by Augereau because he was a decided supporter of
the opinions of the day. That was the true reason for choosing him.

Bernadotte was subsequently despatched on the same errand. Bonaparte's
pretence for sending him was, that he wished to transmit to the Directory
four flags, which, out of the twenty-one taken at the battle of Rivoli,
had been left, by mistake, at Peschiera. Bernadotte, however, did not
take any great part in the affair. He was always prudent.

The crisis of the 18th Fructidor, which retarded for three years the
extinction of the pentarchy, presents one of the most remarkable events
of its short existence. It will be seen how the Directors extricated
themselves from this difficulty. I subjoin the correspondence relating
to this remarkable episode of our Revolution, cancelling only such
portions of it as are irrelevant to the subject. It exhibits several
variations from the accounts given by Napoleon at St. Helena to his noble
companions in misfortune.

Augereau thus expressed himself on the 18th Fructidor (4th September

   At length, General, my mission is accomplished, and the promises of
   the army of Italy are fulfilled. The fear of being anticipated has
   caused measures to be hurried.

   At midnight I despatched orders to all the troops to march towards
   the points specified. Before day all the bridges and principal
   places were planted with cannon. At daybreak the halls of the
   councils were surrounded, the guards of the councils were amicably
   mingled with our troops, and the members, of whom I send you a list,
   were arrested and conveyed to the Temple. The greater number have
   escaped, and are being pursued. Carnot has disappeared.'

   --[In 1824 Louis XVIII. sent letters of nobility to those members
   of the two councils who were, as it was termed, 'fructidorized'.

   Paris is tranquil, and every one is astounded at an event which
   promised to be awful, but which has passed over like a fete.

   The stout patriots of the faubourgs proclaim the safety of the
   Republic, and the black collars are put down. It now remains for
   the wise energy of the Directory and the patriots of the two
   councils to do the rest. The place of sitting is changed, and the
   first operations promise well. This event is a great step towards
   peace; which it is your task finally to secure to us.

On the 24th Fructidor (10th September 1797) Augereau writes:

   My 'aide de camp', de Verine, will acquaint you with the events of
   the 18th. He is also to deliver to you some despatches from the
   Directory, where much uneasiness is felt at not hearing from you.
   No less uneasiness is experienced on seeing in Paris one of your
   'aides de camp',--(La Vallette)--whose conduct excites the
   dissatisfaction and distrust of the patriots, towards whom he has
   behaved very ill.

   The news of General Clarke's recall will have reached you by this
   time, and I suspect has surprised you. Amongst the thousand and one
   motives which have determined the Government to take this step may
   be reckoned his correspondence with Carnot, which has been
   communicated to me, and in which he treated the generals of the army
   of Italy as brigands.

   Moreau has sent the Directory a letter which throws a new light on
   Pichegru's treason. Such baseness is hardly to be conceived.

   The Government perseveres in maintaining the salutary measures which
   it has adopted. I hope it will be in vain for the remnant of the
   factions to renew their plots. The patriots will continue united.

   Fresh troops having been summoned to Paris, and my presence at their
   head being considered indispensable by the Government, I shall not
   have the satisfaction of seeing you so soon as I hoped. This has
   determined me to send for my horses and carriages, which I left at

Bernadotte wrote to Bonaparte on the 24th Fructidor as follows:--

   The arrested deputies are removed to Rochefort, where they will be
   embarked for the island of Madagascar. Paris is tranquil. The
   people at first heard of the arrest of the deputies with
   indifference. A feeling of curiosity soon drew them into the
   streets; enthusiasm followed, and cries of 'Vive la Republique',
   which had not been heard for a long time, now resounded in every
   street. The neighbouring departments have expressed their
   discontent. That of Allier has, it is said, protested; but it will
   cut a fine figure. Eight thousand men are marching to the environs
   of Paris. Part is already within the precincts; under the orders of
   General Lemoine. The Government has it at present in its power to
   elevate public spirit; but everybody feels that it is necessary the
   Directory should be surrounded by tried and energetic Republicans.
   Unfortunately a host of men, without talent and resources, already
   suppose that what has taken place has been done only in order to
   advance their interests. Time is necessary to set all to rights.
   The armies have regained consistency. The soldiers of the interior
   are esteemed, or at least feared. The emigrants fly, and the
   non-juring priests conceal themselves. Nothing could have happened
   more fortunately to consolidate the Republic.

Bonaparte wrote as follows, to the Directory on the 26th Fructidor:

   Herewith you will receive a proclamation to the army, relative to
   the events of the 18th. I have despatched the 45th demi-brigade,
   commanded by General Bon, to Lyons, together with fifty cavalry;
   also General Lannes, with the 20th light infantry and the 9th
   regiment of the line, to Marseilles. I have issued the enclosed
   proclamation in the southern departments. I am about to prepare a
   proclamation for the inhabitants of Lyons, as soon as I obtain some
   information of what may have passed there.

   If I find there is the least disturbance, I will march there with
   the utmost rapidity. Believe that there are here a hundred thousand
   men, who are alone sufficient to make the measures you have taken to
   place liberty on a solid basis be respected. What avails it that we
   gain victories if we are not respected in our country. In speaking
   of Paris, one may parody what Cassius said of Rome: "Of what use to
   call her queen on the banks of the Seine, when she is the slave of
   Pitt's gold?"

After the 18th Fructidor Augereau wished to have his reward for his share
in the victory, and for the service which he had rendered. He wished to
be a Director. He got, however, only the length of being a candidate;
honour enough for one who had merely been an instrument on that day.



   Bonaparte's joy at the result of the 18th Fructidor.--His letter to
   Augerean--His correspondence with the Directory and proposed
   resignation--Explanation of the Directory--Bottot--General Clarke--
   Letter from Madame Bacciocchi to Bonaparte--Autograph letter of the
   Emperor Francis to Bonaparte--Arrival of Count Cobentzel--Autograph
   note of Bonaparte on the conditions of peace.

Bonaparte was delighted when he heard of the happy issue of the 18th
Fructidor. Its result was the dissolution of the Legislative Body and
the fall of the Clichyan party, which for some months had disturbed his
tranquillity. The Clichyans had objected to Joseph Bonaparte's right to
sit as deputy for Liamone in the Council of Five Hundred.

   --[He was ambassador to Rome, and not a deputy at this time. When
   he became a member of the council, after his return from Rome, he
   experienced no opposition (Bourrienne et ses Erreurs, tome i.
   p. 240).]--

His brother's victory removed the difficulty; but the General-in-Chief
soon perceived that the ascendant party abused its power, and again
compromised the safety of the Republic, by recommencing the Revolutionary
Government. The Directors were alarmed at his discontent and offended by
his censure. They conceived the singular idea of opposing to Bonaparte,
Augereau, of whose blind zeal they had received many proofs. The
Directory appointed Augereau commander of the army of Germany. Augereau,
whose extreme vanity was notorious, believed himself in a situation to
compete with Bonaparte. What he built his arrogance on was, that, with a
numerous troop, he had arrested some unarmed representatives, and torn
the epaulettes from the shoulders of the commandant of the guard of the
councils. The Directory and he filled the headquarters at Passeriano
with spies and intriguers.

Bonaparte, who was informed of everything that was going on, laughed at
the Directory, and tendered his resignation, in order that he might be
supplicated to continue in command.

The following post-Thermidorian letters will prove that the General's
judgment on this point was correct.

On the 2d Vendemiaire, year VI. (23d September 1797), he wrote to
Augereau, after having announced the arrival of his 'aide de camp' as

   The whole army applauds the wisdom and vigour which you have
   displayed upon this important occasion, and participates in the
   success of the country with the enthusiasm and energy which
   characterise our soldiers. It is only to be hoped, however, that
   the Government will not be playing at see saw, and thus throw itself
   into the opposite party. Wisdom and moderate views alone can
   establish the happiness of the country on a sure foundation. As for
   myself, this is the most ardent wish of my heart. I beg that you
   will sometimes let me know what you are doing in Paris.

On the 4th Vendemiaire Bonaparte wrote a letter to the Directory in the
following terms:

   The day before yesterday an officer arrived at the army from Paris.
   He reported that he left Paris on the 25th, when anxiety prevailed
   there as to the feelings with which I viewed the events of the 18th
   He was the bearer of a sort of circular from General Augereau to all
   the generals of division; and he brought a letter of credit from the
   Minister of War to the commissary-general, authorising him to draw
   as much money as he might require for his journey.

   It is evident from these circumstances that the Government is acting
   towards me in somewhat the same way in which Pichegru was dealt with
   after Vendemiaire (year IV.).

   I beg of you to receive my resignation, and appoint another to my
   place. No power on earth shall make me continue in the service
   after this shocking mark of ingratitude on the part of the
   Government, which I was very far from expecting. My health, which
   is considerably impaired, imperiously demands repose and

   The state of my mind, likewise, requires me to mingle again in the
   mass of citizens. Great power has for a longtime been confided to
   my hands. I have employed it on all occasions for the advantage of
   my country; so much the worse for those who put no faith in virtue,
   and may have suspected mine. My recompense is in my own conscience,
   and in the opinion of posterity.

   Now that the country is tranquil and free from the dangers which
   have menaced it, I can, without inconvenience, quit the post in
   which I have been placed.

   Be sure that if there were a moment of danger, I would be found in
   the foremost rank of the defenders of liberty and of the
   constitution of the year III.

The Directory, judging from the account which Bottot gave of his mission
that he had not succeeded in entirely removing the suspicions of
Bonaparte, wrote the following letter on the 30th Vendemiaire:

   The Directory has itself been troubled about the impression made on
   you by the letter to the paymaster-general, of which an 'aide de
   camp' was the bearer. The composition of this letter has very much
   astonished the Government, which never appointed nor recognised such
   an agent: it is at least an error of office. But it should not
   alter the opinion you ought otherwise to entertain of the manner in
   which the Directory thinks of and esteems you. It appears that the
   18th Fructidor was misrepresented in the letters which were sent to
   the army of Italy. You did well to intercept them, and it may be
   right to transmit the most remarkable to the Minister of Police.
   --(What an ignoble task to propose to the conqueror of Italy.)

   In your observations on the too strong tendency of opinion towards
   military government, the Directory recognises an equally enlightened
   and ardent friend of the Republic.

   Nothing is wiser than the maxim, 'cedant arma togae', for the
   maintenance of republics. To show so much anxiety on so important a
   point is not one of the least glorious features in the life of a
   general placed at the head of a triumphant army.

The Directory had sent General Clarke

   --[H. J. G. Clarke, afterwards Minister of War under Napoleon,
   1807-1814, acid under the Bourbons in 1816, when he was made a
   Marshal of France. He was created Due de Feltre in 1819.]--

to treat for peace, as second plenipotentiary. Bonaparte has often told
me he had no doubt from the time of his arrival that General Clarke was
charged with a secret mission to act as a spy upon him, and even to
arrest him if an opportunity offered for so doing without danger. That
he had a suspicion of this kind is certain; but I must own that I was
never by any means able to discover its grounds; for in all my
intercourse since with Clarke he never put a single question to me, nor
did I ever hear a word drop from his mouth, which savoured of such a
character. If the fact be that he was a spy, he certainly played his
part well. In all the parts of his correspondence which were intercepted
there never was found the least confirmation of this suspicion. Be this
as it may, Bonaparte could not endure him; he did not make him acquainted
with what was going on, and his influence rendered this mission a mere
nullity. The General-in-Chief concentrated all the business of the
negotiation in his own closet; and, as to what was going on, Clarke
continued a mere cipher until the 18th Fructidor, when he was recalled.
Bonaparte made but little count of Clarke's talents. It is but justice,
however, to say that he bore him no grudge for the conduct of which he
suspected he was guilty in Italy. "I pardon him because I alone have the
right to be offended."

He even had the generosity to make interest for an official situation for
him. These amiable traits were not uncommon with Bonaparte.

Bonaparte had to encounter so many disagreeable contrarieties, both in
the negotiators for peace and the events at Paris, that he often
displayed a good deal of irritation and disgust. This state of mind was
increased by the recollection of the vexation his sister's marriage had
caused him, and which was unfortunately revived by a letter he received
from her at this juncture. His excitement was such that he threw it down
with an expression of anger. It has been erroneously reported in several
publications that "Bacciocchi espoused Marie-Anne-Eliza Bonaparte on the
5th of May 1797. The brother of the bride was at the time negotiating
the preliminaries of peace with Austria."

In fact, the preliminaries were signed in the month of April, and it was
for the definitive peace we were negotiating in May. But the reader will
find by the subjoined letter that Christine applied to her brother to
stand godfather to her third child. Three children in three months would
be rather quick work.

          AJACCIO, 14th, Thermidor, year V. (1st August 1797).

   GENERAL--Suffer me to write to you and call you by the name of
   brother. My first child was born at a time when you were much
   incensed against us. I trust she may soon caress you, and so make
   you forget the pain my marriage has occasioned you. My second child
   was still-born. Obliged to quit Paris by your order,

   --[Napoleon had written in August 1796 to Carnot, to request that
   Lucien might be ordered to quit Paris; see Iung, tome iii.
   p. 223.]--

   I miscarried in Germany. In a month's time I hope to present you
   with a nephew. A favourable time, and other circumstances, incline
   me to hope my next will be a boy, and I promise you I will make a
   soldier of him; but I wish him to bear your name, and that you
   should be his godfather. I trust you will not refuse your sister's

   Will you send, for this purpose, your power of attorney to
   Baciocchi, or to whomsoever you think fit? I shall expect with
   impatience your assent. Because we are poor let not that cause you
   to despise us; for, after all, you are our brother, mine are the
   only children that call you uncle, and we all love you more than we
   do the favours of fortune. Perhaps I may one day succeed in
   convincing you of the love I bear you.--Your affectionate sister,

                       CHRISTINE BONAPARTE.

   --[Madame Bacciocchi went by the name of Marianne at St. Cyr, of
   Christine while on her travels, and of Eliza under the Consulate.--

   P.S.--Do not fail to remember me to your wife, whom I strongly
   desire to be acquainted with. They told me at Paris I was very like
   her. If you recollect my features you can judge. C. B.

This letter is in the handwriting of Lucien Bonaparte.'

   --[Joseph Bonaparte in his Notes says, "It is false that Madame
   Bonaparte ever called herself Christine; it is false that she ever
   wrote the letter of which M. de Bourrienne here gives a copy." It
   will be observed that Bourrienne says it was written by her brother
   Lucien. This is an error. The letter is obviously from Christine
   Boyer, the wife of Lucien Bonaparte, whose marriage had given such
   displeasure to Napoleon. (See Erreurs, tome i. p. 240, and Iung's
   Lucien, tome i p. 161).]--

General Bonaparte had been near a month at Passeriano when he received
the following autograph letter from the Emperor of Austria:


   MONSIEUR LE GENERAL BONAPARTE--When I thought I had given my
   plenipotentiaries full powers to terminate the important negotiation
   with which they were charged, I learn, with as much pain as
   surprise, that in consequence of swerving continually from the
   stipulations of the preliminaries, the restoration of tranquillity,
   with the tidings of which I desire to gladden the hearts of my
   subjects, and which the half of Europe devoutly prays for, becomes
   day after day more uncertain.

   Faithful to the performance of my engagements, I am ready to execute
   what was agreed to at Leoben, and require from you but the
   reciprocal performance of so sacred a duty. This is what has
   already been declared in my name, and what I do not now hesitate
   myself to declare. If, perhaps, the execution of some of the
   preliminary articles be now impossible, in consequence of the events
   which have since occurred, and in which I had no part, it may be
   necessary to substitute others in their stead equally adapted to the
   interests and equally conformable to the dignity of the two nations.
   To such alone will I put my hand. A frank and sincere explanation,
   dictated by the same feelings which govern me, is the only way to
   lead to so salutary a result. In order to accelerate this result as
   far as in me lies, and to put an end at once to the state of
   uncertainty we remain in, and which has already lasted too long, I
   have determined to despatch to the place of the present negotiations
   Comte de Cobentzel, a man who possesses my most unlimited
   confidence, and who is instructed as to my intentions and furnished
   with my most ample powers. I have authorised him to receive and
   accept every proposition tending to the reconciliation of the two
   parties which may be in conformity with the principles of equity and
   reciprocal fitness, and to conclude accordingly.

   After this fresh assurance of the spirit of conciliation which
   animates me, I doubt not you will perceive that peace lies in your
   own hands, and that on your determination will depend the happiness
   or misery of many thousand men. If I mistake as to the means I
   think best adapted to terminate the calamities which for along time
   have desolated Europe, I shall at least have the consolation of
   reflecting that I have done all that depended on me. With the
   consequences which may result I can never be reproached.

   I have been particularly determined to the course I now take by the
   opinion I entertain of your upright character, and by the personal
   esteem I have conceived towards you, of which I am very happy, M. le
   General Bonaparte, to give you here an assurance.

                         (Signed) FRANCIS.

In fact, it was only on the arrival of the Comte de Cobentzel that the
negotiations were seriously set on foot. Bonaparte had all along clearly
perceived that Gallo and Meerweldt were not furnished with adequate
powers. He saw also clearly enough that if the month of September were,
to be trifled away in unsatisfactory negotiations, as the month which
preceded it had been, it would be difficult in October to strike a blow
at the house of Austria on the side of Carinthia. The Austrian Cabinet
perceived with satisfaction the approach of the bad weather, and insisted
more strongly on its ultimatum, which was the Adige, with Venice.

Before the 18th Fructidor the Emperor of Austria hoped that the movement
which was preparing in Paris would operate badly for France and
favourably to the European cause. The Austrian plenipotentiaries, in
consequence, raised their pretensions, and sent notes and an ultimatum
which gave the proceedings more an air of trifling than of serious
negotiation. Bonaparte's original ideas, which I have under his hand,
were as follows:

   1. The Emperor to have Italy as far as the Adda.
   2. The King of Sardinia as far as the Adda.
   3. The Genoese Republic to have the boundary of Tortona as far as
   the Po (Tortona to be demolished), as also the imperial fiefs.
   (Coni to be ceded to France, or to be demolished.)
   4. The Grand Duke of Tuscany to be restored.
   5. The Duke of Parma to be restored.



   Influence of the 18th Fructidor on the negotiations--Bonaparte's
   suspicion of Bottot--His complaints respecting the non-erasure of
   Bourrienne--Bourrienne's conversation with the Marquis of Gallo--
   Bottot writes from Paris to Bonaparte on the part of the Directory
   Agents of the Directory employed to watch Bonaparte--Influence of
   the weather on the conclusion of peace--Remarkable observation of
   Bonaparte--Conclusion of the treaty--The Directory dissatisfied with
   the terms of the peace--Bonaparte's predilection for representative
   government--Opinion on Bonaparte.

After the 18th Fructidor Bonaparte was more powerful, Austria less
haughty and confident. Venice was the only point of real difficulty.
Austria wanted the line of the Adige, with Venice, in exchange for
Mayence, and the boundary of the Rhine until that river enters Holland.
The Directory wished to have the latter boundary, and to add Mantua to
the Italian Republic, without giving up all the line of the Adige and
Venice. The difficulties were felt to be so irreconcilable that within
about a month of the conclusion of peace the Directory wrote to General
Bonaparte that a resumption of hostilities was preferable to the state of
uncertainty which was agitating and ruining France. The Directory,
therefore, declared that both the armies of the Rhine should take the
field. It appears from the Fructidorian correspondence, which has been
already given, that the majority of the Directory then looked upon a
peace such as Bonaparte afterwards made as infamous.

But Bonaparte, from the moment the Venetian insurrection broke out,
perceived that Venice might be used for the pacification. Bonaparte,
who was convinced that, in order to bring matters to an issue, Venice and
the territory beyond the Adige must fall beneath the Hapsburg sceptre,
wrote to the Directory that he could not commence operations,
advantageously, before the end of March, 1798; but that if the objections
to giving Venice to the Emperor of Austria were persisted in, hostilities
would certainly be resumed in the month of October, for the Emperor would
not renounce Venice. In that case it would be necessary to be ready on
the Rhine for an advance in Germany, as the army of Italy, if it could
make head against the Archduke Charles, was not sufficiently strong for
any operations on a grand scale. At this period the conclusion of peace
was certainly very doubtful; it was even seriously considered in, what
form the rupture should be notified.

Towards the end of September Bottot, Barras' secretary, arrived at
Passeriano. He was despatched by the Directory. Bonaparte immediately
suspected he was a new spy, come on a secret mission, to watch him. He
was therefore received and treated with coolness; but Bonaparte never
had, as Sir Walter Scott asserts, the idea of ordering him to be shot.
That writer is also in error when he says that Bottot was sent to
Passeriano to reproach Bonaparte for failing to fulfil his promise of
sending money to the Directory.

Bonaparte soon gave Bottot an opportunity of judging of the kind of
spirit which prevailed at headquarters. He suddenly tendered his
resignation, which he had already several times called upon the Directory
to accept. He accused the Government, at table, in Bottot's presence,
of horrible ingratitude. He recounted all his subjects of complaint,
in loud and impassioned language, without any restraint, and before
twenty or thirty persons.

Indignant at finding that his reiterated demands for the erasure of my
name from the list of emigrants had been slighted, and that, in spite of
his representations, conveyed to Paris by General Bernadotte, Louis
Bonaparte, and others, I was still included in that fatal list, he
apostrophised M. Bottot at dinner one day, before forty individuals,
among whom were the diplomatists Gallo, Cobentzel, and Meerweldt. The
conversation turned upon the Directory. "Yes, truly," cried Bonaparte,
in a loud voice, "I have good reason to complain; and, to pass from great
to little things, look, I pray you, at Bourrienne's case. He possesses
my most unbounded confidence. He alone is entrusted, under my orders,
with all the details of the negotiation. This you well know; and yet
your Directory will not strike him off the list. In a word it is not
only an inconceivable, but an extremely stupid piece of business; for he
has all my secrets; he knows my ultimatum, and could by a single word
realize a handsome fortune, and laugh at your obstinacy. Ask M. de Gallo
if this be not true."

Bottot wished to offer some excuse; but the general murmur which followed
this singular outburst reduced him to silence.

The Marquis de Gallo had conversed with me but three days before, in the
park of Passeriano, on the subject of my position with regard to France,
of the determination expressed by the Directory not to erase my name, and
of the risk I thereby ran. "We have no desire," continued he, "to renew
the war; we wish sincerely for peace; but it must be an honourable one.
The Republic of Venice presents a large territory for partition, which
would be sufficient for both parties. The cessions at present proposed
are not, however, satisfactory. We want to know Bonaparte's ultimatum;
and I am authorised to offer an estate in Bohemia, with a title and
residence, and an annual revenue of 90,000 florins."

I quickly interrupted M. de Gallo, and assured him that both my
conscience and my duty obliged me to reject his proposal; and so put at
once an end to the conversation.

I took care to let the General-in-Chief know this story, and he was not
surprised at my reply. His conviction, however, was strong, from all
that M. de Gallo had said, and more particularly from the offer he had
made, that Austria was resolved to avoid war, and was anxious for peace.

After I had retired to rest M. Bottot came to my bedroom and asked me,
with a feigned surprise, if it was true that my name was still on the
list of emigrants. On my replying in the affirmative, he requested me to
draw up a note on the subject. This I declined doing, telling him that
twenty notes of the kind he required already existed; that I would take
no further steps; and that I would henceforth await the decision in a
state of perfect inaction.

General Bonaparte thought it quite inexplicable that the Directory should
express dissatisfaction at the view he took of the events of the 18th
Fructidor, as, without his aid, they would doubtless have been overcome.
He wrote a despatch, in which he repeated that his health and his spirits
were affected--that he had need of some years' repose-that he could no
longer endure the fatigue of riding; but that the prosperity and liberty
of his country would always command his warmest interests. In all this
there was not a single word of truth. The Directory thought as much, and
declined to accept his resignation in the most flattering terms.

Bottot proposed to him, on the part of the Directory, to revolutionise
Italy. The General inquired whether the whole of Italy would be included
in the plan. The revolutionary commission had, however, been entrusted
to Bottot in so indefinite a way that he could only hesitate, and give a
vague reply. Bonaparte wished for more precise orders. In the interval
peace was concluded, and the idea of that perilous and extravagant
undertaking was no longer agitated. Bottot, soon after his return to
Paris, wrote a letter to General Bonaparte, in which he complained that
the last moments he had passed at Passeriano had deeply afflicted his
heart. He said that cruel suspicions had followed him even to the gates
of the Directory. These cruel suspicions had, however, been dissipated
by the sentiments of admiration and affection which he had found the
Directory entertained for the person of Bonaparte.

These assurances, which were precisely what Bonaparte had expected, did
not avail to lessen the contempt he entertained for the heads of the
Government, nor to change his conviction of their envy and mistrust of
himself. To their alleged affection he made no return. Bottot assured
the hero of Italy of "the Republican docility" of the Directory, and
touched upon the reproaches Bonaparte had thrown out against them, and
upon his demands which had not been granted. He said:

"The three armies, of the North, of the Rhine, and of the
Sambre-et-Meuse, are to form only one, the army of Germany.--Augereau?
But you yourself sent him. The fault committed by the Directory is
owing to yourself! Bernadotte?--he is gone to join you. Cacault?--he
is recalled. Twelve thousand men for your army?--they are on their
march. The treaty with Sardinia?--it is ratified. Bourrienne?--he is
erased. The revolution of Italy?--it is adjourned. Advise the
Directory, then: I repeat it, they have need of information, and it is
to you they look for it."

The assertion regarding me was false. For six months Bonaparte demanded
my erasure without being able to obtain it. I was not struck off the
list until the 11th of November 1797.

Just before the close of the negotiation Bonaparte, disgusted at the
opposition and difficulties with which he was surrounded, reiterated
again and again the offer of his resignation, and his wish to have a
successor appointed. What augmented his uneasiness was an idea he
entertained that the Directory had penetrated his secret, and attributed
his powerful concurrence on the 18th Fructidor to the true cause--his
personal views of ambition. In spite of the hypocritical assurances of
gratitude made to him in writing, and though the Directory knew that his
services were indispensable, spies were employed to watch his movements,
and to endeavour by means of the persons about him to discover his views.
Some of the General's friends wrote to him from Paris, and for my part I
never ceased repeating to him that the peace, the power of making which
he had in his own hands, would render him far more popular than the
renewal of hostilities undertaken with all the chances of success and
reverse. The signing of the peace, according to his own ideas, and in
opposition to those of the Directory, the way in which he just halted at
Rastadt, and avoided returning to the Congress, and, finally, his
resolution to expatriate himself with an army in order to attempt new
enterprises, sprung more than is generally believed from the ruling idea
that he was distrusted, and that his ruin was meditated. He often
recalled to mind what La Vallette had written to him about his
conversation with Lacuee; and all he saw and heard confirmed the
impression he had received on this subject.

The early appearance of bad weather precipitated his determination. On
the 13th of October, at daybreak, on opening my window, I perceived the
mountains covered with snow. The previous night had been superb, and the
autumn till then promised to be fine and late. I proceeded, as I always
did, at seven o'clock in the morning, to the General's chamber. I woke
him, and told him what I had seen. He feigned at first to disbelieve me,
then leaped from his bed, ran to the window, and, convinced of the sudden
change, he calmly said, "What! before the middle of October! What a
country is this! Well, we must make peace!" While he hastily put on his
clothes I read the journals to him, as was my daily custom. He paid but
little attention to them.

Shutting himself up with me in his closet, he reviewed with the greatest
care all the returns from the different corps of his army. "Here are,"
said he, "nearly 80,000 effective men. I feed, I pay them: but I can
bring but 60,000 into the field on the day of battle. I shall gain it,
but afterwards my force will be reduced 20,000 men--by killed, wounded,
and prisoners. Then how oppose all the Austrian forces that will march
to the protection of Vienna? It would be a month before the armies of
the Rhine could support me, if they should be able; and in a fortnight
all the roads and passages will be covered deep with snow. It is
settled--I will make peace. Venice shall pay for the expense of the war
and the boundary of the Rhine: let the Directory and the lawyers say what
they like."

He wrote to the Directory in the following words: "The summits of the
hills are covered with snow; I cannot, on account of the stipulations
agreed to for the recommencement of hostilities, begin before
five-and-twenty days, and by that time we shall be overwhelmed with

Fourteen years after, another early winter, in a more severe climate, was
destined to have a fatal influence on his fortunes. Had he but then
exercised equal foresight!

It is well known that, by the treaty of Campo-Formio, the two belligerent
powers made peace at the expense of the Republic of Venice, which had
nothing to do with the quarrel in the first instance, and which only
interfered at a late period, probably against her own inclination, and
impelled by the force of inevitable circumstances. But what has been the
result of this great political spoliation? A portion of the Venetian
territory was adjudged to the Cisalpine Republic; it is now in the
possession of Austria.

Another considerable portion, and the capital itself, fell to the lot of
Austria in compensation for the Belgic provinces and Lombard, which she
ceded to France. Austria has now retaken Lombard, and the additions then
made to it, and Belgium is in the possession of the House of Orange.
France obtained Corfu and some of the Ionian isles; these now belong to

   --[Afterwards to be ceded by her to Greece. Belgium is free.]--

Romulus never thought he was founding Rome for Goths and priests.
Alexander did not foresee that his Egyptian city would belong to the
Turks; nor did Constantine strip Rome for the benefit of Mahomet II. Why
then fight for a few paltry villages?

Thus have we been gloriously conquering for Austria and England. An
ancient State is overturned without noise, and its provinces, after being
divided among different bordering States, are now all under the dominion
of Austria. We do not possess a foot of ground in all the fine countries
we conquered, and which served as compensations for the immense
acquisitions of the House of Hapsburgh in Italy. Thus that house was
aggrandised by a war which was to itself most disastrous. But Austria
has often found other means of extending her dominion than military
triumphs, as is recorded in the celebrated distich of Mathias Corvinus:

     "Bella gerunt alli, to felix Austria nube;
     Nam quae Mars allis, dat tibi regna Venus."

     ["Glad Austria wins by Hymen's silken chain
     What other States by doubtful battle gain,
     And while fierce Mars enriches meaner lands,
     Receives possession from fair Venus' hands."]

The Directory was far from being satisfied with the treaty of
Campo-Formio, and with difficulty resisted the temptation of not
ratifying it. A fortnight before the signature the Directors wrote to
General Bonaparte that they would not consent to give to the Emperor
Venice, Frioul, Padua, and the 'terra firma' with the boundary of the
Adige. "That," said they, "would not be to make peace, but to adjourn
the war. We shall be regarded as the beaten party, independently of the
disgrace of abandoning Venice, which Bonaparte himself thought so worthy
of freedom. France ought not, and never will wish, to see Italy
delivered up to Austria. The Directory would prefer the chances of a war
to changing a single word of its ultimatum, which is already too
favourable to Austria."

All this was said in vain. Bonaparte made no scruple of disregarding his
instructions. It has been said that the Emperor of Austria made an offer
of a very considerable sum of money, and even of a principality, to
obtain favourable terms. I was never able to find the slightest ground
for this report, which refers to a time when the smallest circumstance
could not escape my notice. The character of Bonaparte stood too high
for him to sacrifice his glory as a conqueror and peacemaker for even the
greatest private advantage. This was so thoroughly known, and he was so
profoundly esteemed by the Austrian plenipotentiaries, that I will
venture to say none of them would have been capable of making the
slightest overture to him of so debasing a proposition. Besides, it
would have induced him to put an end to all intercourse with the
plenipotentiaries. Perhaps what I have just stated of M. de Gallo will
throw some light upon this odious accusation. But let us dismiss this
story with the rest, and among them that of the porcelain tray, which was
said to have been smashed and thrown at the head of M. de Cobentzel.
I certainly know nothing of any such scene; our manners at Passeriano
were not quite so bad!

The presents customary on such occasions were given, and the Emperor of
Austria also took that opportunity to present to General Bonaparte six
magnificent white horses.

Bonaparte returned to Milan by way of Gratz, Laybach, Thrust, Mestre,
Verona, and Mantua.

At this period Napoleon was still swayed by the impulse of the age. He
thought of nothing but representative governments. Often has he said to
me, "I should like the era of representative governments to be dated from
my time." His conduct in Italy and his proclamations ought to give, and
in fact do give, weight to this account of his opinion. But there is no
doubt that this idea was more connected with lofty views of ambition than
a sincere desire for the benefit of the human race; for, at a later
period, he adopted this phrase: "I should like to be the head of the most
ancient of the dynasties cf Europe." What a difference between
Bonaparte, the author of the 'Souper de Beaucaire', the subduer of
royalism at Toulon; the author of the remonstrance to Albitte and
Salicetti, the fortunate conqueror of the 13th Vendemiaire, the
instigator and supporter of the revolution of Fructidor, and the founder
of the Republics of Italy, the fruits of his immortal victories,--and
Bonaparte, First Consul in 1800, Consul for life in 1802, and, above all,
Napoleon, Emperor of the French in 1804, and King of Italy in 1805!



   Effect of the 18th Fructidor on the peace--The standard of the army
   of Italy--Honours rendered to the memory of General Hoche and of
   Virgil at Mantua--Remarkable letter--In passing through Switzerland
   Bonaparte visits the field of Morat--Arrival at Rastadt--Letter from
   the Directory calling Bonaparte to Paris--Intrigues against
   Josephine--Grand ceremony on the reception of Bonaparte by the
   Directory--The theatres--Modesty of Bonaparte--An assassination--
   Bonaparte's opinion of the Parisians--His election to the National
   Institute--Letter to Camus--Projects--Reflections.

The day of the 18th Fructidor had, without any doubt, mainly contributed
to the conclusion of peace at Campo Formio. On the one hand, the
Directory, hitherto not very pacifically inclined, after having effected
a 'coup d'etat', at length saw the necessity of appeasing the
discontented by giving peace to France. On the other hand, the Cabinet
of Vienna, observing the complete failure of all the royalist plots in
the interior, thought it high time to conclude with the French Republic a
treaty which, notwithstanding all the defeats Austria had sustained,
still left her a preponderating influence over Italy.

Besides, the campaign of Italy, so fertile in glorious achievements of
arms, had not been productive of glory alone. Something of greater
importance followed these conquests. Public affairs had assumed a
somewhat unusual aspect, and a grand moral influence, the effect of
victories and of peace, had begun to extend all over France.
Republicanism was no longer so sanguinary and fierce as it had been some
years before. Bonaparte, negotiating with princes and their ministers on
a footing of equality, but still with all that superiority to which
victory and his genius entitled him, gradually taught foreign courts to
be familiar with Republican France, and the Republic to cease regarding
all States governed by Kings as of necessity enemies.

In these circumstances the General-in-Chief's departure and his expected
visit to Paris excited general attention. The feeble Directory was
prepared to submit to the presence of the conqueror of Italy in the

It was for the purpose of acting as head of the French legation at the
Congress of Rastadt that Bonaparte quitted Milan on the 17th of November.
But before his departure he sent to the Directory one of those monuments,
the inscriptions on which may generally be considered as fabulous, but
which, in this case, were nothing but the truth. This monument was the
"flag of the Army of Italy," and to General Joubert was assigned the
honourable duty of presenting it to the members of the Executive

On one side of the flag were the words "To the Army of Italy, the
grateful country." The other contained an enumeration of the battles
fought and places taken, and presented, in the following inscriptions, a
simple but striking abridgment of the history of the Italian campaign.




Thus were recapitulated on a flag, destined to decorate the Hall of the
Public Sittings of the Directory, the military deeds of the campaign in
Italy, its political results, and the conquest of the monuments of art.

Most of the Italian cities looked upon their conqueror as a
liberator--such was the magic of the word liberty, which resounded from
the Alps to the Apennines. On his way to Mantua the General took up his
residence in the palace of the ancient dukes. Bonaparte promised the
authorities of Mantua that their department should be one of the most
extensive; impressed on them the necessity of promptly organising a
local militia, and of putting in execution the plans of Mari, the
mathematician, for the navigation of the Mincio from Mantua to

He stopped two days at Mantua, and the morrow of his arrival was devoted
to the celebration of a military funeral solemnity, in honour of General
Hoche, who had just died. His next object was to hasten the execution of
the monument which was erecting to the memory of Virgil. Thus, in one
day, he paid honour to France and Italy, to modern and to ancient glory,
to the laurels of war and to the laurels of poetry.

A person who saw Bonaparte on this occasion for the first time thus
described him in a letter he wrote to Paris:--"With lively interest and
extreme attention I have observed this extraordinary man, who has
performed such great deeds, and about whom there is something which seems
to indicate that his career is not yet terminated. I found him very like
his portraits--little, thin, pale, with an air of fatigue, but not of
ill-health, as has been reported of him. He appears to me to listen with
more abstraction than interest, and that he was more occupied with what
he was thinking of than with what was said to him. There is great
intelligence in his countenance, along with which may be marked an air of
habitual meditation, which reveals nothing of what is passing within.
In that thinking head, in that bold mind, it is impossible not to believe
that some daring designs are engendering which will have their influence
an the destinies of Europe."

From the last phrase, in particular, of this letter, one might suspect
that it was written after Bonaparte had made his name feared throughout
Europe; but it really appeared in a journal in the month of December
1797, a little before his arrival in Paris.

There exists a sort of analogy between celebrated men and celebrated
places; it was not, therefore, an uninteresting spectacle to see
Bonaparte surveying the field of Morat, where, in 1476, Charles the Bold,
Duke of Burgundy, daring like himself, fell with his powerful army under
the effects of Helvetian valour. Bonaparte slept during the night at
Maudon, where, as in every place through which he passed, the greatest
honours were paid him. In the morning, his carriage having broken down,
we continued our journey an foot, accompanied only by some officers and
an escort of dragoons of the country. Bonaparte stopped near the
Ossuary, and desired to be shown the spot where the battle of Morat was
fought. A plain in front of the chapel was pointed out to him. An
officer who had served in France was present, and explained to him how
the Swiss, descending from the neighbouring mountains, were enabled,
under cover of a wood, to turn the Burgundian army and put it to the
rout. "What was the force of that army?" asked Bonaparte.--"Sixty
thousand men."--"Sixty thousand men!" he exclaimed: "they ought to have
completely covered these mountains!"--"The French fight better now," said
Lannes, who was one of the officers of his suite. "At that time,"
observed Bonaparte, interrupting him, "the Burgundians were not

Bonaparte's journey through Switzerland was not without utility; and his
presence served to calm more than one inquietude. He proceeded on his
journey to Rastadt by Aix in Savoy, Berne, and Bale. On arriving at
Berne during night we passed through a double file of well-lighted
equipages, filled with beautiful women, all of whom raised the cry of
"Long live, Bonaparte!--long live the Pacificator!" To have a proper
idea of this genuine enthusiasm it is necessary to have seen it.

The position in society to which his services had raised him rendered it
unfit to address him in the second person singular and the familiar
manner sometimes used by his old schoolfellows of Brienne. I thought,
this very natural.

M. de Cominges, one of those who went with him to the military school at
Paris, and who had emigrated, was at Bale. Having learned our arrival,
he presented himself without ceremony, with great indecorum, and with a
complete disregard of the respect due to a man who had rendered himself
so illustrious. General Bonaparte, offended at this behaviour, refused
to receive him again, and expressed himself to me with much warmth on the
occasion of this visit. All my efforts to remove his displeasure were
unavailing this impression always continued, and he never did for M. de
Cominges what his means and the old ties of boyhood might well have

On arriving at Rastadt

   --[The conference for the formal peace with the Empire of Germany
   was held there. The peace of Leoben was only one made with

Bonaparte found a letter from the Directory summoning him to Paris. He
eagerly obeyed this invitation, which drew him from a place where he
could act only an insignificant part, and which he had determined to
leave soon, never again to return. Some time after his arrival in Paris,
on the ground that his presence was necessary for the execution of
different orders, and the general despatch of business, he required that
authority should be given to a part of his household, which he had left
at Rastadt, to return.

How could it ever be said that the Directory "kept General Bonaparte away
from the great interests which were under discussion at Rastadt"? Quite
the contrary! The Directory would have been delighted to see him return
there, as they would then have been relieved from his presence in Paris;
but nothing was so disagreeable to Bonaparte as long and seemingly
interminable negotiations. Such tedious work did not suit his character,
and he had been sufficiently disgusted with similar proceedings at

On our arrival at Rastadt I soon found that General Bonaparte was
determined to stay there only a short time. I therefore expressed to him
my decided desire to remain in Germany. I was then ignorant that my
erasure from the emigrant list had been ordered on the 11th of November,
as the decree did not reach the commissary of the Executive Directory at
Auxerre until the 17th of November, the day of our departure from Milan.

The silly pretext of difficulties by which my erasure, notwithstanding
the reiterated solicitations of the victorious General, was so long
delayed made me apprehensive of a renewal, under a weak and jealous
pentarchy, of the horrible scenes of 1796. Bonaparte said to me, in
atone of indignation, "Come, pass the Rhine; they will not dare to seize
you while near me. I answer for your safety." On reaching Paris I found
that my erasure had taken place. It was at this period only that General
Bonaparte's applications in my favour were tardily crowned with success.
Sotin, the Minister of General Police, notified the fact to Bonaparte;
but his letter gave a reason for my erasure very different from that
stated in the decree. The Minister said that the Government did not wish
to leave among the names of traitors to their country the name of a
citizen who was attached to the person of the conqueror of Italy; while
the decree itself stated as the motive for removing my name from the list
that I never had emigrated.

At St. Helena it seems Bonaparte said that he did not return from Italy
with more than 300,000 francs; but I assert that he had at that time in
his possession something more than 3,000,000.

   --[Joseph says that Napoleon, when he exiled for Egypt, left with
   him all his fortune, and that it was much nearer 300,000 francs than
   3,000,000. (See Erreurs, tome i. pp. 243, 259)]--

How could he with 300,000 francs have been able to provide for the
extensive repairs, the embellishment, and the furnishing of his house in
the Rue Chantereine? How could he have supported the establishment he
did with only 15,000 francs of income and the emoluments of his rank?
The excursion which he made along the coast, of which I have yet to
speak, of itself cost near 12,000 francs in gold, which he transferred to
me to defray the expense of the journey; and I do not think that this sum
was ever repaid him. Besides, what did it signify, for any object he
might have in disguising his fortune, whether he brought 3,000,000 or
300,000 francs with him from Italy? No one will accuse him of
peculation. He was an inflexible administrator. He was always irritated
at the discovery of fraud, and pursued those guilty of it with all the
vigour of his character. He wished to be independent, which he well knew
that no one could be without fortune. He has often said to me, "I am no
Capuchin, not I." But after having been allowed only 300,000 francs on
his arrival from the rich Italy, where fortune never abandoned him, it
has been printed that he had 20,000,000 (some have even doubled the
amount) on his return from Egypt, which is a very poor country, where
money is scarce, and where reverses followed close upon his victories.
All these reports are false. What he brought from Italy has just been
stated, and it will be seen when we come to Egypt what treasure he
carried away from the country of the Pharaohs.

Bonaparte's brothers, desirous of obtaining complete dominion over his
mind, strenuously endeavoured to lessen the influence which Josephine
possessed from the love of her husband. They tried to excite his
jealousy, and took advantage of her stay at Milan after our departure,
which had been authorised by Bonaparte himself. My intimacy with both
the husband and the wife fortunately afforded me an opportunity of
averting or lessening a good deal of mischief. If Josephine still lived
she would allow me this merit. I never took part against her but once,
and that unwillingly. It was on the subject of the marriage of her
daughter Hortense. Josephine had never as yet spoken to me on the
subject. Bonaparte wished to give his stepdaughter to Duroc, and his
brothers were eager to promote the marriage, because they wished to
separate Josephine from Hortense, for whom Bonaparte felt the tenderest
affection. Josephine, on the other hand, wished Hortense to marry Louis
Bonaparte. Her motives, as may easily be divined, were to, gain support
in a family where she experienced nothing but enmity, and she carried her

   --[Previous to her marriage with Louis, Hortense cherished an
   attachment for Duroc, who was at that time a handsome man about
   thirty, and a great favourite of Bonaparte. However, the
   indifference with which Duroc regarded the marriage of Louis
   Bonaparte sufficiently proves that the regard with which he had
   inspired Hortense was not very ardently returned. It is certain
   that Duroc might have become the husband of Mademoiselle de
   Beauharnais had he been willing to accede to the conditions on which
   the First Consul offered him his step-daughter's hand. But Duroc
   looked forward to something better, and his ordinary prudence
   forsook him at a moment when he might easily have beheld a
   perspective calculated to gratify even a more towering ambition than
   his. He declined the proposed marriage; and the union of Hortense
   and Louis, which Madame Bonaparte, to conciliate the favour of her
   brothers-in-law, had endeavoured to bring about, was immediately
   determined on (Memoires de Constant).

   In allusion to the alleged unfriendly feeling of Napoleon's brothers
   towards Josephine, the following observation occurs in Joseph
   Bonaparte's Notes on Bourrienne:

   "None of Napoleon's brothers," he says, "were near him from the time
   of his departure for Italy except Louis who cannot be suspected of
   having intrigued against Josephine, whose daughter he married.
   These calumnies are without foundation" (Erreurs, tome i. p. 244)]--

On his arrival from Rastadt the most magnificent preparations were made
at the Luxembourg for the reception of Bonaparte. The grand court of the
Palace was elegantly ornamented; and at its farther end, close to the
Palace, a large amphitheatre was erected for the accommodation of
official persons. Curiosity, as on all like occasions, attracted
multitudes, and the court was filled. Opposite to the principal
vestibule stood the altar of the country, surrounded by the statues of
Liberty, Equality, and Peace. When Bonaparte entered every head was
uncovered. The windows were full of young and beautiful females. But
notwithstanding this great preparation an icy coldness characterized the
ceremony. Every one seemed to be present only for the purpose of
beholding a sight, and curiosity was the prevailing expression rather
than joy or gratitude. It is but right to say, however, that an
unfortunate event contributed to the general indifference. The right
wing of the Palace was not occupied, but great preparations had been
making there, and an officer had been directed to prevent anyone from
ascending. One of the clerks of the Directory, however, contrived to get
upon the scaffolding, but had scarcely placed his foot on the first plank
when it tilted up, and the imprudent man fell the whole height into the
court. This accident created a general stupor. Ladies fainted, and the
windows were nearly deserted.

However, the Directory displayed all the Republican splendour of which
they were so prodigal on similar occasions. Speeches were far from being
scarce. Talleyrand, who was then Minister for Foreign Affairs, on
introducing Bonaparte to the Directory, made a long oration, in the
course of which he hinted that the personal greatness of the General
ought not to excite uneasiness, even in a rising Republic. "Far from
apprehending anything from his ambition, I believe that we shall one day
be obliged to solicit him to tear himself from the pleasures of studious
retirement. All France will be free, but perhaps he never will; such is
his destiny."

Talleyrand was listened to with impatience, so anxious was every one to
hear Bonaparte. The conqueror of Italy then rose, and pronounced with a
modest air, but in a firm voice, a short address of congratulation on the
improved position of the nation.

Barras, at that time President of the Directory, replied to Bonaparte
with so much prolixity as to weary everyone; and as soon as he had
finished speaking he threw himself into the arms of the General, who was
not much pleased with such affected displays, and gave him what was then
called the fraternal embrace. The other members of the Directory,
following the example of the President, surrounded Bonaparte and pressed
him in their arms; each acted, to the best of his ability, his part in
the sentimental comedy.

Chenier composed for this occasion a hymn, which Mehul set to music. A
few days after an opera was produced, bearing the title of the 'Fall of
Carthage', which was meant as an allusion to the anticipated exploits of
the conqueror of Italy, recently appointed to the command of the "Army of
England." The poets were all employed in praising him; and Lebrun, with
but little of the Pindaric fire in his soul, composed the following
distich, which certainly is not worth much:

     "Heros, cher a la paix, aux arts, a la victoire--
     Il conquit en deux ans mille siecles de gloire."

The two councils were not disposed to be behind the Directory in the
manifestation of joy. A few days after they gave a banquet to the
General in the gallery of the Louvre, which had recently been enriched by
the masterpieces of painting conquered in Italy.

At this time Bonaparte displayed great modesty in all his transactions in
Paris. The administrators of the department of the Seine having sent a
deputation to him to inquire what hour and day he would allow them to
wait on him, he carried himself his answer to the department, accompanied
by General Berthier. It was also remarked that the judge of the peace of
the arrondissement where the General lived having called on him on the
6th of December, the evening of his arrival, he returned the visit next
morning. These attentions, trifling as they may appear, were not without
their effect on the minds of the Parisians.

In consequence of General Bonaparte's victories, the peace he had
effected, and the brilliant reception of which he had been the object,
the business of Vendemiaire was in some measure forgotten. Every one was
eager to get a sight of the young hero whose career had commenced with so
much 'eclat'. He lived very retiredly, yet went often to the theatre.
He desired me, one day, to go and request the representation of two of
the best pieces of the time, in which Elleviou, Mesdames St. Aubin,
Phillis, and other distinguished performers played. His message was,
that he only wished these two pieces on the same night, if that were
possible. The manager told me that nothing that the conqueror of Italy
wished for was impossible, for he had long ago erased that word from the
dictionary. Bonaparte laughed heartily at the manager's answer. When we
went to the theatre he seated himself, as usual, in the back of the box,
behind Madame Bonaparte, making me sit by her side. The pit and boxes,
however, soon found out that he was in the house, and loudly called for
him. Several times an earnest desire to see him was manifested, but all
in vain, for he never showed himself.

Some days after, being at the Theatre des Arts, at the second
representation of 'Horatius Cocles', although he was sitting at the back
of a box in the second tier, the audience discovered that he was in the
house. Immediately acclamations arose from all quarters; but he kept
himself concealed as much as possible, and said to a person in the next
box, "Had I known that the boxes were so exposed, I should not have

During Bonaparte's stay at Paris a woman sent a messenger to warn him
that his life would be attempted, and that poison was to be employed for
that purpose. Bonaparte had the bearer of this information arrested,
who: went, accompanied by the judge of the peace, to the woman's house,
where she was found extended on the floor, and bathed in her blood. The
men whose plot she had overheard, having discovered that she had revealed
their secret, murdered her. The poor woman was dreadfully mangled: her
throat was cut; and, not satisfied with that, the assassins had also
hacked her body with sharp instruments.

On the night of the 10th of Nivose the Rue Chantereine, in which
Bonaparte had a small house (No. 6), received, in pursuance of a decree
of the department, the name of Rue de la Victoire. The cries of "Vive
Bonaparte!" and the incense prodigally offered up to him, did not however
seduce him from his retired habits. Lately the conqueror and ruler of
Italy, and now under men for whom he had no respect, and who saw in him a
formidable rival, he said to me one day, "The people of Paris do not
remember anything. Were I to remain here long, doing nothing, I should
be lost. In this great Babylon one reputation displaces another. Let me
be seen but three times at the theatre and I shall no longer excite
attention; so I shall go there but seldom." When he went he occupied a
box shaded with curtains. The manager of the opera wished to get up a
special performance in his honour; but he declined the offer. When I
observed that it must be agreeable to him to see his fellow-citizens so
eagerly running after him, he replied, "Bah! the people would crowd as
fast to see me if I were going to the scaffold."

   --[A similar remark made to William III. on his lending at Brixham
   elicited the comment, "Like the Jews, who cried one day 'Hosanna!'
   and the next 'Crucify Him! crucify Him!'"]--

On the 28th of December Bonaparte was named a member of the Institute, in
the class of the Sciences and arts.

   --[Napoleon seems to have really considered this nomination as a
   great honour. He was fond of using the title in his proclamations;
   and to the last the allowance attached to the appointment figured in
   the Imperial accounts. He replaced Carnot, the exiled Director.]--

He showed a deep sense of this honour, and wrote the following letter to
Camus; the president of the class:

   CITIZEN PRESIDENT--The suffrage of the distinguished men who compose
   the institute confers a high honour on me. I feel well assured
   that, before I can be their equal, I must long be their scholar. If
   there were any way more expressive than another of making known my
   esteem for you, I should be glad to employ it. True conquests--the
   only ones which leave no regret behind them--are those which are
   made over ignorance. The most honourable, as well as the most
   useful, occupation for nations is the contributing to the extension
   of human knowledge. The true power of the French Republic should
   henceforth be made to consist in not allowing a single new idea to
   exist without making it part of its property.

The General now renewed, though unsuccessfully, the attempt he had made
before the 18th Fructidor to obtain a dispensation of the age necessary
for becoming a Director. Perceiving that the time was not yet favourable
for such a purpose, he said to me, on the 29th of January 1798,
"Bourrienne, I do not wish to remain here; there is nothing to do. They
are unwilling to listen to anything. I see that if I linger here, I
shall soon lose myself. Everything wears out here; my glory has already
disappeared. This little Europe does not supply enough of it for me. I
must seek it in the East, the fountain of glory. However, I wish first
to make a tour along the coast, to ascertain by my own observation what
may be attempted. I will take you, Lannes, and Sulkowsky, with me. If
the success of a descent on England appear doubtful, as I suspect it
will, the army of England shall become the army of the East, and I will
go to Egypt."

This and other conversations give a correct insight into his character.
He always considered war and conquest as the most noble and inexhaustible
source of that glory which was the constant object of his desire. He
revolted at the idea of languishing in idleness at Paris, while fresh
laurels were growing for him in distant climes. His imagination
inscribed, in anticipation, his name on those gigantic monuments which
alone, perhaps, of all the creations of man, have the character of
eternity. Already proclaimed the most illustrious of living generals,
he sought to efface the rival names of antiquity by his own. If Caesar
fought fifty battles, he longed to fight a hundred--if Alexander left
Macedon to penetrate to the Temple of Ammon, he wished to leave Paris to
travel to the Cataracts of the Nile. While he was thus to run a race
with fame, events would, in his opinion, so proceed in France as to
render his return necessary and opportune. His place would be ready for
him, and he should not come to claim it a forgotten or unknown man.



   Bonaparte's departure from Paris--His return--The Egyptian
   expedition projected--M. de Talleyrand--General Desaix--Expedition
   against Malta--Money taken at Berne--Bonaparte's ideas respecting
   the East--Monge--Non-influence of the Directory--Marriages of
   Marmont and La Valette--Bonaparte's plan of colonising Egypt--His
   camp library--Orthographical blunders--Stock of wines--Bonaparte's
   arrival at Toulon--Madame Bonaparte's fall from a balcony--Execution
   of an old man--Simon.

Bonaparte left Paris for the north on the 10th of February 1798--but he
received no order, though I have seen it everywhere so stated, to go
there--"for the purpose of preparing the operations connected with the
intended invasion of England." He occupied himself with no such
business, for which a few days certainly would not have been sufficient.
His journey to the coast was nothing but a rapid excursion, and its sole
object was to enable him to form an opinion on the main point of the
question. Neither did he remain absent several weeks, for the journey
occupied only one. There were four of us in his carriage--himself,
Lannes, Sulkowsky, and I. Moustache was our courier. Bonaparte was not
a little surprised on reading, in the 'Moniteur' of the 10th February, an
article giving greater importance to his little excursion than it

   "General Bonaparte," said the 'Moniteur', "has departed for Dunkirk
   with some naval and engineer officers. They have gone to visit the
   coasts and prepare the preliminary operations for the descent [upon
   England]. It may be stated that he will not return to Rastadt, and
   that the close of the session of the Congress there is approaching."

Now for the facts. Bonaparte visited Etaples, Ambleteuse, Boulogne,
Calais, Dunkirk, Furnes, Niewport, Ostend, and the Isle of Walcheren.
He collected at the different ports all the necessary information with
that intelligence and tact for which he was so eminently distinguished.
He questioned the sailors, smugglers, and fishermen, and listened
attentively to the answers he received.

We returned to Paris by Antwerp, Brussels, Lille, and St. Quentin. The
object of our journey was accomplished when we reached the first of these
towns. "Well, General," said I, "what think you of our journey? Are you
satisfied? For my part, I confess I entertain no great hopes from
anything I have seen and heard." Bonaparte immediately answered, "It is
too great a chance. I will not hazard it. I would not thus sport with
the fate of my beloved France." On hearing this I already fancied myself
in Cairo!

On his return to Paris Bonaparte lost no time in setting on foot the
military and scientific preparations for the projected expedition to the
banks of the Nile, respecting which such incorrect statements have
appeared. It had long occupied his thoughts, as the following facts will

In the month of August 1797 he wrote "that the time was not far distant
when we should see that, to destroy the power of England effectually, it
would be necessary to attack Egypt." In the same month he wrote to
Talleyrand, who had just succeeded Charles de Lacroix as Minister of
Foreign Affairs, "that it would be necessary to attack Egypt, which did
not belong to the Grand Signior." Talleyrand replied, "that his ideas
respecting Egypt were certainly grand, and that their utility could not
fail to be fully appreciated." He concluded by saying he would write to
him at length on the subject.

History will speak as favourably of M. de Talleyrand as his
contemporaries have spoken ill of him. When a statesman, throughout a
great, long, and difficult career, makes and preserves a number of
faithful friends, and provokes but few enemies, it must be acknowledged
that his character is honourable and his talent profound, and that his
political conduct has been wise and moderate. It is impossible to know
M. de Talleyrand without admiring him. All who have that advantage, no
doubt, judge him as I do.

In the month of November of the same year Bonaparte sent Poussielgue,
under the pretence of inspecting the ports of the Levant, to give the
finishing stroke to the meditated expedition against Malta.

General Desaix, whom Bonaparte had made the confidant of all his plans at
their interview in Italy after the preliminaries of Leoben, wrote to him
from Affenbourg, on his return to Germany, that he regarded the fleet of
Corfu with great interest. "If ever," said he, "it should be engaged in
the grand enterprises of which I have heard you speak, do not, I beseech
you, forget me." Bonaparte was far from forgetting him.

The Directory at first disapproved of the expedition against Malta, which
Bonaparte had proposed long before the treaty of Campo-Formio was signed.
The expedition was decided to be impossible, for Malta had observed
strict neutrality, and had on several occasions even assisted our ships
and seamen. Thus we had no pretext for going to war with her. It was
said, too, that the legislative body would certainly not look with a
favourable eye on such a measure. This opinion, which, however, did not
last long, vexed Bonaparte. It was one of the disappointments which made
him give a rough welcome to Bottot, Barras' agent, at the commencement of
October 1797.

In the course of an animated conversation he said to Bottot, shrugging
his shoulders, "Mon Dieu! Malta is for sale!" Sometime after he himself
was told that "great importance was attached to the acquisition of Malta,
and that he must not suffer it to escape." At the latter end of
September 1797 Talleyrand, then Minister of Foreign Affairs, wrote to him
that the Directory authorized him to give the necessary orders to Admiral
Brueys for taking Malta. He sent Bonaparte some letters for the island,
because Bonaparte had said it was necessary to prepare the public mind
for the event.

Bonaparte exerted himself night and day in the execution of his projects.
I never saw him so active. He made himself acquainted with the abilities
of the respective generals, and the force of all the army corps. Orders
and instructions succeeded each other with extraordinary rapidity. If he
wanted an order of the Directory he ran to the Luxembourg to get it
signed by one of the Directors. Merlin de Douai was generally the person
who did him this service, for he was the most constant at his post.
Lagarde, the Secretary-General, did not countersign any document relative
to this expedition, Bonaparte not wishing him to be informed of the
business. He transmitted to Toulon the money taken at Berne, which the
Directory had placed at his disposal. It amounted to something above
3,000,000 francs. In those times of disorder and negligence the finances
were very badly managed. The revenues were anticipated and squandered
away, so that the treasury never possessed so large a sum as that just

It was determined that Bonaparte should undertake an expedition of an
unusual character to the East. I must confess that two things cheered me
in this very painful interval; my friendship and admiration for the
talents of the conqueror of Italy, and the pleasing hope of traversing
those ancient regions, the historical and religious accounts of which had
engaged the attention of my youth.

It was at Passeriano that, seeing the approaching termination of his
labours in Europe, he first began to turn serious attention to the East.
During his long strolls in the evening in the magnificent park there he
delighted to converse about the celebrated events of that part of the
world, and the many famous empires it once possessed. He used to say,
"Europe is a mole-hill. There have never been great empires and
revolutions except in the East, where there are 600,000,000 men." He
considered that part of the world as the cradle of all religious, of all
metaphysical extravagances. This subject was no less interesting than
inexhaustible, and he daily introduced it when conversing with the
generals with whom he was intimate, with Monge, and with me.

Monge entirely concurred in the General-in-Chief's opinions on this
point; and his scientific ardour was increased by Bonaparte's enthusiasm.
In short, all were unanimously of one opinion. The Directory had no
share in renewing the project of this memorable expedition, the result of
which did not correspond with the grand views in which it had been
conceived. Neither had the Directory any positive control over
Bonaparte's departure or return. It was merely the passive instrument of
the General's wishes, which it converted into decrees, as the law
required. He was no more ordered to undertake the conquest of Egypt than
he was instructed as to the plan of its execution. Bonaparte organised
the army of the East, raised money, and collected ships; and it was he
who conceived the happy idea of joining to the expedition men
distinguished in science and art, and whose labours have made known, in
its present and past state, a country, the very name of which is never
pronounced without exciting grand recollections.

Bonaparte's orders flew like lightning from Toulon to Civita Vecchia.
With admirable precision he appointed some forces to assemble before
Malta, and others before Alexandria. He dictated all these orders to me
in his Cabinet.

In the position in which France stood with respect to Europe, after the
treaty of Campo-Formio, the Directory, far from pressing or even
facilitating this expedition, ought to have opposed it. A victory on the
Adige would have been far better far France than one on the Nile. From
all I saw, I am of opinion that the wish to get rid of an ambitious and
rising man, whose popularity excited envy, triumphed over the evident
danger of removing, for an indefinite period, an excellent army, and the
possible loss of the French fleet. As to Bonaparte, he was well assured
that nothing remained for him but to choose between that hazardous
enterprise and his certain ruin. Egypt was, he thought, the right place
to maintain his reputation, and to add fresh glory to his name.

On the 12th of April 1798 he was appointed General-in-Chief of the army
of the East.

It was about this time that Marmont was married to Mademoiselle
Perregaux; and Bonaparte's aide de camp, La Valletta, to Mademoiselle

   --[Sir Walter Scott informs us that Josephine, when she became
   Empress, brought about the marriage between her niece and La
   Vallette. This is another fictitious incident of his historical

Shortly before our departure I asked Bonaparte how long he intended to
remain in Egypt. He replied, "A few months, or six years: all depends on
circumstances. I will colonise the country. I will bring them artists
and artisans of every description; women, actors, etc. We are but
nine-and-twenty now, and we shall then be five-and-thirty. That is not
an old age. Those six years will enable me, if all goes well, to get to
India. Give out that you are going to Brest. Say so even to your
family." I obeyed, to prove my discretion and real attachment to him.

Bonaparte wished to form a camp library of cabinet editions, and he gave
me a list of the books which I was to purchase. This list is in his own
writing, and is as follows:

               CAMP LIBRARY.

1. ARTS AND SCIENCE.--Fontenelle's Worlds, 1 vol.  Letters to a German
Princess, 2 vols.  Courses of the Normal School, 6 vols.  The Artillery
Assistant, 1 vol.  Treatise on Fortifications, 3 vols.  Treatise on
Fireworks, 1 vol.

2. GEOGRAPHY AND TRAVELS.--Barclay's Geography, 12 vols.  Cook's
Voyages, 3 vols.  La Harpe's Travels, 24 vols.

3. HISTORY.--Plutarch, 12 vols.  Turenne, 2 vols.  Conde, 4 vols.
Villars, 4 vols.  Luxembourg, 2 vols.  Duguesclin, 2 vols.
Saxe, 3 vols.  Memoirs of the Marshals of France, 20 vols. President
Hainault, 4 vols.  Chronology, 2 vols.  Marlborough, 4 vols. Prince
Eugene, 6 vols.  Philosophical History of India, 12 vols.
Germany, 2 vols.  Charles XII., 1 vol.  Essay on the Manners of
Nations, 6 vols. Peter the Great, 1 vol.  Polybius, 6 vols.
Justin, 2 vols. Arrian, 3 vols.  Tacitus, 2 vols.  Titus Livy,
Thucydides, 2 vols. Vertot, 4 vols. Denina, 8 vols.
Frederick II, 8 vols.

4. POETRY.--Osaian, 1 vol.  Tasso, 6 vols.  Ariosto, 6 vols.
Homer, 6 vols.  Virgil, 4 vols.  The Henriade, 1 vol.
Telemachus, 2 vols. Les Jardin, 1 vol.  The Chefs-d'Oeuvre of the
French Theatre, 20 vols. Select Light Poetry, 10 vols. La Fontaine.

5. ROMANCE.--Voltaire, 4 vols. Heloise, 4 vols. Werther, 1 vol.
Marmontel, 4 vols. English Novels, 40 vols. Le Sage, 10 vols.
Prevost, 10 vols.

6. POLITICS AND MORALS.--The Old Testament. The New Testament. The
Koran. The Vedan. Mythology. Montesquieu. The Esprit des Lois.

It will be observed that he classed the books of the religious creeds of
nations under the head of "politics."

The autograph copy of the above list contains some of those
orthographical blunders which Bonaparte so frequently committed. Whether
these blunders are attributable to the limited course of instruction he
received at Brienne, to his hasty writing, the rapid flow of his ideas,
or the little importance he attached to that indispensable condition of
polite education, I know not. Knowing so well as he did the authors and
generals whose names appear in the above list, it is curious that he
should have written Ducecling for Duguesclin, and Ocean for Ossian. The
latter mistake would have puzzled me not a little had I not known his
predilection for the Caledonian bard.

Before his departure Bonaparte laid in a considerable stock of Burgundy.
It was supplied by a man named James, of Dijon. I may observe that on
this occasion we had an opportunity of ascertaining that good Burgundy,
well racked off, and in casks hermetically sealed, does not lose its
quality on a sea voyage. Several cases of this Burgundy twice crossed
the desert of the Isthmus of Suez on camels' backs. We brought some of
it back with us to Frejus, and it was as good as when we departed. James
went with us to Egypt.

During the remainder of our stay in Paris nothing occurred worthy of
mention, with the exception of a conversation between Bonaparte and me
some days before our departure for Toulon. He went with me to the
Luxembourg to get signatures to the official papers connected with his
expedition. He was very silent. As we passed through the Rue Sainte
Anne I asked him, with no other object than merely to break a long pause,
whether he was still determined to quit France. He replied, "Yes: I have
tried everything. They do not want me (probably alluding to the office
of Director). I ought to overthrow them, and make myself King; but it
will not do yet. The nobles will never consent to it. I have tried my
ground. The time is not yet come. I should be alone. But I will dazzle
them again." I replied, "Well, we will go to Egypt;" and changed the

   --[Lucien and the Bonapartists of course deny that Napoleon wished
   to become Director, or to seize on power at this time; see Lucien,
   tome 1. p. 154. Thiers (vol. v. p. 257) takes the same view.
   Lanfrey (tome i. p. 363) believes Napoleon was at last compelled by
   the Directory to start and he credits the story told by Desaix to
   Mathieu Dumas, or rather to the wife of that officer, that there was
   a plot to upset the Directory, but that when all was ready Napoleon
   judged that the time was not ripe. Lanfrey, however, rather
   enlarges what Dumas says; see Dumas, tome iii. p. 167. See also
   the very remarkable conversation of Napoleon with Miot de Melito
   just before leaving Italy for Rastadt: "I cannot obey any longer. I
   have tasted the pleasures of command, and I cannot renounce it. My
   decision is taken. If I cannot be master, I shall quit France."
   (Miot, tome i. p. 184).]--

The squabble with Bernadotte at Vienna delayed our departure for a
fortnight, and might have had the most disastrous influence on the fate
of the squadron, as Nelson would most assuredly have waited between Malta
and Sicily if he had arrived there before us.'

   --[Sir Walter Scott, without any authority, states that, at the
   moment of his departure, Bonaparte seemed disposed to abandon the
   command of an expedition so doubtful and hazardous, and that for
   this purpose he endeavoured to take advantage of what had occurred
   at Vienna. This must be ranked in the class of inventions, together
   with Barras mysterious visit to communicate the change of
   destination, and also the ostracism and honourable exile which the
   Directory wished to impose on Bonaparte.--Bourrienne.]--

It is untrue that he ever entertained the idea of abandoning the
expedition in consequence of Bernadotte's affair. The following letter
to Brueys, dated the 28th of April 1798, proves the contrary:

   Some disturbances which have arisen at Vienna render my presence in
   Paris necessary for a few days. This will not change any of the
   arrangements for the expedition. I have sent orders by this courier
   for the troops at Marseilles to embark and proceed to Toulon. On
   the evening of the 30th I will send you a courier with orders for
   you to embark and proceed with the squadron and convoy to Genoa,
   where I will join you.

   The delay which this fresh event has occasioned will, I imagine,
   have enabled you to complete every preparation.

We left Paris on the 3d of May 1798. Ten days before Bonaparte's
departure for Egypt a prisoner (Sir Sidney Smith) escaped from the Temple
who was destined to contribute materially to his reverses. An escape so
unimportant in itself afterwards caused the failure of the most gigantic
projects and daring conceptions. This escape was pregnant with future
events; a false order of the Minister of Police prevented the revolution
of the East!

We were at Toulon on the 8th. Bonaparte knew by the movements of the
English that not a moment was to be lost; but adverse winds detained us
ten days, which he occupied in attending to the most minute details
connected with the fleet.

Bonaparte, whose attention was constantly occupied with his army, made a
speech to the soldiers, which I wrote to his dictation, and which
appeared in the public papers at the time. This address was followed by
cries of "The Immortal Republic for ever!" and the singing of national

Those who knew Madame Bonaparte are aware that few women were more
amiable and fascinating. Bonaparte was passionately fond of her, and to
enjoy the pleasure of her society as long as possible he brought her with
him to Toulon. Nothing could be more affecting than their parting. On
leaving Toulon Josephine went to the waters of Plombieres. I recollect
that during her stay at Plombieres she incurred great danger from a
serious accident. Whilst she was one day sitting at the balcony of the
hotel, with her suite, the balcony suddenly gave way, and all the persons
in it fell into the street. Madame Bonaparte was much hurt, but no
serious consequences ensued.

Bonaparte had scarcely arrived at Toulon when he heard that the law for
the death of emigrants was enforced with frightful rigour; and that but
recently an old man, upwards of eighty, had been shot. Indignant at this
barbarity, he dictated to me, in a tone of anger, the following letter:

                  HEADQUARTERS TOULON,
             27th Floreal, year VI. (16th May 1798).


   I have learned, citizens, with deep regret, that an old man, between
   seventy and eighty years of age, and some unfortunate women, in a
   state of pregnancy, or surrounded with children of tender age, have
   been shot on the charge of emigration.

   Have the soldiers of liberty become executioners? Can the mercy
   which they have exercised even in the fury of battle be extinct in
   their hearts?

   The law of the 19th Fructidor was a measure of public safety. Its
   object was to reach conspirators, not women and aged men.

   I therefore exhort you, citizens, whenever the law brings to your
   tribunals women or old men, to declare that in the field of battle
   you have respected the women and old men of your enemies.

   The officer who signs a sentence against a person incapable of
   bearing arms is a coward.
                       (Signed) BONAPARTE.

This letter saved the life of an unfortunate man who came under the
description of persons to whom Bonaparte referred. The tone of this note
shows what an idea he already entertained of his power. He took upon
him, doubtless from the noblest motives, to step out of his way to
interpret and interdict the execution of a law, atrocious, it is true,
but which even in those times of weakness, disorder, and anarchy was
still a law. In this instance, at least, the power of his name was nobly
employed. The letter gave great satisfaction to the army destined for
the expedition.

A man named Simon, who had followed his master in emigration, and dreaded
the application of the law, heard that I wanted a servant. He came to me
and acknowledged his situation. He suited me, and I hired him. He then
told me he feared he should be arrested whilst going to the port to
embark. Bonaparte, to whom I mentioned the circumstance, and who had
just given a striking proof of his aversion to these acts of barbarity,
said to me in a tone of kindness, "Give him my portfolio to carry, and
let him remain with you." The words "Bonaparte, General-in-Chief of the
Army of the East," were inscribed in large gold letters on the green
morocco. Whether it was the portfolio or his connection with us that
prevented Simon from being arrested I know not; but he passed on without
interruption. I reprimanded him for having smiled derisively at the ill
humour of the persons appointed to arrest him. He served me faithfully,
and was even sometimes useful to Bonaparte.



   Departure of the squadron--Arrival at Malta--Dolomieu--General
   Barguay d'Hilliers--Attack on the western part of the island--
   Caffarelli's remark--Deliverance of the Turkish prisoners--Nelson's
   pursuit of the French fleet--Conversations on board--How Bonaparte
   passed his, time--Questions to the Captains--Propositions discussed
   --Morning music--Proclamation--Admiral Brueys--The English fleet
   avoided Dangerous landing--Bonaparte and his fortune--Alexandria
   taken--Kleber wounded--Bonaparte's entrance into Alexandria.

The squadron sailed on the 19th of May. The Orient, which, owing to her
heavy lading, drew too much water, touched the ground; but she was got
off without much difficulty.

We arrived off Malta on the 10th of June. We had lost two days in
waiting for some convoys which joined us at Malta.

The intrigues throughout Europe had not succeeded in causing the ports of
that island to be opened to us immediately on our arrival. Bonaparte
expressed much displeasure against the persons sent from Europe to
arrange measures for that purpose. One of them, however, M. Dolomieu,
had cause to repent his mission, which occasioned him to be badly treated
by the Sicilians. M. Poussielgue had done all he could in the way of
seduction, but he had not completely succeeded. There was some
misunderstanding, and, in consequence, some shots were interchanged.
Bonaparte was very much pleased with General Baraguay d'Hilliers'
services in Italy. He could not but praise his military and political
conduct at Venice when, scarcely a year before, he had taken possession
of that city by his orders. General Baraguay d'Hilliers joined us with
his division,--which had embarked in the convoy that sailed from Genoa.
The General-in-Chief ordered him to land and attack the western part of
the island. He executed this order with equal prudence and ability, and
highly to the satisfaction of the General-in-Chief. As every person in
the secret knew that all this was a mere form, these hostile
demonstrations produced no unpleasant consequences. We wished to save
the honour of the knights--that was all; for no one who has seen Malta
can imagine that an island surrounded with such formidable and perfect
fortifications would have surrendered in two days to a fleet which was
pursued by an enemy. The impregnable fortress of Malta is so secure
against a 'coup de main' that General Caffarelli, after examining its
fortifications, said to the General-in-Chief, in my presence, "Upon my
word, General, it is luck: there is some one in the town to open the
gates for us."

By comparing the observation of General Caffarelli with what has been
previously stated respecting the project of the expedition to Egypt and
Malta, an idea may be formed of the value of Bonaparte's assertion at St.

"The capture of Malta was not owing to private intrigues, but to the
sagacity of the Commander-in-chief. I took Malta when I was in Mantua!"

It is not the less true, however, that I wrote, by his dictation, a mass
of instructions for private intrigues. Napoleon also said to another
noble companion of his exile at St Helena, "Malta certainly possessed
vast physical means of resistance; but no moral means. The knights did
nothing dishonourable nobody is obliged to do impossibilities. No; but
they were sold; the capture of Malta was assured before we left Toulon."

The General-in-Chief proceeded to that part of the port where the Turks
made prisoners by the knights were kept.

The disgusting galleys were emptied of their occupants: The same
principles which, a few days after, formed the basis of Bonaparte's
proclamation to the Egyptians, guided him in this act of reason and

He walked several times in the gardens of the grandmaster. They were in
beautiful order, and filled with magnificent orange-trees. We regaled
ourselves with their fruit, which the great heat rendered most delicious.

On the 19th of June, after having settled the government and defence of
the island, the General left Malta, which he little dreamed he had taken
for the English, who have very badly requited the obligation. Many of
the knights followed Bonaparte and took civil and military appointments.

During the night of the 22d of June the English squadron was almost close
upon us. It passed at about six leagues from the French fleet. Nelson,
who learned the capture of Malta at Messina on the day we left the
island, sailed direct for Alexandria, without proceeding into the north.
He considered that city to be the place of our destination. By taking
the shortest course, with every sail set, and unembarrassed by any
convoy, he arrived before Alexandria on the 28th of June, three days
before the French fleet, which, nevertheless, had sailed before him from
the shores of Malta. The French squadron took the direction of Candia,
which we perceived on the 25th of June, and afterwards stood to the
south, favoured by the Etesian winds, which regularly prevail at that
season. The French fleet did not reach Alexandria till the 30th of June.

When on board the 'Orient' he took pleasure in conversing frequently with
Monge and Berthollet. The subjects on which they usually talked were
chemistry, mathematics, and religion. General Caffarelli, whose
conversation, supplied by knowledge, was at once energetic, witty, and
lively, was one of those with whom he most willingly discoursed.
Whatever friendship he might entertain for Berthollet, it was easy to
perceive that he preferred Monge, and that he was led to that preference
because Monge, endowed with an ardent imagination, without exactly
possessing religious principles, had a kind of predisposition for
religious ideas which harmonised with the notions of Bonaparte. On this
subject Berthollet sometimes rallied his inseparable friend Monge.
Besides, Berthollet was, with his cold imagination, constantly devoted to
analysis and abstractions, inclined towards materialism, an opinion with
which the General was always much dissatisfied.

Bonaparte sometimes conversed with Admiral Brueys. His object was always
to gain information respecting the different manoeuvres, and nothing
astonished the Admiral more than the sagacity of his questions.
I recollect that one day, Bonaparte having asked Brueys in what manner
the hammocks were disposed of when clearing for action, he declared,
after he had received an answer, that if the case should occur he would
order every one to throw his baggage overboard.

He passed a great part of his time in his cabin, lying on a bed,
which, swinging on a kind of castors, alleviated the severity of the
sea-sickness from which he frequently suffered much when the ship rolled.

I was almost always with him in his cabin, where I read to him some of
the favourite works which he had selected for his camp library. He also
frequently conversed, for hours together, with the captains of the
vessels which he hailed. He never failed to ask whence they came? what
was their destination? what ships they had met? what course they had
sailed? His curiosity being thus satisfied, he allowed them to continue
their voyage, after making them promise to say nothing of having seen the
French squadron.

Whilst we were at sea he seldom rose before ten o'clock in the morning.
The 'Orient' had the appearance of a populous town, from which women had
been excluded; and this floating city was inhabited by 2000 individuals,
amongst whom were a great number of distinguished men. Bonaparte every
day invited several persons to dine with him, besides Brueys, Berthier,
the colonels, and his ordinary household, who were always present at the
table of the General-in-Chief. When the weather was fine he went up to
the quarter-deck, which, from its extent, formed a grand promenade.

I recollect once that when walking the quarter-deck with him whilst we
were in Sicilian waters I thought I could see the summits of the Alps
beautifully lighted by the rays of the setting sun. Bonaparte laughed
much, and joked me about it. He called Admiral Brueys, who took his
telescope and soon confirmed my conjecture. The Alps!

At the mention of that word by the Admiral I think I can see Bonaparte
still. He stood for a long time motionless; then, suddenly bursting from
his trance, exclaimed, "No! I cannot behold the land of Italy without
emotion! There is the East: and there I go; a perilous enterprise
invites me. Those mountains command the plains where I so often had the
good fortune to lead the French to victory. With them we will conquer

One of Bonaparte's greatest pleasures during the voyage was, after
dinner, to fix upon three or four persons to support a proposition and as
many to oppose it. He had an object in view by this. These discussions
afforded him an opportunity of studying the minds of those whom he had an
interest in knowing well, in order that he might afterwards confide to
each the functions for which he possessed the greatest aptitude: It will
not appear singular to those who have been intimate with Bonaparte, that
in these intellectual contests he gave the preference to those who had
supported an absurd proposition with ability over those who had
maintained the cause of reason; and it was not superiority of mind which
determined his judgment, for he really preferred the man who argued well
in favour of an absurdity to the man who argued equally well in support
of a reasonable proposition. He always gave out the subjects which were
to be discussed; and they most frequently turned upon questions of
religion, the different kinds of government, and the art of war. One day
he asked whether the planets were inhabited; on another, what was the age
of the world; then he proposed to consider the probability of the
destruction of our globe, either by water or fire; at another time,
the truth or fallacy of presentiments, and the interpretation of dreams.
I remember the circumstance which gave rise to the last proposition was
an allusion to Joseph, of whom he happened to speak, as he did of almost
everything connected with the country to which we were bound, and which
that able administrator had governed. No country came under Bonaparte's
observation without recalling historical recollections to his mind.
On passing the island of Candia his imagination was excited, and he spoke
with enthusiasm of ancient Crete and the Colossus, whose fabulous renown
has surpassed all human glories. He spoke much of the fall of the empire
of the East, which bore so little resemblance to what history has
preserved of those fine countries, so often moistened with the blood of
man. The ingenious fables of mythology likewise occurred to his mind,
and imparted to his language something of a poetical, and, I may say, of
an inspired character. The sight of the kingdom of Minos led him to
reason on the laws best calculated for the government of nations; and the
birthplace of Jupiter suggested to him the necessity of a religion for
the mass of mankind. This animated conversation lasted until the
favourable north winds, which drove the clouds into the valley of the
Nile, caused us to lose sight of the island of Candia.

The musicians on board the Orient sometimes played serenades; but only
between decks, for Bonaparte was not yet sufficiently fond of music to
wish to hear it in his cabin. It may be said that his taste for this art
increased in the direct ratio of his power; and so it was with his taste
for hunting, of which he gave no indication until after his elevation to
the empire; as though he had wished to prove that he possessed within
himself not only the genius of sovereignty for commanding men, but also
the instinct for those aristocratical pleasures, the enjoyment of which
is considered by mankind to be amongst the attributes of kings.

It is scarcely possible that some accidents should not occur during a
long voyage in a crowded vessel--that some persons should not fall
overboard. Accidents of this kind frequently happened on board the
'Orient'. On those occasions nothing was more remarkable than the great
humanity of the man who has since been so prodigal of the blood of his
fellow-creatures on the field of battle, and who was about to shed rivers
of it even in Egypt, whither we were bound. When a man fell into the sea
the General-in-Chief was in a state of agitation till he was saved. He
instantly had the ship hove-to, and exhibited the greatest uneasiness
until the unfortunate individual was recovered. He ordered me to reward
those who ventured their lives in this service. Amongst these was a
sailor who had incurred punishment for some fault. He not only exempted
him from the punishment, but also gave him some money. I recollect that
one dark night we heard a noise like that occasioned by a man falling
into the sea. Bonaparte instantly caused the ship to be hove-to until
the supposed victim was rescued from certain death. The men hastened
from all sides, and at length they picked up-what?--the quarter of a
bullock, which had fallen from the hook to which it was hung. What was
Bonaparte's conduct? He ordered me to reward the sailors who had exerted
themselves in this occasion even more generously than usual, saying,
"It might have been a sailor, and these brave fellows have shown as much
activity and courage as if it had."

After the lapse of thirty years all these things are as fresh in my
recollection as if they were passing at the present moment. In this
manner Bonaparte employed his time on board the Orient during the voyage,
and it was also at this time that he dictated to me the following

                  The 4th Messidor, Year VI.


   SOLDIERS--You are about to undertake a conquest the effects of which
   on civilisation and commerce are incalculable. The blow you are
   about to give to England will be the best aimed, and the most
   sensibly felt, she can receive until the time arrive when you can
   give her her deathblow.

   We must make some fatiguing marches; we must fight several battles;
   we shall succeed in all we undertake. The destinies are with us.
   The Mameluke Beys who favour exclusively English commerce, whose
   extortions oppress our merchants, and who tyrannise over the
   unfortunate inhabitants of the Nile, a few days after our arrival
   will no longer exist.

   The people amongst whom we are going to live are Mahometans. The
   first article of their faith is this: "There is no God but God, and
   Mahomet is his prophet." Do not contradict them. Behave to them as
   you have behaved to the Jews--to the Italians. Pay respect to their
   muftis, and their Imaums, as you did to the rabbis and the bishops.
   Extend to the ceremonies prescribed by the Koran and to the mosques
   the same toleration which you showed to the synagogues, to the
   religion of Moses and of Jesus Christ.

   The Roman legions protected all religions. You will find here
   customs different from those of Europe. You must accommodate
   yourselves to them. The people amongst whom we are to mix differ
   from us in the treatment of women; but in all countries he who
   violates is a monster. Pillage enriches only a small number of men;
   it dishonours us; it destroys our resources; it converts into
   enemies the people whom it is our interest to have for friends.

   The first town we shall come to was built by Alexander. At every
   step we shall meet with grand recollections, worthy of exciting the
   emulation of Frenchmen.

During the voyage, and particularly between Malta and Alexandria,
I often conversed with the brave and unfortunate Admiral Brueys.
The intelligence we heard from time to time augmented his uneasiness.
I had the good fortune to obtain the confidence of this worthy man.
He complained bitterly of the imperfect manner in which the fleet had
been prepared for sea; of the encumbered state of the ships of the line
and frigates, and especially of the 'Orient'; of the great number of
transports; of the bad Outfit of all the ships and the weakness of their
crews. He assured me that it required no little courage to undertake the
command of a fleet so badly equipped; and he often declared, that in the
event of our falling in with the enemy, he could not answer for the
consequences. The encumbered state of the vessels, the immense quantity
of civic and military baggage which each person had brought, and would
wish to save, would render proper manoeuvres impracticable. In case of
an attack, added Brueys, even by an inferior squadron, the confusion and
disorder amongst so great a number of persons would produce an inevitable
catastrophe. Finally, if the English had appeared with ten vessels only,
the Admiral could not have guaranteed a fortunate result. He considered
victory to be a thing that was impossible, and even with a victory, what
would have become of the expedition? "God send," he said, with a sigh,
"that we may pass the English without meeting them!" He appeared to
foresee what did afterwards happen to him, not in the open sea, but in a
situation which he considered much more favourable to his defence.

On the morning of the 1st of July the expedition arrived off the coast of
Africa, and the column of Septimus-Severus pointed out to us the city of
Alexandria. Our situation and frame of mind hardly permitted us to
reflect that in the distant point we beheld the city of the Ptolemies and
Caesars, with its double port, its pharos, and the gigantic monuments of
its ancient grandeur. Our imaginations did not rise to this pitch.

Admiral Brueys had sent on before the frigate Juno to fetch M. Magallon,
the French Consul. It was near four o'clock when he arrived, and the sea
was very rough. He informed the General-in-Chief that Nelson had been
off Alexandria on the 28th--that he immediately dispatched a brig to
obtain intelligence from the English agent. On the return of the brig
Nelson instantly stood away with his squadron towards the north-east.
But for a delay which our convoy from Civita Vecchia occasioned, we
should have been on this coast at the same time as Nelson.

It appeared that Nelson supposed us to be already at Alexandria when he
arrived there. He had reason to suppose so, seeing that we left Malta on
the 19th of June, whilst he did not sail from Messina till the 21st.
Not finding us where he expected, and being persuaded we ought to have
arrived there had Alexandria been the place of our destination; he sailed
for Alexandretta in Syria, whither he imagined we had gone to effect a
landing. This error saved the expedition a second time.

Bonaparte, on hearing the details which the French Consul communicated,
resolved to disembark immediately. Admiral Brueys represented the
difficulties and dangers of a disembarkation--the violence of the surge,
the distance from the coast,--a coast, too, lined with reefs of rocks,
the approaching night, and our perfect ignorance of the points suitable
for landing. The Admiral, therefore, urged the necessity of waiting till
next morning; that is to say, to delay the landing twelve hours. He
observed that Nelson could not return from Syria for several days.
Bonaparte listened to these representations with impatience and
ill-humour. He replied peremptorily, "Admiral, we have no time to lose.
Fortune gives me but three days; if I do not profit by them we are lost."
He relied much on fortune; this chimerical idea constantly influenced his

Bonaparte having the command of the naval as well as the military force,
the Admiral was obliged to yield to his wishes.

I attest these facts, which passed in my presence, and no part of which
could escape my observation. It is quite false that it was owing to the
appearance of a sail which, it is pretended, was descried, but of which,
for my part, I saw nothing, that Bonaparte exclaimed, "Fortune, have you
abandoned me? I ask only five days!" No such thing occurred.

It was one o'clock in the morning of the 2d of July when we landed on the
soil of Egypt, at Marabou, three leagues to the west of Alexandria. We
had to regret the loss of some lives; but we had every reason to expect
that our losses would have been greater.

At three o'clock the same morning the General-in-Chief marched on
Alexandria with the divisions of Kleber, Bon, and Menou. The Bedouin
Arabs, who kept hovering about our right flank and our rear, picked up
the stragglers.

Having arrived within gunshot of Alexandria, we scaled the ramparts, and
French valour soon triumphed over all obstacles.

The first blood I saw shed in war was General Kleber's. He was struck in
the head by a ball, not in storming the walls, but whilst heading the
attack. He came to Pompey's Pillar, where many members of the staff were
assembled, and where the General-in-Chief was watching the attack. I
then spoke to Kleber for the first time, and from that day our friendship
commenced. I had the good fortune to contribute somewhat towards the
assistance of which he stood in need, and which, as we were situated,
could not be procured very easily.

It has been endeavoured to represent the capture of Alexandria, which
surrendered after a few hours, as a brilliant exploit. The
General-in-Chief himself wrote that the city had been taken after a few
discharges of cannon; the walls, badly fortified, were soon scaled.
Alexandria was not delivered up to pillage, as has been asserted, and
often repeated. This would have been a most impolitic mode of commencing
the conquest of Egypt, which had no strong places requiring to be
intimidated by a great example.

Bonaparte, with some others, entered the city by a narrow street which
scarcely allowed two persons to walk abreast; I was with him. We were
stopped by some musket-shots fired from a low window by a man and a
woman. They repeated their fire several times. The guides who preceded
their General kept up a heavy fire on the window. The man and woman fell
dead, and we passed on in safety, for the place had surrendered.

Bonaparte employed the six days during which he remained in Alexandria in
establishing order in the city and province, with that activity and
superior talent which I could never sufficiently admire, and in directing
the march of the army across the province of Bohahire'h. He sent Desaix
with 4500 infantry and 60 cavalry to Beda, on the road to Damanhour.
This general was the first to experience the privations and sufferings
which the whole army had soon to endure. His great mind, his attachment
to Bonaparte, seemed for a moment about to yield to the obstacles which
presented themselves. On the 15th of July he wrote from Bohahire'h as
follows: "I beseech you do not let us stop longer in this position. My
men are discouraged and murmur. Make us advance or fall back without
delay. The villages consist merely of huts, absolutely without

In these immense plains, scorched by the vertical rays of a burning sun,
water, everywhere else so common, becomes an object of contest. The
wells and springs, those secret treasures of the desert, are carefully
concealed from the travellers; and frequently, after our most oppressive
marches, nothing could be found to allay the urgent cravings of thirst
but a little brackish water of the most disgusting description.

   --[Some idea of the misery endured by the French troops on this
   occasion may be gathered from the following description is
   Napoleon's Memoirs, dictated at St. Helena:

   "As the Hebrews wandering in the wilderness complained, and angrily
   asked Moses for the onions and flesh-pots of Egypt, the French
   soldiers constantly regretted the luxuries of Italy. In vain were
   they assured that the country was the most fertile in the world,
   that it was even superior to Lombard; how were they to be persuaded
   of this when they could get neither bread nor wine?  We encamped on
   immense quantities of wheat, but there was neither mill nor oven in
   the country. The biscuit brought from Alexandria had long been
   exhausted; the soldiers were even reduced to bruise the wheat
   between two stones and to make cake which they baked under the
   ashes. Many parched the wheat in a pan, after which they boiled it.
   This was the best way to use the grain; but, after all, it was not
   bread. The apprehensions of the soldiers increased daily, and rose
   to such a pitch that a great number of them said there was no great
   city of calm; and that the place bring that name was, like
   Damanhour, a vast assemblage of mere huts, destitute of everything
   that could render life comfortable or agreeable. To such a
   melancholy state of mind had they brought themselves that two
   dragoons threw themselves, completely clothed, into the Nile, where
   they were drowned. It is nevertheless true that, though there was
   neither bread nor wine, the resources which were procured with
   wheat, lentils, meat, and sometimes pigeons, furnished the army with
   food of some kind. But the evil was, in the ferment of the mind.
   The officers complained more loudly than the soldiers, because the
   comparison was proportionately more disadvantageous to them. In
   Egypt they found neither the quarters, the good table, nor the
   luxury of Italy. The General-in-Chief, wishing to set an example,
   tried to bivouac in the midst of the army, and in the least
   commodious spots. No one had either tent or provisions; the dinner
   of Napoleon and his staff consisted of a dish of lentils. The
   soldiers passed the evenings in political conversations, arguments,
   and complaints. 'For what purpose are we come here?' said some of
   them, 'the Directory has transported us.' 'Caffarelli,' said others,
   'is the agent that has been made use of to deceive the
   General-in-Chief.' Many of them, having observed that wherever there
   were vestiges of antiquity they were carefully searched, vented their
   spite in invective against the savants, or scientific men, who, they
   said, had started the idea of she expedition to order to make these
   searches. Jests were showered upon them, even in their presence.
   The men called an ass a savant; and said of Caffarelli Dufalga,
   alluding to his wooden leg, 'He laughs at all these troubles; he has
   one foot to France.'"]



   The mirage--Skirmishes with the Arabs--Mistake of General Desaix's
   division--Wretchedness of a rich sheik--Combat beneath the General's
   window--The flotilla on the Nile--Its distress and danger--The
   battle of Chebreisse--Defeat of the Mamelukes--Bonaparte's reception
   of me--Letter to Louis Bonaparte--Success of the French army--
   Triumphal entrance into Cairo--Civil and military organisation of
   Cairo--Bonaparte's letter to his brother Joseph--Plan of

On the 7th of July General Bonaparte left Alexandria for Damanhour. In
the vast plains of Bohahire'h the mirage every moment presented to the
eye wide sheets of water, while, as we advanced, we found nothing but
barren ground full of deep cracks. Villages, which at a distance appear
to be surrounded with water, are, on a nearer approach, discovered to be
situated on heights, mostly artificial, by which they are raised above
the inundations of the Nile. This illusion continually recurs; and it is
the more treacherous, inasmuch as it presents to the eye the perfect
representation of water, at the time when the want of that article is
most felt. This mirage is so considerable in the plain of Pelusium that
shortly after sunrise no object is recognisable. The same phenomenon has
been observed in other countries. Quintus Curtius says that in the
deserts of Sogdiana, a fog rising from the earth obscures the light, and
the surrounding country seems like a vast sea. The cause of this
singular illusion is now fully explained; and, from the observations of
the learned Monge, it appears that the mirage will be found in almost
every country situated between the tropics where the local circumstances
are similar.

The Arabs harassed the army without intermission. The few wells met with
in the desert were either filled up or the water was rendered unfit for
use. The intolerable thirst with which the troops were tormented, even
on this first march, was but ill allayed by brackish and unwholesome
water. The army crossed the desert with the rapidity of lightning,
scarcely tasting a drop of water. The sufferings of the troops were
frequently expressed by discouraging murmurs.

On the first night a mistake occurred which might have proved fatal.
We were advancing in the dark, under feeble escort, almost sleeping on
our horses, when suddenly we were assailed by two successive discharges
of musketry. We aroused ourselves and reconnoitred, and to our great
satisfaction discovered that the only mischief was a alight wound
received by one of our guides. Our assailants were the division of
General Desaix, who, forming the advanced guard of the army, mistook us
for a party of the enemy, and fired upon us. It was speedily ascertained
that the little advanced guard of the headquarters had not heard the "Qui
vive?" of Desaix's advanced posts.

On reaching Damanhour our headquarters were established at the residence
of a sheik. The house had been new whitened, and looked well enough
outside, but the interior was inconceivably wretched. Every domestic
utensil was broken, and the only seats were a few dirty tattered mats.
Bonaparte knew that the sheik was rich, and having somewhat won his
confidence, he asked him, through the medium of the interpreter, why,
being in easy circumstances, he thus deprived himself of all comfort.
"Some years ago," replied the sheik, "I repaired and furnished my house.
When this became known at Cairo a demand was made upon me for money,
because it was said my expenses proved me to be rich. I refused to pay
the money, and in consequence I was ill-treated, and at length forced to
pay it. From that time I have allowed myself only the bare necessaries
of life, and I shall buy no furniture for my house." The old man was
lame in consequence of the treatment he had suffered. Woe to him who in
this country is suspected of having a competency--a hundred spies are
always ready to denounce him. The appearance of poverty is the only
security against the rapine of power and the cupidity of barbarism.

A little troop of Arabs on horseback assailed our headquarters.
Bonaparte, who was at the window of the sheik's house, indignant at this
insolence, turned to one of his aides de camp, who happened to be on
duty, and said, "Croisier, take a few guides and drive those fellows
away!" In an instant Croisier was in the plain with fifteen guides. A
little skirmish ensued, and we looked on from the window. In the
movement and in the attack of Croisier and his party there was a sort of
hesitation which the General-in-Chief could not comprehend. "Forward,
I say! Charge!" he exclaimed from the window, as if he could have been
heard. Our horsemen seemed to fall back as the Arabs returned to the
attack; and after a little contest, maintained with tolerable spirit, the
Arabs retired without loss, and without being molested in their retreat.
Bonaparte could no longer repress his rage; and when Croisier returned he
experienced such a harsh reception that the poor fellow withdrew deeply
mortified and distressed. Bonaparte desired me to follow him and say
something to console him: but all was in vain. "I cannot survive this,"
he said. "I will sacrifice my life on the first occasion that offers
itself. I will not live dishonoured." The word coward had escaped the
General's lips. Poor Croisier died at Saint Jean d'Acre.

On the 10th of July our headquarters were established at Rahmahanie'h,
where they remained during the 11th and 12th. At this place commences
the canal which was cut by Alexander to convey water to his new city; and
to facilitate commercial intercourse between Europe and the East.

The flotilla, commanded by the brave chief of division Perree, had just
arrived from Rosette. Perree was on board the xebec 'Cerf'.

   --[Bonaparte had great confidence in him. He had commanded, under
   the General's orders, the naval forces in the Adriatic in 1797.--

Bonaparte placed on board the Cerf and the other vessels of the flotilla
those individuals who, not being military, could not be serviceable in
engagements, and whose horses served to mount a few of the troops.

On the night of the 14th of July the General-in-Chief directed his march
towards the south, along the left bank of the Nile. The flotilla sailed
up the river parallel with the left wing of the army. But the force of
the wind, which at this season blows regularly from the Mediterranean
into the valley of the file, carried the flotilla far in advance of the
army, and frustrated the plan of their mutually defending and supporting
each other. The flotilla thus unprotected fell in with seven Turkish
gunboats coming from Cairo, and was exposed simultaneously to their fire
and to that of the Mamelukes, fellahs, and Arabs who lined both banks of
the river. They had small guns mounted on camels.

Perree cast anchor, and an engagement commenced at nine o'clock on the
14th of July, and continued till half past twelve.

At the same time the General-in-Chief met and attacked a corps of about
4000 Mamelukes. His object, as he afterwards said, was to turn the corps
by the left of the village of Chebreisse, and to drive it upon the Nile.

About eleven in the morning Perree told me that the Turks were doing us
more harm than we were doing them; that our ammunition would soon be
exhausted; that the army was far inland, and that if it did not make a
move to the left there would be no hope for us. Several vessels had
already been boarded and taken by the Turks, who massacred the crews
before our eyes, and with barbarous ferocity showed us the heads of the
slaughtered men.

Perree, at considerable risk, despatched several persons to inform the
General-in-Chief of the desperate situation of the flotilla. The
cannonade which Bonaparte had heard since the morning, and the explosion
of a Turkish gunboat, which was blown up by the artillery of the xebec,
led him to fear that our situation was really perilous. He therefore
made a movement to the left, in the direction of the Nile and Chebreisse,
beat the Mamelukes, and forced them to retire on Cairo. At sight of the
French troops the commander of the Turkish flotilla weighed anchor and
sailed up the Nile. The two banks of the river were evacuated, and the
flotilla escaped the destruction which a short time before had appeared
inevitable. Some writers have alleged that the Turkish flotilla was
destroyed in this engagement. The truth is, the Turks did us
considerable injury, while on their part they suffered but little. We
had twenty men killed and several wounded. Upwards of 1500 cannon-shots
were fired during the action.

General Berthier, in his narrative of the Egyptian expedition, enumerates
the individuals who, though not in the military service, assisted Perree
in this unequal and dangerous engagement. He mentions Monge, Berthollet,
Andreossy, the paymaster, Junot, and Bourrienne, secretary to
the General-in-Chief. It has also been stated that Sucy, the
commissary-general, was seriously wounded while bravely defending
a gunboat laden with provisions; but this is incorrect.

We had no communication with the army until the 23d of July. On the 22d
we came in sight of the Pyramids, and were informed that we were only
about, ten leagues from Gizeh, where they are situated. The cannonade
which we heard, and which augmented in proportion as the north wind
diminished, announced a serious engagement; and that same day we saw the
banks of the Nile strewed with heaps of bodies, which the waves were
every moment washing into the sea. This horrible spectacle, the silence
of the surrounding villages, which had hitherto been armed against us,
and the cessation of the firing from the banks of the river, led us to
infer, with tolerable certainty, that a battle fatal to the Mamelukes had
been fought. The misery we suffered on our passage from Rahmahanie'h to
Gizeh is indescribable. We lived for eleven days on melons and water,
besides being momentarily exposed to the musketry of the Arabs and the
fellahs. We luckily escaped with but a few killed and wounded. The
rising of the Nile was only beginning. The shallowness of the river near
Cairo obliged us to leave the xebec and get on board a djerm. We reached
Gizeh at three in the afternoon of the 23d of July.

When I saluted the General, whom I had not seen for twelve days, he thus
addressed me: "So you are here, are you? Do you know that you have all
of you been the cause of my not following up the battle of Chebreisse?
It was to save you, Monge, Berthollet, and the others on board the
flotilla that I hurried the movement of my left upon the Nile before my
right had turned Chebreisse. But for that, not a single Mameluke would
have escaped."

"I thank you for my own part," replied I; "but in conscience could you
have abandoned us, after taking away our horses, and making us go on
board the xebec, whether we would or not?" He laughed, and then told me
how sorry he was for the wound of Sucy, and the death of many useful men,
whose places could not possibly be filled up.

He made me write a letter to his brother Louis, informing him that he had
gained a complete victory over the Mamelukes at Embabeh, opposite Boulac,
and that the enemy's loss was 2000 men killed and wounded, 40 guns, and a
great number of horses.

The occupation of Cairo was the immediate consequence of the victory of
Embabeh. Bonaparte established his head-quarters in the home of Elfy
Bey, in the great square of Ezbekye'h.

The march of the French army to Cairo was attended by an uninterrupted
succession of combats and victories. We had won the battles of
Rahmahanie'h, Chebreisse, and the Pyramids. The Mamelukes were defeated,
and their chief, Mourad Bey, was obliged to fly into Upper Egypt.
Bonaparte found no obstacle to oppose his entrance into the capital of
Egypt, after a campaign of only twenty days.

No conqueror, perhaps, ever enjoyed a victory so much as Bonaparte, and
yet no one was ever less inclined to abuse his triumphs.

We entered Cairo on the 24th of July, and the General-in-Chief
immediately directed his attention to the civil and military organization
of the country. Only those who saw him in the vigour of his youth can
form an idea of his extraordinary intelligence and activity. Nothing
escaped his observation. Egypt had long been the object of his study;
and in a few weeks he was as well acquainted with the country as if he
had lived in it ten years. He issued orders for observing the strictest
discipline, and these orders were punctually obeyed.

The mosques, the civil and religious institutions, the harems, the women,
the customs of the country-all were scrupulously respected. A few days
after they entered Cairo the French were freely admitted into the shops,
and were seen sociably smoking their pipes with the inhabitants,
assisting them in their occupations, and playing with their children.

The day after his arrival in Cairo Bonaparte addressed to his brother
Joseph the following letter, which was intercepted and printed. Its
authenticity has been doubted, but I saw Napoleon write it, and he read
it to me before he sent it off.

               7th. Thermidor (25th July 1798)

   You will see in the public papers the bulletins of the battles and
   conquest of Egypt, which were sufficiently contested to add another
   wreath to the laurels of this army. Egypt is richer than any
   country in the world in coin, rice, vegetables, and cattle. But the
   people are in a state of utter barbarism. We cannot procure money,
   even to pay the troops. I maybe in France in two months.

   Engage a country-house, to be ready for me on my arrival, either
   near Paris or in Burgundy, where I mean to pass the winter.

   --[Bonaparte's autograph note, after enumerating the troops and
   warlike stores he wished to be sent, concluded with the following

   1st, a company of actors; 2d, a company of dancers; 3d, some dealers
   in marionettes, at least three or four; 9th, a hundred French women;
   5th, the wives of all the men employed in the corps; 6th, twenty
   surgeons, thirty apothecaries, and ten Physicians; 7th, some
   founders; 8th, some distillers and dealers in liquor; 9th fifty
   gardeners with their families, and the seeds of every kind of
   vegetable; 10th, each party to bring with them: 200,000 pints of
   brandy; 11th, 30,000 ells of blue and scarlet cloth; 12th, a supply
   of soap and oil.--Bourrienne.]--

                    (Signed) BONAPARTE

This announcement of his departure to his brother is corroborated by a
note which he despatched some days after, enumerating the supplies and
individuals which he wished to have sent to Egypt. His note proves, more
convincingly than any arguments, that Bonaparte earnestly wished to
preserve his conquest, and to make it a French colony. It must be borne
in mind that the note here alluded to, as well as the letter above
quoted, was written long before the destruction of the fleet.



   Establishment of a divan in each Egyptian province--Desaix in Upper
   Egypt--Ibrahim Bey beaten by Bonaparte at Balehye'h--Sulkowsky
   wounded--Disaster at Abonkir--Dissatisfaction and murmurs of the
   army--Dejection of the General-in-Chief--His plan respecting Egypt
   --Meditated descent upon England--Bonaparte's censure of the
   Directory--Intercepted correspondence.

From the details I have already given respecting Bonaparte's plans for
colonising Egypt, it will be seen that his energy of mind urged him to
adopt anticipatory measures for the accomplishment of objects which were
never realised. During the short interval in which he sheathed his sword
he planned provisional governments for the towns and provinces occupied
by the French troops, and he adroitly contrived to serve the interests of
his army without appearing to violate those of the country. After he had
been four days at Cairo, during which time he employed himself in
examining everything, and consulting every individual from whom he could
obtain useful information, he published the following order:

                  HEADQUARTERS, CAIRO,
                  9th Thermidor, year VI.


   Art. 1. There shall be in each province of Egypt a divan, composed
   of seven individuals, whose duty will be to superintend the
   interests of the province; to communicate to me any complaints that
   may be made; to prevent warfare among the different villages; to
   apprehend and punish criminals (for which purpose they may demand
   assistance from the French commandant); and to take every
   opportunity of enlightening the people.

   Art. 2. There shall be in each province an aga of the Janizaries,
   maintaining constant communication with the French commandant. He
   shall have with him a company of sixty armed natives, whom he may
   take wherever he pleases, for the maintenance of good order,
   subordination, and tranquillity.

   Art. 3. There shall be in each province an intendant, whose
   business will be to levy the miri, the feddam, and the other
   contributions which formerly belonged to the Mamelukes, but which
   now belong to the French Republic. The intendants shall have us
   many agents as may be necessary.

   Art. 4. The said intendant shall have a French agent to correspond
   with the Finance Department, and to execute all the orders he may
                    (Signed) BONAPARTE.

While Bonaparte was thus actively taking measures for the organization of
the country,

   --[Far more thoroughly and actively than those taken by the English
   Government in 1882-3-4]--

General Desaix had marched into Upper Egypt in pursuit of Mourad Bey. We
learned that Ibrahim, who, next to Mourad, was the most influential of
the bays, had proceeded towards Syria, by the way of Belbeis and
Salehye'h. The General-in-Chief immediately determined to march in
person against that formidable enemy, and he left Cairo about fifteen
days after he had entered it. It is unnecessary to describe the
well-known engagement in which Bonaparte drove Ibrahim back upon El-Arish;
besides, I do not enter minutely into the details of battles, my chief
object being to record events which I personally witnessed.

At the battle of Salehye'h Bonaparte thought he had lost one of his
'aides de camp', Sulkowsky, to whom he was much attached, and who had
been with us during the whole of the campaign of Italy. On the field of
battle one object of regret cannot long engross the mind; yet, on his
return to Cairo, Bonaparte frequently spoke to me of Sulkowsky in terms
of unfeigned sorrow.

"I cannot," said he one day, "sufficiently admire the noble spirit and
determined courage of poor Sulkowsky." He often said that Sulkowsky
would have been a valuable aid to whoever might undertake the
resuscitation of Poland. Fortunately that brave officer was not killed
on that occasion, though seriously wounded. He was, however, killed
shortly after.

The destruction of the French squadron in the roads of Aboukir occurred
during the absence of the General-in-Chief. This event happened on the
1st of August. The details are generally known; but there is one
circumstance to which I cannot refrain from alluding, and which excited
deep interest at the time. This was the heroic courage of the son of
Casablanca, the captain of the 'Orient'. Casablanca was among the
wounded, and when the vessel was blown up his son, a lad of ten years of
age, preferred perishing with him rather than saving himself, when one of
the seamen had secured him the means of escape. I told the 'aide de
camp', sent by General Kleber, who had the command of Alexandria, that
the General-in-Chief was near Salehye'h. He proceeded thither
immediately, and Bonaparte hastened back to Cairo, a distance of about
thirty-three leagues.

In spite of any assertions that may have been made to the contrary, the
fact is, that as soon as the French troops set foot in Egypt, they were
filled with dissatisfaction, and ardently longed to return home.'

   --['Erreurs' objects to this description of the complaints of the
   army, but Savary (tome i. pp. 66, 67, and tome i. p. 89) fully
   confirms it, giving the reason that the army was not a homogeneous
   body, but a mixed force taken from Rome, Florence, Milan, Venice,
   Genoa, and Marseilles; see also Thiers, tome v. p. 283. But the
   fact is not singular. For a striking instance, in the days of the
   Empire, of the soldiers in 1809, in Spain, actually threatening
   Napoleon in his own hearing, see De Gonneville (tome i.
   pp. 190-193): "The soldiers of Lapisse's division gave loud
   expression to the most sinister designs against the Emperor's
   person, stirring up each other to fire a shot at him, sad bandying
   accusations of cowardice for not doing it."  He heard it all as
   plainly as we did, and seemed as if he did not care a bit for it,
   but "sent the division into good quarters, when the men were as
   enthusiastic as they were formerly mutinous." In 1796
   d'Entraigues, the Bourbon spy, reports, "As a general rule, the
   French soldier grumbles and is discontented. He accuses Bonaparte
   of being a thief and a rascal. But to-morrow the very same soldier
   will obey him blindly" (Iung's Bonaparte, tome iii. p. 152).]--

The illusion of the expedition had disappeared, and only its reality
remained. What bitter murmuring have I not heard from Murat, Lannes,
Berthier, Bessieres, and others! Their complaints were, indeed, often so
unmeasured as almost to amount to sedition. This greatly vexed
Bonaparte, and drew from him severe reproaches and violent language.

   --[Napoleon related at St. Helena that in a fit of irritation he
   rushed among a group of dissatisfied generals, and said to one of
   them, who was remarkable for his stature, "you have held seditious
   language; but take care I do not perform my duty. Though you are
   five feet ten inches high, that shall not save you from being

When the news arrived of the loss of the fleet, discontent increased.
All who had acquired fortunes under Napoleon now began to fear that they
would never enjoy them. All turned their thoughts to Paris, and its
amusements, and were utterly disheartened at the idea of being separated
from their homes and their friends for a period, the termination of which
it was impossible to foresee.

The catastrophe of Aboukir came like a thunderbolt upon the
General-in-Chief. In spite of all his energy and fortitude, he was
deeply distressed by the disasters which now assailed him. To the
painful feelings excited by the complaints and dejection of his
companions in arms was now added the irreparable misfortune of the
burning of our fleet. He measured the fatal consequences of this event
at a single glance. We were now cut off from all communication with
France, and all hope of returning thither, except by a degrading
capitulation with an implacable and hated enemy. Bonaparte had lost all
chance of preserving his conquest, and to him this was indeed a bitter
reflection. And at what a time did this disaster befall him? At the
very moment when he was about to apply for the aid of the

From what General Bonaparte communicated to me previously to the 1st of
August, his object was, having once secured the possession of Egypt; to
return to Toulon with the fleet; then to send troops and provisions of
every kind to Egypt; and next to combine with the fleet all the forces
that could be supplied, not only by France, but by her allies, for the
purpose of attacking England. It is certain that previously to his
departure for Egypt he had laid before the Directory a note relative to
his plans. He always regarded a descent upon England as possible, though
in its result fatal, so long as we should be inferior in naval strength;
but he hoped by various manoeuvres to secure a superiority on one point.

His intention was to return to France. Availing himself of the departure
of the English fleet for the Mediterranean, the alarm excited by his
Egyptian expedition, the panic that would be inspired by his sudden
appearance at Boulogne, and his preparations against England, he hoped to
oblige that power to withdraw her naval force from the Mediterranean, and
to prevent her sending out troops to Egypt. This project was often in
his head. He would have thought it sublime to date an order of the day
from the ruins of Memphis, and three months later, one from London. The
loss of the fleet converted all these bold conceptions into mere romantic

When alone with me he gave free vent to his emotion. I observed to him
that the disaster was doubtless great, but that it would have been
infinitely more irreparable had Nelson fallen in with us at Malta, or had
he waited for us four-and-twenty hours before Alexandria, or in the open
sea. "Any one of these events," said I, "which were not only possible
but probable, would have deprived us of every resource. We are blockaded
here, but we have provisions and money. Let us then wait patiently to
see what the Directory will do for us."--"The Directory!" exclaimed he
angrily, "the Directory is composed of a set of scoundrels! they envy and
hate me, and would gladly let me perish here. Besides, you see how
dissatisfied the whole army is: not a man is willing to stay."

The pleasing illusions which were cherished at the outset of the
expedition vanished long before our arrival in Cairo. Egypt was no
longer the empire of the Ptolemies, covered with populous and wealthy
cities; it now presented one unvaried scene of devastation and misery.
Instead of being aided by the inhabitants, whom we had ruined, for the
sake of delivering them from the yoke of the beys, we found all against
us: Mamelukes, Arabs, and fellahs. No Frenchman was secure of his life
who happened to stray half a mile from any inhabited place, or the corps
to which he belonged. The hostility which prevailed against us and the
discontent of the army were clearly developed in the numerous letters
which were written to France at the time, and intercepted.

The gloomy reflections which at first assailed Bonaparte, were speedily
banished; and he soon recovered the fortitude and presence of mind which
had been for a moment shaken by the overwhelming news from Aboukir.
He, however, sometimes repeated, in a tone which it would be difficult to
describe, "Unfortunate Brueys, what have you done!"

I have remarked that in some chance observations which escaped Napoleon
at St. Helena he endeavoured to throw all the blame of the affair on
Admiral Brueys. Persons who are determined to make Bonaparte an
exception to human nature have unjustly reproached the Admiral for the
loss of the fleet.



   The Egyptian Institute--Festival of the birth of Mahomet--Bonapartes
   prudent respect for the Mahometan religion--His Turkish dress--
   Djezzar, the Pasha of Acre--Thoughts of a campaign in Germany--Want
   of news from France--Bonaparte and Madame Fours--The Egyptian
   fortune-teller, M. Berthollet, and the Sheik El Bekri--The air
   "Marlbrook"--Insurrection in Cairo--Death of General Dupuis--Death
   of Sulkowsky--The insurrection quelled--Nocturnal executions--
   Destruction of a tribe of Arabs--Convoy of sick and wounded--
   Massacre of the French in Sicily--projected expedition to Syria--
   Letter to Tippoo Saib.

The loss of the fleet convinced General Bonaparte of the necessity of
speedily and effectively organising Egypt, where everything denoted that
we should stay for a considerable time, excepting the event of a forced
evacuation, which the General was far from foreseeing or fearing. The
distance of Ibrahim Bey and Mourad Bey now left him a little at rest.
War, fortifications, taxation, government, the organization of the
divans, trade, art, and science, all occupied his attention. Orders and
instructions were immediately despatched, if not to repair the defeat, at
least to avert the first danger that might ensue from it. On the 21st of
August Bonaparte established at Cairo an institute of the arts and
sciences, of which he subsequently appointed me a member in the room of
M. de Sucy, who was obliged to return to France, in consequence of the
wound he received on board the flotilla in the Nile.

   --[The Institute of Egypt was composed of members of the French
   Institute, and of the men of science and artists of the commission
   who did not belong to that body. They assembled and added to their
   number several officers of the artillery and staff, and others who
   bad cultivated the sciences and literature.

   The Institute was established in one of the palaces of the bey's.
   A great number of machines, and physical, chemical, and astronomical
   instruments had been brought from France. They were distributed in
   the different rooms, which were also successively filled with all
   the curiosities of the country, whether of the animal, vegetable, or
   mineral kingdom.

   The garden of the palace became a botanical garden. A chemical
   laboratory was formed at headquarters; Merthollet performed
   experiments there several times every week, which Napoleon and a
   great number of officers attended ('Memoirs of Napoleon')]--

In founding this Institute, Bonaparte wished to afford an example of his
ideas of civilisation. The minutes of the sittings of that learned body,
which have been printed, bear evidence of its utility, and of Napoleon's
extended views. The objects of the Institute were the advancement and
propagation of information in Egypt, and the study and publication of all
facts relating to the natural history, trade, and antiquities of that
ancient country.

On the 18th Bonaparte was present at the ceremony of opening the dyke of
the canal of Cairo, which receives the water of the Nile when it reaches
the height fired by the Mequyas.

Two days after came the anniversary festival of the birth of Mahomet. At
this Napoleon was also present, in company with the sheik El Bekri,' who
at his request gave him two young Mamelukes, Ibrahim, and Roustan.

   --[The General-in-Chief went to celebrate, the feast of the Prophet
   at the house of the sheik El Bekri. The ceremony was began by the
   recital of a kind of litany, containing the life of Mahomet from his
   birth to his death. About a hundred sheiks, sitting in a circle, on
   carpets, with their legs crossed, recited all the verses, swinging
   their bodies violently backwards and forwards, and altogether.

   A grand dinner was afterwards served up, at which the guests sat on
   carpets, with their legs across. There were twenty tables, and five
   or six people at each table. That of the General-in-Chief and the
   sheik El Bekri was in the middle; a little slab of a precious kind
   of wood ornamented with mosaic work was placed eighteen inches above
   the floor and covered with a great number of dishes in succession.
   They were pillaws of rice, a particular kind of roast, entrees, and
   pastry, all very highly spiced. The sheiks picked everything with
   their fingers. Accordingly water was brought to wash the hands
   three times during dinner. Gooseberry-water, lemonade, and other
   sorts of sherbets were served to drink, and abundance of preserves
   and confectionery with the dessert. On the whole, the dinner was
   not disagreeable; it was only the manner of eating it that seemed
   strange to us.

   In the evening the whole city was illuminated. After dinner the
   party went into the square of El Bekri, the illumination of which,
   in coloured lamps, was very beautiful. An immense concourse of
   people attended. They were all placed in order, in ranks of from
   twenty to a hundred persons, who, standing close together, recited
   the prayers and litanies of the Prophet with movements which kept
   increasing, until at length they seemed to be convulsive, and some
   of the most zealous fainted sway ('Memoirs of Napoleon').]--

   --[Roustan or Rustan, a Mameluke, was always with Napoleon from the
   time of the return from Egypt till 1814, when he abandoned his
   master. He slept at or near the door of Napoleon. See Remusat,
   tome i, p. 209, for an amusing description of the alarm of
   Josephine, and the precipitate flight of Madame de Remusat, at the
   idea of being met and killed by this man in one of Josephine's
   nocturnal attacks on the privacy of her husband when closeted with
   his mistress.]--

It has been alleged that Bonaparte, when in Egypt, took part in the
religious ceremonies and worship of the Mussulmans; but it cannot be said
that he celebrated the festivals of the overflowing of the Nile and the
anniversary of the Prophet. The Turks invited him to these merely as a
spectator; and the presence of their new master was gratifying to the
people. But he never committed the folly of ordering any solemnity.
He neither learned nor repeated any prayer of the Koran, as many persons
have asserted; neither did he advocate fatalism, polygamy, or any other
doctrine of the Koran. Bonaparte employed himself better than in
discussing with the Imaums the theology of the children of Ismael. The
ceremonies, at which policy induced him to be present, were to him, and
to all who accompanied him, mere matters of curiosity. He never set foot
in a mosque; and only on one occasion, which I shall hereafter mention,
dressed himself in the Mahometan costume. He attended the festivals to
which the green turbans invited him. His religious tolerance was the
natural consequence of his philosophic spirit.

   --[From this Sir Walter Scott infers that he did not scruple to join
   the Musselmans in the external ceremonies of their religion. He
   embellishes his romance with the ridiculous farce of the sepulchral
   chamber of the grand pyramid, and the speeches which were addressed
   to the General as well as to the muftis and Imaums; and he adds that
   Bonaparte was on the point of embracing Islamism. All that Sir
   Walter says on this subject is the height of absurdity, and does not
   even deserve to be seriously refuted. Bonaparte never entered a
   mosque except from motives of curiosity,(see contradiction in
   previous paragraph. D.W.) and he never for one moment afforded any
   ground for supposing that he believed in the mission of Mahomet.--

Doubtless Bonaparte did, as he was bound to do, show respect for the
religion of the country; and he found it necessary to act more like a
Mussulman than a Catholic. A wise conqueror supports his triumphs by
protecting and even elevating the religion of the conquered people.
Bonaparte's principle was, as he himself has often told me, to look upon
religions as the work of men, but to respect them everywhere as a
powerful engine of government. However, I will not go so far as to say
that he would not have changed his religion had the conquest of the East
been the price of that change. All that he said about Mahomet, Islamism,
and the Koran to the, great men of the country he laughed at himself.
He enjoyed the gratification of having all his fine sayings on the
subject of religion translated into Arabic poetry, and repeated from
mouth to mouth. This of course tended to conciliate the people.

I confess that Bonaparte frequently conversed with the chiefs of the
Mussulman religion on the subject of his conversion; but only for the
sake of amusement. The priests of the Koran, who would probably have
been delighted to convert us, offered us the most ample concessions.
But these conversations were merely started by way of entertainment,
and never could have warranted a supposition of their leading to any
serious result. If Bonaparte spoke as a Mussulman, it was merely in his
character of a military and political chief in a Mussulman country.
To do so was essential to his success, to the safety of his army, and,
consequently; to his glory. In every country he would have drawn up
proclamations and delivered addresses on the same principle. In India he
would have been for Ali, at Thibet for the Dalai-lama, and in China for

   --[On the subject of his alleged conversion to Mahometanism
   Bonaparte expressed himself at St. Helena as follows:

   "I never followed any of the tenets of that religion. I never
   prayed in the mosques. I never abstained from wine, or was
   circumcised, neither did I ever profess it. I said merely that we
   were the friends of the Mussulmans, and that I respected Mahomet
   their prophet, which was true; I respect him now. I wanted to make
   the Imaums cause prayers to be offered up in the mosques for me, in
   order to make the people respect me still more than they actually
   did, and obey me more readily. The Imaums replied that there was a
   great obstacle, because their Prophet in the Koran had inculcated to
   them that they were not to obey, respect, or hold faith with
   infidels, and that I came under that denomination. I then desired
   them to hold a consultation, and see what was necessary to be done
   in order to become a Musselman, as some of their tenets could not be
   practised by us. That, as to circumcision, God had made us unfit
   for that. That, with respect to drinking wine, we were poor cold
   people, inhabitants of the north, who could not exist without it.
   They consulted together accordingly, and in about three weeks issued
   a fetham, declaring that circumcision might be omitted, because it
   was merely a profession; that as to drinking wine, it might be drunk
   by Mussulmans, but that those who drank it would not go to paradise,
   but to hell I replied that this would not do; that we had no
   occasion to make ourselves Mussulmans in order to go to hell, that
   there were many ways of getting there without coming to Egypt, and
   desired them to hold another consultation. After deliberating and
   battling together for I believe three months, they finally decided
   that a man might become a Mussulman, and neither circumcise nor
   abstain from wine; but that, in proportion to the wine drunk, some
   good works must be done. I then told them that we were all
   Mussulmans and friends of the Prophet, which they really believed,
   as the French soldiers never went to church, and had no priests with
   them. For you must know that during the Revolution there was no
   religion whatever in the French army. Menou," continued Napoleon,
   "really turned Mahometan, which was the reason I left him behind."
   --(Voices from St. Helena.)]--

The General-in-Chief had a Turkish dress made, which he once put on,
merely in joke. One day he desired me to go to breakfast without waiting
for him, and that he would follow me. In about a quarter of an hour he
made his appearance in his new costume. As soon as he was recognised he
was received with a loud burst of laughter. He sat down very coolly; but
he found himself so encumbered and ill at ease in his turban and Oriental
robe that he speedily threw them off, and was never tempted to a second
performance of the masquerade.

About the end of August Bonaparte wished to open negotiations with the
Pasha of Acre, nicknamed the Butcher. He offered Djezzar his friendship,
sought his in return, and gave him the most consolatory assurances of the
safety of his dominions. He promised to support him against the Grand
Seignior, at the very moment when he was assuring the Egyptians that he
would support the Grand Seignior against the beys. But Djezzar,
confiding in his own strength and in the protection of the English, who
had anticipated Bonaparte, was deaf to every overture, and would not even
receive Beauvoisin, who was sent to him on the 22d of August. A second
envoy was beheaded at Acre. The occupations of Bonaparte and the
necessity of obtaining a more solid footing in Egypt retarded for the
moment the invasion of that pashalic, which provoked vengeance by its
barbarities, besides being a dangerous neighbour.

From the time he received the accounts of the disaster of Aboukir until
the revolt of Cairo on the 22d of October, Bonaparte sometimes found the
time hang heavily on his hands. Though he devoted attention to
everything, yet there was not sufficient occupation for his singularly
active mind. When the heat was not too great he rode on horseback; and
on his return, if he found no despatches to read (which often happened),
no orders to send off; or no letters to answer, he was immediately
absorbed in reverie, and would sometimes converse very strangely. One
day, after a long pause, he said to me:

"Do you know what I am thinking of?"--"Upon my word, that would be very
difficult; you think of such extraordinary things."--"I don't know,"
continued he, "that I shall ever see France again; but if I do, my only
ambition is to make a glorious campaign in Germany--in the plains of
Bavaria; there to gain a great battle, and to avenge France for the
defeat of Hochstadt. After that I would retire into the country, and
live quietly."

He then entered upon a long dissertation on the preference he would give
to Germany as the theatre of war; the fine character of the people, and
the prosperity and wealth of the country, and its power of supporting an
army. His conversations were sometimes very long; but always replete
with interest.

   --[So early as 1794 Napoleon had suggested that Austria should
   always be attacked in Germany, not in Italy. "It is Germany that
   should be overwhelmed; that done, Italy and Spain fall of
   themselves. Germany should be attacked, not Spain or Italy. If we
   obtain great success, advantage should never be taken of it to
   penetrate into Italy while Germany, unweakened, offers a formidable
   front" (Iung's Bonaparte, tome ii. p. 936), He was always opposed
   to the wild plans which had ruined so many French armies in Italy,
   and which the Directory tried to force on him, of marching on Rome
   and Naples after every success in the north.]--

In these intervals of leisure Bonaparte was accustomed to retire to bed
early. I used to read to him every evening. When I read poetry he would
fall asleep; but when he asked for the Life of Cromwell I counted on
sitting up pretty late. In the course of the day he used to read and
make notes. He often expressed regret at not receiving news from France;
for correspondence was rendered impracticable by the numerous English and
Turkish cruisers. Many letters were intercepted and scandalously
published. Not even family secrets and communications of the most
confidential nature were respected.

About the middle of September in this year (1798), Bonaparte ordered to
be brought to the house of Elfy Bey half a dozen Asiatic women whose
beauty he had heard highly extolled. But their ungraceful obesity
displeased him, and they were immediately dismissed. A few days after he
fell violently in love with Madame Foures, the wife of a lieutenant of
infantry. She was very pretty, and her charms were enhanced by the
rarity of seeing a woman in Egypt who was calculated to please the eye of
a European. Bonaparte engaged for her a house adjoining the palace of
Elfy Bey, which we occupied. He frequently ordered dinner to be prepared
there, and I used to go there with him at seven o'clock, and leave him at

This connection soon became the general subject of gossip at
head-quarters. Through a feeling of delicacy to M. Foures, the
General-in-Chief gave him a mission to the Directory. He embarked at
Alexandria, and the ship was captured by the English, who, being
informed of the cause of his mission, were malicious enough to send him
back to Egypt, instead of keeping him prisoner. Bonaparte wished to
have a child by Madame Foures, but this wish was not realised.

A celebrated soothsayer was recommended to Bonaparte by the inhabitants
of Cairo, who confidentially vouched for the accuracy with which he could
foretell future events. He was sent for, and when he arrived, I,
Venture, and a sheik were with the General. The prophet wished first to
exercise his skill upon Bonaparte, who, however, proposed that I should
have my fortune told first, to which I acceded without hesitation.
To afford an idea of his prophetic skill I must mention that since my
arrival in Cairo I had been in a very weak state. The passage of the
Nile and the bad food we had had for twelve days had greatly reduced me,
so that I was miserably pale and thin.

After examining my hands, feeling my pulse, my forehead, and the nape of
my neck, the fortune-teller shrugged his shoulders, and, in a melancholy
tone, told Venture that he did not think it right to inform me of my
fate. I gave him to understand that he might say what he pleased, as it
was a matter of indifference to me. After considerable hesitation on his
part and pressing on mine, he announced to me that the earth of Egypt
would receive me in two months.

I thanked him, and he was dismissed. When we were alone the General
said to me, "Well, what do you think of that?" I observed that the
fortune-teller did not run any great risk in foretelling my death, which
was a very probable circumstance in the state in which I was; "but,"
added I, "if I procure the wines which I have ordered from France, you
will soon see me get round again."

The art of imposing on mankind has at all times been an important part of
the art of governing; and it was not that portion of the science of
government which Bonaparte was the least acquainted with. He neglected
no opportunity of showing off to the Egyptians the superiority of France
in arts and sciences; but it happened, oftener than once, that the simple
instinct of the Egyptians thwarted his endeavours in this way. Some days
after the visit of the pretended fortune-teller he wished, if I may so
express myself, to oppose conjurer to conjurer. For this purpose he
invited the principal sheiks to be present at some chemical experiments
performed by M. Berthollet. The General expected to be much amused at
their astonishment; but the miracles of the transformation of liquids,
electrical commotions and galvanism, did not elicit from them any symptom
of surprise. They witnessed the operations of our able chemist with the
most imperturbable indifference. When they were ended, the sheik El
Bekri desired the interpreter to tell M. Berthollet that it was all very
fine; "but," said he, "ask him whether he can make me be in Morocco and
here at one and the same moment?" M. Berthollet replied in the negative,
with a shrug of his shoulders. "Oh! then," said the sheik, "he is not
half a sorcerer."

Our music produced no greater effect upon them. They listened with
insensibility to all the airs that were played to them, with the
exception of "Marlbrook." When that was played they became animated, and
were all in motion, as if ready to dance.

An order which had been issued on our arrival in Cairo for watching the
criers of the mosques had for some weeks been neglected. At certain
hours of the night these cries address prayers to the Prophet. As it was
merely a repetition of the same ceremony over and over again, in a short
time no notice was taken of it. The Turks, perceiving this negligence,
substituted for their prayers and hymns cries of revolt, and by this sort
of verbal telegraph, insurrectionary excitement was transmitted to the
northern and southern extremities of Egypt. By this means, and by the
aid of secret emissaries, who eluded our feeble police, and circulated
real or forged firmans of the Sultan disavowing the concord between
France and the Porte, and provoking war, the plan of a revolution was
organised throughout the country.

The signal for the execution of this plan was given from the minarets on
the night of the 20th of October, and on the morning of the 21st it was
announced at headquarters that the city of Cairo was in open
insurrection. The General-in-Chief was not, as has been stated, in the
isle of Raeuddah: he did not hear the firing of the alarm-guns. He rose
when the news arrived; it was then five o'clock. He was informed that
all the shops were closed, and that the French were attacked. A moment
after he heard of the death of General Dupuis, commandant of the
garrison, who was killed by a lance in the street. Bonaparte immediately
mounted his horse, and, accompanied by only thirty guides, visited all
the threatened points, restored confidence, and, with great presence of
mind adopted measures of defence.

He left me at headquarters with only one sentinel; but he had been
accurately informed of the situation of the insurgents; and such was my
confidence in his activity and foresight that I had no apprehension, and
awaited his return with perfect composure. This composure was not
disturbed even when I saw a party of insurgents attack the house of M.
Esteve, our paymaster-general, which was situated on the opposite side of
Ezbekye'h Place. M. Esteve was, fortunately, able to resist the attack
until troops from Boulac came up to his assistance.

After visiting all the posts, and adopting every precautionary measure,
Bonaparte returned to headquarters. Finding me still alone with the
sentinel, he asked me, smiling, "whether I had not been
frightened?"--"Not at all, General, I assure you," replied I.

--It was about half-past eight in the morning when Bonaparte returned to
headquarters, and while at breakfast he was informed that some Bedouin
Arabs, on horseback, were trying to force their entrance into Cairo. He
ordered his aide de camp, Sulkowsky, to mount his horse, to take with him
fifteen guides, and proceed to the point where the assailants were most
numerous. This was the Bab-el-Nasser, or the gate of victory. Croisier
observed to the General-in-Chief that Sulkowsky had scarcely recovered
from the wounds at Salehye'h, and he offered to take his place. He had
his motives for this. Bonaparte consented; but Sulkowsky had already set
out. Within an hour after, one of the fifteen guides returned, covered
with blood, to announce that Sulkowsky and the remainder of his party had
been cut to pieces. This was speedy work, for we were still at table
when the sad news arrived.

Mortars were planted on Mount Mokatam, which commands Cairo. The
populace, expelled from all the principal streets by the troops,
assembled in the square of the Great Mosque, and in the little streets
running into it, which they barricaded. The firing of the artillery on
the heights was kept up with vigour for two days.

About twelve of the principal chiefs of Cairo were arrested and confined
in an apartment at headquarters. They awaited with the calmest
resignation the death they knew they merited; but Bonaparte merely
detained them as hostages. The aga in the service of Bonaparte was
astonished that sentence of death was not pronounced upon them; and he
said, shrugging his shoulders, and with a gesture apparently intended to
provoke severity, "You see they expect it."

On the third the insurrection was at an end, and tranquillity restored.
Numerous prisoners were conducted to the citadel. In obedience to an
order which I wrote every evening, twelve were put to death nightly. The
bodies were then put into sacks and thrown into the Nile. There were
many women included in these nocturnal executions.

I am not aware that the number of victims amounted to thirty per day, as
Bonaparte assured General Reynier in a letter which he wrote to him six
days after the restoration of tranquillity. "Every night," said he,
"we cut off thirty heads. This, I hope, will be an effectual example."
I am of opinion that in this instance he exaggerated the extent of his
just revenge.

Some time after the revolt of Cairo the necessity of ensuring our own
safety forced the commission of a terrible act of cruelty. A tribe of
Arabs in the neighbourhood of Cairo had surprised and massacred a party
of French. The General-in-Chief ordered his aide de camp Croisier to
proceed to the spot, surround the tribe, destroy the huts, kill all the
men, and conduct the rest of the population to Cairo. The order was to
decapitate the victims, and bring their heads in sacks to Cairo to be
exhibited to the people. Eugene Beauharnais accompanied Croisier, who
joyfully set out on this horrible expedition, in hope of obliterating all
recollection of the affair of Damanhour.

On the following day the party returned. Many of the poor Arab women had
been delivered on the road, and the children had perished of hunger,
heat, and fatigue. About four o'clock a troop of asses arrived in
Ezbekye'h Place, laden with sacks. The sacks were opened and the heads
rolled out before the assembled populace. I cannot describe the horror
I experienced; but I must nevertheless acknowledge that this butchery
ensured for a considerable time the tranquillity and even the existence
of the little caravans which were obliged to travel in all directions for
the service of the army.

Shortly before the loss of the fleet the General-in Chief had formed the
design of visiting Suez, to examine the traces of the ancient canal which
united the Nile to the Gulf of Arabia, and also to cross the latter. The
revolt at Cairo caused this project to be adjourned until the month of

Before his departure for Suez. Bonaparte granted the commissary Sucy
leave to return to France. He had received a wound in the right hand,
when on board the xebec 'Cerf'. I was conversing with him on deck when
he received this wound. At first it had no appearance of being serious;
but some time after he could not use his hand. General Bonaparte
despatched a vessel with sick and-wounded, who were supposed to be
incurable, to the number of about eighty. All, envied their fate, and
were anxious to depart with them, but the privilege was conceded to very
few. However, those who were, disappointed had, no cause for regret. We
never know what we wish for. Captain Marengo, who landed at Augusta in
Sicily, supposing it to be a friendly land, was required to observe
quarantine for twenty-two days, and information was given of the arrival
of the vessel to the court, which was at Palermo. On the 25th of January
1799 all on board the French vessel were massacred, with the exception of
twenty-one who were saved by a Neapolitan frigate, and conducted to
Messing, where they wore detained.

Before he conceived the resolution of attacking the Turkish advanced
guard in the valleys of Syria, Bonaparte had formed a plan of invading
British India from Persia. He had ascertained, through the medium of
agents, that the Shah of Persia would, for a sum, of money paid in
advance consent to the establishment of military magazines on certain
points of his territory. Bonaparte frequently told me that if, after the
subjugation of Egypt, he could have left 15,000 men in that country, and
have had 30,000 disposable troops, he would have marched on the
Euphrates. He was frequently speaking about the deserts which were to be
crossed to reach Persia.

How many, times have I seen him extended on the ground, examining the
beautiful maps which he had brought with him, and he would sometimes make
me lie down in the same position to trace to me his projected march.
This reminded him of the triumphs of his favourite hero, Alexander, with
whom he so much desired to associate his name; but, at the same time, he
felt that these projects were incompatible with our resources, the
weakness of the Government; and the dissatisfaction which the army
already evinced. Privation and misery are inseparable from all these
remote operations.

This favourite idea still occupied his mind a fortnight before his
departure for Syria was determined on, and on the 25th of January 1799
he wrote to Tippoo Saib as follows:--

   You are of course already informed, of my arrival on the banks of
   the Red Sea, with a numerous and invincible army. Eager to deliver
   you from the iron yoke of England, I hasten to request that you will
   send me, by the way of Mascate or Mocha, an account of the political
   situation in which you are. I also wish that you could send to
   Suez, or Grand Cairo, some able man, in your confidence, with whom I
   may confer.

   --[It is not true, as has often been stated, that Tippoo Saib wrote
   to General Bonaparte. He could not reply to a letter written on the
   23th of January, owing to the great difficulty of communication, the
   considerable distance, and the short interval which elapsed between
   the 25th of January and the fall of the Empire of Mysore, which
   happened on the 20th of April following. The letter to Tippo Saib
   commenced "Citizen-Sultan!"--Bourrienne]--



   Bonaparte's departure for Suez--Crossing the desert--Passage of the
   Red Sea--The fountain of Moses--The Cenobites of Mount Sinai--Danger
   in recrossing the Red Sea--Napoleon's return to Cairo--Money
   borrowed at Genoa--New designs upon Syria--Dissatisfaction of the
   Ottoman Porte--Plan for invading Asia--Gigantic schemes--General
   Berthier's permission to return to France--His romantic love and the
   adored portrait--He gives up his permission to return home--Louis
   Bonaparte leaves Egypt--The first Cashmere shawl in France--
   Intercepted correspondence--Departure for Syria--Fountains of
   Messoudish--Bonaparte jealous--Discontent of the troops--El-Arish
   taken--Aspect of Syria--Ramleh--Jerusalem.

On the 24th of December we set out for Suez, where we arrived on the
26th. On the 25th we encamped in the desert some leagues before
Ad-Geroth. The heat had been very great during the day; but about
eleven at night the cold became so severe as to be precisely in an
inverse ratio to the temperature of the day. This desert, which is the
route of the caravans from Suez, from Tor and the countries situated on
the north of Arabia, is strewed with the bones of the men and animals
who, for ages past, have perished in crossing it. As there was no wood
to be got, we collected a quantity of these bones for fuel. Monge
himself was induced to sacrifice some of the curious skulls of animals
which he had picked up on the way and deposited in the Berlin of the
General-in-Chief. But no sooner had we kindled our fires than an
intolerable effluvium obliged us to, raise our camp and advance farther
on, for we could procure no water to extinguish the fires.

On the 27th Bonaparte employed himself in inspecting the town and port
of Suez, and in giving orders for some naval and military works. He
feared--what indeed really occurred after his departure from Egypt--the
arrival of some English troops from the East Indies, which he had
intended to invade. These regiments contributed to the loss of his

   --[Sir David Baird, with a force of about 7000 men sent from India,
   landed at Cosseir in July 1801.]--

On the morning of the 28th we crossed the Red Sea dry-shod, to go to the
Wells of Moses, which are nearly a myriametre from the eastern coast, and
a little southeast of Suez. The Gulf of Arabia terminates at about 5,000
metres north of that city. Near the port the Red Sea is not above 1,500
metres wide, and is always fordable at low water. The caravans from Tor
and Mount Sinai always pass at that part,

   --[I shall say nothing of the Cenobites of Mount Sinai, as I had not
   the honour of seeing them. Neither did I see the register
   containing the names of Ali, Salah-Eddin, Ibrahim or Abraham,
   on which Bonaparte is said to have inscribed his name. I perceived
   at a distance some high hills which were said to be Mount Sinai.
   I conversed, through the medium of an interpreter, with some Arabian
   chiefs of Tor and its neighbourhood. They had been informed of our
   excursion to the Wells, and that they might there thank the French
   General for the protection granted to their caravans and their trade
   with Egypt. On the 19th of December, before his departure from
   Suez, Bonaparte signed a sort of safeguard, or exemption from
   duties, for the convent of Mount Sinai. This had been granted out
   of respect to Moses and the Jewish nation, and also because the
   convent of Mount Sinai is a seat of learning and civilisation amidst
   the barbarism of the deserts.--Bourrienne.]--

either in going to or returning from Egypt. This shortens their journey
nearly a myriametre. At high tide the water rises five or six feet at
Suez, and when the wind blows fresh it often rises to nine or ten feet.

We spent a few hours seated by the largest of the springs called the
Wells of Moses, situated on the eastern shore of the Gulf of Arabia.
We made coffee with the water from these springs, which, however, gave it
such a brackish taste that it was scarcely drinkable.

Though the water of the eight little springs which form the Wells of
Moses is not so salt as that of many wells dug in other parts of the
deserts, it is, nevertheless, exceedingly brackish, and does not allay
thirst so well as fresh water.

Bonaparte returned to Suez that same night. It was very dark when we
reached the sea-shore. The tide was coming up, and the water was pretty
high. We deviated a little from the way we had taken in the morning; we
crossed a little too low down; we were thrown into disorder, but we did
not lose ourselves in the marshes as has been stated. There were none.
I have read somewhere, though I did not see the fact, nor did I hear it
mentioned at the time, that the tide, which was coming up, would have
been the grave of the General-in-Chief had not one of the guides saved
him by carrying him on his shoulders. If any such danger had existed,
all who had not a similar means of escape must have perished.

This is a fabrication. General Caffarelli was the only person who was
really in danger, for his wooden leg prevented his sitting firmly on his
horse in the water; but some persons came to his assistance and supported

   --[Bonaparte extricated himself as the others did from the real
   danger he and his escort had run. At St. Helena he said, "Profiting
   by the low tide, I crossed the Red Sea dry-shod. On my return I was
   overtaken by the night and went astray in the middle of the rising
   tide. I ran the greatest danger. I nearly perished in the same
   manner as Pharaoh did. This would certainly have furnished all the
   Christian preachers with a magnificent test against me."

On his return to Cairo the General-in-Chief wished to discover the site
of the canal which in ancient times formed a junction between the Red Sea
and the Nile by Belbeis. M. Lepere, who was a member of the Egyptian
Institute, and is now inspector-general of bridges and highways, executed
on the spot a beautiful plan, which may confidently be consulted by those
who wish to form an accurate idea of that ancient communication, and the
level of the two seas.

   --[Since accurately ascertained during the progress of the works for
   the Suez Canal.]--

On his arrival at the capital Bonaparte again devoted all his thoughts to
the affairs of the army, which he had not attended to during his short
absence. The revenues of Egypt were far from being sufficient to meet
the military expenditure. To defray his own expenses Bonaparte raised
several considerable loans in Genoa through the medium of M. James. The
connection of James with the Bonaparte family takes its date from this

   --[Joseph Bonaparte says that the fathers of Napoleon and of M.
   James had long known one another, and that Napoleon had met James at
   Autun. ('Erreurs', tome i, p. 296).]--

Since the month of August the attention of General Bonaparte had been
constantly fixed on Syria. The period of the possible landing of an
enemy in Egypt had now passed away, and could not return until the month
of July in the following year. Bonaparte was fully convinced that that
landing would take place, and he was not deceived. The Ottoman Porte
had, indeed, been persuaded that the conquest of Egypt was not in her
interest. She preferred enduring a rebel whom she hoped one day to
subdue to supporting a power which, under the specious pretext of
reducing her insurgent beys to obedience, deprived her of one of her
finest provinces, and threatened the rest of the empire.

On his return to Cairo the General-in-Chief had no longer any doubt as to
the course which the Porte intended to adapt. The numerous class of
persons who believed that the Ottoman Porte had consented to our
occupation of Egypt were suddenly undeceived. It, was then asked how we
could, without that consent, have attempted such an enterprise? Nothing,
it was said, could justify the temerity of such an expedition, if it
should produce a rupture between France, the Ottoman empire, and its
allies. However, for the remainder of the year Bonaparte dreaded nothing
except an expedition from Gaza and El-Arish, of which the troops of
Djezzar had already taken possession. This occupation was justly
regarded as a decided act of hostility; war was thus practically
declared. "We must adopt anticipatory measures," thought Napoleon;
"we must destroy this advanced guard of the Ottoman empire, overthrow
the ramparts of Jaffa and Acre, ravage the country, destroy all her
resources, so as to render the passage of an army across the desert
impracticable." Thus was planned the expedition against Syria.

General Berthier, after repeated entreaties, had obtained permission to
return to France. The 'Courageuse' frigate, which was to convey him
home, was fitting out at Alexandria; he had received his instructions,
and was to leave Cairo on the 29th of January, ten days before
Bonaparte's departure for Syria. Bonaparte was sorry to part with him;
but he could not endure to see an old friend, and one who had served him
well in all his campaigns, dying before his eyes, the victim of nostalgia
and romantic love. Besides, Berthier had been for some time past,
anything but active in the discharge of his duties. His passion, which
amounted almost to madness, impaired the feeble faculties with which
nature had endowed him. Some writers have ranked him in the class of
sentimental lovers: be this as it may, the homage which herthier rendered
to the portrait of the object of his adoration more frequently excited
our merriment than our sensibility.

One day I went with an order from Bonaparte to the chief of his staff,
whom I found on his knees before the portrait of Madame Visconti, which
was hanging opposite the door. I touched him, to let him know I was
there. He grumbled a little, but did not get angry.

The moment was approaching when the two friends were to part, perhaps
forever. Bonaparte was sincerely distressed at this separation, and the
chief of his staff was informed of the fact. At a moment when it was
supposed Berthier was on his way to Alexandria, he presented himself to
the General-in-Chief. "You are, then, decidedly going to Asia?" said
he.--"You know," replied the General, "that all is ready, and I shall set
out in a few days."--"Well, I will not leave you. I voluntarily renounce
all idea of returning to France. I could not endure to forsake you at a
moment when you are going to encounter new dangers. Here are my
instructions and my passport." Bonaparte, highly pleased with this
resolution, embraced Berthier; and the coolness which had been excited by
his request to return home was succeeded by a sincere reconciliation.

Louis Bonaparte, who was suffering from the effects of the voyage, was
still at Alexandria. The General-in-Chief, yielding to the pacific views
of his younger brother, who was also beginning to evince some symptoms of
nostalgia, consented to his return home. He could not, however, depart
until the 11th of March 1799. I felt the absence of Louis very much.

On his return to France Louis passed through Sens, where he dined with
Madame de Bourrienne, to whom he presented a beautiful shawl, which
General Berthier had given me. This, I believe, was the first Cashmere
that had ever been seen in France. Louis was much surprised when Madame
de Bourrienne showed him the Egyptian correspondence, which had been
seized by the English and printed in London. He found in the collection
some letters addressed to himself, and there were others, he said, which
were likely to disturb the peace of more than one family on the return of
the army.

On the 11th of February 1799 we began our march for Syria, with about
12,000 men. It has been erroneously stated that the army amounted to
only 6000: nearly that number was lost in the course of the campaign.
However, at the very moment we were on our way to Syria, with 12,000 men,
scarcely as many being left in Egypt, the Directory published that,
"according to the information which had been received," we had 60,000
infantry and 10,000 cavalry; that the army had doubled its numbers by
battles; and that since our arrival in Egypt, we had lost only 300 men.
Is history to be written from such documents?

We arrived, about four o'clock in the afternoon, at Messoudiah, or,
"the Fortunate Spot." Here we witnessed a kind of phenomenon, which was
not a little agreeable to us. Messoudiah is a place situated on the
coast of the Mediterranean, surrounded with little dunes of very fine
sand, which the copious rains of winter readily penetrate. The rain
remains in the sand, so that on making with the fingers holes of four or
five inches in depth at the bottom of these little hills, the water
immediately flows out. This water was, indeed, rather thick, but its
flavour was agreeable; and it would have become clear if we could have
spared time to allow it to rest and deposit the particles of sand it

It was a curious spectacle to behold us all lying prostrate, digging
wells in miniature; and displaying a laughable selfishness in our
endeavours to obtain the most abundant source. This was a very important
discovery to us. We found these sand-wells at the extremity of the
desert, and it contributed, in no small degree, to revive the courage of
our soldiers; besides, when men are, as was the case with us, subject to
privations of every kind, the least benefit which accrues inspires the
hope of a new advantage. We were approaching the confines of Syria, and
we enjoyed by anticipation, the pleasure we were about to experience, on
treading a soil which, by its variety of verdure and vegetation, would
remind us of our native land. At Messoudiah we likewise possessed the
advantage of bathing in the sea, which was not more than fifty paces from
our unexpected water-supply.

Whilst near the wells of Messoudiah, on the way to El-Arish, I one day
saw Bonaparte walking alone with Junot, as he was often in the habit of
doing. I stood at a little distance, and my eyes, I know not why, were
fixed on him during their conversation. The General's countenance, which
was always pale, had, without my being able to divine the cause, become
paler than usual. There was something convulsive in his features--a
wildness in his look, and he several times struck his head with his hand.
After conversing with Junot about a quarter of an hour he quitted him and
came towards me. I never saw him exhibit such an air of dissatisfaction,
or appear so much under the influence of some prepossession. I advanced
towards him, and as soon as we met, he exclaimed in an abrupt and angry
tone, "So! I find I cannot depend upon you.--These women!--Josephine!
--if you had loved me, you would before now have told me all I have heard
from Junot--he is a real friend--Josephine!--and I 600 leagues from
her--you ought to have told me.--That she should thus have deceived
me!--'Woe to them!--I will exterminate the whole race of fops and
puppies!--As to her--divorce!--yes, divorce! a public and open
divorce!--I must write!--I know all!--It is your fault--you ought
to have told me!"

These energetic and broken exclamations, his disturbed countenance and
altered voice informed me but too well of the subject of his conversation
with Junot. I saw that Junot had been drawn into a culpable
indiscretion; and that, if Josephine had committed any faults, he had
cruelly exaggerated them. My situation was one of extreme delicacy.
However, I had the good fortune to retain my self-possession, and as soon
as some degree of calmness succeeded to this first burst, I replied that
I knew nothing of the reports which Junot might have communicated to him;
that even if such reports, often the offspring of calumny, had reached my
ear, and if I had considered it my duty to inform him of them,
I certainly would not have selected for that purpose the moment when he
was 600 leagues from France. I also did not conceal how blamable Junot's
conduct appeared to me, and how ungenerous I considered it thus rashly to
accuse a woman who was not present to justify or defend herself; that it
was no great proof of attachment to add domestic uneasiness to the
anxiety, already sufficiently great, which the situation of his brothers
in arms, at the commencement of a hazardous enterprise, occasioned him.

Notwithstanding these observations, which, however, he listened to with
some calmness, the word "divorce" still escaped his lips; and it is
necessary to be aware of the degree of irritation to which he was liable
when anything seriously vexed him, to be able to form an idea of what
Bonaparte was during this painful scene. However, I kept my ground.
I repeated what I had said. I begged of him to consider with what
facility tales were fabricated and circulated, and that gossip such as
that which had been repeated to him was only the amusement of idle
persons; and deserved the contempt of strong minds. I spoke of his
glory. "My glory!" cried he. "I know not what I would not give if that
which Junot has told me should be untrue; so much do I love Josephine!
If she be really guilty a divorce must separate us for ever. I will not
submit to be a laughing-stock for all the imbeciles in Paris. I will
write to Joseph; he will get the divorce declared."

Although his agitation continued long, intervals occurred in which he was
less excited. I seized one of these moments of comparative calm to
combat this idea of divorce which seemed to possess his mind.
I represented to him especially that it would be imprudent to write to
his brother with reference to a communication which was probably false.
"The letter might be intercepted; it would betray the feelings of
irritation which dictated it. As to a divorce, it would be time to think
of that hereafter, but advisedly."

These last words produced an effect on him which I could not have
ventured to hope for so speedily. He became tranquil, listened to me as
if he had suddenly felt the justice of my observations, dropped the
subject, and never returned to it; except that about a fortnight after,
when we were before St. Jean d'Acre, he expressed himself greatly
dissatisfied with Junot, and complained of the injury he had done him by
his indiscreet disclosures, which he began to regard as the inventions of
malignity. I perceived afterwards that he never pardoned Junot for this
indiscretion; and I can state, almost with certainty, that this was one
of the reasons why Junot was not created a marshal of France, like many
of, his comrades whom Bonaparte had loved less. It may be supposed that
Josephine, who was afterwards informed by Bonaparte of Junot's
conversation, did not feel particularly interested in his favour.
He died insane on the 27th of July 1813.

   --[However indiscreet Junot might on this occasion have shown
   himself in interfering in so delicate a matter, it is pretty certain
   that his suspicions were breathed to no other ear than that of
   Bonaparte himself. Madame Junot, in speaking of the ill-suppressed
   enmity between her husband and Madame Bonaparte, says that he never
   uttered a word even to her of the subject of his conversation with,
   the General-in-Chief to Egypt. That Junot's testimony, however,
   notwithstanding the countenance it obtained from Bonaparte's
   relations, ought to be cautiously received, the following passage
   from the Memoirs of the Duchesse d'Abrantes, vol. i. p. 250,
   demonstrative of the feelings of irritation between the parties,
   will show:

   "Junot escorted Madame Bonaparte when she went to join the
   General-in-Chief in Italy. I am surprised that M. de Bourrienne
   has omitted mentioning this circumstance in his Memoirs. He must
   have known it, since he was well acquainted with everything
   relating to Josephine, and knew many facts of high interest in her
   life at this period and subsequently. How happens it too that he
   makes no mention of Mademoiselle Louise, who might be called her
   'demioselle de compagnie' rather than her 'femme de chambre'? At
   the outset of the journey to Italy she was such a favourite with
   Josephine that she dressed like her mistress, ate at table with
   her, and was in all respects her friend and confidante.

   "The journey was long, much too long for Junot, though he was very
   much in love with Mademoiselle Louise. But he was anxious to join
   the army, for to him his General was always the dearest of
   mistresses. Junot has often spoken to me, and to me alone, of the
   vexations he experienced on this journey. He might have added to
   his circumstantial details relative to Josephine the conversation he
   is reported go have had with Bonaparte to Egypt; but he never
   breathed a word on the subject, for his character was always noble
   and generous. The journey to Italy did not produce the effect which
   usually arises from such incidents in common life; namely, a closer
   friendship and intimacy between the parties. On the contrary,
   Madame Bonaparte from that moment evinced some degree of ill-humour
   towards Junot, and complained with singular warmth of the want of
   respect which he had shown her, in making love to her 'femme de
   chambre' before her face."

   According to 'Erreurs (tome i. pp. 4, 50) Junot was not then in
   Syria. On 10th February Napoleon was at Messoudiah. Junot only
   arrived from Egypt at Gaza on the 25th February. Madame d'Abrantes
   (ii. 32) treats this conversation as apocryphal. "This (an anecdote
   of her own) is not an imaginary episode like that, for example, of
   making a person speak at Messoudiah who never was there."]--

Our little army continued its march on El-Arish, where we arrived on the
17th of February. The fatigues experienced in the desert and the
scarcity of water excited violent murmurs amongst the soldiers during
their march across the isthmus. When any person on horseback passed them
they studiously expressed their discontent. The advantage possessed by
the horsemen provoked their sarcasms. I never heard the verses which
they are said to have repeated, but they indulged in the most violent
language against the Republic, the men of science, and those whom they
regarded as the authors of the expedition. Nevertheless these brave
fellows, from whom it was not astonishing that such great privations
should extort complaints, often compensated by their pleasantries for the
bitterness of their reproaches.

Many times during the crossing of the isthmus I have seen soldiers,
parched with thirst, and unable to wait till the hour for distribution of
water, pierce the leathern bottles which contained it; and this conduct,
so injurious to all, occasioned numerous quarrels.

El-Arish surrendered on the 17th of February. It has been erroneously
stated that the garrison of this insignificant place, which was set at
liberty on condition of not again serving against us, was afterwards
found amongst the besieged at Jaffa. It has also been stated that it was
because the men composing the El-Arish garrison did not proceed to
Bagdad, according to the capitulation, that we shot them at Jaffa. We
shall presently see the falsehood of these assertions.

On the 28th of February we obtained the first glimpse of the green and
fertile plains of Syria, which, in many respects, reminded us of the
climate and soil of Europe. We now had rain, and sometimes rather too
much. The feelings which the sight of the valleys and mountains called.
forth made us, in some degree, forget the hardships and vexations of an
expedition of which few persons could foresee the object or end. There
are situations in life when the slightest agreeable sensation alleviates
all our ills.

On the 1st of March we slept at Ramleh, in a small convent occupied by
two monks, who paid us the greatest attention. They gave us the church
for a hospital. These good fathers did not fail to tell us that it was
through this place the family of Jesus Christ passed into Egypt, and
showed us the wells at which they quenched their thirst.

   --[Ramleh, the ancient Arimathea, is situated at the base of a chain
   of mountains, the eastern extremity of which is washed by the
   Persian Gulf, and the western by the Mediterranean.--Bourrienne.]--

The pure and cool water of these wells delighted us.

We were not more than about six leagues from Jerusalem.

I asked the General whether he did not intend to direct his march by the
way of that city, so celebrated in many respects. He replied, "Oh no!
Jerusalem is not in my line of operations. I do not wish to be annoyed
by mountaineers in difficult roads. And, besides, on the other aide of
the mountain I should be assailed by swarms of cavalry. I am not
ambitious of the fate of Cassius."

We therefore did not enter Jerusalem, which was not disturbed by the war.
All we did was to send a written declaration to the persons in power at
Jerusalem, assuring them that we had no design against that country, and
only wished them to remain at peace. To this communication no answer was
returned, and nothing more passed on the subject.

   --[Sir Walter Scott says, speaking of Bonaparte, that he believes
   that little officer of artillery dreamed of being King of Jerusalem.
   What I have just stated proves that he never thought of such a
   thing. The "little officer of artillery" had a far more splendid
   dream in his head.--Bourrienne.]--

We found at Ramleh between two and three hundred Christians in a pitiable
state of servitude, misery, and dejection. On conversing with them I
could not help admiring how much the hope of future rewards may console
men under present ills. But I learned from many of them that they did
not live in harmony together. The feelings of hatred and jealousy are
not less common amongst these people than amongst the better-instructed
inhabitants of rich and populous cities.



   Arrival at Jaffa--The siege--Beauharnais and Croisier--Four thousand
   prisoners--Scarcity of provisions--Councils of war--Dreadful
   necessity--The massacre--The plague--Lannes and the mountaineers--
   Barbarity of Djezasi--Arrival at St Jean d'Acre, and abortive
   attacks--Sir Sidney Smith--Death of Caffarelli--Duroc wounded--
   Rash bathing--Insurrections in Egypt.

On arriving before Jaffa, where there were already some troops, the first
person. I met was Adjutant-General Gresieux, with whom I was well
acquainted. I wished him good-day, and offered him my hand. "Good God!
what are you about?" said he, repulsing me with a very abrupt gesture;
"you may have the plague. People do not touch each other here!"
I mentioned the circumstance to Bonaparte, who said, "If he be afraid of
the plague, he will die of it." Shortly after, at St. Jean d'Acre, he
was attacked by that malady, and soon sank under it.

On the 4th of March we commenced the siege of Jaffa. That paltry place,
which, to round a sentence, was pompously styled the ancient Joppa, held
out only to the 6th of March, when it was taken by storm, and given up to
pillage. The massacre was horrible. General Bonaparte sent his aides de
camp Beauharnais and Croisier to appease the fury of the soldiers as much
as possible, and to report to him what was passing. They learned that a
considerable part of the garrison had retired into some vast buildings,
a sort of caravanserai, which formed a large enclosed court. Beauharnais
and Croisier, who were distinguished by wearing the 'aide de camp' scarf
on their arms, proceeded to that place. The Arnauts and Albanians, of
whom these refugees were almost entirely composed, cried from the windows
that they were willing to surrender upon an assurance that they would be
exempted from the massacre to which the town was doomed; if not, they
threatened to fire on the 'aides de camp', and to defend themselves to
the last extremity. The two officers thought that they ought to accede
to the proposition, notwithstanding the decree of death which had been
pronounced against the whole garrison, in consequence of the town being
token by storm. They brought them to our camp in two divisions, one
consisting of about 2500 men, the other of about 1600.

I was walking with General Bonaparte, in front of his tent, when he
beheld this mass of men approaching, and before he even saw his 'aides de
camp' he said to me, in a tone of profound sorrow, "What do they wish me
to do with these men? Have I food for them?--ships to convey them to
Egypt or France? Why, in the devil's name, have they served me thus?"
After their arrival, and the explanations which the General-in-Chief
demanded and listened to with anger, Eugene and Croisier received the
most severe reprimand for their conduct. But the deed was done. Four
thousand men were there. It was necessary to decide upon their fate.
The two aides de camp observed that they had found themselves alone in
the midst of numerous enemies, and that he had directed them to restrain
the carnage. "Yes, doubtless," replied the General-in-Chief, with great
warmth, "as to women, children, and old men--all the peaceable
inhabitants; but not with respect to armed soldiers. It was your duty to
die rather than bring these unfortunate creatures to me. What do you want
me to do with them?" These words were pronounced in the most angry tone.

The prisoners were then ordered to sit down, and were placed, without any
order, in front of the tents, their hands tied behind their backs.
A sombre determination was depicted on their countenances. We gave them
a little biscuit and bread, squeezed out of the already scanty supply for
the army.

On the first day of their arrival a council of war was held in the tent
of the General-in-Chief, to determine what course should be pursued with
respect to them the council deliberated a long time without coming to any

On the evening of the following day the daily reports of the generals of
division came in. They spoke of nothing but the insufficiency of the
rations, the complaints of the soldiers--of their murmurs and discontent
at seeing their bread given to enemies who had been withdrawn from their
vengeance, inasmuch as a decree of death; in conformity with the laws of
war, had been passed on Jaffa. All these reports were alarming, and
especially that of General Bon, in which no reserve was made. He spoke
of nothing less than the fear of a revolt, which would be justified by
the serious nature of the case.

The council assembled again. All the generals of division were summoned
to attend, and for several hours together they discussed, under separate
questions, what measures might be adopted, with the most sincere desire
to discover and execute one which would save the lives of these
unfortunate prisoners.

(1.) Should they be sent into Egypt? Could it be done?
To do so; it would be necessary to send with them a numerous escort,
which would too much weaken our little army in the enemy's country. How,
besides, could they and the escort be supported till they reached Cairo,
having no provisions to give them on setting out, and their route being
through a hostile territory, which we had exhausted, which presented no
fresh resources, and through which we, perhaps, might have to return,

(2.) Should they be embarked?
Where were the ships?--Where could they be found? All our telescopes,
directed over the sea could not descry a single friendly sail Bonaparte,
I affirm, would have regarded such an event as a real favour of fortune.
It was, and--I am glad to have to say it, this sole idea, this sole hope,
which made him brave, for three days, the murmurs of his army. But in
vain was help looked for seaward. It did not come.

(3.) Should the prisoners be set at liberty?
They world then instantly proceed to St. Jean d'Acre to reinforce the
pasha, or else, throwing themselves into the mountains of Nablous, would
greatly annoy our rear and right-flank, and deal out death to us, as a
recompense for the life we had given them. There could be no doubt of
this. What is a Christian dog to a Turk? It would even have been a
religious and meritorious act in the eye of the Prophet.

(4.) Could they be incorporated, disarmed, with our soldiers in the

Here again the question of food presented itself in all its force. Next
came to be considered the danger of having such comrades while marching
through an enemy's country. What might happen in the event of a battle
before St. Jean d'Acre? Could we even tell what might occur during the
march? And, finally, what must be done with them when under the ramparts
of that town, if we should be able to take them there? The same
embarrassments with respect to the questions of provisions and security
would then recur with increased force.

The third day arrived without its being possible, anxiously as it was
desired, to come to any conclusion favourable to the preservation of
these unfortunate men. The murmurs in the camp grew louder the evil went
on increasing--remedy appeared impossible--the danger was real and
imminent. The order for shooting the prisoners was given and executed on
the 10th of March. We did not, as has been stated, separate the Egyptians
from the other prisoners. There were no Egyptians.

Many of the unfortunate creatures composing the smaller division, which
was fired on close to the seacoast, at some distance from the other
column, succeeded in swimming to some reefs of rocks out of the reach of
musket-shot. The soldiers rested their muskets on the sand, and, to
induce the prisoners to return, employed the Egyptian signs of
reconciliation in use in the country. They, came back; but as they
advanced they were killed, and disappeared among the waves.

I confine myself to these details of this act of dreadful necessity, of
which I was an eye-witness. Others, who, like myself, saw it, have
fortunately spared me the recital of the sanguinary result. This
atrocious scene, when I think of it, still makes me shudder, as it did on
the day I beheld it; and I would wish it were possible for me to forget
it, rather than be compelled to describe it. All the horrors imagination
can conceive, relative to that day of blood, would fall short of the

I have related the truth, the whole truth. I was present at all the
discussions, all the conferences, all the deliberations. I had not, as
may be supposed, a deliberative voice; but I am bound to declare that.
the situation of the army, the scarcity of food, our small numerical
strength, in the midst of a country where every individual was an enemy,
would have induced me to vote in the affirmative of the proposition which
was carried into effect, if I had a vote to give. It was necessary to be
on the spot in order to understand the horrible necessity which existed.

War, unfortunately, presents too many occasions on which a law, immutable
in all ages, and common to all nations, requires that private interests
should be sacrificed to a great general interest, and that even humanity
should be forgotten. It is for posterity to judge whether this terrible
situation was that in which Bonaparte was placed. For my own part, I
have a perfect conviction that he could not do otherwise than yield to
the dire necessity of the case. It was the advice of the council, whose
opinion was unanimous in favour of the execution, that governed him,
Indeed I ought in truth to say, that he yielded only in the last
extremity, and was one of those, perhaps, who beheld the massacre with
the deepest pain.

After the siege of Jaffe the plague began to exhibit itself with a little
more virulence. We lost between seven and eight hundred, men by the
contagion during the campaign of Syria'

   --[Sir Walter Scott says, that Heaven seat this pestilence amongst
   us to avenge the massacre of Jaffa]--

During our march on St. Jean d'Acre, which was commenced on the 14th of
March, the army neither obtained the brilliant triumphs nor encountered
the numerous obstacles spoken of in certain works. Nothing of importance
occurred but a rash skirmish of General Lannes who, in spite of contrary
orders, from Bonaparte, obstinately pursued a troop of mountaineers into
the passes of Nabloua. On returning, he found the mountaineers placed in
ambush in great numbers amongst rocks, the windings of which they were
well, acquainted with, whence they fired close upon our troops; whose
situation rendered them unable to defend themselves. During the time of
this foolish and useless enterprise; especially while the firing was
brisk, Bonaparte, exhibited much impatience, and it must be confessed,
his anger was but natural: The Nablousians halted at the openings of the
mountain defiles. Bonaparte reproached Lannes bitterly for having
uselessly exposed himself, and "sacrificed, without any object, a number
of brave men." Lannes excused himself by saying that the mountaineers
had defied him, and he wished to chastise the rabble. "We are not in a
condition to play the swaggerer," replied Napoleon.

In four days we arrived before St. Jean d'Acre, where we learned that
Djezzar had cut off the head of our envoy, Mailly-de-Chateau-Renaud, and
thrown his body into the sea in a sack. This cruel pasha was guilty of a
great number of similar executions. The waves frequently drove dead
bodies towards the coast, and we came upon them whilst bathing.

The details: of the siege of Acre are well known. Although surrounded by
a wall, flanked with strong towers, and having, besides, a broad-and deep
ditch defended by works this little fortress did not appear likely to
hold out against French valour and the skill of our corps of engineers
and artillery; but the ease and rapidity with which Jaffa had been taken
occasioned us to overlook in some degree the comparative strength of the
two places, and the difference of their respective situations. At Jaffa
we had sufficient artillery: at St. Jean d'Acre we had not. At Jaffa we
had to deal only with a garrison left to itself: at St. Jean d'Acre we
were opposed by a garrison strengthened by reinforcements of men and
supplies of provisions, supported by the English fleet, and assisted by
European Science. Sir Sidney Smith was, beyond doubt, the man who did us
the greatest injury.

   --[Sir Sidney Smith was the only Englishman besides the Duke of
   Wellington who defeated Napoleon in military operations. The third
   Englishman opposed to him, Sir John Moore, was compelled to make a
   precipitate retreat through the weakness of his force]--

Much has been said respecting his communications with the
General-in-Chief. The reproaches which the latter cast upon him for
endeavouring to seduce the soldiers and officers of the army by tempting
offers were the more singular, even if they were well founded, inasmuch
as these means are frequently employed by leaders in war.

   --[At one time the French General was so disturbed by them as to
   endeavour to put a stop to them; which object he effected by
   interdicting all communication with the English, and signifying, in
   an order of the day, that their Commodore was a madman. This, being
   believed in the army, so enraged Sir Sidney Smith, that in his wrath
   he sent a challenge to Napoleon. The latter replied, that he had
   too many weighty affairs on his hands to trouble himself in so
   trifling a matter. Had it, indeed, been the great Marlborough, it
   might have been worthy his attention. Still, if the English sailor
   was absolutely bent upon fighting, he would send him a bravo from
   the army, and show them a smell portion of neutral ground, where the
   mad Commodore might land, and satisfy his humour to the full.--
   (Editor of 1836 edition.)]--

As to the embarking of French prisoners on board a vessel in which the
plague existed, the improbability of the circumstance alone, but
especially the notorious facts of the case, repel this odious
accusation. I observed the conduct of Sir Sidney Smith closely at the
time, and I remarked in him a chivalric spirit, which sometimes hurried
him into trifling eccentricities; but I affirm that his behaviour towards
the French was that of a gallant enemy. I have seen many letters, in
which the writers informed him that they "were very sensible of the good
treatment which the French experienced when they fell into his hands."
Let any one examine Sir Sidney's conduct before the capitulation of
El-Arish, and after its rupture, and then they can judge of his

   --[Napoleon, when at St. Helena, in speaking of the siege of Acre,
   said,--Sidney Smith is a brave officer. He displayed considerable
   ability in the treaty for the evacuation of Egypt by the French. He
   took advantage of the discontent which he found to prevail amongst
   the French troops at being so long away from France, and other
   circumstances. He manifested great honour in sending immediately to
   Kleber the refusal of Lord Keith to ratify the treaty, which saved
   the French army; if he had kept it a secret seven or eight days
   longer, Cairo would have been given up to the Turks, and the French
   army necessarily obliged to surrender to the English. He also
   showed great humanity and honour in all his proceedings towards the
   French who felt into his hands. He landed at Havre, for some
   'sotttice' of a bet he had made, according to some, to go to the
   theatre; others said it was for espionage; however that may be, he
   was arrested and confined in the Temple as a spy; and at one time it
   was intended to try and execute him. Shortly after I returned from
   Italy he wrote to me from his prison, to request that I would
   intercede for him; but, under the circumstances in which he was
   taken, I could do nothing for him. He is active, intelligent,
   intriguing, and indefatigable; but I believe that he is 'mezzo

   "The chief cause of the failure at Acre was, that he took all my
   battering train, which was on board of several small vessels.
   Had it not been for that, I would have taken Acre in spite of him.
   He behaved very bravely, and was well seconded by Phillipeaux, a
   Frenchman of talent, who had studied with me as an engineer. There
   was a Major Douglas also, who behaved very gallantly. The
   acquisition of five or six hundred seamen as gunners was a great
   advantage to the Turks, whose spirits they revived, and whom they
   showed how to defend the fortress. But he committed a great fault
   in making sorties, which cost the lives of two or three hundred
   brave fellows without the possibility of success. For it was
   impossible he could succeed against the number of the French who
   were before Acre. I would lay a wage that he lost half of his crew
   in them. He dispersed Proclamations amongst my troops, which
   certainly shook some of them, and I in consequence published an
   order, stating that he was read, and forbidding all communication
   with him. Some days after he sent, by means of a flag of truce,
   a lieutenant or a midshipman with a letter containing a challenge to
   me to meet him at some place he pointed out in order to fight a
   duel. I laughed at this, sad sent him back an intimation that when
   he brought Marlborough to fight me I would meet him. Not,
   withstanding this, I like the character of the man." (Voices from
   St. Helena, vol. 4, p. 208).]--

All our manoeuvres, our works, and attacks were made with that levity and
carelessness which over-confidence inspires. Kleber, whilst walking with
me one day in the lines of our camp, frequently expressed his surprise
and discontent. "The trenches," said, he, "do not come up to my knees."
Besieging artillery was, of necessity, required: we commenced with field
artillery. This encouraged the besieged, who perceived the weakness of
our resources. The besieging artillery, consisting only of three
twenty-four pounders and six, eighteen pounders, was not brought up
until the end of April, and before that period threw assaults had taken
place with very serious loss. On the 4th of May our powder began to
fail us. This cruel event obliged us to slacken our fire. We also
wanted shot; and an order of the day fixed a price to be given for all
balls, according to their calibre, which might be picked up after being
fired from the fortress or the two ships of the line, the 'Tiger' and
'Theseus', which were stationed on each side of the harbour: These two
vessels embarrassed the communication, between the camp and the
trenches; but though they made much noise, they did little harm. A ball
from one of them; killed an officer on the evening the siege was raised.

The enemy had within the walls some excellent riflemen, chiefly
Albanians. They placed stones, one over the other, on the walls, put
their firearms through the interstices, and thus, completely sheltered,
fired with destructive precision.

On the 9th of April General Caffarelli, so well known for his courage and
talents, was passing through the trench, his hand resting as he stooped
on his hip, to preserve the equilibrium which his wooden leg, impaired;
his elbow only was raised above the trench. He was warned that the
enemy's shot, fired close upon us did not miss the smallest object.
He paid no attention to any observation of this kind, and in a few
instants his elbow joint was fractured. Amputation of the arm was judged
indispensable. The General survived the operation eighteen days.
Bonaparte went regularly twice a day to his tent. By his order, added to
my friendship for Caffarelli, I scarcely ever quitted him. Shortly
before he expired he said to me, "My dear Bourrienne, be so good as to
read to me Voltaire's preface to 'Esprit des Lois'." When I returned to
the tent of the General-in-Chief he asked, "How is Caffarelli?" I
replied, "He is near his end; but he asked me to read him Voltaire's
preface to the 'Esprit de Lois', he has just fallen asleep." Bonaparte
said, "Bah! to wish to hear that preface? how singular!" He went to see
Caffarelli, but he was still asleep. I returned to him that evening and
received his last breath. He died with the utmost composure. His death.
was equally regretted by the soldiers and the men of science, who
accompanied us. It was a just regret due to that distinguished man, in
whom very extensive information was united with great courage and amiable

On the 10th of May; when an assault took place, Bonaparte proceeded at an
early hour to the trenches.

   --[Sir Sidney Smith, in his Official report of the assault of the
   8th of May, says that Napoleon was distinctly seen directing the

Croisier, who was mentioned on our arrival at Damanhour and on the
capture of Jaffa, had in vain courted death since the commencement of the
siege. Life had become insupportable to him since the unfortunate affair
at Jaffa. He as usual accompanied his General to the trenches.
Believing that the termination of the siege, which was supposed to be
near, would postpone indefinitely the death which he sought, he mounted a
battery. In this situation his tall figure uselessly provoked all, the
enemy's shots. "Croisier, come down, I command you; you have no business
there," cried Bonaparte, in a loud and imperative tone. Croisier
remained without making any reply.  A moment after a ball passed through
his right leg. Amputation was not considered, indispensable. On the day
of our departure he was placed on a litters which was borne by sixteen
men alternately, eight at a time. I received his farewell between Gaza
and El-Arish, where, he died of tetanus. His modest tomb will not be
often visited.

The siege of St. Jean d'Acre lasted sixty days. During that time
eight-assaults and-twelve sorties took place. In the assault of the 8th
of May more than 200 men penetrated into the town. Victory was already
shouted; but the breach having been taken in reverse by the Turks, it
was not approached without some degree of hesitation, and the men who
had entered were not supported. The streets were barricaded. The
cries, the howlings of the women, who ran trough the streets throwing,
according to the custom of the country, dust in the, air, excited the
male inhabitants to a desperate resistance, which rendered unavailing,
this short occupation of the town, by a handful of men, who, finding
themselves left without assistance, retreated towards the breach. Many
who could not reach it perished in the town.

During this assault Duroc, who was in the trench, was wounded in the
right thigh by the a splinter from a shell fired against the
fortifications. Fortunately this accident only carried away the flesh
from the bone, which remained untouched. He had a tent in common with
several other 'aides de camp'; but for his better accommodation I gave
him mine, and I scarcely ever quitted him. Entering his tent one day
about noon, I found him in a profound sleep. The excessive heat had
compelled him to throw off all covering, and part of his wound was
exposed. I perceived a scorpion which had crawled up the leg of the
camp-bed and approached very near to the wound. I was just in time to
hurl it to the ground. The sudden motion of my hand awoke Duroc.

We often bathed in the sea. Sometimes the English, perhaps after taking
a double allowance of grog, would fire at our heads, which appeared above
water. I am not aware that any accident was occasioned by their
cannonade; but as we were beyond reach of their guns, we paid scarcely
any attention to the firing. It was seen a subject of amusement to us.

Had our attack on St. Jean d'Acre been less precipitate, and had the
siege been undertaken according to the rules of war; the place would not
have held out three days; one assault, like that of the 8th of May, would
have been sufficient. If, in the situation in which we were on the day
when we first came in sight of the ramparts of Acre; we had made a less
inconsiderate estimate of the strength of the place; if we had likewise
taken into consideration the active co-operation of the English and the
Ottoman Porte; our absolute want of artillery of sufficient calibre; our
scarcity of gunpowder and the difficulty of procuring food; we certainly
should not have undertaken the siege; and that would have been by far the
wisest course.

Towards the end of the siege the General-in-Chief received intelligence
of some trifling insurrections in northern Egypt. An angel had excited
them, and the heavenly messenger, who had condescended to assume a name,
was called the Mahdi, or El Mohdy. This religious extravagance, however,
did not last long, and tranquillity was soon restored. All that the
fanatic Mahdi, who shrouded himself in mystery, succeeded in doing was to
attack our rear by some vagabonds, whose illusions were dissipated by a
few musket shots.



   The siege of Acre raised--Attention to names is bulletins--Gigantic
   project--The Druses--Mount Caramel--The wounded and infected--
   Order to march on foot--Loss of our cannon--A Nablousian fires at
   Bonaparte--Return to Jaffa--Bonaparte visits the plague hospital--
   A potion given to the sick--Bonaparte's statement at St. Helena.

The siege of St. Jean d'Acre was raised on the 20th of May. It cost us a
loss of nearly 3000 men, in killed, deaths by the plague, or wounds. A
great number were wounded mortally. In those veracious documents, the
bulletins, the French loss was made 500 killed, and 1000 wounded, and the
enemy's more than 15,000.

Our bulletins may form curious materials for history; but their value
certainly will not depend on the credit due to their details. Bonaparte
attached the greatest importance to those documents; generally drawing
them up himself, or correcting them, when written by another hand, if the
composition did not please him.

It must be confessed that at that time nothing so much flattered
self-love as being mentioned in a bulletin. Bonaparte was well aware of
this; he knew that to insert a name in a bulletin was conferring a great
honour, and that its exclusion was a severe disappointment. General
Berthier, to whom I had expressed a strong desire to examine the works
of the siege, took me over them; but notwithstanding his promise of
secrecy; he mentioned the circumstance to the General-in-Chief, who had
desired me not to approach the works. "What did you go there for?"
said Bonaparte to me, with some severity; "that is not your place." I
replied that herthier told me that no assault would take place that day;
and he believed there would be no sortie, as the garrison had made one
the preceding evening. "What matters that? There might have been
another. Those who have nothing to do in such places are always the
first victims. Let every man mind his own business. Wounded or killed,
I would not even have noticed you in the bulletin. You could have been
laughed at, and that justly."

Bonaparte; not having at this time experienced reverses, having
continually proceeded from triumph to triumph, confidently anticipated
the taking of St, Jean d'Acre. In his letters to the generals in Egypt
he fixed the 25th of April for the accomplishment of that event. He
reckoned that the grand assault against the tower could not be made
before that day; it took place, however, twenty-four hours sooner. He
wrote to Desaix on the 19th of April, "I count on being master of Acre in
six days." On the 2d of May he told Junot, "Our 18 and 24 pounders have
arrived. We hope to enter Acre in a few days. The fire of their
artillery is completely extinguished." Letters have been printed, dated
30th Floreal' (19th. May), in which he announces to, Dugua and to
Poussielque that they can rely on his being in Acre on 6th Floreal
(25th April). Some mistake has evidently been made. "The slightest
circumstances produce the greatest events," said Napoleon, according to
the Memorial of St. Helena; "had St. Jean d'Acre fallen, I should have
changed the face of the world." And again, "The fate of the East lay in
that small town."

This idea is not one which he first began to entertain at St. Helena; he
often repeated the very same words at St. Jean d'Acre. On the shore of
Ptolemes gigantic projects agitated him, as, doubtless, regret for not
having carried them into execution tormented him at St. Helena.

Almost every evening Bonaparte and myself used to walk together, at a
little distance from the sea-shore. The day after the unfortunate
assault of the 8th of May Bonaparte, afflicted at seeing the blood of so
many brave men uselessly shed, said to me, "Bourrienne, I see that this
wretched place has cost me a number of men, and wasted much time. But
things are too far advanced not to attempt a last effort. If I succeed,
as I expect, I shall find in the town the pasha's treasures, and arms for
300,000 men. I will stir up and arm the people of Syria, who are
disgusted at the ferocity of Djezzar, and who, as you know, pray for his
destruction at every assault. I shall then march upon Damascus and.
Aleppo. On advancing into the country, the discontented will flock round
my standard, and swell my army. I will announce to the people the
abolition of servitude and of the tyrannical governments of the pashas.
I shall arrive at Constantinople with large masses of soldiers. I shall
overturn the Turkish empire, and found in the East a new and grand
empire, which will fix my place in the records of posterity. Perhaps
I shall return to Paris by Adrianople, or by Vienna, after having
annihilated the house of Austria." After I had made some observations
which these grand projects naturally suggested, he replied, "What! do you
not see that the Druses only wait for the fall of Acre to rise in
rebellion? Have not the keys of Damascus already been offered me?
I only stay till these walls fall because until then I can derive no
advantage from this large town. By the operation which I meditate I
cutoff all kind of succour from the beys, and secure the conquest of
Egypt. I will have Desaix nominated commander-in-chief; but if I do
not succeed in the last assault I am about to attempt, I set off
directly. Time presses,--I shall not be at Cairo before the middle of
June; the winds will then lie favourable for ships bound to Egypt, from
the north. Constantinople will send troops to Alexandria and Rosetta.
I must be there. As for the army, which will arrive afterwards by land,
I do not fear it this year. I will cause everything to be destroyed, all
the way, to the entrance of the desert. I will render the passage of an
army impossible for two years. Troops cannot exist amoung ruins."

As soon as I returned to my tent I committed to paper this conversation,
which was then quite fresh in my memory, and, I may venture to say that
every word I put down is correct. I may add, that during the siege our
camp was, constantly filled with the inhabitants, who invoked Heaven to
favour our arms, and prayed fervently at every assaualt for our success,
many of them on their knees, with their faces to the city. The people of
Damascus, too, had offered the keys to Bonaparte. Thus everything
contributed to make him confident in his favourite plan.

The troops left St. Jean d'Acre on the 20th of May, taking advantage of
the night to avoid a sortie from the besieged, and to conceal the retreat
of the army, which had to march three leagues along the shore, exposed to
the fire of the English vessels lying in the roads of Mount Carmel. The
removal of the wounded and sick commenced on the. 18th and 19th of May.

Bonaparte then made a proclamation, which from one end to the other
offends against truth. It has been published in many works. The season of
the year for hostile landing is there very dexterously placed in the
foreground; all the rest is a deceitful exaggeration. It must be observed
that the proclamations which Bonaparte regarded as calculated to dazzle
an ever too credulous public were amplifications often ridiculous and
incomprehensible upon the spot, and which only excited the laughter of
men of common sense. In all Bonaparte's correspondence there is an
endeavour to disguise his reverses, and impose on the public, and even on
his own generals. For example, he wrote to General Dugua, commandant of
Cairo, on the 15th of February, "I will bring you plenty of prisoners and
flags!" One would almost be inclined to say that he had resolved, during
his stay in the East, thus to pay a tribute to the country of fables.

   --[The prisoners and flags were sent. The Turkish flags were
   entrusted by Berthier to the Adjutant-Commandant Boyer, who
   conducted a convoy of sick and wounded to Egypt. Sidney Smith
   acknowledges the loss of some flags by the Turks. The Turkish
   prisoners were used as carriers of the litters for the wounded, and
   were, for the most part, brought into Egypt. (Erreurs, tome i. pp.
   47 and 160)]--

Thus terminated this disastrous expedition. I have read somewhere that
during this immortal campaign the two heroes Murat and Mourad had often
been in face of one another. There is only a little difficulty; Mourad
Bey never put his foot in Syria.

We proceeded along the coast, and passed Mount Carmel. Some of the
wounded were carried on litters, the remainder on horses, mules, and
camels. At a short distance from Mount Carmel we were informed that
three soldiers, ill of the plague, who were left in a convent (which
served for a hospital), and abandoned too confidently to the generosity
of the Turks, had been barbarously put to death.

A most intolerable thirst, the total want of water, an excessive heat,
and a fatiguing march over burning sand-hills, quite disheartened the
men, and made every generous sentiment give way to feelings of the
grossest selfishness and most shocking indifference. I saw officers, with
their limbs amputated, thrown off the litters, whose removal in that way
had been ordered, and who had themselves given money to recompense the
bearers. I saw the amputated, the wounded, the infected, or those only
suspected of infection, deserted and left to themselves. The march was
illumined by torches, lighted for the purpose of setting fire to the
little towns, villages, and hamlets which lay in the route, and the rich
crops with which the land was then covered. The whole country was in a
blaze. Those who were ordered to preside at this work of destruction
seemed eager to spread desolation on every side, as if they could thereby
avenge themselves for their reverses, and find in such dreadful havoc an
alleviation of their sufferings. We were constantly surrounded by
plunderers, incendiaries, and the dying, who, stretched on the sides of
the road, implored assistance in a feeble voice, saying, "I am not
infected--I am only wounded;" and to convince those whom they addressed,
they reopened their old wounds, or inflicted on themselves fresh ones.
Still nobody attended to them. "It is all over with him," was the
observation applied to the unfortunate beings in succession, while every
one pressed onward. The sun, which shone in an unclouded sky in all its
brightness, was often darkened by our conflagrations. On our right lay
the sea; on our left, and behind us, the desert made by ourselves; before
were the privations and sufferings which awaited us. Such was our true

We reached Tentoura on the 20th of May, when a most oppressive heat
prevailed, and produced general dejection. We had nothing to sleep on but
the parched and burning sand; on our right lay a hostile sea; our losses
in wounded and sick were already considerable since leaving Acre; and
there was nothing consolatory in the future. The truly afflicting
condition in which the remains of an army called triumphant were plunged,
produced, as might well be expected, a corresponding impression on the
mind of the General-in-Chief. Scarcely had he arrived at Tentoura when
he ordered his tent to be pitched. He then called me, and with a mind
occupied by the calamities of our situation, dictated an order that every
one should march on foot; and that all the horses, mules, and camels
should be given up to the wounded, the sick, and infected who had been
removed, and who still showed signs of life. "Carry that to Berthier,"
said he; and the order was instantly despatched. Scarcely had I returned
to the tent when the elder Vigogne, the (General-in-Chief's groom),
entered, and raising his hand to his cap, said, "General, what horse do
you reserve for yourself?" In the state of excitement in which Bonaparte
wad this question irritated him so violently that, raising his whip, he
gave the man a severe blow on the head; saying in a terrible voice,
"Every-one must go on foot, you rascal--I the first--Do you not know the
order? Be off!"

Every one in parting with his horse was now anxious to avoid giving it to
any unfortunate individual supposed to be suffering from plague. Much
pains were taken to ascertain the nature of the diseases of the sick; and
no difficulty was made in accommodating the wounded of amputated. For my
part I had an excellent horse; a mule, and two camels, all which I gave
up with the greatest pleasure; but I confess that I directed my servant
to do all he could to prevent an infected person from getting my horse.
It was returned to me in a very short time. The same thing happened to
many others. The cause maybe easily conjectured.

The remains of our heavy artillery were lost in the moving sands of
Tentoura, from the want of horses, the small number that remained being
employed in more indispensable services. The soldiers seemed to forget
their own sufferings, plunged in grief at the loss of their bronze guns,
often the instruments of their triumphs, and which had made Europe

We halted at Caesarea on the 22d of May, and we marched all the following
night. Towards daybreak a man, concealed in a bush upon the left of the
road (the sea was two paces from us on the right), fired a musket almost
close to the head of the General-in-Chief, who was sleeping on his horse.
I was beside him. The wood being searched, the Nablousian was taken
without difficulty, and ordered to be shot on the spot. Four guides
pushed him towards the sea by thrusting their carbines against his back;
when close to the water's edge they drew the triggers, but all the four
muskets hung fire: a circumstance which was accounted for by the great
humidity of the night. The Nablousian threw himself into the water, and,
swimming with great agility and rapidity, gained a ridge of rocks so far
off that not a shot from the whole troop, which fired as it passed,
reached him. Bonaparte, who continued his march, desired me to wait for
Kleber, whose division formed the rear-guard, and to tell him not to
forget the Nablousian. He was, I believe, shot at last.

We returned to Jaffa on the 24th of May, and stopped there during the
25th, 26th, 27th, and 28th. This town had lately been the scene of a
horrible transaction, dictated by necessity, and it was again destined to
witness the exercise of the same dire law. Here I have a painful duty to
perform--I will perform it. I will state what I know, what I saw.

I have seen the following passage in a certain, work:--"Bonaparte,
having arrived at Jaffa, ordered three removals of the infected: one by
sea to Damietta, and also by land; the second to Gaza; and the third to
El-Arish!" So, many words, so many errors!

Some tents were pitched on an eminence near the gardens east of Jaffa.
Orders were given directly to undermine the fortifications and, blow them
up; and on the 27th of May, upon the signaling given, the town was in a
moment laid bare. An hour afterwards the General-in-Chief left his tent
and repaired to the town, accompanied by Berthier, some physicians and
surgeons, and his usual staff. I was also one of the party. A long and
sad deliberation took place on the question which now arose relative to
the men who were incurably ill of the plague, or who were at the point of
death. After a discussion of the most serious and conscientious kind it
was decided to accelerate a few moments, by a potion, a death which was
inevitable, and which would otherwise be painful and cruel.

Bonaparte took a rapid view of the destroyed ramparts of the town and
returned to the hospital, where there were men whose limbs had been
amputated, many wounded, many afflicted with ophthalmia, whose
lamentations were distressing, and some infected with the plague. The
beds of the last description of patients were to the right on entering
the first ward. I walked by the General's side, and I assert that I
never saw him touch any one of the infected. And why should he have done
so? They were in the last stage of the disease. Not one of them spoke a
word to him, and Bonaparte well knew that he possessed no protection
against the plague. Is Fortune to be again brought forward here? She
had, in truth, little favoured him during the last few months, when he
had trusted to her favours. I ask, why should he have exposed himself to
certain death, and have left his army in the midst of a desert created by
our ravages, in a desolate town, without succour, and without the hope of
ever receiving any? Would he have acted rightly in doing so--he who was
evidently so necessary, so indispensable to his army; he on whom depended
at that moment the lives of all who lead survived the last disaster, and
who had proved their attachment to him by their sufferings, their
privations, and their unshaken courage, and who had done all that he
could have required of men, and whose only trust was in him?

Bonaparte walked quickly through the rooms, tapping the yellow top of his
boot with a whip he held in his hand. As he passed along with hasty
steps he repeated these words: "The fortifications are destroyed.
Fortune was against me at St. Jean d'Acre. I must return to Egypt to
preserve it from the enemy, who will soon be there: In a few hours the
Turks will be here. Let all those who have strength enough rise and come
along with us. They shall be carried on litters and horses." There were
scarcely sixty cases of plague in the hospital; and all accounts stating
a greater number are exaggerated. The perfect silence, complete
dejection, and general stupor of the patients announced their approaching
end. To carry them away in the state in which they were would evidently
have been doing nothing else than inoculating the rest of the army with
the plague. I have, it is true, learned, since my return to Europe, that
some persons touched the infected with impunity; nay; that others went so
far as to inoculate themselves with the plague in order to learn how to
cure those whom it might attack. It certainly was a special protection
from Heaven to be preserved from it; but to cover in some degree the
absurdity of such a story, it is added that they knew how to elude the
danger, and that any one else who braved it without using precautions met
with death for their temerity. This is, in fact; the whole point of the
question. Either those privileged persons took indispensable
precautions; and in that case their boasted heroism is a mere juggler's
trick; or they touched the infected without using precautions, and
inoculated themselves with the plague, thus voluntarily encountering
death, and then the story is really a good one.

The infected were confided, it has been stated, to the head apothecary of
the army, Royer, who, dying in Egypt three years after, carried the
secret with him to the grave. But on a moment's reflection it will be
evident that the leaving of Royer alone in Jaffa would have been to
devote to certain death; and that a prompt and, cruel one, a man who was
extremely useful to the army, and who was at the time in perfect health.
It must be remembered that no guard could be left with him, and that the
Turks were close at our heels. Bonaparte truly said, while walking
through the rooms of the hospital, that the Turks would be at Jaffa in a
few hours. With this conviction, would he have left the head apothecary
in that town?

Recourse has been had to suppositions to support the contrary belief to
what I say. For example, it is said that the infected patients were
embarked in ships of war. There were no such ships. Where had they
disembarked, who had received them; what had been done with them?
No one speaks of them. Others, not doubting that the infected men died
at Jaffa, say, that the rearguard under Kleber, by order of Bonaparte,
delayed its departure for three days, and only began its march when.
death had put an end to the sufferings of these unfortunate beings,
unshortened by any sacrifice. All this is incorrect. No rear-guard was
left--it could not be done. Pretence is made of forgetting that the
ramparts were destroyed, that the town--was as open and as defenceless as
any village, so this small rear-guard would have been left for certain
destruction. The dates themselves tell against these suppositions. It
is certain, as can be seen by the official account, that we arrived at
Jaffa on 24th May, and stayed there the 25th, 26th, and 27th. We left it
on the 28th. Thus the rear-guard, which, according to these writers;
left-on the 29th, did not remain, even according to their own hypothesis,
three days after the army to see the sick die. In reality it left on the
29th of May, the day after we did: Here are the very words of the
Major-General (Berthier) in his official account, written under the eye
and under the dictation of the Commander-in-Chief:--

   The army arrived at Jaffa, 5th Prairial (24th May), and remained
   there the 6th, 7th, and 8th (25th-27th May). This time was employed
   in punishing the village, which had behaved badly. The
   fortifications of Jaffa were blown up. All the iron guns of the
   place were thrown into the sea. The wounded were removed by sea and
   by land. There were only a few ships, and to give time to complete
   the evacuation by land, the departure of the army had to be deferred
   until the 9th (28th May). Klebers division formed the rear-guard,
   and only left Jaffa, on the 10th (29th May).

The official report of what passed at Jaffa was drawn up by Berthier,
under the eye of Bonaparte. It has been published; but it may be
remarked that not a word about the infected, not a word of the visit to
the hospital, or the touching of the plague-patients with impunity, is
there mentioned. In no official report is anything said about the
matter. Why this silence? Bonaparte was not the man to conceal a fact
which would have afforded him so excellent and so allowable a text for
talking about his fortune. If the infected were removed, why not mention
it? Why be silent on so important an event? But it would have been
necessary to confess that heing obliged to have recourse to so painful a
measure was the unavoidable consequence of this unfortunate expedition.
Very disagreeable details must have been entered into; and it was thought
more advisable to be silent on the subject.

But what did Napoleon, himself say on the subject at St. Helena? His
statement there was to the following, effect:--"I ordered a consultation
as to what was best to be done. The report which was made stated that
there were seven or eight men (the question is not about the number) so
dangerously ill that they could not live beyond twenty-four hours, and
would besides infect the rest of the army with the plague. It was
thought it would be an act of charity to anticipate their death a few,

Then comes the fable of the 500 men of the rear guard, who, it is
pretended, saw them die! I make no doubt that the story of the poisoning
was the invention of Den----. He was a babbler, who understood a story
badly, and repeated it worse. I do not think it would have been a crime
to have given opium to the infected. On the contrary, it would have been
obedience to the dictates of reason. Where is the man who would not, in
such a situation, have preferred a prompt death, to being exposed to the
lingering tortures inflicted by barbarians? If my child, and I believe I
love him as much as any father does his; had been in such a state; my
advice would have been the same; if I had been among the infected myself,
I should have demanded to be so treated.

Such was the reasoning at St. Helena, and such was the, view which he and
every one else took of the case twenty years ago at Jaffa.

Our little army arrived at Cairo on the 14th of June, after a painful and
harassing march of twenty-five days. The heats during the passage of the
desert between El-Arish and Belbeis exceeded thirty-three degrees. On
placing the bulb of the thermometer in the sand the mercury rose to
forty-five degrees. The deceitful mirage was even more vexatious than in
the plains of Bohahire'h. In spite of our experience an excessive
thirst, added to a perfect illusion, made us goad on our wearied horses
towards lakes which vanished at our approach; and left behind nothing but
salt and arid sand. In two days my cloak was completely covered with
salt, left on it after the evaporation of the moisture which held it in
solution. Our horses, who ran eagerly to the brackish springs of the
desert, perished in numbers; after travelling about a quarter of a league
from the spot where they drank the deleterious fluid.

Bonaparte preceded his entry into the capital of Egypt by one of those
lying bulletins which only imposed on fools. "I will bring with me,"
said he, "many prisoners and flags. I have razed the palace of the
Djezzar and the ramparts of Acre--not a stone remains upon another, All
the inhabitants have left the city, by sea. Djezzar is severely

I confess that I experienced a painful sensation in writing, by his
dictation, these official words, everyone of which was an imposition.
Excited by all I had just witnessed, it was difficult for me to refrain
from making the observation; but his constant reply was, "My dear fellow,
you are a simpleton: you do not understand this business." And he
observed, when signing the bulletin, that he would yet fill the world
with admiration, and inspire historians and poets.

Our return to Cairo has been attributed to the insurrections which broke
out during the unfortunate expedition into Syria. Nothing is more
incorrect. The term insurrection cannot be properly applied to the
foolish enterprises of the angel El-Mahdi in the Bohahire'h, or to the
less important disturbances in the Charkyeh. The reverses experienced
before St. Jean d'Acre, the fear, or rather the prudent anticipation of a
hostile landing, were sufficient motives, and the only ones, for our
return to Egypt. What more could we do in Syria but lose men and time,
neither of which the General had to spare?



   Murat and Moarad Bey at the Natron Lakes--Bonapartes departure for
   the Pyramids--Sudden appearance of an Arab messenger--News of
   the landing of the Turks at Aboukir--Bonaparte marches against
   them--They are immediately attacked and destroyed in the battle of
   Aboukir--Interchange of communication with the English--Sudden
   determination to return to Europe--Outfit of two frigates--
   Bonaparte's dissimulation--His pretended journey to the Delta--
   Generous behaviour of Lanusee--Bonaparte's artifice--His bad
   treatment of General Kleber.

Bonaparte had hardly set foot in Cairo when he was, informed that the
brave and indefatigable Mourad Bey was descending by the Fayoum, in order
to form a junction with reinforcements which had been for some time past
collected in the Bohahire'h. In all probability this movement of Mourad
Bey was the result of news he had received respecting plans formed at
Constantinople, and the landing which took place a short time after in
the roads of Aboukir. Mourad had selected the Natron Lakes for his place
of rendezvous. To these lakes Murat was despatched. The Bey no sooner
got notice of Murat's presence than he determined to retreat and to
proceed by the desert to Gizeh and the great Pyramids. I certainly never
heard, until I returned to France, that Mourad had ascended to the summit
of the great Pyramid for the propose of passing his time in contemplating

Napoleon said at St. Helena that Murat might have taken Mourad Bey had
the latter remained four-and-twenty hours longer in the Natron Lakes: Now
the fact is, that as soon as the Bey heard of Murat's arrival he was off
The Arabian spies were far more serviceable to our enemies than to us; we
had not, indeed, a single friend in Egypt. Mourad Bey, on being informed
by the Arabs, who acted as couriers for him, that General Desaix was
despatching a column from the south of Egypt against him, that the
General-in-Chief was also about to follow his footsteps along the
frontier of Gizeh, and that the Natron Lakes and the Bohahire'h were
occupied by forces superior to his own, retired into Fayoum.

Bonaparte attached great importance to the destruction of Mourad, whom he
looked upon as the bravest, the most active, and most dangerous of his
enemies in Egypt. As all accounts concurred in stating that Mourad,
supported by the Arabs, was hovering about the skirts of the desert of
the province of Gizeh, Bonaparte proceeded to the Pyramids, there to
direct different corps against that able and dangerous partisan. He,
indeed, reckoned him so redoubtable that he wrote to Murat, saying he
wished fortune might reserve for him the honour of putting the seal on
the conquest of Egypt by the destruction of this opponent.

On the 14th of July Bonaparte left Cairo for the Pyramids. He intended
spending three or four days in examining the ruins of the ancient
necropolis of Memphis; but he was suddenly obliged to alter his plan.
This journey to the Pyramids, occasioned by the course of war, has given
an opportunity for the invention of a little piece of romance. Some
ingenious people have related that Bonaparte gave audiences to the mufti
and ulemas, and that on entering one of the great Pyramids he cried out,
"Glory to Allah! God only is God, and Mahomet is his prophet!" Now the
fact is, that Bonaparte never even entered the great Pyramid. He never
had any thought of entering it:--I certainly should have accompanied him
had he done so for I never quitted his side a single moment in the desert
He caused some person to enter into one of the great Pyramids while he
remained outside, and received from them, on their return, an account of
what they had seen. In other words, they informed him there was nothing,
to be seen!

On the evening of the 15th of July, while we were taking a walk, we
perceived, on the road leading from Alexandria, an Arab riding up to us
in all haste. He brought to the General-in-Chief a despatch from General
Marmont, who was entrusted with the command of Alexandria, and who had
conducted himself so well, especially during the dreadful ravages of the
plague, that he had gained the unqualified approbation of Bonaparte. The
Turks had landed on the 11th of July at Aboukir, under the escort and
protection of English ships of war. The news of the landing of from
fifteen to sixteen thousand men did not surprise Bonaparte, who had for
some time expected it. It was, not so, however, with the generals most in
his favor; whose apprehensions, for reasons which may be conjectured, he
had endeavoured to calm. He had even written to Marmont, who, being in
the most exposed situation, had the more reason to be vigilant, in these

   The army which was to have appeared before Alexandria, and which
   left Constantinople on the 1st of the Ramadhan, has been destroyed
   under the walls of Acre. If, however, that mad Englishman (Smith)
   has embarked the remains of that army in order to convey them to
   Aboukir, I do not believe there can be more than 2000 men.

He wrote in the following strain to General Dugua, who had the command of

   The English Commander, who has summoned Damietta, is a madman. The
   combined army they speak of has been destroyed before Acre, where it
   arrived a fortnight before we left that place.

As soon as he arrived at Cairo, in a letter he despatched to Desaix, he

   The time has now arrived when disembarkations have become
   practicable. I shall lose no time in getting ready. The
   probabilities, however, are, that none will take place this year.

What other language could he hold, when he had proclaimed when after, the
raising of the siege of Acre, that he had destroyed those 15,000 men who
two months after landed at Aboukir?

No sooner had Bonaparte perused the contents of Marmont's letter than he
retired into his tent and dictated to me, until three in the morning, his
orders for the departure of the troops, and for the routes he wished to
be pursued during his absence by the troops who should remain in the
interior. At this moment I observed in him the development of that
vigorous character of mind which was excited by obstacles until he
overcame them--that celerity of thought which foresaw everything. He was
all action, and never for a moment hesitated. On the 16th of July, at
four in the morning, he was on horseback and the army in full march.
I cannot help doing justice to the presence of mind, promptitude of
decision, and rapidity of execution which at this period of his life
never deserted him on great occasions.

We reached Ouardan, to the north of Gizeh, on the evening of the 16th;
on the 19th we arrived at Rahmalianie'h, and on the 23d at Alexandria,
where every preparation was made for that memorable battle which, though
it did not repair the immense losses and fatal consequences of the naval
conflict of the same name, will always recall to the memory of Frenchmen
one of the most brilliant achievements of their arms.

   --[As M. de Bourrienne gives no details of the battle, the
   following extract from the Due do Rovigo's Memoirs, tome i, p. 167,
   will supply the deficiency:

   "General Bonaparte left Cairo in the utmost haste to place himself
   at the head of the troops which he had ordered to quit their
   cantonments and march down to the coast.

   "Whilst the General was making these arrangements and coming in
   person from Cairo, the troops on board the Turkish fleet had
   effected a landing and taken possession of the fort of Aboukir, and
   of a redoubt placed behind the village of that name which ought to
   have been put into a state of defence six months before, but had
   been completely neglected.

   "The Turks had nearly destroyed the weak garrisons that occupied
   those two military points when General Marmont (who commanded at
   Alexandria) came to their relief. This general, seeing the two
   posts in the power of the Turks, returned to shut himself up in
   Alexandria, where he would probably have been blockaded by the
   Turkish army had it not been for the arrival of General Bonaparte
   with his forces, who was very angry when he saw that the fort and
   redoubt had been taken; but he did not blame Marmont for retreating
   to Alexandria with the forces at his disposal.

   "General Bonaparte arrived at midnight with his guides and the
   remaining part of his army, and ordered the Turks to be attacked the
   next morning. In this battle, as in the preceding ones, the attack,
   the encounter, and the rout were occurrences of a moment, and the
   result of a single movement on the part of our troops. The whole
   Turkish army plunged into the sea to regain its ships, leaving
   behind them everything they had brought on shore.

   "Whilst this event was occurring on the seashore a pasha had left
   the field of battle with a corps of about 3000 men in order to throw
   himself, into the fort of Aboukir. They soon felt the extremities
   of thirst, which compelled them, after the lapse of a few days, to
   surrender unconditionally to General Menou, who was left to close,
   the operations connected with the recently defeated Turkish army."]

After the-battle, which took place on the 25th of July, Bonaparte sent a
flag of truce on board the English Admiral's ship. Our intercourse was
full of politeness, such as might be expected in the communications of
the people of two civilised nations. The English Admiral gave the flag
of truce some presents in exchange for some we sent, and likewise a copy
of the French Gazette of Frankfort, dated 10th of June 1799. For ten
months we had received no news from France. Bonaparte glanced over this
journal with an eagerness which may easily be conceived.

   --[The French, on their return from St. Jean d'Acre were totally
   ignorant of all that had taken place in Europe far several months.
   Napoleon, eager to obtain Intelligence, sent a flag of trace on
   board the Turkish admiral's ship, under the pretence of treating for
   the ransom of the Prisoners taken at Aboukir, not doubting but the
   envoy would be stopped by Sir Sidney Smith, who carefully prevented
   all direct communication between the French and the Turks.
   Accordingly the French flag of truce received directions from Sir
   Sidney to go on board his ship. He experienced the handsomest
   treatment; and the English commander having, among other things,
   ascertained that the disasters of Italy were quite unknown to
   Napoleon, indulged in the malicious pleasure of sending him a file
   of newspapers. Napoleon spent the whole night in his tent perusing
   the papers; and he came to the determination of immediately
   proceeding to Europe to repair the disasters of France; and if
   possible, to save her from destruction (Memorial de Sainte Helene)].

"Heavens!" said he to me, "my presentiment is verified: the fools have
lost Italy. All the fruits of our victories are gone! I must leave

He sent for Berthier, to whom he communicated the news, adding that
things were going on very badly in France--that he wished to return
home--that he (Berthier) should go along with him, and that, for the
present, only he, Gantheaume, and I were in the secret. He recommended
Berthier to be prudent, not to betray any symptoms of joy, nor to
purchase or sell anything, and concluded by assuring him that he
depended on him. "I can answer," said he, "for myself and for
Bourrienne." Berthier promised to be secret, and he kept his word. He
had had enough of Egypt, and he so ardently longed to return to France,
that there was little reason to fear he would disappoint himself by any

Gantheaume arrived, and Bonaparte gave him orders to fit out the two
frigates, the 'Muiron' and the 'Carree', and the two small vessels, the
'Revanche' and the 'Fortune', with a two months' supply of provisions for
from four to five hundred men. He enjoined his secrecy as to the object
of these preparations, and desired him to act with such circumspection
that the English cruisers might have no knowledge of what was going on.
He afterwards arranged with Gantheaume the course he wished to take. No
details escaped his attention.

Bonaparte concealed his preparations with much care, but still some vague
rumours crept abroad. General Dueua, the commandant of Cairo, whom he
had just left for the purpose of embarking, wrote to him on the 18th of
August to the following effect:

   I have this moment heard that it is reported at the Institute you
   are about to return to France, taking with you Monge, Berthollet,
   Berthier, Lannes, and Murat. This news has spread like lightning
   through the city, and I should not be at all surprised if it produce
   an unfavourable effect, which, however, I hope you will obviate.

Bonaparte embarked five days after the receipt of Dugua's letter, and, as
may be supposed; without replying to it.

On the 18th of August he wrote to the divan of Cairo as follows:

   I set out to-morrow for Menouf, whence I intend to make various
   excursions in the Delta, in order that I may myself witness the acts
   of oppression which are committed there, and acquire some knowledge
   of the people.

He told the army but half the truth:

   The news from Europe (said he) has determined me to proceed to
   France. I leave the command of the army to General Kleber. The
   army shall hear from me forthwith. At present I can say no more.
   It costs me much pain to quit troops to whom I am so strongly
   attached. But my absence will be but temporary, and the general I
   leave in command has the confidence of the Government as well as

I have now shown the true cause of General Bonaparte's departure for
Europe. This circumstance, in itself perfectly natural, has been the
subject of the most ridiculous conjectures to those who always wish to
assign extraordinary causes for simple events. There is no truth
whatever in the assertion of his having planned his departure before the
battle of Aboukir. Such an idea never crossed his mind. He had no
thought whatever of his departure for France when he made the journey to
the Pyramids, nor even when he received the news of the landing of the
Anglo-Turkish force.

At the end of December 1798 Bonaparte thus wrote to the Directory: "We
are without any news from France. No courier has arrived since the month
of June."

Some writers have stated that we received news by the way of Tunis,
Algiers, or Morocco; but there is no contradicting a positive fact. At
that period I had been with Bonaparte more than two years, and during
that time not a single despatch on any occasion arrived of the contents
of which I was ignorant. How then should the news alluded to have
escaped me?

   --[Details on the question of the correspondence of Napoleon with
   France while he was to Egypt will be found in Colonel Iung's work,
   Lucien Bonaparte (Paris. Charpentler, 1882), tome i. pp. 251-274.
   It seems most probable that Napoleon was in occasional communication
   with his family and with some of the Directors byway of Tunis and
   Tripoli. It would not be his interest to let his army or perhaps
   even Bourrienne know of the disasters in Italy till he found that
   they were sure to hear of them through the English. This would
   explain his affected ignorance till such a late date. On the 11th
   of April Barras received a despatch by which Napoleon stated his
   intention of returning to France if the news brought by Hamelin was
   confirmed. On the 26th of May 1799 three of the Directors, Barras,
   Rewbell, and La Reveillier-Lepeaux, wrote to Napoleon that Admiral
   Bruix had been ordered to attempt every means of bringing back his
   army. On the 15th of July Napoleon seems to have received this and
   other letters. On the 20th of July he warns Admiral Gantheaume to
   be ready to start. On the 11th of September the Directors formally
   approved the recall of the army from Egypt. Thus at the time
   Napoleon landed in France (on the 8th October), his intended return
   had been long known to and approved by the majority of the
   Directors, and had at last been formally ordered by the Directory.
   At the most he anticipated the order. He cannot be said to have
   deserted his post. Lantrey (tome i. p. 411) remarks that the
   existence and receipt of the letter from Joseph denied by Bourrienne
   is proved by Miot (the commissary, the brother of Miot de Melito)
   and by Joseph himself. Talleyrand thanks the French Consul at
   Tripoli for sending news from Egypt, and for letting Bonaparte know
   what passed in Europe. See also Ragusa (Marmont), tome i. p. 441,
   writing on 24th December 1798: "I have found an Arab of whom I am
   sure, and who shall start to-morrow for Derne. . . . This means
   can be need to send a letter to Tripoli, for boats often go there."]

Almost all those who endeavour to avert from Bonaparte the reproach of
desertion quote a letter from the Directory, dated the 26th of May 1799.
This letter may certainly have been written, but it never reached its
destination. Why then should it be put upon record?

The circumstance I have stated above determined the resolution of
Bonaparte, and made him look upon Egypt as, an exhausted field of glory,
which it was high time he had quitted, to play another part in France.
On his departure from Europe Bonaparte felt that his reputation was
tottering. He wished to do something to raise up his glory, and to fix
upon him the attention of the world. This object he had in great part
accomplished; for, in spite of serious disasters, the French flag waved
over the cataracts of the Nile and the ruins of Memphis, and the battles
of the Pyramids, and Aboukir were calculated in no small degree to
dazzle; the imagination. Cairo and Alexandria too were ours. Finding.
that the glory of his arms no longer supported the feeble power of the
Directory, he was anxious to see whether: he could not share it, or
appropriate it to himself.

A great deal has been said about letters and Secret communications from
the Directory, but Bonaparte needed no such thing. He could do what he
pleased: there was no power to check him; such had been the nature of
his arrangements an leaving France. He followed only the dictates of his
own will, and probably, had not the fleet been destroyed; he would have
departed from Egypt much sooner. To will and to do were with him one and
the same thing. The latitude he enjoyed was the result of his verbal
agreement with the Directory, whose instructions and plans he did not
wish should impede his operations.

Bonaparte left Alexandria on the 5th of August, and on the 10th arrived
at Cairo. He at first circulated the report of a journey to Upper Egypt.
This seemed so much the more reasonable, as he had really entertained
that design before he went to the Pyramids, and the fact was known to the
army and the inhabitants of Cairo. Up to this time our secret had been
studiously kept. However, General Lanusse, the commandant at Menouf,
where we arrived on the 20th of August, suspected it. "You are going to
France," said he to me. My negative reply confirmed his suspicion. This
almost induced me to believe the General-in-Chief had been the first to
make the disclosure. General Lanusse, though he envied our good fortune,
made no complaints. He expressed his sincere wishes for our prosperous
voyage, but never opened his mouth on the subject to any one.

On the 21st of August we reached the wells of Birkett. The Arabs had
rendered the water unfit for use, but the General-in-Chief was resolved
to quench his thirst, and for this purpose squeezed the juice of several
lemons into a glass of the water; but he could not swallow it without
holding his nose and exhibiting strong feelings of disgust.

The next day we reached Alexandria, where the General informed all those,
who had accompanied him from Cairo that France was their destination.
At this announcement joy was pictured in every countenance.

General Kleber, to whose command Bonaparte had resigned the army, was
invited to come from Damietta to Rosette to confer with the
General-in-Chief on affairs of extreme importance. Bonaparte, in making
an appointment which he never intended to keep, hoped to escape the
unwelcome freedom of Kleber's reproaches. He afterwards wrote to him
all he had to say; and the cause he assigned for not keeping his
appointment was, that his fear of being observed by the English cruisers
had forced him to depart three days earlier than he intended. But when
he wrote Bonaparte well knew that he would be at sea before Kleber could
receive his letter. Kleber, in his letter to the Directory, complained
bitterly of this deception. The singular fate that hefell this letter
will be seen by and by.



   Our departure from Egypt--Nocturnal embarkation--M. Parseval
   Grandmaison--On course--Adverse winds--Fear of the English--
   Favourable weather--Vingt-et-un-Chess--We land at Ajaccio--
   Bonaparte's pretended relations--Family domains--Want of money--
   Battle of Novi--Death of Joubert--Visionary schemes--Purchase of a
   boat--Departure from Corsica--The English squadron--Our escape--
   The roads of Frejus--Our landing in France--The plague or the
   Austrians--Joy of the people--The sanitary laws--Bonaparte falsely

We were now to return to our country--again to cross the sea, to us so
pregnant with danger--Caesar and his fortune were once more to embark.
But Caesar was not now advancing to the East to add Egypt to the
conquests of the Republic. He was revolving in his mind vast schemes,
unawed by the idea of venturing everything to chance in his own favour
the Government for which he had fought. The hope of conquering the most
celebrated country of the East no longer excited the imagination, as on
our departure from France. Our last visionary dream had vanished before
the walls of St. Jean d'Acre, and we were leaving on the burning sands of
Egypt most of our companions in arms. An inconceivable destiny seemed to
urge us on, and we were obliged to obey its decrees.

On the 23d of August we embarked on board two frigates, the 'Muiron'

   --[Named after Bonaparte's aide de camp filled in the Italian

and 'Carrere'. Our number was between four and five hundred. Such was
our squadron, and such the formidable army with which Bonaparte had
resolved, as he wrote to the divan of Cairo, "to annihilate all his
enemies." This boasting might impose on those who did not see the real
state of things; but what were we to think of it? What Bonaparte himself
thought the day after.

The night was dark when we embarked in the frigates which lay at a
considerable distance from the port of Alexandria; but by the faint light
of the stars we perceived a corvette, which appeared to be observing our
silent nocturnal embarkation.

   --[The horses of the escort had been left to run loose on the beach,
   and all was perfect stillness in Alexandria, when the advanced posts
   of the town were alarmed by the wild galloping of horses, which from
   a natural instinct, were returning to Alexandria through the desert.
   The picket ran to arms on seeing horses ready saddled and bridled,
   which were soon discovered to belong to the regiment of guides.
   They at first thought that a misfortune had happened to some
   detachment in its pursuit of the Arabs. With these horses came also
   those of the generals who had embarked with General Bonaparte; so
   that Alexandria was for a time in considerable alarm. The cavalry
   was ordered to proceed in all haste in the direction whence the
   horses came, and every one was giving himself up to the most gloomy
   conjectures, when the cavalry returned to the city with the Turkish
   groom, who was bringing back General Bonaparte's horse to Alexandria
   (Memoirs of the Due de Rovigo, tome i. p. 182).]--

Next morning, just as we were on the point of setting sail, we saw.
coming from the port of Alexandria a boat, on board of which was M.
Parseval Grandmaison. This excellent man, who was beloved by all of us,
was not included among the persons whose, return to France had been
determined by the General-in-Chief. In his anxiety to get off Bonaparte
would not hear of taking him on board. It will readily be conceived how
urgent were the entreaties of Parseval; but he would have sued in vain
had not Gantheaume, Bionge, Berthollet, and I interceded for him. With
some difficulty we overcame Bonaparte's resistance, and our colleague of
the Egyptian Institute got on board after the wind had filled our sails.

It has been erroneously said that Admiral Gantheaume had full control of
the frigates, as if any one could command when Bonaparte was present.
On the contrary, Bonaparte declared to the admiral, in my hearing, that
he would not take the ordinary course and get into the open sea. "Keep
close along the coast of the Mediterranean," said he, "on the, African
side, until you get south of Sardinia. I have here a handful of brave
fellows and a few pieces of artillery; if the. English should appear I
will run ashore, and with my, party, make my way by land to Oran, Tunis,
or some other port, whence we may find an opportunity of getting home."
This, was his irrevocable determination.

For twenty-one days adverse winds, blowing from west or north-west, drove
us continually on the coast of Syria, or in the direction of Alexandria.
At one time it was even proposed that we should again put into the port;
but Bonaparte declared he would rather, brave every danger than do so.
During the day we tacked to a certain distance northward, and in the
evening we stood towards Africa, until we came within, sight of the
coast. Finally after no less than twenty-one days of impatience and
disappointment, a favourable east wind carried us past that point of
Africa on which Carthage formerly stood, and we soon doubled Sardinia.
We kept very near the western coast of that island, where Bonaparte had
determined to land in case of our falling in with the English, squadron.
From, thence his plan was to reach Corsica, and there to await a
favourable opportunity of returning to France.

Everything had contributed to render our voyage dull and monotonous; and,
besides, we were not entirely without uneasiness as to the steps which
might be taken by the Directory, for it was certain that the publication
of the intercepted correspondence must have occasioned many unpleasant
disclosures. Bonaparte used often to walk on deck to superintend the
execution of his orders. The smallest sail that appeared in view excited
his alarm.

The fear of falling into the hands of the English never forsook him.
That was what he dreaded most of all, and yet, at a subsequent period, he
trusted to the generosity of his enemies.

However, in spite of our well-founded alarm, there were some moments in
which we sought to amuse ourselves, or, to use a common expression, to
kill time. Cards afforded us a source of recreation, and even this
frivolous amusement served to develop the character of Bonaparte. In
general he was not fond of cards; but if he did play, vingt-et-un was his
favourite game, because it is more rapid than many others, and because,
in short, it afforded him an opportunity of cheating. For example, he
would ask for a card; if it proved a bad one he would say nothing, but
lay it down on the table and wait till the dealer had drawn his. If the
dealer produced a good card, then Bonaparte would throw aside his hand,
without showing it, and give up his stake. If, on the contrary, the
dealer's card made him exceed twenty-one, Bonaparte also threw his cards
aside without showing them, and asked for the payment of his stake. He
was much diverted by these little tricks, especially when they were
played off undetected; and I confess that even then we were courtiers
enough to humour him, and wink at his cheating. I must, however, mention
that he never appropriated to himself the fruit of these little
dishonesties, for at the end of the game he gave up all his winnings, and
they were equally divided. Gain, as may readily be supposed, was not his
object; but he always expected that fortune would grant him an ace or a
ten at the right moment with the same confidence with which he looked for
fine weather on the day of battle. If he were disappointed he wished
nobody to know it.

Bonaparte also played at chess, but very seldom, because he was only a
third-rate player, and he did not like to be beaten at that game, which,
I know not why, is said to bear a resemblance to the grand game of war.
At this latter game Bonaparte certainly feared no adversary. This
reminds me that when we were leaving Passeriano he announced his
intention of passing through Mantua.

He was told that the commandant of that town, I believe General Beauvoir,
was a great chess-player, and he expressed a wish to play a game with
him: General Beauvoir asked him to point out any particular pawn with
which he would be checkmated; adding, that if the pawn were taken, he,
Bonaparte, should be declared the winner. Bonaparte pointed out the last
pawn on the left of his adversary. A mark was put upon it, and it turned
out that he actually was checkmated with that very pawn. Bonaparte was
not very well pleased at this. He liked to play with me because, though
rather a better player than himself, I was not always able to beat him.
As soon as a game was decided in his favour he declined playing any
longer; preferring to rest on his laurels.

The favourable wind which had constantly prevailed after the first twenty
days of our voyage still continued while we kept along the coast of
Sardinia; but after we had passed that island the wind again blew
violently from the west, and on the 1st of October we were forced to
enter the Gulf of Ajaccio. We sailed again next day but we found it
impossible to work our way out of the gulf. We were therefore obliged to
put into the port and land at Ajaccio. Adverse winds obliged us to
remain there until the 7th of October. It may readily be imagined how
much this delay annoyed Bonaparte. He sometimes expressed his
impatience, as if he could enforce the obedience of the elements as well
as of men. He was losing time, and time was everything to him.

There was one circumstance which seemed to annoy him as much as any of
his more serious vexations. "What will become of me," said he, "if the
English, who are cruising hereabout, should learn that I have landed in
Corsica? I shall be forced to stay here. That I could never endure. I
have a torrent of relations pouring upon me." His great reputation had
certainly prodigiously augmented the number of his family. He was over
whelmed with visits, congratulations, and requests. The whole town was
in a commotion. Every one of its inhabitants wished to claim him as
their cousin; and from the-prodigious number of his pretended godsons and
goddaughters, it might have been supposed that he had held one-fourth of
the children of Ajaccio at the baptismal font.

Bonaparte frequently walked with us in the neighbourhood of Ajaccio; and
when in all the plenitude of his power he did not count his crowns with
greater pleasure than he evinced in pointing out to us the little domains
of his ancestors.

While we were at, Ajaccio M. Fesch gave Bonaparte French money in,
exchange for a number of Turkish sequins, amounting in value to 17,000
francs: This sum was all that the General brought with him from Egypt.
I mention this fact because he was unjustly calumniated in letters
written after his departure, and which were intercepted and published by
the English: I ought also to add, that as he would never for his own
private use resort to the money-chest of the army, the contents of which
were, indeed, never half sufficient to defray the necessary expenses, he
several times drew on Genoa, through M. James, and on the funds he
possessed in the house of Clary, 16,000, 25,000, and up to 33,000 francs.
I can bear witness that in Egypt I never saw him touch any money beyond
his pay; and that he left the country poorer than he had entered it is a
fact that cannot be denied. In his notes on Egypt it appears that in one
year 12,600,000 francs were received. In this sum were included at least
2,000,000 of contributions, which were levied at the expense of many
decapitations. Bonaparte was fourteen months in Egypt, and he is said to
have brought away with him 20,000,000. Calumny may be very gratifying to
certain persons, but they should at least give it a colouring of
probability. The fact is, that Bonaparte had scarcely enough to maintain
himself at Ajaccio and to defray our posting expenses to Paris.

On our arrival at Ajaccio we learnt the death of Joubert, and the loss of
the battle of Novi, which was fought on the 15th of August. Bonaparte
was tormented by anxiety; he was in a state of utter uncertainty as to
the future. From the time we left Alexandria till our arrival in Corsica
he had frequently talked of what he should do during the quarantine,
which he supposed he would be required to observe on reaching Toulon, the
port at which he had determined to land.

Even then he cherished some illusions respecting the state of affairs;
and he often said to me, "But for that confounded quarantine, I would
hasten ashore, and place myself at the head of the army of Italy. All is
not over; and I am sure that there is not a general who would refuse me
the command. The news of a victory gained by me would reach Paris as
soon as the battle of Aboukir; that, indeed, would be excellent."

In Corsica his language was very different. When he was informed of our
reverses, and saw the full extent of the evil, he was for a moment
overwhelmed. His grand projects then gave way to the consideration of
matters of minor import, and he thought about his detention in the
Lazaretto of Toulon. He spoke of the Directory, of intrigues, and of
what would be said of him. He accounted his enemies those who envied
him, and those who could not be reconciled to his glory and the influence
of his name. Amidst all these anxieties Bonaparte was outwardly calm,
though he was moody and reflective.

Providing against every chance of danger, he had purchased at Ajaccio a
large launch which was intended to be towed by the 'Hetciron', and it was
manned by twelve of the best sailors the island could--furnish. His
resolution was, in case of inevitable danger, to jump into this boat and
get ashore. This precaution had well-nigh proved useful.

   --[Sir Walter Scott, at the commencement of his Life of Napoleon,
   says that Bonaparte did not see his native City after 1793.
   Probably to avoid contradicting himself, the Scottish historian
   observes that Bonaparte was near Ajaccio on his return from Egypt.
   He spent eight days there.--Bourrienne.]--

After leaving the Gulf of Ajaccio the voyage was prosperous and
undisturbed for one day; but on the second day, just at sunset, an
English squadron of fourteen sail hove in sight. The English, having
advantage of the lights which we had in our faces, saw us better than we
could see them. They recognised our two frigates as Venetian built; but
luckily for us, night came on, for we were not far apart. We saw the
signals of the English for a long time, and heard the report of the guns
more and more to our left, and we thought it was the intention of the
cruisers to intercept us on the south-east. Under these circumstances
Bonaparte had reason to thank fortune; for it is very evident that had
the English suspected our two frigates of coming from the East and going
to France, they would have shut us out from land by running between us
and it, which to them was very easy. Probably they took us for a convoy
of provisions going from Toulon to Genoa; and it was to this error and
the darkness that we were indebted for escaping with no worse consequence
than a fright.

   --[Here Bourrienne says in a note "Where did Sir Walter Scott learn
   that we were neither seen nor recognised? We were not recognised,
   but certainly seen," This is corroborated by the testimony of the
   Due de Rovigo, who, in his Memoirs, says, "I have met officers of
   the English navy who assured me that the two frigates had been seen
   but were considered by the Admiral to belong to his squadron, as
   they steered their course towards him; and as he knew we had only
   one frigate in the Mediterranean, and one in Toulon harbour, he was
   far from supposing that the frigates which he had descried could
   have General Bonaparte on board." (Savary, tome i. p. 226).]--

During the remainder of the night the utmost agitation prevailed on board
the Muiron. Gantheaume especially was in a state of anxiety which it is
impossible to describe, and which it was painful to witness: he was quite
beside himself, for a disaster appeared inevitable. He proposed to
return to Corsica. "No, no!" replied Bonaparte imperiously. "No!
Spread all sail! Every man at his post! To the north-west! To the
north-west!" This order saved us; and I am enabled to affirm that in the
midst of almost general alarm Bonaparte was solely occupied in giving
orders. The rapidity of his judgment seemed to grow in the face of
danger. The remembrance of that night will never be effaced from my
mind. The hours lingered on; and none of us could guess upon what new
dangers the morrow's sun would shine.

However, Bonaparte's resolution was taken: his orders were given, his
arrangements made. During the evening he had resolved upon throwing
himself into the long boat; he had already fixed on the persons who were
to share his fate, and had already named to me the papers which he
thought it most important to save. Happily our terrors were vain and our
arrangements useless. By the first rays of the sun we discovered the
English fleet sailing to the north-east, and we stood for the wished-for
coast of France.

The 8th of October, at eight in the morning, we entered the roads of
Frejus. The sailors not having recognised the coast during the night, we
did not know where we were. There was, at first, some hesitation whether
we should advance. We were by no means expected, and did not know how to
answer the signals, which has been changed during our absence. Some guns
were even fired upon us by the batteries on the coast; but our bold entry
into the roads, the crowd upon the decks of the two frigates, and our
signs of joy, speedily banished all doubt of our being friends. We were
in the port, and approaching the landing-place, when the rumour spread
that Bonaparte was on board one of the frigates. In an instant the sea
was covered with boats. In vain we begged them to keep at a distance; we
were carried ashore, and when we told the crowd, both of men and women
who were pressing about us, the risk they ran, they all exclaimed, "We
prefer the plague to the Austrians!"

What were our feelings when we again set foot on the soil of France
I will not attempt to describe. Our escape from the dangers that
threatened us seemed almost miraculous. We had lost twenty days at the
beginning of our voyage, and at its close the had been almost taken by an
English squadron. Under these circumstances, how rapturously we inhaled
the balmy, air of Provence! Such was our joy, that we were scarcely
sensible of the disheartening news which arrived from all quarters. At
the first moment of our arrival, by a spontaneous impulse, we all
repeated, with tears in our eyes, the beautiful lines which Voltaire has
put into the mouth of the exile of Sicily.

Bonaparte has been reproached with having violated the sanitary laws;
but, after what I have already stated respecting his intentions, I
presume there can remain no doubt of the falsehood of this accusation.
All the blame must rest with the inhabitants of Frejus, who on this
occasion found the law of necessity more imperious than the sanitary
laws. Yet when it is considered that four or five hundred persons, and a
quantity of effects, were landed from Alexandria, where the plague had
been raging during the summer, it is almost a miracle that France, and
indeed Europe escaped the scourge.



   Effect produced by Bonaparte's return--His justification--
   Melancholy letter to my wife--Bonaparte's intended dinner at Sens--
   Louis Bonaparte and Josephine--He changes his intended route--
   Melancholy situation of the provinces--Necessity of a change--
   Bonaparte's ambitious views--Influence of popular applause--
   Arrival in Paris--His reception of Josephine--Their reconciliation--
   Bonaparte's visit to the Directory--His contemptuous treatment of

Tim effect produced in France and throughout Europe by the mere
intelligence of Bonaparte's return is well known. I shall not yet speak
of the vast train of consequences which that event entailed. I must,
however, notice some accusations which were brought against him from the
time of our landing to the 9th of November. He was reproached for having
left Egypt, and it was alleged that his departure was the result of long
premeditation. But I, who was constantly with him, am enabled positively
to affirm that his return to France was merely the effect of a sudden
resolution. Of this the following fact is in itself sufficient evidence.

While we were at Cairo, a few days before we heard of the landing of the
Anglo-Turkish fleet, and at the moment when we were on the point of
setting off to encamp at the Pyramids, Bonaparte despatched a courier to
France. I took advantage of this opportunity to write to my wife. I
almost bade her an eternal adieu: My letter breathed expressions of grief
such as I had not before evinced. I said, among other things, that we.
knew not when or how it would be possible for us to return to France. If
Bonaparte had then entertained any thought of a speedy return I must have
known it, and in that case I should not certainly have distressed my
family by a desponding letter, when I had not had an opportunity of
writing for seven months before.

Two days after the receipt of my letter my wife was awoke very early in
the morning to be informed of our arrival in France. The courier who
brought this intelligence was the bearer of a second letter from me,
which I had written on board ship, and dated from Frejus. In this letter
I mentioned that Bonaparte would pass through Seas and dine with my

In fulfilment of my directions Madame de Bourrienne set off for Paris at
five in the morning. Having passed the first post-house she met a Berlin
containing four travellers, among whom she recognised Louis Bonaparte
going to meet the General on the Lyons road. On seeing Madame de
Bourrienne Louis desired the postillion to stop, and asked her whether
she had heard from me. She informed him that we should pass through
Sens, where the General wished to dine with my mother, who had made every
preparation for receiving him. Louis then continued his journey. About
nine o'clock my wife met another Berlin, in which were Madame Bonaparte
and her daughter. As they were asleep, and both carriages were driving
at a very rapid rate, Madame de Bourrienne did not stop them. Josephine
followed the route taken by Louis. Both missed the General, who changed
his mind at Lyons, and proceeded by way of Bourbonnais. He arrived
fifteen hours after my wife; and those who had taken the Burgundy road
proceeded to Lyons uselessly.

Determined to repair in all haste to Paris, Bonaparte had left Frejus on
the afternoon of the day of our landing. He himself had despatched the
courier to Sens to inform my mother of his intended visit to her; and it
was not until he got to Lyons that he determined to take the Bourbonnais
road. His reason for doing so will presently be seen. All along the
road, at Aix, at Lyons, in every town and village, he was received, as at
Frejus, with the most rapturous demonstrations of joy.

   --[From Frejus to, Aix a crowd of men kindly escorted us, carrying
   torches alongside the carriage of the General, not so much to show
   their enthusiasm as to ensure our safety (Bourrienne) These brigands
   became so bad in France that at one time soldiers were placed in the
   imperials of all the diligences, receiving from the wits the
   curiously anticipative name of "imperial armies".]--

Only those who witnessed his triumphal journey can form any notion of it;
and it required no great discernment to foresee something like the 18th

The provinces, a prey to anarchy and civil war, were continually
threatened with foreign invasion. Almost all the south presented the
melancholy spectacle of one-vast arena of conflicting factions. The
nation groaned beneath the yoke of tyrannical laws; despotism was
systematically established; the law of hostages struck a blow at personal
liberty, and forced loans menaced every man's property. The generality
of the citizens had declared themselves against a pentarchy devoid of
power, justice, and morality, and which had become the sport of faction
and intrigue. Disorder was general; but in the provinces abuses were
felt more sensibly than elsewhere. In great cities it was found more
easy to elude the hand of despotism and oppression.

A change so earnestly wished for could not fail to be realised, and to be
received with transport. The majority of the French people longed to be
relieved from the situation in which they then stood. There were two
dangers bar to cope with--anarchy and the Bourbons. Every one felt the
urgent and indispensable necessity of concentrating the power of the
Government in a single hand; at the same time maintaining the
institutions which the spirit of the age demanded, and which France,
after having so dearly purchased, was now about to lose. The country
looked for a man who was capable of restoring her to tranquillity; but as
yet no such man had appeared. A soldier of fortune presented himself,
covered with glory; he had planted the standard of France on the Capitol
and on the Pyramids. The whole world acknowledged his superior talent;
his character, his courage, and his victories had raised him to the very
highest rank. His great works, his gallant actions, his speeches, and
his proclamations ever since he had risen to eminence left no doubt of
his wish to secure happiness and freedom to France, his adopted country.
At that critical moment the necessity of a temporary dictatorship, which
sometimes secures the safety of a state, banished all reflections on the
consequences of such a power, and nobody seemed to think glory
incompatible with personal liberty. All eyes were therefore directed on
the General, whose past conduct guaranteed his capability of defending
the Republic abroad, and liberty at home,--on the General whom his
flatterers, and indeed some of his sincere friends, styled, "the hero of
liberal ideas," the title to which he aspired.

Under, every point of view, therefore, he was naturally chosen as the
chief of a generous nation, confiding to him her destiny, in preference
to a troop of mean and fanatical hypocrites, who, under the names of
republicanism and liberty, had reduced France to the most abject slavery.

Among the schemes which Bonaparte was incessantly revolving in his mind
may undoubtedly be ranked the project of attaining the head of the French
Government; but it would be a mistake to suppose that on his return from
Egypt he had formed any fixed plan. There was something vague in his
ambitious aspirations; and he was, if I may so express myself, fond of
building those imaginary edifices called castles in the air. The current
of events was in accordance with his wishes; and it may truly be said
that the whole French nation smoothed for Bonaparte the road which led.
to power. Certainly the unanimous plaudits and universal joy which
accompanied him along a journey of more than 200 leagues must have
induced him to regard as a national mission that step which was at first
prompted merely by his wish of meddling with the affairs of the Republic.

This spontaneous burst of popular feeling, unordered and unpaid for,
loudly proclaimed the grievances of the people, and their hope that the
man of victory would become their deliverer. The general enthusiasm
excited by the return of the conqueror of Egypt delighted him to a degree
which I cannot express, and was, as he has often assured me, a powerful
stimulus in urging him to the object to which the wishes of France seemed
to direct him.

Among people of all classes and opinions an 18th Brumaire was desired and
expected. Many royalists even believed that a change would prove
favourable to the King. So ready are we to persuade ourselves of the
reality of what we wish.

As soon as it was suspected that Bonaparte would accept the power offered
him, an outcry was raised about a conspiracy against the Republic, and
measures were sought for preserving it. But necessity, and indeed, it
must be confessed, the general feeling of the people, consigned the
execution of those measures to him who was to subvert the Republic. On
his return to Paris Bonaparte spoke and acted like a man who felt his own
power; he cared neither for flattery, dinners, nor balls,--his mind took
a higher flight.

We arrived in Paris on the 24th Vendemiaire (the 16th of October).
As yet he knew nothing of what was going on; for he had seen neither his
wife nor his brothers, who were looking for him on the Burgundy road.
The news of our landing at Frejus had reached Paris by a telegraphic
despatch. Madame Bonaparte, who was dining with M. Gohier when that
despatch was communicated to him, as president of the Directory,
immediately set off to meet her husband, well knowing how important it
was that her first interview with him should not be anticipated by his

The imprudent communications of Junot at the fountains of Messoudiah will
be remembered, but, after the first ebullition of jealous rage, all
traces of that feeling had apparently disappeared. Bonaparte however,
was still harassed by secret suspicion, and the painful impressions
produced by Junot were either not entirely effaced or were revived after
our arrival in Paris. We reached the capital before Josephine returned.
The recollection of the past; the ill-natured reports of his brothers,

   --[Joseph Bonaparte remarks on this that Napoleon met Josephine at
   Paris before his brothers arrived there, (Compare d'Abrantis,
   vol. 1, pp. 260-262 and Rumusat, tome i. pp. 147-148.)]--

and the exaggeration of facts had irritated Napoleon to the very highest
pitch, and he received Josephine with studied coldness, and with an air
of the most cruel indifference. He had no communication with her for
three days, during which time he frequently spoke to me of suspicions
which his imagination converted into certainty; and threats of divorce
escaped his lips with no less vehemence than when we were on the confines
of Syria. I took upon me the office of conciliator, which I had before
discharged with success. I represented to him the dangers to be
apprehended from the publicity and scandal of such an affair; and that
the moment when his grand views might possibly be realized was not the
fit time to entertain France and Europe with the details of a charge of
adultery. I spoke to him of Hortense and Eugene, to whom he was much
attached. Reflection, seconded by his ardent affection for Josephine,
brought about a complete reconciliation. After these three days of
conjugal misunderstanding their happiness was never afterwards disturbed
by a similar cause.

   --[In speaking of the unexpected arrival of Bonaparte and of the
   meeting between him and Josephine, Madame Junot says: "On the 10th
   October Josephine set off to meet her husband, but without knowing
   exactly what road he would take. She thought it likely he would
   come by way of Burgundy, and therefore Louis and she set off for

   "Madame Bonaparte was a prey to great and well-founded aspersions.
   Whether she was guilty or only imprudent, she was strongly accused
   by the Bonaparte family, who were desirous that Napoleon should
   obtain a divorce, The elder M. de Caulaincourt stated to us his
   apprehensions on this point; but whenever the subject was introduced
   my mother changed the conversation, because, knowing as she did the
   sentiments of the Bonaparte family, she could not reply without
   either committing them or having recourse to falsehood. She knew,
   moreover, the truth of many circumstances which M. de Caulaincourt
   seemed to doubt, and which her situation with respect to Bonaparte
   prevented her from communicating to him.

   "Madame Bonaparte committed a great fault in neglecting at this
   juncture to conciliate her mother-in-law, who might have protected
   her again those who sought her ruin and effected it nine years
   later; for the divorce in 1809 was brought about by the joint
   efforts of all the members of the Bonaparte family, aided by some of
   Napoleon's most confidential servants, whom Josephine, either as
   Madame Bonaparte or as Empress, had done nothing to make her

   "Bonaparte, on his arrival in Paris, found his house deserted: but
   his mother, sisters, and sisters-in-law, and, in short, every member
   of his family, except Louis, who had attended Madame Bonaparte to
   Lyons, came to him immediately. The impression made upon him by the
   solitude of his home and its desertion by its mistress was profound
   and terrible, and nine years afterwards, when the ties between him
   and Josephine were severed for ever, he showed that it was not
   effaced. From not finding her with his family he inferred that she
   felt herself unworthy of their presence, and feared to meet the man
   she had wronged. He considered her journey to Lyons as a mere

   "M. de Bourrienne says that for some days after Josephine's return
   Bonaparte treated her with extreme coldness. As he was an
   eyewitness, why does he not state the whole truth, and say that on
   her return Bonaparte refused to see her and did not see her? It was
   to the earnest entreaties of her children that she owed the
   recovery, not of her husband's love, for that had long ceased, but
   of that tenderness acquired by habit, and that intimate intercourse
   which made her still retain the rank of consort to the greatest man
   of his age. Bonaparte was at this period much attached to Eugene
   Beauharnais, who, to do him justice, was a charming youth. He knew
   less of Hortense; but her youth and sweetness of temper, and the
   protection of which, as his adopted daughter, she besought him not
   to deprive her, proved powerful advocates, and overcame his

   "In this delicate negotiation it was good policy not to bring any
   other person into play, whatever might be their influence with
   Bonaparte, and Madame Bonaparte did not, therefore, have recourse
   either to Barras, Bourrienne, or Berthier. It was expedient that
   they who interceded for her should be able to say something without
   the possibility of a reply. Now Bonaparte could not with any degree
   of propriety explain to such children as Eugene or Hortense the
   particulars of their mother's conduct. He was therefore constrained
   to silence, and had no argument to combat the tears of two innocent
   creatures at his feet exclaiming, 'Do not abandon our mother; she
   will break her heart! and ought injustice to take from us, poor
   orphans, whose natural protector the scaffold has already deprived
   us of, the support of one whom Providence has sent to replace him!'

   "The scene, as Bonaparte has since stated, was long and painful, and
   the two children at length introduced their mother, and placed her
   in his arms. The unhappy woman had awaited his decision at the door
   of a small back staircase, extended at almost full length upon the
   stairs, suffering the acutest pangs of mental torture.

   "Whatever might be his wife's errors, Bonaparte appeared entirely to
   forget them, and the reconciliation was complete. Of all the
   members of the family Madame Leclerc was most vexed at the pardon
   which Napoleon had granted to his wife. Bonaparte's mother was also
   very ill pleased; but she said nothing. Madame Joseph Bonaparte,
   who was always very amiable, took no part in these family quarrels;
   therefore she could easily determine what part to take when fortune
   smiled on Josephine. As to Madame Bacciocchi, she gave free vent to
   her ill-humour and disdain; the consequence was that her
   sister-in-law could never endure her. Christine who was a
   beautiful creature, followed the example of Madame Joseph, and
   Caroline was so young that her opinion could have no weight in such
   an affair. As to Bonaparte's brothers, they were at open war with

On the day after hid arrival Bonaparte visited the Directors.

   --[The Directors at this time were Barras, Sieyes, Moulins, Gohier,
   and Roger Ducos.]--

The interview was cold. On the 24th of October he said to me, "I dined
yesterday at Gohier's; Sieyes was present, and I pretended not to see
him. I observed how much he was enraged at this mark of
disrespect."--"But are you sure he is against you?" inquired I. "I
know nothing yet; but he is a scheming man, and I don't like him." Even
at that time Bonaparte had thoughts of getting himself elected a member
of the Directory in the room of Sieyes.



   Moreau and Bernadotte--Bonaparte's opinion of Bernadotte--False
   report--The crown of Sweden and the Constitution of the year III.--
   Intrigues of Bonaparte's brothers--Angry conversation between
   Bonaparte and Bernadotte--Bonaparte's version--Josephine's version--
   An unexpected visit--The Manege Club--Salicetti and Joseph Bonaparte
   --Bonaparte invites himself to breakfast with Bernadotte--Country
   excursion--Bernadotte dines with Bonaparte--The plot and conspiracy
   --Conduct of Lucien--Dinner given to Bonaparte by the Council of the
   Five Hundred--Bonaparte's wish to be chosen a member of the
   Directory--His reconciliation with Sieyes--Offer made by the
   Directory to Bonaparte--He is falsely accused by Barras.

To throw a clear light on the course of the great events which will
presently be developed it is necessary to state briefly what intrigues
had been hatched and what ambitious hopes had risen up while we were in
Egypt. When in Egypt Bonaparte was entirely deprived of any means of
knowing what was going on in France; and in our rapid journey from Frejus
to Paris we had no opportunity of collecting much information. Yet it
was very important that we should know the real state of affairs, and the
sentiments of those whom Bonaparte had counted among his rivals in glory,
and whom he might now meet among his rivals in ambition.

Moreau's military reputation stood very high, and Bernadotte's firmness
appeared inflexible. Generally speaking, Bonaparte might have reckoned
among his devoted partisans the companions of his glory in Italy, and
also those whom he subsequently denominated "his Egyptians." But brave
men had distinguished themselves in the army of the Rhine; and if they
did not withhold their admiration from the conqueror of Italy, they felt
at least more personally interested in the admiration which they lavished
on him who had repaired the disaster of Scherer. Besides, it must be
borne in mind that a republican spirit prevailed, almost without
exception, in the army, and that the Directory appeared to be a
Government invented expressly to afford patronage to intriguers. All
this planted difficulties in our way, and rendered it indispensably
necessary that we should know our ground. We had, it is true, been
greeted by the fullest measure of popular enthusiasm on our arrival; but
this was not enough. We wanted suffrages of a more solid kind.

During the campaign of Egypt, Bernadotte, who was a zealous republican,
had been War Minister,

   --[Bernadotte was Minister of war from 2d July 1799 to 14th
   September 1799, when, as he himself wrote to the Directory, they
   "accepted" the resignation he had not offered.]--

but he had resigned the portfolio to Dubois-Crance three weeks before
Bonaparte's return to France. Some partisans of the old Minister were
endeavouring to get him recalled, and it was very important to
Bonaparte's interests that he should prevent the success of this design.
I recollect that on the second day of our arrival Bonaparte said to me,
"I have learned many things; but we shall see what will happen.
Bernadotte is a singular man. When he was War Minister Augereau,
Salicetti, and some others informed him that the Constitution was in
danger, and that it was necessary to get rid of Sieyes, Barras, and
Fouche, who were at the head of a plot. What did Bernadotte do?
Nothing. He asked for proofs. None could be produced. He asked for
powers. Who could grant them? Nobody. He should have taken them; but
he would not venture on that. He wavered. He said he could not enter
into the schemes which were proposed to him. He only promised to be
silent on condition that they were renounced. Bernadotte is not a help;
he is an obstacle, I have heard from good authority that a great number
of influential persons wished to invest him with extensive power for the
public good; but he was obstinate, and would listen to nothing."

After a brief interval of silence, during which Bonaparte rubbed his
forehead with his right hand, he then resumed:

"I believe I shall have Bernadotte and Moreau against me. But I do not
fear Moreau. He is devoid of energy. I know he would prefer military to
political power. The promise of the command of an army would gain him
over. But Bernadotte has Moorish blood in his veins. He is bold and
enterprising. He is allied to my brothers.

   --[Joseph Bonaparte and Bernadotte had married sisters. Mario-Julie
   and Eugenie Bernardine-Desiree Clary. The feeling of Bourrienne for
   Bernadotte makes this passage doubtful. It is to be noticed that in
   the same conversation he makes Napoleon describe Bernadotte as not
   venturing to act without powers and as enterprising. The stern
   republican becoming Prince de Monte Carlo and King of Sweden, in a
   way compatible with his fidelity to the Constitution of the year
   III., is good. Lanfrey attributes Bernadotte's refusal to join more
   to rivalry than to principle (Lanfrey, tome i. p. 440). But in any
   case Napoleon did not dread Bernadotte, and was soon threatening to
   shoot him; see Lucien, tome ii. p. 107.]--

"He does not like me, and I am almost certain that he will oppose me. If
he should become ambitious he will venture anything. And yet, you
recollect in what a lukewarm way he acted on the 18th Fructidor, when I
sent him to second Augereau. This devil of a fellow is not to be
seduced. He is disinterested and clever. But; after all, we have but
just arrived, and know not what may happen."

Bernadotte, it was reported, had advised that Bonaparte should be brought
to a court-martial, an the two-fold charge of having abandoned his army
and violated the quarantine laws. This report came to the ear of
Bonaparte; but he refused to believe it and he was right. Bernadotte
thought himself bound to the Constitution which he had sworn to defend.
Hence the opposition he manifested to the measures of the 18th Brumaire.
But he cherished no personal animosity against Bonaparte as long as he
was ignorant of his ambitious designs. The extraordinary and complicated
nature of subsequent events rendered his possession of the crown of
Sweden in no way incompatible with his fidelity to the Constitution of
the year III.

On our first arrival in Paris, though I was almost constantly with the
General, yet, as our routine of occupation was not yet settled, I was
enabled now and then to snatch an hour or two from business. This
leisure time I spent in the society of my family and a few friends, and
in collecting information as to what had happened during our absence, for
which purpose I consulted old newspapers and pamphlets. I was not
surprised to learn that Bonaparte's brothers--that is to say, Joseph and
Lucien--had been engaged in many intrigues. I was told that Sieyes had
for a moment thought of calling the Duke of Brunswick to the head of the
Government; that Barras would not have been very averse to favouring the
return of the Bourbons; and that Moulins, Roger Ducos, and Gohier alone
believed or affected to believe, in the possibility of preserving the
existing form of government. From what I heard at the time I have good
reasons for believing that Joseph and Lucien made all sorts of endeavours
to inveigle Bernadotte into their brother's party, and in the hope of
accomplishing that object they had assisted in getting him appointed War
Minister. However, I cannot vouch for the truth of this. I was told
that hernadotte had at first submitted to the influence of Bonaparte's
two brothers; but that their urgent interference in their client's behalf
induced him to shake them off, to proceed freely in the exercise of his
duties, and to open the eyes of the Directory on what the Republic might
have to apprehend from the enterprising character of Bonaparte. It is
certain that what I have to relate respecting the conduct of Bernadotte
to Bonaparte is calculated to give credit to these assertions.

All the generals who were in Paris, with the exception of Bernadotte,
had visited Bonaparte during the first three days which succeeded his
arrival. Bernadotte's absence was the more remarkable because he had
served under Bonaparte in Italy. It was not until a fortnight had
elapsed, and then only on the reiterated entreaties of Joseph and Madame
Joseph Bonaparte (his sister-in-law), that he determined to go and see
his old General-in-Chief. I was not present at their interview, being at
that moment occupied in the little cabinet of the Rue Chantereine. But I
soon discovered that their conversation had been long and warm; for as
soon as it was ended Bonaparte entered the cabinet exceedingly agitated,
and said to me, "Bourrienne, how do you think Bernadotte has behaved?
You have traversed France with me--you witnessed the enthusiasm which my
return excited--you yourself told me that you saw in that enthusiasm the
desire of the French people to be relieved from the disastrous position
in which our reverses have placed them. Well! would you believe it?
Bernadotte boasts, with ridiculous exaggeration, of the brilliant and
victorious situation of France! He talks about the defeat of the
Russians, the occupation of Genoa, the innumerable armies that are rising
up everywhere. In short, I know not what nonsense he has got in his
head."--"What can all this mean?" said I. "Did he speak about
Egypt?"--"Oh, yes! Now you remind me. He actually reproached me for
not having brought the army back with me! 'But,' observed I, 'have you
not just told me that you are absolutely overrun with troops; that all
your frontiers are secure, that immense levies are going on, and that
you will have 200,000 infantry?--If this be true, what do you want with
a few thousand men who may ensure the preservation of Egypt?' He could
make no answer to this. But he is quite elated by the honour of having
been War Minister, and he told me boldly that he looked upon the army of
Egypt as lost nay, more. He made insinuations. He spoke of enemies
abroad and enemies at home; and as he uttered these last words he looked
significantly at me. I too gave him a glance! But stay a little. The
pear will soon be ripe! You know Josephine's grace and address. She was
present. The scrutinising glance of Bernadotte did not escape her, and
she adroitly turned the conversation. Bernadotte saw from my
countenance that I had had enough of it, and he took his leave. But
don't let me interrupt you farther. I am going back to speak to

I must confess that this strange story made me very impatient to find
myself alone with Madame Bonaparte, for I wished to hear her account of
the scene. An opportunity occurred that very evening. I repeated to her
what I had heard from the General, and all that she told me tended to
confirm its accuracy. She added that hernadotte seemed to take the
utmost pains to exhibit to the General a flattering picture of the
prosperity of France; and she reported to me, as follows, that part of
the conversation which was peculiarly calculated to irritate
Bonaparte:--"'I do not despair of the safety of the Republic, which
I am certain can restrain her enemies both abroad and at home.' As
Bernadotte uttered these last words,'" continued Josephine, "his glance
made me shudder. One word more and Bonaparte could have commanded
himself no longer! It is true," added she, "that it was in some degree
his own fault, for it was he who turned the conversation on politics;
and Bernadotte, in describing the flourishing condition of France, was
only replying to the General, who had drawn a very opposite picture of
the state of things. You know, my dear Bourrienne, that Bonaparte is not
always very prudent. I fear he has said too much to Bernadotte about the
necessity of changes in the Government." Josephine had not yet
recovered from the agitation into which this violent scene had thrown
her. After I took leave of her; I made notes of what she had told me.

A few days after, when Bonaparte, Josephine, Hortense, Eugene, and I were
together in the drawing-room, Bernadotte unexpectedly entered. His
appearance, after what had passed, was calculated to surprise us. He was
accompanied by a person whom he requested permission to introduce to
Bonaparte. I have forgotten his name, but he was, I think,
secretary-general while Bernadotte was in office. Bonaparte betrayed no
appearance of astonishment. He received Bernadotte with perfect ease,
and they soon entered into conversation. Bonaparte, who seemed to
acquire confidence from the presence of those who were about him, said a
great deal about the agitation which prevailed among the republicans,
and expressed himself in very decided terms against the 'Manege Club.'

   --[The Manege Club, the last resort of the Jacobins, formed in 1799,
   and closed seven or eight months afterwards. Joseph Bonaparte
   (Erreurs, time i. p. 251) denies that he or Lucien--for whom the
   allusion is meant--were members of this club, and he disputes this
   conversation ever having taken place. Lucien (tome i. p. 219)
   treats this club as opposed to his party.]--

I seconded him by observing that M. Moreau de Worms of my department, who
was a member of that club, had himself complained to me of the violence
that prevailed in it. "But, General," said Bernadotte, "your brothers
were its most active originators. Yet," added he in a tone of firmness,
"you accuse me of having favoured that club, and I repel the charge. It
cannot be otherwise than false. When I came into office I found
everything in the greatest disorder. I had no leisure to think about any
club to which my duties did not call me. You know well that your friend
Salicetti, and that your brother, who is in your confidence, are both
leading men in the Manege Club. To the instructions of I know not whom
is to be attributed the violence of which you complain." At these words,
and especially the tone in which hernadotte uttered 'I know not whom,'
Bonaparte could no longer restrain himself. "Well, General," exclaimed
he furiously, "I tell you plainly, I would rather live wild in the woods
than in a state of society which affords no security." Bernadotte then
said, with great dignity of manner, "Good God! General, what security
would you have?" From the warmth evinced by Bonaparte I saw plainly that
the conversation would soon be converted into a dispute, and in a whisper
I requested Madame Bonaparte to change the conversation, which she
immediately did by addressing a question to some one present.
Bernadotte, observing Madame Bonaparte's design, checked his warmth. The
subject of conversation was changed, and it became general Bernadotte
soon took up his hat and departed.

One morning, when I entered Bonaparte's chamber--it was, I believe, three
or four days after the second visit of Bernadotte--he said:

"Well, Bourrienne, I wager you will not guess with whom I am going to
breakfast this morning?"--"Really, General, I ------"--"With Bernadotte;
and the best of the joke is, that I have invited myself. You would have
seen how it was all brought about if you had been with us at the Theatre
Francais, yesterday evening. You know we are going to visit Joseph today
at Mortfontaine. Well, as we were coming out of the theatre last night,
finding myself side by aide with Bernadotte and not knowing what to talk
about, I asked him whether he was to be of our party to-day? He replied
in the affirmative; and as we were passing his house in the Rue

   --[Joseph Bonaparte lays great stress on the fact that Napoleon
   world not have passed this house, which was far from the theatre
   (Erreurs, tome i, p. 251).]--

"I told him, without any ceremony, that I should be happy to come and take
a cup of coffee with him in the morning. He seemed pleased. What do you
think of that, Bourrienne?"--"Why, General, I hope you may have reason on
your part to be pleased with him."--"Never fear, never fear. I know
what I am about. This will compromise him with Gohier. Remember, you
must always meet your enemies with a bold face, otherwise they think they
are feared, and that gives them confidence."

Bonaparte stepped into the carriage with Josephine, who was always ready
when she had to go out with him, for he did not like to wait. They
proceeded first to Bernadotte's to breakfast, and from thence to
Mortfontaine. On his return Bonaparte told me very little about what had
passed during the day, and I could see that he was not in the best of
humours. I afterwards learned that Bonaparte had conversed a good deal
with Bernadotte, and that he had made every effort to render himself
agreeable, which he very well knew how to do when he chose! but that, in
spite of all his conversational talent; and supported as he was by the
presence of his three brothers, and Regnault de St. Jean d'Angely, he
could not withstand the republican firmness of Bernadotte. However, the
number of his partisans daily augmented; for all had not the
uncompromising spirit of Bernadotte; and it will soon be seen that Moreau
himself undertook charge of the Directors who were made prisoners on the
18th Brumaire.

Bernadotte's shrewd penetration made him one of the first to see clearly
into Bonaparte's designs. He was well convinced of his determination to
overthrow the constitution and possess himself of power. He saw the
Directory divided into two parties; the one duped by the promises and
assurances of Bonaparte, and the other conniving with him for the
accomplishment of his plans. In these circumstances Bernadotte offered
his services to all persons connected with the Government who, like
himself, were averse to the change which he saw good reason to apprehend.
But Bonaparte was not the man to be outdone in cunning or activity; and
every moment swelled the ranks of his adherents.

On the 16th Brumaire I dined in the Rue de la Victoire. Bernadotte was
present, and I believe General Jourdan also. While the grand conspiracy
was hastening to its accomplishment Madame Bonaparte and I had contrived
a little plot of a more innocent kind. We let no one into our secret,
and our 16th Brumaire was crowned with complete success. We had agreed
to be on the alert to prevent any fresh exchange of angry words. All
succeeded to the utmost of our wishes. The conversation languished
during dinner; but it was not dulness that we were afraid of. It turned
on the subject of war, and in that vast field Bonaparte's superiority
over his interlocutors was undeniable.

When we retired to the drawing-rooms a great number of evening visitors
poured in, and the conversation then became animated, and even gay.
Bonaparte was in high spirits. He said to some one, smiling, and
pointing to Bernadotte, "You are not aware that the General yonder is a
Chouan."--"A Chouan?" repeated Bernadotte, also in a tone of pleasantry.
"Ah! General you contradict yourself. Only the other day you taxed me
with favouring the violence of the friends of the Republic, and now you
accuse me of protecting the Chouans.

   --[The "Chouans," so called from their use of the cry of the
   screech-owl (chathouan) as a signal, were the revolted peasants of
   Brittany and of Maine.]--

"You should at least be consistent." A few moments after, availing
himself of the confusion occasioned by the throng of visitors, Bernadotte
slipped off.

As a mark of respect to Bonaparte the Council of the Five Hundred
appointed Lucien its president. The event proved how important this
nomination was to Napoleon. Up to the 19th Brumaire, and especially on
that day, Lucien evinced a degree of activity, intelligence, courage, and
presence of mind which are rarely found united in one individual I have
no hesitation in stating that to Lucien's nomination and exertions must
be attributed the success of the 19th Brumaire.

The General had laid down a plan of conduct from which he never deviated
during the twenty-three days which intervened between his arrival in
Paris and the 18th Brumaire. He refused almost all private invitations,
in order to avoid indiscreet questions, unacceptable offers, and answers
which might compromise him.

It was not without some degree of hesitation that he yielded to a project
started by Lucien, who, by all sorts of manoeuvring, had succeeded in
prevailing on a great number of his colleagues to be present at a grand
subscription dinner to be given to Bonaparte by the Council of the

The disorder which unavoidably prevailed in a party amounting to upwards
of 250 persons, animated by a diversity of opinions and sentiments; the
anxiety and distrust arising in the minds of those who were not in the
grand plot, rendered this meeting one of the most disagreeable I ever
witnessed. It was all restraint and dulness. Bonaparte's countenance
sufficiently betrayed his dissatisfaction; besides, the success of his
schemes demanded his presence elsewhere. Almost as soon as he had
finished his dinner he rose, saying to Berthier and me, "I am tired: let
us be, gone." He went round to the different tables, addressing to the
company compliments and trifling remarks, and departed, leaving at table
the persons by whom he had been invited.

This short political crisis was marked by nothing more grand, dignified,
or noble than the previous revolutionary commotions. All these plots
were so contemptible, and were accompanied by so much trickery,
falsehood, and treachery, that, for the honour of human nature, it is
desirable to cover them with a veil.

General Bonaparte's thoughts were first occupied with the idea he had
conceived even when in Italy, namely, to be chosen a Director. Nobody
dared yet to accuse him of being a deserter from the army of the East.
The only difficulty was to obtain a dispensation on the score of age.
And was this not to be obtained? No sooner was he installed in his
humble abode in the Rue de la Victoire than he was assured that, on the
retirement of Rewbell, the majority of suffrages would have devolved on
him had he been in France, and had not the fundamental law required the
age of forty; but that not even his warmest partisans were disposed to
violate the yet infant Constitution of the year III.

Bonaparte soon perceived that no efforts would succeed in overcoming this
difficulty, and he easily resolved to possess himself wholly of an office
of which he would nominally have had only a fifth part had he been a
member of the Directory.

As soon as his intentions became manifest he found himself surrounded by
all those who recognised in him the man they had long looked for. These
persons, who were able and influential in their own circles, endeavoured
to convert into friendship the animosity which existed between Sieyes and
Bonaparte. This angry feeling had been increased by a remark made by
Sieyes, and reported to Bonaparte. He had said, after the dinner at
which Bonaparte treated him so disrespectfully, "Do you see how that
little insolent fellow behaves to a member of a Government which would do
well to order him to be SHOT?"

But all was changed when able mediators pointed out to Bonaparte the
advantage of uniting with Sieye's for the purpose of overthrowing a
Constitution which he did not like. He was assured how vain it would be
to think of superseding him, and that it would be better to flatter him
with the hope of helping to subvert the constitution and raising up a new
one. One day some one said to Bonaparte in my hearing, "Seek for support
among the party who call the friends of the Republic Jacobins, and be
assured that Sieyes is at the head of that party."

On the 25th Vendemiaire (17th of October) the Directory summoned General
Bonaparte to a private sitting. "They offered me the choice of any army
I would command," said he to me the next morning. "I would not refuse,
but I asked to be allowed a little time for the recovery of my health;
and, to avoid any other embarrassing offers, I withdrew. I shall go to
no more of their sittings." (He attended only one after this.) "I am
determined to join Sieyes' party. It includes a greater diversity of
opinions than that of the profligate Barras. He proclaims everywhere
that he is the author of my fortune. He will never be content to play an
inferior part, and I will never bend to such a man. He cherishes the mad
ambition of being the support of the Republic. What would he do with
me? Sieyes, on the contrary, has no political ambition."

No sooner did Sieyes begin to grow friendly with Bonaparte than the
latter learned from him that Barras had said, "The 'little corporal' has
made his fortune in Italy and does not want to go back again." Bonaparte
repaired to the Directory for the sole purpose of contradicting this
allegation. He complained to the Directors of its falsehood, boldly
affirmed that the fortune he was supposed to possess had no existence,
and that even if he had made his fortune it was not, at all events, at
the expense of the Republic "You know," said he to me, "that the mines of
Hydria have furnished the greater part of what I possess."--"Is it
possible," said I, "that Barras could have said so, when you know so well
of all the peculations of which he has been guilty since your return?"

Bonaparte had confided the secret of his plans to very few persons--to
those only whose assistance he wanted. The rest mechanically followed
their leaders and the impulse which was given to them; they passively
awaited the realisation of the promises they had received, and on the
faith of which they had pledged themselves.



   Cambaceres and Lebrun--Gohier deceived--My nocturnal visit to Barras
   --The command of the army given to Bonaparte--The morning of the
   18th Brumaire--Meeting of the generals at Bonaparte's house--
   Bernadotte's firmness--Josephine's interest, for Madame Gohier--
   Disappointment of the Directors--Review in the gardens of the
   Tuileries--Bonaparte's harangue--Proclamation of the Ancients--
   Moreau, jailer of the Luxembourg--My conversation with La Pallette--
   Bonaparte at St. Cloud.

The parts of the great drama which was shortly to be enacted were well
distributed. During the three days preceding the 18th Brumaire every one
was at his post. Lucien, with equal activity and intelligence, forwarded
the conspiracy in the two Councils; Sieyes had the management of the
Directory; Real,

   --[Pierre Francois Real (1757-1834); public accuser before the
   revolutionary criminal tribunal; became, under Napoleon, Conseiller
   d'Etat and Comte, and was charged with the affairs of the "haute

under the instructions of Fouche,

   --[Joseph Fouche (1754-1820); Conventionalist; member of extreme
   Jacobin party; Minister of Police under the Directory, August 1799;
   retained by Napoleon in that Ministry till 1802, and again from 1801
   to 1810; became Duc d'Otrante in 1809; disgraced m 1810, and sent in
   1813 as governor of the Illyrian Provinces; Minister of Police
   during the 'Cent Jours'; President of the Provisional Government,
   1815; and for a short time Minister of Police under second

negotiated with the departments, and dexterously managed, without
compromising Fouche, to ruin those from whom that Minister had received
his power. There was no time to lose; and Fouche said to me on the 14th
Brumaire, "Tell your General to be speedy; if he delays, he is lost."

On the 17th, Regnault de St. Jean d'Angely told Bonaparte that the
overtures made to Cambaceres and Lebrun had not been received in a very
decided way. "I will have no tergiversation," replied Bonaparte with
warmth. "Let them not flatter themselves that I stand in need of them.
They must decide to-day; to-morrow will be too late. I feel myself
strong enough now to stand alone."


   --[Cambaceres (J. J. Regis de) (1763-1824) Conventionalist; Minister
   of Justice under Directory, 1799; second Consul, 25th December 1799;
   Arch-Chancellor of the Empire, 1804; Duc de Parma, 1806; Minister of
   Justice during the 'Cent Jours': took great part in all the legal
   and administrative projects of the Consulate and Empire.]--

and Lebrun

   --[Charles Francois Lebrun (1757-1824). Deputy to the National
   Assembly, and member of the Council of the Five Hundred; Third
   Consul, 25th December 1799; Arch-Treasurer of the Empire, 1804; Duc
   de Plaisance, 1806; Governor-General of Holland, 1806; Lieutenant-
   Governor of Holland, 1810 to 1813; chiefly engaged in financial

were, almost utter strangers to the intrigues which preceded the 18th
Brumaire. Bonaparte had cast his eyes on the Minister of Justice to be
one of his colleagues when he should be at liberty to name them, because
his previous conduct had pledged him as a partisan of the Revolution.
To him Bonaparte added Lebrun, to counterbalance the first choice.
Lebrun was distinguished for honourable conduct and moderate principles.
By selecting these two men Bonaparte hoped to please every one; besides,
neither of them were able to contend against his fixed determination and
ambitious views.

What petty intrigues marked the 17th Brumaire! On that day I dined with
Bonaparte; and after dinner he said, "I have promised to dine to-morrow
with Gohier; but, as you may readily suppose, I do not intend going.
However, I am very sorry for his obstinacy. By way of restoring his
confidence Josephine is going to invite him to breakfast with us
to-morrow. It will be impossible for him to suspect anything. I saw
Barras this morning, and left him much disturbed. He asked me to return
and visit him to-night. I promised to do so, but I shall not go.
To-morrow all will be over. There is but little time; he expects me at
eleven o'clock to-night. You shall therefore take my carriage, go
there, send in my name, and then enter yourself. Tell him that a severe
headache confines me to my bed, but that I will be with him without fail
tomorrow. Bid him not be alarmed, for all will soon be right again.
Elude his questions as much as possible; do not stay long, and come to
me on your return."

At precisely eleven o'clock I reached the residence of Barras, in General
Bonaparte's carriage. Solitude and silence prevailed in all the
apartments through which I passed to Barras' cabinet. Bonaparte was
announced, and when Barras saw me enter instead of him, he manifested the
greatest astonishment and appeared much cast down. It was easy to
perceive that he looked on himself as a lost man. I executed my
commission, and stayed only a short time. I rose to take my leave, and
he said, while showing me out, "I see that Bonaparte is deceiving me: he
will not come again. He has settled everything; yet to me he owes all."
I repeated that he would certainly come tomorrow, but he shook his head
in a way which plainly denoted that he did not believe me. When I gave
Bonaparte an account of my visit he appeared much pleased. He told me
that Joseph was going to call that evening on Bernadotte, and to ask him
to come tomorrow. I replied that, from all I knew, he would be of no use
to him. "I believe so too," said he; "but he can no longer injure me,
and that is enough. Well, good-night; be here at seven in the morning."
It was then one o'clock.

I was with him a little before seven o'clock on the morning of the 18th
Brumaire, and on my arrival I found a great number of generals and
officers assembled. I entered Bonaparte's chamber, and found him already
up--a thing rather unusual with him. At this moment he was as calm as on
the approach of a battle. In a few moments Joseph and Bernadotte
arrived. Joseph had not found him at home on the preceding evening, and
had called for him that morning. I was surprised to see Bernadotte in
plain clothes, and I stepped up to him and said in a low voice, "General,
every one here, except you and I, is in uniform."--"Why should I be in
uniform?" said he. As he uttered these words Bonaparte, struck with the
same surprise as myself, stopped short while speaking to several persons
around him, and turning quickly towards Bernadotte said, "How is this?
you are not in uniform!"--"I never am on a morning when I am not on
duty," replied Bernadotte.--"You will be on duty presently."--"I have
not heard a word of it: I should have received my orders sooner."

Bonaparte then led Bernadotte into an adjoining room. Their conversation
was not long, for there was no time to spare.

On the other hand, by the influence of the principal conspirators the
removal of the legislative body to St. Cloud was determined on the
morning of the 18th Brumaire, and the command of the army was given to

All this time Barras was no doubt waiting for Bonaparte, and Madame
Bonaparte was expecting Gohier to breakfast. At Bonaparte's were
assembled all the general's who were devoted to him. I never saw so
great a number before in the Rue de la Victoire. They were all, except
Bernadotte, in full uniform; and there were, besides, half a dozen
persons there initiated in the secrets of the day. The little hotel of
the conqueror of Italy was much too small for such an assemblage, and
several persons were standing in the court-yard. Bonaparte was
acquainted with the decree of the Council of the Ancients, and only
waited for its being brought to him before he should mount his horse.
That decree was adopted in the Council of the Ancients by what may be
called a false majority, for the members of the Council were summoned at
different hours, and it was so contrived that sixty or eighty of them,
whom Lucien and his friends had not been able to gain over, should not
receive their notices in time.

As soon as the message from the Council of the Ancients arrived Bonaparte
requested all the officers at his house to follow him. At that
announcement a few who were in ignorance of what was going on did not
follow--at least I saw two groups separately leave the hotel. Bernadotte
said to me, "I shall stay with you." I perceived there was a good deal
of suspicion in his manner. Bonaparte, before going down the stairs
which led from the small round dining-room into the courtyard, returned
quickly to bid Bernadotte follow him. He would not, and Bonaparte then
said to me, while hurrying off, "Gohier is not come--so much the worse
for him," and leaped on his horse. Scarcely was he off when Bernadotte
left me. Josephine and I being now left alone; she acquainted me with
her anxiety. I assured her that everything bad been so well prepared
that success was certain. She felt much interest about Gohier on account
of her friendship for his wife. She asked me whether I was well
acquainted with Gohier. "You know, Madame," replied I, "that we have
been only twenty days in Paris, and that during that time I have only
gone out to sleep in the Rue Martel. I have seen M. Gohier several
times, when he came to visit the General, and have talked to him about
the situation of our affairs in Switzerland, Holland, France, and other
political matters, but I never exchanged a word with him as to what is
now going on. This is the whole extent of my acquaintance with him."

"I am sorry for it," resumed Josephine, "because I should have asked you
to write to him, and beg him to make no stir, but imitate Sieyes and
Roger, who will voluntarily retire, and not to join Barras, who is
probably at this very moment forced to do so. Bonaparte has told me that
if Gohier voluntarily resigns, he will do everything for him." I believe
Josephine communicated directly with the President of the Directory
through a friend of Madame Gohier's.

Gohier and Moulins, no longer depending on Sieyes and Roger Ducos, waited
for their colleague, Barras, in the hall of the Directory, to adopt some
measure on the decree for removing the Councils to St. Cloud. But they
were disappointed; for Barras, whose eyes had been opened by my visit on
the preceding night, did not join them. He had been invisible to his
colleagues from the moment that Bruix and M. de Talleyrand had informed
him of the reality of what he already suspected; and insisted on his

On the 18th Brumaire a great number of military, amounting to about
10,000 men, were assembled in the gardens of the Tuileries, and were
reviewed by Bonaparte, accompanied by Generals Beurnonville, Moreau, and
Macdonald. Bonaparte read to them the decree just issued by the
commission of inspectors of the Council of the Ancients, by which the
legislative body was removed to St. Cloud; and by which he himself was
entrusted with the execution of that decree, and appointed to the command
of all the military force in Paris, and afterwards delivered an address
to the troops.

Whilst Bonaparte was haranguing the soldiers, the Council of the Ancients
published an address to the French people, in which it was declared that
the seat of the legislative body was changed, in order to put down the
factions, whose object was to control the national representation.

While all this was passing abroad I was at the General's house in the Rue
de la Victoire; which I never left during the whole day. Madame
Bonaparte and I were not without anxiety in Bonaparte's absence.
I learned from Josephine that Joseph's wife had received a visit from
Adjutant-General Rapatel, who had been sent by Bonaparte and Moreau to
bring her husband to the Tuileries. Joseph was from home at the time,
and so the message was useless. This circumstance, however, awakened
hopes which we had scarcely dared to entertain. Moreau was then in
accordance with Bonaparte, for Rapatel was sent in the name of both
Generals. This alliance, so long despaired of, appeared to augur
favourably. It was one of Bonaparte's happy strokes. Moreau, who was a
slave to military discipline, regarded his successful rival only as a
chief nominated by the Council of the Ancients. He received his orders
and obeyed them. Bonaparte appointed him commander of the guard of the
Luxembourg, where the Directors were under confinement. He accepted the
command, and no circumstance could have contributed more effectually to
the accomplishment of Bonaparte's views and to the triumph of his

At length Bonaparte, whom we had impatiently expected, returned.
Almost everything had gone well with him, for he had had only to do with
soldiers. In the evening he said to me, "I am sure that the committee of
inspectors of the hall are at this very moment engaged in settling what
is to be done at St. Cloud to-morrow. It is better to let them decide
the matter, for by that means their vanity is flattered. I will obey
orders which I have myself concerted." What Bonaparte was speaking of
had been arranged nearly two or three days previously. The committee of
inspectors was under the influence of the principal conspirators.

In the evening of this anxious day, which was destined to be succeeded by
a stormy morrow, Bonaparte, pleased with having gained over Moreau, spoke
to me of Bernadotte's visit in the morning.--"I saw," said he, "that you
were as much astonished as I at Bernadotte's behaviour. A general out of
uniform! He might as well have come in slippers. Do you know what
passed when I took him aside? I told him all; I thought that the best
way. I assured him that his Directory was hated, and his Constitution
worn out; that it was necessary to turn them all off, and give another
impulse to the government. 'Go and put on your uniform said I: I cannot
wait for you long. You will find me at the Tuileries, with the rest of
our comrades. Do not depend on Moreau, Beurnonville, or the generals of
your party. When you know them better you will find that they promise
much but perform little. Do not trust them.' Bernadotte then said that
he would not take part in what he called a rebellion. A rebellion!
Bourrienne, only think of that! A set of imbeciles, who from morning to
night do nothing but debate in their kennels! But all was in vain. I
could not move Bernadotte. He is a bar of iron. I asked him to give me
his word that he would do nothing against me; what do you think was his
answer?"--"Something unpleasant, no doubt."--"Unpleasant! that is too
mild a word. He said, 'I will remain quiet as a citizen; but if the
Directory order me to act, I will march against all disturbers.' But I
can laugh at all that now. My measures are taken, and he will have no
command. However, I set him at ease as to what would take place.
I flattered him with a picture of private life, the pleasures of the
country, and the charms of Malmaison; and I left him with his head full
of pastoral dreams. In a word, I am very well satisfied with my day's
work. Good-night, Bourrienne; we shall see what will turn up to-morrow."

On the 19th I went to St. Cloud with my friend La Vallette. As we passed
the Place Louis XV., now Louis XVI., he asked me what was doing, and what
my opinion was as to the coming events? Without entering into any detail
I replied, "My friend, either we shall sleep tomorrow at the Luxembourg,
or there will be an end of us." Who could tell which of the two things
would happen! Success legalised a bold enterprise, which the slightest
accident might have changed into a crime.

The sitting of the Ancients, under the presidency of Lemercier, commenced
at one o'clock. A warm discussion took place upon the situation of
affairs, the resignation of the members of the Directory, and the
immediate election of others. Great heat and agitation prevailed during
the debate. Intelligence was every minute carried to Bonaparte of what
was going forward, and he determined to enter the hall and take part in
the discussion. He entered in a hasty and angry way, which did not give
me a favourable foreboding of what he was about to say. We passed
through a narrow passage to the centre of the hall; our backs were turned
to the door. Bonaparte had the President to his right. He could not see
him full in the face. I was close to the General on his right. Berthier
was at his left.

All the speeches which have been subsequently passed off as having been
delivered by Bonaparte on this occasion differ from each other; as well
they may, for he delivered none to the Ancients, unless his confused
conversation with the President, which was alike devoid of dignity and
sense, is to be called a speech. He talked of his "brothers in arms" and
the "frankness of a soldier." The questions of the President followed
each other rapidly: they were clear; but it is impossible to conceive
anything more confused or worse delivered than the ambiguous and
perplexed replies of Bonaparte. He talked without end of "volcanoes;
secret agitations, victories, a violated constitution!" He blamed the
proceedings of the 18th Fructidor, of which he was the first promoter and
the most powerful supporter. He pretended to be ignorant of everything
until the Council of Ancients had called him to the aid of his country.
Then came "Caesar--Cromwell--tyrant!" and he several times repeated,
"I have nothing more to say to you!" though, in fact, he had said
nothing. He alleged that he had been called to assume the supreme
authority, on his return from Italy, by the desire of the nation, and
afterwards by his comrades in arms. Next followed the words
"liberty--equality!" though it was evident he had not come to St. Cloud
for the sake of either. No sooner did he utter these words, than a
member of the Ancients, named, I think, Linglet, interrupting him,
exclaimed, "You forget the Constitution!" His countenance immediately
lighted up; yet nothing could be distinguished but, "The 18th
Fructidor--the 30th Prairial--hypocrites--intriguers--I will disclose
all!--I will resign my power, when the danger which threatens the
Republic shall have passed away!"

Bonaparte, believing all his assertions to be admitted as proved, assumed
a little confidence, and accused the two directors Barras and Moulins of
having proposed to put him at the head of a party whose object was to
oppose all men professing liberal ideas.

At these words, the falsehood of which was odious, a great tumult arose
in the hall. A general committee was loudly called for to hear the
disclosures. "No, no!" exclaimed others, "no general committee!
conspirators have been denounced: it is right that France should know

Bonaparte was then required to enter into the particulars of his
accusation against Barras and Moulins, and of the proposals which had
been made to him: "You must no longer conceal anything."

Embarrassed by these interruptions and interrogatories Bonaparte believed
that he was completely lost. Instead of giving an explanation of what he
had said, he began to make fresh accusations; and against whom? The
Council of the Five Hundred, who, he said, wished for "scaffolds,
revolutionary committees, and a complete overthrow of everything."

Violent murmurs arose, and his language became more and more incoherent
and inconsequent. He addressed himself at one moment to the
representatives of the people, who were quite overcome by astonishment;
at another to the military in the courtyard, who could not hear him.
Then, by an unaccountable transition, he spoke of "the thunderbolts of
war!" and added, that he was "attended by the God of war and the God of

The President, with great calmness, told him that he saw nothing,
absolutely nothing, upon which the Council could deliberate; that there
was vagueness in all he had said. "Explain yourself; reveal the plot
which you say you were urged to join."

Bonaparte repeated again the same things. But only those who were
present can form any idea of his manner. There was not the slightest
connection in what he stammered out. Bonaparte was then no orator. It
may well be supposed that he was more accustomed to the din of war than
to the discussions of the tribunes. He was more at home before a battery
than before a President's chair.

Perceiving the bad effect which this unconnected babbling produced on the
assembly, as well as the embarrassment of Bonaparte, I said, in a low
voice, pulling him gently by the skirt of his coat, "withdraw, General;
you know not what you are saying." I made signs to Berthier, who was on
his left, to second me in persuading him to leave the hall; and all at
once, after having stammered out a few more, words, he turned round
exclaiming, "Let those who love me follow me!" The sentinels at the door
offered no opposition to his passing. The person who went before him
quietly drew aside the tapestry which concealed the door, and General
Bonaparte leaped upon his horse, which stood in the court-yard. It is
hard to say what would have happened if, on seeing the General retire,
the President had said, "Grenadiers, let no one pass!" Instead of
sleeping next day at the Luxembourg he would, I am convinced, have ended
his career on the Place de la Revolution.



   The two Councils--Barras' letter--Bonaparte at the Council of the
   Five Hundred--False reports--Tumultuous sitting--Lucien's speech--
   He resigns the Presidency of the Council of the Five Hundred--He is
   carried out by grenadiers--He harangues the troops--A dramatic scene
   --Murat and his soldiers drive out the Five Hundred--Council of
   Thirty--Consular commission--Decree--Return to Paris--Conversation
   with Bonaparte and Josephine respecting Gohier and Bernadotte--The
   directors Gohier and Moulins imprisoned.

The scene which occurred at the sitting of the Council of the Ancients
was very different from that which passed outside. Bonaparte had
scarcely reached the courtyard and mounted his horse when cries of "Vive
Bonaparte!" resounded on all sides. But this was only a sunbeam between
two storms. He had yet to brave the Council of the Five Hundred, which
was far more excited than the Council of the Ancients. Everything tended
to create a dreadful uncertainty; but it was too late to draw back. We
had already staked too heavily. The game was desperate, and everything
was to be ventured. In a few hours all would be determined.

Our apprehensions were not without foundation. In the Council of the
Five Hundred agitation was at its height. The most serious alarm marked
its deliberations. It had been determined to announce to the Directory
the installation of the Councils, and to inquire of the Council of the
Ancients their reasons for resolving upon an extraordinary convocation.
But the Directory no longer existed. Sieyes and Roger Ducos had joined
Bonaparte's party. Gohier and Moulins were prisoners in the Luxembourg,
and in the custody of General Moreau; and at the very moment when the
Council of the Five Hundred had drawn up a message to the Directory, the
Council of the Ancients transmitted to them the following letter,
received from Barras. This letter; which was addressed to the Council of
the Ancients, was immediately read by Lucien Bonaparte, who was President
of the Council of the Five Hundred.

   CITIZEN PRESIDENT--Having entered into public affairs solely from my
   love of liberty, I consented to share the first magistracy of the
   State only that I might be able to defend it in danger; to protect
   against their enemies the patriots compromised in its cause; and to
   ensure to the defenders of, their country that attention to their
   interests which no one was more calculated to feel than a citizen,
   long the witness of their heroic virtues, and always sensible to
   their wants.

   The glory which accompanies the return of the illustrious warrior to
   whom I had the honour of opening the path of glory, the striking
   marks of confidence given him by the legislative body, and the
   decree of the National Convention, convince me that, to whatever
   post he may henceforth be called, the dangers to liberty will be
   averted, and the interests of the army ensured.

   I cheerfully return to the rank of a private citizen: happy, after
   so many storms, to resign, unimpaired, and even more glorious than
   ever, the destiny of the Republic, which has been, in part,
   committed to my care.
                    (Signed) BARRAS.

This letter occasioned a great sensation in the Council of the Five
Hundred. A second reading was called far, and a question was started,
whether the retirement was legal, or was the result of collusion, and of
the influence of Bonaparte's agents; whether to believe Barras, who
declared the dangers of liberty averted, or the decree for the removal of
the legislative corps, which was passed and executed under the pretext of
the existence of imminent peril? At that moment Bonaparte appeared,
followed by a party of grenadiers, who remained at the entrance of the

I did not accompany him to the Council of the Five Hundred. He had
directed me to send off an express to ease the apprehensions of
Josephine, and to assure her that everything would go well. It was some
time before I joined him again.

However, without speaking as positively as if I had myself been an
eye-witness of the scene, I do not hesitate to declare that all that has
been said about assaults and poniards is pure invention. I rely on what
was told me, on the very night, by persons well worthy of credit, and
who were witnessess of all that passed.

As to what passed at the sitting, the accounts, given both at the time
and since, have varied according to opinions. Some have alleged that
unanimous cries of indignation were excited by the appearance of the
military. From all parts of the hall resounded, "The sanctuary of the
laws is violated. Down with the tyrant!--down with Cromwell!--down with
the Dictator!" Bonaparte stammered out a few words, as he had done
before the Council of the Ancients, but his voice was immediately drowned
by cries of "Vive la Republique!" "Vive la Constitution!" "Outlaw the
Dictator!" The grenadiers are then said to have rushed forward,
exclaiming, "Let us save our General!" at which indignation reached its
height, and cries, even more violent than ever, were raised; that
Bonaparte, falling insensible into the arms of the grenadiers, said,
"They mean to assassinate me!" All that regards the exclamations and
threats I believe to be correct; but I rank with the story of the
poniards the assertion of the members of the Five Hundred being provided
with firearms, and the grenadiers rushing into the hall; because
Bonaparte never mentioned a word of anything of the sort to me, either on
the way home, or when I was with him in his chamber. Neither did he say
anything on the subject to his wife, who had been extremely agitated by
the different reports which reached her.

After Bonaparte left the Council of the Five Hundred the deliberations
were continued with great violence. The excitement caused by the
appearance of Bonaparte was nothing like subsided when propositions of
the most furious nature were made. The President, Lucien, did all in his
power to restore tranquillity. As soon as he could make himself heard he
said, "The scene which has just taken place in the Council proves what
are the sentiments of all; sentiments which I declare are also mine. It
was, however, natural to believe that the General had no other object
than to render an account of the situation of affairs, and of something
interesting to the public. But I think none of you can suppose him
capable of projects hostile to liberty."

Each sentence of Lucien's address was interrupted by cries of "Bonaparte
has tarnished his glory! He is a disgrace to the Republic!"

   --[The next younger brother of Napoleon, President of the Council of
   the Five Hundred in 1799; Minister of the Interior, 1st December
   1799 to 1841; Ambassador in Spain, 1801 to December 1801; left
   France in disgrace in 1804; retired to Papal States; Prisoner in
   Malta and England, 1810 to 1814; created by Pope in 1814 Prince de
   Canino and Duc de Musignano; married firstly, 1794, Christine Boyer,
   who died 1800; married secondly, 1802 or 118, a Madame Jonberthon.
   Of his part in the 18th Brumaire Napoleon said to him in 1807,
   "I well know that you were useful to me en the 18th Brumaire, but it
   is not so cleat to me that you saved me then" (Iung's Lucien, tome
   iii. p.89).]--

made fresh efforts to be heard, and wished to be allowed to address the
assembly as a member of the Council, and for that purpose resigned the
Presidentship to Chasal. He begged that the General might be introduced
again and heard with calmness. But this preposition was furiously
opposed. Exclamations of "Outlaw Bonaparte! outlaw him!" rang through
the assembly, and were the only reply given to the President. Lucien,
who had reassumed the President's chair, left it a second time, that he
might not be constrained to put the question of outlawry demanded against
his brother. Braving the displeasure of the assembly, he mounted the
tribune, resigned the Presidentship, renounced his seat as a deputy, and
threw aside his robes.

Just as Lucien left the Council I entered. Bonaparte, who was well
informed of all that was passing,

   --[Lucien distinctly states that he himself, acting within his right
   as President, had demanded an escort of the grenadiers of the
   Councils as soon as he saw his withdrawal might be opposed.
   Then the first entry of the soldiers with Napoleon would be illegal.
   The second, to withdraw Lucien, was nominally legal (see Iung's
   Lucien, tome i, pp, 318-322)]--

had sent in soldiers to the assistance of his brother; they carried him
off from the midst of the Council, and Bonaparte thought it a matter of
no little importance to have with him the President of an assembly which
he treated as rebellious. Lucien was reinstalled in office; but he was
now to discharge his duties, not in the President's chair, but on
horseback, and at the head of a party of troops ready to undertake
anything. Roused by the danger to which both his brother and himself
were exposed he delivered on horseback the following words, which can
never be too often remembered, as showing what a man then dared to say,
who never was anything except from the reflection of his brother's

   CITIZENS! SOLDIERS!--The President of the Council of the Five
   Hundred declares to you that the majority of that Council is at this
   moment held in terror by a few representatives of the people, who
   are armed with stilettoes, and who surround the tribune, threatening
   their colleagues with death, and maintaining most atrocious

   I declare to you that these brigands, who are doubtless in the pay
   of England, have risen in rebellion against the Council of the
   Ancients, and have dared to talk of outlawing the General, who is
   charged with the execution of its decree, as if the word "outlaw"
   was still to be regarded as the death-warrant of persons most
   beloved by their country.

   I declare to you that these madmen have outlawed themselves by their
   attempts upon the liberty of the Council. In the name of that
   people, which for so many years have been the sport of terrorism,
   I consign to you the charge of rescuing the majority of their
   representatives; so that, delivered from stilettoes by bayonets,
   they may deliberate on the fate of the Republic.

   General, and you, soldiers, and you, citizens, you will not
   acknowledge, as legislators of France, any but those who rally round
   me. As for those who remain in the orangery, let force expel
   them. They are not the representatives of the people, but the
   representatives of the poniard. Let that be their title, and let it
   follow them everywhere; and whenever they dare show themselves to
   the people, let every finger point at them, and every tongue
   designate them by the well-merited title of representatives of the

   Vive la Republique!

Notwithstanding the cries of "Vive Bonaparte!" which followed this
harangue, the troops still hesitated. It was evident that they were not
fully prepared to turn their swords against the national representatives.
Lucien then drew his sword, exclaiming, "I swear that I will stab my own
brother to the heart if he ever attempt anything against the liberty of
Frenchmen." This dramatic action was perfectly successful; hesitation
vanished; and at a signal given by Bonaparte, Murat, at the head of his
grenadiers, rushed into the hall, and drove out the representatives.
Everyone yielded to the reasoning of bayonets, and thus terminated the
employment of the armed force on that memorable day.

At ten o'clock at night the palace of St. Cloud, where so many tumultuous
scenes had occurred, was perfectly tranquil. All the deputies were still
there, pacing the hall, the corridors, and the courts. Most of them had
an air of consternation; others affected to have foreseen the event, and
to appear satisfied with it; but all wished to return to Paris, which
they could not do until a new order revoked the order for the removal of
the Councils to St. Cloud.

At eleven o'clock Bonaparte, who had eaten nothing all day, but who was
almost insensible to physical wants in moments of great agitation, said
to me, "We must go and write, Bourrienne; I intend this very night to
address a proclamation to the inhabitants of Paris. To-morrow morning I
shall be all the conversation of the capital." He then dictated to me
the following proclamation, which proves, no less than some of his
reports from Egypt, how much Bonaparte excelled in the art of twisting
the truth to own advantage:

               TO THE PEOPLE.

                    19th Brumaire, 11 o'clock, p.m.

   Frenchmen!--On my return to France I found division reigning amongst
   all the authorities. They agreed only on this single point, that
   the Constitution was half destroyed, and was unable to protect

   Each party in turn came to me, confided to me their designs,
   imparted their secrets, and requested my support. I refused to be
   the man of a party.

   The Council of the Ancients appealed to me. I answered their
   appeal. A plan of general restoration had been concerted by men
   whom the nation has been accustomed to regard as the defenders of,
   liberty, equality, and property. This plan required calm and free
   deliberation, exempt from all influence and all fear. The Ancients,
   therefore, resolved upon the removal of the legislative bodies to
   St. Cloud. They placed at my disposal the force necessary to secure
   their independence. I was bound, in duty to my fellow-citizens, to
   the soldiers perishing in our armies, and to the national glory,
   acquired at the cost of so much blood, to accept the command.

   The Councils assembled at St. Cloud. Republican troops guaranteed
   their safety from without, but assassins created terror within.
   Many members of the Council of the Five Hundred, armed with
   stilettoes and pistols, spread menaces of death around them.

   The plans which ought to have been developed were withheld. The
   majority of the Council was rendered inefficient; the boldest
   orators were disconcerted, and the inutility of submitting any
   salutary proposition was quite evident.

   I proceeded, filled with indignation and grief, to the Council of
   the Ancients. I besought them to carry their noble designs into
   execution. I directed their attention to the evils of the nation,
   which were their motives for conceiving those designs. They
   concurred in giving me new proofs of their uniform goodwill, I
   presented myself before the Council of the Five Hundred, alone,
   unarmed, my head uncovered, just as the Ancients had received and
   applauded me. My object was to restore to the majority the
   expression of its will, and to secure to it its power.

   The stilettoes which had menaced the deputies were instantly raised
   against their deliverer. Twenty assassins rushed upon me and aimed
   at my breast. The grenadiers of the legislative body, whom I had
   left at the door of the hall, ran forward, and placed themselves
   between me and the assassins. One of these brave grenadiers (Thome)
   had his clothes pierced by a stiletto. They bore me off.

     --[Thome merely had a small part of his coat torn by a deputy,
     who took him by the collar. This constituted the whole of the
     attempted assassinations of the 19th Brumaire.--Bourrienne]--

   At the same moment cries of "Outlaw him!" were raised against the
   defender of the law. It was the horrid cry of assassins against the
   power destined to repress them.

   They crowded round the President, uttering threats. With arms in
   their hands they commanded him to declare "the outlawry." I was
   informed of this. I ordered him to be rescued from their fury, and
   six grenadiers of the legislative body brought him out. Immediately
   afterwards some grenadiers of the legislative body charged into the
   hall and cleared it.

   The factions, intimidated, dispersed and fled. The majority, freed
   from their assaults, returned freely and peaceably into the hall;
   listened to the propositions made for the public safety,
   deliberated, and drew up the salutary resolution which will become
   the new and provisional law of the Republic.

   Frenchmen, you doubtless recognise in this conduct the zeal of a
   soldier of liberty, of a citizen devoted to the Republic.
   Conservative, tutelary, and liberal ideas resumed their authority
   upon the dispersion of the factions, who domineered in the Councils,
   and who, in rendering themselves the most odious of men, did not
   cease to be the most contemptible.
                  (Signed) BONAPARTE, General, etc.

The day had been passed in destroying a Government; it was necessary to
devote the night to framing a new one. Talleyrand, Raederer, and Sieyes
were at St. Cloud. The Council of the Ancients assembled, and Lucien set
himself about finding some members of the Five Hundred on whom he could
reckon. He succeeded in getting together only thirty; who, with their
President, represented the numerous assembly of which they formed part.
This ghost of representation was essential, for Bonaparte,
notwithstanding his violation of all law on the preceding day, wished to
make it appear that he was acting legally. The Council of the Ancients
had, however, already decided that a provisional executive commission
should be appointed, composed of three members, and was about to name the
members of the commission--a measure which should have originated with
the Five Hundred--when Lucien came to acquaint Bonaparte that his chamber
'introuvable' was assembled.

This chamber, which called itself the Council of the Five Hundred, though
that Council was now nothing but a Council of Thirty, hastily passed a
decree, the first article of which was as follows:

   The Directory exists no longer; and the individuals hereafter named
   are no longer members of the national representation, on account of
   the excesses and illegal acts which they have constantly committed,
   and more particularly the greatest part of them, in the sitting of
   this morning.

Then follow the names of sixty-one members expelled.

By other articles of the same decree the Council instituted a provisional
commission, similar to that which the Ancients had proposed to appoint,
resolved that the said commission should consist of three members, who
should assume the title of Consuls; and nominated as Consuls Sieyes,
Roger Ducos, and Bonaparte. The other provisions of the nocturnal decree
of St. Cloud had for their object merely the carrying into effect those
already described. This nocturnal sitting was very calm, and indeed it
would have been strange had it been otherwise, for no opposition could be
feared from the members of the Five Hundred, who were prepared to concur
with Lucien. All knew beforehand what they would have to do. Everything
was concluded by three o'clock in the morning; and the palace of St.
Cloud, which had been so agitated since the previous evening, resumed in
the morning its wonted stillness, and presented the appearance of a vast

All the hurrying about, the brief notes which I had to write to many
friends, and the conversations in which I was compelled to take part,
prevented me from dining before one o'clock in the morning. It was not
till then that Bonaparte, having gone to take the oath as Consul before
the Five Hundred, afforded me an opportunity of taking some refreshment
with Admires Bruix and some other officers.

At three o'clock in the morning I accompanied Bonaparte, in his carriage
to Paris. He was extremely fatigued after so many trials and fatigues.
A new future was opened before him. He was completely absorbed in
thought, and did not utter a single word during the journey. But when he
arrived at his house in the Rue de la Victoire, he had no sooner entered
his chamber and wished good morning to Josephine, who was in bed, and in
a state of the greatest anxiety on account of his absence, than he said
before her, "Bourrienne, I said many ridiculous things?"--"Not so very
bad, General"--"I like better to speak to soldiers than to lawyers.
Those fellows disconcerted me. I have not been used to public
assemblies; but that will come in time."

We then began, all three, to converse. Madame Bonaparte became calm, and
Bonaparte resumed his wonted confidence. The events of the day naturally
formed the subject of our conversation. Josephine, who was much attached
to the Gohier family, mentioned the name of that Director in a tone of
kindness. "What would you have, my dear?" said Bonaparte to her. "It
is not my fault. He is a respectable man, but a simpleton. He does not
understand me!--I ought, perhaps, to have him transported. He wrote
against me to the Council of the Ancients; but I have his letter, and
they know nothing about it. Poor man! he expected me to dinner
yesterday. And this man thinks himself a statesman!--Speak no more of

During our discourse the name of Bernadotte was also mentioned.
"Have you seen him, Bourrienne?" said Bonaparte to me.--"No,
General"--"Neither have I. I have not heard him spoken of. Would you
imagine it? I had intelligence to-day of many intrigues in which he is
concerned. Would you believe it? he wished nothing less than to be
appointed my colleague in authority. He talked of mounting his horse
and marching with the troops that might be placed under his command. He
wished, he said, to maintain the Constitution: nay, more; I am assured
that he had the audacity to add that, if it were necessary to outlaw me,
the Government might come to him and he would find soldiers capable of
carrying the decree into execution."--"All this, General, should give
you an idea how inflexible his principles are."--"Yes, I am well aware
of it; there is something in that: he is honest. But for his obstinacy,
my brothers would have brought him over. They are related to him. His
wife, who is Joseph's sister-in-law, has ascendency over him. As for
me, have I not, I ask you, made sufficient advances to him? You have
witnessed them. Moreau, who has a higher military reputation than he,
came over to me at once. However, I repent of having cajoled
Bernadotte. I am thinking of separating him from all his coteries
without any one being able to find fault with the proceeding. I cannot
revenge myself in any other manner. Joseph likes him. I should have
everybody against me. These family considerations are follies!
Goodnight, Bourrienne.--By the way, we will sleep in the Luxembourg

I then left the General, whom, henceforth, I will call the First Consul,
after having remained with him constantly during nearly twenty-four
hours, with the exception of the time when he was at the Council of the
Five Hundred. I retired to my lodging, in the Rue Martel, at five
o'clock in the morning.

It is certain that if Gohier had come to breakfast on the morning of the
18th Brumaire, according to Madame Bonaparte's invitation, he would have
been one of the members of the Government. But Gohier acted the part of
the stern republican. He placed himself, according to the common phrase
of the time, astride of the Constitution of the year III.; and as his
steed made a sad stumble, he fell with it.

It was a singular circumstance which prevented the two Directors Gohier
and Moulins from defending their beloved Constitution. It was from their
respect for the Constitution that they allowed it to perish, because they
would have been obliged to violate the article which did not allow less
than three Directors to deliberate together. Thus a king of Castile was
burned to death, because there did not happen to be in his apartment men
of such rank as etiquette would permit to touch the person of the



   General approbation of the 18th Brumaire--Distress of the treasury--
   M. Collot's generosity--Bonaparte's ingratitude--Gohier set at
   Liberty--Constitution of the year VIII.--The Senate, Tribunate, and
   Council of State--Notes required on the character of candidates--
   Bonaparte's love of integrity and talent--Influence of habit over
   him--His hatred of the Tribunate--Provisional concessions--The first
   Consular Ministry--Mediocrity of La Place--Proscription lists--
   Cambaceres report--M. Moreau de Worms--Character of Sieyes--
   Bonaparte at the Luxembourg--Distribution of the day and visits--
   Lebrun's opposition--Bonaparte's singing--His boyish tricks--
   Assumption of the titles "Madame" and "Monseigneur"--The men of the
   Revolution and the partisans of the Bourbons--Bonaparte's fears--
   Confidential notes on candidates for office and the assemblies.

It cannot be denied that France hailed, almost with unanimous voice,
Bonaparte's accession to the Consulship as a blessing of Providence.
I do not speak now of the ulterior consequences of that event; I speak
only of the fact itself, and its first results, such as the repeal of the
law of hostages, and the compulsory loan of a hundred millions.
Doubtless the legality of the acts of the 18th Brumaire may be disputed;
but who will venture to say that the immediate result of that day ought
not to be regarded as a great blessing to France? Whoever denies this
can have no idea of the wretched state of every branch of the
administration at that deplorable epoch. A few persons blamed the 18th
Brumaire; but no one regretted the Directory, with the exception,
perhaps, of the five Directors themselves. But we will say no more of
the Directorial Government. What an administration! In what a state
were the finances of France! Would it be believed? on the second day of
the Consulate, when Bonaparte wished to send a courier to General
Championet, commander-in-chief of the army of Italy, the treasury had not
1200 francs disposable to give to the courier!

It may be supposed that in the first moments of a new Government money
would be wanted. M. Collot, who had served under Bonaparte in Italy, and
whose conduct and administration deserved nothing but praise, was one of
the first who came to the Consul's assistance. In this instance
M. Collot was as zealous as disinterested. He gave the Consul 500,000
francs in gold, for which service he was badly rewarded. Bonaparte
afterwards behaved to M. Collot as though he was anxious to punish him
for being rich. This sum, which at the time made so fine an appearance
in the Consular treasury, was not repaid for a long time after, and then
without interest. This was not, indeed, the only instance in which
M. Collot had cause to complain of Bonaparte, who was never inclined to
acknowledge his important services, nor even to render justice to his

On the morning of the 20th Brumaire Bonaparte sent his brother Louis to
inform the Director Gohier that he was free. This haste in relieving
Gohier was not without a reason, for Bonaparte was anxious to install
himself in the Luxembourg, and we went there that same evening.

Everything was to be created. Bonaparte had with him almost the whole of
the army, and on the soldiers he could rely. But the military force was
no longer sufficient for him. Wishing to possess a great civil power
established by legal forms, he immediately set about the composition of a
Senate and Tribunate; a Council of State and a new legislative body, and,
finally, a new Constitution.

   --[The Constitution of the year VIII. was presented an the 18th of
   December 1799 (22d Frimaire, year VIII.), and accepted by the people
   on the 7th of February 1800 (18th Pluviose, year VIII.). It
   established a Consular Government, composed of Bonaparte, First
   Consul, appointed for ten years; Cambaceres, Second Consol, also for
   ten Years; and Lebrun, Third Consul appointed for five years. It
   established a conservative Senate, a legislative body of 800
   members, and a Tribunate composed of 100 members. The establishment
   of the Council of State took place on the 29th of December 1799.
   The installation of the new legislative body and the Tribunate was
   fixed for the 1st of January 1800.--Bourrienne. Lanfrey (tome i.
   p. 329) sees this Constitution foreshadowed in that proposed by
   Napoleon in 1797 for the Cisalpine Republic.]--

As Bonaparte had not time to make himself acquainted with the persons by
whom he was about to be surrounded; he requested from the most
distinguished men of the period, well acquainted with France and the
Revolution, notes respecting the individuals worthy and capable of
entering the Senate, the Tribunate, and the Council of State. From the
manner in which all these notes were drawn up it was evident that the
writers of them studied to make their recommendation correspond with what
they conceived to be Bonaparte's views, and that they imagined he
participated in the opinions which were at that time popular.
Accordingly they stated, as grounds for preferring particular candidates,
their patriotism, their republicanism, and their having had seats in
preceding assemblies.

Of all qualities, that which most influenced the choice of the First
Consul was inflexible integrity; and it is but just to say that in this
particular he was rarely deceived. He sought earnestly for talent; and
although he did not like the men of the Revolution, he was convinced that
he could not do without them. He had conceived an extreme aversion for
mediocrity, and generally rejected a man of that character when
recommended to him; but if he had known such a man long, he yielded to
the influence of habit, dreading nothing so much as change, or, as he was
accustomed to say himself, new faces.'

   --[Napoleon loved only men with strong passions and great weakness;
   he judged the most opposite qualities in men by these defects
   (Metternich, tome iii. p.589)]--

Bonaparte then proceeded to organise a complaisant Senate, a mute
legislative body, and a Tribunals which was to have the semblance of
being independent, by the aid of some fine speeches and high-sounding
phrases. He easily appointed the Senators, but it was different with the
Tribunats. He hesitated long before he fixed upon the candidates for
that body, which inspired him with an anticipatory fear. However, on
arriving at power he dared not oppose himself to the exigencies of the
moment, and he consented for a time to delude the ambitious dupes who
kept up a buzz of fine sentiments of liberty around him. He saw that
circumstances were not yet favourable for refusing a share in the
Constitution to this third portion of power, destined apparently to
advocate the interests of the people before the legislative body. But in
yielding to necessity, the mere idea of the Tribunate filled him with the
utmost uneasiness; and, in a word, Bonaparte could not endure the public
discussions on his projects.'

   --[The Tribunate under this Constitution of the year VIII. was the
   only body allowed to debate in public on proposed laws, the
   legislative body simply hearing in silence the orators sent by the
   Council of State and by the Tribunals to state reasons for or
   against propositions, and then voting in silence. Its orators were
   constantly giving umbrage to Napoleon. It was at first Purified,
   early in 1802, by the Senate naming the members to go out in
   rotation then reduced to from 100 to 50 members later in 1802, and
   suppressed in 1807; its disappearance being regarded by Napoleon as
   his last break with the Revolution.]--

Bonaparte composed the first Consular Ministry as follows: Berthier was
Minister of War; Gaudin, formerly employed in the administration of the
Post Office, was appointed Minister of Finance; Cambaceres remained
Minister of Justice; Forfait was Minister of Marine; La Place of the
Interior; Fouche of Police; and Reinhard of Foreign Affairs.

Reinhard and La Place were soon replaced, the former by the able M.
Talleyrand, the latter by Lucien Bonaparte.

   --[When I quitted the service of the First Consul Talleyrand was
   still at the head of the Foreign Department. I have frequently been
   present at this great statesman's conferences with Napoleon, and I
   can declare that I never saw him flatter his dreams of ambition;
   but, on the contrary, he always endeavoured to make him sensible of
   his true interests.--Bourrienne.]--

It maybe said that Lucien merely passed through the Ministry on his way
to a lucrative embassy in Spain. As to La Place, Bonaparte always
entertained a high opinion of his talents. His appointment to the
Ministry of the Interior was a compliment paid to science; but it was not
long before the First Consul repented of his choice. La Place, so
happily calculated for science, displayed the most inconceivable
mediocrity in administration. He was incompetent to the most trifling
matters; as if his mind, formed to embrace the system of the world, and
to interpret the laws of Newton and Kepler, could not descend to the
level of subjects of detail, or apply itself to the duties of the
department with which he was entrusted for a short, but yet, with regard
to him, too long a time.

On the 26th Brumaire (17th November 1799) the Consuls issued a decree,
in which they stated that, conformably with Article III. of the law of
the 19th of the same month, which especially charged them with the
reestablishment of public tranquillity, they decreed that thirty-eight
individuals, who were named, should quit the continental territory of the
Republic, and for that purpose should proceed to Rochefort, to be
afterwards conducted to, and detained in, the department of French
Guiana. They likewise decreed that twenty-three other individuals, who
were named, should proceed to the commune of Rochelle, in the department
of the lower Charente, in order to be afterwards filed and detained in
such part of that department as should be pointed out by the Minister of
General Police. I was fortunate enough to keep my friend M. Moreau de
Worms, deputy from the Youne, out of the fiat of exiles. This produced a
mischievous effect. It bore a character of wanton severity quite
inconsistent with the assurances of mildness and moderation given at St.
Cloud on the 19th Brumaire. Cambaceres afterwards made a report, in
which he represented that it was unnecessary for the maintenance of
tranquillity to subject the proscribed to banishment, considering it
sufficient to place them under the supervision of the superior police.
Upon receiving the report the Consuls issued a decree, in which they
directed all the individuals included in the proscription to retire
respectively into the different communes which should be fixed upon by
the Minister of Justice, and to remain there until further orders.

At the period of the issuing of these decrees Sieyes was still one of the
Consuls; conjointly with Bonaparte and Roger Ducos; and although
Bonaparte had, from the first moment, possessed the whole power of the
government, a sort of apparent equality was, nevertheless, observed
amongst them. It was not until the 25th of December that Bonaparte
assumed the title of First Consul, Cambaceres and Lebrun being then
joined in the office with him. He had fixed his eyes on them previously
to the 18th Brumaire, and he had no cause to reproach them with giving
him much embarrassment in his rapid progress towards the imperial throne.

I have stated that I was so fortunate as to rescue M. Moreau de Worms
from the list of proscription. Some days after Sieyes entered
Bonaparte's cabinet and said to him, "Well, this M. Moreau de Worms, whom
M. Bourrienne induced you to save from banishment, is acting very finely!
I told you how it would be! I have received from Sens, his native place,
a letter which informs me that Moreau is in that town, where he has
assembled the people in the market-place, and indulged in the most
violent declamations against the 18th Brumaire,"--"Can you, rely upon
your agent" asked Bonaparte.--"Perfectly. I can answer for the truth of
his communication." Bonaparte showed me the bulletin of Sieyes' agent,
and reproached me bitterly. "What would you say, General," I observed,
"if I should present this same M. Moreau de Worms, who is declaiming at
Sens against the 18th Brumaire, to you within an hour?"--"I defy you to
do it."--"I have made myself responsible for him, and I know what I am
about. He is violent in his politics; but he is a man of honour,
incapable of failing in his word."--"Well, we shall see. Go and find
him." I was very sure of doing what I had promised, for within an hour
before I had seen M. Moreau de Worms. He had been concealed since the
13th Brumaire, and had not quitted Paris. Nothing was easier than to
find him, and in three-quarters of an hour he was at the Luxembourg. I
presented him to Bonaparte, who conversed with him a long time concerning
the 18th Brumaire. When M. Moreau departed Bonaparte said to me, "You
are right. That fool Sieyes is as inventive as a Cassandra. This proves
that one should not be too ready to believe the reports of the wretches
whom we are obliged to employ in the police." Afterwards he added,
"Bourrienne, Moreau is a nice fellow: I am satisfied with him; I will do
something for him." It was not long before M. Moreau experienced the
effect of the Consul's good opinion. Some days after, whilst framing the
council of prizes, he, at my mere suggestion, appointed M. Moreau one of
the members, with a salary of 10,000 francs. On what extraordinary
circumstances the fortunes of men frequently depend! As to Sieyes, in
the intercourse, not very frequent certainly, which I had with him, he
appeared to be far beneath the reputation which he then--enjoyed.'

   --[M. de Talleyrand, who is so capable of estimating men, and whose
   admirable sayings well deserve to occupy a place in history, had
   long entertained a similar opinion of Sieyes. One day, when he was
   conversing with the Second Consul concerning Sieyes, Cambaceres said
   to him. "Sieyes, however, is a very profound man."--"Profound?"
   said Talleyrand. "Yes, he is, a cavity, a perfect cavity, as you
   would say."--Bourrienne.]--

He reposed a blind confidence in a multitude of agents, whom he sent into
all parts of France. When it happened, on other occasions, that I proved
to him, by evidence as sufficient as that in the case of M. Moreau, the
falseness of the reports he had received, he replied, with a confidence
truly ridiculous, "I can rely on my men." Sieyes had written in his
countenance, "Give me money!" I recollect that I one day alluded to this
expression in the anxious face of Sieyes to the First Consul. "You are
right," observed he to me, smiling; "when money is in question, Sieyes is
quite a matter-of-fact man. He sends his ideology to the right about and
thus becomes easily manageable. He readily abandons his constitutional
dreams for a good round sum, and that is very convenient."

   --[Everybody knows, in fact, that Sieyes refused to resign his
   consular dignities unless he received in exchange a beautiful farm
   situated in the park of Versailles, and worth about 15,000 livres a
   year. The good abbe consoled himself for no longer forming a third
   of the republican sovereignty by making himself at home in the
   ancient domain of the kings of France.--Bourrienne.]--

Bonaparte occupied, at the Little Luxembourg, the apartments on the
ground floor which lie to the right on entering from the Rue de
Vaugirard. His cabinet was close to a private staircase, which conducted
me to the first floor, where Josephine dwelt. My apartment was above.

After breakfast, which was served at ten o'clock, Bonaparte would
converse for a few moments with his usual guests, that is to say, his
'aides de camp', the persons he invited, and myself, who never left him.
He was also visited very often by Deferment, Regnault (of the town of St.
Jean d'Angely), Boulay (de la Meurthe), Monge, and Berber, who were, with
his brothers, Joseph and Lucien, those whom he most delighted to see; he
conversed familiarly with them. Cambaceres generally came at mid-day,
and stayed some time with him, often a whole hour. Lebrun visited but
seldom. Notwithstanding his elevation, his character remained unaltered;
and Bonaparte considered him too moderate, because he always opposed his
ambitious views and his plans to usurp power. When Bonaparte left the
breakfast-table it was seldom that he did not add, after bidding
Josephine and her daughter Hortense good-day, "Come, Bourrienne, come,
let us to work."

After the morning audiences I stayed with Bonaparte all the day, either
reading to him, or writing to his dictation. Three or four times in the
week he would go to the Council. On his way to the hall of deliberation
he was obliged to cross the courtyard of the Little Luxembourg and ascend
the grand staircase. This always vexed him, and the more so as the
weather was very bad at the time. This annoyance continued until the
25th of December, and it was with much satisfaction that he saw himself
quit of it. After leaving the Council he used to enter his cabinet
singing, and God knows how wretchedly he sung! He examined whatever work
he had ordered to be done, signed documents, stretched himself in his
arm-chair, and read the letters of the preceding day and the publications
of the morning. When there was no Council he remained in his cabinet,
conversed with me, always sang, and cut, according to custom, the arm of
his chair, giving himself sometimes quite the air of a great boy. Then,
all at once starting up, he would describe a plan for the erection of a
monument, or dictate some of those extraordinary productions which
astonished and dismayed the world. He often became again the same man,
who, under the walls of St. Jean d'Acre, had dreamed of an empire worthy
his ambition.

At five o'clock dinner was served up. When that was over the First
Consul went upstairs to Josephine's apartments, where he commonly
received the visits of the Ministers. He was always pleased to see among
the number the Minister of Foreign Affairs, especially since the
portfolio of that department had been entrusted to the hands of M. de
Talleyrand. At midnight, and often sooner, he gave the signal for
retiring by saying in a hasty manner, "Allons nous coucher."

It was at the Luxembourg, in the salons of which the adorable Josephine
so well performed the honours, that the word 'Madame' came again into
use. This first return towards the old French politeness was startling
to some susceptible Republicans; but things were soon carried farther at
the Tuileries by the introduction of 'Votre Altesse' on occasions of
state ceremony, and Monseigneur in the family circle.

If, on the one hand, Bonaparte did not like the men of the Revolution, on
the other he dreaded still more the partisans of the Bourbons. On the
mere mention of the name of those princes he experienced a kind of inward
alarm; and he often spoke of the necessity of raising a wall of brass
between France and them. To this feeling, no doubt, must be attributed
certain nominations, and the spirit of some recommendations contained in
the notes with which he was supplied on the characters of candidates, and
which for ready reference were arranged alphabetically. Some of the
notes just mentioned were in the handwriting of Regnault de St. Jean
d'Angely, and some in Lucien Bonaparte's.

   --[Among them was the following, under the title of "General
   Observations": "In choosing among the men who were members of the
   Constituent Assembly it is necessary to be on guard against the
   Orleans' party, which is not altogether a chimera, and may one day
   or other prove dangerous.

   "There is no doubt that the partisans of that family are intriguing
   secretly; and among many other proofs of this fact the following is
   a striking one: the journal called the 'Aristargue', which
   undisguisedly supports royalism, is conducted by a man of the name
   of Voidel, one of the hottest patriots of the Revolution. He was
   for several months president of the committee of inquiry which
   caused the Marquis de Favras to be arrested and hanged, and gave so
   much uneasiness to the Court. There was no one in the Constituent
   Assembly more hateful to the Court than Voidel, so much on account
   of his violence as for his connection with the Duke of Orleans,
   whose advocate and counsel he was. When the Duke of Orleans was
   arrested, Voidel, braving the fury of the revolutionary tribunals,
   had the courage to defend him, and placarded all the walls of Paris
   with an apology for the Duke and his two sons. This man, writing
   now in favour of royalism, can have no other object than to advance
   a member of the Orleans family to the throne."--Bourrienne.]--

At the commencement of the First Consul's administration, though he
always consulted the notes he had collected, he yet received with
attention the recommendations of persons with whom he was well
acquainted; but it was not safe for them to recommend a rogue or a fool.
The men whom he most disliked were those whom he called babblers, who are
continually prating of everything and on everything. He often
said,--"I want more head and less tongue." What he thought of the
regicides will be seen farther on, but at first the more a man had given
a gage to the Revolution, the more he considered him as offering a
guarantee against the return of the former order of things. Besides,
Bonaparte was not the man to attend to any consideration when once his
policy was concerned.

As I have said a few pages back, on taking the government into his own
hands Bonaparte knew so little of the Revolution and of the men engaged
in civil employments that it was indispensably necessary for him to
collect information from every quarter respecting men and things. But
when the conflicting passions of the moment became more calm and the
spirit of party more prudent, and when order had been, by his severe
investigations, introduced where hitherto unbridled confusion had
reigned, he became gradually more scrupulous in granting places, whether
arising from newly-created offices, or from those changes which the
different departments often experienced. He then said to me,
"Bourrienne, I give up your department to you. Name whom you please for
the appointments; but remember you must be responsible to me."

What a list would have been which should contain the names of all the
prefects, sub-prefects, receivers-general, and other civil officers to
whom I gave places! I have kept no memoranda of their names; and indeed,
what advantage would there have been in doing so? It was impossible for
me to have a personal knowledge of all the fortunate candidates; but I
relied on recommendations in which I had confidence.

I have little to complain of in those I obliged; though it is true that,
since my separation from Bonaparte, I have seen many of them take the
opposite side of the street in which I was walking, and by that delicate
attention save me the trouble of raising my hat.



   Difficulties of a new Government--State of Europe--Bonaparte's wish
   for peace--M. de Talleyrand Minister for Foreign Affairs--
   Negotiations with England and Austria--Their failure--Bonaparte's
   views on the East--His sacrifices to policy--General Bonaparte
   denounced to the First Consul--Kleber's letter to the Directory--
   Accounts of the Egyptian expedition published in the Moniteur--
   Proclamation to the army of the East--Favour and disgrace of certain
   individuals accounted for.

When a new Government rises on the ruins of one that has been overthrown,
its best chance of conciliating the favour of the nation, if that nation
be at war, is to hold out the prospect of peace; for peace is always dear
to a people. Bonaparte was well aware of this; and if in his heart he
wished otherwise, he knew how important it was to seem to desire peace.
Accordingly, immediately after his installation at the Luxembourg he
notified to all the foreign powers his accession to the Consulate, and,
for the same purpose, addressed letters to all the diplomatic agents of
the French Government abroad.

The day after he got rid of his first two colleagues, Sieyes and Roger
Ducos, he prepared to open negotiations with the Cabinet of London. At
that time we were at war with almost the whole of Europe. We had also
lost Italy. The Emperor of Germany was ruled by his Ministers, who in
their turn were governed by England. It was no easy matter to manage
equally the organization of the Consular Government and the no less
important affairs abroad; and it was very important to the interests
of the First Consul to intimate to foreign powers, while at the same time
he assured himself against the return of the Bourbons, that the system
which he proposed to adopt was a system of order and regeneration, unlike
either the demagogic violence of the Convention or the imbecile artifice
of the Directory. In fulfilment of this object Bonaparte directed M. de
Talleyrand, the new Minister for Foreign Affairs, to make the first
friendly overtures to the English Cabinet: A correspondence ensued, which
was published at the time, and which showed at once the conciliatory
policy of Bonaparte and the arrogant policy of England.

The exchange of notes which took place was attended by no immediate
result. However, the First Consul had partly attained his object: if the
British Government would not enter into negotiations for peace, there was
at least reason to presume that subsequent overtures of the Consular
Government might be listened to. The correspondence had at all events
afforded Bonaparte the opportunity of declaring his principles, and above
all, it had enabled him to ascertain that the return of the Bourbons to
France (mentioned in the official reply of Lord Grenville) would not be a
sine qua non condition for the restoration of peace between the two

Since M. de Talleyrand had been Minister for Foreign Affairs the business
of that department had proceeded with great activity. It was an
important advantage to Bonaparte to find a nobleman of the old regime
among the republicans. The choice of M. de Talleyrand was in some sort
an act of courtesy to the foreign Courts. It was a delicate attention to
the diplomacy of Europe to introduce to its members, for the purpose of
treating with them, a man whose rank was at least equal to their own, and
who was universally distinguished for a polished elegance of manner
combined with solid good qualities and real talents.

It was not only with England that Bonaparte and his Minister endeavoured
to open negotiations; the Consular Cabinet also offered peace to the
House of Austria; but not at the same time. The object of this offer was
to sow discord between the two powers. Speaking to me one day of his
earnest wish to obtain peace Bonaparte said, "You see, Bourrienne, I have
two great enemies to cope with. I will conclude peace with the one I
find most easy to deal with. That will enable me immediately to assail
the other. I frankly confess that I should like best to be at peace with
England. Nothing would then be more easy than to crush Austria. She has
no money except what she gets through England."

For a long time all negotiations proved abortive. None of the European
powers would acknowledge the new Government, of which Bonaparte was the
head; and the battle of Marengo was required before the peace of Amiens
could be obtained.

Though the affairs of the new Government afforded abundant occupation to
Bonaparte, he yet found leisure to direct attention to the East--to that
land of despotism whence, judging from his subsequent conduct, it might
be presumed he derived his first principles of government. On becoming
the head of the State he wished to turn Egypt, which he had conquered as
a general, to the advantage of his policy as Consul. If Bonaparte
triumphed over a feeling of dislike in consigning the command of the army
to Kleber, it was because he knew Kleber to be more capable than any
other of executing the plans he had formed; and Bonaparte was not the man
to sacrifice the interests of policy to personal resentment. It is
certainly true that he then put into practice that charming phrase of
Moliere's--"I pardon you, but you shall pay me for this!"

With respect to all whom he had left in Egypt Bonaparte stood in a very
singular situation. On becoming Chief of the Government he was not only
the depositary of all communications made to the Directory; but letters
sent to one address were delivered to another, and the First Consul
received the complaints made against the General who had so abruptly
quitted Egypt. In almost all the letters that were delivered to us he
was the object of serious accusation. According to some he had not
avowed his departure until the very day of his embarkation; and he had
deceived everybody by means of false and dissembling proclamations.
Others canvassed his conduct while in Egypt: the army which had triumphed
under his command he had abandoned when reduced to two-thirds of its
original force and a prey to all the horrors of sickness and want: It
must be confessed that these complaints and accusations were but too well
founded, and one can never cease wondering at the chain of fortunate
circumstances which so rapidly raised Bonaparte to the Consular seat.
In the natural order of things, and in fulfilment of the design which he
himself had formed, he should have disembarked at Toulon, where the
quarantine laws would no doubt have been observed; instead of which, the
fear of the English and the uncertainty of the pilots caused him to go to
Frejus, where the quarantine laws were violated by the very persons most
interested in respecting them. Let us suppose that Bonaparte had been
forced to perform quarantine at Toulon. What would have ensued? The
charges against him would have fallen into the hands of the Directory,
and he would probably have been suspended, and put upon his trial.

Among the letters which fell into Bonaparte's hands, by reason of the
abrupt change of government, was an official despatch (of the 4th
Vendemiaire, year VIII.) from General Kleber at Cairo to the Executive
Directory, in which that general spoke in very stringent terms of the
sudden departure of Bonaparte and of the state in which the army in Egypt
had been left. General Kleber further accused him of having evaded, by
his flight, the difficulties which he thus transferred to his successor's
shoulders, and also of leaving the army "without a sou in the chest,"
with pay in arrear, and very little supply of munitions or clothing.

The other letters from Egypt were not less accusatory than Kleber's; and
it cannot be doubted that charges of so precise a nature, brought by the
general who had now become commander-in-chief against his predecessor,
would have had great weight, especially backed as they were by similar
complaints from other quarters. A trial would have been inevitable; and
then, no 18th Brumaire, no Consulate, no Empire, no conquest of
Europe--but also, it may be added, no St. Helena. None of these, events
would have ensued had not the English squadron, when it appeared off
Corsica, obliged the Huiron to scud about at hazard, and to touch at the
first land she could reach.

The Egyptian expedition filled too important a place in the life of
Bonaparte for him to neglect frequently reviving in the public mind the
recollection of his conquests in the East. It was not to be forgotten
that the head of the Republic was the first of her generals. While
Moreau received the command of the armies of the Rhine, while Massena, as
a reward for the victory of Zurich, was made Commander-in-Chief in Italy,
and while Brune was at the head of the army of Batavia, Bonaparte, whose
soul was in the camps, consoled himself for his temporary inactivity by a
retrospective glance on his past triumphs. He was unwilling that Fame
should for a moment cease to blazon his name. Accordingly, as soon as he
was established at the head of the Government, he caused accounts of his
Egyptian expedition to be from time to time published in the Moniteur.
He frequently expressed his satisfaction that the accusatory
correspondence, and, above all, Kleber's letter, had fallen into his own
hands.' Such was Bonaparte's perfect self-command that immediately after
perusing that letter he dictated to me the following proclamation,
addressed to the army of the East:

   SOLDIERS!--The Consuls of the French Republic frequently direct
   their attention to the army of the East.

   France acknowledges all the influence of your conquests on the
   restoration of her trade and the civilisation of the world.

   The eyes of all Europe are upon you, and in thought I am often with

   In whatever situation the chances of war may place you, prove
   yourselves still the soldiers of Rivoli and Aboukir--you will be

   Place in Kleber the boundless confidence which you reposed in me.
   He deserves it.

   Soldiers, think of the day when you will return victorious to the
   sacred territory of France. That will be a glorious day for the
   whole nation.

Nothing can more forcibly show the character of Bonaparte than the above
allusion to Kleber, after he had seen the way in which Kleber spoke of
him to the Directory. Could it ever have been imagined that the
correspondence of the army, to whom he addressed this proclamation,
teemed with accusations against him? Though the majority of these
accusations were strictly just, yet it is but fair to state that the
letters from Egypt contained some calumnies. In answer to the
well-founded portion of the charges Bonaparte said little; but he seemed
to feel deeply the falsehoods that were stated against him, one of which
was, that he had carried away millions from Egypt. I cannot conceive
what could have given rise to this false and impudent assertion. So far
from having touched the army chest, Bonaparte had not even received all
his own pay. Before he constituted himself the Government the
Government was his debtor.

Though he knew well all that was to be expected from the Egyptian
expedition, yet those who lauded that affair were regarded with a
favourable eye by Bonaparte. The correspondence which had fallen into
his hands was to him of the highest importance in enabling him to
ascertain the opinions which particular individuals entertained of him.

It was the source of favours and disgraces which those who were not in
the secret could not account for. It serves to explain why many men of
mediocrity were elevated to the highest dignities and honours, while
other men of real merit fell into disgrace or were utterly neglected.



   Great and common men--Portrait of Bonaparte--The varied expression
   of his countenance--His convulsive shrug--Presentiment of his
   corpulency--Partiality for bathing--His temperance--His alleged
   capability of dispensing with sleep--Good and bad news--Shaving, and
   reading the journals--Morning, business--Breakfast--Coffee and snuff
   --Bonaparte's idea of his own situation--His ill opinion of mankind
   --His dislike of a 'tete-a-tete'--His hatred of the Revolutionists
   --Ladies in white--Anecdotes--Bonaparte's tokens of kindness, and
   his droll compliments--His fits of ill humour--Sound of bells--
   Gardens of Malmaison--His opinion of medicine--His memory--
   His poetic insensibility--His want of gallantry--Cards and
   conversation--The dress-coat and black cravat--Bonaparte's payments
   --His religious ideas--His obstinacy.

In perusing the history of the distinguished characters of past ages, how
often do we regret that the historian should have portrayed the hero
rather than the man! We wish to know even the most trivial habits of
those whom great, talents and vast reputation have elevated above their
fellow-creatures. Is this the effect of mere curiosity, or rather is it
not an involuntary feeling of vanity which prompts us to console
ourselves for the superiority of great men by reflecting on their faults,
their weaknesses, their absurdities; in short, all the points of
resemblance between them and common men? For the satisfaction of those
who are curious in details of this sort, I will here endeavour to paint
Bonaparte, as I saw him, in person and in mind, to describe what were his
tastes and habits, and even his whims and caprices.

Bonaparte was now in the prime of life, and about thirty. The person of
Bonaparte has served as a model for the most skilful painters and
sculptors; many able French artists have successfully delineated his
features, and yet it may be said that no perfectly faithful portrait of
him exists. His finely-shaped head, his superb forehead, his pale
countenance, and his usual meditative look, have been transferred to the
canvas; but the versatility of his expression was beyond the reach of
imitation: All the various workings of his mind were instantaneously
depicted in his countenance; and his glance changed from mild to severe,
and from angry to good-humoured, almost with the rapidity of lightning.
It may truly be said that he had a particular look for every thought that
arose in his mind.

Bonaparte had beautiful hands, and he was very proud of them; while
conversing he would often look at them with an air of self-complacency.
He also fancied he had fine teeth, but his pretension to that advantage
was not so well founded as his vanity on the score of his hands.

When walking, either alone or in company with any one, in his apartments
or in his gardens, he had the habit of stooping a little, and crossing
his hands behind his back. He frequently gave an involuntary shrug of
his right shoulder, which was accompanied by a movement of his mouth from
left to right. This habit was always most remarkable when his mind was
absorbed in the consideration of any profound subject. It was often
while walking that he dictated to me his most important notes. He could
endure great fatigue, not only on horseback but on foot; he would
sometimes walk for five or six hours in succession without being aware of

When walking with any person whom he treated with familiarity he would
link his arm into that of his companion, and lean on it.

He used often to say to me, "You see, Bourrienne, how temperate, and how
thin I am; but, in spite of that, I cannot help thinking that at forty I
shall become a great eater, and get very fat. I foresee that my
constitution will undergo a change. I take a great deal of exercise; but
yet I feel assured that my presentiment will be fulfilled." This idea
gave him great uneasiness, and as I observed nothing which seemed to
warrant his apprehensions, I omitted no opportunity of assuring him that
they were groundless. But he would not listen to me, and all the time I
was about him, he was haunted by this presentiment, which, in the end,
was but too well verified.

His partiality for the bath he mistook for a necessity. He would usually
remain in the bath two hours, during which time I used to read to him
extracts from the journals and pamphlets of the day, for he was anxious
to hear and know all that was going on. While in the bath he was
continually turning on the warm water to raise the temperature, so that I
was sometimes enveloped in such a dense vapour that I could not see to
read, and was obliged to open the door.

Bonaparte was exceedingly temperate, and averse to all excess. He knew
the absurd stories that were circulated about him, and he was sometimes
vexed at theme It has been repeated, over and over again, that he was
subject to attacks of epilepsy; but during the eleven years that I was
almost constantly with him I never observed any symptom which in the
least degree denoted that malady. His health was good and his
constitution sound. If his enemies, by way of reproach, have attributed
to him a serious periodical disease, his flatterers, probably under the
idea that sleep is incompatible with greatness, have evinced an equal
disregard of truth in speaking of his night-watching. Bonaparte made
others watch, but he himself slept, and slept well. His orders were that
I should call him every morning at seven. I was therefore the first to
enter his chamber; but very frequently when I awoke him he would turn
himself, and say, "Ah, Bourrienne! let me lie a little longer." When
there was no very pressing business I did not disturb him again till
eight o'clock. He in general slept seven hours out of the twenty-four,
besides taking a short nap in the afternoon.

Among the private instructions which Bonaparte gave me, one was very
curious. "During the night," said he, "enter my chamber as seldom as
possible. Do not awake me when you have any good news to communicate:
with that there is no hurry. But when you bring bad news, rouse me
instantly; for then there is not a moment to be lost."

This was a wise regulation, and Bonaparte found his advantage in it.

As soon as he rose his 'valet de chambre' shaved him and dressed his
hair. While he was being shaved I read to him the newspapers, beginning
always with the 'Moniteur.' He paid little attention to any but the
German and English papers. "Pass over all that," he would say, while I
was perusing the French papers; "I know it already. They say only what
they think will please me." I was often surprised that his valet did not
cut him while I was reading; for whenever ha heard anything interesting
he turned quickly round towards me.

When Bonaparte had finished: his toilet, which he did with great
attention, for he was scrupulously neat in his person, we went down to
his cabinet. There he signed the orders on important petitions which had
been analysed by me on the preceding evening. On reception and parade
days he was particularly exact in signing these orders, because I used to
remind him that he would be, likely to see most of the petitioners, and
that they would ask him for answers. To spare him this annoyance I used
often to acquaint them beforehand of what had been granted or refused,
and what had been the decision of the First Consul. He next perused the
letters which I had opened and laid on his table, ranging them according
to their importance. He directed me to answer them in his name; he
occasionally wrote the answers himself, but not often.

At ten o'clock the 'maitre d'hotel' entered, and announced breakfast,
saying, "The General is served." We went to breakfast, and the repast
was exceedingly simple. He ate almost every morning some chicken,
dressed with oil and onions. This dish was then, I believe, called
'poulet a la Provencale'; but our restaurateurs have since conferred upon
it the more ambitious name of 'poulet a la Marengo.'

Bonaparte drank little wine, always either claret or Burgundy, and the
latter by preference. After breakfast, as well as after dinner, he took
a cup of strong coffee.

   --[M. Brillat de Savarin, whose memory is dear to all gourmands, had
   established, as a gastronomic principle, that "he who does not take
   coffee after each meal is assuredly not a men of taste."--

I never saw him take any between his meals, and I cannot imagine what
could have given rise to the assertion of his being particularly fond of
coffee. When he worked late at night he never ordered coffee, but
chocolate, of which he made me take a cup with him. But this only
happened when our business was prolonged till two or three in the

All that has been said about Bonaparte's immoderate use of snuff has no
more foundation in truth than his pretended partiality for coffee. It is
true that at an early period of his life he began to take snuff, but it
was very sparingly, and always out of a box; and if he bore any
resemblance to Frederick the Great, it was not by filling his
waistcoat-pockets with snuff, for I must again observe he carried
his notions of personal neatness to a fastidious degree.

Bonaparte had two ruling passions, glory and war. He was never more gay
than in the camp, and never more morose than in the inactivity of peace.
Plans for the construction of public monuments also pleased his
imagination, and filled up the void caused by the want of active
occupation. He was aware that monuments form part of the history of
nations, of whose civilisation they bear evidence for ages after those
who created them have disappeared from the earth, and that they likewise
often bear false-witness to remote posterity of the reality of merely
fabulous conquests. Bonaparte was, however, mistaken as to the mode of
accomplishing the object he had in view. His ciphers, his trophies, and
subsequently his eagles, splendidly adorned the monuments of his reign.
But why did he wish to stamp false initials on things with which neither
he nor his reign had any connection; as, for example the old Louvre? Did
he imagine that the letter, "N" which everywhere obtruded itself on the
eye, had in it a charm to controvert the records of history, or alter the
course of time?

   --[When Louis XVIII. returned to the Tuileries in 1814 he found that
   Bonaparte had been an excellent tenant, and that he had left
   everything in very good condition.]--

Be this as it may, Bonaparte well knew that the fine arts entail lasting
glory on great actions, and consecrate the memory of princes who protect
and encourage them. He oftener than once said to me, "A great reputation
is a great poise; the more there is made, the farther off it is heard.
Laws, institutions, monuments, nations, all fall; but the noise continues
and resounds in after ages." This was one of his favourite ideas. "My
power," he would say at other times, "depends on my glory, and my glory
on my victories. My power would fall were I not to support it by new
glory and new victories. Conquest has made me what I am, and conquest
alone can maintain me." This was then, and probably always continued to
be, his predominant idea, and that which prompted him continually to
scatter the seeds of war through Europe. He thought that if he remained
stationary ha would fall, and he was tormented with the desire of
continually advancing. Not to do something great and decided was, in his
opinion, to do nothing. "A newly-born Government," said he to me, "must
dazzle and astonish. When it ceases to do that it falls." It was vain
to look for rest from a man who was restlessness itself.

His sentiments towards France now differed widely from what I had known
them to be in his youth. He long indignantly cherished the recollection
of the conquest of Corsica, which he was once content to regard as his
country. But that recollection was effaced, and it might be said that he
now ardently loved France. His imagination was fired by the very thought
of seeing her great, happy, and powerful, and, as the first nation in the
world, dictating laws to the rest. He fancied his name inseparably
connected with France, and resounding in, the ears of posterity. In all
his actions he lost sight of the present moment, and thought only of
futurity; so, in all places where he led the way to glory, the opinion of
France was ever present in his thoughts. As Alexander at Arbela pleased
himself less in having conquered Darius than in having gained the
suffrage of the Athenians, so Bonaparte at Marengo was haunted by the
idea of what would be said in France. Before he fought a battle
Bonaparte thought little about what he should do in case of success, but
a great deal about what he should do in case of a reverse of fortune.
I mention this as a fact of which I have often been a witness, and leave
to his brothers in arms to decide whether his calculations were always
correct. He had it in his power to do much, for he risked everything and
spared nothing. His inordinate ambition goaded him on to the attainment
of power; and power when possessed served only to augment his ambition.
Bonaparte was thoroughly convinced of the truth that trifles often decide
the greatest events; therefore he watched rather than provoked
opportunity, and when the right moment approached, he suddenly took
advantage of it. It is curious that, amidst all the anxieties of war and
government, the fear of the Bourbons incessantly pursued him, and the
Faubourg St. Germain was to him always a threatening phantom.

He did not esteem mankind, whom, indeed, he despised more and more in
proportion as he became acquainted with them. In him this unfavourable
opinion of human nature was justified by many glaring examples of
baseness, and he used frequently to repeat, "There are two levers for
moving men,--interest and fear." What respect, indeed, could Bonaparte
entertain for the applicants to the treasury of the opera? Into this
treasury the gaming-houses paid a considerable sum, part of which went to
cover the expenses of that magnificent theatre. The rest was distributed
in secret gratuities, which were paid on orders signed by Duroc.
Individuals of very different characters were often seen catching the
little door in the Rue Rameau. The lady who was for a while the
favourite of the General-in-Chief in Egypt, and whose husband was
maliciously sent back-by the English, was a frequent visitor to the
treasury. On an occasion would be seen assembled there a distinguished
scholar and an actor, a celebrated orator and a musician; on another, the
treasurer would have payments to make to a priest, a courtesan, and a

One of Bonaparte's greatest misfortunes was, that he neither believed in
friendship not felt the necessity of loving. How often have I heard him
say, "Friendship is but a name; I love nobody. I do not even love my
brothers. Perhaps Joseph, a little, from habit and because he is my
elder; and Duroc, I love him too. But why? Because his character
pleases me. He is stern and resolute; and I really believe the fellow
never shed a tear. For my part, I know very well that I have no true
friends. As long as I continue what I am, I may have as many pretended
friends as I please. Leave sensibility to women; it is their business.
But men should be firm in heart and in purpose, or they should have
nothing to do with war or government."

In his social relations Bonaparte's temper was bad; but his fits of
ill-humour passed away like a cloud, and spent themselves in words. His
violent language and bitter imprecations were frequently premeditated.
When he was going to reprimand any one he liked to have a witness
present. He would then say the harshest things, and level blows against
which few could bear up. But he never gave way to those violent
ebullitions of rage until be acquired undoubted proofs of the misconduct
of those against whom they were directed. In scenes of this sort I have
frequently observed that the presence of a third person seemed to give
him confidence. Consequently, in a 'tete-a-tete' interview, any one who
knew his character, and who could maintain sufficient coolness and
firmness, was sure to get the better of him. He told his friends at St.
Helena that he admitted a third person on such occasions only that the
blow might resound the farther. That was not his real motive, or the
better way would have been to perform the scene in public. He had other
reasons. I observed that he did not like a 'tete-a-tete'; and when he
expected any one, he would say to me beforehand, "Bourrienne, you may
remain;" and when any one was announced whom he did not expect, as a
minister or a general; if I rose to retire he would say in a
half-whisper, "Stay where you are." Certainly this was not done with the
design of getting what he said reported abroad; for it belonged neither
to my character nor my duty to gossip about what I had heard. Besides,
it may be presumed, that the few who were admitted as witnesses to the
conferences of Napoleon were aware of the consequences attending
indiscreet disclosures under a Government which was made acquainted with
all that was said and done.

Bonaparte entertained a profound dislike of the sanguinary men of the
Revolution, and especially of the regicides. He felt, as a painful
burden, the obligation of dissembling towards them. He spoke to me in
terms of horror of those whole he celled the assassins of Louis XVI, and
he was annoyed at the necessity of employing them and treating them with
apparent respect. How many times has he not said to Cambaceres, pinching
him by the ear, to soften, by that habitual familiarity, the bitterness
of the remark, "My dear fellow, your case is clear; if ever the Bourbons
come back you will be hanged!" A forced smile would then relax the livid
countenance of Cambaceres, and was usually the only reply of the Second
Consul, who, however, on one occasion said in my hearing, "Come, come,
have done with this joking."

One thing which gave Bonaparte great pleasure when in the country was to
see a tall, slender woman, dressed in white, walking beneath an alley of
shaded trees. He detested coloured dresses, and especially dark ones.
To fat women he had an invincible antipathy, and he could not endure the
sight of a pregnant woman; it therefore rarely happened that a female in
that situation was invited to his parties. He possessed every requisite
for being what is called in society an agreeable man, except the will to
be so. His manner was imposing rather than pleasing, and those who did
not know him well experienced in his presence an involuntary feeling of
awe. In the drawing-room, where Josephine did the honours with so much
grace and affability, all was gaiety and ease, and no one felt the
presence of a superior; but on Bonaparte's entrance all was changed, and
every eye was directed towards him, to read his humour in his
countenance, whether he intended to be silent or talkative, dull or

He often talked a great deal, and sometimes a little too much; but no one
could tell a story in a more agreeable and interesting way. His
conversation rarely turned on gay or humorous subjects, and never on
trivial matters. He was so fond of argument that in the warmth of
discussion it was easy to draw from him secrets which he was most anxious
to conceal. Sometimes, in a small circle, he would amuse himself by
relating stories of presentiments and apparitions. For this he always
chose the twilight of evening, and he would prepare his hearers for what
was coming by some solemn remark. On one occasion of this kind he said,
in a very grave tone of voice, "When death strikes a person whom we love,
and who is distant from us, a foreboding almost always denotes the event,
and the dying person appears to us at the moment of his dissolution."
He then immediately related the following anecdote: "A gentleman of the
Court of Louis XIV. was in the gallery of Versailles at the time that the
King was reading to his courtiers the bulletin of the battle of
Friedlingen gained by Villars. Suddenly the gentleman saw, at the
farther end of the gallery, the ghost of his son, who served under
Villars. He exclaimed, 'My son is no more!' and next moment the King
named him among the dead."

When travelling Bonaparte was particularly talkative. In the warmth of
his conversation, which was always characterised by original and
interesting idea, he sometimes dropped hints of his future views, or, at
least, he said things which were calculated to disclose what he wished to
conceal. I took the liberty of mentioning to him this indiscretion, and
far from being offended, he acknowledged his mistake, adding that he was
not aware he had gone so far. He frankly avowed this want of caution
when at St. Helena.

When in good humour his usual tokens of kindness consisted in a little
rap on the head or a slight pinch of the ear. In his most friendly
conversations with those whom he admitted into his intimacy he would say,
"You are a fool"--"a simpleton"--"a ninny"--"a blockhead." These, and a
few other words of like import, enabled him to vary his catalogue of
compliments; but he never employed them angrily, and the tone in which
they were uttered sufficiently indicated that they were meant in

Bonaparte had many singular habits and tastes. Whenever he experienced
any vexation, or when any unpleasant thought occupied his mind, he would
hum something which was far from resembling a tune, for his voice was
very unmusical. He would, at the same time, seat himself before the
writing-table, and swing back in his chair so far that I have often been
fearful of his falling.

He would then vent his ill-humour on the right arm of his chair,
mutilating it with his penknife, which he seemed to keep for no other
purpose. I always took care to keep good pens ready for him; for, as it
was my business to decipher his writing, I had a strong interest in doing
what I could to make it legible.

The sound of bells always produced in Bonaparte pleasurable sensations,
which I could never account for. When we were at Malmaison, and walking
in the alley leading to the plain of Ruel, how many times has the bell of
the village church interrupted our most serious conversations!

He would stop, lest the noise of our footsteps should drown any portion
of the delightful sound: He was almost angry with me because I did not
experience the impressions he did. So powerful was the effect produced
upon him by the sound of these bells that his voice would falter as he
said, "Ah! that reminds me of the first years I spent at Brienne! I was
then happy!" When the bells ceased he would resume the course of his
speculations, carry himself into futurity, place a crown on his head; and
dethrone kings.

Nowhere, except on the field of battle, did I ever see Bonaparte more
happy than in the gardens of Malmaison. At the commencement of the
Consulate we used to go there every Saturday evening, and stay the whole
of Sunday, and sometimes Monday. Bonaparte used to spend a considerable
part of his time in walking and superintending the improvements which he
had ordered. At first he used to make excursions about the
neighbourhood, but the reports of the police disturbed his natural
confidence, and gave him reason to fear the attempts of concealed
royalist partisans.

During the first four or five days that Bonaparte spent at Malmaison he
amused himself after breakfast with calculating the revenue of that
domain. According to his estimates it amounted to 8000 francs. "That is
not bad!" said he; "but to live here would require au income of 30,000
livres!" I could not help smiling to see him seriously engaged in such a

Bonaparte had no faith in medicine. He spoke of it as an art entirely
conjectural, and his opinion on this subject was fired and
incontrovertible. His vigorous mind rejected all but demonstrative

He had little memory for proper name, words, or dates, but he had a
wonderful recollection of facts and places. I recollect that, on going
from Paris to Toulon, he pointed out to me ten places calculated for
great battles, and he never forgot them. They were memoranda of his
first youthful journeys.

Bonaparte was insensible to the charms of poetic harmony. He had not
even sufficient ear to feel the rhythm, of poetry, and he never could
recite a verse without violating the metre; yet the grand ideas of poetry
charmed him. He absolutely worshipped Corneille; and, one day, after
having witnessed a performance of 'Cinna', he said to me, "If a man like
Corneille were living in my time I would make him my Prime Minister. It
is not his poetry that I most admire; it is his powerful understanding,
his vast knowledge of the human heart, and his profound policy!" At St.
Helena he said that he would have made Corneille a prince; but at the
time he spoke to me of Corneille he had no thought of making either
princes or kings.

Gallantry to women was by no means a trait in Bonaparte's character.
He seldom said anything agreeable to females, and he frequently addressed
to them the rudest and most extraordinary remarks. To one he would say,
"Heavens, how red your elbows are!" To another, "What an ugly headdress
you have got!" At another time he would say, "Your dress is none of the
cleanest..... Do you ever change your gown? I have seen you in that
twenty times!" He showed no mercy to any who displeased him on these
points. He often gave Josephine directions about her toilet, and the
exquisite taste for which she was distinguished might have helped to make
him fastidious about the costume of other ladies. At first he looked to
elegance above all things: at a later period he admired luxury and
splendour, but he always required modesty. He frequently expressed his
disapproval of the low-necked dresses which were so much in fashion at
the beginning of the Consulate.

Bonaparte did not love cards, and this was very fortunate for those who
were invited to his parties; for when he was seated at a card-table, as
he sometimes thought himself obliged to be, nothing could exceed the
dulness of the drawing-room either at the Luxembourg or the Tuileries.
When, on the contrary, he walked about among the company, all were
pleased, for he usually spoke to everybody, though he preferred the
conversation of men of science, especially those who had been with him in
in Egypt; as for example, Monge and Berthollet. He also liked to talk
with Chaptal and Lacphede, and with Lemercier, the author of 'Agamemnon'.

Bonaparte was seen to less advantage in a drawing-room than at the head
of his troops. His military uniform became him much better than the
handsomest dress of any other kind. His first trials of dress-coats were
unfortunate. I have been informed that the first time he wore one he
kept on his black cravat. This incongruity was remarked to him, and he
replied, "So much the better; it leaves me something of a military air,
and there is no harm in that." For my own part, I neither saw the black
cravat nor heard this reply.

The First Consul paid his own private bills very punctually; but he was
always tardy in settling the accounts of the contractors who bargained
with Ministers for supplies for the public service. He put off these
payments by all sorts of excuses and shufflings. Hence arose immense
arrears in the expenditure, and the necessity of appointing a committee
of liquidation. In his opinion the terms contractor and rogue were
synonymous. All that he avoided paying them he regarded as a just
restitution to himself; and all the sums which were struck off from their
accounts he regarded as so much deducted from a theft. The less a
Minister paid out of his budget the more Bonaparte was pleased with him;
and this ruinous system of economy can alone explain the credit which
Decres so long enjoyed at the expense of the French navy.

On the subject of religion Bonaparte's ideas were very vague.
"My reason," said he, "makes me incredulous respecting many things; but
the impressions of my childhood and early youth throw me into
uncertainty." He was very fond of talking of religion. In Italy, in
Egypt, and on board the 'Orient' and the 'Muiron', I have known him to
take part in very animated conversations on this subject.

He readily yielded up all that was proved against religion as the work of
men and time: but he would not hear of materialism. I recollect that one
fine night, when he was on deck with some persons who were arguing in
favour of materialism, Bonaparte raised his hand to heaven and, pointing
to the stars, said, "You may talk as long as you please, gentlemen, but
who made all that?" The perpetuity of a name in the memory of man was to
him the immortality of the soul. He was perfectly tolerant towards every
variety of religious faith.

Among Bonaparte's singular habits was that of seating himself on any
table which happened to be of a suitable height for him. He would often
sit on mine, resting his left arm on my right shoulder, and swinging his
left leg, which did not reach the ground; and while he dictated to me he
would jolt the table so that I could scarcely write.

Bonaparte had a great dislike to reconsider any decision, even when it
was acknowledged to be unjust. In little as well as in great things he
evinced his repugnance to retrograde. An instance of this occurred in
the affair of General Latour-Foissac. The First Consul felt how much he
had wronged that general; but he wished some time to elapse before he
repaired his error. His heart and his conduct were at variance; but his
feelings were overcome by what he conceived to be political necessity.
Bonaparte was never known to say, "I have done wrong:" his usual
observation was, "I begin to think there is something wrong."

In spite of this sort of feeling, which was more worthy of an
ill-humoured philosopher than the head of a government, Bonaparte was
neither malignant nor vindictive. I cannot certainly defend him against
all the reproaches which he incurred through the imperious law of war
and cruel necessity; but I may say that he has often been unjustly
accused. None but those who are blinded by fury will call him a Nero or
a Caligula. I think I have avowed his faults with sufficient candour to
entitle me to credit when I speak in his commendation; and I declare
that, out of the field of battle, Bonaparte had a kind and feeling
heart. He was very fond of children, a trait which seldom distinguishes
a bad man. In the relations of private life to call him amiable would
not be using too strong a word, and he was very indulgent to the
weakness of human nature. The contrary opinion is too firmly fixed in
some minds for me to hope to root it out. I shall, I fear, have
contradictors, but I address myself to those who look for truth. To
judge impartially we must take into account the influence which time and
circumstances exercise on men; and distinguish between the different
characters of the Collegian, the General, the Consul, and the Emperor.



   Bonaparte's laws--Suppression of the festival of the 21st of
   January--Officials visits--The Temple--Louis XVI. and Sir Sidney
   Smith--Peculation during the Directory--Loan raised--Modest budget
   --The Consul and the Member of the Institute--The figure of the
   Republic--Duroc's missions--The King of Prussia--The Emperor
   Alesander--General Latour-Foisac--Arbitrary decree--Company of
   players for Egypt--Singular ideas respecting literary property--
   The preparatory Consulate--The journals--Sabres and muskets of
   honour--The First Consul and his Comrade--The bust of Brutus--
   Statues in the gallery of the Tuileries--Sections of the Council
   of State--Costumes of public functionaries--Masquerades--The
   opera-balls--Recall of the exiles.

It is not my purpose to say much about the laws, decrees, and
'Senatus-Consultes', which the First Consul either passed, or caused to
be passed, after his accession to power, what were they all, with the
exception of the Civil Code? The legislative reveries of the different
men who have from time to time ruled France form an immense labyrinth,
in which chicanery bewilders reason and common sense; and they would
long since have been buried in oblivion had they not occasionally served
to authorise injustice. I cannot, however, pass over unnoticed the
happy effect produced in Paris, and throughout the whole of France, by
some of the first decisions of the Consuls. Perhaps none but those who
witnessed the state of society during the reign of Terror can fully
appreciate the satisfaction which the first steps towards the
restoration of social order produced in the breasts of all honest men.
The Directory, more base and not less perverse than the Convention, had
retained the horrible 21st of January among the festivals of the
Republic. One of Bonaparte's first ideas on attaining the possession of
power was to abolish this; but such was the ascendency of the abettors
of the fearful event that he could not venture on a straightforward
course. He and his two colleagues, who were Sieyes and Roger Ducos,
signed, on the 5th Nivose, a decree, setting forth that in future the
only festivals to be celebrated by the Republic were the 1st Vendemiaire
and the 14th of July, intending by this means to consecrate
provisionally the recollection of the foundation of the Republic and of

All was calculation with Bonaparte. To produce effect was his highest
gratification. Thus he let slip no opportunity of saying or doing things
which were calculated to dazzle the multitude. While at the Luxembourg,
he went sometimes accompanied by his 'aides de camp' and sometimes by a
Minister, to pay certain official visits. I did not accompany him on
these occasions; but almost always either on his return, after dinner, or
in the evening, he related to me what he had done and said. He
congratulated himself on having paid a visit to Daubenton, at the Jardin
des Plantes, and talked with great self-complacency of the distinguished
way in which he had treated the contemporary of Buffon.

On the 24th Brumaire he visited the prisons. He liked to make these
visits unexpectedly, and to take the governors of the different public
establishments by surprise; so that, having no time to make their
preparations, he might see things as they really were. I was in his
cabinet when he returned, for I had a great deal of business to go
through in his absence. As he entered he exclaimed, "What brutes these
Directors are! To what a state they have brought our public
establishments! But, stay a little! I will put all in order. The
prisons are in a shockingly unwholesome state, and the prisoners
miserably fed. I questioned them, and I questioned the jailers, for
nothing is to be learned from the superiors. They, of course, always
speak well of their own work! When I was in the Temple I could not help
thinking of the unfortunate Louis XVI. He was an excellent man, but too
amiable, too gentle for the times. He knew not how to deal with mankind!
And Sir Sidney Smith! I made them show me his apartment. If the fools
had not let him escape I should have taken St. Jean d'Acre! There are
too many painful recollections connected with that prison! I will
certainly have it pulled down some day or other! What do you think I did
at the Temple? I ordered the jailers' books to be brought to me, and
finding that some hostages were still in confinement I liberated them.
'An unjust law,' said I, 'has deprived you of liberty; my first duty is
to restore it to you.' 'Was not this well done, Bourrienne?' As I was,
no less than Bonaparte himself, an enemy to the revolutionary laws, I
congratulated him sincerely; and he was very sensible to my approbation,
for I was not accustomed to greet him with "Good; very good," on all
occasions. It is true, knowing his character as I did, I avoided saying
anything that was calculated to offend him; but when I said nothing, he
knew very well how to construe my silence. Had I flattered him I should
have continued longer in favour.

Bonaparte always spoke angrily of the Directors he had turned off. Their
incapacity disgusted and astonished him. "What simpletons! what a
government!" he would frequently exclaim when he looked into the measures
of the Directory. "Bourrienne," said he, "can you imagine anything more
pitiable than their system of finance? Can it for a moment be doubted
that the principal agents of authority daily committed the most
fraudulent peculations? What venality! what disorder! what
wastefulness! everything put up for sale: places, provisions, clothing,
and military, all were disposed of. Have they not actually consumed
75,000,000 in advance? And then, think of all the scandalous fortunes
accumulated, all the malversations! But are there no means of making
them refund? We shall see."

In these first moments of poverty it was found necessary to raise a loan,
for the funds of M. Collot did not last long, and 12,000,000 were
advanced by the different bankers of Paris, who, I believe, were paid by
bills of the receivers-general, the discount of which then amounted to
about 33 per cent. The salaries of the first offices were not very
considerable, and did not amount to anything like the exorbitant stipends
of the Empire.

Bonaparte's salary was fixed at 500,000 francs. What a contrast to the
300,000,000 in gold which were reported to have been concealed in 1811 in
the cellars of the Tuileries!

In mentioning Bonaparte's nomination to the Institute, and his
affectation in putting at the head of his proclamation his title of
member of that learned body before that of General-in-Chief, I omitted to
state what value he really attached to that title. The truth is that;
when young and ambitious, he was pleased with the proffered title, which
he thought would raise him in public estimation. How often have we
laughed together when he weighed the value of his scientific titles!
Bonaparte, to be sure, knew something of mathematics, a good deal of
history, and, I need not add, possessed extraordinary military talent;
but he was nevertheless a useless member of the Institute.

On his return from Egypt he began to grow weary of a title which gave him
so many colleagues. "Do you not think," said he one day to me, "that
there is something mean and humiliating in the words, 'I have the honour
to be, my dear Colleague'! I am tired of it!" Generally speaking, all
phrases which indicated equality displeased him. It will be recollected
how gratified he was that I did not address him in the second person
singular on our meeting at Leoben, and also what befell M. de Cominges at
Bale because he did not observe the same precaution.

The figure of the Republic seated and holding a spear in her hand, which
at the commencement of the Consulate was stamped on official letters, was
speedily abolished. Happy would it have been if Liberty herself had not
suffered the same treatment as her emblem! The title of First Consul
made him despise that of Member of the Institute. He no longer
entertained the least predilection for that learned body, and
subsequently he regarded it with much suspicion. It was a body, an
authorised assembly; these were reasons sufficient for him to take
umbrage at it, and he never concealed his dislike of all bodies
possessing the privilege of meeting and deliberating.

While we were at the Luxembourg Bonaparte despatched Duroc on a special
mission to the King of Prussia. This happened, I think, at the very
beginning of the year 1800. He selected Duroc because he was a man of
good education and agreeable manners, and one who could express himself
with elegance and reserve, qualities not often met with at that period.
Duroc had been with us in Italy, in Egypt, and on board the 'Muiron',
and the Consul easily guessed that the King of Prussia would be delighted
to hear from an eye-witness the events of Bonaparte's campaigns,
especially the siege of St. Jean d'Acre, and the scenes which took place
during the months of March and May at Jaffa. Besides, the First Consul
considered it indispensable that such circumstantial details should be
given in a way to leave no doubt of their correctness. His intentions
were fully realised; for Duroc told me, on his return, that nearly the
whole of the conversation he had with the King turned upon St. Jean
d'Acre and Jaffa. He stayed nearly two whole hours with his Majesty, who,
the day after, gave him an invitation to dinner. When this intelligence
arrived at the Luxembourg I could perceive that the Chief of the Republic
was flattered that one of his aides de camp should have sat at table with
a King, who some years after was doomed to wait for him in his
antechamber at Tilsit.

Duroc never spoke on politics to the King of Prussia, which was very
fortunate, for, considering his age and the exclusively military life he
had led, he could scarcely have been expected to avoid blunders. Some
time later, after the death of Paul I., he was sent to congratulate
Alexander on his accession to the throne. Bonaparte's design in thus
making choice of Duroc was to introduce to the Courts of Europe, by
confidential missions, a young man to whom he was much attached, and also
to bring him forward in France. Duroc went on his third mission to
Berlin after the war broke out with Austria. He often wrote to me, and
his letters convinced me how much he had improved himself within a short

Another circumstance which happened at the commencement of the Consulate
affords an example of Bonaparte's inflexibility when he had once formed a
determination. In the spring of 1799, when we were in Egypt, the
Directory gave to General Latour-Foissac, a highly distinguished officer,
the command of Mantua, the taking of which had so powerfully contributed
to the glory of the conqueror of Italy. Shortly after Latour's
appointment to this important post the Austrians besieged Mantua. It was
welt known that the garrison was supplied with provisions and ammunition
for a long resistance; yet, in the month of July it surrendered to the
Austrians. The act of capitulation contained a curious article, viz.
"General Latour-Foissac and his staff shall be conducted as prisoners to
Austria; the garrison shall be allowed to return to France." This
distinction between the general and the troops entrusted to his command,
and at the same time the prompt surrender of Mantua, were circumstances
which, it must be confessed, were calculated to excite suspicions of
Latour-Foissac. The consequence was, when Bernadotte was made War
Minister he ordered an inquiry into the general's conduct by a
court-martial. Latour-Foissac had no sooner returned to France than he
published a justificatory memorial, in which he showed the impossibility
of his having made a longer defence when he was in want of many objects
of the first necessity.

Such was the state of the affair on Bonaparte's elevation to the Consular
power. The loss of Mantua, the possession of which had cost him so many
sacrifices, roused his indignation to so high a pitch that whenever the
subject was mentioned he could find no words to express his rage.
He stopped the investigation of the court-martial, and issued a violent
decree against Latour-Foissac even before his culpability had been
proved. This proceeding occasioned much discussion, and was very
dissatisfactory to many general officers, who, by this arbitrary
decision, found themselves in danger of forfeiting the privilege of being
tried by their natural judges whenever they happened to displease the
First Consul. For my own part, I must say that this decree against
Latour-Foissac was one which I saw issued with considerable regret. I was
alarmed for the consequences. After the lapse of a few days I ventured
to point out to him the undue severity of the step he had taken; I
reminded him of all that had been said in Latour-Foissac's favour, and
tried to convince him how much more just it would be to allow the trial
to come to a conclusion. "In a country," said I, "like France, where the
point of honour stands above every thing, it is impossible Foissac can
escape condemnation if he be culpable."--"Perhaps you are right,
Bourrienne," rejoined he; "but the blow is struck; the decree is issued.
I have given the same explanation to every one; but I cannot so suddenly
retrace my steps. To retro-grade is to be lost. I cannot acknowledge
myself in the wrong. By and by we shall see what can be done. Time will
bring lenity and pardon. At present it would be premature." Such, word
for word, was Bonaparte's reply. If with this be compared what he said
on the subject at St. Helena it will be found that his ideas continued
nearly unchanged; the only difference is that, instead of the impetuosity
of 1800, he expressed himself with the calmness which time and adversity
naturally produce.

   --["It was," says the 'Memorial of St. Helena', "an illegal and
   tyrannical act, but still it was a necessary evil. It was the fault
   of the law. He was a hundred, nay, a thousand fold guilty, and yet
   it was doubtful whether he would be condemned. We therefore
   assailed him with the shafts of honour and public opinion. Yet I
   repeat it was a tyrannical act, and one of those violent measures
   which are at times necessary in great nations and in extraordinary

Bonaparte, as I have before observed, loved contrasts; and I remember at
the very time he was acting so violently against Latour-Foissac he
condescended to busy himself about a company of players which he wished
to send to Egypt, or rather that he pretended to wish to send there,
because the announcement of such a project conveyed an impression of the
prosperous condition of our Oriental colony. The Consuls gravely
appointed the Minister of the Interior to execute this business, and the
Minister in his turn delegated his powers to Florence, the actor. In
their instructions to the Minister the Consuls observed that it would be
advisable to include some female dancers in the company; a suggestion
which corresponds with Bonaparte's note, in which were specified all that
he considered necessary for the Egyptian expedition.

The First Consul entertained singular notions respecting literary
property. On his hearing that a piece, entitled 'Misanthropie et
Repentir', had been brought out at the Odeon, he said to me, "Bourrienne,
you have been robbed."--"I, General? how?"--"You have been robbed,
I tell you, and they are now acting your piece." I have already
mentioned that during my stay at Warsaw I amused myself with translating
a celebrated play of Kotzebue. While we were in Italy I lent Bonaparte
my translation to read, and he expressed himself much pleased with it.
He greatly admired the piece, and often went to see it acted at the
Odeon. On his return he invariably gave me fresh reasons for my claiming
what he was pleased to call my property. I represented to him that the
translation of a foreign work belonged to any one who chose to execute
it. He would not, however, give up his point, and I was obliged to
assure him that my occupations in his service left me no time to engage
in a literary lawsuit. He then exacted a promise from me to translate
Goethe's 'Werther'. I told him it was already done, though
indifferently, and that I could not possibly devote to the subject the
time it merited. I read over to him one of the letters I had translated
into French, and which he seemed to approve.

That interval of the Consular Government during which Bonaparte remained
at the Luxembourg may be called the preparatory Consulate. Then were
sown the seeds of the great events which he meditated, and of those
institutions with which he wished to mark his possession of power. He
was then, if I may use the expression, two individuals in one: the
Republican general, who was obliged to appear the advocate of liberty and
the principles of the Revolution; and the votary of ambition, secretly
plotting the downfall of that liberty and those principles.

I often wondered at the consummate address with which he contrived to
deceive those who were likely to see through his designs. This
hypocrisy, which some, perhaps, may call profound policy, was
indispensable to the accomplishment of his projects; and sometimes, as if
to keep himself in practice, he would do it in matters of secondary
importance. For example, his opinion of the insatiable avarice of Sieyes
is well known; yet when he proposed, in his message to the Council of
Ancients, to give his colleague, under the title of national recompense,
the price of his obedient secession, it was, in the words of the message,
a recompense worthily bestowed on his disinterested virtues.

While at the Luxembourg Bonaparte showed, by a Consular act, his hatred
of the liberty of the press above all liberties, for he loved none.
On the 27th Nivose the Consuls, or rather the First Consul, published a
decree, the real object of which was evidently contrary to its implied

This decree stated that:

The Consuls of the Republic, considering that some of the journals
printed at Paris are instruments in the hands of the enemies of the
Republic, over the safety of which the Government is specially entrusted
by the people of France to watch, decree--

That the Minister of Police shall, during the continuation of the war,
allow only the following journals to be printed and published, viz.
(list of 20 publications)

.....and those papers which are exclusively devoted to science, art,
literature, commerce, and advertisements.

Surely this decree may well be considered as preparatory; and the
fragment I have quoted may serve as a standard for measuring the greater
part of those acts by which Bonaparte sought to gain, for the
consolidation of his power, what he seemed to be seeking solely for the
interest of the friends of the Republic. The limitation to the period of
the continuance of the war had also a certain provisional air which
afforded hope for the future. But everything provisional is, in its
nature, very elastic; and Bonaparte knew how to draw it out ad infinitum.
The decree, moreover, enacted that if any of the uncondemned journals
should insert articles against the sovereignty of the people they would
be immediately suppressed. In truth, great indulgence was shown on this
point, even after the Emperor's coronation.

The presentation of swords and muskets of honour also originated at the
Luxembourg; and this practice was, without doubt, a preparatory step to
the foundation of the Legion of Honour.

   --["Armes d'honneur," decreed 25th December 1799. Muskets for
   infantry, carbines for cavalry, grenades for artillery, swords for
   the officers. Gouvion St. Cyr received the first sword (Thiers,
   tome i. p. 126).]--

A grenadier sergeant, named Leon Aune, who had been included in the first
distribution, easily obtained permission to write to the First Consul to
thank him. Bonaparte, wishing to answer him in his own name, dictated to
me the following letter for Aune:--

   I have received your letter, my brave comrade. You needed not to
   have told me of your exploits, for you are the bravest grenadier in
   the whole army since the death of Benezete. You received one of the
   hundred sabres I distributed to the army, and all agreed you most
   deserved it.

   I wish very much again to see you. The War Minister sends you an
   order to come to Paris.

This wheedling wonderfully favoured Bonaparte's designs. His letter to
Aune could not fail to be circulated through the army. A sergeant called
my brave comrade by the First Consul--the First General of France! Who
but a thorough Republican, the stanch friend of equality, would have done
this? This was enough to wind up the enthusiasm of the army. At the
same time it must be confessed that Bonaparte began to find the
Luxembourg too little for him, and preparations were set on foot at the

Still this great step towards the re-establishment of the monarchy was to
be cautiously prepared. It was important to do away with the idea that
none but a king could occupy the palace of our ancient kings. What was
to be done? A very fine bust of Brutus had been brought from Italy.
Brutus was the destroyer of tyrants! This was the very thing; and David
was commissioned to place it in a gallery of the Tuileries. Could there
be a greater proof of the Consul's horror of tyranny?

To sleep at the Tuileries, in the bedchamber of the kings of France, was
all that Bonaparte wanted; the rest would follow in due course. He was
willing to be satisfied with establishing a principle the consequences of
which were to be afterwards deduced. Hence the affectation of never
inserting in official acts the name of the Tuileries, but designating
that place as the Palace of the Government. The first preparations were
modest, for it did not become a good Republican to be fond of pomp.
Accordingly Lecomte, who was at that time architect of the Tuileries,
merely received orders to clean the Palace, an expression which might
bear more than one meaning, after the meetings which had been there. For
this purpose the sum of 500,000 francs was sufficient. Bonaparte's drift
was to conceal, as far as possible, the importance he attached to the
change of his Consular domicile. But little expense was requisite for
fitting up apartments for the First Consul. Simple ornaments, such as
marbles and statues, were to decorate the Palace of the Government.

Nothing escaped Bonaparte's consideration. Thus it was not merely at
hazard that he selected the statues of great men to adorn the gallery of
the Tuileries. Among the Greeks he made choice of Demosthenes and
Alesander, thus rendering homage at once to the genius of eloquence and
the genius of victory. The statue of Hannibal was intended to recall the
memory of Rome's most formidable enemy; and Rome herself was represented
in the Consular Palace by the statues of Scipio, Cicero, Cato, Brutus and
Caesar--the victor and the immolator being placed side by side. Among
the great men of modern times he gave the first place to Gustavus
Adolphus, and the next to Turenne and the great Conde, to Turenne in
honour of his military talent, and to Conde to prove that there was
nothing fearful in the recollection of a Bourbon. The remembrance of the
glorious days of the French navy was revived by the statue of Duguai
Trouin. Marlborough and Prince Eugene had also their places in the
gallery, as if to attest the disasters which marked the close of the
great reign; and Marshal Sage, to show that Louis XV.'s reign was not
without its glory. The statues of Frederick and Washington were
emblematic of false philosophy on a throne and true wisdom founding a
free state. Finally, the names of Dugommier, Dampierre, and Joubert were
intended to bear evidence of the high esteem which Bonaparte cherished
for his old comrades,--those illustrious victims to a cause which had now
ceased to be his.

The reader has already been informed of the attempts made by Bonaparte to
induce England and Austria to negotiate with the Consular Government,
which the King of Prussia was the first of the sovereigns of Europe to
recognise. These attempts having proved unavailing, it became necessary
to carry on the war with renewed vigour, and also to explain why the
peace, which had been promised at the beginning of the Consulate, was
still nothing but a promise. In fulfilment of these two objects
Bonaparte addressed an energetic proclamation to the armies, which was
remarkable for not being followed by the usual sacred words, "Vive la

At the same time Bonaparte completed the formation of the Council of
State, and divided it into five sections:--(1) The Interior; (2) Finance;
(3) Marine; (4) The War Department; (5) Legislation. He fixed the
salaries of the Councillors of the State at 25,000 francs, and that of
the Precedents of Sections at 30,000. He settled the costume of the
Consuls, the Ministers, and the different bodies of the State. This led
to the re-introduction of velvet, which had been banished with the old
regime, and the encouragement of the manufactures of Lyons was the reason
alleged for employing this un-republican article in the different
dresses, each as those of the Consuls and Ministers. It was Bonaparte's
constant: aim to efface the Republic, even in the utmost trifles, and to
prepare matters so well that the customs and habits of monarchy being
restored, there should only then remain a word to be changed.

I never remember to have seen Bonaparte in the Consular dress, which he
detested, and which he wore only because duty required him to do so at
public ceremonies. The only dress he was fond of, and in which he felt
at ease, was that in which he subjugated the ancient Eridanus and the
Nile, namely, the uniform of the Guides, to which corps Bonaparte was
always sincerely attached.

The masquerade of official dresses was not the only one which Bonaparte
summoned to the aid of his policy. At that period of the year VIII.
which corresponded with the carnival of 1800, masques began to be resumed
at Paris. Disguises were all the fashion, and Bonaparte favoured the
revival of old amusements; first, because they were old, and next,
because they were, the means of diverting the attention of the people:
for, as he had established the principle that on the field of battle it
is necessary to divide the enemy in order to beat him, he conceived it no
less advisable to divert the people in order to enslave them. Bonaparte
did not say 'panem et circenses', for I believe his knowledge of Latin
did not extend even to that well-known phrase of Juvenal, but he put the
maxim in practice. He accordingly authorised the revival of balls at the
opera, which they who lived during that period of the Consulate know was
an important event in Paris. Some gladly viewed it as a little conquest
in favour of the old regime; and others, who for that very reason
disapproved it, were too shallow to understand the influence of little
over great things. The women and the young men did not bestow a thought
on the subject, but yielded willingly to the attractions of pleasure.
Bonaparte, who was delighted at having provided a diversion for the
gossiping of the Parisian salons, said to me one day, "While they are
chatting about all this, they do not babble upon politics, and that is
what I want. Let them dance and amuse themselves as long as they do not
thrust their noses into the Councils of the Government; besides,
Bourrienne," added he, "I have other reasons for encouraging this, I see
other advantages in it. Trade is languishing; Fouche tells me that there
are great complaints. This will set a little money in circulation;
besides, I am on my guard about the Jacobins. Everything is not bad,
because it is not new. I prefer the opera-balls to the saturnalia of the
Goddess of Reason. I was never so enthusiastically applauded as at the
last parade."

A Consular decision of a different and more important nature had, shortly
before, namely, at the commencement of Nivose, brought happiness to many
families. Bonaparte, as every one knows, had prepared the events of the
18th Fructidor that he might have some plausible reasons for overthrowing
the Directors. The Directory being overthrown, he was now anxious, at
least in part, to undo what he had done on the 18th Fructidor. He
therefore ordered a report on the persons exiled to be presented to him
by the Minister of Police. In consequence of this report he authorised
forty of them to return to France, placing them under the observation of
the Police Minister, and assigning them their place of residence.
However, they did not long remain under these restrictions, and many of
them were soon called to fill high places in the Government. It was
indeed natural that Bonaparte, still wishing, at least in appearance, to
found his government on those principles of moderate republicanism which
had caused their exile, should invite them to second his views.

Barrere wrote a justificatory letter to the First Consul, who, however,
took no notice of it, for he could not get so far as to favour Barrere.
Thus did Bonaparte receive into the Councils of the Consulate the men who
had been exiled by the Directory, just as he afterwards appointed the
emigrants and those exiles of the Revolution to high offices under the
Empire. The time and the men alone differed; the intention in both cases
was the same.



   Bonaparte and Paul I.--Lord Whitworth--Baron Sprengporten's arrival
   at Paris--Paul's admiration of Bonaparte--Their close connection and
   correspondence--The royal challenge--General Mack--The road to
   Malmaison--Attempts at assassination--Death of Washington--National
   mourning--Ambitious calculation--M. de Fontanel, the skilful orator
   --Fete at the Temple of Mars--Murat's marriage with Caroline
   Bonaparte--Madame Bonaparte's pearls.

The first communications between Bonaparte and Paul I. commenced a short
time after his accession to the Consulate. Affairs then began to look a
little less unfavourable for France; already vague reports from
Switzerland and the banks of the Rhine indicated a coldness existing
between the Russians and the Austrians; and at the same time, symptoms of
a misunderstanding between the Courts of London and St. Petersburg began
to be perceptible. The First Consul, having in the meantime discovered
the chivalrous and somewhat eccentric character of Paul I., thought the
moment a propitious one to attempt breaking the bonds which united Russia
and England. He was not the man to allow so fine an opportunity to pass,
and he took advantage of it with his usual sagacity. The English had
some time before refused to include in a cartel for the exchange of
prisoners 7000 Russians taken in Holland. Bonaparte ordered them all to
be armed, and clothed in new uniforms appropriate to the corps to which
they had belonged, and sent them back to Russia, without ransom, without
exchange, or any condition whatever. This judicious munificence was not
thrown away. Paul I. showed himself deeply sensible of it, and closely
allied as he had lately been with England, he now, all at once, declared
himself her enemy. This triumph of policy delighted the First Consul.

Thenceforth the Consul and the Czar became the best friends possible.
They strove to outdo each other in professions of friendship; and it may
be believed that Bonaparte did not fail to turn this contest of
politeness to his own advantage. He so well worked upon the mind of Paul
that he succeeded in obtaining a direct influence over the Cabinet of St.

Lord Whitworth, at that time the English ambassador in Russia, was
ordered to quit the capital without delay, and to retire to Riga, which
then became the focus of the intrigues of the north which ended in the
death of Paul. The English ships were seized in all the ports, and, at
the pressing instance of the Czar, a Prussian army menaced Hanover.
Bonaparte lost no time, and, profiting by the friendship manifested
towards him by the inheritor of Catherine's power, determined to make
that friendship subservient to the execution of the vast plan which he
had long conceived: he meant to undertake an expedition by land against
the English colonies in the East Indies.

The arrival of Baron Sprengporten at Paris caused great satisfaction
among the partisans of the Consular Government, that is to say, almost
every one in Paris. M. Sprengporten was a native of Swedish Finland.
He had been appointed by Catherine chamberlain and lieutenant-general of
her forces, and he was not less in favour with Paul, who treated him in
the most distinguished manner. He came on an extraordinary mission,
being ostensibly clothed with the title of plenipotentiary, and at the
same time appointed confidential Minister to the Consul. Bonaparte was
extremely satisfied with the ambassador whom Paul had selected, and with
the manner in, which he described the Emperor's gratitude for the
generous conduct of the First Consul. M. Sprengporten did not conceal
the extent of Paul's dissatisfaction with his allies. The bad issue, he
said, of the war with France had already disposed the Czar to connect
himself with that power, when the return of his troops at once determined

We could easily perceive that Paul placed great confidence in M.
Sprengporten. As he had satisfactorily discharged the mission with which
he had been entrusted, Paul expressed pleasure at his conduct in several
friendly and flattering letters, which Sprengporten always allowed us to
read. No one could be fonder of France than he was, and he ardently
desired that his first negotiations might lead to a long alliance between
the Russian and French Governments. The autograph and very frequent
correspondence between Bonaparte and Paul passed through his hands. I
read all Paul's letters, which were remarkable for the frankness with
which his affection for Bonaparte was expressed. His admiration of the
First Consul was so great that no courtier could have written in a more
flattering manner.

This admiration was not feigned on the part of the Emperor of Russia: it
was no less sincere than ardent, and of this he soon gave proofs. The
violent hatred he had conceived towards the English Government induced
him to defy to single combat every monarch who would not declare war
against England and shut his ports against English ships. He inserted a
challenge to the King of Denmark in the St. Petersburg Court Gazette; but
not choosing to apply officially to the Senate of Hamburg to order its
insertion in the 'Correspondant', conducted by M. Stoves, he sent the
article, through Count Pahlen, to M. Schramm, a Hamburg merchant. The
Count told M. Schramm that the Emperor would be much pleased to see the
article of the St. Petersburg Court Gazette copied into the
Correspondant; and that if it should be inserted, he wished to have a
dozen copies of the paper printed on vellum, and sent to him by an
extraordinary courier. It was Paul's intention to send a copy to every
sovereign in Europe; but this piece of folly, after the manner of Charles
XII., led to no further results.

Bonaparte never felt greater satisfaction in the-whole course of his life
than he experienced from Paul's enthusiasm for him. The friendship of a
sovereign seemed to him a step by which he was to become a sovereign
himself. At the same time the affairs of La Vendee began to assume a
better aspect, and he hoped soon to effect that pacification in the
interior which he so ardently desired.

It was during the First Consul's residence at the Luxembourg that the
first report on the civil code was made to the legislative body. It was
then, also, that the regulations for the management of the Bank of France
were adopted, and that establishment so necessary to France was founded.

There was at this time in Paris a man who has acquired an unfortunate
celebrity, the most unlucky of modern generals--in a word, General Mack.
I should not notice that person here were it not for the prophetic
judgment which Bonaparte then pronounced on him. Mack had been obliged
to surrender himself at Championnet some time before our landing at
Frejus. He was received as a prisoner of war, and the town of Dijon had
been appointed his place of residence, and there he remained until after
the 18th Brumaire. Bonaparte, now Consul, permitted him to come to
Paris, and to reside there on his parole. He applied for leave to go to
Vienna, pledging himself to return again a prisoner to France if the
Emperor Francis would not consent to exchange him for Generals Wrignon
and Grouchy, then prisoners in Austria. His request was not granted, but
his proposition was forwarded to Vienna. The Court of Vienna refused to
accede to it, not placing perhaps so much importance on the deliverance
of Mack as he had flattered himself it would.

Bonaparte speaking to me of him one day said, "Mack is a man of the
lowest mediocrity I ever saw in my life; he is full of self-sufficiency
and conceit, and believes himself equal to anything. He has no talent.
I should like to see him opposed some day to one of our good generals;
we should then see fine work. He is a boaster, and that is all. He is
really one of the most silly men existing; and, besides all that, he is
unlucky." Was not this opinion of Bonaparte, formed on the past, fully
verified by the future?

It was at Malmaison that Bonaparte thus spoke of General Mack. That
place was then far from resembling what it afterwards became, and the
road to it was neither pleasant nor sure. There was not a house on the
road; and in the evening, during the season when we were there, it was
not frequented all the way from St. Germain. Those numerous vehicles,
which the demands of luxury and an increasing population have created,
did not then, as now, pass along the roads in the environs of Paris.
Everywhere the road was solitary and dangerous; and I learned with
certainty that many schemes were laid for carrying off the First Consul
during one of his evening journeys. They were unsuccessful, and orders
were given to enclose the quarries, which were too near to the road. On
Saturday evening Bonaparte left the Luxembourg, and afterwards the
Tuileries, to go to Malmaison, and I cannot better express the joy he
then appeared to experience than by comparing it to the delight of a
school-boy on getting a holiday.

Before removing from the Luxembourg to the Tuileries Bonaparte determined
to dazzle the eyes of the Parisians by a splendid ceremony. He had
appointed it to take place on the 'decadi', Pluviose 20 (9th February
1800), that is to say, ten days before his final departure from the old
Directorial palace. These kinds of fetes did not resemble what they
afterwards became; their attraction consisted in the splendour of
military dress: and Bonaparte was always sure that whenever he mounted
his horse, surrounded by a brilliant staff from which he was to be
distinguished by the simplicity of his costume, his path would be crowded
and himself greeted with acclamations by the people of Paris. The object
of this fete was at first only to present to the 'Hotel des Invalides',
their called the Temple of Mars, seventy-two flags taken from the Turks
in the battle of Aboukir and brought from Egypt to Paris; but
intelligence of Washington's death, who expired on the 14th of December
1799, having reached Bonaparte; he eagerly took advantage of that event
to produce more effect, and mixed the mourning cypress with the laurels
he had collected in Egypt.

Bonaparte did not feel much concerned at the death of Washington, that
noble founder of rational freedom in the new world; but it afforded him
an opportunity to mask his ambitious projects under the appearance of a
love of liberty. In thus rendering honour to the memory of Washington
everybody would suppose that Bonaparte intended to imitate his example,
and that their two names would pass in conjunction from mouth to mouth.
A clever orator might be employed, who, while pronouncing a eulogium on
the dead, would contrive to bestow some praise on the living; and when
the people were applauding his love of liberty he would find himself one
step nearer the throne, on which his eyes were constantly fixed. When
the proper time arrived, he would not fail to seize the crown; and would
still cry, if necessary, "Vive la Liberte!" while placing it on his
imperial head.

The skilful orator was found. M. de Fontanes

   --[L. de Fontenes (1767-1821) became president of the Corps
   Legislatif, Senator, and Grand Master of the University. He was the
   centre of the literary group of the Empire,]--

was commissioned to pronounce the funeral eulogium on Washington, and the
flowers of eloquence which he scattered about did not all fall on the
hero of America.

Lannes was entrusted by Bonaparte with the presentation of the flags; and
on the 20th Pluviose he proceeded, accompanied by strong detachments of
the cavalry then in Paris, to the council-hall of the Invalides, where he
was met by the Minister of War, who received the colours. All the
Ministers, the councillors of, State, and generals were summoned to the
presentation. Lannes pronounced a discourse, to which herthier replied,
and M. de Fontanes added his well-managed eloquence to the plain military
oratory of the two generals. In the interior of this military temple a
statue of Mars sleeping had been placed, and from the pillars and roof
were suspended the trophies of Denain, Fontenoy, and the campaign of
Italy, which would still have decorated that edifice had not the demon of
conquest possessed Bonaparte. Two Invalides, each said to be a hundred
years old, stood beside the Minister of War; and the bust of the
emancipator of America was placed under the trophy composed of the flags
of Aboukir. In a word, recourse was had to every sort of charlatanism
usual on such occasions. In the evening there was a numerous assembly at
the Luxembourg, and Bonaparte took much credit to himself for the effect
produced on this remarkable day. He had only to wait ten days for his
removal to the Tuileries, and precisely on that day the national mourning
for Washington was to cease, for which a general mourning for freedom
might well have been substituted.

I have said very little about Murat in the course of these Memoirs except
mentioning the brilliant part he performed in several battles. Having
now arrived at the period of his marriage with one of Napoleon's sisters
I take the opportunity of returning to the interesting events which
preceded that alliance.

His fine and well-proportioned form, his great physical strength and
somewhat refined elegance of manner,--the fire of his eye, and his fierce
courage in battle, gave to Murat rather the character of one of those
'preux chevaliers' so well described by Ariosto and Taro, that, that a
Republican soldier. The nobleness of his look soon made the lowness of
his birth be forgotten. He was affable, polished, gallant; and in the
field of battle twenty men headed by Murat were worth a whole regiment.
Once only he showed himself under the influence of fear, and the reader
shall see in what circumstance it was that he ceased to be himself.

   --[Marshal Lannes, so brave and brilliant in war and so well able to
   appreciate courage, one day sharply rebuked a colonel for having
   punished a young officer just arrived from school at Fontainebleau
   because he gave evidence of fear in his first engagement. "Know,
   colonel," said he, "none but a poltroon (the term was oven more
   strong) will boast that he never was afraid."--Bourrienne.]--

When Bonaparte in his first Italian campaign had forced Wurmser to
retreat into Mantua with 28,000 men, he directed Miollis, with only 4000
men, to oppose any sortie that might be attempted by the Austrian
general. In one of these sorties Murat, who was at the head of a very
weak detachment, was ordered to charge Wurmser. He was afraid, neglected
to execute the order, and in a moment of confusion said that he was
wounded. Murat immediately fell into disgrace with the General-in-Chief,
whose 'aide de camp' he was.

Murat had been previously sent to Paris to present to the Directory the
first colours taken by the French army of Italy in the actions of Dego
and Mondovi, and it was on this occasion that he got acquainted with
Madame Tallien and the wife of his General. But he already knew the
beautiful Caroline Bonaparte, whom he had seen at Rome in the residence
of her brother Joseph, who was then discharging the functions of
ambassador of the Republic. It appears that Caroline was not even
indifferent to him, and that he was the successful rival of the Princess
Santa Croce's son, who eagerly sought the honour of her hand. Madame
Tallien and Madame Bonaparte received with great kindness the first 'aide
de camp', and as they possessed much influence with the Directory, they
solicited, and easily obtained for him, the rank of brigadier-general.
It was somewhat remarkable at that time Murat, notwithstanding his
newly-acquired rank, to remain Bonaparte's 'aide de camp', the
regulations not allowing a general-in-chief an 'aide de camp' of higher
rank than chief of brigade, which was equal to that of colonel: This
insignificant act was, therefore, rather a hasty anticipation of the
prerogatives everywhere reserved to princes and kings.

It was after having discharged this commission that Murat, on his return
to Italy, fell into disfavour with the General-in Chief. He indeed
looked upon him with a sort of hostile feeling, and placed him in
Reille's division, and afterwards Baragasy d'Hilliers'; consequently,
when we went to Paris, after the treaty of Campo-Formio, Murat was not of
the party. But as the ladies, with whom he was a great favourite, were
not devoid of influence with the Minister of War, Murat was, by their
interest, attached to the engineer corps in the expedition to Egypt.
On board the Orient he remained in the most complete disgrace. Bonaparte
did not address a word to him during the passage; and in Egypt the
General-in-Chief always treated him with coldness, and often sent him
from the headquarters on disagreeable services. However, the
General-in-Chief having opposed him to Mourad Bey, Murat performed such
prodigies of valour in every perilous encounter that he effaced the
transitory stain which a momentary hesitation under the walls of Mantua
had left on his character. Finally, Murat so powerfully contributed to
the success of the day at Aboukir that Bonaparte, glad to be able to
carry another laurel plucked in Egypt to France, forgot the fault which
had made so unfavourable an impression, and was inclined to efface from
his memory other things that he had heard to the disadvantage of Murat;
for I have good reasons for believing, though Bonaparte never told me
so, that Murat's name, as well as that of Charles, escaped from the lips
of Junot when he made his indiscreet communication to Bonaparte at the
walls of Messoudiah. The charge of grenadiers, commanded by Murat on
the 19th Brumaire in the hall of the Five Hundred, dissipated all the
remaining traces of dislike; and in those moments when Bonaparte's
political views subdued every other sentiment of his mind, the rival of
the Prince Santa Croce received the command of the Consular Guard.

   --[Joachim Murat (1771-1616), the son of an innkeeper, aide de camp
   to Napoleon in Italy, etc.; Marshal, 1804; Prince in 1806; Grand
   Admiral; Grand Duc de Berg et de Clesves, 1808; King of Naples,
   1808. Shot by Bourbons 13th October 1815. Married Caroline
   Bonaparte (third sister of Napoleon) 20th January 1600.]--

It may reasonably be supposed that Madame Bonaparte, in endeavouring to
win the friendship of Murat by aiding his promotion, had in view to gain
one partisan more to oppose to the family and brothers of Bonaparte; and
of this kind of support she had much need. Their jealous hatred was
displayed on every occasion; and the amiable Josephine, whose only fault
was being too much of the woman, was continually tormented by sad
presentiments. Carried away by the easiness of her character, she did
not perceive that the coquetry which enlisted for her so many defenders
also supplied her implacable enemies with weapons to use against her.

In this state of things Josephine, who was well convinced that she had
attached Murat to herself by the bonds of friendship and gratitude, and
ardently desired to see him united to Bonaparte by a family connection,
favoured with all her influence his marriage with Caroline. She was not
ignorant that a close intimacy had already sprung up at Milan between
Caroline and Murat, and she was the first to propose a marriage. Murat
hesitated, and went to consult M. Collot, who was a good adviser in all
things, and whose intimacy with Bonaparte had initiated him into all the
secrets of the family. M. Collot advised Murat to lose no time, but to
go to the First Consul and formally demand the hand of his sister. Murat
followed his advice. Did he do well? It was to this step that he owed
the throne of Naples. If he had abstained he would not have been shot at
Pizzo. 'Sed ipsi Dei fata rumpere non possunt!'

However that might be, Bonaparte received, more in the manner of a
sovereign than of a brother in arms, the proposal of Murat. He heard him
with unmoved gravity, said that he would consider the matter, but gave no
positive answer.

This affair was, as may be supposed, the subject of conversation in the
evening in the; salon of the Luxembourg. Madame Bonaparte employed all
her powers of persuasion to obtain the First Consul's consent, and her
efforts were seconded by Hortense, Eugene, and myself, "Murat," said he,
among other things, "Murat is an innkeeper's son. In the elevated rank
where glory and fortune have placed me, I never can mix his blood with
mine! Besides, there is no hurry: I shall see by and by." We forcibly
described to him the reciprocal affection of the two young people, and
did not fail to bring to his observation Murat's devoted attachment to
his person, his splendid courage and noble conduct in Egypt. "Yes," said
he, with warmth, "I agree with you; Murat was superb at Aboukir." We did
not allow so favourable a moment to pass by. We redoubled our
entreaties, and at last he consented. When we were together in his
cabinet in the evening, "Well; Bourrienne," said he to me, "you ought to
be satisfied, and so am I, too, everything considered. Murat is suited
to my sister, and then no one can say that I am proud, or seek grand
alliances. If I had given my sister to a noble, all your Jacobins would
have raised a cry of counter-revolution. Besides, I am very glad that my
wife is interested in this marriage, and you may easily suppose the
cause. Since it is determined on, I will hasten it forward; we have no
time to lose. If I go to Italy I will take Murat with me. I must strike
a decisive blow there. Adieu."

When I entered the First Consul's chamber at seven o'clock the next day
he appeared even more satisfied than on the preceding evening with the
resolution he had taken. I easily perceived that in spite of all his
cunning, he had failed to discover the real motive which had induced
Josephine to take so lively an interest respecting Murat's marriage with
Caroline. Still Bonaparte's satisfaction plainly showed that his wife's
eagerness for the marriage had removed all doubt in his mind of the
falsity of the calumnious reports which had prevailed respecting her
intimacy with Murat.

The marriage of Murat and Caroline was celebrated at the Luxembourg, but
with great modesty. The First Consul did not yet think that his family
affairs were affairs of state. But previously to the celebration a
little comedy was enacted in which I was obliged to take a part, and I
will relate how.

At the time of the marriage of Murat Bonaparte had not much money, and
therefore only gave his sister a dowry of 30,000 francs. Still, thinking
it necessary to make her a marriage present, and not possessing the means
to purchase a suitable one, he took a diamond necklace which helonged to
his wife and gave it to the bride. Josephine was not at all pleased with
this robbery, and taxed her wits to discover some means of replacing her

Josephine was aware that the celebrated jeweler Foncier possessed a
magnificent collection of fine pearls which had belonged, as he said, to
the late Queen, Marie Antoinette. Having ordered them to be brought to
her to examine them, she thought there were sufficient to make a very
fine necklace. But to make the purchase 250,000 francs were required,
and how to get them was the difficulty. Madame Bonaparte had recourse to
Berthier, who was then Minister of War. Berthier, after, biting his
nails according to his usual habit, set about the liquidation of the
debts due for the hospital service in Italy with as much speed as
possible; and as in those days the contractors whose claims were admitted
overflowed with gratitude towards their patrons, through whom they
obtained payment, the pearls soon passed from Foncier's shop to the
casket of Madame Bonaparte.

The pearls being thus obtained, there was still another difficulty, which
Madame Bonaparte did not at first think of. How was she to wear a
necklace purchased without her husband's knowledge? Indeed it was the
more difficult for her to do so as the First Consul knew very well that
his wife had no money, and being, if I may be allowed the expression,
something of the busybody, he knew, or believed he knew, all Josephine's
jewels. The pearls were therefore condemned to remain more than a
fortnight in Madame Bonaparte's casket without her daring to use them.
What a punishment for a woman! At length her vanity overcame her
prudence, and being unable to conceal the jewels any longer, she one day
said to me, "Bourrienne, there is to be a large party here to-morrow, and
I absolutely must wear my pearls. But you know he will grumble if he
notices them. I beg, Bourrienne, that you will keep near me. If he asks
me where I got my pearls I must tell him, without hesitation, that I have
had them a long time."

Everything happened as Josephine feared and hoped.

Bonaparte, on seeing the pearls, did not fail to say to Madame, "What is
it you have got there? How fine you are to-day! Where did you get these
pearls? I think I never saw them before."--"Oh! 'mon Dieu'! you have
seen them a dozen times! It is the necklace which the Cisalpine Republic
gave me, and which I now wear in my hair."--"But I think--"--"Stay: ask
Bourrienne, he will tell you."--"Well, Bourrienne, what do you say to it?
Do you recollect the necklace?"--"Yes, General, I recollect very well
seeing it before." This was not untrue, for Madame Bonaparte had
previously shown me the pearls. Besides, she had received a pearl
necklace from the Cisalpine Republic, but of incomparably less value than
that purchased from Fancier. Josephine performed her part with charming
dexterity, and I did not act amiss the character of accomplice assigned
me in this little comedy. Bonaparte had no suspicions. When I saw the
easy confidence with which Madame Bonaparte got through this scene, I
could not help recollecting Suzanne's reflection on the readiness with
which well-bred ladies can tell falsehoods without seeming to do so.



   Police on police--False information--Dexterity of Fouche--Police
   agents deceived--Money ill applied--Inutility of political police--
   Bonaparte's opinion--General considerations--My appointment to the
   Prefecture of police.

Before taking up his quarters in the Tuileries the First Consul organised
his secret police, which was intended, at the same time, to be the rival
or check upon Fouche's police. Duroc and Moncey were at first the
Director of this police; afterwards Davonst and Junot. Madame Bonaparte
called this business a vile system of espionage. My remarks on the
inutility of the measure were made in vain. Bonaparte had the weakness
at once to fear Fouche and to think him necessary. Fouche, whose talents
at this trade are too well known to need my approbation, soon discovered
this secret institution, and the names of all the subaltern agents
employed by the chief agents. It is difficult to form an idea of the
nonsense, absurdity, and falsehood contained in the bulletins drawn up by
the noble and ignoble agents of the police. I do not mean to enter into
details on this nauseating subject; and I shall only trespass on the
reader's patience by relating, though it be in anticipation, one fact
which concerns myself, and which will prove that spies and their wretched
reports cannot be too much distrusted.

During the second year of the Consulate we were established at Malmaison.
Junot had a very large sum at his disposal for the secret police of the
capital. He gave 3000 francs of it to a wretched manufacturer of
bulletins; the remainder was expended on the police of his stable and his
table. In reading one of these daily bulletins I saw the following

   "M. de Bourrienne went last night to Paris. He entered an hotel of
   the Faubourg St. Germain, Rue de Varenne, and there, in the course
   of a very animated discussion, he gave it to be understood that the
   First Consul wished to make himself King."

As it happens, I never had opened my mouth, either respecting what
Bonaparte had said to me before we went to Egypt or respecting his other
frequent conversations with me of the same nature, during this period of
his Consulship. I may here observe, too, that I never quitted, nor ever
could quit Malmaison for a moment. At any time, by night or day, I was
subject to be called for by the First Consul, and, as very often was the
case, it so happened that on the night in question he had dictated to me
notes and instructions until three o'clock in the morning.

Junot came every day to Malmaison at eleven o'clock in the morning. I
called him that day into my cabinet, when I happened to be alone. "Have
you not read your bulletin?" said I, "Yes, I have."--"Nay, that is
impossible."--"Why?"--"Because, if you had, you would have suppressed an
absurd story which relates to me."--"Ah!" he replied, "I am sorry on your
account, but I can depend on my agent, and I will not alter a word of his
report." I then told him all that had taken place on that night; but he
was obstinate, and went away unconvinced.

Every morning I placed all the papers which the First Consul had to read
on his table, and among the, first was Junot's report. The First Consul
entered and read it; on coming to the passage concerning me he began to

"Have you read this bulletin?"--"yes, General."--"What an ass that Junot
is! It is a long time since I have known that."--"How he allows himself
to be entrapped! Is he still here?"--"I believe so. I have just seen
him, and made observations to him, all in good part, but he would hear
nothing."--"Tell him to come here." When Junot appeared Bonaparte
began--"Imbecile that you are! how could you send me such reports as
these? Do you not read them? How shall I be sure that you will not
compromise other persons equally unjustly? I want positive facts, not
inventions. It is some time since your agent displeased me; dismiss him
directly." Junot wanted to justify himself, but Bonaparte cut him
short--"Enough!--It is settled!"

I related what had passed to Fouche, who told me that, wishing to amuse
himself at Junot's expense, whose police agents only picked up what they
heard related in coffeehouses, gaming-houses, and the Bourse, he had
given currency to this absurd story, which Junot had credited and
reported, as he did many other foolish tales. Fouche often caught the
police of the Palace in the snares he laid for them, and thus increased
his own credit.

This circumstance, and others of the same nature, induced the First
Consul to attach less importance than at first he had to his secret
police, which seldom reported anything but false and silly stories.
That wretched police! During the time I was with him it embittered his
life, and often exasperated him against his wife, his relations, and

   --[Bourrienne, it must be remembered, was a sufferer from the
   vigilance of this police.]--

Rapp, who was as frank as he was brave, tells us in his Memoirs (p. 233)
that when Napoleon, during his retreat from Moscow, while before
Smolenski, heard of the attempt of Mallet, he could not get over the
adventure of the Police Minister, Savary, and the Prefect of Police,
Pasquier. "Napoleon," says Rapp, "was not surprised that these wretches
(he means the agents of the police) who crowd the salons and the taverns,
who insinuate themselves everywhere and obstruct everything, should not
have found out the plot, but he could not understand the weakness of the
Duc de Rovigo. The very police which professed to divine everything had
let themselves be taken by surprise." The police possessed no foresight
or faculty of prevention. Every silly thing that transpired was reported
either from malice or stupidity. What was heard was misunderstood or
distorted in the recital, so that the only result of the plan was
mischief and confusion.

The police as a political engine is a dangerous thing. It foments and
encourages more false conspiracies than it discovers or defeats real
ones. Napoleon has related "that M. de la Rochefoucauld formed at Paris
a conspiracy in favour of the King, then at Mittau, the first act of
which was to be the death of the Chief of the Government: The plot being
discovered, a trusty person belonging to the police was ordered to join
it and become one of the most active agents. He brought letters of
recommendation from an old gentleman in Lorraine who had held a
distinguished rank in the army of Conde." After this, what more can be
wanted? A hundred examples could not better show the vileness of such a
system. Napoleon, when fallen, himself thus disclosed the scandalous
means employed by his Government.

Napoleon on one occasion, in the Isle of Elba, said to an officer who was
conversing with him about France, "You believe, then; that the police
agents foresee everything and know everything? They invent more than
they discover. Mine, I believe, was better than that they have got now,
and yet it was often only by mere chance, the imprudence of the parties
implicated, or the treachery of some of them, that something was
discovered after a week or fortnight's exertion." Napoleon, in directing
this officer to transmit letters to him under the cover of a commercial
correspondence, to quiet his apprehensions that the correspondence might
be discovered, said, "Do you think, then, that all letters are opened at
the post office? They would never be able to do so. I have often
endeavoured to discover what the correspondence was that passed under
mercantile forms, but I never succeeded. The post office, like the
police, catches only fools."

Since I am on the subject of political police, that leprosy of modern
society, perhaps I may be allowed to overstep the order of time, and
advert to its state even in the present day.

The Minister of Police, to give his prince a favourable idea of his
activity, contrives great conspiracies, which he is pretty sure to
discover in time, because he is their originator. The inferior agents,
to find favour in the eyes of the Minister, contrive small plots. It
would be difficult to mention a conspiracy which has been discovered,
except when the police agents took part in it, or were its promoters.
It is difficult to conceive how those agents can feed a little intrigue,
the result at first, perhaps, of some petty ill-humour and discontent
which, thanks to their skill, soon becomes a great affair. How many
conspiracies have escaped the boasted activity and vigilance of the
police when none of its agents were parties. I may instance Babeuf's
conspiracy, the attempt at the camp at Grenelle, the 18th Brumaire, the
infernal machine, Mallet, the 20th of March, the affair of Grenoble, and
many others.

The political police, the result of the troubles of the Revolution, has
survived them. The civil police for the security of property, health,
and order, is only made a secondary object, and has been, therefore,
neglected.  There are times in which it is thought of more consequence
to discover whether a citizen goes to mass or confession than to defeat
the designs of a band of robbers. Such a state of things is unfortunate
for a country; and the money expended on a system of superintendence over
persons alleged to be suspected, in domestic inquisitions, in the
corruption of the friends, relations, and servants of the man marked out
for destruction might be much better employed. The espionage of opinion,
created, as I have said, by the revolutionary troubles, is suspicious,
restless, officious, inquisitorial, vexatious, and tyrannical.
Indifferent to crimes and real offences, it is totally absorbed in the
inquisition of thoughts. Who has not heard it said in company, to some
one speaking warmly, "Be moderate, M------ is supposed to belong to the
police." This police enthralled Bonaparte himself in its snares, and
held him a long time under the influence of its power.

I have taken the liberty thus to speak of a scourge of society of which
I have been a victim. What I here state may be relied on. I shall not
speak of the week during which I had to discharge the functions of
Prefect of Police, namely, from the 13th to the 20th of March 1816.
It may well be supposed that though I had not held in abhorrence the
infamous system which I have described, the important nature of the
circumstances and the short period of my administration must have
prevented me from making complete use of the means placed at my disposal.
The dictates of discretion, which I consider myself bound to obey,
forbid me giving proofs of what I advance. What it was necessary to do
I accomplished without employing violent or vexatious means; and I can
take on myself to assert that no one has cause to complain of me. Were I
to publish the list of the persons I had orders to arrest, those of them
who are yet living would be astonished that the only knowledge they had
of my being the Prefect of Police was from the Moniteur. I obtained by
mild measures, by persuasion, and reasoning what I could never have got
by violence. I am not divulging any secrets of office, but I believe I
am rendering a service to the public in pointing out what I have often
observed while an unwilling confidant in the shameful manoeuvres of that
political institution.

The word ideologue was often in Bonaparte's mouth; and in using it he
endeavoured to throw ridicule on those men whom he fancied to have a
tendency towards the doctrine of indefinite perfectibility. He esteemed
them for their morality, yet he looked on them as dreamers seeking for
the type of a universal constitution, and considering the character of
man in the abstract only. The ideologues, according to him, looked for
power in institutions; and that he called metaphysics. He had no idea of
power except in direct force: All benevolent men who speculate on the
amelioration of human society were regarded by Bonaparte as dangerous,
because their maxims and principles were diametrically opposed to the
harsh and arbitrary system he had adopted. He said that their hearts
were better than their heads, and, far from wandering with them in
abstractions, he always said that men were only to be governed by fear
and interest. The free expression of opinion through the press has been
always regarded by those who are not led away by interest or power as
useful to society. But Bonaparte held the liberty of the press in the
greatest horror; and so violent was his passion when anything was urged
in its favour that he seemed to labour under a nervous attack. Great man
as he was, he was sorely afraid of little paragraphs.

   --[Joseph Bonaparte fairly enough remarks on this that such writings
   had done great harm in those extraordinary times (Erreurs, tome i,
   p. 259). Metternich, writing in 1827 with distrust of the
   proceedings of Louis XVIII., quotes, with approval, Napoleon's
   sentiments on this point. "Napoleon, who could not have been
   wanting in the feeling of power, said to me, 'You see me master of
   Prance; well, I would not, undertake to govern her for three months
   with liberty of the press. Louis XVIII., apparently thinking
   himself stronger than Napoleon, is not content with allowing the
   press its freedom, but has embodied its liberty in the charter"
   (Metternich, tome iv, p. 391.)]--



   Successful management of parties--Precautions--Removal from the
   Luxembourg to the Tuileries--Hackney-coaches and the Consul's white
   horses--Royal custom and an inscription--The review--Bonaparte's
   homage to the standards--Talleyrand in Bonaparte's cabinet--
   Bonaparte's aversion to the cap of liberty even in painting--The
   state bed--Our cabinet.

Of the three brothers to whom the 18th Brumaire gave birth Bonaparte
speedily declared himself the eldest, and hastened to assume all the
rights of primogeniture. He soon arrogated to himself the whole power.
The project he had formed, when he favoured the revolution of the 18th
Fructidor, was now about to be realized. It was then an indispensable
part of his plan that the Directory should violate the constitution in
order to justify a subsequent subversion of the Directory. The
expressions which escaped him from time to time plainly showed that his
ambition was not yet satisfied, and that the Consulship was only a state
of probation preliminary to the complete establishment of monarchy.
The Luxembourg was then discovered to be too small for the Chief of the
Government, and it was resolved that Bonaparte should inhabit the
Tuileries. Still great prudence was necessary to avoid the quicksands
which surrounded him! He therefore employed great precaution in dealing
with the susceptibilities of the Republicans, taking care to inure them
gradually to the temperature of absolute power. But this mode of
treatment was not sufficient; for such was Bonaparte's situation between
the Jacobins and the Royalists that he could not strike a blow at one
party without strengthening the other. He, however, contrived to solve
this difficult problem, and weakened both parties by alternately
frightening each. "You see, Royalists," he seemed to say, "if you do not
attach yourselves to my government the Jacobins will again rise and bring
back the reign of terror and its scaffold." To the men of the Revolution
he, on the other hand, said, "See, the counter-Revolution appears,
threatening reprisals and vengeance. It is ready to overwhelm you; my
buckler can alone protect you from its attacks." Thus both parties were
induced, from their mutual fear of each other, to attach themselves to
Bonaparte; and while they fancied they were only placing themselves under
the protection of the Chief of the Government, they were making
themselves dependent on an ambitious man, who, gradually bending them to
his will, guided them as he chose in his political career. He advanced
with a firm step; but he never neglected any artifice to conceal, as long
as possible, his designs.

I saw Bonaparte put in motion all his concealed springs; and I could not
help admiring his wonderful address.

But what most astonished me was the control he possessed over himself, in
repressing any premature manifestation of his intentions which might
prejudice his projects. Thus, for instance, he never spoke of the
Tuileries but under the name of "the Palace of the Government," and he
determined not to inhabit, at first, the ancient palace of the kings of
France alone. He contented himself with selecting the royal apartments,
and proposed that the Third Consul should also reside in the Tuileries,
and in consequence he occupied the Pavilion of Flora. This skilful
arrangement was perfectly in accordance with the designation of "Palace
of the Government" given to the Tuileries, and was calculated to deceive,
for a time; the most clear-sighted.

The moment for leaving the Luxembourg having arrived, Bonaparte still
used many deceptive precautions. The day filed for the translation of
the seat of government was the 30th Pluviose, the previous day having
been selected for publishing the account of the votes taken for the
acceptance of the new Constitution. He had, besides, caused the
insertion in the 'Moniteur' of the eulogy on Washington, pronounced, by
M. de Fontanes, the decadi preceding, to be delayed for ten days. He
thought that the day when he was about to take so large a step towards
monarchy would be well chosen for entertaining the people of Paris with
grand ideas of liberty, and for coupling his own name with that of the
founder of the free government of the United States.

At seven o'clock on the morning of the 30th Pluviuse I entered, as usual,
the chamber of the First Consul. He was in a profound sleep, and this
was one of the days on which I had been desired to allow him to sleep a
little longer than usual. I have often observed that General Bonaparte
appeared much less moved when on the point of executing any great
design--than during the time of projecting it, so accustomed was he
to think that what he had resolved on in his mind, was already done.

When I returned to Bonaparte he said to me, with a marked air of
satisfaction, "Well, Bourrienne, to-night, at last, we shall sleep in the
Tuileries. You are better off than I: you are not obliged to make a
spectacle of yourself, but may go your own road there. I must, however,
go in procession: that disgusts me; but it is necessary to speak to the
eyes. That has a good effect on the people. The Directory was too
simple, and therefore never enjoyed any consideration. In the army
simplicity is in its proper place; but in a great city, in a palace,
the Chief of the Government must attract attention in every possible way,
yet still with prudence. Josephine is going to look out from Lebrun's
apartments; go with her, if you like; but go to the cabinet as soon as
you see me alight from my-horse."

I did not go to the review, but proceeded to the Tuileries, to arrange in
our new cabinet the papers which it was my duty to take care of, and to
prepare everything for the First Consul's arrival. It was not until the
evening that I learned, from the conversation in the salon, where there
was a numerous party, what had taken piece in the course of the day.

At one o'clock precisely Bonaparte left the Luxembourg. The procession
was, doubtless, far from approaching the magnificent parade of the
Empire: but as much pomp was introduced as the state of things in France
permitted. The only real splendour of that period consisted in fine
troops. Three thousand picked men, among whom was the superb regiment of
the Guides, had been ordered out for the occasion: all marched in the
greatest order; with music at the head of each corps. The generals and
their staffs were on horseback, the Ministers in carriages, which were
somewhat remarkable, as they were almost the only private carriages then
in Paris, for hackney-coaches had been hired to convey the Council of
State, and no trouble had been taken to alter them, except by pasting
over the number a piece of paper of the same colour as the body of the
vehicle. The Consul's carriage was drawn by six white horses. With the
sight of those horses was associated the recollection of days of glory
and of peace, for they had been presented to the General-in-Chief of the
army of Italy by the Emperor of Germany after the treaty of Campo-Formio.
Bonaparte also wore the magnificent sabre given him by the Emperor
Francis. With Cambaceres on his left, and Lebrun in the front of the
carriage, the First Consul traversed a part of Paris, taking the Rue de
Thionville; and the Quai Voltaire to the Pont Royal. Everywhere he was
greeted by acclamations of joy, which at that time were voluntary, and
needed not to be commanded by the police.

From the-wicket-of the Carrousel to the gate of the Tuileries the troops
of the Consular Guard were formed in two lines, through which the
procession passed--a royal custom, which made a singular contrast with an
inscription in front of which Bonaparte passed on entering the courtyard.
Two guard-houses had been built, one on the right and another on the left
of the centre gate. On the one to the right were written these words:


It was already re-established!

In the meantime the troops had been drawn up in line in the courtyard.
As soon as the Consul's carriage stopped Bonaparte immediately alighted,
and mounted, or, to speak more properly, leaped on his horse, and
reviewed his troops, while the other two Consuls proceeded to the state
apartments of the Tuileries, where the Council of State and the Ministers
awaited them. A great many ladies, elegantly dressed in Greek costume,
which was then the fashion, were seated with Madame Bonaparte at the
windows of the Third Consul's apartments in the Pavilion of Flora. It is
impossible to give an idea of the immense crowds which flowed in from all
quarters. The windows looking to the Carrousel were let for very large
sums; and everywhere arose, as if from one voice, shouts of "Long live
the First Consul!" Who could help being intoxicated by so much

Bonaparte prolonged the review for some time, passed down all the ranks,
and addressed the commanders of corps in terms of approbation and praise.
He then took his station at the gate of the Tuileries, with Murat on his
right, and Lannes on his left, and behind him a numerous staff of young
warriors, whose complexions had been browned by the sun of Egypt and
Italy, and who had been engaged in more battles than they numbered years
When the colours of the 96th, 43d, and 34th demi-brigades, or rather
their flagstaffs surmounted by some shreds, riddled by balls and
blackened by powder, passed before him, he raised his hat and inclined
his head in token of respect. Every homage thus paid by a great captain
to standards which had been mutilated on the field of battle was saluted
by a thousand acclamations. When the troops had finished defiling before
him, the First Consul, with a firm step, ascended the stairs of the

The General's part being finished for the day, that of the Chief of the
State began; and indeed it might already be said that the First Consul
was the whole Consulate. At the risk of interrupting my narrative of
what occurred on our arrival at the Tuileries, by a digression, which may
be thought out of place, I will relate a fact which had no little weight
in hastening Bonaparte's determination to assume a superiority over his
colleagues. It may be remembered that when Roger Ducos and Sieyes bore
the title of Consuls the three members of the Consular commission were
equal, if not in fact at least in right. But when Cambaceres and Lebrun
took their places, Talleyrand; who had at the same time been appointed to
succeed M. Reinhart as Minister of Foreign Affairs, obtained a private
audience of the First Consul in his cabinet, to which I was admitted.
The observations of Talleyrand on this occasion were highly agreeable to
Bonaparte, and they made too deep an impression on my mind to allow me to
forget them.

"Citizen Consul," said he to him, "you have confided to me the office of
Minister for Foreign Affairs, and I will justify your confidence; but I
must declare to you that from this moment, I will not transact business
with any but yourself. This determination does not proceed from any vain
pride on my part, but is induced, by a desire to serve France. In order
that France may be well governed, in order that there may be a unity of
action in the government, you must be First Consul, and the First Consul
must have the control over all that relates directly to politics; that is
to say, over the Ministry of the Interior, and the Ministry of Police,
for Internal Affairs, and over my department, for Foreign Affairs; and,
lastly, over the two great means of execution, the military and naval
forces. It will therefore be most convenient that the Ministers of those
five departments should transact business with you. The Administration
of Justice and the ordering of the Finances are objects certainly
connected with State politics by numerous links, which, however, are not
of so intimate a nature as those of the other departments. If you will
allow me, General, I should advise that the control over the
Administration of Justice be given to the Second Consul, who is well
versed in jurisprudence; and to the Third Consul, who is equally well
acquainted with Finance, the control over that department. That will
occupy and amuse them, and you, General, having at your disposal all the
vital parts of the government, will be able to reach the end you aim at,
the regeneration of France."

Bonaparte did not hear these remarkable words with indifference. They
were too much in accordance with his own secret wishes to be listened to
without pleasure; and he said to me as soon as Talleyrand had taken
leave, "Do you know, Bourrienne, I think Talleyrand gives good advice.
He is a man of great understanding."--"Such is the opinion," I replied,
"of all who know him."--"He is perfectly right." Afterwards he added,
smiling, "Tallyrand is evidently a shrewd man. He has penetrated my
designs. What he advises you know I am anxious to do. But again I say,
he is right; one gets on quicker by oneself. Lebrun is a worthy man, but
he has no policy in his head; he is a book-maker. Cambaceres carries
with him too many traditions of the Revolution. My government must be an
entirely new one."

Talleyrand's advice had been so punctually followed that even on the
occasion of the installation of the Consular Government, while Bonaparte
was receiving all the great civil and military officers of the State in
the hall of presentation, Cambaceres and Lebrun stood by more like
spectators of the scene than two colleagues of the First Consul. The
Minister of the Interior presented the civil authorities of Paris; the
Minister of War, the staff of the 17th military division; the Minister of
Marine, several naval officers; and the staff of the Consular Guard was
presented by Murat. As our Consular republicans were not exactly
Spartans, the ceremony of the presentations was followed by grand
dinner-parties. The First Consul entertained at his table, the two other
Consuls, the Ministers, and the Presidents of the great bodies of the
State. Murat treated the heads of the army; and the members of the
Council of State, being again seated in their hackney-coaches with
covered numbers, drove off to dine with Lucien.

Before taking possession of the Tuileries we had frequently gone there to
see that the repairs, or rather the whitewashing, which Bonaparte had
directed to be done, was executed. On our first visit, seeing a number
of red caps of liberty painted on the walls, he said to M. Lecomte, at
that time the architect in charge, "Get rid of all these things; I do not
like to see such rubbish."

The First Consul gave directions himself for what little alterations he
wanted in his own apartments. A state bed--not that of Louis XVI.--was
placed in the chamber next his cabinet, on the south side, towards the
grand staircase of the Pavilion of Flora. I may as well mention here
that he very seldom occupied that hed, for Bonaparte was very simple in
his manner of living in private, and was not fond of state, except as a
means of imposing on mankind. At the Luxembourg, at Malmaison, and
during the first period that he occupied the Tuileries, Bonaparte, if I
may speak in the language of common life, always slept with his wife.
He went every evening down to Josephine by a small staircase leading from
a wardrobe attached to his cabinet, and which had formerly been the
chapel of Maria de Medici. I never went to Bonaparte's bedchamber but
by this staircase; and when he came to our cabinet it was always by the
wardrobe which I have mentioned. The door opened opposite the only
window of our room, and it commanded a view of the garden.

As for our cabinet, where so many great, and also small events were
prepared, and where I passed so many hours of my life, I can, even now,
give the most minute description of it to those who like such details.

There were two tables. The best, which was the First Consul's, stood in
the middle of the room, and his armchair was turned with its back to the
fireplace, having the window on the right. To the right of this again
was a little closet where Duroc sat, through which we could communicate
with the clerk of the office and the grand apartments of the Court.
When the First Consul was seated at his table in his chair (the arms of
which he so frequently mutilated with his penknife) he had a large
bookcase opposite to him. A little to the right, on one side of the
bookcase, was another door, opening into the cabinet which led directly
to the state bedchamber which I have mentioned. Thence we passed into
the grand Presentation Saloon, on the ceiling of which Lebrun had painted
a likeness of Louis XIV. A tri-coloured cockade placed on the forehead
of the great King still bore witness of the imbecile turpitude of the
Convention. Lastly came the hall of the Guards, in front of the grand
staircase of the Pavilion of Flora.

My writing-table, which was extremely plain, stood near the window, and
in summer I had a view of the thick foliage of the chestnut-trees; but in
order to see the promenaders in the garden I was obliged to raise myself
from my seat. My back was turned to the General's side, so that it
required only a slight movement of the head to speak to each other.
Duroc was seldom in his little cabinet, and that was the place where I
gave some audiences. The Consular cabinet, which afterwards became the
Imperial, has left many impressions on my mind; and I hope the reader, in
going through these volumes, will not think that they have been of too
slight a description.



   The Tuileries--Royalty in perspective--Remarkable observation--
   Presentations--Assumption of the prerogative of mercy--M. Defeu--
   M. de Frotte--Georges Cadondal's audience of Bonaparte--Rapp's
   precaution and Bonaparte's confidence--The dignity of France--
   Napper Tandy and Blackwell delivered up by the Senate of Hamburg--
   Contribution in the Egyptian style--Valueless bill--Fifteen thousand
   francs in the drawer of a secretaire--Josephine's debts--Evening
   walks with Bonaparte.

The morning after that ardently wished-for day on which we took
possession of the Palace of the Kings of France I observed to Bonaparte
on entering his chamber, "Well, General, you have got here without much
difficulty, and with the applause of the people! Do you remember what
you said to me in the Rue St. Anne nearly two years ago?"--"Ay, true
enough, I recollect. You see what it is to have the mind set on a thing.
Only two years have gone by! Don't you think we have not worked badly
since that time? Upon the whole I am very well content. Yesterday
passed off well. Do you imagine that all those who came to flatter me
were sincere? No, certainly not: but the joy of the people was real.
They know what is right. Besides, consult the grand thermometer of
opinion, the price of the funds: on the 17th Brumaire at 11 francs, on
the 20th at 16 and to-day at 21. In such a state of things I may let the
Jacobins prate as they like. But let them not talk too loudly either!"

As soon as he was dressed we went to look through the Gallery of Diana
and examine the statues which had been placed there by his orders. We
ended our morning's work by taking complete possession of our new
residence. I recollect Bonaparte saying to me, among other things, "To
be at the Tuileries, Bourrienne, is not all. We must stay here. Who, in
Heaven's name, has not already inhabited this palace? Ruffians,
conventionalists! But hold! there is your brother's house! Was it not
from those windows I saw the Tuileries besieged, and the good Louis XVI.
carried off? But be assured they will not come here again!"

The Ambassadors and other foreign Ministers then in Paris were presented
to the First Consul at a solemn audience. On this occasion all the
ancient ceremonials belonging to the French Court were raked up, and in
place of chamberlains and a grand master of ceremonies a Counsellor of
State, M. Benezech, who was once Minister for Foreign Affairs,

When the Ambassadors had all arrived M. Benezech conducted them into the
cabinet, in which were the three Consuls, the Ministers, and the Council
of State. The Ambassadors presented their credentials to the First
Consul, who handed them to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. These
presentations were followed by others; for example, the Tribunal of
Cassation, over which the old advocate, Target, who refused to defend
Louis XVI., then presided. All this passed in view of the three Consuls;
but the circumstance which distinguished the First Consul from his
colleagues was, that the official personages, on leaving the
audience-chamber, were conducted to Madame Bonaparte's apartments, in
imitation of the old practice of waiting on the Queen after presentation
to the King.

Thus old customs of royalty crept by degrees into the former abodes of
royalty. Amongst the rights attached to the Crown, and which the
Constitution of the year VIII. did not give to the First Consul, was one
which he much desired to possess, and which, by the most happy of all
usurpations, he arrogated to himself. This was the right of granting
pardon. Bonaparte felt a real pleasure in saving men under the sentence
of the law; and whenever the imperious necessity of his policy, to which,
in truth, he sacrificed everything, permitted it, he rejoiced in the
exercise of mercy. It would seem as if he were thankful to the persons
to whom he rendered such service merely because he had given them
occasion to be thankful to him. Such was the First Consul: I do not
speak of the Emperor. Bonaparte, the First Consul, was accessible to the
solicitations of friendship in favour of persons placed under
proscription. The following circumstance, which interested me much,
affords an incontestable proof of what I state:--

Whilst we were still at the Luxembourg, M. Defeu, a French emigrant, was
taken in the Tyrol with arms in his hand by the troops of the Republic.
He was carried to Grenoble, and thrown into the military prison of that
town. In the course of January General Ferino, then commanding at
Grenoble, received orders to put the young emigrant on his trial. The
laws against emigrants taken in arms were terrible, and the judges dared
not be indulgent. To be tried in the morning, condemned in the course of
the day, and shot in the evening, was the usual course of those
implacable proceedings. One of my cousins, the daughter of M.
Poitrincourt, came from Sens to Paris to inform me of the dreadful
situation of M. Defeu. She told me that he was related to the most
respectable families of the town of Sens, and that everybody felt the
greatest interest in his fate.

I had escaped for a few moments to keep the appointment I made with
Mademoiselle Poitrincourt. On my return I perceived the First Consul
surprised at finding himself alone in the cabinet, which I was not in the
habit of quitting without his knowledge. "Where have you been?" said he.
"I have been to see one of my relations, who solicits a favour of
you."--"What is it?" I then informed him of the unfortunate situation
of M. Defeu. His first answer was dreadful. "No pity! no pity for
emigrants! Whoever fights against his country is a child who tries to
kill his mother!" This first burst of anger being over, I returned to
the charge. I urged the youth of M. Defeu, and the good effect which
clemency would produce. "Well," said he, "write--

   "The First Consul orders the judgment on M. Defeu to be suspended."

He signed this laconic order, which I instantly despatched to General
Ferino. I acquainted my cousin with what had passed, and remained at
ease as to the result of the affair.

Scarcely had I entered the chamber of the First Consul the next morning
when he said to me, "Well, Bourrienne, you say nothing about your M.
Defeu. Are you satisfied?"--"General, I cannot find terms to express my
gratitude."--"Ah, bah! But I do not like to do things by halves. Write
to Ferino that I wish M. Defeu to be instantly set at liberty. Perhaps I
am serving one who will prove ungrateful. Well, so much the worse for
him. As to these matters, Bourrienne, always ask them from me. When I
refuse, it is because I cannot help it."

I despatched at my own expense an extraordinary courier, who arrived in
time to save M. Defeu's life. His mother, whose only son he was, and M.
Blanchet, his uncle, came purposely from Sens to Paris to express their
gratitude to me. I saw tears of joy fall from the eyes of a mother who
had appeared to be destined to shed bitter drops, and I said to her as I
felt, "that I was amply recompensed by the success which had attended my

Emboldened by this success, and by the benevolent language of the First
Consul, I ventured to request the pardon of M. de Frotte, who was
strongly recommended to me by most honourable persons. Comte Louis de
Frotte had at first opposed all negotiation for the pacification of La
Vendee. At length, by a series of unfortunate combats, he was, towards
the end of January, reduced to the necessity of making himself the
advances which he had rejected when made by others. At this period he
addressed a letter to General Guidal, in which he offered pacificatory
proposals. A protection to enable him to repair to Alencon was
transmitted to him. Unfortunately for M. de Frotte, he did not confine
himself to writing to General Guidal, for whilst the safe-conduct which
he had asked was on the way to him, he wrote to his lieutenants, advising
them not to submit or consent to be disarmed. This letter was
intercepted. It gave all the appearance of a fraudulent stratagem to his
proposal to treat for peace. Besides, this opinion appeared to be
confirmed by a manifesto of M. de Frotte, anterior, it is true, to the
offers of pacification, but in which he announced to all his partisans
the approaching end of Bonaparte's "criminal enterprise."

I had more trouble than in M: Defeu's case to induce the First Consul to
exercise his clemency. However, I pressed him so much, I laboured so
hard to convince him of the happy effect of such indulgence, that at
length I obtained an order to suspend the judgment. What a lesson I then
experienced of the evil which may result from the loss of time! Not
supposing that matters were so far advanced as they were, I did not
immediately send off the courier with the order for the suspension of the
judgment. Besides, the Minister-of-Police had marked his victim, and he
never lost time when evil was to be done. Having, therefore, I know not
for what motive, resolved on the destruction of M. de Frotte, he sent an
order to hasten his trial.

Comte Louis de Frotte was brought to trial on the 28th Pluviose,
condemned the same day, and executed the next morning, the day before we
entered the Tuileries. The cruel precipitation of the Minister rendered
the result of my solicitations abortive. I had reason to think that
after the day on which the First Consul granted me the order for delay he
had received some new accusation against M. de Frotte, for when he heard
of his death he appeared to me very indifferent about the tardy arrival
of the order for suspending judgment. He merely said to me, with unusual
insensibility, "You should take your measures better. You see it is not
my fault."

Though Bonaparte put no faith in the virtue of men, he had confidence in
their honour. I had proof of this in a matter which deserves to be
recorded in history. When, during the first period of our abode at the
Tuileries, he had summoned the principal chiefs of, La Vendee to
endeavour to bring about the pacification of that unhappy country; he
received Georges Cadoudal in a private audience. The disposition in
which I beheld him the evening before the day appointed for this audience
inspired me with the most flattering hopes. Rapp introduced Georges into
the grand salon looking into the garden. Rapp left him alone with the
First Consul, but on returning to the cabinet where I was he did not
close either of the two doors of the state bedchamber which separated the
cabinet from the salon. We saw the First Consul and Georges walk from
the window to the bottom of the salon--then return--then go back again.
This lasted for a long time. The conversation appeared very animated,
and we heard several things, but without any connection. There was
occasionally a good deal of ill-humour displayed in their tone and
gestures. The interview ended in nothing. The First Consul, perceiving
that Georges entertained some apprehensions for his personal safety, gave
him assurances of security in the most noble manner, saying, "You take a
wrong view of things, and are wrong in not coming to some understanding;
but if you persist in wishing to return to your country you shall depart
as freely as you came to Paris." When Bonaparte returned to his cabinet
he said to Rapp, "Tell me, Rapp, why you left these doors open, and
stopped with Bourrienne?" Rapp replied, "If you had closed the doors I
would have opened them again. Do you think I would have left you alone
with a man like that? There would have been danger in it."--"No, Rapp,"
said Bonaparte, "you cannot think so." When we were alone the First
Consul appeared pleased with Rapp's attachment, but very vexed at
Georges' refusal. He said, "He does not take a correct view of things;
but the extravagance of his principles has its source in noble
sentiments, which must give him great influence over his countrymen.
It is necessary, however, to bring this business soon to an end."

Of all the actions of Louis XIV. that which Bonaparte most admired was
his having made the Doge of Genoa send ambassadors to Paris to apologise
to him. The slightest insult offered in a foreign country to the rights
and dignity of France put Napoleon beside himself. This anxiety to have
the French Government respected exhibited itself in an affair which made
much noise at the period, but which was amicably arranged by the soothing
influence of gold.

Two Irishmen, Napper Tandy and Blackwell, who had been educated in
France, and whose names and rank as officers appeared in the French army
list, had retired to Hamburg. The British Government claimed them as
traitors to their country, and they were given up; but, as the French
Government held them to be subjects of France, the transaction gave rise
to bitter complaints against the Senate of Hamburg.

Blackwell had been one of the leaders of the united Irishmen. He had
procured his naturalisation in France, and had attained the rank, of chef
d'escadrou. Being sent on a secret mission to Norway, the ship in which
he was embarked was wrecked on the coast of that kingdom. He then
repaired to Hamburg, where the Senate placed him under arrest on the
demand of Mr. Crawford, the English Minister. After being detained in
prison a whole year he was conveyed to England to be tried. The French
Government interfered, and preserved, if not, his liberty, at least his

Napper Tandy was also an Irishman. To escape the search made after him,
on account of the sentiments of independence which had induced him to
engage in the contest for the liberty of his country, he got on board a
French brig, intending to land at Hamburg and pass into Sweden. Being
exempted from the amnesty by the Irish Parliament, he was claimed by the
British Government, and the Senators of Hamburg forgot honour and
humanity in their alarm at the danger which at that moment menaced their
little republic both from England and France. The Senate delivered up
Napper Tandy; he was carried to Ireland, and condemned to death, but owed
the suspension of his execution to the interference of France. He
remained two years in prison, when M. Otto, who negotiated with Lord
Hawkesbury the preliminaries of peace, obtained the release of Napper
Tandy, who was sent back to France.

The First Consul spoke at first of signal vengeance; but the Senate of
Hamburg sent him a memorial, justificatory of its conduct, and backed the
apology with a sum of four millions and a half, which mollified him
considerably. This was in some sort a recollection of Egypt--one of
those little contributions with which the General had familiarised the
pashas; with this difference, that on the present occasion not a single
sous went into the national treasury. The sum was paid to the First
Consul through the hands of M. Chapeau Rouge.

   --[A solemn deputation from the Senate arrived at the Tuileries to
   make public apologies to Napoleon. He again testified his
   indignation: and when the envoys urged their weakness he said to
   them. "Well and had you not the resource of weak states? was it not
   in your power to let them escape?" (Napoleon's Memoirs).]--

I kept the four millions and a half in Dutch bonds in a secretaire for a
week. Bonaparte then determined to distribute them; after paying
Josephine's debts, and the whole of the great expenses incurred at
Malmaison, he dictated to me a list of persons to whom he wished to make
presents. My name did not escape his lips, and consequently I had not
the trouble to transcribe it; but some time after he said to me, with the
most engaging kindness, "Bourrienne, I have given you none of the money
which came from Hamburg, but I will make you amends for it." He took
from his drawer a large and broad sheet of printed paper, with blanks
filled up in his own handwriting, and said to me, "Here is a bill for
300,000 Italian livres on the Cisalpine Republic, for the price of cannon
furnished. It is endorsed Halter and Collot--I give it you." To make
this understood, I ought to state that cannon had been sold to the
Cisalpine. Republic, for the value of which the Administrator-general of
the Italian finances drew on the Republic, and the bills were paid over
to M. Collot, a provision contractor, and other persons. M. Collot had
given one of these bills for 300,000 livres to Bonaparte in quittance of
a debt, but the latter had allowed the bill to run out without troubling
himself about it. The Cisalpine Republic kept the cannons and the money,
and the First Consul kept his bill. When I had examined it I said,
"General, it has been due for a long time; why have you not got it paid?
The endorsers are no longer liable."--"France is bound to discharge debts
of this kind;" said he; "send the paper to de Fermont: he will discount
it for three per cent. You will not have in ready money more than about
9000 francs of renters, because the Italian livre is not equal to the
franc." I thanked him, and sent the bill to M. de Fermont. He replied
that the claim was bad, and that the bill would not be liquidated because
it did not come within the classifications made by the laws passed in the
months the names of which terminated in 'aire, ose, al, and or'.

I showed M. de Fermont's answer to the First Consul, who said, "Ah, bah!
He understands nothing about it--he is wrong: write." He then dictated a
letter, which promised very favourably for the discounting of the bill;
but the answer was a fresh refusal. I said, "General, M. de Fermont does
not attend to you any more than to myself." Bonaparte took the letter,
read it, and said, in the tone of a man who knew beforehand what he was
about to be, informed of, "Well, what the devil would you have me do,
since the laws are opposed to it? Persevere; follow the usual modes of
liquidation, and something will come of it!" What finally happened was,
that by a regular decree this bill was cancelled, torn, and deposited in
the archives. These 300,000 livres formed part of the money which
Bonaparte brought from Italy. If the bill was useless to me it was also
useless to him. This scrap of paper merely proves that he brought more.
than 25,000 francs from Italy.

I never had, from the General-in-Chief of the army of Italy, nor from the
General in-Chief of the army of, Egypt, nor from the First Consul, for
ten years, nor from the Consul for life, any fixed salary: I took from
his drawer what was necessary for my expenses as well as his own: He
never asked me for any account. After the transaction of the bill on the
insolvent Cisalpine Republic he said to me, at the beginning of the
winter of 1800, "Bourrienne, the weather, is becoming very bad; I will go
but seldom to Malmaison. Whilst I am at council get my papers and little
articles from Malmaison; here is the key of my secretaire, take out
everything that is there." I, got into the carriage at two o'clock and
returned at six. When he had dined I placed upon the table of his
cabinet the various articles which I had found in his secretaire
including 15,000 francs (somewhere about L 600 of English money) in
banknotes which were in the corner of a little drawer. When he looked at
them he said, "Here is money--what is the meaning of this?" I replied,
"I know nothing about it, except that it was in your secretaire."--
"Oh yes; I had forgotten it. It was for my trifling expenses. Here,
take it." I remembered well that one summer morning he had given me his
key to bring him two notes of 1000 francs for some incidental expense,
but I had no idea that he had not drawn further on his little treasure.

I have stated the appropriation of the four millions and a half, the
result of the extortion inflicted on the Senate of Hamburg, in the affair
of Napper Tandy and Blackwell.

The whole, however, Was not disposed of in presents. A considerable
portion was reserved fob paying Josephine's debts, and this business
appears to me to deserve some remarks.

The estate of Malmaison had cost 160,000 francs. Josephine had purchased
it of M. Lecouteuix while we were in Egypt. Many embellishments, and
some new buildings, had been made there; and a park had been added, which
had now become beautiful. All this could not be done for nothing, and
besides, it was very necessary that what was due for the original
purchase should be entirely discharged; and this considerable item was
not the only debt of Josephine. The creditors murmured, which had a bad
effect in Paris; and I confess I was so well convinced that the First
Consul would be extremely displeased that I constantly delayed the moment
of speaking to him on the subject. It was therefore with extreme
satisfaction I learned that M. de Talleyrand had anticipated me. No
person was more capable than himself of gilding the pill, as one may say,
to Bonaparte. Endowed with as much independence of character as of mind,
he did him the service, at the risk of offending him, to tell him that a
great number of creditors expressed their discontent in bitter complaints
respecting the debts contracted by Madame Bonaparte during his expedition
to the East. Bonaparte felt that his situation required him promptly to
remove the cause of such complaints. It was one night about half-past
eleven o'clock that M. Talleyrand introduced this delicate subject. As
soon he was gone I entered the little cabinet; Bonaparte said to me,
"Bourrienne, Talleyrand has been speaking to me about the debts of my
Wife. I have the money from Hamburg--ask her the exact amount of her
debts: let her confess all. I wish to finish, and not begin again. But
do not pay without showing me the bills of those rascals: they are a gang
of robbers."

Hitherto the apprehension of an unpleasant scene, the very idea of which
made Josephine tremble, had always prevented me from broaching this
subject to the First Consul; but, well pleased that Talleyrand had first
touched upon it, I resolved to do all in my power to put an end to the
disagreeable affair.

The next morning I saw Josephine. She was at first delighted with her
husband's intentions; but this feeling did not last long. When I asked
her for an exact account of what she owed she entreated me not to press
it, but content myself with what she should confess. I said to her,
"Madame, I cannot deceive you respecting the disposition of the First
Consul. He believes that you owe a considerable sum, and is willing to
discharge it. You will, I doubt not, have to endure some bitter
reproaches, and a violent scene; but the scene will be just the same for
the whole as for a part. If you conceal a large proportion of your debts
at the end of some time murmurs will recommence, they will reach the ears
of the First Consul, and his anger will display itself still more
strikingly. Trust to me--state all; the result will be the same; you
will hear but once the disagreeable things he will say to you; by
reservations you will renew them incessantly." Josephine said, "I can
never tell all; it is impossible. Do me the service to keep secret what
I say to you. I owe, I believe, about 1,200,000 francs, but I wish to
confess only 600,000; I will contract no more debts, and will pay the
rest little by little out of my savings."--"Here, Madame, my first
observations recur. As I do not believe he estimates your debts at so
high a sum as 600,000 francs, I can warrant that you will not experience
more displeasure for acknowledging to 1,200,000 than to 600,000; and by
going so far you will get rid of them for ever."--"I can never do it,
Bourrienne; I know him; I can never support his violence." After a
quarter of an hour's further discussion on the subject I was obliged to
yield to her earnest solicitation, and promise to mention only the
600,000 francs to the First Consul.

The anger and ill-humour of Bonaparte may be imagined. He strongly
suspected that his wife was dissembling in some respect; but he said,
"Well, take 600,000 francs, but liquidate the debts for that sum, and let
me hear nothing more on the subject. I authorise you to threaten these
tradesmen with paying nothing if they, do not reduce their enormous
charges. They ought to be taught not to be so ready in giving credit."
Madame Bonaparte gave me all her bills. The extent to which the articles
had been overcharged, owing to the fear of not being paid for a long
period, and of deductions being made from the amount, was inconceivable.
It appeared to me, also, that there must be some exaggeration in the
number of articles supplied. I observed in the milliner's bill
thirty-eight new hats, of great price, in one month. There was likewise
a charge of 1800 francs for heron plumes, and 800 francs for perfumes. I
asked Josephine whether she wore out two hats in one day? She objected
to this charge for the hats, which she merely called a mistake. The
impositions which the saddler attempted, both in the extravagance of his
prices and in charging for articles which he had not furnished, were
astonishing. I need say nothing of the other tradesmen, it was the same
system of plunder throughout.

I availed myself fully of the First Consul's permission, and spared
neither reproaches nor menaces. I am ashamed to say that the greater
part of the tradesmen were contented with the half of what they demanded.
One of them received 35,000 francs for a bill of 80,000; and he had the
impudence to tell me that he made a good profit nevertheless. Finally, I
was fortunate enough, after the most vehement disputes, to settle
everything for 600,000 francs. Madame Bonaparte, however, soon fell
again into the same excesses, but fortunately money became more
plentiful. This inconceivable mania of spending money was almost the
sole cause of her unhappiness. Her thoughtless profusion occasioned
permanent disorder in her household until the period of Bonaparte's
second marriage, when, I am informed, she became regular in her
expenditure. I could not say so of her when she was Empress in 1804.

   --[Notwithstanding her husband's wish, she could never bring her
   establishment into any order or rule. He wished that no tradesmen
   should ever reach her, but he was forced to yield on this point.
   The small inner roams were filled with them, as with artists of all
   sorts. She had a mania for having herself painted, and gave her
   portraits to whoever wished for one, relations, 'femmes de chambre',
   even to tradesmen. They never ceased bringing her diamonds, jewels,
   shawls, materials for dresses, and trinkets of all kinds; she bought
   everything without ever asking the price; and generally forgot what
   she had purchased. . . All the morning she had on a shawl which
   she draped on her shoulders with a grace I have seen in no one else.
   Bonaparte, who thought her shawls covered her too much, tore them
   off, and sometimes threw them into the fire; then she sent for
   another (Remusat, tome ii. pp. 343-345). After the divorce her
   income, large as it was, was insufficient, but the Emperor was more
   compassionate then, and when sending the Comte Mollien to settle her
   affairs gave him strict orders "not to make her weep" (Meneval,
   tome iii. p.237)]--

The amiable Josephine had not less ambition in little thins than her
husband had in great. She felt pleasure in acquiring and not in
possessing. Who would suppose it? She grew tired of the beauty of the
park of Malmaison, and was always asking me to take her out on the high
road, either in the direction of Nanterre, or on that of Marly, in the
midst of the dust occasioned by the passing of carriages. The noise of
the high road appeared to her preferable to the calm silence of the
beautiful avenues of the park, and in this respect Hortense had the same
taste as her mother. This whimsical fancy astonished Bonaparte, and he
was sometimes vexed at it. My intercourse with Josephine was delightful;
for I never saw a woman who so constantly entered society with such an
equable disposition, or with so much of the spirit of kindness, which is
the first principle of amiability. She was so obligingly attentive as to
cause a pretty suite of apartments to be prepared at Malmaison for me and
my family.

She pressed me earnestly, and with all her known grace, to accept it; but
almost as much a captive at Paris as a prisoner of state, I wished to
have to myself in the country the moments of liberty I was permitted to
enjoy. Yet what was this liberty? I had bought a little house at Ruel,
which I kept during two years and a half. When I saw my friends there,
it had to be at midnight, of at five o'clock in the morning; and the
First Consul would often send for me in the night when couriers arrived.
It was for this sort of liberty I refused Josephine's kind offer.
Bonaparte came once to see me in my retreat at Ruel, but Josephine and
Hortense came often: It was a favourite walk with these ladies.

At Paris I was less frequently absent from Bonaparte than at Malmaison.
We sometimes in the evening walked together in the garden of the
Tuileries after the gates were closed. In these evening walks he always
wore a gray greatcoat, and a round hat. I was directed to answer,
"The First Consul," to the sentinel's challenge of, "Who goes there?"
These promenades, which were of much benefit to Bonaparte, and me also,
as a relaxation from our labours, resembled those which we had at
Malmaison. As to our promenades in the city, they were often very

At the period of our first inhabiting the Tuileries, when I saw Bonaparte
enter the cabinet at eight o'clock in the evening in his gray coat, I
knew he would say, "Bourrienne, come and take a turn." Sometimes, then,
instead of going out by the garden arcade, we would take the little gate
which leads from the court to the apartments of the Due d'Angouleme. He
would take my arm, and we would go to buy articles of trifling value in
the shops of the Rue St. Honore; but we did not extend our excursions
farther than Rue de l'Arbre Sec. Whilst I made the shopkeeper exhibit
before us the articles which I appeared anxious to buy he played his part
in asking questions.

Nothing was more amusing than to see him endeavouring to imitate the
careless and jocular tone of the young men of fashion. How awkward was
he in the attempt to put on dandy airs when pulling up the corners of his
cravat he would say, "Well, Madame, is there anything new to-day?
Citizen, what say they of Bonaparte? Your shop appears to be well
supplied. You surely have a great deal of custom. What do people say of
that buffoon; Bonaparte?" He was made quite happy one day when we were
obliged to retire hastily from a shop to avoid the attacks drawn upon us
by the irreverent tone in which Bonaparte spoke of the First Consul.



   War and monuments--Influence of the recollections of Egypt--
   First improvements in Paris--Malmaison too little--St. Cloud taken
   --The Pont des Arts--Business prescribed for me by Bonaparte--
   Pecuniary remuneration--The First Consul's visit to the Pritanee--
   His examination of the pupils--Consular pensions--Tragical death of
   Miackzinski--Introduction of vaccination--Recall of the members of
   the Constituent Assembly--The "canary" volunteers--Tronchet and
   Target--Liberation of the Austrian prisoners--Longchamps and sacred

The destruction of men and the construction of monuments were two things
perfectly in unison in the mind of Bonaparte. It may be said that his
passion for monuments almost equalled his passion for war;

   --[Take pleasure, if you can, in reading your returns. The good
   condition of my armies is owing to my devoting to them one or two
   hours in every day. When the monthly returns of my armies and of my
   fleets, which form twenty thick volumes, are sent to me. I give up
   every other occupation in order to read them in detail and to
   observe the difference between one monthly return and another.
   No young girl enjoys her novel so much as I do these returns!
   (Napoleon to Joseph, 20th August 1806--Du Casse, tome iii.
   p. 145).]--

but as in all things he disliked what was little and mean, so he liked
vast constructions and great battles. The sight of the colossal ruins of
the monuments of Egypt had not a little contributed to augment his
natural taste for great structures. It was not so much the monuments
themselves that he admired, but the historical recollections they
perpetuate the great names they consecrate, the important events they
attest. What should he have cared for the column which we beheld on our
arrival in Alexandria had it not been Pompey's pillar? It is for artists
to admire or censure its proportions and ornaments, for men of learning
to explain its inscriptions; but the name of Pompey renders it an object
of interest to all.

When endeavouring to sketch the character of Bonaparte, I ought to have
noticed his taste for monuments, for without this characteristic trait
something essential is wanting to the completion of the portrait. This
taste, or, as it may more properly be called, this passion for monuments,
exercised no small influence on his thoughts and projects of glory; yet
it did not deter him from directing attention to public improvements; of
a less ostentatious kind. He wished for great monuments to perpetuate
the recollection of his glory; but at the same time he knew how to
appreciate all that was truly useful. He could very rarely be reproached
for rejecting any plan without examination; and this examination was a
speedy affair, for his natural tact enabled him immediately to see things
in their proper light.

Though most of the monuments and embellishments of Paris are executed
from the plans of men of talent, yet some owe their origin to
circumstances merely accidental. Of this I can mention an example.

I was standing at the window of Bonaparte's' cabinet, which looked into
the garden of the Tuileries. He had gone out, and I took advantage of
his absence to arise from my chair, for I was tired of sitting. He had
scarcely been gone a minute when he unexpectedly returned to ask me for a
paper. "What are you doing there, Bourrienne? I'll wager anything you
are admiring the ladies walking on the terrace."--"Why, I must confess I
do sometimes amuse myself in that way," replied I; "but I assure you,
General, I was now thinking of something else. I was looking at that
villainous left bank of the Seine, which always annoys me with the gaps
in its dirty quay, and the floodings which almost every winter prevent
communication with the Faubourg St. Germain; and I was thinking I would
speak to you on the subject." He approached the window, and, looking
out, said, "You are right, it is very ugly; and very offensive to see
dirty linen washed before our windows. Here, write immediately: 'The
quay of the Ecole de Natation is to be finished during next campaign.'
Send that order to the Minister of the Interior." The quay was finished
the year following.

An instance of the enormous difference which frequently appears between
the original estimates of architects and their subsequent accounts I may
mention what occurred in relation to the Palace of St. Cloud. But I must
first say a word about the manner in which Bonaparte originally refused
and afterwards took possession of the Queen's pleasure-house. Malmaison
was a suitable country residence for Bonaparte as long as he remained
content with his town apartments in the little Luxembourg; but that
Consular 'bagatelle' was too confined in comparison with the spacious
apartments in the Tuileries. The inhabitants of St. Cloud, well-advised,
addressed a petition to the Legislative Body, praying that their deserted
chateau might be made the summer residence of the First Consul. The
petition was referred to the Government; but Bonaparte, who was not yet
Consul for life, proudly declared that so long as he was at the head of
affairs, and, indeed, for a year afterwards, he would accept no national
recompense. Sometime after we went to visit the palace of the 18th
Brumaire. Bonaparte liked it exceedingly, but all was in a, state of
complete dilapidation. It bore evident marks of the Revolution. The
First Consul did not wish, as yet, to burden the budget of the State with
his personal expenses, and he was alarmed at the enormous sum required to
render St. Cloud habitable. Flattery had not yet arrived at the degree
of proficiency which it subsequently attained; but even then his
flatterers boldly assured him he might take possession of St. Cloud for
25,000 francs. I told the First Consul that considering the ruinous
state of the place, I could to say that the expense would amount to more
than 1,200,000 francs. Bonaparte determined to have a regular estimate
of the expense, and it amounted to nearly 3,000,000. He thought it a
great sum; but as he had resolved to make St. Cloud his residence he gave
orders for commencing the repairs, the expense of which, independently of
the furniture, amounted to 6,000,000. So much for the 3,000,000 of the
architect and the 25,000 francs of the flatterers.

When the First Consul contemplated the building of the Pont des Arts we
had a long conversation on the subject. I observed that it would be much
better to build the bridge of stone. "The first object of monuments of
this kind," said I, "is public utility. They require solidity of
appearance, and their principal merit is duration. I cannot conceive,
General, why, in a country where there is abundance of fine stone of
every quality, the use of iron should be preferred."--"Write," said
Bonaparte, "to Fontaine and Percier, the architects, and ask what they
think of it." I wrote and they stated in their answer that "bridges were
intended for public utility and the embellishment of cities. The
projected bridge between the Louvre and the Quatre-Nations would
unquestionably fulfil the first of these objects, as was proved by the
great number of persons who daily crossed the Seine at that point in
boats; that the site fixed upon between the Pont Neuf and the Tuileries
appeared to be the best that could be chosen for the purpose; and that on
the score of ornament Paris would gain little by the construction of an
iron bridge, which would be very narrow, and which, from its light form,
would not correspond with the grandeur of the two bridges between which
it would be placed."

When we had received the answer of MM. Percier and Fontaine, we again had
a conversation on the subject of the bridge. I told the First Consul
that I perfectly concurred in the opinion of MM. Fontame and Percier; how
ever, he would have his own way, and thus was authorised the construction
of the toy which formed a communication between the Louvre and the
Institute. But no sooner was the Pont des Arts finished than Bonaparte
pronounced it to be mean and out of keeping with the other bridges above
and below it. One day when visiting the Louvre he stopped at one of the
windows looking towards the Pout des Arts and said, "There is no
solidity, no grandeur about that bridge. In England, where stone is
scarce, it is very natural that iron should be used for arches of large
dimensions. But the case is different in France, where the requisite
material is abundant."

The infernal machine of the 3d Nivose, of which I shall presently speak
more at length, was the signal for vast changes in the quarter of the
Tuileries. That horrible attempt was at least so far attended by happy
results that it contributed to the embellishment of Paris. It was
thought more advisable for the Government to buy and pull down the houses
which had been injured by the machine than to let them be put under
repair. As an example of Bonaparte's grand schemes in building I may
mention that, being one day at the Louvre, he pointed towards St. Germain
l'Auxerrois and said to me, "That is where I will build an imperial
street. It shall run from here to the Barriere du Trone. It shall be a
hundred feet broad, and have arcades and plantations. This street shall
be the finest in the world."

The palace of the King of Rome, which was to face the Pont de Jena and
the Champ de Mars, would have been in some measure isolated from Paris,
with which, however, it was to be connected by a line of palaces. These
were to extend along the quay, and were destined as splendid residences
for the Ambassadors of foreign sovereigns, at least as long as there
should be any sovereigns Europe except Napoleon. The Temple of Glory,
too, which was to occupy the site of the Church of la Madeleine, was
never finished. If the plan of this monument, proved the necessity.
which Bonaparte felt of constantly holding out stimulants to his
soldiers, its relinquishment was at least a proof of his wisdom. He who
had reestablished religious worship in France, and had restored to its
destination the church of the Invalides, which was for a time
metamorphosed into the Temple of Mars, foresaw that a Temple of Glory
would give birth to a sort of paganism incompatible with the ideas of the

The recollection of the magnificent Necropolis of Cairo frequently
recurred to. Bonaparte's mind. He had admired that city of the dead,
which he had partly contributed to people; and his design was to make,
at, the four cardinal points of Paris, four vast cemeteries on the plan
of that at Cairo.

Bonaparte determined that all the new streets of Paris should be 40 feet
wide, and be provided with foot-pavements; in short, he thought nothing
too grand for the embellishment of the capital of a country which he
wished to make the first in the world. Next to war, he regard the
embellishment of Paris as the source of his glory; and he never
considered a victory fully achieved until he had raised a monument to
transmit its memory to posterity. He, wanted glory, uninterrupted
glory, for France as well as for himself: How often, when talking over
his schemes, has he not said, "Bourrienne, it is for France I am doing
all this! All I wish, all I desire, the end of all my labours is, that
my name should be indissolubly connected with that of France!"

Paris is not the only city, nor is France the only kingdom, which hears
traces of Napoleon's passion for great and useful monuments. In Belgium,
in Holland, in Piedmont, in all Italy, he executed great improvements.
At Turin a splendid bridge was built over the Po, in lieu of an old
bridge which was falling in ruins.

How many things were undertaken and executed in Napoleon's short and
eventful reign! To obviate the difficulty of communication between Metz
and Mayence a magnificent road was made, as if by magic, across
impracticable marshes and vast forests. Mountains were cut through and
ravines filled up. He would not allow nature more than man to resist
him. One day when he was proceeding to Belgium by the way of Civet, he
was detained for a short time at Little Givet, on the right bank of the
Meuse, in consequence of an accident which happened to the ferry-boat.
He was within a gunshot of the fortress of Charlemont, on the left bank,
and in the vexation which the delay occasioned he dictated the following
decree: "A bridge shall be built over the Meuse to join Little Civet to
Great Givet. It shall be terminated during the ensuing campaign." It
was completed within the prescribed time: In the great work of bridges
and highways Bonaparte's chief object was to remove the obstacles and
barriers which nature had raised up as the limits of old France so as to
form a junction with the provinces which he successively annexed to the
Empire. Thus in Savoy a road, smooth as a garden-walk, superseded the
dangerous ascents and descents of the wood of Bramant; thus was the
passage of Mont Cenis a pleasant promenade at almost every season of the
year; thus did the Simplon bow his head, and Bonaparte might have said,
"There are now my Alps," with more reason than Louis XIV. said, "There
are now no Pyrenees."

   --[Metternich (tome iv. p. 187) says on this subject, 'If you look
   closely at the course of human affairs you will make strange
   discoveries. For instance, that the Simplon Pass has contributed as
   surely to Napoleon's immortality as the numerous works done in the
   reign of the Emperor Francis will fail to add to his.]--

Such was the implicit confidence which Bonaparte reposed in me that I was
often alarmed at the responsibility it obliged me to incur.

   --[Of this confidence the following instructions for me, which he
   dictated to Duroc, afford sufficient proof:--

   "1st. Citizen Bourrienne shall open all the letters addressed to
   the First Consul, Vol, and present them to him three times a day, or
   oftener in case of urgent business. The letters shall be deposited
   in the cabinet when they are opened. Bourrienne is to analyse all
   those which are of secondary interest, and write the First Consul's
   decision on each letter. The hours for presenting the letters shall
   be, first, when the Consul rises; second, a quarter of an hour
   before dinner; and third, at eleven at night.

   "2d. He is to have the superintendence of the Topographical office,
   and of an office of Translation, in which there shall be a German
   and an English clerk. Every day he shall present to the First
   Consul, at the hours above mentioned the German and English
   journals, together with a translation. With respect to the Italian
   journals, it will only be necessary to mark what the First Consul is
   to read.

   "3d. He shall keep a register of appointments to offices under
   Government; a second, for appointments to judicial posts; a third
   for appointments to places abroad; and a fourth, for the situations
   of receivers and great financial posts, where he is to inscribe the
   names of all the individuals whom the First Consul may refer to him.
   These registers must be written by his own hand, and must be kept
   entirely private.

   "4th. Secret correspondence, and the different reports of
   surveillance, are to be addressed directly to Bourrienne, and
   transmitted by him to the hand of the First Consul, by whom they
   will be returned without the intervention of any third party.

   "6th. There shall be a register for all that relates to secret
   extraordinary expenditure. Bourrienne shall write the whole with
   his own hand, in order that the business may be kept from the
   knowledge of any one.

   "7th. He shall despatch all the business which maybe referred to
   him, either from Citizen Duroc, or from the cabinet of the First
   Consul, taking care to arrange everything so as to secure secrecy.

                  "(Signed) "BONAPARTE, First Council.

   "Paris, 13th Germinal, year VIII.
   "(3d. April 1800.)"]--

Official business was not the only labour that devolved upon me. I had
to write to the dictation of the First Consul during a great part of the
day, or to decipher his writing, which was always the most laborious part
of my duty. I was so closely employed that I scarcely ever went out; and
when by chance I dined in town, I could not arrive until the very moment
of dinner, and I was obliged to run away immediately after it. Once a
month, at most, I went without Bonaparte to the Comedie Francaise, but I
was obliged to return at nine o'clock, that heing the hour at which we
resumed business. Corvisart, with whom I was intimately acquainted,
constantly expressed his apprehensions about my health; but my zeal
carried me through every difficulty, and during our stay at the Tuileries
I cannot express how happy I was in enjoying the unreserved confidence of
the man on whom the eyes of all Europe were filed. So perfect was this
confidence that Bonaparte, neither as General, Consul, nor Emperor, ever
gave me any fixed salary. In money matters we were still comrades: I
took from his funds what was necessary to defray my expenses, and of this
Bonaparte never once asked me for any account.

He often mentioned his wish to regenerate public education, which he
thought was ill managed. The central schools did not please him; but he
could not withhold his admiration from the Polytechnic School, the finest
establishment of education that was ever founded, but which he afterwards
spoiled by giving it a military organisation. In only one college of
Paris the old system of study was preserved: this was the Louis-le-Grand,
which had received the name of Pritanee. The First Consul directed the
Minister of the Interior to draw up a report on that establishment; and
he himself went to pay an unexpected visit to the Pritanee, accompanied
by M. Lebrun and Duroc. He remained there upwards of an hour, and in the
evening he spoke to me with much interest on the subject of his visit.
"Do you know, Bourrienne," said he, "that I have been performing the
duties of professor?"--"you, General!"--"Yes! and I did not acquit
myself badly. I examined the pupils in the mathematical class; and I
recollected enough of my Bezout to make some demonstrations before them.
I went everywhere, into the bedrooms and the dining-room. I tasted the
soup, which is better than we used to have at Brienne. I must devote
serious attention to public education and the management of the colleges.
The pupils must have a uniform. I observed some well and others ill
dressed. That will not do. At college, above all places, there should
be equality. But I was much pleased with the pupils of the Pritanee.
I wish to know the names of those I examined, and I have desired Duroc to
report them to me. I will give them rewards; that stimulates young
people. I will provide for some of them."

On this subject Bonaparte did not confine himself to an empty scheme.
After consulting with the headmaster of the Pritanee, he granted pensions
of 200 francs to seven or eight of the most distinguished pupils of the
establishment, and he placed three of them in the department of Foreign
Affairs, under the title of diplomatic pupils.

   --[This institution of diplomatic pupils was originally suggested by
   M. de Talleyrand.]--

What I have just said respecting the First Consul's visit to the Pritanee
reminds me of a very extraordinary circumstance which arose out of it.
Among the pupils at the Pritanee there was a son of General Miackzinski,
who died fighting under the banners of the Republic. Young Miackzinski
was then sixteen or seventeen years of age. He soon quitted the college,
entered the army as a volunteer, and was one of a corps reviewed by
Bonaparte, in the plain of Sablons. He was pointed out to the First
Consul, who said to him. "I knew your father. Follow his example, and
in six months you shall be an officer." Six months elapsed, and
Miackzinski wrote to the First Consul, reminding him of his promise. No
answer was returned, and the young man then wrote a second letter as

   You desired me to prove myself worthy of my father; I have done so.
   You promised that I should be an officer in six months; seven have
   elapsed since that promise was made. When you receive this letter I
   shall be no more. I cannot live under a Government the head of
   which breaks his word.

Poor Miackzinski kept his word but, too faithfully. After writing the
above letter to the First Consul he retired to his chamber and blew out
his brains with a pistol. A few days after this tragical event
Miackzinski's commission was transmitted to his corps, for Bonaparte had
not forgotten him. A delay in the War Office had caused the death of
this promising young man Bonaparte was much affected at the circumstance,
and he said to me, "These Poles have such refined notions of honour....
Poor Sulkowski, I am sure, would have done the same."

At the commencement of the Consulate it was gratifying, to see how
actively Bonaparte was seconded in the execution of plans for the social
regeneration of France all seemed animated with new life, and every one
strove to do good as if it were a matter of competition.

Every circumstance concurred to favour the good intentions of the
First Consul. Vaccination, which, perhaps, has saved as many lives
as war has sacrificed, was introduced into France by M. d Liancourt; and
Bonaparte, immediately appreciating the 'value of such a discovery, gave
it his decided approbation. At the same time a council of Prizes was
established, and the old members of the Constituent Assembly were invited
to return to France. It was for their sake and that of the Royalists
that the First Consul recalled them, but it was to please the Jacobins,
whom he was endeavouring to conciliate, that their return was subject to
restrictions. At first the invitation to return to France extended only
to those who could prove that they had voted in favour of the abolition
of nobility. The lists of emigrants were closed, and committees were
appointed to investigate their claims to the privilege of returning.

From the commencement of the month of Germinal the reorganisation of the
army of Italy had proceeded with renewed activity. The presence in Paris
of the fine corps of the Consular Guard, added to the desire of showing
themselves off in gay uniforms, had stimulated the military ardour of
many respectable young men of the capital. Taking advantage of this
circumstance the First Consul created a corps of volunteers destined for
the army of reserve, which was to remain at Dijon. He saw the advantage
of connecting a great number of families with his cause, and imbuing them
with the spirit of the army. This volunteer corps wore a yellow uniform
which, in some of the salons of Paris where it was still the custom to
ridicule everything, obtained for them the nickname of "canaries."
Bonaparte, who did not always relish a joke, took this in very ill part,
and often expressed to me his vexation at it. However, he was gratified
to observe in the composition of this corps a first specimen of
privileged soldiers; an idea which he acted upon when he created the
orderly gendarmes in the campaign of Jena, and when he organised the
guards of honour after the disasters of Moscow.

In every action of his life Bonaparte had some particular object in view.
I recollect his saying to me one day, "Bourrienne, I cannot yet venture
to do anything against the regicides; but I will let them see what I
think of them. To-morrow I shall have some business with Abrial
respecting the organisation of the court of Cassation. Target, who is
the president of that court, would not defend Louis XVI. Well, whom do
you think I mean to appoint in his place? . . . Tronchet, who did
defend the king. They may say what they please; I care not."

   --[On this, as on many other occasions, the cynicism of Bonaparte's
   language does, not admit of a literal translation.]--

Tronchet was appointed.

Nearly about the same time the First Consul, being informed of the escape
of General Mack, said to me, "Mack may go where he pleases; I am not
afraid of him. But I will tell you what I have been thinking. There are
some other Austrian officers who were prisoners with Mack; among the
number is a Count Dietrichstein, who belongs to a great family in Vienna.
I will liberate them all. At the moment of opening a campaign this will
have a good effect. They will see that I fear nothing; and who knows but
this may procure me some admirers in Austria." The order for liberating
the Austrian prisoners was immediately despatched. Thus Bonaparte's acts
of generosity, as well as his acts of severity and his choice of
individuals, were all the result of deep calculation.

This unvarying attention to the affairs of the Government was manifest in
all he did. I have already mentioned the almost simultaneous suppression
of the horrible commemoration of the month of January, and the permission
for the revival of the opera balls. A measure something similar to this
was the authorisation of the festivals of Longchamps, which had been
forgotten since the Revolution. He at the same time gave permission for
sacred music to be performed at the opera. Thus, while in public acts he
maintained the observance of the Republican calendar, he was gradually
reviving the old calendar by seasons of festivity. Shrove-Tuesday was
marked by a ball, and Passion-week by promenades and concerts.



   The Memorial of St. Helena--Louis XVIII.'s first letter to Bonaparte
   --Josephine, Hortense, and the Faubourg St. Germain--
   Madame Bonaparte and the fortune-teller--Louis XVIII's second letter
   --Bonaparte's answer--Conversation respecting the recall of Louis
   XVIII.--Peace and war--A battle fought with pins-Genoa and Melas--
   Realisation of Bonaparte's military plans--Ironical letter to
   Berthier--Departure from Paris--Instructions to Lucien and
   Cambaceres--Joseph Bonaparte appointed Councillor of State--
   Travelling conversation--Alexander and Caesar judged by Bonaparte.

It sometimes happens that an event which passes away unnoticed at the
time of its occurrence acquires importance from events which subsequently
ensue. This reflection naturally occurs to my mind now that I am about
to notice the correspondence which passed between Louis XVIII. and the
First Consul. This is certainly not one of the least interesting
passages in the life of Bonaparte.

But I must first beg leave to make an observation on the 'Memorial of St.
Helena.' That publication relates what Bonaparte said respecting the
negotiations between Louis XVIII. and himself; and I find it necessary to
quote a few lines on the subject, in order to show how far the statements
contained in the Memorial differ from the autograph letters in my

At St. Helena Napoleon said that he never thought of the princes of the
House of Bourbon. This is true to a certain point. He did not think of
the princes of the House of Bourbon with the view of restoring them to
their throne; but it has been shown, in several parts of these Memoirs,
that he thought of them very often, and on more than one occasion their
very names alarmed him.

   --[The Memorial states that "A letter was delivered to the First
   Consul by Lebrun who received it from the Abbe de Montesquieu, the
   secret agent of the Bourbons in Paris." This letter which was very
   cautiously written, said:--

   "You are long delaying the restoration of my throne. It is to be
   feared you are suffering favourable moments to escape. You cannot
   secure the happiness of France without me, and I can do nothing for
   France without you. Hasten, then, to name the offices which you
   would choose for your friends."

   The answer, Napoleon said, was as follows:--

   "I have received your royal highness' letter. I have always taken a
   lively interest in your misfortunes, and those of your family. You
   must not think of appearing in France; you could only return here by
   trampling over a hundred thousand dead bodies. I shall always be
   happy to do anything that can alleviate your fate and help to banish
   the recollection of your misfortunes."--Bourrienne.]--

The substance of the two letters given in the 'Memorial of St. Helena' is
correct. The ideas are nearly the same as those of the original letters.
But it is not surprising that, after the lapse of so long an interval,
Napoleon's memory should somewhat have failed him. However, it will not,
I presume, be deemed unimportant if I present to the reader literal
copies of this correspondence; together with the explanation of some
curious circumstances connected with it.

The following is Louis XVIII's letter:--

                       February 20,1800.

   SIR--Whatever may be their apparent conduct, men like you never
   inspire alarm. You have accepted an eminent station, and I thank
   you for having done so. You know better than any one how much
   strength and power are requisite to secure the happiness of a great
   nation. Save France from her own violence, and you will fulfil the
   first wish of my heart. Restore her King to her, and future
   generations will bless your memory. You will always be too
   necessary to the State for me ever to be able to discharge, by
   important appointments, the debt of my family and myself.

                       (Signed) Louis.

The First Consul was much agitated on the reception of this letter.
Though he every day declared his determination to have nothing to do with
the Princes, yet he hesitated whether or no he should reply to this
overture. The numerous affairs which then occupied his mind favoured
this hesitation. Josephine and Hortense conjured him to hold out hope to
the King, as by so doing he would in no way pledge himself, and would
gain time to ascertain whether he could not ultimately play a far greater
part than that of Monk. Their entreaties became so urgent that he said
to me, "These devils of women are mad! The Faubourg St. Germain has
turned their heads! They make the Faubourg the guardian angel of the
royalists; but I care not; I will have nothing to do with them."

Madame Bonaparte said she was anxious he should adopt the step she
proposed in order to banish from his mind all thought of making himself
King. This idea always gave rise to a painful foreboding which she could
never overcome.

In the First Consul's numerous conversations with me he discussed with
admirable sagacity Louis XVIII.'s proposition and its consequences.
"The partisans of the Bourbons," said he, "are deceived if they suppose
I am the man to play Monk's part." Here the matter rested, and the
King's letter remained on the table. In the interim Louis XVIII. wrote a
second letter, without any date. It was as follows:

   You must have long since been convinced, General, that you possess
   my esteem. If you doubt my gratitude, fix your reward and mark out
   the fortune of your friends. As to my principles, I am a Frenchman,
   merciful by character, and also by the dictates of reason.

   No, the victor of Lodi, Castiglione, and Arcola, the conqueror of
   Italy and Egypt, cannot prefer vain celebrity to real glory. But
   you are losing precious time. We may ensure the glory of France.

   I say we, because I require the aid of Bonaparte, and he can do
   nothing without me.

   General, Europe observes you. Glory awaits you, and I am impatient
   to restore peace to my people.
                    (Signed) LOUIS.

This dignified letter the First Consul suffered to remain unanswered for
several weeks; at length he proposed to dictate an answer to me. I
observed, that as the King's letters were autographs, it would be more
proper that he should write himself. He then wrote with his own hand the

   Sir--I have received your letter, and I thank you for the
   compliments you address to me.

   You must not seek to return to France. To do so you must trample
   over a hundred thousand dead bodies.

   Sacrifice your interest to the repose and happiness of France, and
   history will render you justice.

   I am not insensible to the misfortunes of your family. I shall
   learn with pleasure, and shall willingly contribute to ensure, the
   tranquillity of your retirement.
                    (Signed) BONAPARTE.

He showed me this letter, saying, "What do you think of it? is it not
good?" He was never offended when I pointed out to him an error of
grammar or style, and I therefore replied, "As to the substance, if such
be your resolution, I have nothing to say against it; but," added I,
"I must make one observation on the style. You cannot say that you shall
learn with pleasure to ensure, etc." On reading the passage over again
he thought he had pledged himself too far in saying that he would
willingly contribute, etc. He therefore scored out the last sentence,
and interlined, "I shall contribute with pleasure to the happiness and
tranquillity of your retirement."

The answer thus scored and interlined could not be sent off, and it lay
on the table with Bonaparte's signature affixed to it.

Some time after he wrote another answer, the three first paragraphs of
which were exactly alike that first quoted; but far the last paragraph he
substituted the following:

   "I am not insensible to the misfortunes of your family; and I shall
   learn with pleasure that you are surrounded with all that can
   contribute to the tranquillity of your retirement."

By this means he did not pledge himself in any way, not even in words,
for he himself made no offer of contributing, to the tranquillity of the
retirement. Every day which augmented his power and consolidated his
position diminished, he thought, the chances of the Bourbons; and seven
months were suffered to intervene between the date of the King's first
letter and the answer of the First Consul, which was written on the 2d
Vendemiaire, year IX. (24th September 1800) just when the Congress of
Luneville was on the point of opening.

Soma days after the receipt of Louis XVIII.'s letter we were walking in
the gardens of Malmaison; he was in good humour, for everything was going
on to his mind. "Has my wife been saying anything more to you about the
Bourbons?" said he.--"No, General."--"But when you converse with her you
concur a little in her opinions. Tell me why you wish the Bourbons back?
You have no interest in their return, nothing to expect from them. Your
family rank is not high enough to enable you to obtain any great post.
You would be nothing under them. Through the patronage of M. de
Chambonas you got the appointment of Secretary of Legation at Stuttgart;
but had it not been for the change you would have remained all your life
in that or some inferior post. Did you ever know men rise by their own
merit under kings? Everything depends on birth, connection, fortune, and
intrigue. Judge things more accurately; reflect more maturely on the
future."--"General," replied I, "I am quite of your opinion on one
point. I never received gift, place, or favour from the Bourbons; and
I have not the vanity to believe that I should ever have attained any
important Appointment. But you must not forget that my nomination as
Secretary of Legation at Stuttgart preceded the overthrow of the throne
only by a few days; and I cannot infer, from what took place under
circumstances unfortunately too certain, what might have happened in the
reverse case. Besides, I am not actuated by personal feelings;
I consider not my own interests, but those of France. I wish you to hold
the reins of government as long as you live; but you have no children,
and it is tolerably certain that you will have none by Josephine: What
will become of us when you are gone? You talk of the future; but what
will be the future fate of France? I have often heard you say that your
brothers are not--"--"You are right," said he, abruptly interrupting
me. "If I do not live thirty years to complete my work you will have a
long series of civil wars after my death. My brothers will not suit
France; you know what they are. A violent conflict will therefore arise
among the most distinguished generals, each of whom will think himself
entitled to succeed me."--"Well, General, why not take means to obviate
the mischief you foresee?"--"Do you imagine I do not think of it? But
look at the difficulties that stand in my way. How are so many
acquired-rights and material results to be secured against the efforts
of a family restored to power, and returning with 80,000 emigrants and
the influence of fanaticism? What would become of those who voted for
the death, of the King--the men who acted a conspicuous part in the
Revolution--the national domains, and a multitude of things that have
been done during twelve years? Can you see how far reaction would
extend?"--"General, need I remind you that Louis, in his letter,
guarantees the contrary of all you apprehend? I know what will be your
answer; but are you not able to impose whatever conditions you may think
fit? Grant what is asked of you only at that price. Take three or four
years; in that time you may ensure the happiness of France by
institutions conformable to her wants. Custom and habit would give them
a power which it would not be easy to destroy; and even supposing such a
design were entertained, it could not be accomplished. I have heard you
say it is wished you should act the part of Monk; but you well know the
difference between a general opposing the usurper of a crown, and one
whom victory and peace have raised above the ruins of a subverted
throne, and who restores it voluntarily to those who have long occupied
it. You are well aware what you call ideology will not again be
revived; and--"--"I know what you are going to say; but it all amounts
to nothing. Depend upon it, the Bourbons will think they have
reconquered their inheritance, and will dispose of it as they please.
The most sacred pledges, the most positive promises, will be violated.
None but fools will trust them. My resolution is formed; therefore let
us say no more on the subject. But I know how these women torment you.
Let them mind their knitting, and leave me to do what I think right."

Every one knows the adage, 'Si vis pacem para bellum'. Had Bonaparte
been a Latin scholar he would probably have reversed it and said, 'Si vis
bellum para pacem'. While seeking to establish pacific relations with
the powers of Europe the First Consul was preparing to strike a great
blow in Italy. As long as Genoa held out, and Massena continued there,
Bonaparte did not despair of meeting the Austrians in those fields which
not four years before had been the scenes of his success. He resolved to
assemble an army of reserve at Dijon. Where there was previously nothing
he created everything. At that period of his life the fertility of his
imagination and the vigour of his genius must have commanded the
admiration of even his bitterest enemies. I was astonished at the
details into which he entered. While every moment was engrossed by the
most important occupations he sent 24,000 francs to the hospital of Mont
St. Bernard. When he saw that his army of reserve was forming, and
everything was going on to his liking, he said to me, "I hope to fall on
the rear of Melas before he is aware I am in Italy . . . that is to
say, provided Genoa holds out. But MASSENA is defending it."

On the 17th of March, in a moment of gaiety and good humour, he desired
me to unroll Chauchard's great map of Italy. He lay down upon it, and
desired me to do likewise. He then stuck into it pins, the heads of
which were tipped with wax, some red and some black. I silently observed
him; and awaited with no little curiosity the result of this plan of
campaign. When he had stationed the enemy's corps, and drawn up the pins
with red heads on the points where he hoped to bring his own troops, he
said to me, "Where do you think I shall beat Melas?"--"How the devil
should I know?"--"Why, look here, you fool! Melas is at Alessandria with
his headquarters. There he will remain until Genoa surrenders. He has
in Alessandria his magazines, his hospitals, his artillery, and his
reserves. Crossing the Alps here (pointing to the Great Mont St.
Bernard) I shall fall upon Melas, cut off his communications with
Austria, and meet him here in the plains of Scrivia" (placing a red, pin
at San Giuliano). Finding that I looked on this manoeuvre of pins as
mere pastime, he addressed to me some of his usual compliments, such as
fool, ninny, etc., and then proceeded to demonstrate his plans more
clearly on the map. At the expiration of a quarter of an hour we rose;
I folded up the map, and thought no more of the matter.

Four months after this, when I was at San Giuliano with Bonaparte's
portfolio and despatches, which I had saved from the rout which had taken
place during the day, and when that very evening I was writing at Torre
di Galifolo the bulletin of the battle to Napoleon's dictation, I frankly
avowed my admiration of his military plans. He himself smiled at the
accuracy of his own foresight.

The First Consul was not satisfied with General Berthier as War Minister,
and he superseded him by Carnot,

   --[There were special reasons for the appointment of Carnot,
   Berthier was required with his master in Italy, while Carnot, who
   had so long ruled the armies of the Republic, was better fitted to
   influence Moreau, at this time advancing into Germany. Carnot
   probably fulfilled the main object of his appointment when he was
   sent to Moreau, and succeeded in getting that general, with natural
   reluctance, to damage his own campaign by detaching a large body of
   troops into Italy. Berthier was reappointed to the Ministry on the
   8th of October 1800,--a very speedy return if he had really been

who had given great proofs of firmness and integrity, but who,
nevertheless, was no favourite of Bonaparte, on account of his decided
republican principles. Berthier was too slow in carrying out the
measures ordered, [duplicated line removed here D.W.] and too lenient in
the payment of past charges and in new contracts. Carnot's appointment
took place on the 2d of April 1800; and to console Berthier, who, he
knew, was more at home in the camp than in the office, he dictated to me
the following letter for him:--

                  PARIS, 2d April 1800.

   CITIZEN-GENERAL,--The military talents of which you have given so
   many proofs, and the confidence of the Government, call you to the
   command of an army. During the winter you have REORGANISED the War
   Department, and you have provided, as far as circumstances would
   permit, for the wants of our armies. During the spring and summer
   it must be your task to lead our troops to victory, which is the
   effectual means of obtaining peace and consolidating the Republic.

Bonaparte laughed heartily while he dictated this epistle, especially
when he uttered the word which I have marked in italics [CAPS]. Berthier
set out for Dijon, where he commenced the formation of the army of

The Consular Constitution did not empower the First Consul to command an
army out of the territory of France. Bonaparte therefore wished to keep
secret his long-projected plan of placing himself at the head of the army
of Italy, which, he then for the first time called the grand army. I
observed that by his choice of Berthier nobody could be deceived, because
it must be evident that he would have made another selection had he not
intended to command in person. He laughed at my observation.

Our departure from Paris was fixed for the 6th of May, or, according to
the republican calendar, the 16th Floreal Bonaparte had made all his
arrangements and issued all his orders; but still he did not wish it to
be known that he was going to take the command of the army. On the eve
of our departure, being in conference with the two other Consuls and the
Ministers, he said to Lucien, "Prepare, to-morrow morning, a circular to
the prefects, and you, Fouche, will publish it in the journals. Say I am
gone to Dijon to inspect the army of reserve. You may add that I shall
perhaps go as far as Geneva; but you must affirm positively that I shall
not be absent longer than a fortnight: You, Cambaceres, will preside
to-morrow at the Council of State. In my absence you are the Head of the
Government. State that my absence will be but of short duration, but
specify nothing. Express my approbation of the Council of State; it has
already rendered great services, and I shall be happy to see it continue
in the course it has hitherto pursued. Oh! I had nearly forgotten--you
will at the same time announce that I have appointed Joseph a Councillor
of State. Should anything happen I shall be back again like a
thunderbolt. I recommend to you all the great interests of France, and I
trust that I shall shortly be talked of in Vienna and in London."

We set out at two in the morning, taking the Burgundy road, which we had
already so often travelled under very different circumstances.

On the journey Bonaparte conversed about the warriors of antiquity,
especially Alexander, Caesar, Scipio, and Hannibal. I asked him which he
preferred, Alexander or Caesar. "I place Alexander in the first rank,"
said he, "yet I admire Caesar's fine campaign in Africa. But the ground
of my preference for the King of Macedonia is the plan, and above all the
execution, of his campaign in Asia. Only those who are utterly ignorant
of war can blame Alexander for having spent seven months at the siege of
Tyre. For my part, I would have stayed there seven years had it been
necessary. This is a great subject of dispute; but I look upon the siege
of Tyre, the conquest of Egypt, and the journey to the Oasis of Ammon as
a decided proof of the genius of that great captain. His object was to
give the King of Persia (of whose force he had only beaten a feeble
advance-guard at the Granicus and Issus) time to reassemble his troops,
so that he might overthrow at a blow the colossus which he had as yet
only shaken. By pursuing Darius into his states Alexander would have
separated himself from his reinforcements, and would have met only
scattered parties of troops who would have drawn him into deserts where
his army would have been sacrificed. By persevering in the taking of
Tyre he secured, his communications with Greece, the country he loved as
dearly as I love France, and in whose glory he placed his own. By taking
possession of the rich province of Egypt he forced Darius to come to
defend or deliver it, and in so doing to march half-way to meet him.
By representing himself as the son of Jupiter he worked upon the ardent
feelings of the Orientals in a way that powerfully seconded his designs.
Though he died at thirty-three what a name he has left behind him!"

Though an utter stranger to the noble profession of arms, yet I could
admire Bonaparte's clever military plans and his shrewd remarks on the
great captains of ancient and modern times. I could not refrain from
saying, "General, you often reproach me for being no flatterer, but now I
tell you plainly I admire you." And certainly, I really spoke the true
sentiments of my mind.

VOLUME II. -- 1800-1803



   Bonaparte's confidence in the army--'Ma belle' France--The convent
   of Bernadins--Passage of Mont St. Bernard--Arrival at the convent--
   Refreshments distributed to the soldiers--Mont Albaredo--Artillery
   dismounted--The fort of Bard--Fortunate temerity--Bonaparte and
   Melas--The spy--Bonaparte's opinion of M. Necker--Capitulation of
   Genoa--Intercepted despatch--Lannes at Montebello--Boudet succeeded
   by Desaix--Coolness of the First Consul to M. Collot--Conversation
   and recollections--The battle of Marengo--General Kellerman--Supper
   sent from the Convent del Bosco--Particulars respecting the death of
   Desaix--The Prince of Lichtenstein--Return to Milan--Savary and

It cannot be denied that if, from the 18th Brumaire to the epoch when
Bonaparte began the campaign, innumerable improvements had been made in
the internal affairs of France, foreign affairs could not be seen with
the same satisfaction. Italy had been lost, and from the frontiers of
Provence the Austrian camp fires were seen. Bonaparte was not ignorant
of the difficulties of his position, and it was even on account of these
very difficulties that, whatever might be the result of his hardy
enterprise, he wished to escape from it as quickly as possible. He
cherished no illusions, and often said all must be staked to gain all.

The army which the First Consul was preparing to attack was numerous,
well disciplined, and victorious.

His, with the exception of a very small number of troops, was composed of
conscripts; but these conscripts were commanded by officers whose ardour
was unparalleled. Bonaparte's fortune was now to depend on the winning
or losing of a battle. A battle lost would have dispelled all the dreams
of his imagination, and with them would have vanished all his immense
schemes for the future of France. He saw the danger, but was not
intimidated by it; and trusting to his accustomed good fortune, and to
the courage and fidelity of his troops, he said, "I have, it is true,
many conscripts in my army, but they are Frenchmen. Four years ago did I
not with a feeble army drive before me hordes of Sardinians and
Austrians, and scour the face of Italy? We shall do so again. The sun
which now shines on us is the same that shone at Arcola and Lodi. I rely
on Massena. I hope he will hold out in Genoa. But should famine oblige
him to surrender, I will retake Genoa in the plains of the Scrivia. With
what pleasure shall I then return to my dear France! Ma belle France."

At this moment, when a possible, nay, a probable chance, might for ever
have blasted his ambitious hopes, he for the first time spoke of France
as his. Considering the circumstances in which we then stood, this use
of the possessive pronoun "my" describes more forcibly than anything that
can be said the flashes of divination which crossed Bonaparte's brain
when he was wrapped up in his chimerical ideas of glory and fortune.

In this favourable disposition of mind the First Consul arrived at
Martigny on the 20th of May. Martigny is a convent of Bernardins,
situated in a valley where the rays of the sun scarcely ever penetrate.
The army was in full march to the Great St. Bernard. In this gloomy
solitude did Bonaparte wait three days, expecting the fort of Bard,
situated beyond the mountain and covering the road to Yvree, to
surrender. The town was carried on the 21st of May, and on the third day
he learned that the fort still held out, and that there were no
indications of its surrender. He launched into complaints against the
commander of the siege, and said, "I am weary of staying in this convent;
those fools will never take Bard; I must go myself and see what can be
done. They cannot even settle so contemptible an affair without me!"
He immediately gave orders for our departure.

The grand idea of the invasion of Italy by crossing Mont St. Bernard
emanated exclusively from the First Consul. This miraculous achievement
justly excited the admiration of the world. The incredible difficulties
it presented did not daunt the courage of Bonaparte's troops. His
generals, accustomed as they had been to brave fatigue and danger,
regarded without concern the gigantic enterprise of the modern Hannibal.

A convent or hospice, which had been established on the mountain for the
purpose of affording assistance to solitary travellers, sufficiently
bespeaks the dangers of these stormy regions. But the St. Bernard was
now to be crossed, not by solitary travellers, but by an army. Cavalry,
baggage, limbers, and artillery were now to wend their way along those
narrow paths where the goat-herd cautiously picks his footsteps. On the
one hand masses of snow, suspended above our heads, every moment
threatened to break in avalanches, and sweep us away in their descent.
On the other, a false step was death. We all passed, men and horse, one
by one, along the goat paths. The artillery was dismounted, and the
guns, put into excavated trunks of trees, were drawn by ropes.

I have already mentioned that the First Consul had transmitted funds to
the hospice of the Great St. Bernard. The good fathers had procured from
the two valleys a considerable supply of cheese, bread, and wine. Tables
were laid out in front of the hospice, and each soldier as he defiled
past took a glass of wine and a piece of bread and cheese, and then
resigned his place to the next. The fathers served, and renewed the
portions with admirable order and activity.

The First Consul ascended the St. Bernard with that calm self-possession
and that air of indifference for which he was always remarkable when he
felt the necessity of setting an example and exposing himself to danger.
He asked his guide many questions about the two valleys, inquired what
were the resources of the inhabitants, and whether accidents were as
frequent as they were said to be. The guide informed him that the
experience of ages enabled the inhabitants to foresee good or bad
weather, and that they were seldom deceived.

Bonaparte, who wore his gray greatcoat, and had his whip in his hand,
appeared somewhat disappointed at not seeing any one come from the valley
of Aorta to inform him of the taking of the fort of Bard. I never left
him for a moment during the ascent. We encountered no personal danger,
and escaped with no other inconvenience than excessive fatigue.

On his arrival at the convent the First Consul visited the chapel and the
three little libraries. He had time to read a few pages of an old book,
of which I have forgotten the title.

Our breakfast-dinner was very frugal. The little garden was still
covered with snow, and I said to one of the fathers, "You can have but
few vegetables here."--"We get our vegetables from the valleys," he
replied; "but in the month of August, in warm seasons, we have a few
lettuces of our own growing."

When we reached the summit of the mountain we seated ourselves on the
snow and slid down. Those who went first smoothed the way for those who
came behind them. This rapid descent greatly amused us, and we were only
stopped by the mud which succeeded the snow at the distance of five or
six hundred toises down the declivity.

We crossed, or rather climbed up, Mont Albaredo to avoid passing under
the fort of Bard, which closes the valley of Aorta. As it was impossible
to get the artillery up this mountain it was resolved to convey it
through the town of Bard, which was not fortified. For this operation we
made choice of night, and the wheels of the cannon and caissons, and even
the horses' feet, being wrapped in straw, the whole passed quietly
through the little town. They were, indeed, under the fire of the fort;
however, it did not so completely command the street but that the houses
would have protected them against any very fatal consequences. A great
part of the army had passed before the surrender of the fort, which so
completely commands the narrow valley leading to Aorta that it is
difficult to comprehend the negligence of the Austrians in not throwing
up more efficient works; by very simple precautions they might have
rendered the passage of St. Bernard unavailing.

On the 23d we came within sight of the fort of Bard, which commands the
road bounded by the Doria Baltea on the right and Mont Albaredo on the
left. The Doria Baltea is a small torrent which separates the town of
Bard from the fort. Bonaparte, whose retinue was not very numerous,
crossed the torrent. On arriving within gunshot of the fort he ordered
us to quicken our pace to gain a little bridle-path on the left, leading
to the summit of Mont Albaredo, and turning the town and fort of Bard.

We ascended this path on foot with some difficulty. On reaching the
summit of the mountain, which commands the fort, Bonaparte levelled his
telescope on the grass, and stationing himself behind some bushes, which
served at once to shelter and conceal him, he attentively reconnoitered
the fort. After addressing several questions to the persons who had come
to give him information, he mentioned, in a tone of dissatisfaction, the
faults that had been committed, and ordered the erection of a new battery
to attack a point which he marked out, and from whence, he guaranteed,
the firing of a few shots would oblige the fort to surrender. Having
given these orders he descended the mountain and went to sleep that night
at Yvree. On the 3d of June he learned that the fort had surrendered the
day before.

The passage of Mont St. Bernard must occupy a great place in the annals
of successful temerity. The boldness of the First Consul seemed, as it
were, to have fascinated the enemy, and his enterprise was so unexpected
that not a single Austrian corps defended the approaches of the fort of
Bard. The country was entirely exposed, and we only encountered here and
there a few feeble parties, who were incapable of checking our march upon
Milan. Bonaparte's advance astonished and confounded the enemy, who
thought of nothing but marching back the way he came, and renouncing the
invasion of France. The bold genius which actuated Bonaparte did not
inspire General Melas, the commander-in-chief of the Austrian forces.
If Melas had had the firmness which ought to belong to the leader of an
army--if he had compared the respective positions of the two parties--if
he had considered that there was no longer time to regain his line of
operations and recover his communication with the Hereditary States, that
he was master of all the strong places in Italy, that he had nothing to
fear from Massena, that Suchet could not resist him:--if, then, following
Bonaparte's' example, he had marched upon Lyons, what would have become
of the First Consul? Melas would have found few obstacles, and almost
everywhere open towns, while the French army would have been exhausted
without having an enemy to fight. This is, doubtless, what Bonaparte
would have done had he been Melas; but, fortunately for us, Melas was not

We arrived at Milan on the 2d of June, the day on which the First Consul
heard that the fort of Bard was taken. But little resistance was opposed
to our entrance to the capital of Lombardy, and the term "engagements"
can scarcely be applied to a few affairs of advance posts, in which
success could not be for a moment doubtful; the fort of Milan was
immediately blockaded. Murat was sent to Piacenza, of which he took
possession without difficulty, and Lannes beat General Ott at Montebello.
He was far from imagining that by that exploit he conquered for himself a
future duchy!

The First Consul passed six days at Milan. On the day after our arrival
there a spy who had served us very well in the first campaign in Italy
was announced. The First Consul recollected him, and ordered him to be
shown into his cabinet.--"What, are you here?" he exclaimed; "so you are
not shot yet!"--"General," replied the spy, "when the war recommenced I
determined to serve the Austrians because you were far from Europe.
I always follow the fortunate; but the truth is, I am tired of the trade.
I wish to have done with it, and to get enough to enable me to retire.
I have been sent to your lines by General Melas, and I can render you an
important service. I will give an exact account of the force and the
position of all the enemy's corps, and the names of their commanders.
I can tell you the situation in which Alessandria now is. You know me
I will not deceive you; but, I must carry back some report to my general.
You need not care for giving me some true particulars which I can
communicate to him."--"Oh! as to that," resumed the First Consul, "the
enemy is welcome to know my forces and my positions, provided I know his,
and he be ignorant of my plans. You shall be satisfied; but do not
deceive me: you ask for 1000 Louis, you shall have them if you serve me
well." I then wrote down from the dictation of the spy, the and the
names of the corps, their amount, their positions, names of the generals
commanding them. The Consul stuck pins in the map to mark his plans on
places respecting which he received information from the spy. We also
learned that Alexandria was without provisions, that Melas was far from
expecting a siege, that many of his troops were sick, and that he wanted
medicines. Berthier was ordered to draw up for the spy a nearly accurate
statement of our positions.

The information given by this man proved so accurate and useful that on
his return from Marengo Bonaparte ordered me to pay him the 1000 Louis.
The spy afterwards informed him that Melas was delighted with the way in
which he had served him in this affair, and had rewarded him handsomely.
He assured us that he had bidden farewell to his odious profession. The
First Consul regarded this little event as one of the favours of fortune.

In passing through Geneva the First Consul had an interview with M.

   --[Madame de Stael briefly mention this interview in her
   'Considerations sur la Revolution Francaise' "M. Necker," she says,
   "had an interview with Bonaparte, when he was on his way to Italy by
   the passage of Mont. St. Bernard, a few days before the battle of
   Marengo, During this conversation, which lasted two hours, the First
   Consul made a very favourable impression on my father by the
   confident way he spoke of his future projects."--Bourrienne.]--

I know not how it happened, but at the time he did not speak to me of
this interview. However, I was curious to know what he thought of a man
who had acquired much celebrity in France. One evening, when we were
talking of one thing and another, I managed to turn the conversation on
that subject. "M. Necker," said he, "appears to me very far below his
reputation. He did not equal the idea I had formed of him. I tried all
I could to get him to talk; but he said nothing remarkable. He is an

   --[This was a constant term of reproach with Bonaparte. He set all
   the metaphysicians of the Continent against him by exclaiming, "Je
   ne veux point d'ideologues."]--

a banker. It is impossible that such a man can have any but narrow
views; and, besides, most celebrated people lose on a close view."--
"Not always, General," observed I--"Ah!" said he, smiling, "that is not
bad, Bourrienne. You are improving. I see I shall make something of you
in time!"

The day was approaching when all was to be lost or won. The First Consul
made all his arrangements, and sent off the different corps to occupy the
points he had marked out. I have already mentioned that Murat's task was
the occupation of Piacenza. As soon as he was in possession of that town
he intercepted a courier of General Melas. The despatch, which was
addressed to the Aulic Council of Vienna, was delivered to us on the
night of the 8th of June. It announced the capitulation of Genoa, which
took place on the 4th, after the long and memorable defence which
reflected so much honour on Massena. Melas in his despatch spoke of what
he called our pretended army of reserve with inconceivable contempt, and
alluded to the presence of Bonaparte in Italy as a mere fabrication. He
declared he was still in Paris. It was past three in the morning when
Murat's courier arrived. I immediately translated the despatch, which
was in German. About four o'clock I entered the chamber of the First
Consul, whom I was obliged to shake by the arm in order to wake him. He
had desired me; as I have already mentioned, never to respect his repose
an the arrival of bad news; but on the receipt of good news to let him
sleep. I read to him the despatch, and so much was he confounded by this
unexpected event that his first exclamation was, "Bah! you do not
understand German." But hardly had he uttered these words when he arose,
and by eight o'clock in the morning orders were despatched for repairing
the possible consequences of this disaster, and countermanding the march
of the troops on the Scrivia. He himself proceeded the same day to

I have seen it mentioned in some accounts that the First Consul in person
gained the battle of Montebello. This is a mistake. He did not leave
Milan until the 9th of June, and that very day Lannes was engaged with
the enemy. The conflict was so terrible that Lannes, a few days after,
describing it in my presence to M. Collot, used these remarkable words,
which I well remember: "Bones were cracking in my division like a shower
of hail falling on a skylight."

By a singular chance Desaix, who was to contribute to the victory and
stop the rout of Marengo, arrived from Egypt at Toulon, on the very day
on which we departed from Paris. He was enabled to leave Egypt in
consequence of the capitulation of El-Arish, which happened on the 4th of
January 1800. He wrote me a letter, dated 16th Floreal, year VIII. (6th
of May 1800), announcing his arrival. This letter I did not receive
until we reached Martigny. I showed it to the First Consul. "Ah!"
exclaimed he, "Desaix in Paris!" and he immediately despatched an order
for him to repair to the headquarters of the army of Italy wherever they
might be. Desaix arrived at Stradella on the morning of the 11th of
June. The First Consul received him with the warmest cordiality, as a
man for whom he had a high esteem, and whose talents and character
afforded the fairest promise of what might one day be expected of him.
Bonaparte was jealous of some generals, the rivalry of whose ambition he
feared; but on this subject Desaix gave him no uneasiness; equally
remarkable for his unassuming disposition, his talent, and information,
he proved by his conduct that he loved glory for her own sake, and that
every wish for the possession of political power was foreign to his mind.
Bonaparte's friendship for him was enthusiastic. At this interview at
Stradella, Desaix was closeted with the First Consul for upwards of three
hours. On the day after his arrival an order of the day communicated to
the army that Desaix was appointed to the command of Boudet's division.

   --[Boudet was on terms of great intimacy with Bonaparte, who, no
   doubt, was much affected at his death. However, the only remark he
   made on receiving the intelligence, was "Who the devil shall I get
   to supply Boudet's place?"--Bourrienne.

   The command given to Desaix was a corps especially formed of the two
   divisions of Boudet and Monnier (Savary, tome i. p. 262). Boudet
   was not killed at Marengo, still less before (see Erreurs, tome i.
   p. 14).]--

I expressed to Bonaparte my surprise at his long interview with Desaix.
"Yes," replied he, "he has been a long time with me; but you know what a
favourite he is. As soon as I return to Paris I will make him War
Minister. I would make him a prince if I could. He is quite an antique
character." Desaix died two days after he had completed his thirty-third
year, and in less than a week after the above observations.

About this time M. Collot came to Italy and saw Bonaparte at Milan. The
latter received him coldly, though he had not yet gained the battle of
Marengo. M. Collot had been on the most intimate footing with Bonaparte,
and had rendered him many valuable services. These circumstances
sufficiently accounted for Bonaparte's coolness, for he would never
acknowledge himself under obligations to any one, and he did not like
those who were initiated into certain family secrets which he had
resolved to conceal.

   --[The day after the interview I had a long conversation with M.
   Collot while Bonaparte was gone to review some corps stationed at
   Milan. M. Collot perfectly understood the cause of the unkind
   treatment he had experienced, and of which he gave me the following

   Some days before the Consulate--that is to say, two or three days
   after our return from Egypt,--Bonaparte, during his jealous fit,
   spoke to M. Collot about his wife, her levities, and their
   publicity. "Henceforth," said Bonaparte, "I will have nothing to do
   with her."--"What, would you part from her?"--"Does not her conduct
   justify me in so doing?"--"I do not know; but is this the time to
   think of such a thing, when the eyes of all France are fixed upon
   you? These domestic squabbles will degrade you in the eyes of the
   people, who expect you to be wholly devoted to their interests; and
   you will be laughed at, like one of Moliere's husbands, if you are
   displeased with your wife's conduct you can call her to account when
   you have nothing better to do. Begin by raising up the state.
   After that you may find a thousand reasons for your resentment when
   now you would not find one. You know the French people well enough
   to see how important it is that you should not commence with this

   By these and other similar remarks M. Collot thought he had produced
   some impression, when Bonaparte suddenly exclaimed: "No, my
   determination is fixed; she shall never again enter my house. I
   care not what people say. They will gossip about the affair for two
   days, and on the third it will be forgotten. She shall go to
   Malmaison, and I will live here. The public know enough, not to be
   mistaken as to the reasons of her removal."

   M. Collot vainly endeavoured to calm his irritation. Bonaparte
   vented a torrent of reproaches upon Josephine. "All this violence,"
   observed M. Collot, "proves that you still love her. Do but see
   her, she will explain the business to your satisfaction and you will
   forgive her."--"I forgive her! Never! Collot, you know me. If I
   were not sure of my own resolution, I would tear out this heart, and
   cast it into the fire." Here anger almost choked his utterance, and
   he made a motion with his hand as if tearing his breast.

   When this violent paroxysm had somewhat subsided M. Collot withdrew;
   but before he went away Bonaparte invited him to breakfast on the
   following morning.

   At ten o'clock M. Collot was there, and as he was passing through
   the courtyard he was informed that Madame Bonaparte, who, as I have
   already mentioned, had gone to Lyons without meeting the General,
   had returned during the night. On M. Collot's entrance Bonaparte
   appeared considerably embarrassed. He led him into a side room, not
   wishing to bring him into the room where I was writing. "Well,"
   said Bonaparte to M. Collot, "she is here."--"I rejoice to hear it.
   You have done well for yourself as well as for us."--"But do not
   imagine I have forgiven her. As long as I live I shall suspect.
   The fact is, that on her arrival I desired her to be gone; but that
   fool Joseph was there. What could I do, Collot? I saw her descend
   the staircase followed by Eugine and Hortense. They were all
   weeping; and I have not a heart to resist tears Eugene was with me
   in Egypt. I have been accustomed to look upon him as my adopted
   son. He is a fine brave lad. Hortense is just about to be
   introduced into society, and she is admired by all who know her.
   I confess, Collot, I was deeply moved; I could not endure the
   distress of the two poor children. 'Should they,' thought I,
   'suffer for their mother's faults?' I called back Eugene and
   Hortense, and their mother followed them. What could I say, what
   could I do? I should not be a man without some weakness."--
   "Be assured they will reward you for this."--"They ought, Collot
   they ought; for it has cost me a hard struggle." After this
   dialogue Bonaparte and M. Collot entered the breakfast-parlour,
   where I was then sitting. Eugene breakfasted with us, but neither
   Josephine nor Hortense. I have already related how I acted the part
   of mediator in this affair. Next day nothing was wanting to
   complete the reconciliation between the Conqueror of Egypt and the
   charming woman who conquered Bonaparte.--Bourrienne.]--

On the 13th the First Consul slept at Torre di Galifolo. During the
evening he ordered a staff-officer to ascertain whether the Austrians had
a bridge across the Bormida. A report arrived very late that there was
none. This information set Bonaparte's mind at rest, and he went to bed
very well satisfied; but early next morning, when a firing was heard, and
he learned that the Austrians had debouched on the plain, where the
troops were engaged, he flew into a furious passion, called the
staff-officer a coward, and said he had not advanced far enough.
He even spoke of bringing the matter to an investigation.

From motives of delicacy I refrain from mentioning the dame of the
officer here alluded to.

Bonaparte mounted his horse and proceeded immediately to the scene of
action. I did not see him again until six in tine evening. In obedience
to his instructions; I repaired to San Giuliano, which is not above two
leagues from the place where the engagement commenced. In the course of
the afternoon I saw a great many wounded passing through the village, and
shortly afterwards a multitude of fugitives. At San Giuliano nothing was
talked of but a retreat, which, it was said, Bonaparte alone firmly
opposed. I was then advised to leave San Giuliano, where I had just
received a courier for the General-in-Chief. On the morning of the 14th
General Desaix was sent towards Novi to observe the road to Genoa, which
city had fallen several days before, in spite of the efforts of its
illustrious defender, Massena. I returned with this division to San
Giuliano. I was struck with the numerical weakness of the corps which
was marching to aid an army already much reduced and dispersed. The
battle was looked upon as lost, and so indeed it was. The First Consul
having asked Desaix what he thought of it, that brave General bluntly
replied, "The battle is completely lost; but it is only two o'clock, we
have time to gain another to-day." I heard this from Bonaparte himself
the same evening. Who could have imagined that Desaix's little corps,
together with the few heavy cavalry commanded by General Kellerman,
would, about five o'clock, have changed the fortune of the day? It
cannot be denied that it was the instantaneous inspiration of Kellerman
that converted a defeat into a victory, and decided the battle of

That memorable battle, of which the results were incalculable, has been
described in various ways. Bonaparte had an account of it commenced no
less than three times; and I must confess that none of the narratives are
more correct than that contained in the 'Memoirs of the Duke of Rovigo'.
The Emperor Napoleon became dissatisfied with what had been said by the
First Consul Bonaparte. For my part, not having had the honour to bear a
sword, I cannot say that I saw any particular movement executed this or
that way; but I may mention here what I heard on the evening of the
battle of Marengo respecting the probable chances of that event. As to
the part which the First Consul took in it, the reader, perhaps, is
sufficiently acquainted with his character to account for it. He did not
choose that a result so decisive should be attributed to any other cause
than the combinations of his genius, and if I had not known his
insatiable thirst for glory I should have been surprised at the sort of
half satisfaction evinced at the cause of the success amidst the joy
manifested for the success itself. It must be confessed that in this he
was very unlike Jourdan, Hoche, Kleber, and Moreau, who were ever ready
to acknowledge the services of those who had fought under their orders.

Within two hours of the time when the divisions commanded by Desaix left
San Giuliano I was joyfully surprised by the triumphant return of the
army, whose fate, since the morning, had caused me so much anxiety.
Never did fortune within so short a time show herself under two such
various faces. At two o'clock all denoted the desolation of a defeat,
with all its fatal consequences; at five victory was again faithful to
the flag of Arcola. Italy was reconquered by a single blow, and the
crown of France appeared in the perspective.

At seven in the evening, when I returned with the First Consul to
headquarters, he expressed to me his sincere regret for the loss of
Desaix, and then he added, "Little Kellerman made a lucky charge. He did
it at just the right moment. We are much indebted to him. You see what
trifling circumstances decide these affairs."

These few words show that Bonaparte sufficiently appreciated the services
of Kellerman. However, when that officer approached the table at which
were seated the First Consul and a number of his generals, Bonaparte
merely said, "You made a pretty good charge." By way of
counter-balancing this cool compliment he turned towards Bessieres, who
commanded the horse grenadiers of the Guard, and said, "Bessieres, the
Guard has covered itself with glory." Yet the fact is, that the Guard
took no part in the charge of Kellerman, who could assemble only 500
heavy cavalry; and with this handful of brave men he cut in two the
Austrian column, which had overwhelmed Desaix's division, and had made
6000 prisoners. The Guard did not charge at Marengo until nightfall.

Next day it was reported that Kellerman, in his first feeling of
dissatisfaction at the dry congratulation he had received, said to the
First Consul, "I have just placed the crown on your head!" I did not
hear this, and I cannot vouch for the truth of its having been said. I
could only have ascertained that fart through Bonaparte, and of
course I could not, with propriety, remind him of a thing which must have
been very offensive to him. However, whether true or not, the
observation was circulated about, verbally and in writing, and Bonaparte
knew it. Hence the small degree of favour shown to Kellerman, who was
not made a general of division on the field of battle as a reward for his
charge at Marengo.

   --[If Savary's story be correct, and he was then aide de camp to
   Desaix, and Bourrienne acknowledges his account to be the best, the
   inspiration of the charge did not come from the young Kellerman.
   Savary says that Desaix sent him to tell Napoleon that he could not
   delay his attack, and that he must be supported by some cavalry.

   Savary was then sent by Napoleon to a spot where he was told he
   would find Kellerman, to order him to charge in support of Desaix.
   Desaix and Kellerman were so placed as to be out of sight of each
   other (Savary, tome i. pp. 279-279). Thiers (tome i, p. 445)
   follows Savary.

   It may here be mentioned that Savary, in his account of the battle,
   expressly states that he carried the order from Bonaparte to
   Kellerman to make this charge. He also makes the following
   observations on the subject:--

   After the fall of the Imperial Government some pretended friends of
   General Kellerman have presumed to claim for him the merit of
   originating the charge of cavalry. That general, whose share of
   glory is sufficiently brilliant to gratify his most sanguine wishes,
   can have no knowledge of so presumptuous a pretension. I the more
   readily acquit him from the circumstance that, as we were conversing
   one day respecting that battle, I called to his mind my having
   brought, to him the First Consul's orders, and he appeared not to
   have forgotten that fact. I am far from suspecting his friends of
   the design of lessening the glory of either General Bonaparte or
   General Desaix; they know as well as myself that theirs are names so
   respected that they can never be affected by such detractions, and
   that it would be as vain to dispute the praise due to the Chief who
   planned the battle was to attempt to depreciate the brilliant share
   which General Kellerman had in its successful result. I will add to
   the above a few observations.

   "From the position which he occupied General Desaix could not see
   General Kellerman; he had even desired me to request the First
   Consul to afford him the support of some cavalry. Neither could
   General Kellerman, from the point where he was stationed, perceive
   General Desaix's division; it is even probable that he was not aware
   of the arrival of that General, who had only joined the army two
   days before. Both were ignorant of each other's position, which the
   First Consul was alone acquainted with; he alone could introduce
   harmony into their movements; he alone could make their efforts
   respectively conduce to the same object.

   "The fate of the battle was decided by Kellerman's bold charge; had
   it, however, been made previously to General Desaix's attack, in all
   probability it would have had a quite different result. Kellerman
   appears to have been convinced of it, since he allowed the Austrian
   column to cross our field of battle and extend its front beyond that
   of the troops we had still in line without making the least attempt
   to impede its progress. The reason of Kellerman's not charging it
   sooner was that it was too serious a movement, and the consequences
   of failure would have been irretrievable: that charge, therefore,
   could only enter into a general combination of plans, to which he
   was necessarily a stranger" (Memoirs of the Duke of Rovigo, tome i.
   pp. 218-280).]--

M. Delaforet, the Postmaster-general, sometimes transacted business with
the First Consul. The nature of this secret business may easily be
guessed at.

   --[When M. Delaforet was replaced soon after this by Lavalette,
   Napoleon ordered the discontinuance of the practice followed until
   then of allowing letters to be opened by subordinate officials.
   This right was restricted, as in England, to the Minister. However
   bad this practice, it was limited, not extended, in his reign. See
   Mineval, tome iii. pp. 60-62, and Lavalette, tome ii. p. 10.]--

On the occasion of one of their interviews the First Consul saw a letter
from Kellerman to Lasalle, which contained the following passage: "Would
you believe, my friend, that Bonaparte has not made me a general of
division though I have just placed the crown on his head?" The letter
was sealed again and sent to its address; but Bonaparte never forgot its

Whether Kellerman did or did not give the crown of France to the First
Consul, it is very certain that on the evening of the battle of Marengo
he gave him a supper, of which his famishing staff and the rest of us
partook. This was no inconsiderable service in the destitute condition
in which we were. We thought ourselves exceeding fortunate in profiting
by the precaution of Kellerman, who had procured provisions from one of
those pious retreats which are always well supplied, and which soldiers
are very glad to fall in with when campaigning. It was the convent del
Bosco which on this occasion was laid under contribution; and in return
for the abundance of good provisions and wine with which they supplied
the commander of the heavy cavalry the holy fathers were allowed a guard
to protect them against pillage and the other disastrous concomitants of

After supper was over the First Consul dictated to me the bulletin of the
battle. When we were alone I said to him, "General, here is a fine
victory! You recollect what you said the other day about the pleasure
with which you would return to France after striking a grand blow in
Italy; surely you must be satisfied now?"--"Yes, Bourrienne, I am
satisfied.--But Desaix! . . . Ah, what a triumph would this have
been if I could have embraced him to-night on the field of battle!"
As he uttered these words I saw that Bonaparte was on the point of
shedding tears, so sincere and profound was his grief for the death of
Desaix. He certainly never loved, esteemed, or regretted any man so

The death of Desaix has been variously related, and I need not now state
that the words attributed to him in the bulletin were imaginary. Neither
did he die in the arms of his aide de camp, Lebrun, as I wrote from the
dictation of the First Consul. The following facts are more correct, or
at all events more probable:--the death of Desaix was not perceived at
the moment it took place. He fell without saying a word, at a little
distance from Lefebre-Desnouettes. A sergeant of battalion of the 9th
brigade light infantry, commanded by Barrois, seeing him extended on the
ground, asked permission to pick up his cloak. It was found to be
perforated behind; and this circumstance leaves it doubtful whether
Desaix was killed by some unlucky inadvertency, while advancing at the
head of his troops, or by the enemy when turning towards his men to
encourage them. However, the event was so instantaneous, the disorder so
complete, and the change of fortune so sudden, that it is not surprising
there should be no positive account of the circumstances which attended
his death.

Early next morning the Prince of Liechtenstein came from General Melas
with negotiations to the First Consul. The propositions of the General
did not suit Bonaparte, and he declared to the Prince that the army shut
up in Alessandria should evacuate freely, and with the honours of war;
but on those conditions, which are well known, and by which Italy was to
be fully restored to the French domination. That day were repaired the
faults of Scherer, whose inertness and imbecility had paralysed
everything, and who had fled, and been constantly beaten, from the
Adriatic to Mont Cenis. The Prince of Liechtenstein begged to return to
render an account of his mission to General Melas. He came back in the
evening, and made many observations on the hard nature of the conditions.
"Sir," replied the First Consul, in a tone of marked impatience, "carry
my final determination to your General, and return quickly. It is
irrevocable! Know that I am as well acquainted with your position as you
are yourselves. I did not begin to learn the art of war yesterday. You
are blocked up in Alessandria; you have many sick and wounded; you are in
want of provisions and medicines. I occupy the whole of your rear. Your
finest troops are among the killed and wounded. I might insist on harder
conditions; my position would warrant me in so doing; but I moderate my
demands in consideration of the gray hairs of your General, whom I

This reply was delivered with considerable dignity and energy. I showed
the Prince out, and he said to me, "These conditions are very hard,
especially that of giving up Genoa, which surrendered to us only a
fortnight ago, after so long a siege." It is a curious fact that the
Emperor of Austria received intelligence of the capitulation and
restitution of Genoa at the same time.

When the First Consul returned to Milan he made Savary and Rapp his aides
de camp. They had previously served in the same rank under Desaix. The
First Consul was at first not much disposed to take them, alleging that
he had aides de camp enough. But his respect for the choice of Desaix,
added to a little solicitation on my part, soon removed every obstacle.
These two officers served him to the last hour of his political career
with unfailing zeal and fidelity.

I have seen nothing in the Memoirs of the Due de Rovigo (Savary) about my
having had anything to do with his admission to the honour. I can
probably tell the reason why one of the two aides de camp has risen
higher than the other. Rapp had an Alsatian frankness which always
injured him.



   Suspension of hostilities--Letter to the Consuls--Second Occupation
   of Milan--Bonaparte and Massena--Public acclamations and the voice
   of Josephine--Stray recollections--Organization of Piedmont--Sabres
   of honour--Rewards to the army of the Rhine--Pretended army of
   reserve--General Zach--Anniversary of the 14th of July--Monument to
   Desaix--Desaix and Foy--Bonaparte's speech in the Temple of Mars--
   Arrival of the Consular Guard--The bones of marshal Turenne--
   Lucien's successful speech--Letter from Lucien to Joseph Bonaparte--
   The First Consul's return to Paris--Accidents on the road--
   Difficulty of gaining lasting fame--Assassination of Kleber--
   Situation of the terrace on which Kleber was stabbed--Odious rumours
   --Arrival of a courier--A night scene--Bonaparte's distress on
   perusing the despatches from Egypt.

What little time, and how few events sometimes suffice to change the
destiny of nations! We left Milan on the 13th of June, Marengo on the
14th, and on the 15th Italy was ours! A suspension of hostilities
between the French and Austrian armies was the immediate result of a
single battle; and by virtue of a convention, concluded between Berthier
and Melas, we resumed possession of all the fortified places of any
importance, with the exception of Mantua. As soon as this convention was
signed Bonaparte dictated to me at Torre di Galifolo the following letter
to his colleagues:

   The day after the battle of Marengo, CITIZENS CONSULS, General Melas
   transmitted a message to our advance posts requesting permission to
   send General Skal to me. During the day the convention, of which I
   send you a copy, was drawn up, and at night it was signed by
   Generals Berthier and Melas. I hope the French people will be
   satisfied with the conduct, of their army.
                       (Signed) Bonaparte

The only thing worthy of remark in this letter would be the concluding
sentence, in which the First Consul still affected to acknowledge the
sovereignty of the people, were it not that the words "Citizens Consuls"
were evidently foisted in with a particular design. The battle was
gained; and even in a trifling matter like this it was necessary that the
two, other Consuls should feel that they were not so much the colleagues
as the subordinates of the First Consul.

We returned to Milan, and our second occupation of that, city was marked
by continued acclamations wherever the First Consul showed himself.
At Milan the First Consul now saw Massena for the first time since our
departure for Egypt. Bonaparte lavished upon, him the highest praises,
but not higher than he deserved, for his admirable, defence of Genoa.
He named him his successor in the command of the army of Italy. Moreau
was on the Rhine, and therefore none but the conqueror of Zurich could
properly have succeeded the First Consul in that command. The great blow
was struck; but there might still occur an emergency requiring the
presence of a skillful experienced general, well acquainted with the
country. And besides, we could not be perfectly at ease, until it was
ascertained what conditions would be adhered to by the Cabinet of Vienna,
which was then entirely under the influence of the Cabinet of London.
After our return from the battle the popular joy was general and
heartfelt not only among the higher and middle ranks of society, but in
all classes; and the affection evinced from all quarters to the First
Consul was unfeigned. In what a tone of sincerity did he say to me one
day, when returning from the parade, "Bourrienne, do you hear the
acclamations still resounding? That noise is as sweet to me as the sound
of Josephine's voice. How happy and proud I am to be loved by such a

During our stay at Milan Bonaparte had arranged a new government for
Piedmont; he had ever since cherished the wish to unite that rich and
fertile country to the French territory because some Piedmontese
provinces had been possessed by Louis XIV. That monarch was the only
king whom the First Consul really admired. "If," said he one day, "Louis
XIV. had not been born a king, he would have been a great man. But he
did not know mankind; he could not know them, for he never knew
misfortune." He admired the resolution of the old King, who would rather
bury himself under the ruins of the monarchy than submit to degrading
conditions, after having commanded the sovereigns of Europe. I recollect
that Bonaparte was extremely pleased to see in the reports which he
ordered to be made that in Casal, and in the valleys of Pignerol, Latour,
and Luzerne, there still existed many traces of the period when those
countries belonged to France; and that the French language was yet
preserved there. He already began to identify himself with the past; and
abusing the old kings of France was not the way to conciliate his favour.

The First Consul appointed for the government of Piedmont a Council
which, as may naturally be imagined; he composed of those Piedmontese who
were the declared partisans of France. He stated as the grounds of this
arrangement that it was to give to Piedmont a new proof of the affection
and attachment of the French people. He afterwards appointed General.
Dupont President of the Council, with the title of Minister-Extraordinary
of the French government. I will here mention a secret step taken by
Bonaparte towards the overthrowing of the Republic. In making the first
draught of General Dupont's appointment I had mechanically written,
"Minister-Extraordinary of the French Republic."--"No! no!" said
Bonaparte, "not of the Republic; say of the Government."

On his return to Paris the First Consul gave almost incredible proofs of
his activity. The day after his arrival he promulgated a great number of
decrees, and afterwards allotted the rewards to his soldiers. He
appointed Kellerman General of division which, on every principle of
justice, he ought to have done on the field of battle. He distributed
sabres of honour, with the following inscription, highly complimentary to

   "Battle of Maringo,--[spelt for some time, I do not know why, as,
   Maringo--Bourrienne]--commanded in person by the First Consul.
   --Given by the Government of the Republic to General Lannes."

Similar sabres where presented to Generals Victor, Watrin, Gardanne, and
Murat; and sabres of less value to other officers: and also muskets and
drumsticks of honour to the soldiers and drummers who had distinguished
themselves at Marengo, or in the army of the Rhine; for Bonaparte took
care that the officers and men who had fought under Moreau should be
included among those to whom the national rewards were presented. He
even had a medal struck to perpetuate the memory of the entry of the
French army into Munich. It is worthy of remark that while official
fabrications and exaggerated details of facts were published respecting
Marengo and the short campaign of Italy, by a feigned modesty the
victorious army of Marengo received the unambitious title of 'Army of
Reserve'. By this artifice the honour of the Constitution was saved.
The First Consul had not violated it. If he had marched to the field,
and staked everything on a chance it was merely accidentally, for he
commanded only an "Army of Reserve," which nevertheless he had greeted
with the title of Grand Army before he entered upon the campaign. It is
scarcely conceivable that Bonaparte, possessing as he did an
extraordinary mind, should have descended to such pitiful artifices.

   --[ Thiers (tome. vi., p. 70) says the title Grande Armee was first
   given by Napoleon to the force prepared in 1805 for the campaign
   against Austria. The Constitution forbad the First Consul to
   command the armies in person. Hence the title, "Army of Reserve,"
   gives to the force which fought Marengo.]--

Even foreigners and prisoners were objects of Bonaparte's designing
intentions. I recollect one evening his saying to me; "Bourrienne, write
to the Minister of War, and tell him to select a fine brace of pistols,
of the Versailles manufacture, and send them, in my name, to General
Zach. He dined with me to-day, and highly praised our manufacture of
arms. I should like to give him a token of remembrance; besides,--the,
matter will be talked of at Vienna, and may perhaps do good!"

As soon as the news of the battle of Marengo reached Paris Lucien
Bonaparte, Minister of the Interior, ordered preparations for the
festival, fixed for the 14th of July, in commemoration of the first
Federation. This festival and that of the 1st Vendemiaire were the only
ones preserved by the Consular Government. Indeed, in those memorable
days, when the Revolution appeared in its fairest point of view, France
had never known such joy as that to which the battle of Marengo gave
rise. Still, amidst all this popular transport there was a feeling of
regret. The fame of Desaix, his heroic character, his death, the words
attributed to him and believed to be true, caused mourning to be mingled
with joy. It was agreed to open a subscription for erecting a national
monument to his memory. A reflection naturally arises here upon the
difference between the period referred to and the present time. France
has endowed with nearly a million the children of one of her greatest
orators and most eloquent defenders of public liberty, yet, for the
monument to the memory of Desaix scarcely 20,000 francs were subscribed.
Does not this form a singular contrast with the patriotic munificence
displayed at the death of General Foy? The pitiful monument to Desaix,
on the Place Dauphins, sufficiently attests the want of spirit on the
part of the subscribers. Bonaparte, who was much dissatisfied with it,
gave the name of Desaix to a new quay, the first stone of which was laid
with great solemnity on the 14th of July.

On that day the crowd was immense in the Champ-de-Mars and in the Temple
of Mars, the name which at that the Church of the Invalides still
preserved. Lucien delivered a speech on the encouraging prospects of
France, and Lannes made an appropriate address on presenting to the
Government the flags taken at Marengo. Two more followed; one from an
aide de cramp of Massena, and the other from an aide de camp of Lecourbe;
and after the distribution of some medals the First Consul then delivered
the following address:--

   CITIZENS! SOLDIERS!--The flags presented to the Government, in the
   presence of the people of this immense capital, attest at once the
   genius of the Commanders-in-Chief Moreau, Massena, and Berthier; the
   military talents of the generals, their lieutenants; and bravery of
   the French soldiers.

   On your return to the camp tell your comrades that for the 1st
   Vendemiaire, when we shall celebrate the anniversary of the
   Republic, the French people expect either peace or, if the enemy
   obstinately refuse it, other flags, the fruit of fresh victories.

After this harangue of the First Consul, in which he addressed to the
military in the name of the people, and ascribed to Berthier the glory of
Marengo, a hymn was chanted, the words of which were written by M. de
Fontanes and the music composed by Mehul. But what was most remarkable
in this fete was neither the poetry, music, nor even the panegyrical
eloquence of Lucien,--it was the arrival at the Champ-de-Mars, after
the ceremony at the Invalides, of the Consular Guard returning from
Marengo. I was at a window of the Ecole-Militaire, and I can never
forget the commotion, almost electrical, which made the air resound with
cries of enthusiasm at their appearance. These soldiers did not defile
before the First Consul in fine uniforms as at a review. Leaving the
field of battle when the firing ceased, they had crossed Lombardy,
Piedmont, Mont Cenis, Savoy, and France in the space of twenty-nine days.
They appeared worn by the fatigue of a long journey, with faces browned
by the summer sun of Italy, and with their arms and clothing showing the
effects of desperate struggles. Do you wish to have an idea of their
appearance? You will find a perfect type in the first grenadier put by
Gerard at one side of his picture of the battle of Austerlitz.

At the time of this fete, that is to say, in the middle of the month of
July, the First Consul could not have imagined that the moderate
conditions he had proposed after the victory would not be accepted by
Austria. In the hope, therefore, of a peace which could not but be
considered probable, he, for the first time since the establishment of
the Consular Government, convoked the deputies of the departments, and
appointed their time of assembling in Paris for the 1st Vendemiaire, a
day which formed the close of one remarkable century and marked the
commencement of another.

The remains of Marshal Turenne; to which Louis XIV. had awarded the
honours of annihilation by giving them a place among the royal tombs in
the vaults of St. Denis, had been torn from their grave at the time of
the sacrilegious violation of the tombs. His bones, mingled
indiscriminately with others, had long lain in obscurity in a garret of
the College of Medicine when M. Lenoir collected and restored them to the
ancient tomb of Turenne in the Mussee des Petits Augustins. Bonaparte
resolved to enshrine these relics in that sculptured marble with which
the glory of Turenne could so well dispense. This was however, intended
as a connecting link between the past days of France and the future to
which he looked forward. He thought that the sentiments inspired by the
solemn honours rendered to the memory of Turenne would dispose the
deputies of the departments to receive with greater enthusiasm the
pacific communications he hoped to be able to make.

However, the negotiations did not take the favourable turn which the
First Consul had expected; and, notwithstanding all the address of
Lucien, the communication was not heard without much uneasiness. But
Lucien had prepared a speech quite to the taste of the First Consul.
After dilating for some time on the efforts of the Government to obtain
peace he deplored the tergiversations of Austria, accused the fatal
influence of England, and added in a more elevated and solemn tone,
"At the very moment when, the Consuls were leaving the Palace of the
Government a courier arrived bearing despatches which the First Consul
has directed me to communicate to you." He then read a note declaring
that the Austrian Government consented to surrender to France the three
fortresses of Ulm, Philipsburg, and Ingolstadt. This was considered as a
security for the preliminaries of peace being speedily signed. The news
was received with enthusiasm, and that anxious day closed in a way highly
gratifying to the First Consul.

Whilst victory confirmed in Italy the destinies of the First Consul, his
brothers were more concerned about their own interests than the affairs
of France. They loved money as much as Bonaparte loved glory. A letter
from Lucien to his brother Joseph, which I shall subjoin, shows how ready
they always were to turn to their own advantage the glory and fortune of
him to whom they were indebted for all their importance. I found this
letter among my papers, but I cannot tell why and how I preserved it.
It is interesting, inasmuch as it shows, the opinion that family of
future kings entertained of their own situation, and of what their fate
would have been had Bonaparte, like Desaix, fallen on the field of
Marengo. It is, besides, curious to observe the, philosopher Lucien
causing Te Deum, to be chanted with the view of influencing the public
funds. At all events I copy Lucien's letter as he wrote it, giving the
words marked in italics [CAPS] and the numerous notes of exclamation
which distinguish the original.

MY BROTHER--I send you a courier; I particularly wish that the First
Consul would give me notice of his arrival twenty-four hours
beforehand, and that he would inform ME ALONE of the barrier by which
he will enter. The city wishes to prepare triumphal arches for him,
and it deserves not to be disappointed.

AT MY REQUEST a Te Deum was chanted yesterday. There were 60,000
persons present.

The intrigues of Auteuil continue.

   --[This intrigue, so called from Talleyrand one of its heads, living
   in the suburb of Auteuil, arose from the wish of many of the most
   influential men to be prepared in case of the death of Napoleon in
   any action in Italy: It was simply a continuation of the same
   combinations which had been attempted or planned in 1799, till the
   arrival of Bonaparte from Egypt made the party choose him as the
   instrument for the overthrow of the Directors. There was little
   secrecy about their plans; see Miot de Melito (tome i p. 276),
   where Joseph Bonaparte tells his friends all that was being proposed
   in case his brother fell. Carnot seems to have been the most
   probable choice as leader and replacer of Bonaparte. In the above
   letter "C----," stands for Carrot, "La F----" for La Fayette, the
   "High Priest" is Sieyes, and the "friend of Auteuil" is Talleyrand;
   see Iung's Lucien, tome i. p. 411. The postscript seems to refer to
   a wretched scandal about Caroline, and Lucien; see Iung's Lucien,
   tome i. pp. 411, 432-433. The reader should remark the retention
   of this and other documents by Bourrienne, which forms one of the
   charges brought against him farther on.]--

--It has been found difficult to decide between C---- and La F----.
The latter has proposed his daughter in marriage to me. Intrigue has
been carried to the last extreme. I do not know yet whether the High
Priest has decided for one party or the other. I believe that he would
cheat them both for an Orleans, and your friend of Auteuil was at the
bottom of all. The news of the battle of Marengo petrified them, and yet
next day the High Priest certainly spent three hours with your friend of
Auteuil. As to us, had the victory of Marengo closed the First Consul's
career we should now have been Proscribed.

Your letters say nothing of what I expected to hear. I hope at least to
be informed of the answer from Vienna before any one. I am sorry you
have not paid me back for the battle of Marengo.

The festival of the 14th of July will be very gratifying. We expect
peace as a certainty, and the triumphant return of the First Consul.
The family is all well. Your wife and all her family are at
Mortfontaine. Ney is at Paris. Why do you return with the First Consul?
Peace! and Italy! Think of our last interview. I embrace you.
                       (Signed) LUCIEN.
On the margin is written--

P.S.--Read the letter addressed to the Consul, and give it to him AFTER

Forward the enclosed. Madame Murat never lodged in my house. Her
husband is a fool, whom his wife ought to punish by not writing to him
for a month.
             (Signed) LUCIEN BONAPARTE

Bonaparte, confirmed in his power by the victory of Marengo, remained
some days longer at Milan to settle the affairs of Italy. He directed
one to furnish Madame Grassini with money to pay her expenses to Paris.
We departed amidst the acclamations of the inhabitants, and took the road
to Turin. The First Consul stopped at Turin for some hours, and
inspected the citadel, which had bean surrendered to us in pursuance of
the capitulation of Alessandria. In passing over Mont Cenis we observed
the carriage of Madame Kellerman, who was going to meet her husband.
Bonaparte on recognizing the lady stopped his carriage and congratulated
her on the gallant conduct of her husband at the battle of Marengo.

On our arrival at Lyons we alighted at the Hotel des Celestins, and the
loud acclamations of a numerous multitude assembled round the hotel
obliged Bonaparte to show himself on the balcony. Next day he proceeded
to the Square of Bellecour, where, amidst the plaudits of the people, he
laid the first stone of some new buildings destined to efface one of the
disasters of the Revolution.

We left Lyons that evening and continued our journey by way of Dijon.
On our arrival in that town the joy of the inhabitants was very great.
I never saw a more graceful and captivating sight than that which was
presented by a group of beautiful young females, crowned with flowers,
who accompanied Bonaparte's carriage, and which at that period, when the
Revolution had renewed all the republican recollections of Greece and
Rome, looked like the chorus of females dancing around the victor at the
Olympic games.

But all our journey was not so agreeable. Some accidents awaited us.
The First Consul's carriage broke down between Villeneuve-le-Roi and
Sens. He sent a courier to inform my mother that he would stop at her
house till his carriage was repaired. He dined there, and we started
again at seven in the evening.

But we had other disasters to encounter. One of our off-wheels came off,
and as we were driving at a very rapid pace the carriage was overturned
on the bridge at a short distance from Montreau-Faut-Yonne. The First
Consul, who sat on my left, fell upon me, and sustained no injury. My
head was slightly hurt by striking against some things which were in the
pocket of the carriage; but this accident was not worth stopping for, and
we arrived at Paris on the same night, the 2d of July. Duroc, who was
the third in the carriage, was not hurt.

I have already mentioned that Bonaparte was rather talkative when
travelling; and as we were passing through Burgundy, on our return to
Paris from Marengo, he said exultingly, "Well, a few more events like
this campaign, and I may go down to posterity."--"I think," replied I,
"that you have already done enough to secure great and lasting
fame."--"Yes," resumed he, "I have done enough, it is true. In less
than two years I have won Cairo, Paris, and Milan; but for all that, my
dear fellow, were I to die to-morrow I should not at the end of ten
centuries occupy half a page of general history!"

On the very day when Desaix fell on the field of Marengo Kleber was
assassinated by a fanatical Mussulman, named Soleiman Haleby, who stabbed
him with a dagger, and by that blow decided the fate of Egypt.

   --["This fellah was, at most, eighteen or twenty years of age: he
   was a native of Damascus, and declared that he had quitted his
   native city by command of the grand vizier, who had entrusted him
   with the commission of repairing to Egypt and killing the grand
   sultan of the French [Bonaparte being probably intended]. That for
   this purpose alone he had left his family, and performed the whole
   journey on foot and had received from the grand vizier no other
   money than what was absolutely requisite for the exigencies of the
   journey. On arriving at Cairo he had gone forthwith to perform his
   devotions in the great mosque, and it was only on the eve of
   executing his project that he confided it to one of the scherifs of
   the mosque" (Duc de Rovigo's Memoirs, tome 1. p. 367)]--

Thus was France, on the same day, and almost at the same hour, deprived
of two of her most distinguished generals. Menou, as senior in command,
succeeded Kleber, and the First Consul confirmed the appointment. From
that moment the loss of Egypt was inevitable.

I have a few details to give respecting the tragical death of Kleber.
The house of Elfy Bey, which Bonaparte occupied at Cairo, and in which
Kleber lived after his departure; had a terrace leading from a salon to
an old ruined cistern, from which, down a few steps, there was an
entrance into the garden. The terrace commanded a view of the grand
square of El Beguyeh, which was to the right on coming out of the salon,
while the garden was on the left. This terrace was Bonaparte's favourite
promenade, especially in the evenings, when he used to walk up and down
and converse with the persons about him, I often advised him to fill up
the reservoir, and to make it level with the terrace. I even showed him,
by concealing myself in it, and coming suddenly behind him, how easy it
would be for any person to attempt his life and then escape, either by
jumping into the square, or passing through the garden. He told me I was
a coward, and was always in fear of death; and he determined not to make
the alteration I suggested, which, however, he acknowledged to be
advisable. Kleber's assassin availed himself of the facility which I so
often apprehended might be fatal to Bonaparte.

I shall not atop to refute all the infamous rumours which were circulated
respecting Kleber's death. When the First Consul received the unexpected
intelligence he could scarcely believe it. He was deeply affected; and
on reading the particulars of the assassination he instantly called to
mind how often he had been in the same situation as that in which Kleber
was killed, and all I had said respecting the danger of the
reservoir--a danger from which it is inconceivable he should have escaped,
especially after his Syrian expedition had excited the fury of the
natives. Bonaparte's knowledge of Kleber's talents--the fact of his
having confided to him the command of the army, and the aid which he
constantly endeavoured to transmit to him, repelled at once the horrible
suspicion of his having had the least participation in the crime, and the
thought that he was gratified to hear of it.

It is very certain that Bonaparte's dislike of Kleber was as decided as
the friendship he cherished for Desaix. Kleber's fame annoyed him, for
he was weak enough to be annoyed at it. He knew the manner in which
Kleber spoke of him, which was certainly not the most respectful. During
the long and sanguinary siege of St. Jean d'Acre Kleber said to me, "That
little scoundrel Bonaparte, who is no higher than my boot, will enslave
France. See what a villainous expedition he has succeeded in involving
us in." Kleber often made the same remark to others as well as to me.
I am not certain that it was ever reported to Bonaparte; but there is
reason to believe that those who found it their interest to accuse others
did not spare Kleber.

Kleber, who was a sincere republican, saw and dreaded for his country's
sake the secret views and inordinate ambition of Bonaparte. He was a
grumbler by nature; yet he never evinced discontent in the discharge of
his duties as a soldier. He swore and stormed, but marched bravely to
the cannon's mouth: he was indeed courage personified. One day when he
was in the trench at St. Jean d'Acre, standing up, and by his tall
stature exposed to every shot, Bonaparte called to him, "Stoop down,
Kleber, stoop down!"--"Why;" replied he, "your confounded trench does
not reach to my knees." He never regarded the Egyptian expedition with a
favourable eye. He thought it too expensive, and utterly useless to
France. He was convinced that in the situation in which we stood,
without a navy or a powerful Government, it would have been better to
have confined our attention to Europe than to have wasted French blood
and money on the banks of the Nile, and among the ruined cities of Syria.
Kleber, who was a cool, reflecting man, judged Bonaparte without
enthusiasm, a thing somewhat rare at that time, and he was not blind to
any of his faults.

Bonaparte alleged that Kleber said to him, "General, you are as great as
the world!" Such a remark is in direct opposition to Kleber's character.
He was too sincere to say anything against his conviction. Bonaparte,
always anxious to keep Egypt, of which the preservation alone could
justify the conquest, allowed Kleber to speak because he acted at the
same time. He knew that Kleber's sense of military duty would always
triumph over any opposition he might cherish to his views and plans.
Thus the death of his lieutenant, far from causing Bonaparte any feeling
of satisfaction, afflicted him the more, because it almost totally
deprived him if the hope of preserving a conquest which had cost France
so dear, and which was his work.

The news of the death of Kleber arrived shortly after our return to
Paris. Bonaparte was anxiously expecting accounts from Egypt, none
having been received for a considerable time. The arrival of the courier
who brought the fatal intelligence gave rise to a scene which I may
relate here. It was two o'clock in the morning when the courier arrived
at the Tuileries. In his hurry the First Consul could not wait to rouse
any one to call me up. I had informed him some days before that if he
should want me during the night he should send for me to the corridor, as
I had changed my bedchamber on account of my wife's accouchement. He
came up himself and instead of knocking at my door knocked at that of my
secretary. The latter immediately rose, and opening the door to his
surprise saw the First Consul with a candle in his hand, a Madras
handkerchief on his head, and having on his gray greatcoat. Bonaparte,
not knowing of the little step down into the room, slipped and nearly
fell, "Where is Bourrienne?" asked he. The surprise of my secretary at
the apparition of the First Consul can be imagined. "What; General, is
it you?"--"Where is Bourrienne?" Then my secretary, in his shirt, showed
the First Consul my door. After having told him that he was sorry at
having called him up, Napoleon came to me. I dressed in a hurry, and we
went downstairs to my usual room. We rang several times before they
opened the door for us. The guards were not asleep, but having heard so
much running to and fro feared we were thieves. At last they opened the
door, and the First Consul threw on the table the immense packet of
despatches which he had just received. They had been fumigated and
steeped in vinegar. When he read the announcement of the death of Kleber
the expression of his countenance sufficiently denoted the painful
feelings which arose in his mind. I read in his face; EGYPT IS LOST!


   Bonaparte's wish to negotiate with England and Austria--
   An emigrant's letter--Domestic details--The bell--Conspiracy of
   Ceracchi, Arena, Harrel, and others--Bonaparte's visit to the opera
   --Arrests--Rariel appointed commandant of Vincennes--The Duc
   d'Enghien's foster-sister--The 3d Nivoise--First performance of
   Haydn's "Creation"--The infernal machine--Congratulatory addresses--
   Arbitrary condemnations--M. Tissot erased from the list of the
   banished--M. Truguet--Bonapartes' hatred of the Jacobins explained--
   The real criminals discovered--Justification of Fouche--Execution of
   St. Regent and Carbon--Caesar, Cromwell, and Bonaparte--Conversation
   between Bonaparte and Fouche--Pretended anger--Fouche's
   dissimulation--Lucien's resignation--His embassy to Spain--War
   between Spain and Portugal--Dinner at Fouche's--Treachery of Joseph
   Bonaparte--A trick upon the First Consul--A three days' coolness--

The happy events of the campaign of Italy had been crowned by the
armistice, concluded on the 6th of July. This armistice was broken on
the 1st of September, and renewed after the battle of Hohenlinden. On
his return from Marengo Bonaparte was received with more enthusiasm than
ever. The rapidity with which, in a campaign of less than two months, he
had restored the triumph of the French standard, excited universal
astonishment. He then actively endeavoured to open negotiations with
England and Austria; but difficulties opposed him in every direction. He
frequently visited the theatre, where his presence attracted prodigious
throngs of persons, all eager to see and applaud him.

The immense number of letters which were at this time addressed to the
First Consul is scarcely conceivable. They contained requests for
places, protestations of fidelity, and, in short, they were those
petitionary circulars that are addressed to all persons in power. These
letters were often exceedingly curious, and I have preserved many of
them; among the rest was one from Durosel Beaumanoir, an emigrant who had
fled to Jersey. This letter contains some interesting particulars
relative to Bonaparte's family. It is dated Jersey, 12th July 1800, and
the following are the most remarkable passages it contains:

   I trust; General, that I may, without indiscretion, intrude upon
   your notice, to remind you of what, I flatter myself, you have not
   totally forgotten, after having lived eighteen or nineteen years at
   Ajaccio. But you will, perhaps, be surprised that so trifling an
   item should be the subject of the letter which I have the honour to
   address to you. You cannot have forgotten, General, that when your
   late father was obliged to take your brothers from the college of
   Autun, from whence he went to see you at Brienne, he was unprovided
   with mousy, and he asked me for twenty-five louis, which I lent him
   with pleasure. After his return he had no opportunity of paying me,
   and when I left Ajaccio your mother offered to dispose of some plate
   in order to pay the debt. To this I objected, and told her that I
   would wait until she could pay me at her convenience, and previous
   to the breaking out of the revolution I believe it was not in her
   power to fulfil her wish of discharging the debt.

   I am sorry, General, to be obliged to trouble you about such a
   trifle. But such is my unfortunate situation that even this trifle
   is of some importance to me. Driven from my country, and obliged to
   take refuge in this island, where everything is exceedingly
   expensive, the little sum I have mentioned, which was formerly a
   matter of indifference, would now be of great service to me.

   You will understand, General, that at the age of eighty-six, after
   serving served my country well for sixty years, without the least
   interruption, not counting the time of emigration, chased from every
   place, I have been obliged to take refuge here, to subsist on the
   scanty succour given by the English Government to the French
   emigrant. I say emigrant because I have been forced to be one.
   I had no intention of being one, but a horde of brigands, who came
   from Caen to my house to assassinate me, considered I had committed
   the great crime in being the senior general of the canton and in
   having the Grand Cross of St. Louis: this was too much for them; if
   it had not been for the cries of my neighbours, my door would have
   been broken open, and I should have been assassinated; and I had but
   time to fly by a door at the back, only carrying away what I had on
   me. At first I retired to Paris, but there they told me that I
   could do nothing but go into a foreign country, so great was the
   hate entertained for me by my fellow-citizens, although I lived in
   retirement, never having any discussion with any one. Thus,
   General; I have abandoned all I possessed, money and goods, leaving
   them at the mercy of what they call the nation, which has profited a
   good deal by this, as I have nothing left in the world, not even a
   spot to put my foot on. If even a horse had been reserved for me,
   General, I could ask for what depends on you, for I have heard it
   said that some emigrants have been allowed to return home. I do not
   even ask this favour, not having a place to rest my foot. And,
   besides, I have with me here an exiled brother, older than I am,
   very ill and in perfect second childhood, whom I could not abandon.
   I am resigned to my own unhappy fate, but my sole and great grief is
   that not only I myself have been ill-treated, but that my fate has,
   contrary to the law, injured relations whom I love and respect. I
   have a mother-in-law, eighty years old, who has been refused the
   dower I had given her from my property, and this will make me die a
   bankrupt if nothing is changed, which makes me miserable.

   I acknowledge, General, that I know little of the new style, but,
   according to the old form, I am your humble servant,

                       DUROSEL BEAUMANOIR.

I read this letter to the First Consul, who immediately said,
"Bourrienne, this is sacred! Do not lose a minute. Send the old man ten
times the sum. Write to General Durosel that he shall be immediately
erased from the list of emigrants. What mischief those brigands of the
Convention have done! I can never repair it all." Bonaparte uttered
these words with a degree of emotion which I rarely saw him evince. In
the evening he asked me whether I had executed his orders, which I had
done without losing a moment. The death of M. Froth had given me a
lesson as to the value of time!

Availing myself of the privilege I have already frequently taken of
making abrupt transitions from one subject to another, according as the
recollection of past circumstances occurs to my mind, I shall here note
down a few details, which may not improperly be called domestic, and
afterwards describe a conspiracy which was protected by the very man
against whom it was hatched.

At the Tuileries, where the First Consul always resided during the winter
and sometimes a part of the summer, the grand salon was situated between
his cabinet and the Room in which he received the persons with whom he
had appointed audiences. When in this audience-chamber, if he wanted
anything or had occasion to speak to anybody, he pulled a bell which was
answered by a confidential servant named Landoire, who was the messenger
of the First Consul's cabinet. When Bonaparte's bell rung it was usually
for the purpose of making some inquiry of me respecting a paper, a name,
a date, or some matter of that sort; and then Landoire had to pass
through the cabinet and salon to answer the bell and afterwards to return
and to tell me I was wanted. Impatient at the delay occasioned by this
running about, Bonaparte, without saying anything to me, ordered the bell
to be altered so that it should ring within the cabinet; and exactly
above my table. Next morning when I entered the cabinet I saw a man
mounted-upon a ladder. "What are you doing here?" said I. "I am hanging
a bell, sir." I called Landoire and asked him who had given the order.
"The First Consul," he replied. I immediately ordered the man to come
down and remove the ladder, which he accordingly did. When I went,
according to custom, to awaken the First Consul and read the newspapers
to him I said, "General, I found a man this morning hanging a bell in
your cabinet. I was told it was by your orders; but being convinced
there must be some mistake I sent him away. Surely the bell was not
intended for you, and I cannot imagine it was intended for me: who then
could it be for?--" "What a stupid fellow that Landoire is!" said
Bonaparte. "Yesterday, when Cambaceres was with me, I wanted you.
Landoire did not come when I touched the bell. I thought it was broken,
and ordered him to get it repaired. I suppose the bell-hanger was doing
it when you saw him, for you know the wire passes through the cabinet."
I was satisfied with this explanation, though I was not deceived, by it.
For the sake of appearance he reproved Landoire, who, however, had done
nothing more than execute the order he had received. How could he
imagine I would submit to such treatment, considering that we had been
friends since our boyhood, and that I was now living on full terms of
confidence and familiarity with him?

Before I speak of the conspiracy of Ceracchi, Arena, Topino-Lebrun, and
others, I must notice a remark made by Napoleon at St. Helena. He said,
or is alleged to have said, "The two attempts which placed me in the
greatest danger were those of the sculptor Ceracchi and of the fanatic of
Schoenbrun." I was not at Schoenbrun at the time; but I am convinced
that Bonaparte was in the most imminent danger. I have been informed on
unquestionable authority that Staps set out from Erfurth with the
intention of assassinating the Emperor; but he wanted the necessary
courage for executing the design. He was armed with a large dagger, and
was twice sufficiently near Napoleon to have struck him. I heard this
from Rapp, who seized Stags, and felt the hilt of the dagger under his
coat. On that occasion Bonaparte owed his life only to the irresolution
of the young 'illuminato' who wished to sacrifice him to his fanatical
fury. It is equally certain that on another occasion, respecting which
the author of the St. Helena narrative observes complete silence, another
fanatic--more dangerous than Steps attempted the life of Napoleon.

   --[At the time of this attempt I was not with Napoleon; but he
   directed me to see the madmen who had formed the design of
   assassinating him. It will be seen in the coarse of these Memoirs
   what were has plans, and what was the result of them--Bourrienne]--

The following is a correct statement of the facts relative to Ceracchi's
conspiracy. The plot itself was a mere shadow; but it was deemed
advisable to give it substance, to exaggerate, at least in appearance,
the danger to which the First Consul had been exposed:--

There was at that time in Paris an idle fellow called Harrel; he had been
a 'chef de battalion', but he had been dismissed the service, and was
consequently dissatisfied. He became connected with Cerracchi, Arena,
Topino-Lebrun, and Demerville. From different motives all these
individuals were violently hostile to the First Consul, who on his part,
was no friend to Cerracchi and Arena, but scarcely knew the two others.
These four individuals formed, in conjunction with Harrel, the design of
assassinating the First Consul, and the time fixed for the perpetration
of the deed was one evening when Bonaparte intended to visit the opera.

On the 20th of September 1804 Harrel came to me at the Tuileries. He
revealed to me the plot in which he was engaged, and promised that his
accomplices should be apprehended in the very act if I would supply him
with money to bring the plot to maturity. I knew not how to act upon
this disclosure, which I, however, could not reject without incurring too
great a responsibility. I immediately communicated the business to the
First Consul, who ordered me to supply Harrel with money; but not to
mention the affair to Fouche, to whom he wished to prove that he knew
better how to manage the police than he did.

Harrel came nearly every evening at eleven o'clock to inform me of the
progress of the conspiracy, which I immediately communicated to the First
Consul, who was not sorry to find Arena and Ceracchi deeply committed.
But the time passed on, and nothing was done. The First Consul began to
grow impatient. At length Harrel came to say that they had no money to
purchase arms. Money was given him. He, however, returned next day to
say that the gunsmith refused to sell them arms without authority. It
was now found necessary to communicate the business to Fouche in order
that he might grant the necessary permission to the gunsmith, which I was
not empowered to do.

On the 10th of October the Consuls, after the breaking up of the Council,
assembled in the cabinet of their colleague. Bonaparte asked them in my
presence whether they thought he ought to go to the opera. They observed
that as every precaution was taken no danger could be apprehended, and
that it was desirable to show the futility of attempts against the First
Consul's life. After dinner Bonaparte put on a greatcoat over his green
uniform and got into his carriage accompanied by me and Duroc. He seated
himself in front of his box, which at that time was on the left of the
theatre between the two columns which separated the front and side boxes.
When we had been in the theatre about half an hour the First Consul
directed me to go and see what was doing in the corridor. Scarcely had I
left the box than I heard a great uproar, and soon discovered that a
number of persons, whose names I could not learn, had been arrested. I
informed the First Consul of what I had heard, and we immediately
returned to the Tuileries.

It is certain that the object of the conspiracy was to take the First
Consul's life, and that the conspirators neglected nothing which could
further the accomplishment of their atrocious design. The plot, however,
was known through the disclosures of Harrel; and it would have been easy
to avert instead of conjuring up the storm. Such was, and such still is,
my opinion. Harrel's name was again restored to the army list, and he
was appointed commandant of Vincennes. This post he held at the time of
the Duc d'Enghien's assassination. I was afterwards told that his wife
was foster-sister to the unfortunate prince, and that she recognised him
when he entered the prison which in a few short hours was to prove his

Carbonneau, one of the individuals condemned, candidly confessed the part
he had taken in the plot, which he said was brought to maturity solely by
the agents of the police, who were always eager to prove their zeal to
their employers by some new discovery.

Although three months intervened between the machinations of Ceracchi and
Arena and the horrible attempt of the 3d Nivose, I shall relate these two
events in immediate succession; for if they had no other points of
resemblance they were at least alike in their object. The conspirators
in the first affair were of the revolutionary faction. They sought
Bonaparte's life as if with the view of rendering his resemblance to
Caesar so complete that not even a Brutus should be wanting. The latter,
it must with regret be confessed, were of the Royalist party, and in
their wish to destroy the First Consul they were not deterred by the fear
of sacrificing a great number of citizens.

The police knew nothing of the plot of the 3d Nivose for two reasons;
first, because they were no parties to it, and secondly, because two
conspirators do not betray and sell each other when they are resolute in
their purpose. In such cases the giving of information can arise only
from two causes, the one excusable, the other infamous, viz. the dread of
punishment, and the hope of reward. But neither of these causes
influenced the conspirators of the 3d Nivose, the inventors and
constructors of that machine which has so justly been denominated

On the 3d Nivose (24th December 1800) the first performance of Haydn's
magnificent oratorio of the "Creation" took place at the opera, and the
First Consul had expressed his intention of being present. I did not
dine with him that day, but as he left me he said, "Bourrienne, you know
I am going to the opera to-night, and you may go too; but I cannot take
you in the carriage, as Lannes, Berthier, and Lauriston are going with
me." I was very glad of this, for I much wished to hear one of the
masterpieces of the German school of composition. I got to the opera
before Bonaparte, who on his entrance seated himself, according to
custom, in front of the box. The eye's of all present were fixed upon
him, and he appeared to be perfectly calm and self-possessed. Lauriston,
as soon as he saw me, came to my box, and told me that the First Consul,
on his way to the opera, had narrowly escaped being assassinated in the
Rue St. Nicaise by the explosion of a barrel of gunpowder, the concussion
of which had shattered the windows of his carriage. "Within ten seconds
after our escape," added Lauriston, "the coachman having turned the
corner of the Rue St Honore, stopped to take the First Consul's orders;
and he coolly said, 'To the opera.'"

   --[The following particulars respecting the affair of the infernal
   machine are related by Rapp, who attended Madame Bonaparte to the
   opera. He differs from Bourrienne as to the total ignorance of the

   "The affair of the infernal machine has never been property
   understood by the public. The police had intimated to Napoleon that
   an attempt would be made against his life and cautioned him not to
   go out. Madame Bonaparte, Mademoiselle Beauharnais, Madame Murat,
   Lannes, Bessieres, the aide de camp on duty, Lieutenant Lebrun, now
   duke of Placenza were all assembled in the salon, while the First
   Consul was writing in his cabinet. Haydn's oratorio was to be
   performed that evening; the ladies were anxious to hear the music,
   and we also expressed a wish to that effect. The escort piquet was
   ordered out; and Lannes requested that Napoleon would join the
   party. He consented; his carriage was ready, and he took along with
   him Bessieres and the aide de camp on duty. I was directed to
   attend the ladies. Josephine had received a magnificent shawl from
   Constantinople and she that evening wore it for the first time.
   'Permit me to observe,' said I, 'that your shawl is not thrown on
   with your usual elegance.' She good-humouredly begged that I would
   fold it after the fashion of the Egyptian ladies. While I was
   engaged in this operation we heard Napoleon depart. 'Come sister,'
   said Madame Murat, who was impatient to get to the theatre:
   'Bonaparte is going:' We stopped into the carriage: the First
   Consul's equipage had already reached the middle of the Place du
   Carrousel. We drove after it, but we had scarcely entered the place
   when the machine exploded. Napoleon escaped by a singular chance,
   St. Regent, or his servant Francois, had stationed himself in the
   middle of the Rue Nicaise. A grenadier of the escort, supposing he
   was really what he appeared to be, a water-carrier, gave him a few
   blows with the flat of his sabre and drove him off. The cart was
   turned round, and the machine exploded between the carriages of
   Napoleon and Josephine. The ladies shrieked on hearing the report;
   the carriage windows were broken, and Mademoiselle Beauharnais
   received a slight hurt on her hand. I alighted and crossed the Rue
   Nicaise which was strewed with the bodies of those who had been
   thrown down, and the fragments of the walls that had been shattered
   with the explosion. Neither the consul nor any individual of his,
   suite sustained any serious injury. When I entered the theatre
   Napoleon was seated in his box; calm and composed, and looking at
   the audience through his opera-glass. Fouche was beside him.
   'Josephine' said he as soon as he observed me. She entered at that
   instant and he did not finish his question 'The rascals' said he
   very cooly, wanted to blow me up: Bring me a book of the oratorio'"
   (Memoirs of General Count Rape. P. 19)]--

On hearing this I left the theatre and returned to the Palace, under the
expectation that I should speedily be wanted. Bonaparte soon returned
home; and as intelligence of the affair had spread through Paris the
grand salon on the ground-floor was filled with a crowd of functionaries,
eager to read in the eye of their master what they were to think and say
on the occasion. He did not keep them long in suspense. "This,"
exclaimed he vehemently, "is the work of the Jacobins: they have
attempted my life.... There are neither nobles, priests, nor Chouans in
this affair!.... I know what I am about, and they need not think to
impose on me. These are the Septembrizers who have been in open revolt
and conspiracy, and arrayed against every succeeding Government. It is
scarce three months since my life was attempted by Uracchi, Arena;
Topino-Lebrun, and Demerville. They all belong to one gang! The
cutthroats of September, the assassins of Versailles, the brigands of the
81st of May, the conspirators of Prairial are the authors of all the
crimes committed against established Governments! If they cannot be
checked they must be crashed! France must be purged of these ruffians!"
It is impossible to form any idea of the bitterness with which Bonaparte,
pronounced these words. In vain did some of the Councillors of State,
and Fouche in particular, endeavour to point out to him that there was no
evidence against any one, and that hefore he pronounced people to be
guilty it would be right to ascertain the fact. Bonaparte repeated with
increased violence what he had before said of the Jacobins; thus adding;
not without some ground of suspicion, one crime more to, the long
catalogue for which they had already to answer.

Fouche had many enemies, and I was not, therefore, surprised to find some
of the Ministers endeavouring to take advantage of the difference between
his opinion and that of the First Consul; and it must be owned that the
utter ignorance of the police respecting this event was a circumstance
not very favourable to Fouche. He, however, was like the reed in the
fable--he bent with the wind, but was soon erect again. The most skilful
actor could scarcely imitate the inflexible calmness he maintained during
Bonaparte's paroxysm of rage, and the patience with which he allowed
himself to be accused.

Fouche, when afterwards conversing with me, gave me clearly to understand
that he did not think the Jacobins guilty. I mentioned this to the First
Consul, but nothing could make him retract his opinion. "Fouche," said
he, "has good reason for his silence. He is serving his own party. It
is very natural that he should seek to screen a set of men who are
polluted with blood and crimes! He was one of their leaders. Do not I
know what he did at Lyons and the Loire? That explains Fouche's conduct

This is the exact truth; and now let me contradict one of the thousand
fictions about this event. It has been said and printed that "the
dignitaries and the Ministers were assembled at the Tuileries. 'Well,'
said the First Consul, advancing angrily towards Fouche, 'will you still
say that this is the Royalist party?' Fouche, better informed than was
believed, answered coolly, 'Yes, certainly, I shall say so; and, what is
more, I shall prove it.' This speech caused general astonishment, but
was afterwards fully borne out." This is pure invention. The First
Consul only said to Fouche; "I do not trust to your police; I guard
myself, and I watch till two in the morning." This however, was very
rarely the case.

On the day after the explosion of the infernal machine a considerable
concourse assembled at the Tuileries. There was absolutely a torrent of
congratulations. The prefect of the Seine convoked the twelve mayors of
Paris and came at their head to wait on the First Consul. In his reply
to their address Bonaparte said, "As long as this gang of assassins
confined their attacks to me personally I left the law to take its
course; but since, by an unparalleled crime, they have endangered the
lives of a portion of the population of Paris, their punishment must be
as prompt as exemplary. A hundred of these wretches who have libeled
liberty by perpetrating crimes in her name must be effectually prevented
from renewing their atrocities." He then conversed with the Ministers,
the Councillors of State, etc., on the event of the preceding day; and as
all knew the First Consul's opinion of the authors of the crime each was
eager to confirm it. The Council was several times assembled when the
Senate was consulted, and the adroit Fouche, whose conscience yielded to
the delicacy of his situation, addressed to the First Consul a report
worthy of a Mazarin. At the same time the journals were filled with
recollections of the Revolution, raked up for the purpose of connecting
with past crimes the individuals on whom it was now wished to cast odium.
It was decreed that a hundred persons should be banished; and the
senate established its character for complaisance by passing a
'Senatus-consulte' conformable to the wishes of the First Consul.

A list was drawn up of the persons styled Jacobins, who were condemned to
transportation. I was fortunate enough to obtain the erasure of the
names of several whose opinions had perhaps been violent, but whose
education and private character presented claims to recommendation. Some
of my readers may probably recollect them without my naming them, and I
shall only mention M. Tissot, for the purpose of recording, not the
service I rendered him, but an instance of grateful acknowledgment.

When in 1815 Napoleon was on the point of entering Paris M. Tissot came
to the prefecture of police, where I then was, and offered me his house
as a safe asylum; assuring me I should there run no risk of being
discovered. Though I did not accept the offer yet I gladly seize on this
opportunity of making it known. It is gratifying to find that difference
of political opinion does not always exclude sentiments of generosity and
honour! I shall never forget the way in which the author of the essays
on Virgil uttered the words 'Domus mea'.

But to return to the fatal list. Even while I write this I shudder to
think of the way in which men utterly innocent were accused of a
revolting crime without even the shadow of a proof. The name of an
individual, his opinions, perhaps only assumed, were sufficient grounds
for his banishment. A decree of the Consuls, dated 4th of January 1801,
confirmed by a 'Senates-consulte' on the next day, banished from the
territory of the Republic, and placed under special inspectors, 130
individuals, nine of whom were merely designated in the report as

The exiles, who in the reports and in the public acts were so unjustly
accused of being the authors of the infernal machine, were received at
Nantes, with so much indignation that the military were compelled to
interfere to save them from being massacred.

In the discussions which preceded the decree of the Consuls few persons
had the courage to express a doubt respecting the guilt of the accused.
Truguet was the first to mount the breach. He observed that without
denying the Government the extraordinary means for getting rid of its
enemies he could not but acknowledge that the emigrants threatened the
purchasers of national domains, that the public mind was corrupted by
pamphlets, and that--Here the First Consul, interrupting him, exclaimed,
"To what pamphlets do you allude?"--"To pamphlets which are publicly
circulated."--"Name them!"--"You know them as well as I do."

   --[The Parallel between Caesar, Cromwell, and Bonaparte, of which I
   shall speak a little farther on, is here alluded to.--Bourrienne.]--

After a long and angry ebullition the First Consul abruptly dismissed the
Council. He observed that he would not be duped; that the villains were
known; that they were Septembrizers, the hatchers of every mischief. He
had said at a sitting three days before, "If proof should fail, we must
take advantage of the public excitement. The event is to me merely the
opportunity. They shall be banished for the 2d September, for the 31st
May, for Baboeuf's conspiracy--or anything else."

On leaving one of the sittings of the Council, at which the question of a
special tribunal had been discussed, he told me that he had been a little
ruffled; that he had said a violent blow must be struck; that blood must
be spilt; and that as many of the guilty should be shot as there had been
victims of the explosion (from fifteen to twenty); that 200 should be
banished, and the Republic purged of these scoundrels.

The arbitrariness and illegality of the proceeding were so evident that
the 'Senatus-consulte' contained no mention of the transactions of the 3d
Nivose, which was very remarkable. It was, however, declared that the
measure of the previous day had been adopted with a view to the
preservation of the Constitution. This was promising.

The First Consul manifested the most violent hatred of the Jacobins;
for this he could not have been blamed if under the title of Jacobins he
had not comprised every devoted advocate of public liberty. Their
opposition annoyed him and he could never pardon them for having presumed
to condemn his tyrannical acts, and to resist the destruction of the
freedom which he had himself sworn to defend, but which he was
incessantly labouring to overturn. These were the true motives of his
conduct; and, conscious of his own faults, he regarded with dislike those
who saw and disapproved of them. For this reason he was more afraid of
those whom he called Jacobins than of the Royalists.

I am here recording the faults of Bonaparte, but I excuse him; situated
as he was, any other person would have acted in the same way. Truth now
reached him with difficulty, and when it was not agreeable he had no
disposition to hear it. He was surrounded by flatterers; and, the
greater number of those who approached him, far from telling him what
they really thought; only repeated what he had himself been thinking.
Hence he admired the wisdom of his Counsellors. Thus Fouche, to maintain
himself in favour, was obliged to deliver up to his master 130 names
chosen from among his own most intimate friends as objects of

Meanwhile Fouche, still believing that he was not deceived as to the real
authors of the attempt of the 3d Nivose, set in motion with his usual
dexterity all the springs of the police. His efforts, however, were for
sometime unsuccessful; but at length on Saturday, the 31st January 1801,
about two hours after our arrival at Malmaison, Fouche presented himself
and produced authentic proofs of the accuracy of his conjectures. There
was no longer any doubt on the subject; and Bonaparte saw clearly that
the attempt of the 3d Nivose was the result of a plot hatched by the
partisans of royalty. But as the act of proscription against those who
were jumbled together under the title of the Jacobins had been executed,
it was not to be revoked.

Thus the consequence of the 3d Nivose was that both the innocent and
guilty were punished; with this difference, however, that the guilty at
least had the benefit of a trial.

When the Jacobins, as they were called, were accused with such
precipitation, Fouche had no positive proofs of their, innocence; and
therefore their illegal condemnation ought not to be attributed to him.
Sufficient odium is attached to his memory without his being charged with
a crime he never committed. Still, I must say that had he boldly opposed
the opinion of Bonaparte in the first burst of his fury he might have
averted the blow. Every time he came to the Tuileries, even before he
had acquired any traces of the truth, Fouche always declared to me his
conviction of the innocence of the persons first accused. But he was
afraid to make the same observation to Bonaparte. I often mentioned to
him the opinion of the Minister of Police; but as proof was wanting he
replied to me with a triumphant air, "Bah! bah! This is always the way
with Fouche. Besides, it is of little consequence. At any rate we shall
get rid of them. Should the guilty be discovered among the Royalists
they also shall be punished."

The real criminals being at length discovered through the researches of
Fouche, St. Regent and Carbon expiated their crimes by the forfeit of
their heads. Thus the First Consul gained his point, and justice gained

   --[It was St. Regent, or St. Rejeant, who fired the infernal
   machine. The violence of the shock flung him against a post and
   part of his breast bone was driven in. He was obliged to resort to
   a surgeon, and it would seem that this man denounced him. (Memoirs
   of Miot de Melito, tome i. p. 264).

   The discussions which took place in the Council of State on this
   affair are remarkable, both for the violence of Napoleon and for the
   resistance made in the Council, to a great extent successfully, to
   his views as to the, plot being one of the Jacobin party.]--

I have often had occasion to notice the multifarious means employed by
Bonaparte to arrive at the possession of supreme power, and to prepare
men's minds for so great change. Those who have observed his life must
have so remarked how entirely he was convinced of the truth that public
opinion wastes itself on the rumour of a project and possesses no energy
at the moment of its execution. In order, therefore, to direct public
attention to the question of hereditary power a pamphlet was circulated
about Paris, and the following is the history of it:--

In the month of December 1800, while Fouche was searching after the real
authors of the attempt of the 3d Nivose, a small pamphlet, entitled
"Parallel between Caesar, Cromwell, anal Bonaparte," was sent to the
First Consul. He was absent when it came. I read it, and perceived that
it openly advocated hereditary monarchy. I then knew nothing about the
origin of this pamphlet, but I soon learned that it issued from the
office of the Minister of the Interior [Lucien Bonaparte], and that it
had been largely circulated. After reading it I laid it on the table.
In a few minutes Bonaparte entered, and taking up the pamphlet pretended
to look through it: "Have you read this?" said he.--"Yes, General."--
"Well! what is your opinion of it?"--"I think it is calculated to
produce an unfavourable effect on the public mind: it is ill-timed, for
it prematurely reveals your views." The First Consul took the pamphlet
and threw it on the ground, as he did all the stupid publications of the
day after having slightly glanced over them. I was not singular in my
opinion of the pamphlet, for next day the prefects in the immediate
neighbourhood of Paris sent a copy of it to the First Consul, complaining
of its mischievous effect; and I recollect that in one of their letters
it was stated that such a work was calculated to direct against him the
poniards of new assassins. After reading this correspondence he said to
me, "Bourrienne, sent for Fouche; he must come directly, and give an
account of this matter." In half an hour Fouche was in the First
Consul's cabinet. No sooner had he entered than the following dialogue
took place, in which the impetuous warmth of the one party was strangely
contrasted with the phlegmatic and rather sardonic composure of the

"What pamphlet is this? What is said about it in Paris?"--"General,
there is but one opinion of its dangerous tendency."--"Well, then, why
did you allow it to appear?"--"General, I was obliged to show some
consideration for the author!"--"Consideration for the author! What do
you mean? You should have sent him to the temple."--"But, General, your
brother Lucien patronises this pamphlet. It has been printed and
published by his order. In short, it comes from the office of the
Minister of the Interior."--"No matter for that! Your duty as Minister
of Police was to have arrested Lucien, and sent him to the Temple. The
fool does nothing but contrive how he can commit me!"

With these words the First Consul left the cabinet, shutting the door
violently behind him. Being now alone with Fouche, I was eager to get an
explanation of the suppressed smile which had more than once curled his
lips during Bonaparte's angry expostulation. I easily perceived that
there was something in reserve. "Send the author to the Temple!" said
Fouche; "that would be no easy matter! Alarmed at the effect which this
parallel between Caesar, Cromwell, and Bonaparte was likely to produce,
I went to Lucien to point out to him his imprudence. He made me no
answer, but went and got a manuscript, which he showed me, and which
contained corrections and annotations in the First Consul's handwriting."

When Lucien heard how Bonaparte had expressed his displeasure at the
pamphlet, he also came to the Tuileries to reproach his brother with
having thrust him forward and then abandoned him. "'Tis your own fault,"
said the First Consul. "You have allowed yourself to be caught! So much
the worse for you! Fouche is too cunning for you! You are a mere fool
compared with him!" Lucien tendered his resignation, which was accepted,
and he departed for Spain. This diplomatic mission turned to his
advantage. It was necessary that one should veil the Machiavellian
invention of the 'Parallel.'

   --[The 'Parallel' has been attributed to different writers; some
   phrases seemed the work of Lucien, but, says Thiers (tome ii p.
   210), its rare elegance of language and its classical knowledge of
   history should attribute it to its real anchor, Fontanel, Joseph
   Bonaparte (Erreurs tome i. p. 270) says that Fontanel wrote it, and
   Lucien Bonaparte corrected it. See Meneval, tome iii. p. 105.
   Whoever wrote it Napoleon certainly planned its issue. "It was,"
   said he to Roederer, "a work of which he himself had given the idea,
   but the last pages were by a fool" (Miot, tome i, p. 318). See also
   Lanfrey, tome ii. p. 208; and compare the story in Iung's Lucien,
   tome ii. p. 490. Miot, then in the confidence of Joseph, says,
   that Lucien's removal from, office was the result of an angry
   quarrel between him and Fouche in the presence of Napoleon, when
   Fouche attacked Lucien, not only for the pamphlet, but also for the
   disorder of his public and his private life; but Miot (tome i, p,
   319) places the date of this as the 3d November, while Bourrienne
   dates the disapproval of the pamphlet in December.]--

Lucien, among other instructions, was directed to use all his endeavours
to induce Spain to declare against Portugal in order to compel that power
to separate herself from England.

The First Consul had always regarded Portugal as an English colony, and
he conceived that to attack it was to assail England. He wished that
Portugal should no longer favour England in her commercial relations,
but that, like Spain, she should become dependent on him. Lucien was
therefore sent as ambassador to Madrid, to second the Ministers of
Charles IV. in prevailing on the King to invade Portugal. The King
declared war, but it was not of long duration, and terminated almost
without a blow being struck, by the taking of Olivenza. On the 6th of
June 1801 Portugal signed the treaty of Badajoz, by which she promised to
cede Olivenza, Almeida, and some other fortresses to Spain, and to close
her ports against England. The First Consul, who was dissatisfied with
the treaty, at first refused to ratify it. He still kept his army in
Spain, and this proceeding determined Portugal to accede to some slight
alterations in the first treaty. This business proved very advantageous
to Lucien and Godoy.

The cabinet of the Tuileries was not the only place in which the question
of hereditary succession was discussed. It was the constant subject of
conversation in the salons of Paris, where a new dynasty was already
spoken of. This was by no means displeasing to the First Consul; but he
saw clearly that he had committed a mistake in agitating the question
prematurely; for this reason he waged war against the Parallel, as he
would not be suspected of having had any share in a design that had
failed. One day he said to me, "I believe I have been a little too
precipitate. The pear is not quite ripe!" The Consulate for life was
accordingly postponed till 1802, and the hereditary empire till 1804.

After the failure of the artful publication of the pamphlet Fouche
invited me to dine with him. As the First Consul wished me to dine out
as seldom as possible, I informed him of the invitation I had received.
He was, however, aware of it before, and he very readily gave me leave to
go. At dinner Joseph was placed on the right of Fouche, and I next to
Joseph, who talked of nothing but his brother, his designs, the pamphlet,
and the bad effect produced by it. In all that fell from him there was a
tone of blame and disapproval I told him my opinion, but with greater
reserve than I had used towards his brother. He seemed to approve of
what I said; his confidence encouraged me, and I saw with pleasure that
he entertained sentiments entirely similar to my own. His unreserved
manner so imposed upon me that, notwithstanding the experience I had
acquired, I was far from suspecting myself to be in the company of a spy.
Next day the First Consul said to me very coldly, "Leave my letters in
the basket, I will open them myself." This unexpected direction
surprised me exceedingly, and I determined to play him a trick in revenge
for his unfounded distrust. For three mornings I laid at the bottom of
the basket all the letters which I knew came from the Ministers, and all
the reports which were addressed to me for the First Consul. I then
covered them over with those which; judging from their envelopes and
seals, appeared to be of that trifling kind with which the First Consul
was daily overwhelmed: these usually consisted of requests that he would
name the number of a lottery ticket, so, that the writer might have the
benefit of his good luck--solicitations that he would stand godfather to
a child--petitions for places--announcements of marriages and
births--absurd eulogies, etc. Unaccustomed to open the letters, he
became impatient at their number, and he opened very few. Often on the
same day, but always on the morrow, came a fresh letter from a Minister,
who asked for an answer to his former one, and who complained of not
having received one. The First Consul unsealed some twenty letters and
left the rest.

The opening of all these letters, which he was not at other times in the
habit of looking at, annoyed him extremely; but as I neither wished to
carry the joke too far, nor to remain in the disagreeable position in
which Joseph's treachery had placed me, I determined to bring the matter
to a conclusion. After the third day, when the business of the night,
which had been interrupted by little fits of ill-humour, was concluded,
Bonaparte retired to bed. Half an hour after I went to his chamber, to
which I was admitted at all hours. I had a candle in my hand, and,
taking a chair, I sat down on the right side of the bed, and placed the
candle on the table. Both he and Josephine awoke. "What is the matter?"
he asked with surprise. "General, I have come to tell you that I can no
longer remain here, since I have lost your confidence. You know how
sincerely I am devoted to you; if you have, then, anything to reproach me
with, let me at least know it, for my situation during the last three
days lies been very painful."--"What has Bourrienne done?" inquired
Josephine earnestly.--"That does not concern you," he replied. Then
turning to me he said, "Tis true, I have cause to complain of you. I
have been informed that you have spoken of important affairs in a very
indiscreet manner."--"I can assure you that I spoke to none but your
brother. It was he who led me into the conversation, and he was too well
versed in the business for me to tell him any secret. He may have
reported to you what he pleased, but could not I do the same by him?
I could accuse and betray him as he has accused and betrayed me. When I
spoke in confidence to your brother, could I regard him as an
inquisitor?"--"I must confess," replied Bonaparte, "that after what I
heard from Joseph I thought it right to put my confidence in
quarantine."--"The quarantine has lasted three days, General; surely that
is long enough."--"Well, Bourrienne, let us say no more about it. Open
my letters as usual; you will find the answers a good deal in arrear,
which has much vexed me; and besides, I was always stumbling on some
stupid nonsense or other!"

I fancy I still see and hear the amiable Josephine sitting up in bed and
saying, in her gentle way, "What! Bonaparte, is it possible you could
suspect Bourrienne, who is so attached to you, and who is your only
friend? How could you suffer such a snare to be laid for him?
What! a dinner got up on purpose! How I hate these odious police
manoeuvres!"--"Go to sleep," said Bonaparte; "let women mind their
gewgaws, and not interfere with politics." It was near two in the
morning before I retired.

When, after a few hours' sleep, I again saw the First Consul, he was more
kind to me than ever, and I perceived that for the present every cloud
had dispersed.'

   --[Joseph Bonaparte (Erreurs, tome i. p. 273) says what he
   reported to his brother was Bourrienne's conversation to him in the
   First Consul's cabinet during Napoleon's absence. It is curious
   that at the only time when Napoleon became dissatisfied with Meneval
   (Bourrienne's successor), and ordered him not to open the letters,
   he used the same expression when returning to the usual order of
   business, which in this case was to a few hours. "My dear Meneval,"
   said he, "there are circumstances in which I am forced to put my
   confidence in quarantine." (Meneval, tome i. p. 123). For any one
   who has had to manage an office it is pleasant to find that even
   Napoleon was much dependent on a good secretary. In an illness of
   his secretary he said, showing the encumbrance of his desk, "with
   Meneval I should soon clear off all that." (Meneval, tome i. p. 151.)]



   Austria bribed by England--M. de St. Julien in Paris--Duroc's
   mission--Rupture of the armistice--Surrender of three garrisons--
   M. Otto in London--Battle of Hohenlinden--Madame Moreau and Madame
   Hulot--Bonaparte's ill-treatment of the latter--Congress of
   Luneville--General Clarke--M. Maret--Peace between France and
   Austria--Joseph Bonaparte's speculations in the funds--
   M. de Talleyrand's advice--Post-office regulation--Cambaceres--
   Importance of good dinners in the affairs of Government--Steamboats
   and intriguers--Death of Paul I.--New thoughts of the
   reestablishment of Poland--Duroc at St. Petersburg--Bribe rejected--
   Death of Abercromby.

Mm armistice concluded after the battle of Marengo, which had been first
broken and then resumed, continued to be observed for some time between
the armies of the Rhine and Italy and the Imperial armies. But Austria,
bribed by a subsidy of 2,000,000 sterling, would not treat for peace
without the participation of England. She did not despair of
recommencing the war successfully.

M. de St. Julien had signed preliminaries at Paris; but the Court of
Vienna disavowed them, and Duroc, whom Bonaparte sent to convey the
preliminaries to Vienna for the Imperial ratification, was not permitted
to pass the Austrian advance poets. This unexpected proceeding, the
result of the all-powerful influence of England, justly incensed the
First Consul, who had given decided proofs of moderation and a wish for
peace. "I want peace," said he to me, "to enable me to organise the
interior; the people also want it. You see the conditions I offer.
Austria, though beaten, obtains all she got at Campo-Formio. What can
she want more? I could make further exactions; but, without fearing the
reverses of 1799, I must think of the future. Besides, I want
tranquillity, to enable me to settle the affairs of the interior, and to
send aid to Malta and Egypt. But I will not be trifled with. I will
force an immediate decision!"

In his irritation the First Consul despatched orders to Moreau, directing
him to break the armistice and resume hostilities unless he regained
possession of the bridges of the Rhine and the Danube by the surrender of
Philipsburg, Ulm, and Ingolstadt. The Austrians then offered to treat
with France on new bases. England wished to take part in the Congress,
but to this the First Consul would not consent until she should sign a
separate armistice and cease to make common cause with Austria.

The First Consul received intelligence of the occupation of the three
garrisons on the 23d of September, the day he had fixed in his ultimatum
to England for the renewal of hostilities. But for the meanwhile he was
satisfied with the concessions of Austria: that power, in the expectation
of being supported by England, asked her on what terms she was to treat.

During these communications with Austria M. Otto was in London
negotiating for the exchange of prisoners. England would not hear of an
armistice by sea like that which France had concluded with Austria by
land. She alleged that, in case of a rupture, France would derive from
that armistice greater advantage than Austria would gain by that already
concluded. The difficulty and delay attending the necessary
communications rendered these reasons plausible. The First Consul
consented to accept other propositions from England, and to allow her to
take part in the discussions of Luneville, but on condition that she
should sign a treaty with him without the intervention of Austria. This
England refused to do. Weary of this uncertainty, and the tergiversation
of Austria, which was still under the influence of England, and feeling
that the prolongation of such a state of things could only turn to his
disadvantage, Bonaparte broke the armistice. He had already consented to
sacrifices which his successes in Italy did not justify. The hope of an
immediate peace had alone made him lose sight of the immense advantages
which victory had given him.

Far from appearing sensible to the many proofs of moderation which the
First Consul evinced, the combined insolence of England and Austria
seemed only to increase. Orders were immediately given for resuming the
offensive in Germany and Italy, and hostilities then recommenced.

The chances of fortune were long doubtful. After a reverse Austria made
promises, and after an advantage she evaded them; but finally, fortune
proved favourable to France. The French armies in Italy and Germany
crossed the Mincio and the Danube, and the celebrated battle of
Hohenlinden brought the French advanced posts within ten leagues of
Vienna. This victory secured peace; for, profiting by past experience,
the First Consul would not hear of any suspension of arms until Austria
should consent to a separate treaty. Driven into her last intrenchments,
Austria was obliged to yield. She abandoned England; and the English
Cabinet, in spite of the subsidy of 2,000,000 sterling, consented to the
separation. Great Britain was forced to come to this arrangement in
consequence of the situation to which the successes of the army of Moreau
had reduced Austria, which it was certain would be ruined by longer

England wished to enter into negotiations at Luneville. To this the
First Consul acceded; but, as he saw that England was seeking to deceive
him, he required that she should suspend hostilities with France, as
Austria had done. Bonaparte very reasonably alleged that an indefinite
armistice on the Continent would be more to the disadvantage of France
than a long armistice by sea would be unfavourable to England. All this
adjourned the preliminaries to 1801 and the peace to 1802.

The impatience and indignation of the First Consul had been highly
excited by the evasions of Austria and the plots of England, for he knew
all the intrigues that were carrying on for the restoration of the
Bourbons. His joy may be therefore conceived when the battle of
Hohenlinden balanced the scale of fortune in his favour. On the 3d of
December 1800 Moreau gained that memorable victory which at length put an
end to the hesitations of the Cabinet of Vienna.

   --[On the eve of the battle of Hohenlinden Moreau was at supper with
   his aides de camp and several general officers, when a despatch was
   delivered to him. After he had read it be said to his guests,
   though he was far from being in the habit of boasting, "I am here
   made acquainted with Baron Kray's movements. They are all I could
   wish. To-morrow we will take from him 10,000 prisoners." Moreau
   took 40,000, besides a great many flags.--Bourrienne.]--

On the 6th of December the First Consul received intelligence of the
battle of Hohenlinden. It was on a Saturday, and he had just returned
from the theatre when I delivered the despatches to him. He literally
danced for joy. I must say that he did not expect so important a result
from the movements of the army of the Rhine. This victory gave a new
face to his negotiations for peace, and determined the opening of the
Congress of Luneville, which took place on the 1st of January following.

On receiving information of the battle of Hohenlinden, Madame Moreau came
to the Tuileries to call on the First Consul and Madame Bonaparte. She
did not see them, and repeated her calls several times with no better
success. The last time she came she was accompanied by her mother,
Madame Hulot. She waited for a considerable time in vain, and when she
was going away her mother, who could no longer restrain her feelings,
said aloud, before me and several persons of the household, that "it ill
became the wife of the conqueror of Hohenlinden to dance attendance in
this way." This remark reached the ears of those to whom it was
directed. Madame Moreau shortly after rejoined her husband in Germany;
and some time after her departure Madame Hulot came to Malmaison to
solicit promotion for her eldest son, who was in the navy. Josephine
received Madame Hulot very kindly, and requested her to stay to dinner.
She accepted the invitation. The First Consul, who did not see her until
the hour of dinner, treated her very coolly: he said little to her, and
retired as soon as dinner was over. His rudeness was so marked and
offensive that Josephine, who was always kind and amiable, thought it
necessary to apologise, by observing that his mind was disturbed by the
non-arrival of a courier whom he expected.

Bonaparte entertained no dislike of Moreau, because he did not fear him;
and after the battle of Hohenlinden he spoke of him in the highest terms,
and frankly acknowledged the services he had rendered on that important
occasion; but he could not endure his wife's family, who, he said, were a
set of intriguers.

   --[Napoleon had good reason for his opinion. "Moreau had a mother-
   in-law and a wife lively and given to intrigue. Bonaparte could not
   bear intriguing women. Besides, on one occasion Madame Moreau's
   mother, when at Malmaison, had indulged in sharp remarks on a
   suspected scandalous intimacy between Bonaparte and his young sister
   Caroline, then just married. The Consul had not forgiven such
   conversation" (Remusat tome i. P. 192). see also Meneval, tome
   iii. p. 57, as to the mischief done by Madame Hulot.]--

Luneville having been fixed upon for the Congress, the First Consul sent
his brother Joseph to treat with Count Louis de Cobentzel. On his way
Joseph met M. de Cobentzel, who had passed Luneville, and was coming to
Paris to sound the sentiments of the French Government. Joseph returned
to Paris with him. After some conversation with the First Consul they
set out next day for Luneville, of which place Bonaparte appointed
General Clarke governor. This appeared to satisfy Clarke, who was very
anxious to be something, and had long been importuning Bonaparte for an

A day or two after the news of the battle of Hohenlinden M. Maret came to
present for Bonaparte's signature some, decrees made in Council. While
affixing the signatures, and without looking up, the First Consul said to
M. Maret, who was a favourite with him, and who was standing at his right
hand, "Are you rich, Maret?"--"No, General."--"So much the worse: a man
should be independent."--"General, I will never be dependent on any one
but you." The First Consul then raised his eyes to Maret and said,
"Hem! that is not bad!" and when the secretary-general was gone he said
to me, "Maret is not deficient in cleverness: he made me a very good

On the 9th of February 1801, six weeks after the opening of the Congress
of Luneville, peace was signed between Austria and France. This
peace--the fruit of Marengo and Hohenlinden--restored France to that
honourable position which had been put in jeopardy by the feeble and
incapable government of the pentarchy and the reverses of 1799. This
peace, which in the treaty, according to custom, was called perpetual,
lasted four years.

Joseph Bonaparte, while treating for France at Luneville, was speculating
on the rise of the funds which he thought the peace would produce.
Persons more wise, who were like him in the secret, sold out their stock
at the moment when the certainty of the peace became known. But Joseph
purchased to a great extent, in the hope of selling to advantage on the
signature of peace. However, the news had been discounted, and a fall
took place. Joseph's loss was considerable, and he could not satisfy the
engagements in which his greedy and silly speculations had involved him.
He applied to his brother, who neither wished nor was able to advance him
the necessary sum. Bonaparte was, however, exceedingly sorry to see his
elder brother in this embarrassment. He asked me what was to be done.
I told him I did not know; but I advised him to consult M. de Talleyrand,
from whom he had often received good advice. He did so, and M. de
Talleyrand replied, with that air of coolness which is so peculiar to
him, "What! is that all? Oh! that is nothing. It is easily settled.
You have only to raise the price of the funds."--"But the money?"--
"Oh, the money may be easily obtained. Make some deposits in the
Mont-de-Piste, or the sinking fund. That will give you the necessary
money to raise the funds; and then Joseph may sell out, and recover his
losses." M. de Talleyrand's advice was adopted, and all succeeded as he
had foretold. None but those who have heard M. de Talleyrand converse
can form an accurate idea of his easy manner of expressing himself, his
imperturbable coolness, the fixed unvarying expression of his
countenance, and his vast fund of wit.

   --[Talleyrand had a large experience in all sorts of speculation.
   When old he gave this counsel to one of his proteges: "Do not
   speculate. I have always speculated on assured information, and
   that has cost me so many millions;" and he named his losses. We may
   believe that in this reckoning he rather forgot the amount of his
   gains (Sainte-Beuve, Talleyrand, 93).]--

During the sitting of the Congress the First Consul learnt that the
Government couriers conveyed to favoured individuals in Paris various
things, but especially the delicacies of the table, and he ordered that
this practice should be discontinued. On the very evening on which this
order was issued Cambaceres entered the salon, where I was alone with the
First Consul, who had already been laughing at the mortification which he
knew this regulation would occasion to his colleague: "Well, Cambaceres,
what brings you here at this time of night?"--"I come to solicit an
exception to the order which you have just given to the Director of the
Posts. How do you think a man can make friends unless he keeps a good
table? You know very well how much good dinners assist the business of
Government." The First Consul laughed, called him a gourmand, and,
patting him on the shoulder, said, "Do not distress yourself, my dear
Cambaceres; the couriers shall continue to bring you your 'dindes aux
truffes', your Strasburg 'pates', your Mayence hams, and your other

Those who recollect the magnificent dinners given by Cambaceres and
others, which were a general topic of conversation at the time, and who
knew the ingenious calculation which was observed in the invitation of
the guests, must be convinced of the vast influence of a good dinner in
political affairs. As to Cambaceres, he did not believe that a good
government could exist without good dinners; and his glory (for every man
has his own particular glory) was to know that the luxuries of his table
were the subject of eulogy throughout Paris, and even Europe. A banquet
which commanded general suffrage was to him a Marengo or a Friedland.

   --[Bourrienne does not exaggerate this excellent quality of the
   worthy Cambaceres. When Beugnot was sent to administer the Grand
   Duchy of Berg, Cambaceres said to him, "My dear Beugnot, the Emperor
   arranges crowns as he chooses; here is the Grand Duke of Berg
   (Murat) going to Naples; he is welcome, I have no objection, but
   every year the Grand Duke sent me a couple of dozen hams from his
   Grand Duchy, and I warn you I do not intend to lose them, so you
   must make your preparations.". . . . I never once omitted to
   acquit myself of the obligation, and if there were any delay, . . .
   his Highness never failed to cause one of his secretaries to write a
   good scolding to my house steward; but when the hams arrived
   exactly, his highness never failed to write to my wife himself to
   thank her.

   This was not all; the hams were to come carriage free. This petty
   jobbery occasioned discontent, . . . and it would not have cost
   me more to pay the carriage. The Prince would not allow it. There
   was an agreement between him and Lavalette (the head of the Posts),
   . . . And my Lord appeared to lay as much stress on the
   performance of this treaty as on the procuring of the ham, (Beugnot,
   tome i. p. 262).

   Cambaceres never suffered the cares of Government to distract his
   attention from the great object of life. On one occasion, for
   example, being detained in consultation with Napoleon beyond the
   appointed hour of dinner--it is said that the fate of the Duc
   d'Enghien was the topic under discussion--he was observed, when the
   hour became very late, to show great symptoms of impatience sod
   restlessness. He at last wrote a note which he called a gentleman
   usher in waiting to carry. Napoleon, suspecting the contents,
   nodded to an aide de camp to intercept the despatch. As he took it
   into his hands Cambaceres begged earnestly that he would not read a
   trifling note upon domestic matters. Napoleon persisted, and found
   it to be a note to the cook containing only the following words,
   "Gardez les entremetes--les rotis sont perdue." When Napoleon was
   in good humor at the result of a diplomatic conference he was
   accustomed to take leave of the plenipotentiaries with, "Go and dine
   Cambaceres." His table was in fact an important state engine, as
   appears from the anecdote of the trout sent to him by the
   municipality of Geneva, and charged 300 francs in their accounts.
   The Imperial 'Cour des Comptes' having disallowed the item, was
   interdicted from meddling with similar municipal affairs in future
   (Hayward's Art of Dining, p. 20).]

At the commencement of 1801 Fulton presented to Bonaparte his memorial on
steamboats. I urged a serious examination of the subject. "Bah!" said
he, "these projectors are all either intriguers or visionaries. Don't
trouble me about the business." I observed that the man whom he called
an intriguer was only reviving an invention already known, and that it
was wrong to reject the scheme without examination. He would not listen
to me; and thus was adjourned, for some time, the practical application
of a discovery which has given such an important impulse to trade and

Paul I. fell by the hands of assassins on the night of the 24th of March
1801. The First Consul was much shocked on receiving the intelligence.
In the excitement caused by this unexpected event, which had so important
an influence on his policy, he directed me to send the following note to
the Moniteur:--

   Paul I. died on the night of the 24th of March, and the English
   squadron passed the Sound on the 30th. History will reveal the
   connection which probably exists between these two events.

Thus were announced the crime of the 24th of March and the not
ill-founded suspicions of its authors.

   --[We do not attempt to rescue the fair name of our country. This
   is one among many instances in which Bourrienne was misled.--Editor
   of 1886 edition.]--

The amicable relations of Paul and Bonaparte had been daily strengthened.
"In concert with the Czar," said Bonaparte, "I was sure of striking a
mortal blow at the English power in India. A palace revolution has
overthrown all my projects." This resolution, and the admiration of the
Autocrat of Russia for the head of the French Republic, may certainly be
numbered among the causes of Paul's death. The individuals generally
accused at the time were those who were violently and perseveringly
threatened, and who had the strongest interest in the succession of a new
Emperor. I have seen a letter from a northern sovereign which in my mind
leaves no doubt on this subject, and which specified the reward of the
crime, and the part to be performed by each actor. But it must also be
confessed that the conduct and character of Paul I., his tyrannical acts,
his violent caprices, and his frequent excesses of despotism, had
rendered him the object of accumulated hatred, for patience has its
limit. These circumstances did not probably create the conspiracy, but
they considerably facilitated the execution of the plot which deprived
the Czar of his throne and his life.

As soon as Alexander ascended the throne the ideas of the First Consul
respecting the dismemberment of Poland were revived, and almost wholly
engrossed his mind. During his first campaign in Italy, and several
times when in Egypt, he told Sulkowsky that it was his ardent wish to
reestablish Poland, to avenge the iniquity of her dismemberment, and by
that grand repertory act to restore the former equilibrium of Europe. He
often dictated to me for the 'Moniteur' articles tending to prove, by
various arguments, that Europe would never enjoy repose until those great
spoilations were avenged and repaired; but he frequently destroyed these
articles instead of sending them to press. His system of policy towards
Russia changed shortly after the death of Paul. The thought of a war
against that empire unceasingly occupied his mind, and gave birth to the
idea of that fatal campaign which took place eleven years afterwards, and
which had other causes than the re-establishment of Poland. That object
was merely set forward as a pretext.

Duroc was sent to St. Petersburg to congratulate the Emperor Alexander on
his accession to the throne. He arrived in the Russian capital on the
24th of May. Duroc, who was at this time very young, was a great
favourite of the First Consul. He never importuned Bonaparte by his
solicitations, and was never troublesome in recommending any one or
busying himself as an agent for favour; yet he warmly advocated the cause
of those whom he thought injured, and honestly repelled accusations which
he knew to be false. These moral qualities; joined to an agreeable
person and elegant manners, rendered him a very superior man.

The year 1801 was, moreover, marked by the fatal creation of special
tribunals, which were in no way justified by the urgency of
circumstances. This year also saw the re-establishment of the African
Company, the treaty of Luneville (which augmented the advantages France
had obtained by the treaty of Campo-Formio), and the peace concluded
between Spain and Portugal by means of Lucien. On the subject of this
peace I may mention that. Portugal, to obtain the cession of Olivenza,
secretly offered Bonaparte, through me, 8,000,000 of francs if he would
contribute his influence towards the acquisition of that town by
Portugal. He, rejected this offer indignantly, declaring that he would
never sell honour for money. He has been accused of having listened to a
similar proposition at Passeriano, though in fact no such proposition was
ever made to him. Those who bring forward such accusations little know
the inflexibility of his principles on this point.

One evening in April 1801 an English paper--the London Gazette--arrived
at Malmaison. It announced the landing in Egypt of the army commanded by
Abercromby, the battle given by the English, and the death of their
General. I immediately translated the article, and presented it to the
First Consul, with the conviction that the news would be very painful to
him. He doubted its truth, or at least pretended to do so. Several
officers and aides de camp who were in the salon coincided in his
opinion, especially Lannes, Bessieres, and Duroc. They thought by so
doing to please the First Consul, who then said to me, in a jeering tone,
"Bah! you do not understand English. This is the way with you: you are
always inclined to believe bad news rather than good!" These words, and
the approving smiles of the gentlemen present, ruffled me, and I said
with some warmth, "How, General, can you believe that the English
Government would publish officially so important an event if it were not
true? Do you think that a Government that has any self-respect would, in
the face of Europe, state a falsehood respecting an affair the truth of
which cannot long remain unknown? Did you ever know an instance of so
important an announcement proving untrue after it had been published in
the London Gazette? I believe it to be true, and the smiles of these
gentlemen will not alter my opinion." On these observations the First
Consul rose and said, "Come, Bourrienne, I want you in the library."
After we had left the salon he added, "This is always the way with you.
Why are you vexed at such trifles? I assure you I believe the news but
too confidently, and I feared it before it came. But they think they
please me by thus appearing to doubt it. Never mind them."--"I ask your
pardon," said I, "but I conceive the best way of proving my attachment to
you is to tell you what I believe to be true. You desire me not to delay
a moment in announcing bad news to you. It would be far worse to
disguise than to conceal it."



   An experiment of royalty--Louis de Bourbon and Maria Louisa, of
   Spain--Creation of the kingdom of Etruria--The Count of Leghorn in
   Paris--Entertainments given him--Bonaparte's opinion of the King of
   Etruria--His departure for Florence, and bad reception there--
   Negotiations with the Pope--Bonaparte's opinion on religion--Te Deum
   at Notre Dame--Behaviour of the people in the church--Irreligion of
   the Consular Court--Augerean's remark on the Te Deum--First Mass at
   St. Cloud-Mass in Bonaparte's apartments--Talleyrand relieved from
   his clerical vows--My appointment to the Council of State.

Before he placed two crowns on his own head Bonaparte thought it would
promote the interests of his policy to place one on the head of a prince,
and even a prince of the House of Bourbon. He wished to accustom the
French to the sight of a king. It will hereafter be seen that he gave
sceptres, like his confidence, conditionally, and that he was always
ready to undo his own work when it became an obstacle to his ambitious

In May 1801 the Infanta of Spain, Maria Louisa, third daughter of Charles
IV., visited Paris. The Infante Louis de Bourbon, eldest son of the Duke
of Parma, had gone to Madrid in 1798 to contract a marriage with Maria
Amelia, the sister of Maria Louisa; but he fell in love with the latter.
Godoy favoured the attachment, and employed all his influence to bring
about the marriage. The son who, six years later, was born of this
union, was named Charles Louis, after the King of Spain. France occupied
the Duchy of Parma, which, in fulfilment of the conventions signed by
Lucien Bonaparte, was to belong to her after the death of the reigning
Duke. On the other hand, France was to cede the Grand Duchy of Tuscany
to the son of the Duke of Parma; and Spain paid to France, according to
stipulation, a considerable sum of money. Soon after the treaty was
communicated to Don Louis and his wife they left Madrid and travelled
through France. The prince took the title of Count of Leghorn. All
accounts are unanimous as to the attentions which the Prince and Princess
received on their journey. Among the, fetes in honour of the illustrious
couple that given by M. de Talleyrand at Neuilly was remarkable for

When the Count of Leghorn was coming to pay his first visit to Malmaison
Bonaparte went into the drawing-room to see that everything was suitably
prepared for his reception. In a few minutes he returned to his cabinet
and said to me, somewhat out of humour, "Bourrienne, only think of their
stupidity; they had not taken down the picture representing me on the
summit of the Alps pointing to Lombardy and commanding the conquest of
it. I have ordered its removal How mortifying it would have been if the
Prince had seen it!"

Another picture in the drawing-room at Malmaison represented the First
Consul sleeping on the snow on the summit of the Alps before the battle
of Marengo.

The Count of Leghorn's visit to Paris imparted brilliancy to the first
years of the reign of Bonaparte, of whom it was at that time said, "He
made kings, but would not be one!"

At the representation of AEdipus, the following expression of Philactetes
was received with transport:--

     "J'ai fait des Souverains, et n'ai pas voulu l'etre."

     ["Monarchs I've made, but one I would not be."]

The First Consul, on leaving the theatre, did not conceal his
satisfaction. He judged, from the applause with which that verse had
been received, that his pamphlet was forgotten. The manner, moreover, in
which a king, crowned by his hands, had been received by the public, was
no indifferent matter to him, as he expected that the people would thus
again become familiar with what had been so long proscribed.

This King, who, though well received and well entertained, was in all
respects a very ordinary man, departed for Italy. I say very ordinary,
not that I had an opportunity of judging of his character myself, but the
First Consul told me that his capabilities were extremely limited; that
he even felt repugnance to take a pen in his hand; that he never cast a
thought on anything but his pleasures: in a word, that he was a fool.

One day, after the First Consul had spent several hours in company with
him and his consort, he said to me, "I am quite tired. He is a mere
automaton. I put a number of questions to him, but he can answer none.
He is obliged to consult his wife, who makes him understand as well as
she is able what he ought to say." The First Consul added, "The poor
Prince will set off to-morrow, without knowing what he is going to do."
I observed that it was a pity to see the happiness of the people of
Tuscany entrusted to such a prince. Bonaparte replied, "Policy requires
it. Besides, the young man is not worse than the usual run of kings."
The Prince fully justified in Tuscany the opinion which the First Consul
formed of him.

   --[This unfortunate Prince was very ill-calculated to recommend, by
   his personal character, the institutions to which the nobility clung
   with so much fondness. Nature had endowed him with an excellent
   heart, but with very limited talents; and his mind had imbibed the
   false impress consequent upon his monastic education. He resided at
   Malmaison nearly the whole time of his visit to Paris. Madame
   Bonaparte used to lead the Queen to her own apartments; and as the
   First Consul never left his closet except to sit down to meals, the
   aides de camp were under the necessity of keeping the King company,
   and of endeavoring to entertain him, so wholly was he devoid of
   intellectual resources. It required, indeed, a great share of
   patience to listen to the frivolities which engrossed his attention.
   His turn of mind being thus laid open to view, care was taken to
   supply him with the playthings usually placed in the hands of
   children; he was, therefore, never at a loss for occupation. His
   nonentity was a source of regret to us: we lamented to see a tall
   handsome youth, destined to rule over his fellow-men, trembling at
   the eight of a horse, and wasting his time in the game of
   hide-and-seek, or at leap-frog and whose whole information consisted
   in knowing his prayers, and in saying grace before and after meals.
   Such, nevertheless, was the man to whom the destinies of a nation
   were about to be committed! When he left France to repair to his
   kingdom, "Rome need not be uneasy," said the First Consul to us
   after the farewell audience, "there is no danger of his crossing the
   Rubicon" (Memoirs of the Duke of Rovigo, vol. i. p. 363).]--

In order to show still further attention to the King of Etruria, after
his three weeks' visit to Paris, the First Consul directed him to be
escorted to Italy by a French guard, and selected his brother-in-law
Murat for that purpose.

The new King of a new kingdom entered Florence on the 12th of April 1801;
but the reception given him by the Tuscans was not at all similar to what
he had experienced at Paris. The people received the royal pair as
sovereigns imposed on them by France. The ephemeral kingdom of Etruria
lasted scarcely six years. The King died in 1803, in the flower of his
age, and in 1807 the Queen was expelled from her throne by him who had
constructed it for her.

At this period a powerful party urged Bonaparte to break with the Pope,
and to establish a Gallican Church, the head of which should reside in
France. They thought to flatter his ambition by indicating to him a new
source of power which might establish a point of comparison between him
and the first Roman emperors. But his ideas did not coincide with theirs
on this subject. "I am convinced," said he, "that a part of France would
become Protestant, especially if I were to favour that disposition.
I am also certain that the much greater portion would remain Catholic,
and would oppose, with the greatest zeal and fervour, the schism of a
part of their fellow-citizens. I dread the religious quarrels, the
family dissensions, and the public distractions, which such a state of
things would inevitably occasion. In, reviving a religion which has
always prevailed in the country, and which still prevails in the hearts
of the people, and in giving the liberty of exercising their worship to
the minority, I shall satisfy every one."

The First Consul, taking a superior view of the state of France,
considered that the re-establishment of religious worship would prove a
powerful support to his Government: and he had been occupied ever since
the commencement of 1801 in preparing a Concordat with the Pope. It was
signed in the month of July in the same year. It required some time to
enable the parties to come to an understanding on the subject.

Cardinal Consalvi arrived, in the month of June 1801, at Paris, to
arrange matters on the part of the Pope. Cardinal Caprara and M. de
Spina also formed part of the embassy sent by the Holy Father. There
were, besides, several able theologians, among whom Doctor C---- was

   --[The "Doctor C----" was Caselti, later Archbishop of Parma. Bonier
   was green the Bishopric of Orleans, not Versailles; see Erreurs,
   tome i, p. 276. The details of the surprise attempted at the last
   moment by putting before Cardinal Consalvi for his signature an
   altered copy of the Concordat should be read in his Memoirs (tome i.
   p. 355), or in Lanfrey (tome ii. p. 267). As for Napoleon's
   belief that part of the nation might become Protestant, Narbonne
   probably put the matter truly when he said there was not religion
   enough in France to stand a division. It should be noted that the
   Concordat did not so much restore the Catholic Church as destroy the
   old Gallican Church, with all its liberties, which might annoy
   either Pope or Emperor. But on this point see The Gallican Church
   and the Revolution, by Jervis: London, Began Paul, Trench and Co.,
   1882. The clergy may, it is true, have shown wisdom in acceding to
   any terms of restoration.]--

He was a member of the Pope's chancery; his knowledge gave him so much
influence over his colleagues that affairs advanced only as much as he
pleased. However, he was gained over by honours conferred on him, and
promises of money. Business then went on a little quicker. The
Concordat was signed on the 15th of July 1801, and made a law of the
State in the following April. The plenipotentiaries on the part of
Bonaparte were Joseph Bonaparte, Cretet, and the Abby Bernier, afterwards
Bishop of Versailles.--[Orleans not Versailles. D.W.]

A solemn Te Deum was chanted at the cathedral of Notre Dame on Sunday,
the 11th of April. The crowd was immense, and the greater part of those
present stood during the ceremony, which was splendid in the extreme;
but who would presume to say that the general feeling was in harmony with
all this pomp? Was, then, the time for this innovation not yet arrived?
Was it too abrupt a transition from the habits of the twelve preceding
years? It is unquestionably true that a great number of the persons
present at the ceremony expressed, in their countenances and gestures,
rather a feeling of impatience and displeasure than of satisfaction or of
reverence for the place in which they were. Here and there murmurs arose
expressive of discontent. The whispering, which I might more properly
call open conversation, often interrupted the divine service, and
sometimes observations were made which were far from being moderate.
Some would turn their heads aside on purpose to take a bit of
chocolate-cake, and biscuits were openly eaten by many who seemed
to pay no attention to what was passing.

The Consular Court was in general extremely irreligious; nor could it be
expected to be otherwise, being composed chiefly of those who had
assisted in the annihilation of all religious worship in France, and of
men who, having passed their lives in camps, had oftener entered a church
in Italy to carry off a painting than to hear the Mass. Those who,
without being imbued with any religious ideas, possessed that good sense
which induces men to pay respect to the belief of others, though it be
one in which they do not participate, did not blame the First Consul for
his conduct, and conducted themselves with some regard to decency. But
on the road from the Tuileries to Notre Dame, Lannes and Augereau wanted
to alight from the carriage as soon as they saw that they ware being
driven to Mass, and it required an order from the First Consul to prevent
their doing so. They went therefore to Notre Dame, and the next day
Bonaparte asked Augereau what he thought of the ceremony. "Oh! it was
all very fine," replied the General; "there was nothing wanting, except
the million of men who have perished in the pulling down of what you are
setting up." Bonaparte was much displeased at this remark.

   --[This remark has been attributed elsewhere to General Delmas.

   According to a gentleman who played a part in this empty pageantry,
   Lannes at one moment did get out of the carriage, and Augerean kept
   swearing in no low whisper during the whole of the chanted Mass.
   Most of the military chiefs who sprang out of the Revolution had no
   religion at all, but there were some who were Protestants, and who
   were irritated by the restoration of Catholicism as the national
   faith.--Editor of 1896 edition.]--

During the negotiations with the Holy Father Bonaparte one day said to
me, "In every country religion is useful to the Government, and those who
govern ought to avail themselves of it to influence mankind. I was a
Mahometan in Egypt; I am a Catholic in France. With relation to the
police of the religion of a state, it should be entirely in the hands of
the sovereign. Many persons have urged me to found a Gallican Church,
and make myself its head; but they do not know France. If they did, they
would know that the majority of the people would not like a rupture with
Rome. Before I can resolve on such a measure the Pope must push matters
to an extremity; but I believe he will not do so."--"You are right,
General, and you recall to my memory what Cardinal Consalvi said:
'The Pope will do all the First Consul desires.'"--"That is the best
course for him. Let him not suppose that he has to do with an idiot.
What do you think is the point his negotiations put most forward? The
salvation of my soul! But with me immortality is the recollection one
leaves in the memory of man. That idea prompts to great actions. It
would be better for a man never to have lived than to leave behind him no
traces of his existence."

Many endeavours were made to persuade the First Consul to perform in
public the duties imposed by the Catholic religion. An influential
example, it was urged, was required. He told me once that he had put an
end to that request by the following declaration: "Enough of this.
Ask me no more. You will not obtain your object. You shall never make a
hypocrite of me. Let us remain where we are."

I have read in a work remarkable on many accounts that it was on the
occasion of the Concordat of the 15th July 1801 that the First Consul
abolished the republican calendar and reestablished the Gregorian. This
is an error. He did not make the calendar a religious affair. The
'Senatus-consulte', which restored the use of the Gregorian calendar, to
commence in the French Empire from the 11th Nivose, year XIV. (1st
January 1806), was adopted on the 22d Fructidor, year XIII. (9th
September 1805), more than four years after the Concordat. The
re-establishment of the ancient calendar had no other object than to
bring us into harmony with the rest of Europe on a point so closely
connected with daily transactions, which were much embarrassed by the
decadary calendar.

Bonaparte at length, however, consented to hear Mass, and St. Cloud was
the place where this ancient usage was first re-established. He directed
the ceremony to commence sooner than the hour announced in order that
those who would only make a scoff at it might not arrive until the
service was ended.

Whenever the First Consul determined to hear Mass publicly on Sundays in
the chapel of the Palace a small altar was prepared in a room near his
cabinet of business. This room had been Anne of Austria's oratory.
A small portable altar, placed on a platform one step high, restored it
to its original destination. During the rest of the week this chapel was
used as a bathing-room. On Sunday the door of communication was opened,
and we heard Mass sitting in our cabinet of business. The number of
persons there never exceeded three or four, and the First Consul seldom
failed to transact some business during the ceremony, which never lasted
longer than twelve minutes. Next day all the papers had the news that
the First Consul had heard Mass in his apartments. In the same way Louis
XVIII. has often heard it in his!

On the 19th of July 1801 a papal bull absolved Talleyrand from his vows.
He immediately married Madame Grandt, and the affair obtained little
notice at the time. This statement sufficiently proves how report has
perverted the fact. It has been said that Bonaparte on becoming Emperor
wished to restore that decorum which the Revolution had destroyed, and
therefore resolved to put an end to the improper intimacy which subsisted
between Talleyrand and Madame Grandt. It is alleged that the Minister at
first refused to marry the lady, but that he at last found it necessary
to obey the peremptory order of his master. This pretended resurrection
of morality by Bonaparte is excessively ridiculous. The bull was not
registered in the Council of State until the 19th of August 1802.

   --[The First Consul had on several occasions urged M. de Talleyrand
   to return to holy orders. He pointed out to him that that course
   world be most becoming his age and high birth, and premised that he
   should be made a cardinal, thus raising him to a par with Richelieu,
   and giving additional lustre to his administration (Memoirs of the
   Duke of Rovigo, vol. i. p. 426).

   But M. de Talleyrand vindicated his choice, saying, "A clever wife
   often compromises her husband; a stupid one only compromises
   herself" (Historical Characters, p.122, Bulwer, Lord Dulling).]--

I will end this chapter by a story somewhat foreign to the preceding
transactions, but which personally concerns myself. On the 20th of July
1801 the First Consul, 'ex proprio motu', named me a Councillor of State
extraordinary. Madame Bonaparte kindly condescended to have an elegant
but somewhat ideal costume made for me. It pleased the First Consul,
however, and he had a similar one made for himself. He wore it a short
time and then left it off. Never had Bonaparte since his elevation shown
himself so amiable as on this occasion.



   Last chapter on Egypt--Admiral Gantheaume--Way to please Bonaparte--
   General Menou's flattery and his reward--Davoust--Bonaparte regrets
   giving the command to Menou, who is defeated by Abercromby--Otto's
   negotiation in London--Preliminaries of peace.

For the last time in these Memoirs I shall return to the affairs of
Egypt--to that episode which embraces so short a space of time and holds
so high a place in the life of Bonaparte. Of all his conquests he set
the highest value on Egypt, because it spread the glory of his name
throughout the East. Accordingly he left nothing unattempted for the
preservation of that colony. In a letter to General Kleber he said,
"You are as able as I am to understand how important is the possession of
Egypt to France. The Turkish Empire, in which the symptoms of decay are
everywhere discernible, is at present falling to pieces, and the evil of
the evacuation of Egypt by France would now be the greater, as we should
soon see that fine province pass into the possession of some other
European power." The selection of Gantheaume, however, to carry
assistance to Kleber was not judicious. Gantheaume had brought the First
Consul back from Egypt, and though the success of the passage could only
be attributed to Bonaparte's own plan, his determined character, and
superior judgment, yet he preserved towards Gantheaume that favourable
disposition which is naturally felt for one who has shared a great danger
with us, and upon whom the responsibility may be said to have been

This confidence in mediocrity, dictated by an honourable feeling, did not
obtain a suitable return. Gantheaume, by his indecision and creeping
about in the Mediterranean, had already failed to execute a commission
entrusted to him. The First Consul, upon finding he did not leave Brest
after he had been ordered to the Mediterranean, repeatedly said to me,
"What the devil is Gantheaume about?" With one of the daily reports sent
to the First Consul he received the following quatrain, which made him
laugh heartily:

          "Vaisseaux lestes, tete sans lest,
          Ainsi part l'Amiral Gantheaume;
          Il s'en va de Brest a Bertheaume,
          Et revient de Bertheaume a Brest!"

       "With ballast on board, but none in his brain,
        Away went our gallant Gantheaume,
        On a voyage from Brest to Bertheaume,
        And then from Bertheaume--to Brest back again!"

Gantheaume's hesitation, his frequent tergiversations, his arrival at
Toulon, his tardy departure, and his return to that port on the 19th of
February 1801, only ten days prior to Admiral Keith's appearance with Sir
Ralph Abercromby off Alexandria, completely foiled all the plans which
Bonaparte had conceived of conveying succour and reinforcements to a
colony on the brink of destruction.

Bonaparte was then dreaming that many French families would carry back
civilisation, science, and art to that country which was their cradle.
But it could not be concealed that his departure from Egypt in 1799 had
prepared the way for the loss of that country, which was hastened by
Kleber's death and the choice of Menou as his successor.

A sure way of paying court to the First Consul and gaining his favour was
to eulogise his views about Egypt, and to appear zealous for maintaining
the possession of that country. By these means it was that Menou gained
his confidence. In the first year of the occupation of that country he
laid before him his dreams respecting Africa. He spoke of the negroes
of Senegal, Mozambique, Mehedie, Marabout, and other barbarous countries
which were all at once to assume a new aspect, and become civilised,
in consequence of the French possession of Egypt. To Menou's adulation
is to be attributed the favourable reception given him by the First
Consul, even after his return from Egypt, of which his foolish conduct
had allowed the English to get possession. The First Consul appointed
him Governor of Piedmont, and at my request gave my elder brother the
situation of Commissary-General of Police in that country; but I am in
candour obliged to confess that the First Consul was obliged to retract
this mark of his favour in consequence of my brother's making an abuse of

It was also by flattering the First Consul on the question of the East
that Davoust, on his return from Egypt in 1800 in consequence of the
Convention of El-Ariah, insinuated himself into Bonaparte's good graces
and, if he did not deserve, obtained his favour. At that time Davoust
certainly had no title whatever to the good fortune which he suddenly
experienced. He obtained, without first serving in a subordinate rank,
the command-in-chief of the grenadiers of the Consular Guard; and from
that time commenced the deadly hatred which Davoust bore towards me.
Astonished at the great length of time that Bonaparte had been one day
conversing with him I said, as soon as he was gone, "How could you talk
so long with a man whom you have always called a stupid fellow?"--"Ah!
but I did not know him well enough before. He is a better man, I assure
you, than he is thought; and you will come over to my opinion."--"I hope
so." The First Consul, who was often extremely indiscreet, told Davoust
my opinion of him, and his hostility against me ceased but with his life.

The First Consul could not forget his cherished conquest in the East.
It was constantly the object of his thoughts. He endeavoured to send
reinforcements to his army from Brest and Toulon, but without success.
He soon had cause to repent having entrusted to the hands of Menou the
command-in-chief, to which he became entitled only by seniority, after
the assassination of Kleber by Soleiman Heleby. But Bonaparte's
indignation was excited when he became acquainted with Menou's neglect
and mismanagement, when he saw him giving reins to his passion for
reform, altering and destroying everything, creating nothing good in its
stead, and dreaming about forming a land communication with the
Hottentots and Congo instead of studying how to preserve the country.
His pitiful plans of defence, which were useless from their want of
combination, appeared to the First Consul the height of ignorance.
Forgetful of all the principles of strategy, of which Bonaparte's conduct
afforded so many examples, he opposed to the landing of Abercromby a few
isolated corps, which were unable to withstand the enemy's attack, while
the English army might have been entirely annihilated had all the
disposable troops been sent against it.

The great admiration which Menou expressed at the expedition to Egypt;
his excessive fondness for that country, the religion of which he had
ridiculously enough embraced under the name of Abdallah; the efforts he
made, in his sphere, to preserve the colony; his enthusiasm and blind
attachment to Bonaparte; the flattering and encouraging accounts he gave
of the situation of the army, at first had the effect of entirely
covering Menou's incapacity.

   --[For a ludicrous description of Menou see the Memoirs of Marmont:--
   "Clever and gay, he was an agreeable talker, but a great liar. He
   was not destitute of some education. His character, one of the
   oddest in the world, came very near to lunacy: Constantly writing,
   always in motion in his room, riding for exercise every day, he was
   never able to start on any necessary of useful journey. . . .
   When, later, Bonaparte, then First Consul, gave him by special
   favour the administration of Piedmont, he put off his departure from
   day to day for six months; and then he only did start because his
   friend Maret himself put him into his carriage, with post-horses
   already harnessed to it. . . . When he left this post they
   found in his cabinet 900 letters which he had not opened. He was an
   eccentric lunatic, amusing enough sometimes, but a curse to
   everything which depended on him." (Memoirs of the Duc de Raguse,
   tome i. p. 410).]--

This alone can account for the First Consul's preference of him. But I
am far from concurring in what has been asserted by many persons, that
France lost Egypt at the very moment when it seemed most easy of
preservation. Egypt was conquered by a genius of vast intelligence,
great capacity, and profound military science. Fatuity, stupidity, and
incapacity lost it. What was the result of that memorable expedition?
The destruction of one of our finest armies; the loss of some of our best
generals; the annihilation of our navy; the surrender of Malta; and the
sovereignty of England in the Mediterranean. What is the result at
present? A scientific work. The gossiping stories and mystifications of
Herodotus, and the reveries of the good Rollin, are worth as much, and
have not cost so dear.

The First Consul had long been apprehensive that the evacuation of Egypt
was unavoidable. The last news he had received from that country was not
very encouraging, and created a presentiment of the approach of the
dreaded catastrophe. He, however, published the contrary; but it was
then of great importance that, an account of the evacuation should not
reach England until the preliminaries of peace were signed, for which
purpose M. Otto was exerting all his industry and talent. We made a
great merit of abandoning our conquests in Egypt; but the sacrifice would
not have been considered great if the events which took place at the end
of August had been known in London before the signing of the
preliminaries on the 1st of October. The First Consul himself answered
M. Otto's last despatch, containing a copy of the preliminaries ready to
be adopted by the English Ministry. Neither this despatch nor the answer
was communicated to M. de Talleyrand, then Minister for Foreign Affairs.
The First Consul, who highly appreciated the great talents and knowledge
of that Minister, never closed any diplomatic arrangement without first
consulting him; and he was right in so doing. On this occasion, however,
I told him that as M. de Talleyrand was, for his health, taking the
waters of Bourbon-l'Archambault, four days must elapse before his reply
could be received, and that the delay might cause the face of affairs to
change. I reminded him that Egypt was on the point of yielding. He took
my advice, and it was well for him that he did, for the news of the
compulsory evacuation of Egypt arrived in London the day after the
signing of the preliminaries. M. Otto informed the First Consul by
letter that Lord Hawkesbury, ill communicating to him the news of the
evacuation, told him he was very glad everything was settled, for it
would have been impossible for him to have treated on the same basis
after the arrival of such news. In reality we consented at Paris to the
voluntary evacuation of Egypt, and that was something for England, while
Egypt was at that very time evacuated by a convention made on the spot.
The definitive evacuation of Egypt took place on the 30th of August 1801;
and thus the conquest of that country, which had cost so dear, was
rendered useless, or rather injurious.



   The most glorious epoch for France--The First Consul's desire of
   peace--Malta ceded and kept--Bonaparte and the English journals--
   Mr. Addington's letter to the First Consul--Bonaparte prosecutes
   Peltier--Leclerc's expedition to St. Domingo--Toussaint Louverture--
   Death of Leclerc--Rochambeau, his successor, abandons St. Domingo--
   First symptoms of Bonaparte's malady--Josephine's intrigues for the
   marriage of Hortense--Falsehood contradicted.

The epoch of the peace of Amiens must be considered as the most glorious
in the history of France, not excepting the splendid period of Louis
XIV.'s victories and the more brilliant era of the Empire. The Consular
glory was then pure, and the opening prospect was full of flattering
hope; whereas those who were but little accustomed to look closely into
things could discern mighty disasters lurking under the laurels of the

The proposals which the First Consul made in order to obtain peace
sufficiently prove his sincere desire for it. He felt that if in the
commencement of his administration he could couple his name with so hoped
for an act he should ever experience the affection and gratitude of the
French. I want no other proof of his sentiments than the offer he made
to give up Egypt to the Grand Seignior, and to restore all the ports of
the Gulf of Venice and of the Mediterranean to the States to which they
had previously belonged; to surrender Malta to the order of the Knights
of St. John, and even to raze its fortifications if England should think
such a measure necessary for her interests. In the Indies, Ceylon was to
be left to him,

   --[Ceylon belonged to Holland, but was retained by England under the
   treaty of Amiens.]--

and he required the