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Title: Life of Napoleon Bonaparte, Volume V.
Author: Scott, Walter
Language: English
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VOL. 5.

[Illustration: Hougoumont]





CHAP. LXXV.--Buonaparte marches upon Blucher, who is in possession of
  Soissons--Attacks the Place without success--Battle of
  Craonne--Blucher Retreats on Laon--Battle of Laon--Napoleon is
  compelled to withdraw on the 11th--He attacks Rheims, which is
  evacuated by the Russians--Defeat at Bar-sur-Aube of Oudinot and
  Gerard, who, with Macdonald, are forced to Retreat towards
  Paris--Schwartzenberg wishes to Retreat behind the Aube--but the
  Emperor Alexander and Lord Castlereagh opposing the measure, it is
  determined to proceed upon Paris--Napoleon occupies Arcis--Battle of
  Arcis--Napoleon is joined, in the night after the Battle, by
  Macdonald, Oudinot, and Gerard--and Retreats along the Aube,         1

CHAP. LXXVI.--Plans of Buonaparte--Military and Political Questions
  regarding Paris--Napoleon crosses the Marne on 22d March--Retrospect
  of Events in the Vicinity of Lyons, &c.--Defeats of the French in
  various Quarters--Marmont and Mortier Retreat under the walls of
  Paris--Joseph Buonaparte--Maria Louisa, with the Civil Authorities,
  leave the City--Attack of Paris on the 30th--A Truce accorded--Joseph
  flies,                                                              11

CHAP. LXXVII.--State of Parties in Paris--Royalists--Revolutionists--
  Buonapartists--Talleyrand--Chateaubriand--Mission to the Allied
  Sovereigns--Their Answer--Efforts of the Buonapartists--Feelings of
  the Lowest Classes--of the Middling Ranks--Neutrality of the National
  Guard--Growing confidence of the Royalists--Proclamations and White
  Cockades--Crowds assemble at the Boulevards--The Allies are received
  with shouts of welcome--Their Army retires to quarters--and the
  Cossacks bivouac in the Champs-Elysées,                             28

CHAP. LXXVIII.--Fears of the Parisians--Proceedings of
  Napoleon--Operations of the French Cavalry in rear of the
  Allies--Capture of Weissemberg--The Emperor Francis is nearly
  surprised--Napoleon reaches Troyes on the night of the 29th
  March--Opinion of Macdonald as to the possibility of relieving
  Paris--Napoleon leaves Troyes, on the 30th and meets Belliard, a few
  miles from Paris, in full Retreat--Conversation betwixt them--He
  determines to proceed to Paris, but is at length dissuaded--and
  Despatches Caulaincourt to receive terms from the Allied
  Sovereigns--He himself returns to Fontainbleau,                     35

CHAP. LXXIX.--The Allied Sovereigns issue a Proclamation that they
  will not treat with Buonaparte--A Provisional Government is named by
  the Conservative Senate, who also decree the Forfeiture of
  Napoleon--This decree is sanctioned by all the Public Bodies in
  Paris--The Legality of these Proceedings discussed--Feelings towards
  Napoleon, of the Lower Classes, and of the Military--On 4th April,
  Buonaparte issues a document Abdicating the Throne of France--His
  subsequent agitation, and wish to continue the War--The deed is
  finally dispatched,                                                 40

CHAP. LXXX.--Victor, and other Maréchals give in their adhesion to the
  Provisional Government--Marmont enters into a separate Convention; but
  assists at the Conferences held at Paris, leaving Souham second in
  command of his Army--The Commanders have an Interview with the Emperor
  Alexander--Souham enters with his Army into the lines of the Allies;
  in consequence, the Allied Sovereigns insist upon the unconditional
  Submission of Napoleon--His reluctant acquiescence--The Terms granted
  to him--Disapprobation of Lord Castlereagh--General Desertion of
  Napoleon--Death of Josephine--Singular Statement made by Baron Fain,
  Napoleon's Secretary, of the Emperor's attempt to commit
  Suicide--After this he becomes more Resigned--Leaves Fontainbleau,
  28th April,                                                         53

CHAP. LXXXI.--Commissioners appointed to escort Napoleon--He leaves
  Fontainbleau on the 20th April--His Interview with Augereau at
  Valence--Expressions of Popular dislike towards Napoleon in the South
  of France--Fears for his Personal safety--His own agitation and
  Precautions--He arrives at Frejus, and embarks on board the Undaunted,
  with the British and Austrian Commissioners--Arrives at Elba on 4th
  May,                                                                66

CHAP. LXXXII.--Elba--Napoleon's mode of Life and occupation
  there--Effects of his Residence at Elba upon the adjoining Kingdom of
  Italy--He is visited by his Mother and the Princess Pauline--and by a
  Polish lady--Sir Niel Campbell the only Commissioner left at
  Elba--Napoleon's Conversations on the State of Europe--His pecuniary
  Difficulties--and fears of Assassination--Symptoms of some approaching
  Crisis--A part of the Old Guard disbanded--Napoleon escapes from
  Elba--Fruitless pursuit by Sir Neil Campbell,                       72

CHAP. LXXXIII.--Retrospect--Restoration of the Bourbons displeasing to
  the Soldiery, but satisfactory to the People--Terms favourable to
  France granted by the Allies--Discontent about the manner of conceding
  the Charter--Other grounds of Dissatisfaction--Apprehensions lest the
  Church and Crown Lands should be resumed--Resuscitation of the Jacobin
  Faction--Increased Dissatisfaction in the Army--The Claims of the
  Emigrants mooted in the Chamber of Delegates--Maréchal Macdonald's
  Proposal--Financial Difficulties--Restriction on the
  Press--Reflections on this Subject,                                 85

CHAP. LXXXIV.--Carnot's Memorial on Public Affairs--Fouché joins the
  Jacobins--Projects of that Party; which finally joins the
  Buonapartists--Active Intrigues--Congress of Vienna--Murat, alarmed at
  its Proceedings, opens an Intercourse with Napoleon--Plans of the
  Conspirators--Buonaparte's Escape from Elba--He Lands at Cannes--Is
  joined at Grenoble, by 3000 Troops--Halts at Lyons, appoints a
  Ministry, and issues several Decrees--Dismay of the
  Government--Intrigues of Fouché--Treachery of Ney--Revolt of the Royal
  Army at Melun--The King leaves Paris, and Buonaparte arrives
  there--His Reception,                                              108

CHAP. LXXXV.--Various attempts to organise a defence for the Bourbons
  fail--Buonaparte, again reinstated on the throne of France, is
  desirous of continuing the peace with the Allies--but no answer is
  returned to his letters--Treaty of Vienna--Grievances alleged by
  Buonaparte in justification of the step he had taken--Debates in the
  British House of Commons, on the renewal of War--Murat occupies Rome
  with 50,000 men--his proclamation summoning all Italians to arms--He
  advances against the Austrians--is repulsed at Occhio-Bello--defeated
  at Tolentino--flies to Naples, and thence, in disguise, to
  France--where Napoleon refuses to receive him,                     134

CHAP. LXXXVI.--Buonaparte's attempts to conciliate Britain--Plot to
  carry off Maria Louisa fails--State of feeling in France--The
  Army--The Jacobins--The Constitutionalists--Fouché and Siêyes made
  Peers--Freedom of the Press granted, and outraged--Independent conduct
  of Comté, editor of Le Censeur--Disaffections among the lower
  orders--Part of these assemble before the Tuileries, and applaud the
  Emperor--Festival of the Federates--New Constitution--It is received
  with dissatisfaction--Meeting of the Champ de Mai to ratify
  it--Buonaparte's Address to the Chambers of Peers and Deputies--The
  spirit of Jacobinism predominant in the latter,                    144

CHAP. LXXXVII.--Preparations for War--Positions of the Allied Forces,
  amounting in whole to One Million of men--Buonaparte's Force not more
  than 200,000--Conscription not ventured upon--National Guard--their
  reluctance to serve--Many Provinces hostile to Napoleon--Fouché's
  Report makes known the Disaffection--Insurrection in La
  Vendée--quelled--Military Resources--Plan of Campaign--Paris placed in
  a Complete State of Defence--Frontier Passes and Towns
  fortified--Generals who accept Command under Napoleon--He Announces
  his Purpose to measure himself with Wellington,                    157

CHAP. LXXXVIII.--Army of Wellington covers Brussels--that of Blucher
  on the Sambre and Meuse--Napoleon reviews his Grand Army on 14th
  June--Advances upon Charleroi--His plan to separate the Armies of the
  two opposing Generals fails--Interview of Wellington and Blucher at
  Bric--British Army concentrated at Quatre-bras--Napoleon's plan of
  attack--Battle of Ligny, and defeat of Blucher on the 16th
  June--Action at Quatre-bras on the same day--The British retain
  possession of the field--Blucher eludes the French pursuit--Napoleon
  joins Ney--Retreat of the British upon Waterloo,                   164

CHAP. LXXXIX.--Strength of the two Armies--Plans of their
  Generals--THE BATTLE OF WATERLOO commenced on the forenoon of the 18th
  June--French attack directed against the British centre--shifted to
  their right--Charges of the Cuirassiers--and their reception--Advance
  of the Prussians--Ney's charge at the head of the Guards--His
  repulse--and Napoleon's orders for retreat--The Victorious Generals
  meet at La Belle Alliance--Behaviour of Napoleon during the
  engagement--Blucher's pursuit of the French--Loss of the British--of
  the French--Napoleon's subsequent attempts to undervalue the military
  skill of the Duke of Wellington answered--His unjust censures of
  Grouchy--The notion that the British were on the point of losing the
  Battle when the Prussians came up, shown to be erroneous,          174

CHAP. XC.--Buonaparte's arrival at Paris--The Chambers assemble, and
  adopt Resolutions, indicating a wish for Napoleon's Abdication--Fouché
  presents Napoleon's Abdication, which stipulates that his Son shall
  succeed him--Carnot's Report to the Peers, of the means of
  defence--Contradicted by Ney--Stormy Debate on the Abdication
  Act--Both Chambers evade formally recognising Napoleon
  II.--Provisional Government--Napoleon at Malmaison--His offer of his
  services in defence of Paris rejected--Surveillance of General
  Beker--Means provided at Rochefort for his departure to the United
  States--He arrives at Rochefort on 3d July--The Provisional Government
  attempt in vain to treat with the Allies--The Allies advance to
  Paris--Chamber of Peers disperse--Louis XVIII. re-enters Paris on 8th
  July,                                                              195

CHAP. XCI.--Disposition of the British Fleet along the Western Coast
  of France, in order to prevent Buonaparte's Escape--the Bellerophon
  off Rochefort--Orders under which Captain Maitland acted--Plans
  agitated for Napoleon's Escape--Savary and Las Cases open a
  Negotiation with Captain Maitland--Captain Maitland's Account of what
  passed at their Interviews--Las Cases' Account--The Statements
  compared--Napoleon's Letter to the Prince Regent--He surrenders
  himself on board the Bellerophon, on 15th July--His arrival off
  Plymouth--All approach to the Ship prohibited--Final determination of
  the English Government that Buonaparte shall be sent to St.
  Helena--His Protest,                                               219

CHAP. XCII.--Napoleon's real view of the measure of sending him to St.
  Helena--Allegation that Captain Maitland made terms with
  him--disproved--Probability that the insinuation arose with Las
  Cases--Scheme of removing Napoleon from the Bellerophon, by citing him
  as a witness in a case of libel--Threats of self-destruction--Napoleon
  goes on board the Northumberland, which sails for St. Helena--His
  behaviour on the voyage--He arrives at St. Helena, 16th October,   234

CHAP. XCIII.--Causes which justify the English Government in the
  measure of Napoleon's Banishment--Napoleon's wish to retire to
  England, in order that, being near France, he might again interfere in
  her affairs--Reasons for withholding from him the title of
  Emperor--Sir George Cockburn's Instructions--Temporary Accommodation
  at Briars--Napoleon removes to Longwood--Precautions taken for the
  safe custody of the Prisoner,                                      245

CHAP. XCIV.--Buonaparte's alleged grievances considered--Right to
  restrict his Liberty--Limits allowed Napoleon--Complaints urged by Las
  Cases against Sir George Cockburn--Sir Hudson Lowe appointed Governor
  of St. Helena--Information given by General Gourgaud to
  Government--Agitation of various Plans for Buonaparte's
  Escape--Writers on the subject of Napoleon's Residence at St.
  Helena--Napoleon's irritating Treatment of Sir Hudson Lowe--Interviews
  between them,                                                      255

CHAP. XCV.--Instructions to Sir Hudson Lowe--Sum allowed for the
  Ex-Emperor's Expenses--Napoleon's proposal to defray his own
  Expenses--Sale of his Plate--made in order to produce a false
  impression: he had at that time a large sum of Money in his
  strong-box--Wooden-House constructed in London, and transported to St.
  Helena--Interview between Sir H. Lowe and Napoleon--Delays in the
  Erection of the House--The Regulation that a British Officer should
  attend Napoleon in his Rides--Communication with Europe carried on by
  the Inmates of Longwood--Regulation respecting Napoleon's Intercourse
  with the Inhabitants of St. Helena--General Reflections on the
  Disputes between him and Sir H. Lowe,                              279

CHAP. XCVI.--Napoleon's Domestic Habits--Manner in which he spent the
  day--His Dress--Nature of the Fragments of Memoirs he dictated to
  Gourgaud and Montholon--His admiration of Ossian--He prefers Racine
  and Corneille to Voltaire--Dislike of Tacitus--His Vindication of the
  Character of Cæsar--His behaviour towards the Persons of his
  Household--Amusements and Exercises--His Character of Sir Pulteney
  Malcolm--Degree of his Intercourse with the Islanders, and with
  Visitors to the Island--Interview with Captain Basil Hall--with Lord
  Amherst and the Gentlemen attached to the Chinese Embassy,         297

CHAP. XCVII.--Napoleon's Illness--viz. Cancer in the Stomach--Removal
  of Las Cases--Montholon's Complaints brought forward by Lord
  Holland--and replied to by Lord Bathurst--Effect of the failure of
  Lord Holland's motion--Removal of Dr. O'Meara from his attendance on
  Buonaparte--who refuses to permit the visits of any other English
  Physician--Two Priests sent to St. Helena at his desire--Dr.
  Antommarchi--Continued Disputes with Sir Hudson Lowe--Plans for
  Effecting Buonaparte's Escape--Scheme of a Smuggler to approach St.
  Helena in a Submarine Vessel--Seizure of the Vessel--Letter expressing
  the King of England's interest in the Illness of Napoleon--Consent of
  the latter to admit the visits of Dr. Arnott--Napoleon employs himself
  in making his Will--and gives other directions connected with his
  Decease--Extreme Unction administered to him--HIS DEATH, on 5th May,
  1821--Anatomization of the Body--His Funeral,                      313


  No. I.--Remarks on the Campaign of 1815,                           353

  No. II.--Buonaparte's Protest,                                     373

  No. III.--States of Thermometer,                                   377

  No. IV.--Interview betwixt Napoleon Buonaparte and Henry Ellis, Esq.,
  third Commissioner of Lord Amherst's Embassy to China,             377

  No. V.--Memorandum of the Establishment at Longwood,               381

  No. VI.--Interview between Buonaparte and the Widow of Theobald Wolfe
  Tone,                                                              382

  No. VII.--Buonaparte's last Will and Testament,                    384


    _Buonaparte marches upon Blucher, who is in possession of
    Soissons--Attacks the place without success--Battle of
    Craonne--Blucher retreats on Laon--Battle of Laon--Napoleon is
    compelled to withdraw on the 11th--He attacks Rheims, which is
    evacuated by the Russians--Defeat at Bar-sur-Aube of Oudinot and
    Gerard, who, with Macdonald, are forced to retreat towards
    Paris--Schwartzenberg wishes to retreat behind the Aube--but the
    Emperor Alexander and Lord Castlereagh opposing the measure, it is
    determined to proceed upon Paris--Napoleon occupies Arcis--Battle of
    Arcis--Napoleon is joined, in the night after the battle, by
    Macdonald, Oudinot, and Gerard--and retreats along the Aube._

The sword was now again brandished, not to be sheathed or reposed, until
the one party or the other should be irretrievably defeated.

The situation of Buonaparte, even after the victory of Montereau, and
capture of Troyes, was most discouraging. If he advanced on the grand
army of the allies which he had in front, there was every likelihood
that they would retire before him, wasting his force in skirmishes,
without a possibility of his being able to force them to a general
action; while, in the meantime, it might be reckoned for certain that
Blucher, master of the Marne, would march upon Paris. On the contrary,
if Napoleon moved with his chief force against Blucher, he had, in like
manner, to apprehend that Schwartzenberg would resume the route upon
Paris by way of the valley of the Seine. Thus, he could make no exertion
upon the one side, without exposing the capital to danger on the other.

After weighing all the disadvantages on either side, Napoleon determined
to turn his arms against Blucher, as most hostile to his person, most
rapid in his movements, and most persevering in his purposes. He left
Oudinot, Macdonald, and Gerard in front of the grand army, in hopes
that, however inferior in numbers, they might be able to impose upon
Schwartzenberg a belief that Napoleon was present in person, and thus
either induce the Austrian to continue his retreat, or at least prevent
him from resuming the offensive. For this purpose the French troops were
to move on Bar-sur-Aube, and occupy, if practicable, the heights in that
neighbourhood. The soldiers were also to use the cry of _Vive
l'Empereur_, as if Napoleon had been present. It was afterwards seen,
that as the maréchals did not command 40,000 men in all, including a
force under Macdonald, it was impossible for them to discharge
effectually the part assigned them. In the meanwhile, Napoleon himself
continued his lateral march on Blucher, supposing it possible for him,
as formerly, to surprise his flank, as the Prussians marched upon Paris.
For this purpose he moved as speedily as possible to La Ferté-Gauchère,
where he arrived 1st March; but Sacken and D'Yorck, who would have been
the first victims of this manœuvre, as their divisions were on the left
bank of the Marne, near to Meaux, crossed the river at La Ferté Jouarre,
and formed a junction with Blucher, who now resolved to fall back on the
troops of Bulow and Winzengerode. These generals were, it will be
remembered, advancing from the frontiers of Belgium.

A sudden hard frost rendered the country passable, which had before been
in so swampy a condition as to render marching very difficult. This was
much to the advantage of the Prussians. Napoleon detached the forces
under Marmont and Mortier, whom he had united with his own, to press
upon and harass the retreat of the Prussian field-maréchal; while he
himself, pushing on by a shorter line, possessed himself of the town of
Fismes, about half way betwixt Rheims and Soissons. The occupation of
this last place was now a matter of the last consequence. If Blucher
should find Soissons open to him, he might cross the Marne, extricate
himself from his pursuers without difficulty, and form his junction with
the army of the North. But if excluded from this town and bridge,
Blucher must have hazarded a battle on the most disadvantageous terms,
having Mortier and Marmont on his front, Napoleon on his left flank, and
in his rear, a town, with a hostile garrison and a deep river.

It was almost a chance, like that of the dice, which party possessed
this important place. The Russians had taken it on 15th February;[1]
but, being immediately evacuated by them, it was on the 19th occupied by
Mortier, and garrisoned by 500 Poles, who were imagined capable of the
most determined defence. On the 2d March, however, the commandant,
intimidated by the advance of Bulow's army of 30,000 men, yielded up
Soissons to that general, upon a threat of an instant storm, and no
quarter allowed. The Russian standards then waved on the ramparts of
Soissons, and Blucher, arriving under its walls, acquired the full power
of uniting himself with his rear-guard, and giving or refusing battle at
his pleasure, on the very moment when Buonaparte, having turned his
flank, expected to have forced on him a most disadvantageous action.

The Emperor's wrath exhaled in a bulletin against the inconceivable
baseness of the commandant of Soissons, who was said to have given up so
important a place when he was within hearing of the cannonade on the 2d
and 3d, and must thereby have known the approach of the Emperor.[2] In
the heat of his wrath, he ordered Soissons to be assaulted and carried
by storm at all risks; but it was defended by General Langeron with
10,000 Russians. A desperate conflict ensued, but Langeron retained
possession of the town.


Abandoning this project, Napoleon crossed the Aisne at Béry-au-Bac, with
the purpose of attacking the left wing of Blucher's army, which, being
now concentrated, was strongly posted betwixt the village of Craonne and
the town of Laon, in such a manner as to secure a retreat upon the very
strong position which the latter town affords. Blucher imagined a
manœuvre, designed to show Buonaparte that his favourite system of
turning an enemy's flank had its risks and inconveniences. He detached
ten thousand horse under Winzengerode, by a circuitous route, with
orders that when the French commenced their march on Craonne, they
should move round and act upon their flank and rear. But the state of
the roads, and other impediments, prevented this body of cavalry from
getting up in time to execute the intended manœuvre.

Meanwhile, at eleven in the morning of the 7th March, the French began
their attack with the utmost bravery. Ney assaulted the position on the
right flank, which was defended by a ravine, and Victor, burning to show
the zeal which he had been accused of wanting, made incredible exertions
in front. But the assault was met by a defence equally obstinate, and
the contest became one of the most bloody and best-sustained during the
war. It was four in the afternoon, and the French had not yet been able
to dislodge the Russians on any point, when the latter received orders
from Blucher to withdraw from the disputed ground, and unite with the
Prussian army on the splendid position of Laon, which the maréchal
considered as a more favourable scene of action. There were no guns
lost, or prisoners made. The Russians, in despite of a general charge of
the French cavalry, retreated as on the parade. As the armies,
considering the absence of Winzengerode with the detachment of cavalry,
and of Langeron with the garrison of Soissons, were nearly equal, the
indecisive event of the battle was the more ominous. The slain and
wounded were about the same number on both sides, and the French only
retained as a mark of victory the possession of the field of battle.[3]

Napoleon himself followed the retreat of the Russians as far as an inn
between Craonne and Laon, called L'Ange Gardien, where he reposed for
the night. He, indeed, never more needed the assistance of a guardian
angel, and his own appears to have deserted his charge. It was here that
Rumigny found him when he presented the letter of Caulaincourt, praying
for final instructions from the Emperor; and it was here he could only
extract the ambiguous reply, that if he must submit to the bastinado, it
should be only by force. At this cabaret, also, he regulated his plan
for attacking the position of Blucher on the next morning; and thus
ridding himself finally, if possible, of that Silesian army, which had
been his object of disquietude for forty-two days, during the course of
which, scarce two days had passed without their being engaged in serious
conflict, either in front or rear. He received valuable information for
enabling him to make the projected attack, from a retired officer, M.
Bussy de Bellay, who had been his schoolfellow at Brienne, who lived in
the neighbourhood, and was well acquainted with the ground, and whom he
instantly rewarded with the situation of an aide-de-camp, and a large
appointment. When his plan for the attack was finished, he is said to
have exclaimed, "I see this war is an abyss without a bottom, but I am
resolved to be the last whom it shall devour."

The town of Laon is situated upon a table-land, or eminence, flattened
on the top, which rises very abruptly above a plain extending about a
league in length. The face of the declivity is steep, shelving, almost
precipitous, and occupied by terraces serving as vineyards. Bulow
defended this town and bank. The rest of the Silesian army was placed on
the plain below; the left wing, composed of Prussians, extending to the
village of Athies; the right, consisting of Russians, resting on the
hills between Thiers and Semonville.


Only the interval of one day elapsed between the bloody battle of
Craonne and that of Laon. On the 9th, availing himself of a thick mist,
Napoleon pushed his columns of attack to the very foot of the eminence
on which Laon is situated, possessed himself of two of the villages,
termed Semilly and Ardon, and prepared to force his way up the hill
towards the town. The weather cleared, the French attack was repelled by
a tremendous fire from terraces, vineyards, windmills, and every point
of advantage. Two battalions of Yagers, the impetus of their attack
increased by the rapidity of the descent, recovered the villages, and
the attack of Laon in front seemed to be abandoned. The French, however,
continued to retain possession, in that quarter, of a part of the
village of Clacy. Thus stood the action on the right and centre. The
French had been repulsed all along the line. On the left Maréchal
Marmont had advanced upon the village of Athies, which was the key of
Blucher's position in that point. It was gallantly defended by D'Yorck
and Kleist, supported by Sacken and Langeron. Marmont made some
progress, notwithstanding this resistance, and night found him
bivouacking in front of the enemy, and in possession of part of the
disputed village of Athies. But he was not destined to remain there till

Upon the 10th, at four in the morning, just as Buonaparte, arising
before daybreak, was calling for his horse, two dismounted dragoons were
brought before him, with the unpleasing intelligence that the enemy had
made a _hourra_ upon Marmont, surprised him in his bivouac, and cut to
pieces, taken, or dispersed his whole division, and they alone had
escaped to bring the tidings. All the maréchal's guns were lost, and
they believed he was himself either killed or prisoner. Officers sent to
reconnoitre, brought back a confirmation of the truth of this
intelligence, excepting as to the situation of the maréchal. He was on
the road to Rheims, near Corbeny, endeavouring to rally the fugitives.
Notwithstanding this great loss, and as if in defiance of bad fortune,
Napoleon renewed the attack upon Clacy and Semilly; but all his attempts
being fruitless, he was induced to relinquish the undertaking, under the
excuse that the position was found impregnable. On the 11th, he withdrew
from before Laon, having been foiled in all his attempts, and having
lost thirty guns, and nearly 10,000 men. The allies suffered
comparatively little, as they fought under cover.

Napoleon halted at Soissons, which, evacuated by Langeron when Blucher
concentrated his army, was now again occupied by the French. Napoleon
directed its defences to be strengthened, designing to leave Mortier to
defend the place against the advance of Blucher, which, victorious as he
was, might be instantly expected.

While at Soissons, Napoleon learned that Saint Priest, a French
emigrant, and a general in the Russian service, had occupied Rheims,
remarkable for the venerable cathedral in which the kings of France were
crowned. Napoleon instantly saw that the possession of Rheims would
renew the communication betwixt Schwartzenberg and Blucher, besides
neutralizing the advantages which he himself expected from the
possession of Soissons. He moved from Soissons to Rheims, where, after
an attack which lasted till late in the night, the Russian general being
wounded, his followers were discouraged, and evacuated the place. The
utmost horrors might have been expected during a night attack, when one
army forced another from a considerable town. But in this instance we
have the satisfaction to record, that the troops on both sides behaved
in a most orderly manner.[4] In his account of the previous action,
Napoleon threw in one of those strokes of fatality which he loved to
introduce. He endeavoured to persuade the public, or perhaps he himself
believed, that Saint Priest was shot by a ball from the same cannon
which killed Moreau.[5]

During the attack upon Rheims, Marmont came up with such forces as he
had been able to rally after his defeat at Athies, and contributed to
the success of the assault. He was, nevertheless, received by Napoleon
with bitter reproaches, felt severely by a chief, of whose honour and
talents no doubt had been expressed through a long life of soldiership.

Napoleon remained at Rheims three days, to repose and recruit his
shattered army, which was reinforced from every quarter where men could
be collected. Janssens, a Dutch officer, displayed a particular degree
of military talent in bringing a body of about 4000 men, draughted from
the garrisons of the places on the Moselle, to join the army at Rheims;
a movement of great difficulty, considering he had to penetrate through
a country which was in a great measure possessed by the enemy's

The halt of Napoleon at Rheims was remarkable, as affording the last
means of transacting business with his civil ministers. Hitherto, an
auditor of the council of state had weekly brought to the Imperial
headquarters the report of the ministers, and received the orders of the
Emperor.[7] But a variety of causes rendered this regular communication
during the rest of the campaign, a matter of impossibility. At Rheims,
also, Napoleon addressed to Caulaincourt, a letter, dated 17th March, by
which he seems to have placed it in the power of that plenipotentiary to
comply in full with the terms of the allies. But the language in which
it is couched is so far from bearing the precise warrant necessary for
so important a concession, that there must remain a doubt whether
Caulaincourt would have felt justified in acting upon it, or whether so
acting, Napoleon would have recognised his doing so, if circumstances
had made it convenient for him to disown the treaty.[8]


While Napoleon was pursuing, fighting with, and finally defeated by
Blucher, his lieutenant-generals were not more fortunate in front of the
allied grand army. It will be recollected that the Maréchals Oudinot and
Gerard were left at the head of 25,000 men exclusive of the separate
corps under Macdonald, with orders to possess themselves of the heights
of Bar-sur-Aube, and prevent Schwartzenberg from crossing that river.
They made the movement in advance accordingly, and after a sharp action,
which left the town in their possession, they were so nigh to the allied
troops, who still held the suburbs, that a battle became unavoidable,
and the maréchals had no choice save of making the attack, or of
receiving it. They chose the former, and gained at first some advantages
from the very audacity of their attempt; but the allies had now been
long accustomed to stand their ground under greater disasters. Their
numerous reserves were brought up, and their long train of artillery got
into line. The French, after obtaining a temporary footing on the
heights of Vernonfait, were charged and driven back in disorder. Some
fine cavalry, which had been brought from the armies in Spain, was
destroyed by the overpowering cannonade. The French were driven across
the Aube, the town of Bar-sur-Aube was taken, and the defeated maréchals
could only rally their forces at the village of Vandœuvres, about
half-way between Bar and Troyes.

The defeat of Oudinot and Gerard obliged Maréchal Macdonald, who
defended the line of the river above Bar, to retreat to Troyes, from his
strong position at La Ferté-sur-Aube. He therefore fell back towards
Vandœuvres. But though these three distinguished generals, Macdonald,
Oudinot, and Gerard, had combined their talents, and united their
forces, it was impossible for them to defend Troyes, and they were
compelled to retreat upon the great road to Paris. Thus, the
headquarters of the allied monarchs were, for the second time during
this changeful war, established in the ancient capital of Champagne; and
the allied grand army recovered, by the victory of Bar-sur-Aube, all the
territory which they had yielded up in consequence of Buonaparte's
success at Montereau. They once more threatened to descend the Seine
upon Paris, being entitled to despise any opposition offered by a feeble
line, which Macdonald, Oudinot, and Gerard, endeavoured to defend on the
left bank.

But Schwartzenberg's confidence in his position was lowered, when he
heard that Napoleon had taken Rheims; and that, on the evening of the
17th, Ney, with a large division, had occupied Chalons-sur-Marne. This
intelligence made a deep impression on the Austrian council of war.
Their tactics being rigidly those of the old school of war, they
esteemed their army turned whenever a French division occupied such a
post as interposed betwixt them and their allies. This, indeed, is in
one sense true; but it is equally true, that every division so
interposed is itself liable to be turned, if the hostile divisions
betwixt which it is interposed take combined measures for attacking it.
The catching, therefore, too prompt an alarm, or considering the
consequences of such a movement as irretrievable, belongs to the
pedantry of war, and not to its science.

At midnight a council was held for the purpose of determining the future
motions of the allies. The generalissimo recommended a retreat behind
the line of the Aube. The Emperor Alexander opposed this with great
steadiness. He observed, with justice, that the protracted war was
driving the country people to despair, and that the peasantry were
already taking up arms, while the allies only wanted resolution,
certainly neither opportunity nor numbers, to decide the affair by a
single blow.

So many were the objections stated, and so difficult was it to bring the
various views and interests of so many powers to coincide in the same
general plan, that the Emperor informed one of his attendants, he
thought the anxiety of the night must have turned half his hair grey.
Lord Castlereagh was against the opinion of Schwartzenberg, the rather
that he concluded that a retreat behind the Aube would be a preface to
one behind the Rhine. Taking it upon him, as became the Minister of
Britain at such a crisis, he announced to the allied powers, that, so
soon as they should commence the proposed retreat, the subsidies of
England would cease to be paid to them.[9]


It was, therefore, finally agreed to resume offensive operations, for
which purpose they proposed to diminish the distance betwixt the allied
grand army and that of Silesia, and resume such a communication with
Blucher as might prevent the repetition of such disasters as those of
Montmirail and Montereau. With this view it was determined to descend
the Aube, unite their army at Arcis, offer Napoleon battle, should he
desire to accept it, or move boldly on Paris if he should refuse the
proffered action. What determined them more resolutely, from this
moment, to approach the capital as soon as possible, was the
intelligence which arrived at the headquarters by Messieurs de
Polignac.[10] These gentlemen brought an encouraging account of the
progress of the Royalists in the metropolis, and of the general
arrangements which were actively pursued for uniting with the interests
of the Bourbons that of all others, who, from dislike to Buonaparte's
person and government, or fear that the country, and they themselves,
must share in his approaching ruin, were desirous to get rid of the
Imperial government. Talleyrand was at the head of the confederacy, and
all were resolved to embrace the first opportunity of showing
themselves, which the progress of the allies should permit. This
important intelligence, coming from such unquestionable authority,
strengthened the allies in their resolution to march upon Paris.

In the meantime, Napoleon being at Rheims, as stated, on the 15th and
16th March, was alarmed by the news of the loss of the battle of Bar,
the retreat of the three maréchals beyond the Seine, and the
demonstrations of the grand army to cross that river once more. He broke
up, as we have seen, from Rheims on the 17th, and sending Ney to take
possession of Chalons, marched himself to Epernay, with the purpose of
placing himself on the right flank, and in the rear of Schwartzenberg,
in case he should advance on the road to Paris. At Epernay, he learned
that the allies, alarmed by his movements, had retired to Troyes, and
that they were about to retreat upon the Aube, and probably to Langres.
He also learned that the maréchals, Macdonald and Oudinot, had resumed
their advance so soon as their adversaries began to retreat. He hastened
to form a junction with these persevering leaders, and proceeded to
ascend the Aube as high as Bar, where he expected to throw himself into
Schwartzenberg's rear, having no doubt that his army was retiring from
the banks of the Aube.

In these calculations, accurate as far as the information permitted,
Buonaparte was greatly misled. He conceived himself to be acting upon
the retreat of the allies, and expected only to find a rear-guard at
Arcis; he was even talking jocularly of making his father-in-law
prisoner during his retreat. If, contrary to his expectation, he should
find the enemy, or any considerable part of them, still upon the Aube,
it was, from all he had heard, to be supposed his appearance would
precipitate their retreat towards the frontier. It has also been
asserted, that he expected Maréchal Macdonald to make a corresponding
advance from the banks of the Seine to those of the Aube; but the orders
had been received too late to admit of the necessary space being
traversed so as to arrive on the morning of the day of battle.

Napoleon easily drove before him such bodies of light cavalry, and
sharp-shooters, as had been left by the allies, rather for the purpose
of reconnoitring than of making serious opposition. He crossed the Aube
at Plancey, and moved upwards along the left bank of the river, with
Ney's corps, and his whole cavalry, while the infantry of his guard
advanced upon the right; his army being thus, according to the French
military phrase, _à cheval_ upon the Aube. The town of Arcis had been
evacuated by the allies upon his approach, and was occupied by the
French on the morning of the 20th March. That town forms the outlet of a
sort of defile, where a succession of narrow bridges cross a number of
drains, brooks, and streamlets, the feeders of the river Aube, and a
bridge in the town crosses the river itself. On the other side of Arcis
is a plain, in which some few squadrons of cavalry, resembling a
reconnoitring party, were observed manœuvring.

Behind these horse, at a place called Clermont, the Prince Royal of
Wirtemberg, whose name has been so often honourably mentioned, was
posted with his division, while the elite of the allied army was drawn
up on a chain of heights still farther in the rear, called Mesnil la
Comtesse. But these forces were not apparent to the vanguard of
Napoleon's army. The French cavalry had orders to attack the light
troops of the allies; but these were instantly supported by whole
regiments, and by cannon, so that the attack was unsuccessful; and the
squadrons of the French were repulsed and driven back on Arcis at a
moment, when, from the impediments in the town and its environs, the
infantry could with difficulty debouche from the town to support them.
Napoleon showed, as he always did in extremity, the same heroic courage
which he had exhibited at Lodi and Brienne. He drew his sword, threw
himself among the broken cavalry, called on them to remember their
former victories, and checked the enemy by an impetuous charge, in which
he and his staff-officers fought hand to hand with their opponents, so
that he was in personal danger from the lance of a Cossack, the thrust
of which was averted by his aide-de-camp, Girardin. His Mameluke Rustan
fought stoutly by his side, and received a gratuity for his bravery.
These desperate exertions afforded time for the infantry to debouche
from the town. The Imperial Guards came up, and the combat waxed very
warm. The superior numbers of the allies rendered them the assailants on
all points. A strongly situated village in front, and somewhat to the
left of Arcis, called Grand Torcy, had been occupied by the French. This
place was repeatedly and desperately attacked by the allies, but the
French made good their position. Arcis itself was set on fire by the
shells of the assailants, and night alone separated the combatants, by
inducing the allies to desist from the attack.

In the course of the night, Buonaparte was joined by Macdonald, Oudinot,
and Gerard, with the forces with which they had lately held the
defensive upon the Seine; and the anxious question remained, whether,
thus reinforced, he should venture an action with the grand army, to
which he was still much inferior in numbers. Schwartzenberg, agreeably
to the last resolution of the allies, drew up on the heights of Mesnil
la Comtesse, prepared to receive battle. On consideration of the
superior strength of the enemy, and of the absence of some troops not
yet come up, Napoleon finally determined not to accept a battle under
such disadvantageous circumstances. He therefore commenced a retreat,
the direction of which was doomed to prove the crisis of his fate. He
retired as he had advanced, along both sides of the Aube; and though
pursued and annoyed in this movement (which was necessarily executed
through Arcis and all its defiles,) his rear-guard was so well
conducted, that he sustained little loss. A late author,[11] who has
composed an excellent and scientific work on this campaign, has
remarked--"In concluding the account of the two days thus spent by the
contending armies in presence of each other, it is equally worthy of
remark, that Buonaparte, with a force not exceeding 25,000 or 30,000
men, should have risked himself in such a position in front of 80,000 of
the allies, as that the latter should have allowed him to escape them
with impunity." The permitting him to retreat with so little annoyance
has been censured in general by all who have written on this


[1] See _ante_, vol. iv., p. 356.

[2] Moniteur, March 11.

[3] "This was the best fought action during the campaign: the numbers
engaged on both sides were nearly equal; the superiority, if any, being
on the side of the French."--LORD BURGHERSH, _Operations_, &c., p. 196.

[4] Baron Fain, p. 193.

[5] Moniteur, March 14.

[6] Baron Fain, p. 194.

[7] "Whatever might have been the hardships of the campaign, and the
importance of occasional circumstances, Napoleon superintended and
regularly provided for everything; and, up to the present moment, showed
himself adequate to direct the affairs of the interior, as well as the
complicated movements of the army."--BARON FAIN, p. 195.

[8] The words alleged to convey such extensive powers as totally to
recall and alter every former restriction upon Caulaincourt's exercise
of his own opinion, are contained, as above stated, in a letter from
Rheims, dated 17th March, 1814. "I have charged the Duke of Bassano to
answer your letter in detail. I give you directly the authority to make
such concessions as shall be indispensable to maintain the continuance
(_activité_) of the negotiations, and to arrive at a knowledge of the
ultimatum of the allies; it being distinctly understood that the treaty
shall have for its immediate result the evacuation of our territory, and
the restoring prisoners on both sides."--NAPOLEON, _Mémoires_, tom. ii.,
p. 399.

[9] Lord Burghersh, in his memoranda previously quoted, states that Lord
Castlereagh was not at Troyes upon this occasion, that he made no such
declaration as Sir Walter Scott ascribes to him: and that any such
declaration would have been uncalled for, as Prince Schwartzenberg was
bent on concentrating his forces at Arcis--which he did. Compare
"_Operations_," &c., p. 179.--ED. (1842.)

[10] For _Messieurs de Polignac_, we should read _Monsieur de
Vitrolles_.--See Lord Burghersh's "Operations," p. 266. _Note._--ED.

[11] Memoir of the Operations of the Allied Armies in 1813 and 1814. By
Lord Burghersh.


    _Plans of Buonaparte--Military and Political Questions regarding
    Paris--Napoleon crosses the Marne on 22d March--Retrospect of Events
    in the vicinity of Lyons, &c.--Defeats of the French in various
    quarters--Marmont and Mortier retreat under the walls of
    Paris--Joseph Buonaparte--Maria Louisa, with the Civil Authorities,
    leave the City--Attack of Paris on the 30th--A Truce
    accorded--Joseph flies._


The decline of Napoleon's waning fortunes having been such, as to turn
him aside from an offered field of battle, and to place him betwixt two
armies, each superior in number to his own, called now for a speedy and
decisive resolution.

The manœuvres of Schwartzenberg and Blucher tended evidently to form a
junction; and when it is considered that Buonaparte had felt it
necessary to retreat from the army of Silesia before Laon, and from the
grand army before Arcis, it would have been frenzy to wait till they
both closed upon him. Two courses, therefore, remained;--either to draw
back within the closing circle which his enemies were about to form
around him, and, retreating before them until he had collected his whole
forces, make a stand under the walls of Paris, aided by whatever
strength that capital possessed, and which his energies could have
called out; or, on the contrary, to march eastward, and breaking through
the same circle, to operate on the rear of the allies, and on their
lines of communication. This last was a subject on which the Austrians
had expressed such feverish anxiety, as would probably immediately
induce them to give up all thoughts of advancing, and march back to the
frontier. Such a result was the rather to be hoped, because the
continued stay of the allies, and the passage and repassage of troops
through an exhausted country, had worn out the patience of the hardy
peasantry of Alsace and Franche Comté, whom the exactions and rapine,
inseparable from the movements of a hostile soldiery, had now roused
from the apathy with which they had at first witnessed the invasion of
their territory. Before Lyons, Napoleon might reckon on being reinforced
by the veteran army of Suchet, arrived from Catalonia; and he would be
within reach of the numerous chain of fortresses, which had garrisons
strong enough to form an army, if drawn together.

The preparations for arranging such a force, and for arming the
peasantry, had been in progress for some time. Trusty agents, bearing
orders concealed in the sheaths of their knives, the collars of their
dogs, or about their persons, had been detached to warn the various
commandants of the Emperor's pleasure. Several were taken by the
blockading troops of the allies, and hanged as spies, but others made
their way. While at Rheims, Buonaparte had issued an order for rousing
the peasantry, in which he not only declared their arising in arms was
an act of patriotic duty, but denounced as traitors the mayors of the
districts who should throw obstructions in the way of a general levy.
The allies, on the contrary, threatened the extremity of military
execution on all the peasantry who should obey Napoleon's call to arms.
It was, as we formerly observed, an excellent exemplification, how much
political opinions depend on circumstances; for, after the second
capture of Vienna, the Austrians were calling out the levy-en-masse, and
Napoleon, in his turn, was threatening to burn the villages, and execute
the peasants, who should dare to obey.

While Napoleon was at Rheims, the affairs of the north-east frontier
seemed so promising, that Ney offered to take the command of the
insurrectionary army; and, as he was reckoned the best officer of light
troops in Europe, it is not improbable he might have brought the
levies-en-masse on that warlike border, to have fought like the French
national forces in the beginning of the Revolution. Buonaparte did not
yield to this proposal. Perhaps he thought so bold a movement could only
succeed under his own eye.

[Sidenote: PARIS.]

But there were two especial considerations which must have made Napoleon
hesitate in adopting this species of back-game, designed to redeem the
stake which it was impossible to save by the ordinary means of carrying
on the bloody play. The one was the military question, whether Paris
could be defended, if Napoleon was to move to the rear of the allied
army, instead of falling back upon the city with the army which he
commanded. The other question was of yet deeper import, and of a
political nature. The means of the capital for defence being supposed
adequate, was it likely that Paris, a town of 700,000 inhabitants,
divided into factions unaccustomed to the near voice of war, and
startled by the dreadful novelty of their situation, would submit to the
sacrifices which a successful defence of the city must in every event
have required? Was, in short, their love and fear of Buonaparte so
great, that without his personal presence, and that of his army, to
encourage, and at the same time overawe them, they would willingly incur
the risk of seeing their beautiful metropolis destroyed, and all the
horrors of a sack inflicted by the mass of nations whom Napoleon's
ambition had been the means of combining against them, and who
proclaimed themselves the enemies, not of France, but of Buonaparte?

Neither of these questions could be answered with confidence. Napoleon,
although he had embodied 30,000 national guards, had not provided arms
for a third part of the number. This is hinted at by some authors, as if
the want of these arms ought to be imputed to some secret treason. But
this accusation has never been put in any tangible shape. The arms never
existed, and never were ordered; and although Napoleon had nearly three
months' time allowed him, after his return to Paris, yet he never
thought of arming the Parisians in general. Perhaps he doubted their
fidelity to his cause. He ordered, it is said, 200 cannon to be provided
for the defence of the northern and eastern line of the city, but
neither were these obtained in sufficient quantity. The number of
individuals who could be safely intrusted with arms, was also much
limited. Whether, therefore, Paris was, in a military point of view,
capable of defence or not, must have, in every event, depended much on
the strength of the military force left to protect it. This Napoleon
knew must be very moderate. His hopes were therefore necessarily limited
by circumstances, to the belief that Paris, though incapable of a
protracted defence, might yet hold out for such a space as might enable
him to move to its relief.

But, secondly, as the means of holding out Paris were very imperfect, so
the inclination of the citizens to defend themselves at the expense of
any considerable sacrifice, was much doubted. It was not in reason to be
expected that the Parisians should imitate the devotion of Zaragossa.
Each Spanish citizen, on that memorable occasion, had his share of
interest in the war which all maintained--a portion, namely, of that
liberty and independence for which it was waged. But the Parisians were
very differently situated. They were not called on to barricade their
streets, destroy their suburbs, turn their houses into fortresses, and
themselves into soldiers, and expose their property and families to the
horrors of a storm; and this not for any advantage to France or
themselves, but merely that they might maintain Napoleon on the throne.
The ceaseless, and of late the losing wars, in which he seemed
irretrievably engaged, had rendered his government unpopular; and it was
plain to all, except perhaps himself, that he did not stand in that
relation to the people of Paris, when citizens are prepared to die for
their sovereign. It might have been as well expected that the frogs in
the fable would, in case of invasion, have risen in a mass to defend
King Serpent. It is probable that Buonaparte did not see this in the
true point of view; but that, with the feelings of self-importance which
sovereigns must naturally acquire from their situation, and which, from
his high actions and distinguished talents, he of all sovereigns, was
peculiarly entitled to indulge--it is probable that he lost sight of
the great disproportion betwixt the nation and an individual; and
forgot, amid the hundreds of thousands which Paris contains, what small
relation the number of his own faithful and devoted followers bore, not
only to those who were perilously engaged in factions hostile to him,
but to the great mass, who, in Hotspur's phrase, loved their own shops
or barns better than his house.[13]

Thirdly, the consequences of Paris being lost, either from not
possessing, or not employing, the means of defence, were sure to be
productive of irretrievable calamity. Russia, as had been shown, could
survive the destruction of its capital, and perhaps Great Britain's fate
might not be decided by the capture of London. But the government of
France had, during all the phases of the Revolution, depended upon the
possession of Paris--a capital which has at all times directed the
public opinion of that country. Should the military occupation of this
most influential of all capitals, bring about, as was most likely, a
political and internal revolution, it was greatly to be doubted, whether
the Emperor could make an effectual stand in any other part of his

It must be candidly admitted, that this reasoning, as being subsequent
to the fact, has a much more decisive appearance than it could have had
when subjected to the consideration of Napoleon. He was entitled, from
the feverish anxiety hitherto shown by the Austrians, upon any approach
to flank movements, and by the caution of their general proceedings, to
think, that they would be greatly too timorous to adopt the bold step of
pressing onward to Paris. It was more likely that they would follow him
to the frontier, with the purpose of preserving their communications.
Besides, Napoleon at this crisis had but a very slender choice of
measures. To remain where he was, between Blucher and Schwartzenberg,
was not possible; and, in advancing to either flank, he must have fought
with a superior enemy. To retreat upon Paris, was sure to induce the
whole allies to pursue in the same direction; and the encouragement
which such a retreat must have given to his opponents, might have had
the most fatal consequences. Perhaps his partisans might have taken more
courage during his absence, from the idea that he was at the head of a
conquering army, in the rear of the allies, than during his actual
presence, if he had arrived in Paris in consequence of a compulsory

Buonaparte seems, as much from a sort of necessity as from choice, to
have preferred breaking through the circle of hunters which hemmed him
in, trusting to strengthen his army with the garrisons drawn from the
frontier fortresses, and with the warlike peasantry of Alsace and
Franche Comté, and, thus reinforced, to advance with rapidity on the
rear of his enemies, ere they had time to execute, or perhaps to
arrange, any system of offensive operations. The scheme appeared the
more hopeful, as he was peremptory in his belief that his march could
not fail to draw after him, in pursuit, or observation at least, the
grand army of Schwartzenberg; the general maxim, that the war could only
be decided where he was present in person, being, as he conceived, as
deeply impressed by experience upon his enemies as upon his own

Napoleon could not disguise from himself, what indeed he had told the
French public, that a march, or, as he termed it, a _hourra_ upon Paris,
was the principal purpose of the allies. Every movement made in advance,
whether by Blucher or Schwartzenberg, had this for its object. But they
had uniformly relinquished the undertaking, upon his making any
demonstration to prevent it; and therefore he did not suspect them of a
resolution so venturous as to move directly upon Paris, leaving the
French army unbroken in their rear, to act upon their line of
communication with Germany. It is remarked, that those chess-players who
deal in the most venturous gambits are least capable of defending
themselves when attacked in the same audacious manner; and that, in war,
the generals whose usual and favourite tactics are those of advance and
attack, have been most frequently surprised by the unexpected adoption
of offensive operations on the part of their enemy. Napoleon had been so
much accustomed to see his antagonists bend their attention rather to
parry blows than to aim them, and was so confident in the dread
impressed by his rapidity of movement, his energy of assault, and the
terrors of his reputation, that he seems to have entertained little
apprehension of the allies adopting a plan of operations which had no
reference to his own, and which, instead of attempting to watch or
counteract his movements in the rear of their army, should lead them
straight forward to take possession of his capital. Besides,
notwithstanding objections have been stated, which seemed to render a
_permanent_ defence impossible, there were other considerations to be
taken into view. The ground to the north of Paris is very strong, the
national guard was numerous, the lower part of the population of a
military character, and favourable to his cause. A defence, if resolute,
however brief, would have the double effect of damping the ardour of the
assailants, and of detaining them before the walls of the capital, until
Buonaparte should advance to its relief, and thus place the allies
between two fires. It was not to be supposed that the surrender of Paris
would be the work of a single day. The unanimous voice of the journals,
of the ministers of the police, and of the thousands whose interest was
radically and deeply entwisted with that of Buonaparte, assured their
master on that point. The movement to the rear, therefore, though
removing him from Paris, which it might expose to temporary alarm, might
not, in Buonaparte's apprehension, seriously compromise the security of
the capital.

The French Emperor, in executing this decisive movement, was extremely
desirous to have possessed himself of Vitry, which lay in the line of
his advance. But as this town contained a garrison of about 5000 men,
commanded by an officer of resolution, he returned a negative to the
summons; and Napoleon, in no condition to attempt a _coup-de-main_ on a
place of some strength, passed the Marne on the 22d of March, over a
bridge of rafts constructed at Frigincour, and continued his movement
towards the eastern frontier, increasing the distance at every step
betwixt him and his capital, and at the same time betwixt him and his

In the meantime, events had taken place in the vicinity of Lyons,
tending greatly to limit any advantages which Napoleon might have
expected to reap on the south-eastern part of the frontier towards
Switzerland, and also to give spirits to the numerous enemies of his
government in Provence, where the Royalists always possessed a
considerable party.

The reinforcements despatched by the Austrians under General Bianchi,
and their reserves, brought forward by the Prince of Hesse-Homberg, had
restored their superiority over Augereau's army. He was defeated at
Macon on the 11th of March, in a battle which he had given for the
purpose of maintaining his line on the Saone. A second time, he was
defeated on the 18th at St. George, and obliged to retire in great
disorder, with scarce even the means of defending the Isère, up which
river he retreated. Lyons, thus uncovered, opened its gates to Bianchi;
and, after all that they had heard concerning the losses of the allies,
the citizens saw with astonishment and alarm an untouched body of their
troops, amounting to 60,000 men, defile through their streets. This
defeat of Augereau was probably unknown to Napoleon, when he determined
to march to the frontiers, and thought he might reckon on co-operation
with the Lyonnese army. Though, therefore, the Emperor's movement to St.
Dizier was out of the rules of ordinary war, and though it enabled the
allies to conceive and execute the daring scheme which put an end to the
campaign, yet it was by no means hopeless in its outset; or, we would
rather say, was one of the few alternatives which the crisis of his
affairs left to Buonaparte, and which, judging from the previous
vacillation and cautious timidity displayed in the councils of the
allies, he had no reason to apprehend would have given rise to the
consequences that actually followed.


The allies, who had in their latest councils wound up their resolution
to the decisive experiment of marching on Paris, were at first at a loss
to account for Napoleon's disappearance, or to guess whither he had
gone. This occasioned some hesitation and loss of time. At length, by
the interception of a French courier, they found despatches addressed by
Buonaparte to his government at Paris, from which they were enabled to
conjecture the real purpose and direction of his march. A letter,[14]
in the Emperor's own hand, to Maria Louisa, confirmed the certainty of
the information.[15] The allies resolved to adhere, under this
unexpected change of circumstances, to the bold resolution they had
already formed. To conceal the real direction of his march, as well as
to open communications with the Silesian army, Schwartzenberg, moving
laterally, transferred his headquarters to Vitry, where he arrived on
the 24th, two days after it had been summoned by Napoleon. Blucher, in
the meantime, approached his army from Laon to Chalons, now entirely
re-organised after the two bloody battles which it had sustained. As a
necessary preparation for the advance, General Ducca was left on the
Aube, with a division of Austrians, for the purpose of defending their
depôts, keeping open their communications, and guarding the person of
the Emperor Francis, who did not perhaps judge it delicate to approach
Paris in arms, with the rest of the sovereigns, while the city was
nominally governed by his own daughter as Regent. Ducca had also in
charge, if pressed, to retreat upon the Prince of Hesse-Homberg's army,
which was in triumphant possession of Lyons.

This important arrangement being made, another was adopted equally
necessary to deceive and observe Napoleon. Ten thousand cavalry were
selected, under the enterprising generals, Winzengerode and Czernicheff,
who, with fifty pieces of cannon, were despatched to hang on
Buonaparte's march, to obstruct his communications with the country he
had left, intercept couriers from Paris, or information respecting the
motions of the allied armies, and to present on all occasions such a
front, as, if possible, might impress him with the belief, that their
corps formed the vanguard of the whole army of Schwartzenberg. The
Russian and Prussian light troops meanwhile scoured the roads, and
intercepted, near Sommepuix, a convoy of artillery and ammunition
belonging to Napoleon's rear-guard, when twenty pieces of cannon, with a
strong escort, fell into their hands. They also cut off several
couriers, bringing important despatches to Napoleon from Paris. One of
these was loaded with as heavy tidings as ever were destined to afflict
falling greatness. This packet informed Napoleon of the descent of the
English in Italy; of the entry of the Austrians into Lyons, and the
critical state of Augereau; of the declaration of Bourdeaux in favour
of Louis; of the demonstrations of Wellington towards Toulouse; of the
disaffected state of the public mind, and the exhausted condition of the
national resources. Much of these tidings was new to the allied
sovereigns and generals; but it was received by them with very different
sensations from those which the intelligence was calculated to inflict
upon him for whom the packet was intended.

Blucher, in the meantime, so soon as he felt the opposition to his
movements diminished by the march of Buonaparte from Chalons to Arcis,
had instantly resumed the offensive, and driven the corps of Mortier and
Marmont, left to observe his motions, over the Marne. He passed the
Aisne, near Béry-le-Bac, repossessed himself of Rheims by blowing open
the gates and storming the place, and, having gained these successes,
moved towards Chalons and Vitry. His course had hitherto been
south-eastward, in order to join with Schwartzenberg; but he now
received from the King of Prussia the welcome order to turn his march
westward, and move straight upon Paris. The grand army adopted the same
direction, and thus they moved on in corresponding lines, and in
communication with each other.

While Buonaparte, retiring to the east, prepared for throwing himself on
the rear of the allies, he was necessarily, in person, exposed to the
same risk of having his communications cut off, and his supplies
intercepted, which it was the object of his movement to inflict upon his
enemy. Marmont and Mortier, who retreated before Blucher over the Marne,
had orders to move upon Vitry, probably because that movement would have
placed them in the rear of Schwartzenberg, had he been induced to
retreat from the line of the Aube, as Napoleon expected he would. But as
a very different course had been adopted by the allies, from that which
Napoleon had anticipated, the two maréchals found themselves
unexpectedly in front of their grand army near Fère-Champenoise. They
were compelled to attempt a retreat to Sezanne, in which, harassed by
the numerous cavalry of the allies, they sustained heavy loss.

While the cavalry were engaged in pursuit of the maréchals, the infantry
of the allies were approaching the town of Fère-Champenoise, when a
heavy fire was heard in the vicinity, and presently appeared a large
column of infantry, advancing checker-wise and by intervals, followed
and repeatedly charged by several squadrons of cavalry, who were
speedily recognised as belonging to the Silesian army. The infantry,
about 5000 in number, had left Paris with a large convoy of provisions
and ammunition. They were proceeding towards Montmirail, when they were
discovered and attacked by the cavalry of Blucher's army. Unable to make
a stand, they endeavoured, by an alteration of their march, to reach
Fère-Champenoise, where they expected to find either the Emperor, or
Marmont and Mortier. It was thus their misfortune to fall upon Scylla in
seeking to avoid Charybdis. The column consisted entirely of young men,
conscripts, or national guards, who had never before been in action.
Yet, neither the necessity of their condition, nor their unexpected
surprise in meeting first one, and then a second army of enemies, where
they looked only for friends, could induce these spirited young men to
surrender. Rappatel, the aide-de-camp of Moreau, and entertained in the
same capacity by the Emperor Alexander, was shot, while attempting, by
the orders of the Emperor, to explain to them the impossibility of
resistance. The French say, that the brother of Rappatel served in the
company from which the shot came which killed the unfortunate officer.
The artillery at length opened on the French on every side; they were
charged by squadron after squadron; the whole convoy was taken, and the
escort were killed, wounded, or made prisoners.[16]


Thus the allies continued to advance upon Paris, while the shattered
divisions of Mortier and Marmont, hard pressed by the cavalry, lost a
rear-guard of 1500 men near Ferté Gauchère. At Crecy they parted into
two bodies, one retreating on Meaux, the other on Lagny. They were still
pursued and harassed; and at length, the soldiers becoming desperate,
could hardly be kept together, while the artillerymen cut the traces of
their guns, and mounted their draught-horses, to effect their escape. It
is computed that the French divisions, between Fère-Champenoise and
Lagny, lost 8000 men, and eighty guns, besides immense quantities of
baggage and ammunition. Indeed, surrounded as they were by overpowering
numbers, it required no little skill in the generals, as well as bravery
and devotion in the soldiers, to keep the army from dissolving entirely.
The allies, gaining advantages at every step, moved on with such
expedition, that when, on the 27th March, they took up their
headquarters at Collomiers, they had marched upwards of seventy miles in
three days.

An effort was made, by about 10,000 men of the national guards, to stop
a column of the army of Silesia, but it totally failed; General Horne
galloping into the very centre of the French mass of infantry, and
making prisoner the general who commanded them with his own hand. When
Blucher approached Meaux, the garrison (a part of Mortier's army)
retreated, blowing up a large powder magazine. This was on the 28th of
March, and on the evening of the same day, the vanguard of the Silesian
army pushed on as far as Claye, from whence, not without a sharp action,
they dislodged a part of the divisions of Marmont and Mortier. These
maréchals now retreated under the walls of Paris, their discouraged and
broken forces forming the only regular troops, excepting those of the
garrison, which could be reckoned on for the defence of the capital.

The allied armies moved onward, on the same grand point, leaving,
however, Generals Wrede and Sacken, with a corps d'armée of 30,000 men,
upon the line of the Marne, to oppose any attempt which might be made
for annoying the rear of the army, and thus relieving the metropolis.

Deducing this covering army, the rest of the allied forces moved in
columns along the three grand routes of Meaux, Lagny, and Soissons, thus
threatening Paris along all its north-eastern quarter. The military
sovereigns and their victorious armies were now in sight of that
metropolis, whose ruler and his soldiers had so often and so long lorded
it in theirs; of that Paris, which, unsatisfied with her high rank among
the cities of Europe, had fomented constant war until all should be
subjugated to her empire; of that proud city, who boasted herself the
first in arms and in science, the mistress and example of the civilized
world, the depositary of all that is wonderful in the fine arts, and the
dictatress as well of taste as of law to continental Europe.

[Sidenote: PARIS.]

The position of Paris, on the north-eastern frontier, which was thus
approached, is as strongly defensible, perhaps, as can be said of any
unfortified town in the world. Art, however, had added little to the
defence of the city itself, except a few wretched redoubts (called by
the French _tambours_,) erected for protection of the barriers. But the
external line was very strong, as will appear from the following sketch.
The heights which environ the city on the eastern side, rise abruptly
from an extensive plain, and form a steep and narrow ridge, which sinks
again as suddenly upon the eastern quarter of the town, which it seems
to screen as with a natural bulwark. The line of defence which they
afford is extremely strong. The southern extremity of the ridge, which
rests upon the wood of Vincennes, extending southward to the banks of
the river Marne, is called the heights of Belleville and Romainville,
taking its name from two delightful villages which occupy it, Belleville
being nearest, and Romainville most distant from Paris. The heights are
covered with romantic groves, and decorated by many pleasant villas,
with gardens, orchards, vineyards, and plantations. These, which, in
peaceful times, are a favourite resort of the gay Parisians, on their
parties of pleasure, were now to be occupied by other guests, and for
far different purposes. In advance of these heights, and protected by
them, is the village of Pantin, situated on the great road from Bondy.
To the left of Romainville, and more in front of Belleville, is a
projecting eminence, termed the Butte de Saint Chaumont. The ridge there
sinks, and admits a half-finished aqueduct, called the canal de l'Ourcq.
The ground then again rises into the bold and steep eminence, called
Montmartre, from being the supposed place of the martyrdom of St. Denis,
the patron of France. From the declivity of this steep hill is a level
plain, extending to the river Seine, through which runs the principal
northern approach to Paris, from the town of Saint Denis. The most
formidable preparations had been made for maintaining this strong line
of defence, behind which the city lay sheltered. The extreme right of
the French forces occupied the wood of Vincennes, and the village of
Charenton upon the Marne, and was supported by the troops stationed on
the heights of Belleville, Romainville, and on the Butte de Chaumont,
which composed the right wing. Their centre occupied the line formed by
the half-finished canal de l'Ourcq, was defended by the village of La
Villette, and a strong redoubt on the farm of Rouvroi, mounted with
eighteen heavy guns, and by the embankments of the canal, and still
farther protected by a powerful artillery planted in the rear, on the
heights of Montmartre. The left wing was thrown back from the village
called Monceaux, near the north-western extremity of the heights, and
prolonged itself to that of Neuilly, on the Seine, which was strongly
occupied by the extreme left of their army. Thus, with the right
extremity of the army resting upon the river Marne, and the left upon
the Seine, the French occupied a defensive semicircular line, which
could not be turned, the greater part of which was posted on heights of
uncommon steepness, and the whole defended by cannon, placed with the
utmost science and judgment, but very deficient in point of numbers.

The other side of Paris is almost defenceless; but, in order to have
attacked it on that side, the allies must have previously crossed the
Seine; an operation successfully practised in the following year, but
which at that period, when their work, to be executed at all, must be
done suddenly, they had no leisure to attempt, considering the great
probability of Napoleon's coming up in their rear, recalled by the
danger of the capital. They were therefore compelled to prefer a sudden
and desperate attack upon the strongest side of the city, to the slower,
though more secure measure of turning the formidable line of defence
which we have endeavoured to describe.

Three times, since the allies crossed the Rhine, the capital of France
had been menaced by the approach of troops within twenty miles of the
city, but it had uniformly been delivered by the active and rapid
movements of Napoleon. Encouraged by this recollection, the citizens,
without much alarm, heard, for the fourth time, that the Cossacks had
been seen at Meaux. Stifled rumours, however, began to circulate, that
the divisions of Marmont and Mortier had sustained severe loss, and were
in full retreat on the capital; a fact speedily confirmed by the long
train of wounded who entered the barriers of the city, with looks of
consternation and words of discouragement. Then came crowds of peasants,
flying they knew not whither, before an enemy whose barbarous rapacity
had been so long the theme of every tongue, bringing with them their
half-naked and half-starved families, their teams, their carts, and such
of their herds and household goods as they could remove in haste. These
unfortunate fugitives crowded the Boulevards of Paris, the usual resort
of the gay world, adding, by exaggerated and contradictory reports, to
the dreadful ideas which the Parisians already conceived of the
approaching storm.

The government, chiefly directed by Joseph Buonaparte, in the name of
his sister-in-law Maria Louisa, did all they could to encourage the
people, by exaggerating their means of defence, and maintaining with
effrontery, that the troops which approached the capital, composed but
some isolated column which by accident straggled towards Paris, while
the Emperor was breaking, dividing, and slaughtering, the gross of the
confederated army. The light could not be totally shut out, but such
rays as were admitted were highly coloured with hope, having been made
to pass through the medium of the police and public papers. A grand
review of the troops destined for the defence of the capital was held
upon the Sunday preceding the assault. Eight thousand troops of the
line, being the garrison of Paris, under Gerard, and 30,000 national
guards, commanded by Hulin, governor of the city, passed in order
through the stately court of the Tuileries, followed by their trains of
artillery, their corps of pioneers, and their carriages for baggage and
ammunition. This was an imposing and encouraging spectacle, until it was
remembered that these forces were not designed to move out to distant
conquest, the destination of many hundreds of thousands which in other
days had been paraded before that palace; but that they were the last
hope of Paris, who must defend all that she contained by a battle under
her walls. The remnants of Marmont and Mortier's corps d'armée made no
part of this parade. Their diminished battalions, and disordered state
of equipment, were ill calculated to inspire courage into the public
mind. They were concentrated and stationed on the line of defence
already described, beyond the barriers of the city. But the maréchals
themselves entered Paris, and gave their assistance to the military
councils of Joseph Buonaparte.

Preparations were made by the government to remove beyond the Loire, or
at least in that direction. Maria Louisa had none of the spirit of an
Amazon, though graced with all the domestic virtues. She was also placed
painfully in the course of a war betwixt her husband and father.
Besides, she obeyed, and probably with no lack of will, Napoleon's
injunctions to leave the capital, if danger should approach. She left
Paris,[17] therefore, with her son, who is said to have shown an
unwillingness to depart, which, in a child, seemed to have something
ominous in it.[18] Almost all the civil authorities of Buonaparte's
government left the city at the same time, after destroying the private
records of the high police, and carrying with them the crown jewels,
and much of the public treasure. Joseph Buonaparte remained, detaining
with him, somewhat, it is said, against his inclination, Cambacérès, the
chancellor of the Emperor, whom, though somewhat too unwieldy for the
character, Napoleon had, in one of his latest councils, threatened with
the honours and dangers of the Colonelcy of a battalion. Joseph himself
had the talents of an accomplished man, and an amiable member of
society, but they do not seem to have been of a military description. He
saw his sister-in-law depart, attended by a regiment of seven hundred
men, whom some writers have alleged had been better employed in the
defence of the city; forgetting of what importance it was to Napoleon,
that the person of the Empress should be protected alike against a
roving band of Hulans, or Cossacks, or the chance of some civic mutiny.
These arrangements being made, Joseph published, on the morning of the
29th, a proclamation, assuring the citizens of Paris, that "he would
remain with them;" he described the enemy as a single straggling column
which had approached from Meaux, and required them by a brief and
valorous resistance to sustain the honour of the French name, until the
arrival of the Emperor, who, he assured the Parisians, was on full march
to their succour.[19]

Between three and four o'clock on the next eventful morning, the drums
beat to arms, and the national guards assembled in force. But of the
thousands which obeyed the call, a great part were, from age, habits,
and want of inclination, unfit for the service demanded from them. We
have also already alluded to the scarcity of arms, and certainly there
were very many of those citizen-soldiers, whom, had weapons been more
plenty, the government of Buonaparte would not have intrusted with them.

Most of the national guards, who were suitably armed, were kept within
the barrier until about eleven o'clock, and then, as their presence
became necessary, were marched to the scene of action, and arrayed in a
second line behind the regular troops, so as rather to impose upon the
enemy, by an appearance of numbers, than to take a very active share in
the contest. The most serviceable were, however, draughted to act as
sharp-shooters, and several battalions were stationed to strengthen
particular points of the line. The whole of the troops, including many
volunteers, who actively engaged in the defence of the city, might be
between 10,000 and 20,000.

The proposed assault of the allies was to be general and simultaneous,
along the whole line of defence. The Prince Royal of Wirtemberg was to
attack the extreme right of the French, in the wood of Vincennes, drive
them from the banks of the Marne and the village of Charenton, and thus
turn the heights of Belleville. The Russian general, Rayefski, making a
flank movement from the public road to Meaux, was to direct three strong
columns, with their artillery and powerful reserves, in order to attack
in front the important heights of Belleville and Romainville, and the
villages which give name to them. The Russian and Prussian body-guards
had charge to attack the centre of the enemy, posted upon the canal de
l'Ourcq, the reserves of which occupied the eminence called Montmartre.
The army of Silesia was to assail the left of the French line, so as to
turn and carry the heights of Montmartre from the north-east. The third
division of the allied army, and a strong body of cavalry, were kept in
reserve. Before the attack commenced, two successive flags of truce were
despatched to summon the city to capitulate. Both were refused
admittance; so that the intention of the defenders of Paris appeared
fixed to hazard an engagement.

It was about eight o'clock, when the Parisians, who had assembled in
anxious crowds at the barriers of St. Denis and of Vincennes, the
outlets from Paris, corresponding with the two extremities of the line,
became sensible, from the dropping succession of musket shots, which
sounded like the detached pattering of large drops of rain before a
thunder-storm, that the work of destruction was already commenced.
Presently platoons of musketry, with a close and heavy fire of cannon,
from the direction of Belleville, announced that the engagement had
become general on that part of the line.


General Rayefski had begun the attack by pushing forward a column, with
the purpose of turning the heights of Romainville on the right; but its
progress having been arrested by a heavy fire of artillery, the French
suddenly became the assailants, and under the command of Marmont, rushed
forward and possessed themselves of the village of Pantin,[20] in
advance of their line; an important post, which they had abandoned on
the preceding evening, at the approach of the allied army. It was
instantly recovered by the Russian grenadiers, at the point of the
bayonet; and the French, although they several times attempted to resume
the offensive, were driven back by the Russians on the villages of
Belleville and Mesnilmontant, while the allies pushed forward through
the wood of Romainville, under the acclivity of the heights. The most
determined and sustained fire was directed upon them from the French
batteries along the whole line. Several of these were served by the
youths of the Polytechnic school, boys from twelve to sixteen years of
age, who showed the greatest activity and the most devoted courage. The
French infantry rushed repeatedly in columns from the heights, where
opportunities occurred to check the progress of the allies. They were as
often repulsed by the Russians, each new attempt giving rise to fresh
conflicts and more general slaughter, while a continued and dispersed
combat of sharpshooters took place among the groves, vineyards, and
gardens of the villas, with which the heights are covered. At length, by
order of General de Tolli, the Russian commander-in-chief, the front
attack on the heights was suspended until the operations of the allies
on the other points should permit it to be resumed at a cheaper risk of
loss. The Russian regiments which had been dispersed as sharpshooters,
were withdrawn, and again formed in rank, and it would seem that the
French seized this opportunity to repossess themselves of the village of
Pantin, and to assume a momentary superiority in the contest.

Blucher had received his orders late in the morning, and could not
commence the attack so early as that upon the left. About eleven
o'clock, having contented himself with observing and blockading a body
of French troops, who occupied the village of St. Denis, he directed the
columns of General Langeron against the village of Aubervilliers, and,
having surmounted the obstinate opposition which was there made, moved
them by the road of Clichy, right against the extremity of the heights
of Montmartre, whilst the division of Kleist and D'Yorck marched to
attack in flank the villages of La Villette and Pantin, and thus sustain
the attack on the centre and right of the French. The defenders,
strongly intrenched and protected by powerful batteries, opposed the
most formidable resistance, and, as the ground was broken and
impracticable for cavalry, many of the attacking columns suffered
severely. When the divisions of the Silesian army, commanded by Prince
William of Prussia, first came to the assistance of the original
assailants upon the centre, the French concentrated themselves on the
strong post of La Villette, and the farm of Rouvroy, and continued to
offer the most desperate resistance in defence of these points. Upon the
allied left wing the Prussian guards, and those of Baden, threw
themselves with rival impetuosity into the village of Pantin, and
carried it at the point of the bayonet. During these advantages, the
Prince Royal of Wirtemberg, on the extreme left of the allies, had
forced his way to Vincennes, and threatened the right of the French
battalions posted at Belleville, as had been projected in the plan of
the attack. General Rayefski renewed the suspended assault upon these
heights in front, when he learned that they were thus in some measure
turned in flank, and succeeded in carrying those of Romainville, with
the village. Marmont and Oudinot in vain attempted a charge upon the
allied troops, who had thus established themselves on the French line of
defence. They were repulsed and pursued by the victors, who, following
up their advantage, possessed themselves successively of the villages of
Belleville and Mesnilmontant, the Butte de St. Chaumont, and the fine
artillery which defended this line.

About the same time the village of Charonne, on the right extremity of
the heights, was also carried, and the whole line of defence occupied by
the right wing of the French fell into possession of the allies. Their
light horse began to penetrate from Vincennes as far as the barriers of
Paris, and their guns and mortars upon the heights were turned upon the
city. The centre of the French army, stationed upon the canal de
l'Ourcq, had hitherto stood firm, protected by the redoubt at Rouvroy,
with eighteen heavy pieces of cannon, and by the village of La Villette,
which formed the key of the position. But the right flank of their line
being turned by those troops who had become possessed of Romainville,
the allies overwhelmed this part of the line also; and, carrying by
assault the farm of Rouvroy, with its strong redoubt, and the village of
La Villette, drove the centre of the French back upon the city. A body
of French cavalry attempted to check the advance of the allied columns,
but were repulsed and destroyed by a brilliant charge of the black
hussars of Brandenburgh. Meanwhile, the right wing of the Silesian army
approached close to the foot of Montmartre, and Count Langeron's corps
were preparing to storm this last remaining defensible post, when a flag
of truce appeared, to demand a cessation of hostilities.

It appears that, in the morning, Joseph Buonaparte had shown himself to
the defenders riding along the lines, accompanied by his staff, and had
repeated to all the corps engaged, the assurance that he would live and
die with them. There is reason to think, that if he did not quite credit
that such extensive preparations for assault were made by a single
division of the allies, yet he believed he had to do with only one of
their two armies, and not with their united force. He was undeceived by
a person named Peyre, called, by some, an engineer officer attached to
the staff of the Governor of Paris, and, by others, a superintendent
belonging to the corps of firemen in that city. Peyre, it seems, had
fallen into the hands of a party of Cossacks the night before, and was
carried in the morning to the presence of the Emperor Alexander, at
Bondy. In his route, he had an opportunity of calculating the immense
force of the armies now under the walls of Paris. Through the medium of
this officer, the Emperor Alexander explained the intentions of the
allied sovereigns, to allow fair terms to the city of Paris, provided it
was proposed to capitulate ere the barriers were forced; with the
corresponding intimation, that if the defence were prolonged beyond that
period, it would not be in the power either of the Emperor, the King of
Prussia, or the allied generals, to prevent the total destruction of the

[Sidenote: FALL OF PARIS.]

Mons. Peyre, thus erected into a commissioner and envoy of crowned
heads, was set at liberty, and with danger and difficulty found his way
into the French lines, through the fire which was maintained in every
direction. He was introduced to Joseph, to whom he delivered his
message, and showed proclamations to the city of Paris, with which the
Emperor Alexander had intrusted him. Joseph hesitated, at first
inclining to capitulate, then pulling up resolution, and determining to
abide the chance of arms. He continued irresolute, blood flowing fast
around him, until about noon, when the enemy's columns, threatening an
attack on Montmartre, and the shells and bullets from the artillery,
which was in position to cover the attempt, flying fast over the heads
of himself and his staff, he sent Peyre to General Marmont, who acted as
commander-in-chief, with permission to the maréchal to demand a
cessation of arms. At the same time, Joseph himself fled with his whole
attendants; thus abandoning the troops, whom his exhortations had
engaged, in the bloody and hopeless resistance of which he had solemnly
promised to partake the dangers.[21] Marmont, with Moncey, and the other
generals who conducted the defence, now saw all hopes of making it good
at an end. The whole line was carried, excepting the single post of
Montmartre, which was turned, and on the point of being stormed on both
flanks, as well as in front; the Prince Royal of Wirtemberg had occupied
Charenton, with its bridge over the Marne, and pushing forward on the
high-road from thence to Paris, his advanced posts were already
skirmishing at the barriers called the Trône; and a party of Cossacks
had been with difficulty repulsed from the faubourg St. Antoine, on
which they made a _Hourra_. The city of Paris is merely surrounded by an
ordinary wall, to prevent smuggling. The barriers are not much stronger
than any ordinary turnpike gate, and the stockade with which they had
been barricaded, could have been cleared away by a few blows of the
pioneers' axes. Add to this, that the heights commanding the city,
Montmartre excepted, were in complete possession of the enemy; that a
bomb or two, thrown probably to intimidate the citizens, had already
fallen in the faubourg Montmartre, and the chaussée d'Antin; and that it
was evident that any attempt to protract the defence of Paris, must be
attended with utter ruin to the town and its inhabitants. Marshal
Marmont, influenced by these considerations, despatched a flag of truce
to General Barclay de Tolli, requesting a suspension of hostilities, to
arrange the terms on which Paris was to be surrendered. The armistice
was granted, on condition that Montmartre, the only defensible part of
the line which the French still continued to occupy, should be delivered
up to the allies. Deputies were appointed on both sides, to adjust the
terms of surrender. These were speedily settled. The French regular
troops were permitted to retire from Paris unmolested, and the
metropolis was next day to be delivered up to the allied sovereigns, to
whose generosity it was recommended.

Thus ended the assault of Paris, after a bloody action, in which the
defenders lost upwards of 4000 in killed and wounded; and the allies,
who had to storm well-defended batteries, redoubts, and intrenchments,
perhaps about twice the number. They remained masters of the line at all
points, and took nearly one hundred pieces of cannon. When night fell,
the multiplied and crowded watch-fires that occupied the whole chain of
heights on which the victors now bivouacked, indicated to the astonished
inhabitants of the French metropolis, how numerous and how powerful were
the armies into whose hands the fate of war had surrendered them.[22]


[12] Jomini, tom. iv., 564.

[13] Henry IV., act ii., scene ii.

[14] "Mon Amie, j'ai été tous les jours à cheval; le 20 j'ai pris
Arcis-sur-Aube. L'ennemi m'y attaqua à 8 heures du soir: le même soir je
l'ai battu, et lui ai fait 4000 morts: je lui ai pris 2 pieces de canon
et même repris 2: ayant quitté le 21, l'armée ennemie s'est mise, en
battaille pour protéger la marche de ses armées, sur Brienne, et sur
Bar-sur-Aube, j'ai décidé de me porter sur la Marne et ses environs afin
de la pousser plus loin de Paris, en me rapprochant de mes _places_. Je
serai ce soir à St. Dizier. Adieu, mon amie, embrassez mon fils."

[15] "General Muffling told me that the word _St. Dizier_, of so much
importance, was so badly written, that they were several hours in making
it out. Blucher forwarded the letter to Maria Louisa, with a letter in
German, saying, that as she was the daughter of a _respectable_
sovereign, who was fighting in the same cause with himself, he had sent
it to her."--_Memorable Events_, p. 98.

[16] Lord Burghersh, Observations, &c., p. 232; Baron Fain, p. 222.

[17] "At half past ten on the morning of the 29th, the Empress, in a
brown cloth riding-habit, with the King of Rome, in one coach,
surrounded by guards, and followed by several other coaches, with
attendants, quitted the palace; the spectators observing the most
profound silence."--_Memorable Events in Paris in 1814_, p. 50.

[18] Souvenirs de Mad. Durand, tom. i., p. 205.

[19] "I saw the proclamation of _Roi Joseph_ selling for a sous, on the
Boulevards, where groups of people were assembled. The flight of the
Empress caused considerable alarm. Many loudly expressed their
discontent at the national guard, for permitting her to leave Paris, as
they entertained a dastardly hope that her presence would preserve them
from the vengeance of the allies. For the first time I heard the people
openly dare to vent complaints against the Emperor, as the sole cause of
their impending calamity; but I witnessed no patriotic feeling to
repulse the enemy."--_Memorable Events_, p. 53.

[20] Lord Burghersh's account states, that the village of Pantin was
attacked, but never retaken by the French.--"Operations," p. 240.--ED.

[21] "Prince Joseph, observing the vast number of the enemy's troops
that had arrived at the foot of Montmartre, was convinced that the
capitulation could be no longer delayed. He gave the necessary powers to
the Duke of Ragusa; and immediately proceeded to join the government at
Blois."--BARON FAIN, p. 232.


    _State of Parties in Paris--Royalists--Revolutionists--Buonapartists
    --Talleyrand--Chateaubriand--Mission to the Allied Sovereigns--Their
    answer--Efforts of the Buonapartists--Feelings of the lowest
    classes--of the middling ranks--Neutrality of the National
    Guard--Growing confidence of the Royalists--Proclamations and White
    Cockades--Crowds assemble at the Boulevards--The Allies are received
    with shouts of welcome--Their Army retires to quarters--and the
    Cossacks bivouac in the Champs Elysées._

The battle was fought and won; but it remained a high and doubtful
question in what way the victory was to be improved, so as to produce
results of far greater consequence than usually follow from the mere
military occupation of an enemy's capital. While the mass of the
inhabitants were at rest, exhausted by the fatigues and anxieties of the
day, many secret conclaves, on different principles, were held in the
city of Paris, upon the night after the assault. Some of these even yet
endeavoured to organise the means of resistance, and some to find out
what modern policy has called a _Mezzo-termine_, some third expedient,
between the risk of standing by Napoleon, and that of recalling the
banished family.

The only middle mode which could have succeeded, would have been a
regency under the Empress; and Fouché's Memoirs state, that if he had
been in Paris at the time, he might have succeeded in establishing a new
order of things upon such a basis. The assertion may be safely disputed.
To Austria such a plan might have had some recommendations; but to the
sovereigns and statesmen of the other allied nations, the proposal would
only have appeared a device to obtain immediate peace, and keep the
throne, as it were, in commission, that Buonaparte might ascend it at
his pleasure.[23]


We have the greatest doubts whether, among the ancient chiefs of the
Revolution, most of whom had, as hackneyed tools, lost credit in the
public eye, both by want of principle and political inconsistency, there
remained any who could have maintained a popular interest in opposition
to that of the Royalists on the one hand, and the Buonapartists on the
other. The few who remained steady to their democratic principles,
Napoleon had discredited and thrown into the shade; and he had rendered
many of the others still more inefficient, by showing that they were
accessible to bribery and to ambition, and that ancient demagogues
could, without much trouble, be transmuted into supple and obsequious
courtiers. Their day of power and interest was past, and the exaggerated
vehemence of their democratic opinions had no longer any effect on the
lower classes, who were in a great proportion attached to the empire.

The Royalists, on the other hand, had been long combining and extending
their efforts and opinions, which gained, chiefly among the higher
orders, a sort of fashion which those of the democrats had lost.
Talleyrand was acceptable to them as himself noble by birth; and he knew
better than any one how to apply the lever to unfasten the deep
foundations of Napoleon's power. Of his address, though not successful
in the particular instance, Las Cases gives us a curious specimen.
Talleyrand desired to sound the opinion of Decrès, about the time of the
crisis of which we are treating. He drew that minister towards the
chimney, and opening a volume of Montesquieu, said, as if in the tone of
an ordinary conversation, "I found a passage here this morning, which
struck me in an extraordinary manner. Here it is, in such a book and
chapter, page so and so: _When a prince has raised himself above all
laws, when his tyranny becomes insupportable, there remains nothing to
the oppressed subject except----_"

"It is quite enough," said Decrès, placing his hand upon Talleyrand's
mouth, "I will hear no more. Shut your book." And Talleyrand closed the
book, as if nothing remarkable had happened.[24]

An agent of such extraordinary tact was not frequently baffled, in a
city, and at a time, when so many were, from hope, fear, love, hatred,
and all the other strongest passions, desirous, according to the Roman
phrase, of a new state of things. He had been unceasingly active, and
eminently successful, in convincing the Royalists, that the King must
purchase the recovery of his authority by consenting to place the
monarchy on a constitutional footing; and in persuading another class,
that the restoration of the Bourbons was the most favourable chance for
the settlement of a free system of government. Nor did this accomplished
politician limit his efforts to those who had loyalty to be awakened,
and a love of liberty to be rekindled, but extended them through a
thousand ramifications, through every class of persons. To the bold he
offered an enterprise requiring courage; to the timid (a numerous class
at the time) he showed the road of safety; to the ambitious, the
prospect of gaining power; to the guilty, the assurance of indemnity and
safety. He had inspired resolution even into the councils of the allies.
A note from him to the Emperor Alexander, in the following words, is
said to have determined that prince to persevere in the march upon
Paris. "You venture nothing," said this laconic billet, "when you may
safely venture every thing--Venture once more."

It is not to be supposed that Talleyrand wrought in this deep intrigue
without active coadjutors. The Abbé de Pradt, whose lively works have so
often given some interest to our pages, was deeply involved in the
transactions of that busy period, and advocated the cause of the
Bourbons against that of his former master. Bournonville and other
senators were engaged in the same cabals.


The Royalists, on their own part, were in the highest state of activity,
and prepared to use their utmost exertions to obtain the mastery of the
public spirit. At this most critical moment all was done, by Monsieur de
Chateaubriand, which eloquence could effect, to appeal to the
affections, perhaps even the prejudices of the people, in his celebrated
pamphlet, entitled, "Of Buonaparte and the Bourbons." This vigorous and
affecting comparison between the days when France was in peace and
honour under her own monarchs, contrasted with those in which Europe
appeared in arms under her walls, had been written above a month, and
the manuscript was concealed by Madame de Chateaubriand in her bosom. It
was now privately printed. So was a proclamation by Monsieur, made in
the name of his brother, the late King of France. Finally, in a private
assembly of the principal Royalists, amongst whom were the illustrious
names of Rohan, Rochefoucault, Montmorency, and Noailles, it was
resolved to send a deputation to the allied sovereigns, to learn, if
possible, their intention. Monsieur Douhet, the gentleman intrusted with
this communication, executed his mission at the expense of considerable
personal danger, and returned into Paris with the answer, that the
allies had determined to avoid all appearance of dictating to France
respecting any family or mode of government, and that although they
would most joyfully and willingly acknowledge the Bourbons, yet it could
only be in consequence of a public declaration in their favour. At the
same time Monsieur Douhet was furnished with a proclamation of the
allies, signed Schwartzenberg, which, without mentioning the Bourbons,
was powerfully calculated to serve their cause. It declared the friendly
intention of the allies towards France, and represented the power of the
government which now oppressed them, as the only obstacle to instant
peace. The allied sovereigns, it was stated, sought but to see a
salutary government in France, who would cement the friendly union of
all nations. It belonged to the city of Paris to pronounce their
opinion, and accelerate the peace of the world.[25]

Furnished with this important document, which plainly indicated the
private wishes of the allies, the Royalists resolved to make an effort
on the morning of March 31st. It was at first designed they should
assemble five hundred gentlemen in arms; but this plan was prudently
laid aside, and they determined to relinquish all appearance of force,
and address the citizens only by means of persuasion.

In the meantime, the friends of the imperial government were not idle.
The conduct of the lower classes, during the battle on the heights, had
assumed an alarming character. For a time they had listened with a sort
of stupified terror to the distant thunders of the fight, beheld the
wounded and fugitives crowd in at the barriers, and gazed in useless
wonder on the hurried march of troops moving out in haste to reinforce
the lines. At length, the numerous crowds which assembled in the
Boulevards and, particularly in the streets near the Palais Royal,
assumed a more active appearance. There began to emerge from the suburbs
and lanes those degraded members of the community, whose slavish labour
is only relieved by coarse debauchery, invisible for the most part to
the more decent classes of society, but whom periods of public calamity
or agitation bring into view, to add to the general confusion and
terror. They gather in times of public danger, as birds of ill omen and
noxious reptiles are said to do at the rising of a tropical hurricane;
and their fellow-citizens look with equal disgust and dread upon faces
and figures, as strange to them as if they had issued from some distant
and savage land. Paris, like every great metropolis, has her share, and
more than her share, of this unwholesome population. It was the frantic
convocations of this class which had at once instigated and carried into
effect the principal horrors of the Revolution, and they seemed now
resolved to signalize its conclusion by the destruction of the capital.
Most of these banditti were under the influence of Buonaparte's police,
and were stimulated by the various arts which his emissaries employed.
At one time horsemen galloped through the crowd, exhorting them to take
arms, and assuring them that Buonaparte had already attacked the rear of
the allies. Again they were told that the King of Prussia was made
prisoner, with a column of 10,000 men. At other times, similar
emissaries, announcing that the allies had entered the suburbs, and were
sparing neither sex nor age, exhorting the citizens, by placards pasted
on the walls, to shut their shops, and prepare to defend their houses.

This invitation to make the last earthly sacrifices in behalf of a
military despot, to which Zaragossa had submitted in defence of her
national independence, was ill received by the inhabitants. A free state
has millions of necks, but a despotic government is in the situation
desired by the Imperial tyrant--it has but one. When it was obvious that
the Emperor Napoleon had lost his ascendency, no shop-keeper in Paris
was fool enough to risk, in his cause, his shop, his family, and his
life, or to consent to measures for preserving the capital, which were
to commence by abandoning to the allied troops, and the scum of their
own population, all that was, to him individually, worth fighting for.
The placards we have mentioned were pulled down, therefore, as fast as
they were pasted up; and there was an evident disposition, on the part
of the better class of citizens and the national guards, to discourage
all counsels which tended to stimulate resistance to the desperate
extremity therein recommended.

Nevertheless, the state of the capital continued very alarming, the
lower classes exhibiting alternately the symptoms of panic terror, of
fury, and of despair. They demanded arms, of which a few were
distributed to them; and there is no doubt, that had Napoleon arrived
among them in the struggle, there would have been a dreadful battle, in
which Paris, in all probability, would have shared the fate of Moscow.
But when the cannonade ceased, when the flight of Joseph, and the
capitulation of the city became publicly known, this conflict of jarring
passions died away into silence, and the imperturbable and impassive
composure of the national guard maintained the absolute tranquillity of
the metropolis.

On the morning of the 31st, the Royalists were seen in groups in the
Place Louis Quinze, the Garden of the Tuileries, the Boulevards, and
other public places. They distributed the proclamations of the allies,
and raised the long-forgotten cry of _Vive le Roi!_ At first, none save
those engaged in the perilous experiment, durst echo back a signal so
dangerous; but by degrees the crowds increased, the leaders got on
horseback, and distributed white cockades, lilies, and other emblems of
loyalty, displaying banners, at the same time, made out of their own
handkerchiefs. The ladies of their party came to their assistance. The
Princess of Leon, Vicomtesse of Chateaubriand, Comtesse of Choiseuil,
and other women of rank, joined the procession, distributing on all
hands the emblems of their party, and tearing their dress to make white
cockades, when the regular stock was exhausted. The better class of the
bourgeois began to catch the flame, and remembered their old royalist
opinions, and by whom they were defeated on the celebrated day of the
Sections, when Buonaparte laid the foundation of his fame in the
discomfiture of the national guard. Whole pickets began to adopt the
white, instead of the three-coloured cockade; yet the voices were far
from unanimous, and, on many points, parties of different principles met
and skirmished together in the streets. But the tendency to discord was
diverted, and the attention of the Parisians, of all classes and
opinions, suddenly fixed upon the imposing and terrible spectacle of the
army of the allies, which now began to enter the city.


The sovereigns had previously received, at the village of Pantin, the
magistrates of Paris, and Alexander had expressed himself in language
still more explicit than that of their proclamation. He made war, he
said, on Napoleon alone; one who had been his friend, but relinquished
that character to become his enemy, and inflict on his empire great
evils. He was not, however, come to retaliate those injuries, but to
make a secure peace with any government which France might select for
herself. "I am at peace," said the Emperor, "with France, and at war
with Napoleon alone."

These gracious expressions were received with the more gratitude by the
citizens of Paris, that they had been taught to consider the Russian
prince as a barbarous and vindictive enemy. The measure of restoring the
Bourbons seemed now to be regarded by almost every one, not particularly
connected with the dynasty of Napoleon, like a haven on the leeward,
unexpectedly open to a tempest-tossed and endangered vessel. There was
no loss of honour in adopting it, since the French received back their
own royal family--there was no compulsion, since they received them upon
their own free choice. They escaped from a great and imminent danger, as
if it had been by a bridge of gold.

An immense crowd filled the Boulevards (a large wide open promenade,
which, under a variety of distinctive names, forms a circuit round the
city,) in order to witness the entrance of the allied sovereigns and
their army, whom, in the succession of four-and-twenty hours, this
mutable people were disposed to regard as friends rather than enemies--a
disposition which increased until it amounted to enthusiasm for the
persons of those princes, against whom a bloody battle had been fought
yesterday under the walls of Paris, in evidence of which mortal strife,
there still remained blackening in the sun the unburied thousands who
had fallen on both sides. There was in this a trait of national
character. A Frenchman submits with a good grace, and apparent or real
complaisance, to that which he cannot help; and it is not the least
advantage of his philosophy, that it entitles him afterwards to plead,
that his submission flowed entirely from good-will, and not from
constraint. Many of those who, on the preceding day, were forced to fly
from the heights which defend Paris, thought themselves at liberty next
morning to maintain, that the allies had entered the capital only by
their consent and permission, because they had joined in the plaudits
which accompanied their arrival. To vindicate, therefore, their city
from the disgrace of being entered by force, as well as giving way to
the real enthusiasm which was suddenly inspired by the exchange of the
worst evils which a conquered people have to dread for the promised
blessings of an honourable peace and internal concord, the Parisians
received the Emperor Alexander and the King of Prussia with such general
and unremitting plaudits, as might have accompanied their triumphal
entrance into their own capitals. Even at their first entrance within
the barriers, we learn from Sir Charles Stewart's official despatch,[26]
the crowd was already so enormous, as well as the acclamations so great,
that it was difficult to move forward; but before the monarchs had
reached the porte St. Martin to turn on the Boulevards, there was a
moral impossibility of proceeding; all Paris seemed to be assembled and
concentrated in one spot--one spring evidently directed all their
movements. They thronged around the monarchs, with the most unanimous
shouts of "_Vive l'Empereur Alexandre!_--_Vive le Roi de Prusse!_"
mingled with the loyal exclamations, "_Vive le Roi!_--_Vive Louis
XVIII.!_--_Vivent les Bourbons!_" To such unexpected unanimity might be
applied the words of Scripture, quoted by Clarendon on a similar
occasion--"God had prepared the people, for the thing was done
suddenly." The procession lasted several hours, during which 50,000
chosen troops of the Silesian and grand army filed along the Boulevards
in broad and deep columns, exhibiting a whole forest of bayonets,
mingled with long trains of artillery, and preceded by numerous
regiments of cavalry of every description. Nothing surprised those who
witnessed this magnificent spectacle, more than the high state of good
order and regular equipment in which the men and horses appeared. They
seemed rather to resemble troops drawn from peaceful quarters to some
grand or solemn festival, than regiments engaged during a long winter
campaign in constant marches and countermarches, as well as in a
succession of the fiercest and most sanguinary conflicts, and who had
fought a general action but the day before.[27] After making the circuit
of half of Paris by the interior Boulevards, the monarchs halted in the
Champs Elysées, and the troops passed in review before them as they were
dismissed to their quarters in the city. The Cossacks of the guard
established their bivouac in the Champs Elysées themselves, which may be
termed the Hyde Park of Paris, and which was thus converted into a
Scythian encampment.


[22] "During the battle, the Boulevards des Italiens, and the Caffé
Tortoni, were thronged with fashionable loungers of both sexes, sitting
as usual on the chairs placed there, and appearing almost uninterested
spectators of the number of wounded French, and prisoners of the allies
which were brought in. About two o'clock, a general cry of _sauve qui
peut_ was heard on the Boulevards; this caused a general and confused
flight, which spread like the undulations of a wave, even beyond the
Pont Neuf. During the whole of the battle, wounded soldiers crawled into
the streets, and lay down to die on the pavement. The _Moniteur_ of this
day was a full sheet; but no notice was taken of the war or the army.
Four columns were occupied by an article on the dramatic works of Denis,
and three with a dissertation on the existence of Troy."--_Memorable
Events_, pp. 90-93.

[23] The passage is curious, whether we regard it as really emanating
from Fouché, or placed in the mouth of that active revolutionist by some
one who well understood the genius of the party. "Had I been at Paris at
that time," (the period of the siege, namely,) "the weight of my
influence, doubtless, and my perfect acquaintance with the secrets of
every party, would have enabled me to give these extraordinary events a
very different direction. My preponderance, and the promptness of my
decision, would have predominated over the more slow and mysterious
influence of Talleyrand. That elevated personage could not have made his
way unless we had been harnessed to the same car. I would have revealed
to him the ramifications of my political plan, and, in spite of the
odious policy of Savary, the ridiculous government of Cambacérès, the
lieutenancy of the puppet Joseph, and the base spirit of the Senate, we
would have breathed new life into the carcase of the Revolution, and
these degraded patricians would not have thought of acting exclusively
for their own interests. By our united impulse, we would have pronounced
before the interference of any foreign influence, the dethronement of
Napoleon, and proclaimed the Regency, of which I had already traced the
basis. This conclusion was the only one which could have preserved the
Revolution and its principles."--_Mémoires_, tom. ii., p. 229.

[24] Las Cases, tom. ii., p. 251.

[25] London Gazette, April 5.--"Early in the morning of the 31st March,
before the barriers, were open, the soldiers of the allied army climbed
up the pallisades of the barrier Rochechouard to look into Paris. They
threw this proclamation over the wall, and through the iron
gates."--_Memorable Events_, p. 124.

[26] London Gazette Extraordinary, April 9.

[27] "This magnificent pageant far surpassed any idea I had formed of
military pomp. The cavalry were fifteen abreast, the artillery five, and
the infantry thirty. All the men were remarkably clean, healthy, and
well clothed. The bands of music were very fine. The people, astonished
at the prodigious number of troops, repeatedly exclaimed, 'Oh! how we
have been deceived.'"--_Memorable Events_, p. 106.


    _Fears of the Parisians--Proceedings of Napoleon--Operations of the
    French Cavalry in rear of the Allies--Capture of Weissemberg--The
    Emperor Francis is nearly surprised--Napoleon reaches Troyes on the
    night of the 29th March--Opinion of Macdonald as to the possibility
    of relieving Paris--Napoleon leaves Troyes, on the 30th, and meets
    Belliard, a few miles from Paris, in full retreat--Conversation
    betwixt them--He determines to proceed to Paris, but is at length
    dissuaded--and despatches Caulaincourt to receive terms from the
    Allied Sovereigns--He himself returns to Fontainbleau._


When the enthusiasm attending the entrance of the allies, which had
converted a day of degradation into one of joy and festivity, began to
subside, the perilous question occurred to those who found themselves
suddenly embarked in a new revolution, Where were Napoleon and his army,
and what means did his active and enterprising genius possess of still
re-establishing his affairs, and taking vengeance on his revolted
capital? That terrible and evil spirit, who had so long haunted their
very dreams, and who had been well termed the nightmare of Europe, was
not yet conjured down, though for the present he exercised his ministry
elsewhere. All trembled for the consequence of his suddenly returning in
full force, combined either with the troops of Augereau, or with the
garrisons withdrawn from the frontier fortresses. But their fears were
without foundation; for, though he was not personally distant, his
powers of inflicting vengeance were now limited. We proceed to trace
his progress after his movement eastward, from the neighbourhood of
Vitry to St. Dizier, which had permitted the union of the two allied

Here he was joined by Caulaincourt, who had to inform him of the
dissolution of the Congress at Chatillon, with the addition, that he had
not received his instructions from Rheims, until the diplomatists had
departed. Those subsequently despatched by Count Frochot, he had not
received at all.

Meanwhile, Napoleon's cavalry commenced the proposed operations in the
rear of the allies, and made prisoners some persons of consequence, who
were travelling, as they supposed, in perfect security, between Troyes
and Dijon. Among these was Baron Weissemberg, who had long been the
Austrian envoy at the court of London. The Emperor Francis was nearly
surprised in person by the French light troops. He was obliged to fly in
a _drosky_, a Russian carriage, attended only by two domestics, from
Bar-sur-Aube to Chatillon, and from thence he retreated to Dijon![28]
Napoleon showed every civility to his prisoner, Weissemberg, and
despatched him to the Emperor of Austria, to solicit once more his
favourable interference. The person of the present King of France[29]
(then Monsieur) would have been a yet more important capture, but the
forays of the light cavalry did not penetrate so far as to endanger him.

On the 24th March, Napoleon halted at Doulevent, to concentrate his
forces, and gain intelligence. He remained there also on the 25th, and
employed his time in consulting his maps, and dictating new instructions
for Caulaincourt, by which he empowered him to make every cession. But
the hour of safety was past. Upon the morning of the 26th, Napoleon was
roused by the intelligence, that the allies had attacked the rear of his
army under Macdonald, near St. Dizier. He instantly hastened to the
support of the maréchal, concluding that his own scheme had been
successful, and that his retreat to the eastward had drawn after him the
grand army of the allies. The allies showed a great number of cavalry
with flying guns, but no infantry. Napoleon ordered an attack on them,
in which the French were successful, the allies falling back after
slight opposition. He learned from the prisoners, that he had been
engaged, not with Schwartzenberg, but with Blucher's troops. This was
strange intelligence. He had left Blucher threatening Meaux, and now he
found his army on the verge of Lorraine.

On the 27th, by pushing a reconnoitring party as far west as Vitry,
Napoleon learned the real state of the case; that both the allied armies
had marched upon Paris; and that the cavalry with which he had
skirmished were 10,000 men, under Winzengerode, left behind by the
allies as a curtain to screen their motions, and engage his attention.
Every word in this news had a sting in it. To hasten after the allies,
to surprise them, if possible, ere the cannon on Montmartre were yet
silenced, was the most urgent thought that ever actuated the mind even
of Napoleon, so accustomed to high and desperate risks. But the direct
route on Paris had been totally exhausted of provision, by the march and
countermarch of such large armies. It was necessary to go round by
Troyes, and, for that purpose, to retrograde as far as Doulevent. Here
he received a small billet in cipher, from the postmaster-general, La
Valette, the first official communication he had got from the capital
during ten days. "The partisans of the stranger," these were the
contents, "are making head, seconded by secret intrigues. The presence
of Napoleon is indispensable, if he desires to prevent his capital from
being delivered to the enemy. There is not a moment to be lost."[30] The
march was precipitated accordingly.


At the bridge of Doulancourt, on the banks of the Aube, the Emperor
received despatches, informing him that an assault on Paris was hourly
be expected. Napoleon dismissed his aide-de-camp, Dejean, to ride post
to Paris, and spread the news of his speedy arrival. He gave him two
bulletins, describing in extravagant colours a pretended victory at
Arcis, and the skirmish at St. Dizier. He then advanced to Troyes, which
he reached on that same night (29th March,) the imperial guard marching
fifteen leagues in one day. On the 30th, Maréchal Macdonald gave to
Berthier the following sound and striking opinion:--"It is too late," he
said, "to relieve Paris; at least by the route we follow. The distance
is fifty leagues; to be accomplished by forced marches, it will require
at least four days; and then in what condition for combat is the army
like to arrive, for there are no depôts, or magazines, after leaving
Bar-sur-Seine. The allies being yesterday at Meaux, must have pushed
their advanced guards up to the barriers by this time. There is no good
reason to hope that the united corps of the Dukes of Treviso and Ragusa
could check them long enough to allow us to come up. Besides, at our
approach, the allies will not fail to defend the passage of the Marne. I
am then of opinion, that if Paris fall under the power of the enemy, the
Emperor should direct his march on Sens, in order to retreat upon
Augereau, unite our forces with his, and, after having reposed our
troops, give the enemy battle on a chosen field. If Providence has then
decreed our last hour, we will at least die with honour, instead of
being dispersed, pillaged, taken, and slaughtered by Cossacks."
Napoleon's anxiety for the fate of his capital, did not permit him to
hearken to this advice; though it seems the best calculated to have
placed him in a condition, either to make a composition with the allies,
or to carry on a formidable war in their rear.

From Troyes, Napoleon despatched to Paris another aide-de-camp, General
Girardin, who is said to have carried orders for defending the city to
the last, and at all risks--an accusation, however, which, considering
the mass of unimaginable mischief that such an order must have involved,
is not to be received without more proof than we have been able to

On the 30th March, Napoleon left Troyes, and, finding the road entirely
unoccupied by the enemy, threw himself into a post-carriage, and
travelled on at full speed before his army, with a very slight
attendance. Having in this way reached Villeneuve L'Archeveque, he rode
to Fontainbleau on horseback, and though it was then night, took a
carriage for Paris, Berthier and Caulaincourt accompanying him. On
reaching an inn, called La Cour de France, at a few miles' distance from
Paris, he at length met ample proof of his misfortune in the person of
General Belliard, with his cavalry. The fatal intelligence was


Leaping from his carriage, Napoleon turned back with Belliard,
exclaiming--"What means this? Why here with your cavalry, Belliard? And
where are the enemy?"--"At the gates of Paris."--"And the army?"--"It is
following me."--"Where are my wife and son?--Where Marmont?--Where
Mortier?"--"The Empress set out for Rambouillet, and thence for Orleans.
The maréchals are busy completing their arrangements at Paris." He then
gave an account of the battle; and Napoleon instantly ordered his
carriage for Paris. They had already proceeded a mile and a half on the
road. The same conversation proceeded, and we give it as preserved,
because it marks the character of the principal personage, and the tone
of his feeling, much better than these can be collected from his
expressions upon more formal occasions, and when he had in view some
particular purpose.[31]

General Belliard reminded him there were no longer any troops in Paris.
"It matters not," said Napoleon; "I will find the national guard there.
The army will join me to-morrow, or the day after, and I will put things
on a proper footing."--"But I must repeat to your Majesty, you cannot go
to Paris. The national guard, in virtue of the treaty, mount guard at
the barriers, and though the allies are not to enter till seven o'clock
in the morning, it is possible they may have found their way to the
outposts, and that your Majesty may find Russian or Prussian parties at
the gates, or on the Boulevards."--"It is all one--I am determined to go
there--My carriage!--Follow me with your cavalry."--"But, Sire, your
Majesty will expose Paris to the risk of storm or pillage. More than
20,000 men are in possession of the heights--for myself, I have left
the city in consequence of a convention, and cannot therefore
return."--"What is that convention? who has concluded it?"--"I cannot
tell, Sire; I only know from the Duke of Treviso that such exists, and
that I must march to Fontainbleau."--"What is Joseph about?--Where is
the minister at war?"--"I do not know; we have received orders from
neither of them during the whole day. Each maréchal acted on his own
responsibility. They have not been seen to-day with the army--At least
not with the Duke of Treviso's corps."--"Come, we must to Paris--nothing
goes right when I am absent--they do nothing but make blunders."

Berthier and Caulaincourt joined in trying to divert the Emperor from
his purpose. He never ceased demanding his carriage. Caulaincourt
announced it, but it did not come up. Napoleon strode on with hurried
and unequal steps, asking repeated questions concerning what had been
already explained. "You should have held out longer," he said, "and
tried to wait for the arrival of the army. You should have raised Paris,
which cannot surely like the entrance of the Russians. You should have
put in motion the national guard, whose disposition is good, and
intrusted to them the defence of the fortifications which the minister
has caused to be erected, and which are well furnished with artillery.
Surely the citizens could have defended these, while the troops of the
line fought upon the heights and in the plain?"--"I repeat to you, Sire,
that it was impossible. The army of 15,000 or 18,000 men has resisted
one of 100,000 for four hours, expecting your arrival. There was a
report of it in the city, which spread to the troops. They redoubled
their exertions. The national guard has behaved extremely well, both as
sharpshooters and in defence of the wretched redoubts which protected
the barriers."--"It is astonishing. How many cavalry had
you?"--"Eighteen hundred horse, Sire, including the brigade of
Dautencour."--"Montmartre, well fortified and defended by heavy cannon,
should have been impregnable."--"Luckily, Sire, the enemy were of your
opinion, and approached the heights with much caution. But there was no
occasion, we had not above seven six-pounders."--"What can they have
made of my artillery? I ought to have had more than two hundred guns,
and ammunition to serve them for a month."--"The truth is, Sire, that we
had only field-artillery, and at two o'clock we were obliged to slacken
our fire for want of ammunition."--"Go, go--I see every one has lost
their senses. This comes of employing people who have neither common
sense nor energy. Well! Joseph imagines himself capable of conducting an
army; and Clarke, a mere piece of routine, gives himself the airs of a
great minister; but the one is no better than a fool, and the other a
---- ----, or a traitor, for I begin to believe what Savary said of
him."--The conversation going on in this manner, they had advanced a
mile farther from the Cour de France, when they met a body of infantry
under General Curial. Napoleon inquired after the Duke of Treviso, to
whose corps d'armée they belonged, and was informed he was still at

It was then, that on the pressing remonstrances of his officers, who saw
that in going on to Paris he was only rushing on death or captivity,
Napoleon at length turned back; and having abandoned the strong
inflexible impulse which would have carried him thither at all
adventures, he seems to have considered his fate as decided, or at least
to have relaxed considerably in the original vehemence which he opposed
to adversity.

He returned to the Cour de France, and gave orders for disposing the
forces, as they should come up, on the heights of Longjumeau, behind the
little river of Essonne. Desirous at the same time of renewing the
negotiation for peace, which, on successes of an ephemeral description,
he had broken off at Chatillon, Napoleon despatched Caulaincourt to
Paris, no longer to negotiate, but to receive and submit to such terms
as the allied sovereigns might be inclined to impose upon him. He
returned to Fontainbleau the same night. He did not take possession of
any of the rooms of state, but chose a private and more retired
apartment. Among the many strange transactions which had taken place in
that venerable and ancient palace, its halls were now to witness one the
most extraordinary.


[28] Sir Robert Wilson, Sketch of the Military and Political Power of
Russia, p. 90.

[29] Charles X.

[30] Baron Fain, p. 227.

[31] It is taken from a work which has remarkable traces of
authenticity, General Koch's _Mémoires, pour servir à l'Histoire de la
Campagne de 1814_. See also, _Memoirs of the Operations of the Allied
Armies_, already quoted, p. 208.--S.


    _The Allied Sovereigns issue a Proclamation that they will not treat
    with Buonaparte--A Provisional Government is named by the
    Conservative Senate, who also decree the forfeiture of
    Napoleon--This decree is sanctioned by all the Public Bodies in
    Paris--The legality of these proceedings discussed--Feelings towards
    Napoleon, of the Lower Classes, and of the Military--On 4th April,
    Buonaparte issues a document abdicating the Throne of France--His
    subsequent agitation, and wish to continue the war--The deed is
    finally despatched._

While Napoleon breathed nothing save the desire of recovering by war
what war had taken from him, or at least that of making such a peace as
should leave him at the head of the French government, political events
were taking place in Paris which pointed directly at the overthrow of
his power.

His great military talents, together with his extreme inflexibility of
temper, had firmly impressed the allied monarchs with the belief, that
no lasting peace could be made in Europe while he remained at the head
of the French nation. Every concession which he had seemed willing to
make at different times, had been wrung from him by increasing
difficulties, and was yielded with such extreme reluctance, as to infer
the strongest suspicion that they would all be again resumed, should
the league of the allies be dissolved, or their means of opposing his
purposes become weaker. When, therefore, Caulaincourt came to Paris on
the part of his master, with power to subscribe to all and each of the
demands made by the allies, he was not indeed explicitly refused
audience; but, before he was admitted to a conference with the Emperor
Alexander, to whom his mission was addressed, the sovereigns had come
under engagements which precluded them altogether from treating with

When the Emperor of Russia halted, after the progress of the allied
sovereigns through the city, it was at the hotel of Talleyrand. He was
scarcely arrived there ere the principal Royalists, and those who had
acted with them, waited on him to crave an audience. Besides the Emperor
Alexander, the King of Prussia, and Prince Schwartzenberg, were present
General Pozzo di Borgo, Nesselrode, Lichtenstein, the Duke Dalberg,
Baron Louis, the Abbé de Pradt, and others. Three points were discussed,
1st, The possibility of a peace with Napoleon, upon sufficient
guarantees; 2d, The plan of a regency; 3d, The restoration of the


The first proposition seemed inadmissible. The second was carefully
considered. It was particularly urged that the French were indifferent
to the cause of the Bourbons--that the allied monarchs would observe no
mark of recollection of them exhibited by the people of France--and that
the army seemed particularly averse to them. The united testimony of the
French gentlemen present was offered to repel these doubts; and it was
at length agreed, that the third proposition--the restoration of the
ancient family, and the ancient limits--should be the terms adopted for
the settlement of France.[33] A proclamation was immediately dispersed,
by which the sovereigns made known their determination not to treat with
Buonaparte or any of his family.[34]

But more formal evidence, in the shape of legal procedure, was necessary
to establish the desire of the French people to coincide in the proposed
change of government. The public body which ought naturally to have
taken the lead on such an important affair, was the Legislative
Assembly, in whom Napoleon's constitution vested some ostensible right
of interference when the state was in danger; but so far had the Emperor
been from recognising such a power in practice, that the instant when
the Assembly assumed the right of remonstrating with him, though in the
most respectful terms, he suspended their functions, and spurned them
from the footstool of his throne, informing them, that not they, but HE,
was the representative of the people, from whom there lay no appeal, and
besides whom, no body in the state possessed power and efficacy. This
legislative council, therefore, being dispersed and prorogued, could not
take the initiative upon the present occasion.

The searching genius of Talleyrand sought an organ of public opinion
where few would have looked for it--in the Conservative Senate, namely,
whose members had been so long the tools of Buonaparte's wildest
projects, and the echoes of his most despotic decrees--that very body,
of which he himself said, with equal bitterness and truth, that they
were more eager to yield up national rights than he had been to demand
the surrender, and that a sign from him had always been an order for the
Senate, who hastened uniformly to anticipate and exceed his demands. Yet
when, on the summons of Talleyrand, who knew well with whom he was
dealing, this Senate was convoked, in a meeting attended by sixty-six of
their number, forming a majority of the body, they at once, and without
hesitation, named a Provisional Government, consisting of Talleyrand,
Bournonville, Jaucourt, Dalberg, and the Abbé de Montesquieu; men
recommended by talents and moderation, and whose names, known in the
Revolution, might, at the same time, be a guarantee to those who dreaded
a renovation of the old despotic government with the restoration of the
ancient race of kings.


On the 2d and 3d of April the axe was laid to the roots. A decree of the
Senate sent forth the following statement:--1st, That Napoleon, after
governing for some time with prudence and wisdom, had violated the
constitution, by raising taxes in an arbitrary and lawless manner,
contrary to the tenor of his oath.--2d, That he had adjourned without
necessity the Legislative Body, and suppressed a report of that
assembly, besides disowning its right to represent the people.--3d, That
he had published several unconstitutional decrees, particularly those of
5th March last, by which he endeavoured to render national a war, in
which his own ambition alone was interested.--4th, That he had violated
the constitution by his decrees respecting state prisons.--5th, That he
had abolished the responsibility of ministers, confounded together the
different powers of the state, and destroyed the independence of
judicial authorities.--6th, That the liberty of the press, constituting
one of the rights of the nation, had been uniformly subjected to the
arbitrary censure of his police; while, at the same time, he himself had
made use of the same engine to fill the public ear with invented
fictions, false maxims, doctrines favourable to despotism, and insults
upon foreign governments.--7th, That he had caused acts and reports,
adopted by the Senate, to be altered by his own authority, before
publication.--8th, That instead of reigning, according to his oath, for
the honour, happiness, and glory of the French nation, he had put the
finishing stroke to the distresses of the country, by a refusal to treat
on honourable conditions--by the abuse which he had made of the means
intrusted to him, in men and money--by abandoning the wounded, without
dressing or sustenance--and by pursuing measures of which the
consequences have been the ruin of towns, the depopulation of the
country, famine and pestilence. From all these inductive causes, the
Senate, considering that the Imperial government, established by the
decree of 28th Floreal, in the year XII., had ceased to exist, and that
the manifest desire of all Frenchmen was to obtain an order of things,
of which the first result should be peace and concord among the great
members of the European family: Therefore, the Senate declared and
decreed, 1st, That Napoleon Buonaparte had forfeited the throne, and the
right of inheritance established in his family.--2d, That the people and
army of France were disengaged and freed from the oath of fidelity,
which they had taken to Napoleon and his constitution.[35]


About eighty members of the Legislative Body, at the summons of the
Provisional Government, assembled on the 3d April, and formally adhered
to the above decree of forfeiture. The consequences of these bold
measures showed, either that Napoleon had in reality never had more than
a slight hold on the affections of the people of France, or that the
interest they took in his fortunes had been in a great degree destroyed
by the fears and passions excited by the immediate crisis. Even before
the Senate could reduce its decree into form, the council-general of the
department of the Seine had renounced Napoleon's authority, and imputed
to him alone the present disastrous state of the country. The decree of
the Senate was followed by declarations from all the public bodies in
and around Paris, that they adhered to the Provisional Government, and
acquiesced in the decree of forfeiture. Numerous individuals, who had
been favoured and enriched by Buonaparte, were among the first to join
the tide when it set against him. But it had been always his policy to
acquire adherents, by addressing himself rather to men's interests than
to their principles; and many of his friends so gained, naturally became
examples of the politic observation, "that if a prince places men in
wealthy circumstances, the first thing they think of, in danger, is how
to preserve the advantages they have obtained, without regard to his
fate to whom they owe them."

We do not believe that it occurred to any person while these events were
passing, to question either the formality or the justice of the doom of
forfeiture against Napoleon; but Time has called out many authors, who,
gained by the brilliancy of Napoleon's reputation, and some of them
bound to him by ties of gratitude or friendship, have impugned, more or
less directly, the formality of the Senate's procedure, as well as the
justice of their sentence. We, therefore, feel it our duty to bestow
some consideration upon this remarkable event in both points of view.

The objection proposed against the legality of the Senate's acting as
the organ of the people, in pronouncing the doom of forfeiture, rests
upon the idea, that the right of dethroning the sovereign, who shall be
guilty of oppression beyond endurance, can only be exercised in a
peculiar and formal manner, or, as our law-phrase goes, "according to
the statute made and provided in that case." This seems to take a narrow
view of the subject. The right of redressing themselves under such
circumstances, does not belong to, and is not limited by, any peculiar
forms of civil government. It is a right which belongs to human nature
under all systems whatever. It exists in every government under the sun,
from that of the Dey of Algiers to the most free republic that ever was
constructed. There is, indeed, much greater latitude for the exercise of
arbitrary authority in some governments than in others. An Emperor of
Morocco may, with impunity, bathe his hands to the elbows in the blood
of his subjects shed by his own hand; but even in this the most absolute
of despotisms, there are peculiar limits which cannot be passed by the
sovereign without the exercise of the natural right of resistance on the
part of his subjects, although their system of government be as
arbitrary as words can declare it to be, and the Emperor is frequently
dethroned and slain by his own guards.

In limited governments, on the other hand, like that of Great Britain,
the law imposes bounds, beyond which the royal authority shall not pass;
but it makes no provision for what shall take place, should a monarch,
as in the case of James II., transgress the social compact. The
constitution averts its eyes from contemplating such an event--indeed it
is pronounced impossible; and when the emergency did arrive, and its
extrication became a matter of indispensable necessity, it was met and
dealt with as a concurrence of circumstances which had not happened
before, and ought never to be regarded as being possible to occur again.
The foreigner who peruses our constitution for the forms of procedure
competent in such an event as the Revolution, might as well look in a
turnpike act for directions how to proceed in a case resembling that of

If the mode of shaking off an oppressive yoke, by declaring the monarchy
abdicated or forfeited, be not a fixed form in a regular government, but
left to be provided for by a convention or otherwise, as a case so
calamitous and so anomalous should demand, far less was it to be
supposed that a constitution like that of France, which Buonaparte had
studiously deprived of every power and means of checking the executive,
should contain a regular form of process for declaring the crown
forfeited. He had been as careful as despot could, to leave no bar in
existence before which the public might arraign him; but will it be
contended, that the public had therefore forfeited its natural right of
accusing and of obtaining redress? If he had rendered the Senate the
tame drudges which we have described, and prorogued the Legislative Body
by an arbitrary _coup d'état_, was he therefore to escape the penalty of
his misgovernment? On the contrary, the nation of France, like Great
Britain at the time of the Revolution 1688, was to proceed as it best
could in taking care, _Ne quid detrimenti respublica capiat_. The Senate
was not, perhaps, the best organ for expressing public opinion, but it
was the only one Napoleon had left within reach, and therefore it was
seized upon and made use of. That it was composed of men who had so long
gone on with Napoleon's interest, and now were able to keep up in course
with him no longer, made his misrule even yet more glaring, and the
necessity of the case more evident.

It is of far more importance to be enabled to form an accurate judgment
respecting the _justice_ of the sentence of forfeiture pronounced
against this eminent man, than upon its mere formality. That we may
examine this question with the impartiality it deserves, we must look
upon it not only divested of our feelings as Britons, but as unconnected
with the partisans either of the Bourbons or of Buonaparte. With these
last there could be no room either for inquiry or conviction. The
Royalist must have been convinced that Napoleon deserved, not
deprivation only, but death also, for usurping the throne of his
rightful sovereign; and the Buonapartist, on the other hand, would hold
it cowardly treason to desert the valiant Emperor, who had raised France
to such a state of splendour by his victories, more especially to
forsake him in the instant when Fortune was looking black upon his
cause. There could be no argument between these men, save with their
good swords in a fair field.

But such decided sentiments were not entertained upon the part of the
great bulk of the French nation. A large number of the middle classes,
in particular, remembering the first terrors of the Revolution, had
showed their willingness to submit to the yoke which gradually assumed a
despotic character, rather than, by a renewed struggle for their
liberties, to run the risk of reviving the days of Terror and
Proscription. It is in the person of such an individual, desirous of the
honour and advantage of his country, and anxious at the same time for
the protection of his own family and property, that we now endeavour to
consider the question of Napoleon's forfeiture.

The mind of such a person would naturally revert to the period when
Buonaparte, just returned from Egypt, appeared on the stage like a deity
descending to unloose a perplexing knot, which no human ingenuity could
extricate. Our citizen would probably admit, that Napoleon used the
sword a little too freely in severing the intricacies of the noose; or,
in plain words, that the cashiering the Council of Five Hundred, at the
head of his grenadiers, was an awkward mode of ascending to power in a
country which still called itself free. This feeling, however, would be
greatly overbalanced by recollecting the use which was made of the power
thus acquired; the subjugation, to wit, of foreign enemies, the
extinction of civil dissensions, the protection of property, and, for a
time, of personal liberty also. Napoleon's having elevated France from
the condition of a divided and depressed country, in the immediate
apprehension of invasion, into that of arbitress of Europe, would at
once justify committing the chief authority to such able hands, and
excuse the means he had used for attaining it; especially in times when
the violent and successive changes under which they had long suffered,
had made the nation insensible to irregularities like those attached to
the revolution of the 18th Brumaire. Neither would our citizens probably
be much shocked at Napoleon's assuming the crown. Monarchy was the
ancient government of France, and successive changes had served to show
that they could not fix on any other form of constitution, labour how
they would, which was endowed with the same degree of permanence. The
Bourbons had, indeed, the claim by birth to mount that throne, were it
to be again erected. But they were in exile, separated by civil war,
party prejudices, the risk of reaction, and a thousand other
difficulties, which seemed at the time absolutely insurmountable.
Buonaparte was standing under the canopy, he grasped the regal sceptre
in his hand, his assuming the royal seat passed almost as a matter of

Our supposed Parisian has next to review a course of years of such
brilliancy as to baffle criticism, and charm reason to silence, till the
undertakings of the Emperor seem to rise above each other in wonder,
each being a step towards the completion of that stupendous pyramid, of
which the gradations were to be formed by conquered provinces, until the
refractory and contumacious isle of Britain should be added to complete
the pile, on the top of which was destined to stand the armed form of
Napoleon, trampling the world under his foot. This is the noble work
which France and her monarch were in the act of achieving. It requires
the sacrifice of children or relatives to fill their ranks; they go
where Honour calls, and Victory awaits them. These times, however, are
overclouded; there come tidings that the stone heaved by such portentous
exertion so high up the hill, has at length recoiled on him who laboured
to give it a course contrary to nature. It is then that the real quality
of the fetters, hitherto gilded over by success, begins to be felt, and
the iron enters into the soul. The parent must not weep aloud for the
child--the Emperor required his service;--the patriot must not speak a
word on public affairs--the dungeon waits for him.

While news of fresh disasters from Spain and Moscow were every day
arriving, what comfort could a citizen of France find in adverting to
past victories? These had brought on France the hatred of Europe, the
tears of families, the ruin of fortunes, general invasion, and wellnigh
national bankruptcy. Every year had the children of France undergone
decimation--taxes to the amount of fifteen hundred millions of francs
yearly, had succeeded to the four hundred millions imposed under the
reign of the Bourbons--the few remaining ships of France rotted in her
harbours--her bravest children were slaughtered on their native soil--a
civil war was on the point of breaking out--one half of France was
overrun by the foreign enemy. Was this most melancholy state of the
country brought about in defending strongly, but unfortunately, any of
the rights of France? No--she might have enjoyed her triumphs in the
most profound peace. Two wars with Spain and Russia, which gave fire to
this dreadful train of calamities, were waged for no national or
reasonable object, but merely because one half of Europe could not
satisfy the ambition of one man. Again, our citizen inquires, whether,
having committed the dreadful error of commencing these wars, the
Emperor has endeavoured to make peace with the parties injured? He is
answered, that repeated terms of peace have been offered to Napoleon,
upon condition of ceding his conquests, but that he had preferred
hazarding the kingdom of France, to yielding up that which he termed his
_glory_, a term which he successively conferred on whatever possession
he was required to surrender; that even at Chatillon, many days passed
when he might have redeemed himself by consenting that France should be
reduced within the limits which she enjoyed under the Bourbons; but that
the proposal when half admitted, had been retracted by him in
consequence of some transient success; and finally, that in consequence
of his intractability and obstinacy, the allied sovereigns had solemnly
declared they would not enter into treaty with him, or those who acted
with him. Our citizen would naturally look about for some means of
escaping the impending danger, and would be informed that the peace
which the allied princes refused to Buonaparte, they held out with ready
hand to the kingdom of France under any other government. He would learn
that if these terms were accepted, there was every prospect that a
secure and lasting peace would ensue; if refused, the inevitable
consequence would be a battle between two large armies fought under the
walls of Paris, which city was almost certain to be burnt, whichever
party got the advantage.

In consequence of this information, the citizen of Paris would probably
be able to decide for himself. But if he inquired at a jurist, he would
be informed that Napoleon held the crown not by right of blood, but by
the choice, or rather permission of the people, as an administrator
bound to manage for their best advantage.

Now, every legal obligation may be unloosed in the same way in which it
is formed. If, therefore, Napoleon's government was no longer for the
advantage of France, but, on the contrary, tended plainly to her ruin,
she had a right to rid herself of him, as of a servant unfit for duty,
or as if mariners had taken aboard their vessel a comrade intended to
act as pilot, but who had proved a second Jonas, whom it was necessary
to sacrifice to appease a storm which had come upon them through his
misconduct. Upon such reasoning, certainly neither unwise nor
unpatriotic, the burghers of Paris, as well as all those who had any
thing to lose in the struggle, may be supposed to have acted.

The lower, or rather the lowest class of inhabitants, were not
accessible to the same arguments. They had been bequeathed to Buonaparte
as an heir-loom of the Republic, of which he has been truly called the
heir. His police had industriously maintained connexions amongst them,
and retained in pay and in dependence on the government, their principal
leaders. Names had changed around men of that ignorant condition,
without their feeling their situation much altered. The Glory of France
was to them as inspiring a watchword as the Rights of Man had been; and
their quantum of sous per day, when employed, as they frequently were,
upon the public works, was no bad exchange for Liberty and Equality,
after they had arrived at the discovery of the poor cobbler, who
exclaimed--"Fine Liberty, indeed, that leaves me cobbling shoes as she
found me!" Bulletins and Moniteurs, which trumpeted the victories of
Napoleon, were as animating and entertaining to the inhabitants of the
suburbs as the speeches of republican orators; for in such triumphs of a
nation, the poor have a share as ample as their wealthier neighbours.
The evils of the war were also less felt by the poor. Their very poverty
placed them beneath taxation, and the children, of whom they were
bereaved by the conscription, they must otherwise have parted with, in
all probability, that they might seek subsistence elsewhere. In the
present circumstances the hatred to foreigners, proper to persons of
their class, came to aid their admiration of Buonaparte. In a battle,
they had something to gain and nothing to lose, saving their lives, of
which their national gallantry induced them to take small heed. Had
Napoleon been in Paris, he might have made much use of this force. But
in his absence, the weight of property, prudently directed, naturally
bore down the ebullitions of those who had only brute strength to throw
into the balance, and the overwhelming force of the allied army kept the
suburbs in subjection.


The disposition of the military was a question of deep importance.
Accustomed to follow Napoleon through every climate, and every
description of danger, unquestionably their attachment to his person was
of the most devoted and enthusiastic kind. But this can only be said in
general of the regimental officers, and the soldiers. The maréchals, and
many of the generals, were tired of this losing war. These, with many
also of the inferior officers, and even of the soldiers, began to
consider the interest of their general, and that of France, as having
become separated from each other. It was from Paris that the changes had
emanated by which the army was governed during every revolutionary
crisis; and they were now required to engage in an undertaking which was
likely to be fatal to that metropolis. To advance upon the allies, and
fight a battle under the capital, was to expose to destruction the city,
whose name to every Frenchman has a sacred and inviolable sound. The
maréchals, in particular, were disgusted with a contest, in which each
of them had been left successively without adequate means of resistance,
to stem, or attempt to stem, a superior force of the enemy; with the
certainty, at the same time, to be held up to public censure in the next
bulletin, in case of failure, though placed in circumstances which
rendered success impossible. These generals were more capable than the
army at large of comprehending the nature of the war in which they were
likely to be engaged, and of appreciating the difficulties of a contest
which was to be maintained in future without money, ammunition, or
supplies, excepting such as should be extorted from that part of the
country over which they held military possession; and this, not only
against all the allies now in France, and the insurgent corps of
Royalists in the west, but also against a second, or reserved line of
three or four hundred thousand Russians, Austrians, and other allied
troops which had not yet crossed the frontier.

Besides, the soldiers with which an attack upon the allied army must
have been undertaken, were reduced to a disastrous condition, by their
late forced marches, and the want of succours and supplies of every
description; the cavalry were in a great measure dismounted; the
regiments not half complete; the horses unshod; the physical condition
of the army bad, and its moral feelings depressed, and unfit for
enterprise. The period seemed to have arrived, beyond which Napoleon
could not maintain his struggle, without destruction to himself, to
Paris, and to France. These sentiments were commonly entertained among
the French general officers. They felt their attachment to Napoleon
placed in opposition to the duty they owed their country by the late
decree of the Senate, and they considered the cause of France as the
most sacred. They had received intelligence from Bournonville of what
had passed at Paris, and considering the large proportion of the capital
which had declared against Buonaparte, and that an assault on Paris must
have occasioned much effusion of French blood, and have become the
signal of civil war, the maréchals and principal general officers agreed
they could not follow Napoleon in such an attack on the city, or against
the allies' line of defence around it, both because, in a military point
of view, they thought the attempt desperate, considering the state of
the army, and because, in a political position, they regarded it as
contrary to their duty as citizens.[36]

In the night betwixt the 2d and 3d of April, Caulaincourt returned from
his mission to Paris. He reported, that the allies persisted in their
determination to entertain no treaty with Buonaparte; but he was of
opinion, that the scheme of a regency by the Empress, as the guardian of
their son, might even yet be granted. Austria, he stated, was favourable
to such an arrangement, and Russia seemed not irreconcilably averse to
it. But the abdication of Buonaparte was a preliminary condition. As
this news circulated among the maréchals, it fixed them in their
resolution not to march against Paris, as, in their opinion, the war
ought to be ended by this personal sacrifice on the part of Napoleon.


Buonaparte had not, probably, expected this separation between the
duties of a soldier and of a citizen. On the 4th April, he reviewed a
part of his troops, addressed them on the display of the white colours
in France by some factious persons, reminded them that the
three-coloured cockade was that of victory and honour, and that he
intended to march on the capital, to punish the traitors by whom it had
been vilified.[37] He was answered by shouts of "Paris, Paris!" and had
no reason to fear that the troops would hesitate to follow him in his
effort. The orders were given to advance the imperial quarters from
Fontainbleau to Essonne.

But after the review was over, Berthier, Ney, Macdonald, Caulaincourt,
Oudinot, Bertrand, and other officers of the highest rank, followed the
Emperor into his apartment, and explained to him the sentiments which
they entertained on the subject of the proposed movement, their opinion
that he ought to negotiate on the principle of personal abdication, and
the positive determination which most of them had formed, on no account
to follow him in an attack upon Paris.[38]

There is no doubt that, by an appeal to officers of an inferior rank and
consideration, young Seids, who knew no other virtue than a determined
attachment to their chief, through good or evil, Napoleon might have
filled up, in a military point of view, the vacancy which the
resignation of the maréchals must have created in his list of generals.
But those who urged to him this unpleasant proposal, were the fathers of
the war, the well-known brave and beloved leaders of large armies. Their
names might be individually inferior to his own; but with what feelings
would the public hear that he was deprived of those men, who had been so
long the pride and dread of war? and what were likely to be the
sentiments of the soldiery, upon whom the names of Ney, Macdonald,
Oudinot, and others, operated like a war-trumpet.

With considerable reluctance, and after long debate, Napoleon assumed
the pen, and acquiescing in the reasoning pressed upon him, wrote the
following words, which we translate as literally as possible, as showing
Napoleon's power of dignity of expression, when deep feeling
predominated over his affectation of antithesis and Orientalism of

"The allied powers having proclaimed that the Emperor Napoleon is the
sole obstacle to the re-establishment of peace in Europe, the Emperor
Napoleon, faithful to his oath, declares that he is ready to descend
from the throne, to quit France, and even to relinquish life, for the
good of the country, which is inseparable from the rights of his son,
from those of the Regency in the person of the Empress, and from the
maintenance of the laws of the empire. Done at our Palace of
Fontainbleau, 4th April, 1814."

Caulaincourt and Ney were appointed to be bearers of this important
document, and commissioners to negotiate with the allies, concerning the
terms of accommodation to which it might be supposed to lead.
Caulaincourt was the personal representative of Napoleon; and Ney, who
had all along been zealous for the abdication, was a plenipotentiary
proposed by the rest of the maréchals. Napoleon, it is said, wished to
add Marmont; but he was absent with the troops quartered at Essonne,
who, having been withdrawn in consequence of the treaty of Paris, were
disposed of in that position. Macdonald was suggested as the third
plenipotentiary, as an officer whose high character best qualified him
to represent the army. Napoleon hesitated; for though he had employed
Macdonald's talents on the most important occasions, he knew that the
maréchal disliked, upon principle, the arbitrary character of his
government; and they had never stood to each other in any intimate or
confidential relation. He consulted his minister, Maret. "Send the Duke
of Tarentum," replied the minister. "He is too much a man of honour not
to discharge, with religious fidelity, any trust which he undertakes."
Marshal Macdonald's name was added to the commission accordingly.[39]

When the terms were in the act of being adjusted, the maréchals desired
to know upon what stipulations they were to insist on Napoleon's
personal behalf. "Upon none,"--said Buonaparte. "Do what you can to
obtain the best terms for France: for myself, I ask nothing." They were
instructed particularly to obtain an armistice until the treaty should
be adjusted. Through the whole scene Buonaparte conducted himself with
firmness, but he gave way to a natural emotion when he had finally
signed the abdication. He threw himself on a sofa, hid his face for a
few minutes, and then looking up, with that smile of persuasion which he
had so often found irresistible, he implored his brethren of the field
to annul the resolutions they had adopted, to destroy the papers, and
follow him yet again to the contest. "Let us march," he said; "let us
take the field once more! We are sure to beat them, and to have peace on
our own terms."[40] The moment would have been invaluable to a
historical painter. The maréchals were deeply affected, but could not
give way. They renewed their arguments on the wretched state of the
army--on the reluctance with which the soldiers would move against the
Senate--on the certainty of a destructive civil war--and on the
probability that Paris would be destroyed. He acquiesced once more in
their reasoning, and permitted them to depart on their embassy.[41]


[32] According to Lord Burghersh, (Operations, p. 249,) Caulaincourt saw
the Emperor Alexander at his headquarters, _before_ he entered
Paris.--ED. (1842.)

[33] De Pradt, Précis Hist. de la Restauration, p. 54.

[34] Dated Paris, March 31, three o'clock in the afternoon. "After some
discussion, the Emperor of Russia agreed not to treat with Napoleon,
and, at the suggestion of Abbé Louis, nor with any of his family. De
Pradt told me he retired into a corner of the apartment, with Roux
Laborie, to whom he dictated the Emperor's declaration, which was
hastily written with a pencil, and shown to Alexander, who approved of
it. Michaud, who was in waiting, caused it immediately to be printed,
putting, under the name of the Emperor, '_Michaud, Imprimeur du Roi_,'
and two hours afterwards it was stuck up in Paris. It was read by the
people with great eagerness, and I saw many of them copying
it."--_Memorable Events_, p. 128.

[35] On the 3d of April, the _Moniteur_, in which these documents are
given, was declared, by the provisional government, the only official

[36] "Napoleon reached Fontainbleau at six in the morning of the 31st
March. The large rooms of the castle were shut up, and he repaired to
his little apartment on the first storey, parallel with the gallery of
Francis I. There he shut himself up for the remainder of the day. Maret
was the only one of his ministers who was with him. In the course of
that evening, and the following morning, arrived the heads of the
columns which Napoleon had brought from Champagne, and the advanced
guard of the troops from Paris. These wrecks of the army assembled round
Fontainbleau. Moncey, who commanded the national guard of Paris,
Lafebvre, Ney, Macdonald, Oudinot, Berthier, Mortier, and Marmont,
arrived at Napoleon's headquarters; so that he still had an army at his
disposal."--BARON FAIN, p. 355.

"Marmont arrived at Fontainbleau, at three in the morning of the 1st of
April, and gave Napoleon a detailed account of what had passed at Paris.
The maréchal told me he appeared undetermined whether to retire on the
banks of the Loire, or give battle to the allies near Paris. In the
afternoon he went to inspect the position of Marmont's army at Essonne,
with which he appeared to be satisfied, and determined to remain there
and manœuvre, with a view to disengage Paris and give battle. With the
greatest coolness he formed plans for the execution of these objects;
but, while thus employed, the officers, whom the maréchal had left at
Paris to deliver up that city to the allies, arrived, and informed them
of the events of the day. Napoleon, hearing this, became furious: He
raved about punishing the rebellious city, and giving it up to pillage.
With this resolution he separated from Marmont, and returned to
Fontainbleau."--_Memorable Events_, p. 201.

[37] "Soldiers! the enemy has stolen three marches upon us, and has made
himself master of Paris. He must be driven out of it. Unworthy
Frenchmen, emigrants, whom we had pardoned, have adopted the white
cockade, and have joined our enemies. Wretches! they shall receive the
reward of this new crime. Let us swear to conquer or to die, and to
cause to be respected that tri-coloured cockade, which, during twenty
years, has found us in the paths of glory and of honour."--LORD
BURGHERSH, _Observations, &c._, p. 274.

[38] "Ney produced the _Moniteur_, containing the decree of forfeiture,
and advised him to acquiesce and abdicate. Napoleon feigned to read,
turned pale, and appeared much agitated; but did not shed tears, as the
newspapers reported. He seemed not to know in what manner to act. He
then asked, 'Que voulez vous?' Ney answered, 'Il n'y a que l'abdication
qui puisse vous tirer de là.' During this conference, Lefebvre came in;
and upon Napoleon expressing astonishment at what had been announced to
him, said, in his blunt manner, 'You see what has resulted from not
listening to the advice of your friends to make peace: you remember the
communication I made to you lately, therefore you may think yourself
well off that affairs have terminated as they have.'"--_Memorable
Events_, p. 206.

[39] Baron Fain, p. 373.

[40] "He threw himself on a small yellow sofa, placed near the window,
and striking his thigh with a sort of convulsive action, exclaimed, 'No,
gentlemen, no! No regency! With my guard and Marmont's corps, I shall be
in Paris to-morrow.'"--BOURRIENNE, tom. i., p. 87.--On the day of the
entrance of the allies into Paris, Bourrienne, Napoleon's ex-private
secretary, was appointed to the important office of Postmaster-General;
a situation from which he was dismissed at the end of three weeks.

[41] "Immediately after their departure, Napoleon despatched a courier
to the Empress, from whom he had received letters, dated Vendome. He
authorised her to despatch to her father, the Duke of Cadore
(Champagny,) to solicit his intercession in favour of herself and her
son. Overpowered by the events of the day, he shut himself up in his
chamber."--BARON FAIN, p. 374.


    _Victor, and other Maréchals give in their adhesion to the
    Provisional Government--Marmont enters into a separate Convention;
    but assists at the Conferences held at Paris, leaving Souham second
    in command of his Army--The Commanders have an interview with the
    Emperor Alexander--Souham enters with his Army, into the lines of
    the Allies; in consequence, the Allied Sovereigns insist upon the
    unconditional Submission of Napoleon--His reluctant
    acquiescence--The Terms granted to him--Disapprobation of Lord
    Castlereagh--General Desertion of Napoleon--Death of
    Josephine--Singular Statement made by Baron Fain, Napoleon's
    Secretary, of the Emperor's attempt to commit Suicide--After this he
    becomes more resigned--Leaves Fontainbleau, 28th April._

The plenipotentiaries of Napoleon had been directed to confer with
Marmont at Essonne, in their road to the capital. They did so, and
obtained information there, which rendered their negotiation more
pressing. Several of the generals who had not been at Fontainbleau, and
had not had an opportunity of acting in conjunction with the military
council which assembled there, had viewed the act of the Senate, adhered
to by the other public bodies, as decisively closing the reign of
Buonaparte, or as indicating the commencement of a civil war. Most of
them were of opinion, that the interest of an individual, whose talents
had been as dangerous to France as the virtues of Cæsar had been to
Rome, ought not to be weighed against the welfare of the capital and the
whole nation. Victor, Duke of Belluno, had upon these principles given
in his personal adhesion to the Provisional Government, and his example
was followed by many others.


But the most important proselyte to the royal cause was the Maréchal
Marmont, Duke of Ragusa, who, lying at Essonne with ten or twelve
thousand men, formed the advance of the French army. Conceiving himself
to have the liberty of other Frenchmen to attend at this crisis to the
weal of France, rather than to the interest of Napoleon alone, and with
the purpose of saving France from the joint evils of a civil and
domestic war, he made use of the position in which he was placed, to
give a weight to his opinion, which that of no other individual could
have possessed at the moment. Maréchal Marmont, after negotiation with
the Provisional Government on the one hand, and Prince Schwartzenberg on
the other, had entered into a convention on his own account, and that of
his corps d'armée, by which he agreed to march the division which he
commanded within the lines of cantonment held by the allies, and thus
renounced all idea of further prosecuting the war. On the other hand,
the maréchal stipulated for the freedom and honourable usage of
Napoleon's person, should he fall into the hands of the allies. He
obtained also a guarantee, that his corps d'armée should be permitted to
retreat into Normandy. This convention was signed at Chevilly, upon 3d

This step has been considered as a defection on the part of Marmont;[43]
but why is the choice of a side, betwixt the Provisional Government and
the Emperor, more a desertion in that general than in any other of the
maréchals or authorities who presently after took the very same step?
And if the Duke of Ragusa by that means put further bloodshed out of
question, ought it not to be matter of rejoicing (to borrow an
expression of Talleyrand's on a similar occasion) that the maréchal's
watch went a few minutes faster than those of his colleagues?

When Macdonald and Ney communicated to Marmont that they were bearers of
Napoleon's abdication, and that he was joined with them in commission,
that maréchal asked why he had not been summoned to attend with the
others at Fontainbleau, and mentioned the convention which he had
entered into, as acting for himself.[44] The Duke of Tarentum
expostulated with him on the disadvantage which must arise from any
disunion on the part of the principal officers of the army. Respecting
the council at Fontainbleau, he stated it had been convened under
circumstances of such sudden emergency, that there was no time to summon
any other than those maréchals who were close at hand, lest Napoleon had
in the meanwhile moved forward the army. The commissioners entreated
Marmont to suspend the execution of the separate convention, and to come
with them, to assist at the conferences to be held at Paris. He
consented, and mounted into Maréchal Ney's carriage, leaving General
Souham, who, with all the other generals of his division, two excepted,
were privy to the convention, in command of his corps d'armée, which he
gave orders should remain stationary.

When the maréchals arrived in Paris, they found the popular tide had set
strongly in favour of the Bourbons; their emblems were everywhere
adopted; and the streets resounded with _Vive le Roi!_ The populace
seemed as enthusiastic in their favour as they had been indifferent a
few days before. All boded an unfavourable termination for their
mission, so far as respected the proposed regency.

The names and characters of the commissioners instantly obtained their
introduction to the Emperor Alexander, who received them with his
natural courtesy. "On the general subject of their mission," he said,
"he could not treat but in concert with his allies." But he enlarged on
the subject of Napoleon personally. "He was my friend," he said, "I
loved and honoured him. His ambition forced me into a dreadful war, in
which my capital was burnt, and the greatest evils inflicted on my
dominions. But he is unfortunate, and these wrongs are forgotten. Have
you nothing to propose on his personal account? I will be his willing
advocate." The maréchals replied, that Napoleon had made no conditions
for himself whatever. The Emperor would hardly believe this until they
showed him their instructions, which entirely related to public affairs.
The Emperor then asked if they would hear a proposal from him. They
replied with suitable respect and gratitude. He then mentioned the plan,
which was afterwards adopted, that Buonaparte should retain the imperial
title over a small territory, with an ample revenue, guards, and other
emblems of dignity. "The place," continued the Emperor of Russia, "may
be Elba, or some other island." With this annunciation the commissioners
of Buonaparte were dismissed for the evening.

Maréchal Marmont had done all in his power to stop the military movement
which he had undertaken to execute, thinking it better, doubtless, to
move hand in hand with his brethren, than to act singly in a matter of
such responsibility; but accident precipitated what he desired to delay.
Napoleon had summoned to his presence Count Souham, who commanded the
division at Essonne in Marmont's absence. No reason was given for this
command, nor could any thing be extracted from the messenger, which
indicated the purpose of the order. Souham was therefore induced to
suspect that Napoleon had gained intelligence of the Convention of
Chevilly. Under this apprehension, he called the other generals who were
in the secret to a midnight council, in which it was determined to
execute the convention instantly, by passing over with the troops within
the lines of the allies, without awaiting any farther orders from
Maréchal Marmont. The division was put in movement upon the 5th of
April, about five o'clock, and marched for some time with much
steadiness, the movement being, as they supposed, designed for a flank
attack on the position of the allies, but when they perceived that their
progress was watched, without being interrupted, by a column of Bavarian
troops,[45] they began to suspect the real purpose. When this became
known, a kind of mutiny took place, and some Polish lancers broke off
from the main body, and rode back to Fontainbleau; but the instinct of
discipline prevailed, and the officers were able to bring the soldiery
into their new quarters at Versailles. They were not, however,
reconciled to the measure in which they had been made partakers, and in
a few days afterwards broke out into an actual mutiny, which was not
appeased without considerable difficulty.[46]


Meanwhile, the commissioners of Buonaparte were admitted to a conference
with the allied sovereigns and ministers in full council, but which, it
may be conjectured, was indulged to them more as a form, that the allies
might treat with due respect the representatives of the French army,
than with any purpose on the part of the sovereigns of altering the plan
to which they had pledged themselves by a proclamation, upon the faith
of which thousands had already acted. However, the question, whether to
adopt the projected regency, or the restoration of the Bourbons, as a
basis of agreement, was announced as a subject of consideration to the
meeting. The maréchals pleaded the cause of the Regency. The Generals
Bournonville and Dessolles, were heard in reply to the commissioners
from Fontainbleau, when, ere the debate had terminated, news arrived of
the march of Marmont's division to Versailles. The commissioners were
astounded with this unexpected intelligence; and the Emperor took the
opportunity to determine, that the allies would not treat with
Buonaparte save on the footing of unconditional abdication. With this
answer, mitigated with the offer of an independent principality for
their ancient commander, the maréchals returned to Fontainbleau, while
the Senate busied themselves to arrange the plan of a free constitution,
under which the Bourbons were to be called to the throne.

Napoleon, in the retirement of Fontainbleau, mused on the future with
little hope of advantage from the mission of the maréchals. He judged
that the sovereigns, if they listened to the proposal of a regency,
would exact the most formidable guarantees against his own interference
with the government; and that under his wife, Maria Louisa, who had no
talent for public business, France would probably be managed by an
Austrian committee. He again thought of trying the chance of war, and
might probably have settled on the purpose most congenial to his nature,
had not Colonel Gourgaud brought him the news, that the division of
Marmont had passed into the enemy's cantonments on the morning of the
5th April. "The ungrateful man!" he said, "But he is more to be pitied
than I am."[47] He ought to have been contented with this reflection,
for which, even if unjust to the maréchal, every one must have had
sympathy and excuse. But the next day he published a sort of appeal to
the army on the solemnity of a military engagement, as more sacred than
the duty of a patriot to his country; which he might more gracefully
have abstained from, since all knew already to what height he carried
the sentiments of arbitrary power.

When the maréchals returned, he listened to the news of the failure of
their negotiation, as a termination which he had expected. But to their
surprise, recollecting his disinterested behaviour when they parted, he
almost instantly demanded what provision had been made for him
personally, and how he was to be disposed of? They informed him that it
was proposed he should reside as an independent sovereign, "in Elba, or
somewhere else." Napoleon paused for a moment. "Somewhere else!" he
exclaimed. "That must be Corsica. No, no.--I will have nothing to do
with Corsica.[48]--Elba? Who knows any thing of Elba! Seek out some
officer who is acquainted with Elba. Look out what books or charts can
inform us about Elba."

In a moment he was as deeply interested in the position and capabilities
of this little islet, as if he had never been Emperor of France, nay,
almost of the world. But Buonaparte's nature was egotistical. He well
knew how little it would become an Emperor resigning his crown, to be
stipulating for his future course of life; and had reason to conclude,
that by playing his part with magnanimity he might best excite a
corresponding liberality in those with whom he treated. But when the die
was cast, when his fate seemed fixed, he examined with minuteness what
he must afterwards consider as his sole fortune. To turn his thoughts
from France to Elba, was like the elephant, which can transport
artillery, applying his trunk to gather pins. But Napoleon could do both
easily, because he regarded these two objects not as they differed from
each other, but as they belonged, or did not belong, to himself.


After a night's consideration, the fallen Chief took his resolution, and
despatched Caulaincourt and Macdonald once more to Paris, to treat with
the allies upon the footing of an unconditional abdication of the
empire. The document was couched in these words:--

"The allied powers having proclaimed that the Emperor was the sole
obstacle to the re-establishment of peace in Europe, the Emperor,
faithful to his oath, declares that he renounces for himself and his
heirs the thrones of France and Italy, and that there is no personal
sacrifice, not even that of life, which he is not ready to make to the
interests of France."

Notwithstanding his having adopted this course, Napoleon, until the
final adjustment of the treaty, continued to nourish thoughts of
breaking it off. He formed plans for carrying on the war beyond the
Loire--for marching to join Augereau--for penetrating into Italy, and
uniting with Prince Eugene. At one time he was very near again summoning
his troops to arms, in consequence of a report too hastily transmitted
by a general much attached to him (General Alix, we believe,) stating
that the Emperor of Austria was displeased at the extremities to which
they urged his son-in-law, and was resolved to support him. On this
report, which proved afterwards totally unfounded, Napoleon required the
maréchals to give him back his letter of abdication. But the deed having
been formally executed, and duly registered and delivered, the maréchals
held themselves bound to retain it in their own hands, and to act upon
it as the only means of saving France at this dreadful crisis.

Buonaparte reviewed his Old Guard in the courtyard of the castle; for
their numbers were so diminished that there was space for them in that
narrow circuit. Their zealous acclamations gratified his ears as much as
ever; but when he looked on their diminished ranks, his heart failed; he
retired into the palace, and summoned Oudinot before him. "May I depend
on the adhesion of the troops?" he said--Oudinot replied in the
negative, and reminded Napoleon that he had abdicated.--"Ay, but under
conditions," said Napoleon.--"Soldiers do not understand conditions,"
said the maréchal: "they look upon your power as terminated."--"Then on
that side all is over," said Napoleon; "let us wait the news from


Macdonald, Caulaincourt, and Ney, soon afterwards arrived at
Fontainbleau, with the treaty which they had concluded on the basis
already announced by the Emperor of Russia, who had taken the principal
share in drawing it up. Under his sanction the commissioners had
obtained such terms as never before were granted to a dethroned monarch,
and which have little chance to be conceded to such a one in future,
while the portentous consequences are preserved by history. By these
conditions, Buonaparte was to remain Emperor, but his sway was to be
limited to the island of Elba, in the Mediterranean, in extent twenty
leagues, and containing about twelve thousand inhabitants. He was to be
recognised as one of the crowned heads of Europe--was to be allowed
body-guards, and a navy on a scale suitable to the limits of his
dominions; and, to maintain this state, a revenue of six millions of
francs, over and above the revenues of the isle of Elba, were settled on
him. Two millions and a half were also assigned in pensions to his
brothers, Josephine, and the other members of his family--a revenue more
splendid than ever King of England had at his personal disposal. It was
well argued, that if Buonaparte deserved such advantageous terms of
retirement, it was injustice to dethrone him. In other points the terms
of this treaty seemed as irreconcilable with sound policy as they are
with all former precedents. The name, dignity, military authority, and
absolute power of an Emperor, conferred on the potentate of such
Liliputian domains, were ludicrous, if it was supposed that Napoleon
would remain quiet in his retreat, and hazardous if he should seek the
means of again agitating Europe.

It was no compliment to Buonaparte's taste to invest him with the poor
shadow of his former fortune, since for him the most honourable
retirement would have been one which united privacy with safety and
competence, not that which maintained a vain parade around him, as if in
mockery of what he had formerly been. But time fatally showed, what many
augured from the beginning, that so soon as his spirit should soar
beyond the narrow circle into which it had been conjured, the imperial
title and authority, the assistance of devoted body-guards and
experienced counsellors, formed a stake with which, however small, the
venturous gamester might again enter upon the hazardous game of playing
for the kingdoms he had lost. The situation of Elba, too, as the seat of
his new sovereignty, so near to Italy, and so little removed from
France, seemed calculated on purpose to favour his resurrection at some
future period as a political character.

The other stipulations of this extraordinary treaty divided a portion of
revenue secured to Napoleon among the members of his family. The most
rational was that which settled upon Maria Louisa and her son the
duchies of Parma, Placentia, and Guastalla, in full sovereignty. Except
this, all the other stipulations were to be made good at the expense of
France, whose Provisional Government were never consulted upon the terms

It was not till the bad effects of this singular treaty had been
experienced, that men inquired why and on what principle it was first
conceded. A great personage has been mentioned as its original author.
Possessed of many good and highly honourable qualities, and a steady and
most important member of the great European confederacy, it is doing the
memory of the Emperor Alexander no injury to suppose, that he remembered
his education under his French tutor La Harpe, and was not altogether
free from its effects. With these there always mingles that sort of
showy sensibility which delights in making theatrical scenes out of acts
of beneficence, and enjoying in full draughts the popular applause which
they are calculated to excite. The contagious air of Paris--the
shouts--the flattery--the success to a point hitherto unhoped for--the
wish to drown unkindness of every sort, and to spread a feast from which
no one should rise discontented--the desire to sum up all in one word,
to show MAGNANIMITY in the hour of success, seems to have laid
Alexander's heart more open than the rules of wisdom or of prudence
ought to have permitted. It is generous to give, and more generous to
pardon; but to bestow favours and forgiveness at the same moment, to
secure the future fortune of a rival who lies prostrate at his feet, to
hear thanks and compliments on every hand, and from the mouths even of
the vanquished, is the most fascinating triumph of a victorious
sovereign. It is only the consequences which teach him how thriftless
and unprofitable a prodigality of beneficence often proves, and that in
the attempt so to conduct great national measures that they shall please
and satisfy every one, he must necessarily encroach on the rules both
of justice and wisdom, and may occasion, by a thoughtless indulgence of
romantic sensibility, new trains of misfortune to the whole civilized
world. The other active parties in the treaty were the King of Prussia,
who had no motive to scan with peculiar scrutiny a treaty planned by his
ally the Emperor Alexander, and the Emperor of Austria, who could not in
delicacy object to stipulations in favour of his son-in-law.

The maréchals, on the other hand, gladly received what probably they
never would have stipulated. They were aware that the army would be
conciliated with every mark of respect, however incongruous, which could
be paid to their late Emperor, and perhaps knew Buonaparte so well as to
believe that he might be gratified by preserving the external marks of
imperial honour, though upon so limited a scale. There was one power
whose representative foresaw the evils which such a treaty might
occasion, and remonstrated against them. But the evil was done, and the
particulars of the treaty adjusted, before Lord Castlereagh came to
Paris. Finding that the Emperor of Russia had acted for the best, in the
name of the other allies, the English minister refrained from risking
the peace which had been made in such urgent circumstances, by insisting
upon his objections. He refused, however, on the part of his government,
to become a party to the treaty farther than by acceding to it so far as
the territorial arrangements were concerned; but he particularly
declined to acknowledge, on the part of England, the title of Emperor,
which the treaty conferred on Napoleon.[50]

Yet when we have expressed with freedom all the objections to which the
treaty of Fontainbleau seems liable, it must be owned, that the allied
sovereigns showed policy in obtaining an accommodation on almost any
terms, rather than renewing the war, by driving Napoleon to despair, and
inducing the maréchals, from a sense of honour, again to unite
themselves with his cause.

When the treaty was read over to Napoleon, he made a last appeal to his
maréchals, inviting them to follow him to the Loire or to the Alps,
where they would avoid what he felt an ignominious composition. But he
was answered by a general silence. The generals whom he addressed, knew
but too well that any efforts which he could make, must be rather in the
character of a roving chieftain, supporting his condottieri by the
plunder of the country, and that country their own, than that of a
warlike monarch, waging war for a specific purpose, and at the head of a
regular army. Napoleon saw their determination in their looks, and
dismissed the council, promising an answer on an early day, but in the
meantime declining to ratify the treaty, and demanding back his
abdication from Caulaincourt; a request which that minister again
declined to comply with.

Misfortunes were now accumulating so fast around Napoleon, that they
seemed of force sufficient to break the most stubborn spirit.


Gradually the troops of the allies had spread as far as the banks of the
Loire. Fontainbleau was surrounded by their detachments; on every side
the French officers, as well as soldiers, were leaving his service; he
had no longer the power of departing from the palace in safety.

Paris, so late the capital in which his will was law, and where to have
uttered a word in his disparagement would have been thought worse than
blasphemy, was become the scene of his rival's triumph and his own
disgrace. The shouts which used to wait on the Emperor, were now
welcoming to the Tuileries Monsieur, the brother of the restored King,
who came in character of Lieutenant-general of the kingdom;--the
presses, which had so long laboured in disseminating the praises of the
Emperor, were now exerting all their art and malice in exposing his real
faults, and imputing to him such as had no existence. He was in the
condition of the huntsman who was devoured by his own hounds.

It was yet more affecting to see courtiers, dependents, and even
domestics, who had lived in his smiles, dropping off under different
pretexts to give in their adhesion to the Bourbons, and provide for
their own fortune in the new world which had commenced at Paris. It is
perhaps in such moments, that human nature is seen in its very worst
point of view; since the basest and most selfish points of the
character, which, in the train of ordinary life, may never be awakened
into existence, show themselves, and become the ruling principle, in
such revolutions. Men are then in the condition of well-bred and
decorous persons, transferred from an ordinary place of meeting to the
whirlpool of a crowd, in which they soon demean themselves with all the
selfish desire of their own safety or convenience, and all the total
disregard for that of others, which the conscious habits of politeness
have suppressed but not eradicated.

Friends and retainers dropt from the unfortunate Napoleon, like leaves
from the fading tree; and those whom shame or commiseration yet detained
near his person, waited but some decent pretexts, like a rising breath
of wind, to sweep them also away.

The defection included all ranks, from Berthier, who shared his bosom
councils, and seldom was absent from his side, to the Mameluke Roustan,
who slept across the door of his apartment, and acted as a body guard.
It would be absurd to criticise the conduct of the poor African,[51] but
the fact and mode of Berthier's departure must not escape notice. He
asked permission to go to Paris about some business, saying he would
return next day. "He will _not_ return," said Napoleon, calmly, to the
Duke of Bassano.--"What!" said the minister, "can these be the adieus of
Berthier?"--"I tell you, yes--he will return no more."[52] The abdicated
sovereign had, however, the consolation of seeing that the attachment of
several faithful servants was only tried and purified by adversity, as
gold is by fire.[53]

The family connexions, and relatives of Napoleon, as well as his
familiar friends, were separated from him in the general wreck. It will
not be forgotten, that on the day before the battle of Paris, several
members of Napoleon's administration set out with the Empress Maria
Louisa, to escape from the approaching action. They halted at Blois,
where they were joined by Joseph, and other members of the Buonaparte
family. For some time this reunion maintained the character and language
of a council of regency, dispersed proclamations, and endeavoured to act
as a government. The news of the taking of Paris, and the subsequent
events, disposed Joseph and Jerome Buonaparte to remove themselves to
the provinces beyond the Loire. But Maria Louisa refused to accompany
them, and while the point was yet contested, Count Schouwalow, one of
the Austrian ministers,[54] arrived to take her under his protection.
The ephemeral regency then broke up, and fled in different directions;
the brothers of Buonaparte taking the direction of Switzerland, while
Cardinal Fesch, and the mother of Napoleon retreated to Rome.

Maria Louisa made more than one effort to join her husband, but they
were discouraged on the part of Napoleon himself, who, while he
continued to ruminate on renewing the war, could not desire to have the
Empress along with him in such an adventure.[55] Shortly afterwards, the
Emperor of Austria visited his daughter and her son, then at
Rambouillet, and gave her to understand that she was, for some time at
least, to remain separate from her husband, and that her son and she
were to return to Vienna along with him. She returned, therefore, to her
father's protection.


It must be also here mentioned, as an extraordinary addition to this
tale of calamity, that Josephine, the former wife of Buonaparte, did not
long survive his downfall. It seemed as if the Obi-woman of Martinico
had spoke truth; for, at the time when Napoleon parted from the sharer
of his early fortunes, his grandeur was on the wane, and her death took
place but a few weeks subsequent to his being dethroned and exiled. The
Emperor of Russia had visited this lady, and showed her some attention,
with which Napoleon, for reasons we cannot conjecture, was extremely
displeased. She was amply provided for by the treaty of Fontainbleau,
but did not survive to reap any benefit from the provision, as she
shortly after sickened and died at her beautiful villa of Malmaison. She
was buried on the 3d of June, at the village of Ruel. A vast number of
the lower class attended the obsequies; for she had well deserved the
title of patroness of the poor.[56]

While we endeavour to sum the mass of misfortunes with which Buonaparte
was overwhelmed at this crisis, it seems as if Fortune had been
determined to show that she did not intend to reverse the lot of
humanity, even in the case of one who had been so long her favourite,
but that she retained the power of depressing the obscure soldier, whom
she had raised to be almost king of Europe, in a degree as humiliating
as his exaltation had been splendid. All that three years before seemed
inalienable from his person, was now reversed. The victor was defeated,
the monarch was dethroned, the ransomer of prisoners was in captivity,
the general was deserted by his soldiers, the master abandoned by his
domestics, the brother parted from his brethren, the husband severed
from the wife, and the father torn from his only child. To console him
for the fairest and largest empire that ambition ever lorded it over, he
had, with the mock name of emperor, a petty isle to which he was to
retire, accompanied by the pity of such friends as dared express their
feelings, the unrepressed execrations of many of his former subjects,
who refused to regard his present humiliation as an amends for what he
had made them suffer during his power, and the ill-concealed triumph of
the enemies into whose hands he had been delivered.

A Roman would have seen, in these accumulated disasters, a hint to
direct his sword's point against his breast; a man of better faith would
have turned his eye back on his own conduct, and having read, in his
misuse of prosperity, the original source of those calamities, would
have remained patient and contrite under the consequences of his
ambition. Napoleon belonged to the Roman school of philosophy; and it is
confidently reported, especially by Baron Fain, his secretary, though it
has not been universally believed, that he designed, at this extremity,
to escape from life by an act of suicide.

The Emperor, according to this account, had carried with him, ever since
the retreat from Moscow, a packet containing a preparation of opium,
made up in the same manner with that used by Condorcet for
self-destruction. His valet-de-chambre, in the night betwixt the 12th
and 13th of April, heard him arise and pour something into a glass of
water, drink, and return to bed. In a short time afterwards, the man's
attention was called by sobs and stifled groans--an alarm took place in
the chateau--some of the principal persons were roused, and repaired to
Napoleon's chamber. Yvan, the surgeon, who had procured him the poison,
was also summoned; but hearing the Emperor complain that the operation
of the potion was not quick enough, he was seized with a panic terror,
and fled from the palace at full gallop. Napoleon took the remedies
recommended, and a long fit of stupor ensued, with profuse perspiration.
He awakened much exhausted, and surprised at finding himself still
alive; he said aloud, after a few moments' reflection, "Fate will not
have it so," and afterwards appeared reconciled to undergo his destiny,
without similar attempts at personal violence.[57] There is, as we have
already hinted, a difference of opinion concerning the cause of
Napoleon's illness, some imputing it to indigestion. The fact of his
having been very much indisposed is, however, indisputable. A general of
the highest distinction transacted business with Napoleon on the morning
of the 13th April. He seemed pale and dejected, as from recent and
exhausting illness. His only dress was a night-gown and slippers, and he
drank from time to time a quantity of tisan, or some such liquid, which
was placed beside him, saying he had suffered severely during the night,
but that his complaint had left him.

After this crisis, and having ratified the treaty which his maréchals
had made for him, Napoleon appeared more at his ease than he had been
for some time before, and conversed frankly with his attendants upon the
affairs of France.

He owned, that, after all, the Government of the Bourbons would best
suit France, as tending to reconcile all parties. "Louis," he said, "has
talents and means; he is old and infirm; he will not, I think, choose to
give his name to a bad reign. If he is wise, he will occupy my bed, and
content himself with changing the sheets. But," he continued, "he must
treat the army well, and take care not to look back on the past,
otherwise his reign will be of brief endurance."

He also mentioned the inviolability of the sale of the national domains,
as the woof upon which the whole web depended; cut one thread of it, he
said, and the whole will be unravelled. Of the ancient noblesse and
people of fashion, he spoke in embittered language, saying they were an
English colony in the midst of France, who desired only their own
privileges, and would act as readily for as against him.

"If I were in Louis's situation," he said, "I would not keep up the
Imperial Guard. I myself have treated them too well not to have insured
their attachment; and it will be _his_ policy to dismiss them, giving
good pensions to such officers and soldiers as choose to retire from
service, and preferment in the line to others who incline to remain.
This done, he should choose another guard from the army at large."

After these remarkable observations, which, in fact, contained an
anticipation of much that afterwards took place, Napoleon looked round
upon his officers, and made them the following exhortation:--"Gentlemen,
when I remain no longer with you, and when you have another government,
it will become you to attach yourselves to it frankly, and serve it as
faithfully as you have served me. I request, and even command you to do
this; therefore, all who desire leave to go to Paris have my permission
to do so, and those who remain here will do well to send in their
adhesion to the government of the Bourbons." Yet while Napoleon used
this manful and becoming language to his followers, on the subject of
the change of government, it is clear that there lurked in his bosom a
persuasion that the Bourbons were surrounded with too many difficulties
to be able to surmount them, and that Destiny had still in reserve for
him a distinguished part in the annals of Europe.

In a private interview with Macdonald, whose part in the abdication we
have mentioned, he expressed himself warmly satisfied with his conduct,
regretting that he had not more early known his value, and proposed he
should accept a parting gift. "It is only," he said, anticipating the
maréchal's objections, "the present of a soldier to his comrade." And
indeed it was chosen with great delicacy, being a beautiful Turkish
sabre, which Napoleon had himself received from Ibrahim Bey while in


Napoleon having now resigned himself entirely to his fate, whether for
good or evil, prepared, on the 20th April, to depart for his place of
retreat. But first he had the painful task of bidding farewell to the
body in the universe most attached to him, and to which he was probably
most attached--his celebrated Imperial Guard. Such of them as could be
collected were drawn out before him in review. Some natural tears
dropped from his eyes, and his features had the marks of strong emotion,
while reviewing for the last time, as he must then have thought likely,
the companions of so many victories. He advanced to them on horseback,
dismounted, and took his solemn leave. "All Europe," he said, "had armed
against him; France herself had deserted him, and chosen another
dynasty. He might," he said, "have maintained with his soldiers a civil
war of years, but it would have rendered France unhappy. Be faithful,"
he continued (and the words were remarkable,) "to the new sovereign whom
France has chosen. Do not lament my fate; I will always be happy while I
know you are so. I could have died--nothing was easier--but I will
always follow the road of honour. I will record with my pen the deeds
we have done together.[59] I cannot embrace you all, but I embrace your
general,"--(he pressed the general to his bosom.)--"Bring hither the
eagle,"--(he embraced the standard, and concluded,)--"Beloved eagle, may
the kisses I bestow on you long resound in the hearts of the
brave!--Adieu, my children--Adieu, my brave companions--Surround me once
more--Adieu." Drowned in grief, the veteran soldiers heard the farewell
of their dethroned leader; sighs and murmurs broke from their ranks, but
the emotion burst out in no threats or remonstrances. They appeared
resigned to the loss of their general, and to yield, like him, to


[42] "Marmont was not guilty of treachery in defending Paris; but
history will say, that had it not been for the defection of the sixth
corps, after the allies had entered Paris, they would have been forced
to evacuate that great capital; for they would never have given battle
on the left bank of the Seine, with Paris in their rear, which they had
only occupied for two days; they would never have thus violated every
rule and principle of the art of war."--NAPOLEON, _Montholon_, tom. ii.,
p. 265.

[43] Lord Burghersh, Observations, p. 296; Savary, tom. iv., p. 76.

[44] There are some slight discrepancies between the account of
Marmont's proceedings in the text, and that given by Lord Burghersh in
his "Memoir on the Operations," pp. 298, 299.--ED. (1842.)

[45] Lord Burghersh's Memorandum says these were Wurtemberg and Austrian
troops, commanded by the Prince Royal of Wurtemberg.--ED. (1842.)

[46] Lord Burghersh, Observations, &c., p. 301.

[47] Baron Fain, p. 375.

[48] "From the way in which this is related, it would be thought that
Napoleon despised his native country; but I must suggest a more natural
interpretation, and one more conformable to the character of Napoleon,
namely, that after his abdication he had no desire to remain in the
French territories."--LOUIS BUONAPARTE.

[49] For the Treaty of Fontainbleau, see Parl. Debates, vol. xxviii., p.

[50] See Dispatch from Lord Castlereagh to Earl Bathurst, dated Paris,
April 13, 1814, Parl. Papers, 1814.

[51] The man had to plead his desire to remain with his wife and family,
rather than return to a severe personal thraldom.--S.--"I was by no
means astonished at Roustan's conduct he was imbued with the sentiments
of a slave, and finding me no longer the master, he imagined that his
services might be dispensed with."--NAPOLEON, _Las Cases_, tom. i., p.

[52] Baron Fain, p. 400.

[53] The faithful few were, the Duke of Bassano, the Duke of Vicenza,
Generals Bertrand, Flahaut, Belliard, Fouler; Colonels Bassy, Anatole de
Montesquiou, Gourgaud, Count de Turenne; Barons Fain, Mesgrigny, De la
Place, and Lelorgne d'Ideville; the Chevalier Jouanne, General
Kosakowski, and Colonel Vensowitch. The two last were Poles.

[54] Count Schouwalow was a Russian, not an Austrian minister. Prince
Esterhazy, however, was there.--_From Lord Burghersh._--ED. (1842.)

[55] Savary, tom. iv., pp. 118-132.

[56] Her two grandsons walked as chief mourners; and in the procession
were Prince Nesselrode, General Sacken and Czernicheffe, besides several
other generals of the allied army, and some of the French maréchals and
generals. The body has since been placed in a magnificent tomb of white
marble, erected by her two children, with this inscription--


[57] "Dieu ne le veut pas."--_Manuscript de 1814_, p. 395. "Colonel Sir
Niel Campbell told me, that in the course of conversation with him, on
the 17th, Napoleon remarked--though many considered he ought to commit
suicide, yet he thought it was more magnanimous to live."--_Memorable
Events_, p. 235.

[58] The following words were engraven on the blade: "Sabre que portait
l'Empereur le jour de la bataille du Mont Thabor."--BOURRIENNE.


    _Commissioners appointed to escort Napoleon--He leaves Fontainbleau
    on the 20th April--His interview with Augereau at
    Valence--Expressions of popular dislike towards Napoleon in the
    South of France--Fears for his personal safety--His own agitation
    and precautions--He arrives at Frejus, and embarks on board the
    Undaunted, with the British and Austrian Commissioners--Arrives at
    Elba on 4th May._

Upon his unpleasant journey, Napoleon was attended by Bertrand and
Drouet, honourably faithful to the adverse fortunes of the master who
had been their benefactor when in prosperity. Four delegates from the
allied powers accompanied him to his new dominions. Their names
were--General Schouwaloff, on the part of Russia; the Austrian General,
Kohler; Colonel Sir Niel Campbell, as representing Great Britain; and
the General Baron Truchsess Waldbourg, as the commissioner of Prussia.
Napoleon received the three first with much personal civility, but
seemed to resent the presence of the representative of Prussia, a
country which had been at one time the subject of his scorn, and always
of his hatred. It galled him that she should assume an immediate share
in deciding upon his fate.

He received the English commissioner with particular expressions of
esteem, saying he desired to pass to Elba in an English vessel, and was
pleased to have the escort of an English officer, "Your nation," he
said, "has an elevated character, for which I have the highest esteem. I
desired to raise the French people to such a pitch of sentiment,
but----." He stopt, and seemed affected. He spoke with much civility to
the Austrian General Kohler, but expressed himself somewhat bitterly on
the subject of Russia. He even hinted to the Austrian, that should he
not be satisfied with his reception in Elba, he might possibly choose
to retire to Great Britain;[60] and asked General Kohler, whether he
thought he would not receive protection from them. "Yes, sire," replied
the Austrian, "the more readily, that your Majesty has never made war in
that country."

Napoleon proceeded to give a farewell audience to the Duke of Bassano,
and seemed nettled when an aide-de-camp, on the part of General
Bertrand, announced that the hour fixed for departing was arrived.
"Good," he said. "This is something new. Since when is it that my
motions have been regulated by the watch of the grand maréchal? I will
not depart till it is my pleasure--perhaps I will not depart at
all."[61] This, however, was only a momentary sally of impatience.


Napoleon left Fontainbleau the 20th April, 1814, at eleven o'clock in
the morning. His retinue occupied fourteen carriages, and required
relays of thirty pairs of post horses. On the journey, at least during
its commencement, he affected a sort of publicity, sending for the
public authorities of towns, and investigating into the state of the
place, as he was wont to do on former occasions. The cries of _Vive
l'Empereur_ were frequently heard, and seemed to give him fresh spirits.
On the other hand, the mayors, and sub-prefects, whom he interrogated
concerning the decay of many of the towns, displeased him, by ascribing
the symptoms of dilapidation to the war, or the conscription; and in
several places the people wore the white cockade, and insulted his
passage with shouts of _Vive le Roi_.

In a small barrack, near Valence, Napoleon, upon 24th April, met
Augereau, his old companion in the campaigns of Italy, and in some
degree his tutor in the art of war. The maréchal had resented some of
the reflections which occurred in the bulletins, censuring his
operations for the protection of Lyons. When, therefore, he issued a
proclamation to his army, on the recent change, he announced Napoleon as
one who had brought on his own ruin, and yet dared not die. An angry
interview took place, and the following words are said to have been
exchanged between them:--"I have thy proclamation," said Napoleon. "Thou
hast betrayed me."--"Sire," replied the maréchal, "it is you who have
betrayed France and the army, by sacrificing both to a frantic spirit of
ambition."--"Thou hast chosen thyself a new master," said Napoleon.--"I
have no account to render to you on that score," replied the
general.--"Thou hast no courage," replied Buonaparte.--"'Tis thou hast
none," replied the general, and turned his back, without any mark of
respect, on his late master.[62]

At Montelimart, the exiled Emperor heard the last expressions of regard
and sympathy. He was now approaching Provence, a region of which he had
never possessed the affections, and was greeted with execrations and
cries of--"Perish the Tyrant!"--"Down with the butcher of our children!"
Matters looked worse as they advanced. On Monday, 25th April, when Sir
Niel Campbell, having set out before Napoleon, arrived at Avignon, the
officer upon guard anxiously inquired if the escort attending the
Emperor was of strength sufficient to resist a popular disturbance,
which was already on foot at the news of his arrival. The English
commissioner entreated him to protect the passage of Napoleon by every
means possible. It was agreed that the fresh horses should be posted at
a different quarter of the town from that where it was natural to have
expected the change. Yet the mob discovered and surrounded them, and it
was with difficulty that Napoleon was saved from popular fury. Similar
dangers attended him elsewhere; and, in order to avoid assassination,
the Ex-Emperor of France was obliged to disguise himself as a postilion,
or a domestic, anxiously altering from time to time the mode of his
dress; ordering the servants to smoke in his presence; and inviting the
commissioners, who travelled with him, to whistle or sing, that the
incensed people might not be aware who was in the carriage. At Orgon,
the mob brought before him his own effigy dabbled with blood, and
stopped his carriage till they displayed it before his eyes; and, in
short, from Avignon to La Calade, he was grossly insulted in every town
and village, and, but for the anxious interference of the commissioners,
he would probably have been torn to pieces. The unkindness of the people
seemed to make much impression on him. He even shed tears. He showed
also, more fear of assassination than seemed consistent with his
approved courage; but it must be recollected, that the danger was of a
new and peculiarly horrible description, and calculated to appal many to
whom the terrors of a field of battle were familiar. The bravest soldier
might shudder at a death like that of the De Witts. At La Calade he was
equally nervous, and exhibited great fear of poison. When he reached
Aix, precautions were taken by detachments of gendarmes, as well as by
parties of the allied troops, to ensure his personal safety.[63] At a
chateau called Bouillidou, he had an interview with his sister Pauline.
The curiosity of the lady of the house, and two or three females, made
them also find their way to his presence. They saw a gentleman in an
Austrian uniform. "Whom do you wish to see, ladies?"--"The Emperor
Napoleon."--"I am Napoleon."--"You jest, sir," replied the
ladies.--"What! I suppose you expected to see me look more mischievous?
O yes--confess that, since fortune is adverse to me, I must look like a
rascal, a miscreant, a brigand. But do you know how all this has
happened? Merely because I wished to place France above England."


At length he arrived at Frejus, the very port that received him, when,
coming from Egypt, he was on the verge of commencing that astonishing
career, now about to terminate, to all earthly appearance, at the very
point from which he had started. He shut himself up in a solitary
apartment, which he traversed with impatient and hasty steps, sometimes
pausing to watch from the window the arrival of the vessels, one of
which was to transport him from France, as it then seemed, for ever. The
French frigate, the Dryade, and a brig called the Inconstant, had come
from Toulon to Frejus, and lay ready to perform this duty. But,
reluctant perhaps to sail under the Bourbon flag, Napoleon preferred
embarking on board his Britannic Majesty's ship the Undaunted, commanded
by Captain Usher.[64] This vessel being placed at the direction of the
British commissioner, Sir Niel Campbell, he readily acquiesced in
Napoleon's wish to have his passage in her to Elba. It was eleven at
night on the 28th ere he finally embarked, under a salute of twenty-one
guns. "Adieu, Cæsar, and his fortune," said the Russian envoy. The
Austrian and British commissioners accompanied him on his voyage.[65]

During the passage, Buonaparte seemed to recover his spirits, and
conversed with great frankness and ease with Captain Usher and Sir Niel
Campbell. The subject chiefly led to high-coloured statements of the
schemes which he had been compelled to leave unexecuted, with severe
strictures on his enemies, and much contempt for their means of
opposition. The following particulars are amusing, and, so far as we
know, have never appeared:

He was inquisitive about the discipline of the vessel, which he
commended highly, but assured Captain Usher, that had his power lasted
for five years longer, he would have had three hundred sail of the line.
Captain Usher naturally asked how they were to be manned. Napoleon
replied, that he had resolved on a naval conscription in all the
seaports and sea-coast frontier of France, which would man his fleet,
which was to be exercised in the Zuyder Zee, until fit for going to the
open sea. The British officer scarce suppressed a smile as he replied,
that the marine conscripts would make a sorry figure in a gale of wind.

To the Austrian envoy, Napoleon's constant subject was the enlarged
power of Russia, which, if she could by any means unite Poland into a
healthful and integral part of her army, would, he stated, overwhelm

On a subsequent occasion, the Emperor favoured his auditors with a new
and curious history of the renewal of the war with England. According to
this edition, the isle of Malta was a mere pretext. Shortly after the
peace of Amiens, he said, Mr. Addington, then the English Prime
Minister, proposed to him a renewal of Mr. Pitt's commercial treaty with
France; but that he, Napoleon, desirous to encourage the interior
industry of France, had refused to enter into such a treaty, excepting
upon terms of reciprocity; namely, that if France received so many
millions of English import, England was to be obliged to take in return
the same quantity of French productions. These terms were declined by
Mr. Addington, on which Napoleon declared there should be no treaty at
all, unless his principles were adopted. "Then," replied Mr. Addington,
as quoted by Buonaparte, "there must be hostilities; for, unless the
people of England have the advantages of commerce on the terms they are
accustomed to, they will force me to declare war."--And the war took
place accordingly, of which, he again averred, England's determination
to recover the advantages of the treaty of commerce between Vergennes
and Pitt, was the real cause.

"_Now_," he continued, kindling as he spoke, "England has no power which
can oppose her system. She can pursue it without limits. There will be a
treaty on very unequal terms, which will not afford due encouragement to
the manufactures of France. The Bourbons are poor devils"----he checked
himself--"they are grand seigneurs, content to return to their estates
and draw their rents; but if the people of France see that, and become
discontented, the Bourbons will be turned off in six months." He seemed
again to recollect himself, like one who thinks he has spoken too much,
and was perceptibly more reserved for the rest of the day.

This curious ebullition was concocted according to Napoleon's peculiar
manner of blending what might be true in his narrative, with what was
intended to forward his own purpose, and mingling it with so much
falsehood and delusion, that it resembled what the English poet says of
the Catholic Plot,

    "Some truth there was, but mix'd and dash'd with lies."

It is probable that, after the peace of Amiens, Lord Sidmouth might have
wished to renew the commercial treaty; but it is absolutely false that
Napoleon's declining to do so had any effect upon the renewal of
hostilities. His prophecy that his own downfall would be followed by
the English urging upon France a disadvantageous commercial treaty, has
proved equally false; and it is singular enough that he who, on board
the Undaunted, declared that entering into such a measure would be the
destruction of the Bourbons, should, while at St. Helena, ridicule and
censure Lord Castlereagh for not having secured to Britain that
commercial supremacy, the granting of which he had represented as the
probable cause of such a result.[66] Thus did his colouring, if not his
facts, change according to the mood of the moment.

While on board the Undaunted, Napoleon spoke with great freedom of the
facility with which he had outwitted and defeated the allies during the
last campaign. "The Silesian army," he said, "had given him most
trouble. The old devil, Blucher, was no sooner defeated than he was
willing to fight again." But he considered his victory over
Schwartzenberg as certain, save for the defection of Marmont. Much more
he said, with great apparent frankness, and seemed desirous to make
himself in every respect agreeable to his companions on board. Even the
seamen, who at first regarded him with wonder, mixed with suspicion, did
not escape the charm of his affability, by which they were soon won
over, all excepting the boatswain Hinton, a tar of the old school, who
could never hear the Emperor's praises without muttering the vulgar, but
expressive phrase--"_Humbug._"[67]

With the same good-humour, Napoleon admitted any slight jest which might
be passed, even at his own expense. When off Corsica, he proposed that
Captain Usher should fire a gun to bring-to a fishing-boat, from which
he hoped to hear some news. Captain Usher excused himself, saying, such
an act of hostility towards a neutral would _denationalize_ her, in
direct contradiction of Napoleon's doctrine concerning the rights of
nations. The Emperor laughed heartily. At another time he amused himself
by supposing what admirable caricatures his voyage would give rise to in
London. He seemed wonderfully familiar with that species of satire,
though so peculiarly English.


Upon the 4th of May, when they arrived within sight of Porto Ferrajo,
the principal town of Elba, which has a very fine harbour, they found
the island in some confusion. The inhabitants had been recently in a
state of insurrection against the French, which had been quieted by the
governor and the troops giving in their adhesion to the Bourbon
government. This state of things naturally increased Napoleon's
apprehensions, which had never entirely subsided since the dangers he
underwent in Provence. Even on board the Undaunted, he had requested
that a sergeant of marines might sleep each night on the outside of his
cabin-door, a trusty domestic also mounting guard within. He now showed
some unwillingness, when they made the island, to the ship running right
under the batteries; and when he first landed in the morning, it was at
an early hour, and in disguise, having previously obtained from Captain
Usher, a sergeant's party of marines to attend him.

Having returned on board to breakfast, after his incognito visit to his
island, the Emperor of Elba, as he may now be styled, went on shore in
form, about two o'clock, with the commissioners, receiving, at leaving
the Undaunted, a royal salute. On the beach, he was received by the
governor, prefect, and other official persons, with such means of honour
as they possessed, who conducted him to the Hôtel-de-Ville, in
procession, preceded by a wretched band of fiddlers. The people welcomed
him with many shouts. The name of Buonaparte had been unpopular among
them as Emperor of France, but they anticipated considerable advantages
from his residing among them as their own particular sovereign.


[59] "He told M. de Caraman, that he had never had time to study; but
that he now should, and meant to write his own memoirs."--_Memorable
Events_, p. 232.

[60] General Sir Edward Paget and Lord Louvain, both informed me that
Lord Castlereagh told them, that Napoleon had written to him for
permission to retire to England, "it being the only country possessing
great and liberal ideas."--_Memorable Events_, p. 232.

[61] Memorable Events, p. 326; Bourrienne, tom. x., p. 217.

[62] Itineraire de Buonaparte, p. 235.--Augereau was an old republican,
and had been ready to oppose Buonaparte on the day he dissolved the
Legislative Body. He submitted to him during his reign, but was a severe
censurer of his excessive love of conquest.--See _ante_, vol. iv., p.

[63] This, indeed, had been previously arranged, as troops in
considerable numbers were posted for his protection at Grenoble, Gap,
and Sisteron, being the road by which he was expected to have travelled;
but, perhaps with a view to try an experiment on his popularity, he took
the route we have detailed.--S.

[64] When they came alongside of the Undaunted, Napoleon desired the
captain to ascend, and then followed; the officers were on deck to
receive him; they mutually bowed, and the Emperor instantly went forward
alone among the men, most of whom spoke French, having been on this
station for some years. They all kept their hats on; but he so
fascinated them by his manner, that in a few minutes they, of their own
accord, took them off. Captain Usher was very glad of this, as he was
apprehensive the sailors might have thrown him overboard.--_Memorable
Events_, p. 254.

[65] The Prussian commissioner wrote an account of their journey, called
"Itineraire de Buonaparte, jusqu'à son embarquement à Frejus, Paris,
1815." The facts are amply confirmed by the accounts of his
fellow-travellers. Napoleon always reckoned the pamphlet of General
Truchsess Waldbourg, together with the account of De Pradt's Embassy to
Poland, as the works calculated to do him most injury. Perhaps he was
sensible that during this journey he had behaved beneath the character
of a hero, or perhaps he disliked the publication of details which
inferred his extreme unpopularity in the south of France.--S.

[66] Las Cases, tom. iii., p. 92.

[67] The honest boatswain, however, could understand and value what was
solid in Napoleon's merits. As he had to return thanks in name of the
ship's company, for 200 louis with which the Emperor presented them, he
wished "his honour good health, and better luck the next time."--S.


    _Elba--Napoleon's mode of Life and occupation there--Effects of his
    residence at Elba upon the adjoining Kingdom of Italy--He is visited
    by his Mother and the Princess Pauline--and by a Polish lady--Sir
    Niel Campbell the only Commissioner left at Elba--Napoleon's
    Conversations on the State of Europe--His pecuniary
    Difficulties--and fears of Assassination--Symptoms of some
    approaching crisis--A part of the Old Guard disbanded--Napoleon
    escapes from Elba--Fruitless pursuit by Sir Niel Campbell._

[Sidenote: ELBA.]

Elba, to the limits of which the mighty empire of Napoleon was now
contracted, is an island opposite to the coast of Tuscany, about sixty
miles in circumference. The air is healthy, excepting in the
neighbourhood of the salt marshes. The country is mountainous, and,
having all the florid vegetation of Italy, is, in general, of a romantic
character. It produces little grain, but exports a considerable quantity
of wines; and its iron ore has been famous since the days of Virgil, who
describes Elba as,

    "Insula inexhaustis chalybum generosa metallis."

There are also other mineral productions. The island boasts two good
harbours, and is liberally productive of vines, olives, fruits and
maize. Perhaps, if an empire could be supposed to exist within such a
brief space, Elba possesses so much both of beauty and variety, as might
constitute the scene of a summer night's dream of sovereignty.
Buonaparte seemed to lend himself to the illusion, as, accompanied by
Sir Niel Campbell, he rode in his usual exploring mood, around the
shores of his little state. He did not fail to visit the iron mines, and
being informed the annual produce was 500,000 francs, "These, then," he
said, "are mine." But being reminded that he had conferred that revenue
on the Legion of Honour, he exclaimed, "Where was my head when I gave
such a grant! But I have made many foolish decrees of that sort."

One or two of the poorer class of inhabitants, knelt, and even
prostrated themselves when they met him. He seemed disgusted, and
imputed this humiliating degree of abasement to the wretchedness of
their education, under the auspices of the monks. On these excursions he
showed the same apprehension of assassination which had marked his
journey to Frejus. Two couriers, well armed, rode before him, and
examined every suspicious spot. But as he climbed a mountain above
Ferrajo, and saw the ocean approach its feet in almost every direction,
the expression broke from him, accompanied with a good-humoured smile,
"It must be confessed my isle is very little."

He professed, however, to be perfectly resigned to his fate; often spoke
of himself as a man politically dead, and claimed credit for what he
said upon public affairs, as having no remaining interest in them. He
professed his intentions were to devote himself exclusively to science
and literature. At other times, he said he would live in his little
island, like a justice of peace in a country town in England.

The character of Napoleon, however, was little known to himself, if he
seriously thought that his restless and powerful mind could be satisfied
with the investigation of abstract truths, or amused by the leisure of
literary research. He compared his abdication to that of Charles V.,
forgetting that the Austrian Emperor's retreat was voluntary, that he
had a turn towards mechanical pursuits, and that even with these means
of solace, Charles became discontented with his retirement. The
character of Buonaparte was, on the contrary, singularly opposed to a
state of seclusion. His propensities continued to be exactly of the same
description at Elba, which had so long terrified and disquieted Europe.
To change the external face of what was around him; to imagine extensive
alterations, without accurately considering the means by which they were
to be accomplished; to work within his petty province such alterations
as its limits permitted; to resume, in short, upon a small scale, those
changes which he had attempted upon that which was most magnificent; to
apply to Elba the system of policy which he had exercised so long in
Europe, was the only mode in which he seems to have found amusement and
exercise for the impatient energies of a temper, accustomed from his
early youth to work upon others, but apt to become lethargic, sullen,
and discontented, when it was compelled, for want of other exercise, to
recoil upon itself.

During the first two or three weeks of his residence in the island of
Elba, Napoleon had already planned improvements, or alterations and
innovations at least, which, had they been to be carried into execution
with the means which he possessed, would have perhaps taken his lifetime
to execute. It was no wonder, indeed, accustomed as he had been to speak
the word, and to be obeyed, and to consider the improvements which he
meditated as those which became the head of a great empire, that he
should not have been able to recollect that his present operations
respected a petty islet, where magnificence was to be limited, not only
by utility, but by the want of funds.

In the course of two or three days' travelling, with the same rapidity
which characterised his movements in his frequent progresses through
France, and showing the same impatience of rest or delay, Napoleon had
visited every spot in his little island, mines, woods, salt-marshes,
harbours, fortifications, and whatever was worthy of an instant's
consideration, and had meditated improvements and innovations respecting
every one of them. Till he had done this he was impatient of rest, and
having done so, he lacked occupation.

One of his first, and perhaps most characteristic proposals, was to
aggrandize and extend his Liliputian dominions by occupation of an
uninhabited island, called Rianosa, which had been left desolate on
account of the frequent descents of the corsairs. He sent thirty of his
guards, with ten of the independent company belonging to the island,
upon this expedition--(what a contrast to those which he had formerly
directed!)--sketched out a plan of fortifications, and remarked, with
complacency, "Europe will say that I have already made a conquest."

In an incredibly short time Napoleon had also planned several roads, had
contrived means to convey water from the mountains to Porto Ferrajo,[68]
designed two palaces, one for the country, the other in the city, a
separate mansion for his sister Pauline, stables for one hundred and
fifty horses, a lazaretto, buildings for accommodation of the tunny
fishery, and salt-works on a new construction, at Porto Longone. The
Emperor of Elba proposed, also, purchasing various domains, and had the
price estimated; for the inclination of the proprietor was not reckoned
essential to the transaction. He ended by establishing four places of
residence in the different quarters of the island; and his amusement
consisted in constant change and alteration. He travelled from one to
another with the restlessness of a bird in a cage, which springs from
perch to perch, since it is prevented from winging the air, its natural
element. It seemed as if the magnitude of the object was not so much the
subject of his consideration, providing it afforded immediate scope for
employing his constant and stimulated desire of activity. He was like
the thorough-bred gamester, who, deprived of the means of depositing
large stakes, will rather play at small game than leave the table.

Napoleon placed his court also upon an ambitious scale, having more
reference to what he had so long been, than to what he actually now had
been reduced to, while, at the same time, the furniture and internal
accommodations of the imperial palace were meaner by far than those of
an English gentleman of ordinary rank. The proclamation of the French
governor on resigning his authority to Napoleon, was well and becomingly
expressed; but the spiritual mandate of the Vicar-general Arrighi, a
relation of Buonaparte's, which was designed to congratulate the people
of Elba on becoming the subjects of the Great Napoleon, was extremely
ludicrous. "Elevated to the sublime honour of receiving the anointed of
the Lord," he described the exhaustless wealth which was to flow in upon
the people, from the strangers who came to look upon the hero. The
exhortation sounded as if the isle had become the residence of some
nondescript animal, which was to be shown for money.

The interior of Napoleon's household, though reduced to thirty-five
persons, still held the titles, and affected the rank, proper to an
imperial court, of which it will be presently seen the petty sovereign
made a political use. He displayed a national flag, having a red bend
dexter in a white field, the bend bearing three bees. To dignify his
capital, having discovered that the ancient name of Porto Ferrajo, was
Comopoli (_i. e._ the city of Como,) he commanded it to be called
Cosmopoli, or the city of all nations.

His body-guard, of about 700 infantry, and 80 cavalry, seemed to occupy
as much of Napoleon's attention as the grand army did formerly. They
were constantly exercised, especially in throwing shot and shells; and,
in a short time, he was observed to be anxious about obtaining recruits
for them. This was no difficult matter, where all the world had so
lately been in arms, and engaged in a profession which many, doubtless,
for whom a peaceful life had few charms, laid aside with regret, and
longed to resume.

As early as the month of July 1814, there was a considerable degree of
fermentation in Italy, to which the neighbourhood of Elba, the residence
of several members of the Buonaparte family, and the sovereignty of
Murat, occasioned a general resort of Buonaparte's friends and admirers.
Every day this agitation increased, and various arts were resorted to
for disseminating a prospect of Napoleon's future return to power.
Sundry parties of recruits came over to Elba from Italy to enlist in his
guards, and two persons employed in this service were arrested at
Leghorn, in whose possession were found written lists, containing the
names of several hundred persons willing to serve Napoleon. The species
of ferment and discontent thus produced in Italy, was much increased by
the impolitic conduct of Prince Rospigliosi, the civil governor of
Tuscany, who re-established in their full force every form and
regulation formerly practised under the Dukes of Tuscany, broke up the
establishment of the museum, which had been instituted by Buonaparte's
sister, and, while he returned to all the absurdities of the old
government, relaxed none of the imposts which the French had laid on.

Napoleon's conduct towards the refugees who found their way to Elba, may
be judged from the following sketch. On the 11th of July, Colomboni,
commandant of a battalion of the 4th regiment of the line in Italy, was
presented to the Emperor as newly arrived. "Well, Colomboni, your
business in Elba?"--"First, to pay my duty to your Majesty; secondly, to
offer myself to carry a musket among your guards."--"That is too low a
situation, you must have something better," said Napoleon; and instantly
named him to an appointment of 1200 francs yearly, though it appears the
Emperor himself was then in great distress for money.

About the middle of summer, Napoleon was visited by his mother, and his
sister the Princess Pauline.[69] At this time, too, he seems to have
expected to be rejoined by his wife Maria Louisa, who, it was said, was
coming to take possession of her Italian dominions. Their separation,
with the incidents which happened before Paris, was the only subject on
which he appeared to lose temper. Upon these topics he used strong and
violent language. He said, that interdicting him intercourse with his
wife and son, excited universal reprobation at Vienna--that no such
instance of inhumanity and injustice could be pointed out in modern
times--that the Empress was detained a prisoner, an orderly officer
constantly attending upon her--finally, that she had been given to
understand before she left Orleans, that she was to obtain permission to
join him at the island of Elba, though it was now denied her. It was
possible, he proceeded, to see a shade of policy, though none whatever
of justice, in this separation. Austria had meant to unite the child of
her sovereign with the Emperor of France, but was desirous of breaking
off the connexion with the Emperor of Elba, as it might be apprehended
that the respect due to the daughter of the House of Hapsburg would, had
she resided with her husband, have reflected too much lustre on the
abdicated sovereign.

The Austrian commissioner, General Kohler, on the other hand, insisted
that the separation took place by the Empress Maria Louisa's consent,
and even at her request; and hinted, that Napoleon's desire to have her
society was dictated by other feelings than those of domestic affection.
But allowing that Napoleon's views in so earnestly desiring the company
of his wife might be political, we can see neither justice nor reason
in refusing a request, which would have been granted to a felon
condemned to transportation.

We have not thought it necessary to disturb the narrative of important
events by noticing details which belong rather to romance; but as we are
now treating of Napoleon in his more private character, a mysterious
circumstance may be mentioned. About the end of August 1814, a lady
arrived at the Isle of Elba, from Leghorn, with a boy about five or six
years old. She was received by Napoleon with great attention, but at the
same time with an air of much secrecy, and was lodged in a small and
very retired villa, in the most remote corner of the island; from
whence, after remaining two days, she re-embarked for Naples. The Elbese
naturally concluded that this must have been the Empress Maria Louisa
and her son. But the individual was known by those near Napoleon's
person to be a Polish lady from Warsaw, and the boy was the offspring of
an intrigue betwixt her and Napoleon several years before.[70] The cause
of her speedy departure might be delicacy towards Maria Louisa, and the
fear of affording the Court of Vienna a pretext for continuing the
separation, of which Napoleon complained. In fact, the Austrians, in
defence of their own conduct, imputed irregularities to that of
Buonaparte; but the truth of these charges would be no edifying subject
of investigation.

About the middle of May, Baron Kohler took farewell of Napoleon, to
return to Vienna. He was an Austrian general of rank and reputation; a
particular friend and old schoolfellow of Prince Schwartzenberg. The
scene of Napoleon's parting with this gentleman was quite pathetic on
the Emperor's side. He wept as he embraced General Kohler, and entreated
him to procure, if possible, his re-union with his wife and
child--calling him the preserver of his life--regretted his poverty,
which prevented his bestowing on him some valuable token of
remembrance--finally, folding the Austrian general in his arms, he held
him there for some time, repeating expressions of the warmest
attachment. This sensibility existed all upon one side; for an English
gentleman who witnessed the scene, having asked Kohler afterwards what
he was thinking of while locked in the Emperor's embraces--"of Judas
Iscariot," answered the Austrian.

After the departure of Baron Kohler, Colonel Sir Niel Campbell was the
only one of the four commissioners who continued to remain at Elba by
orders of the British Cabinet. It was difficult to say what his office
really was, or what were his instructions. He had neither power, title,
nor means, to interfere with Napoleon's motions. The Emperor had been
recognised by a treaty--wise or foolish, it was too late to ask--as an
independent sovereign. It was therefore only as an envoy that Sir Niel
Campbell could be permitted to reside at his court; and as an envoy
also, not of the usual character, for settling affairs concerning the
court from which he was despatched, but in a capacity not generally
avowed--the office, namely, of observing the conduct of that at which he
was sent to reside. In fact, Sir Niel Campbell had no direct or
ostensible situation whatever, and of this the French minister of Elba
soon took advantage. Drouet, the governor of Porto Ferrajo, made such
particular inquiries into the character assumed by the British envoy,
and the length of his stay, as obliged the latter to say that his orders
were to remain in Elba till the breaking up of the Congress, which was
now settling the affairs of Europe; but if his orders should direct him
to continue there after that period, he would apply to have his
situation placed on some recognised public footing, which he did not
doubt would be respectable.

Napoleon did not oppose or murmur at the continued, though equivocal
residence of Sir Niel Campbell at Elba; he affected, on the contrary, to
be pleased with it. For a considerable time, he even seemed to seek the
society of the British envoy, held frequent intercourse with him, and
conversed with apparent confidence upon public affairs. The notes of
such conversations are now before us; and though it is, on the one hand,
evident that Napoleon's expressions were arranged, generally speaking,
on a premeditated plan, yet, on the other, it is equally certain, that
his ardent temperament, when once engaged in discourse, led him to
discover more of his own private thoughts than he would, on cool
reflection, have suffered to escape him.

On the 16th September 1814, for example, Sir Niel Campbell had an
audience of three hours, during which, Napoleon, with his habitual
impatience of a sedentary posture, walked from one end of the room to
the other, and talked incessantly. He was happy, he said, that Sir Niel
remained in Elba, _pour rompre la chimère_, (to destroy, namely, the
idea, that he, Buonaparte, had further intention of disturbing the peace
of Europe.) "I think," he continued, "of nothing beyond the verge of my
little isles. I could have supported the war for twenty years, if I had
chosen. I am now a deceased person, occupied with nothing but my family,
my retreat, my house, my cows, and my poultry." He then spoke in the
highest terms of the English character, protesting it had always had his
sincere admiration, notwithstanding the abuse directed against it in his
name. He requested the British envoy to lose no time in procuring him an
English grammar. It is a pity Mr. Hinton, the boatswain, was not
present, to have accompanied this eulogy with his favourite

In the rest of the conversation, the Elbese Emperor was probably more
serious. He inquired with eagerness after the real state of France. Sir
Niel Campbell informed him, that all the information he had been able to
collect, ascribed great wisdom and moderation to the sovereign and
government; but allowed that those who had lost good appointments, the
prisoners of war who had returned from abroad, and great part of the
army who remained embodied, were still attached to Napoleon. In answer,
Buonaparte seemed to admit the stability of the throne, supported as it
was by the maréchals and great officers; but he derided the idea of
affording France the benefit of a free constitution. He said, the
attempt to imitate that of Great Britain was a farce, a caricature. It
was impossible, he observed, to imitate the two Houses of Parliament,
for that respectable families like those composing the aristocracy of
England, did not now exist in France. He talked with bitterness of the
cession of Belgium, and of France being deprived of Antwerp. He himself
spoke, he observed, as a spectator, without hopes or interest, for he
had none; but thus to have mortified the French, showed an ignorance of
the national character. Their chief feeling was for pride and glory, and
the allies need not look forward to a state of satisfaction and
tranquillity under such circumstances as France was now placed in. "The
French," he said, "were conquered only by a great superiority of number,
therefore were not humiliated; and the population had not suffered to
the extent alleged, for he had always spared their lives, and exposed
those of Italians, Germans, and other foreigners." He remarked that the
gratitude of Louis XVIII. to Great Britain was offensive to France, and
that he was called in derision the King of England's Viceroy.

In the latter months of 1814, Sir Niel Campbell began to become sensible
that Napoleon desired to exclude him from his presence as much as he
possibly could, without positive rudeness. He rather suddenly intrenched
himself within all the forms of an imperial court; and without affording
the British envoy any absolute cause of complaint, or even any title to
require explanation, he contrived, in a great measure, to debar him from
opportunities of conversation. His only opportunity of obtaining access
to Napoleon, was on his return from short absences to Leghorn and
Florence, when his attendance on the levee was matter of etiquette.

On such occasions, the tenor of Napoleon's prophecies was minatory of
the peace of Europe. He spoke perpetually of the humiliation inflicted
upon France, by taking from her Belgium and his favourite object
Antwerp. On the 30th of October, while enlarging on these topics, he
described the irritable feelings of the nation, saying, every man in
France considered the Rhine to be their natural boundary, and nothing
could alter this opinion. There was no want, he said, of a population in
France, martial beyond any other nation, by natural disposition, by the
consequences of the Revolution, and by the idea of glory. Louis XIV.,
according to his account, notwithstanding all the misfortunes he had
brought upon the nation, was still beloved on account of the eclat of
his victories, and the magnificence of his court. The battle of Rosbach
had brought about the Revolution. Louis XVIII. totally mistook the
character of the French in supposing, that either by argument or by
reasoning, or indulging them with a free constitution, he could induce
them to sink into a state of peaceful industry. He insisted that the
Duke of Wellington's presence at Paris was an insult on the French
nation; that very strong discord prevailed in the country, and that the
king had but few friends, either in the army or among the people.
Perhaps the King might try to get rid of a part of the army by sending
them to St. Domingo, but that, he observed, would be soon seen through;
he himself had made a melancholy trial, with the loss of 30,000 men,
which had proved the inutility of such expeditions.

He then checked himself, and endeavoured to show that he had no personal
feeling or expectation from the revolutions he foretold. "I am a
deceased man," he said; "I was born a soldier; I have mounted a throne;
I have descended from it; I am prepared for any fate. They may transport
me to a distant shore, or they may put me to death here; I will spread
my bosom open to the poniard. When merely General Buonaparte, I had
property of my own acquiring--I am now deprived of all."

On another occasion he described the ferment in France, which he said he
had learned from the correspondence of his guards with their native
country, and so far forgot the character of a defunct person, as to say
plainly, that the present disaffection would break out with all the fury
of the former revolution, and require his own resurrection. "For
_then_," he added, "the sovereigns of Europe will soon find it
necessary, for their own repose, to call on ME to tranquillize matters."

This species of conversation was perhaps the best which could have been
adopted, to conceal his secret purpose from the British commissioner.
Sir Niel Campbell, though not without entertaining suspicions, judged
it, upon the whole unlikely that he meditated any thing eccentric,
unless a tempting opening should present itself on the part of France or

Napoleon held the same species of language to others as well as the
British resident. He was affable, and even cordial (in appearance,) to
the numerous strangers whom curiosity led to visit him; spoke of his
retirement as Dioclesian might have done in the gardens of Salonica;
seemed to consider his political career as ended, and to be now chiefly
anxious to explain such passages of his life as met the harsh
construction of the world. In giving free and easy answers to those who
conversed with him, and especially to Englishmen of rank, Buonaparte
found a ready means of communicating to the public such explanations
concerning his past life, as were best calculated to serve his wishes.
In these he palliated, instead of denying, the scheme of poisoning his
prisoners in Syria, the massacre at Jaffa, the murder of the Duke
d'Enghien, and other enormities. An emperor, a conqueror, retired from
war, and sequestered from power, must be favourably listened to by those
who have the romantic pleasure of hearing him plead his own cause.
Milder editions of his measures began to be circulated in Europe, and,
in the curiosity to see and admire the captive sovereign, men forgot the
ravages which he had committed while at liberty.

As the winter approached, a change was discernible in Napoleon's manners
and habits. The alterations which he had planned in the island no longer
gave him the same interest; he renounced, from time to time, the severe
exercise in which he had at first indulged, used a carriage rather than
his horse, and sunk occasionally into fits of deep contemplation,
mingled with gloomy anxiety.


He became also subjected to uneasiness, to which he had hitherto been a
stranger, being that arising from pecuniary inconveniences. He had
plunged into expenses with imprudent eagerness, and without weighing the
amount of his resources against the cost of the proposed alterations.
The ready money which he brought from France seems to have been soon
exhausted, and to raise supplies, he commanded the inhabitants of his
island to pay up, in the month of June, the contributions of the last
year. This produced petitions, personal solicitations, and discontent.
It was represented to him, that so poor were the inhabitants of the
island, in consequence of want of sale for their wine for months past,
that they would be driven to the most extreme straits if the requisition
should be persisted in. In some of the villages, the tax-gatherers of
the Emperor were resisted and insulted. Napoleon, on his side, sent part
of his troops to quarter upon the insurgent peasantry, and to be
supported by them at free cost, till the contributions should be paid

Thus, we recognise, in the government of this miniature state, the same
wisdom, and the same errors, by which Buonaparte won and lost the empire
of the world. The plans of improvements and internal ameliorations which
he formed, were probably very good in themselves, but he proceeded to
the execution of that which he had resolved with too much and too
reckless precipitation; too much of a determination to work his own
pleasure, and too little concern for the feelings of others.

The compositions proving a weak resource, as they were scarce to be
extracted from the miserable islanders, Napoleon had recourse to others,
which must have been peculiarly galling to a man of his haughty spirit.
But as his revenue, so far as tangible, did not exceed 300,000 francs,
and his expenditure amounted to at least a million, he was compelled to
lower the allowances of most of his retinue; to reduce the wages of the
miners to one-fourth; to raise money by the sale of the provisions laid
up for the garrisons; nay, even by selling a train of brass artillery to
the Duke of Tuscany. He disposed also of some property--a large house
which had been used as a barrack, and he went the length of meditating
the sale of the Town-house at Porto Ferrajo.

We have said, that Napoleon's impatience to execute whatever plans
occurred to his fertile imagination, was the original cause of these
pecuniary distresses. But they are not less to be imputed to the unfair
and unworthy conduct of the French ministry. The French administration
were, of all others, most intimately bound in conscience, honour, and
policy, to see the treaty of Fontainbleau, as forming the footstool by
which Louis XVIII. mounted his restored throne, distinctly observed
towards Napoleon. The sixth article of that treaty provides an annuity,
or revenue of two millions five hundred thousand francs, to be
registered on the Great Book of France, and paid without abatement or
deduction to Napoleon Buonaparte. This annual provision was stipulated
by the maréchals, Macdonald and Ney, as the price of Napoleon's
resignation, and the French ministers could not refuse a declaration of
payment without gross injustice to Buonaparte, and at the same time a
severe insult to the allied powers. Nevertheless, so far from this
pension being paid with regularity, we have seen no evidence that
Napoleon ever received a single remittance to account of it. The British
resident observing how much the Ex-Emperor was harassed by pecuniary
straits, gave it, not once but repeatedly, as his opinion, "that if
these difficulties pressed upon him much longer, so as to prevent him
from continuing the external show of a court, he was perfectly capable
of crossing over to Piombino with his troops, or committing any other
extravagance." This was Sir Niel Campbell's opinion on 31st October,
1814, and Lord Castlereagh made strong remonstrances on the subject,
although Great Britain was the only power among the allies, who, being
no principal party to the treaty of Fontainbleau, might safely have left
it to those states who were. The French were not ashamed to defend their
conduct on the technical objection, that the pension was not due until
the year was elapsed; a defence which we must consider as evasive, since
such a pension is of an alimentary nature, the termly payments of which
ought to be made in advance. The subject was mentioned again and again
by Sir Niel Campbell, but it does not appear that the French
administration desisted from a course, which, whether arising from a
spirit of mean revenge, or from avarice, or from being themselves
embarrassed, was at once dishonourable and impolitic.

Other apprehensions agitated Buonaparte's mind. He feared the Algerine
pirates, and requested the interference of England in his behalf. He
believed, or affected to believe, that Brulart, the governor of Corsica,
who had been a captain of Chouans, the friend of Georges, Pichegru, &c.,
was sent thither by Louis XVIII.th's administration for the purpose of
having him assassinated, and that fitting agents were despatched from
Corsica to Elba for that purpose.[71] Above all, he pretended to be
informed of a design to dispense with the treaty of Fontainbleau, and to
remove him from his place of refuge, to be imprisoned at St. Helena, or
St. Lucie. It is not impossible that these fears were not altogether
feigned; for though there is not an iota of evidence tending to show
that there was reason for believing the allies entertained such an
unworthy thought, yet the report was spread very generally through
France, Italy, and the Mediterranean, and was encouraged, doubtless, by
those who desired once more to place Buonaparte in action.[72] He
certainly expressed great anxiety on the subject, sometimes declaring he
would defend his batteries to the last; sometimes affecting to believe
that he was to be sent to reside in England, a prospect which he
pretended not to dislike personally, while he held out sufficient
reasons to prevent the course from being adopted. "He concluded," he
said, "he should have personal liberty, and the means of removing
prejudices entertained against his character, which had not yet been
fully cleared up;" but ended with the insinuation, that, by residing in
England he would have easier communication with France, where there were
four of his party to every single Bourbonist. And when he had exhausted
these topics, he returned to the complaints of the hardship and cruelty
of depriving him of the society of his wife and child.

While Buonaparte, chafed by poverty, and these other subjects of
complaint, tormented too by the restlessness of a mind impatient of
restraint, gave vent to expressions which excited suspicion, and ought
to have recommended precaution, his court began to assume a very
singular appearance, quite the opposite of that usually exhibited in the
courts of petty sovereigns upon the continent. In the latter there is an
air of antiquated gravity, which pervades the whole establishment, and
endeavours to supply the want of splendour, and of real power. The heavy
apparatus designed for the government of an independent state, is
applied to the management of a fortune not equal to that of many private
gentlemen; the whole course of business goes slowly and cumbrously on,
and so that appearances are maintained in the old style of formal
grandeur, the sovereign and his counsellors dream neither of
expeditions, conquest, nor any other political object.

The Court of Porto Ferrajo was the reverse of all this. Indeed, the
whole place was, in one sense, deserving of the name of Cosmopoli, which
Napoleon wished to impose on it. It was like the court of a great
barrack, filled with military, gendarmes, police officers of all sorts,
refugees of every nation, expectants and dependents upon the court,
domestics and adventurers, all connected with Buonaparte, and holding or
expecting some benefit at his hand. Rumours of every kind were buzzed
about through this miscellaneous crowd, as thick as motes in the
sunshine. Suspicious characters appeared and disappeared again, without
affording any trace of their journey or object. The port was filled with
ships from all parts of Italy. This indeed was necessary to supply the
island with provisions, when crowded with such an unusual degree of
population; and, besides, vessels of all nations visited Porto Ferrajo,
from the various motives of curiosity or speculation, or being compelled
by contrary winds. The four armed vessels of Napoleon, and seventeen
belonging to the service of the miners, were constantly engaged in
voyages to every part of Italy, and brought over or returned to the
continent, Italians, Sicilians, Frenchmen, and Greeks, who seemed all
active, yet gave no reason for their coming or departure. Dominico
Ettori, a monk who had escaped from his convent, and one Theologos, a
Greek, were considered as agents of some consequence among this group.

The situation of Sir Niel Campbell was now very embarrassing. Napoleon,
affecting to be more tenacious than ever of his dignity, not only
excluded the British envoy from his own presence, but even threw
obstacles in the way of his visiting his mother and sister. It was,
therefore, only from interviews with Napoleon himself that he could hope
to get any information, and to obtain these Sir Niel was, as already
noticed, obliged to absent himself from the island of Elba occasionally,
which gave him an opportunity of desiring an audience, as he went away
and returned. At such times as he remained on the island he was
discountenanced, and all attention withdrawn from him; but in a way so
artful, as to render it impossible for him to make a formal complaint,
especially as he had no avowed official character, and was something in
the situation of a guest, whose uninvited intrusion has placed him at
his landlord's mercy.

Symptoms of some approaching catastrophe could not, however, be
concealed from the British resident. Napoleon had interviews with his
mother, after which she appeared deeply distressed. She was heard also
to talk of three deputations which he had received from France. It was
besides accounted a circumstance of strong suspicion, that discharges
and furloughs were granted to two or three hundred of Napoleon's Old
Guard, by the medium of whom, as was too late discovered, the
allegiance of the military in France was corrupted and seduced, and
their minds prepared for what was to ensue. We cannot suppose that such
a number of persons were positively intrusted with the secret; but every
one of them was prepared to sound forth the praises of the Emperor in
his exile, and all entertained and disseminated the persuasion, that he
would soon appear to reclaim his rights.

At length Mariotti, the French consul at Leghorn, and Spannoki, the
Tuscan governor of that town, informed Sir Niel Campbell that it was
certainly determined at Elba, that Buonaparte, with his guards, should
embark for the continent. Sir Niel was at Leghorn when he received this
intelligence, and had left the Partridge sloop of war to cruize round
Elba. It was naturally concluded that Italy was the object of Napoleon,
to join with his brother-in-law Murat, who was at that time, fatally for
himself, raising his banner.


On the 25th of February [1815,] the Partridge having come to Leghorn,
and fetched off Sir Niel Campbell, the appearance, as the vessel
approached Porto Ferrajo on her return, of the national guard on the
batteries, instead of the crested grenadiers of the Imperial guard, at
once apprized the British resident of what had happened. When he landed,
he found the mother and sister of Buonaparte in a well-assumed agony of
anxiety about the fate of their Emperor, of whom they affected to know
nothing, except that he had steered towards the coast of Barbary. They
appeared extremely desirous to detain Sir Niel Campbell on shore.
Resisting their entreaties, and repelling the more pressing arguments of
the governor, who seemed somewhat disposed to use force to prevent him
from re-embarking, the British envoy regained his vessel, and set sail
in pursuit of the adventurer. But it was too late; the Partridge only
obtained a distant sight of the flotilla, after Buonaparte and his
forces had landed.

The changes which had taken place in France, and had encouraged the
present most daring action, form the subject of the next chapter.


[68] "One of Napoleon's first cares was to obtain a supply of water for
the town of Porto-Ferrajo. Captain Usher accompanied him in a boat round
the bay; they sailed every creek, and tasted the different rills. Seeing
the English sailors watering, he said, 'Let us go to them; I am sure
they will choose the best.' Napoleon made a sailor dip his hat into the
water, and hold it for him to drink. 'It is excellent: I knew they would
find it out.'"--_Memorable Events_, p. 259.

[69] Napoleon's mother arrived on the 2d of August, and occupied a house
on the quay at Porto Ferrajo. Pauline landed in October. She lived in
the palace with her brother; who had a room built for her in the garden,
in which she gave public balls every Sunday evening.

[70] "Our halt at Warsaw, in January 1807, was delightful. The Emperor
and all the French officers paid their tribute of admiration to the
charms of the fair Poles. There was one whose powerful fascinations made
a deep impression on Napoleon's heart. He conceived an ardent affection
for her, which she cordially returned. It is needless to name her, when
I observe that her attachment remained unshaken amidst every danger, and
that, at the period of Napoleon's reverses, she continued his faithful
friend."--SAVARY, tom. iii., p. 16.

[71] Buonaparte had particular reason to dread Brulart. This Chouan
chief had been one of the numbers who laid down their arms on Napoleon
assuming the Consulate, and who had been permitted to reside at Paris. A
friend of Brulart, still more obnoxious than himself, was desirous of
being permitted to return from England, to which he had emigrated. He
applied to Napoleon through Brulart, who was directed by the Emperor to
encourage his friend to come over. Immediately on his landing in France,
he was seized and executed. Brulart fled to England in grief and rage,
at being made the means of decoying his friend to death. In the height
of his resentment he wrote to Napoleon, threatening him with death by
his hand. The recollection of this menace alarmed Buonaparte, when he
found Brulart so near him as Corsica.

[72] Even Sir Niel Campbell said to Napoleon, "The newspapers say you
are to be sent to St. Helena."--"Nous verrons cela," was the
reply.--_Memorable Events_, p. 268.


    _Retrospect--Restoration of the Bourbons displeasing to the
    Soldiery, but satisfactory to the People--Terms favourable to France
    granted by the Allies--Discontent about the manner of conceding the
    Charter--Other grounds of dissatisfaction--Apprehensions lest the
    Church and Crown Lands should be resumed--Resuscitation of the
    Jacobin faction--Increased Dissatisfaction in the Army--The Claims
    of the Emigrants mooted in the Chamber of Delegates--Maréchal
    Macdonald's Proposal--Financial Difficulties--Restriction on the
    Press--Reflections on this subject._

We must now look back to the re-establishment of the Bourbons upon the
throne in 1814, an event which took place under circumstances so
uncommon as to excite extravagant expectations of national felicity;
expectations, which, like a premature and profuse display of blossom,
diminished the chance of the fruit ripening, and exasperated the
disappointment of over sanguine hopes. For a certain time all had been
gay and rose-coloured. The French possess more than other nations the
art of enjoying the present, without looking back with regret on the
past, or forward to the future with unfavourable anticipations. Louis
XVIII., respectable for his literary acquirements, and the practice of
domestic virtues, amiable also from a mixture of _bonhommie_, and a
talent for saying witty things, was received in the capital of his
kingdom with acclamations, in which the soldiers alone did not cordially
join. They indeed appeared with gloomy, sullen, and discontented looks.
The late imperial, now royal guard, seemed, from the dark ferocity of
their aspect, to consider themselves rather as the captives who were led
in triumph, than the soldiers who partook of it.

But the higher and middling classes in general, excepting those who were
direct losers by the dethronement of Napoleon, hailed with sincere
satisfaction the prospect of peace, tranquillity, and freedom from
vexatious exactions. If they had not, as they could hardly be supposed
to have, any personal zeal for the representatives of a family so long
strangers to France, it was fondly hoped the absence of this might be
supplied by the unwonted prospect of ease and security which their
accession promised. The allied monarchs, on their part, did every thing
to favour the Bourbon family, and relaxed most of the harsh and
unpalatable conditions which they had annexed to their proposed treaty
with Buonaparte; as if to allow the legitimate heir the credit with his
people of having at once saved their honour, and obtained for them the
most advantageous terms.

The French readily caught at these indulgences, and, with the aptitude
they possess of accommodating their feelings to the moment, for a time
seemed to intimate that they were sensible of the full advantage of the
change, and were desirous to make as much of it as they possibly could.
There is a story of a French soldier in former times, who, having
insulted his general in a fit of intoxication, was brought before him
next morning, and interrogated, whether he was the person who had
committed the offence. The accused replied _he_ was not, for that the
impudent rascal had gone away before four in the morning--at which hour
the culprit had awaked in a state of sobriety. The French people, like
the arch rogue in question, drew distinctions between their present and
former selves, and seemed very willing to deny their identity. They were
no longer, they said, either the Republican French, who had committed so
many atrocities in their own country, or the Imperial French, who had
made such devastation in other nations; and God forbid that the sins of
either should be visited upon the present regenerate race of royalist
Frenchmen, loyal to their native princes, and faithful to their allies,
who desired only to enjoy peace abroad and tranquillity at home.

These professions, which were probably serious for the time, backed by
the natural anxiety of the monarch to make, through his interest with
the allied powers, the best terms he could for his country, were
received as current without strict examination. It seemed that
Buonaparte on his retirement to Elba, had carried away with him all the
offences of the French people, like the scapegoat, which the Levitical
law directed to be driven into the wilderness, loaded with the sins of
the children of Israel. There was, in all the proceedings of the allied
powers, not only moderation, but a studied delicacy, observed towards
the feelings of the French, which almost savoured of romantic
generosity. They seemed as desirous to disguise their conquest, as the
Parisians were to conceal their defeat. The treasures of art, those
spoils of foreign countries, which justice loudly demanded should be
restored to their true owners, were confirmed to the French nation, in
order to gratify the vanity of the metropolis. By a boon yet more fatal,
announced to the public in one of those moments of romantic, and more
than questionable generosity, which we have alluded to, the whole French
prisoners of war in the mass, and without inquiry concerning their
principles, or the part they were likely to take in future internal
divisions, were at once restored to the bosom of their country. This was
in fact treating the French nation as a heedless nurse does a spoiled
child, when she puts into its hands the knife which it cries for. The
fatal consequences of this improvident indulgence appeared early in the
subsequent year.


The Senate of Napoleon, when they called the Bourbons to the throne, had
not done so without making stipulations on the part of the nation, and
also upon their own. For the first purpose they framed a decree, under
which they "called to the throne Louis Stanislaus Xavier, brother of the
last King," but upon condition of his accepting a constitution of their
framing. This assumed right of dictating a constitution, and naming a
king for the nation, was accompanied by another provision, declaring the
Senate hereditary, and confirming to themselves, and their heirs for
ever, the rank, honours, and emoluments, which in Napoleon's time they
only enjoyed for life.

The King refused to acknowledge the right of the Senate, either to
dictate the terms on which he should ascend a throne, his own by
hereditary descent, and to which he had never forfeited his claim; or to
engross, as their own exclusive property, the endowments provided to
their order by Buonaparte. He, therefore, assumed the crown as the
lineal and true representative of him by whom it was last worn; and
issued his own constitutional charter as a concession which the spirit
of the times demanded, and which he had himself no desire to withhold.

The objections to this mode of proceeding were, practically speaking, of
no consequence. It signified nothing to the people of France, whether
the constitution was proposed to the King by the national
representatives, or by the King to them, so that it contained, in an
irrevocable form, a full ratification of the national liberties. But for
the King to have acknowledged himself the creature of the Senate's
election would have been at once to recognise every ephemeral tyranny
which had started up and fretted its part on the revolutionary stage;
and to have sanctioned all subsequent attempts at innovation, since they
who make kings and authorities must have the inherent right to dethrone
and annul them. It should not be forgotten how the British nation acted
on the great occasions of the Restoration and Revolution; recognising,
at either crisis, the right of blood to succeed to the crown, whether
vacant by the murder of Charles I., or the abdication of James II. In
principle, too, it may be observed, that in all modern European nations,
the king is nominally the source both of law and justice; and that
statutes are promulgated, and sentences executed in his name, without
inferring that he has the despotic right either to make the one, or to
alter the other. Although, therefore, the constitution of France
emanated in the usual form of a royal charter, the King was no more
empowered to recall or innovate its provisions, than King John to
abrogate those of the English Magna Charta. Monsieur, the King's
brother, had promised in his name, upon his solemn entrance to Paris,
that Louis would recognise the basis of the constitution prepared by the
Senate. This pledge was fully redeemed by the charter, and wise men
would have been more anxious to secure the benefits which it bestowed,
than scrupulously to cavil on the mode in which they had been conferred.

In fact, Louis had adopted not only the form most consonant to ancient
usage, but that which he thought most likely to satisfy both the
royalists and the revolutionary party. He ascended the throne as his
natural right; and, having done so, he willingly granted to the people,
in an irrevocable form, the substantial principles of a free
constitution. But both parties were rather displeased at what they
considered as lost, than gratified at what they gained by this
arrangement. The royalists regarded the constitution, with its
concessions, as a voluntary abandonment of the royal prerogative; while
the revolutionary party exclaimed, that the receiving the charter from
the King as an act of his will was in itself a badge of servitude; and
that the same royal prerogative which had granted these privileges,
might, if recognised, be supposed to reserve the power of diminishing or
resuming them at pleasure. And thus it is, that folly, party-spirit,
pride, and passion, can misrepresent the best measures, and so far
poison the public mind, that the very granting the object of their
desires shall be made the subject of new complaints.


The formation of the ministry gave rise to more serious grounds of
apprehension and censure. The various offices of administration were,
upon the restoration, left in possession of persons selected from those
who had been named by the Provisional Government. All the members of the
Provisional State Council were called to be royal ministers of the
State. Many of these, though possessed of reputed talents, were men
hackneyed in the changes of the Revolution; and were not, and could not
be, intrusted with the King's confidence beyond the bounds of the
province which each administered.

Talleyrand, minister for foreign affairs, whose talents and experience
might have given him claim to the situation of prime minister, was
unpopular from his political versatility; and it was judged, after a
time, most expedient to send him to the Congress at Vienna, that his
diplomatic skill might be employed in arranging the exterior relations
of France with the other powers of Europe. Yet the absence of this
consummate statesman was of great prejudice to the King's affairs. His
having preserved life, distinction, and frequently power, during so many
revolutionary changes, proved, according to the phrase of the old Earl
of Pembroke, that "he was born of the willow, not of the oak." But it
was the opinion of the wisest men in France, that it was not fair,
considering the times in which he lived, to speak of his attachment to,
or defection from, individuals; but to consider the general conduct and
maxims which he recommended relative to the interests of France. It has
been truly said, that, after the first errors and ebullitions of
republican zeal, if he were measured by this standard, he must be judged
favourably. The councils which he gave to Napoleon were all calculated,
it was said, for the good of the nation, and so were the measures which
he recommended to the King. Much of this is really true; yet, when we
think of the political consistency of the Prince of Beneventum, we
cannot help recollecting the personal virtue of a female follower of the
camp, which consisted in strict fidelity to the grenadier company.

Dupont was promoted to the situation of minister at war, owing, perhaps,
to the persecution he had undergone from Buonaparte, in consequence of
his surrender at Baylen to the Spaniards. Soult was afterwards called to
this important office; how recommended, it would be vain to inquire.
When Napoleon heard of his appointment from the English resident, he
observed that it would be a wise and good one, if no _patriotic_ party
should show itself in France; but, if such should arise, he intimated
plainly that there would be no room for the Bourbons to rest faith upon
Soult's adherence to their cause; and so it proved.

To add still farther to the inconveniences of this state of
administration, Louis XVIII. had a favourite, although he had no prime
minister. Count Blacas d'Aulps, minister of the household, an ancient
and confidential attendant on the royal person during his exile, was
understood to be the channel through which the King's wishes were
communicated to the other ministers; and his protection was supposed to
afford the surest access to the favours of the crown.

Without doing his master the service of a premier, or holding either the
power or the responsibility of that high situation, De Blacas had the
full share of odium usually attached to it. The royalists, who pressed
on him for grants which were in the departments of other ministers,
resented his declining to interfere in their favour, as if, having
satisfied his own ambition, he had become indifferent to the interest of
those with whom he had been a joint sufferer during the emigration. The
opposite party, on the other hand, represented Count Blacas as an
absolute minister, an emigrant himself, and the patron of emigrants; a
royalist of the highest class, and an enemy, of course, to all the
constitutional stipulations in favour of liberty. Thus far it is
certain, that the unpopularity of M. de Blacas, with all ranks and
parties in the state, had the worst possible influence on the King's
affairs; and as his credit was ascribed to a blind as well as an
obstinate attachment on the part of Louis, the monarch was of course
involved in the unpopularity of the minister of the household.


The terms of the peace, as we have already hinted, had been studiously
calculated to recommend it to the feelings of the French people. France
was, indeed, stripped of that extended sway which rendered her dangerous
to the independence of other European nations, and reduced, generally
speaking, to the boundaries which she occupied on the 1st of January
1792. Still the bargain was not harshly driven. Several small additions
were left with her on the side of Germany and the Netherlands, and on
that of Savoy she had the considerable towns of Chamberri, Annecy,
Avignon, with the Venaisson and Mont Belliard, included in her
territories.[73] But these concessions availed little; and looking upon
what they had lost, many of the French people, after the recollections
had subsided of their escape from a dreadful war, were naturally,
however unreasonably, disposed to murmur against the reduction of their
territories, and to insist that Belgium, at least, should have remained
with them. This opinion was encouraged and pressed by the Buonapartists,
who considered the cession of that country with the more evil eye,
because it was understood to have been a point urged by England.

Yet if England played a proud, it was also a generous part. She had
nothing to stipulate, nothing of which to demand restitution, for she
had sustained no territorial loss during the whole period of
hostilities. The war, which had nearly ruined most other nations, had
put Britain in possession of all the colonies of France, and left the
latter country neither a ship nor a port in the East or West Indies;
and, to sum the whole, it was not in the power of united Europe to take
from England by force any one of the conquests which she had thus made.
The question therefore, only was, what Britain was voluntarily to cede
to an enemy who could give her no equivalent, excepting the pledge to
adopt better principles, and to act no longer as the disturber of
Europe. The cessions were such in number and amount, as to show that
England was far above the mean and selfish purpose of seeking a colonial
monopoly, or desiring to destroy the possibility of commercial rivalry.
All was restored to France, excepting only Tobago and the Mauritius.

These sacrifices, made in the spirit of peace and moderation, were not
made in vain. They secured to Britain the gratitude and respect of other
states, and, giving to her councils that character of justice and
impartiality which constitutes the best national strength, they placed
her in a situation of more influence and eminence in the civilized world
than the uncontrolled possession of all the cotton-fields and
sugar-islands of the east and west could ever have raised her to. Still,
with respect to France in particular, the peace was not recommended by
the eminence to which it had raised England. The rivalry, so long termed
national, and which had been so carefully fostered by every state paper
or political statement which Buonaparte had permitted to be published,
rankled even in generous and honourable minds; and so prejudiced are the
views of passion, that by mistaking each other's national feelings,
there were many Frenchmen induced to believe that the superiority
attained by Great Britain was to a certain degree an insult and
degradation to France.

Every thing, indeed, which ought to have soothed and gratified the
French people, was at last, by irritated feelings and artful
misrepresentation, converted into a subject of complaint and grievance.

The government of Napoleon had been as completely despotic as it could
be rendered in a civilized country like France, where public opinion
forbade its being carried to barbaric extreme. On the contrary, in the
charter, France was endowed with most of the elementary principles of a
free and liberal constitution. The King had adopted, in all points of a
general and national tendency, the principles proposed in the rejected
constitutional act of the Senate.

The Chamber of Peers and Chamber of Deputies were the titles applied to
the aristocratical and popular branches of the constitution, instead of
the Senate and Legislative body. Their public duties were divided
something like those of the Houses of Peers and Commons in England. The
independence of the judicial order was recognised, and the military were
confirmed in their rank and revenues. The Chamber of Peers was to be
nominated by the King, with power to his Majesty to create its members
for life, or hereditary, at his pleasure. The income of the suppressed
Senate was resumed, and vested in the crown, excepting confiscated
property, which was restored to the lawful owners. The Catholic religion
was declared to be that of the State, but all other Christian sects
were to be protected. The King's authority was recognised as head of the
army, and the power of making peace and war was vested in him
exclusively. The liberty of the press was established, but under certain
restraints. The conscription was abolished--the responsibility of
ministers recognised; and it may be said, in general, that a
constitution was traced out, good so far as it went, and susceptible of
receiving the farther improvements which time and experience might
recommend. The charter[74] was presented to the Legislative Body by the
King in person, [June 4,] with a speech, which announced, that the
principles which it recognised were such as had been adopted in the will
of his unfortunate brother, Louis XVI.[75]

Yet, though this charter contained a free surrender of great part of the
royal rights which the old race of Bourbons had enjoyed, as well as of
all the arbitrary power which Napoleon had usurped, we have seen that it
was unacceptable to an active and influential party in the state, who
disdained to accept security for property and freedom under the ancient
forms of a feudal charter, and contended that it ought to have emanated
directly from the will of the Sovereign People. We have no hesitation in
saying, that this was as reasonable as the conduct of a spoiled child,
who refuses what is _given_ to him, because he is not suffered to _take_
it; or the wisdom of an hungry man, who should quarrel with his dinner,
because he does not admire the shape of the dish in which it is served

This is the common-sense view of the subject. If the constitution
contained the necessary guarantees of political freedom and security of
life and property; if it was to be looked to as the permanent settlement
and bulwark of the liberties of France, and considered as a final and
decided arrangement, liable indeed to be improved by the joint consent
of the sovereign, and the legal representatives of the subject, but not
to be destroyed by any or all of these authorities, it was a matter of
utter unimportance, whether the system was constructed in the form of a
charter granted by the King, or that of conditions dictated to him by
the subject. But if there was to be a retrospect to the ephemeral
existence of all the French constitutions hitherto, excepting that under
which Buonaparte had enthralled the people, then perhaps the question
might be entertained, whether the feudal or the revolutionary form was
most likely to be innovated; or, in other words, whether the conditions
attached to the plan of government now adopted, was most likely to be
innovated upon by the King, or by the body who represented the people.

Assuming the fatal doctrine, that the party in whose name the conditions
of the constitution are expressed, is entitled to suspend, alter, or
recall them, sound policy dictated, that the apparent power of granting
should be ascribed to the party least able and willing to recall or
innovate upon the grant which he had made. In this view of the case, it
might be reckoned upon that the King, unsupported, unless by the
Royalists, who were few in number, unpopular from circumstances, and for
the present divested, excepting nominally, of the great instrument of
achieving despotic power, the undisputed command, namely, of the army,
would be naturally unwilling to risk the continuance of his authority by
any attempt to innovate upon those conditions, which he had by his own
charter assured to the people. On the contrary, conditions formed and
decreed by the Senate of Buonaparte, might on the popular party's
resuming the ascendency, be altered or recalled by the chambers with the
same levity and fickleness which the people of France, or at least those
acting as their representatives, had so often displayed. To give
permanence to the constitution, therefore, it was best it should emanate
from the party most interested in preserving it, and least able to
infringe it; and that undoubtedly, as France stood at the time, was the
sovereign. In Great Britain, the constitution is accounted more secure,
because the King is the source of law, of honour, and of all ministerial
and executive power; whilst he is responsible to the nation through his
ministers, for the manner in which that power is exercised. An
arrangement of a different kind would expose the branches of the
legislature to a discordant struggle, which ought never to be
contemplated as possible.

The zealous liberalists of France were induced, however, to mutiny
against the name under which their free constitution was assigned them,
and to call back Buonaparte, who had abolished the very semblance of
freedom, rather than to accept at the hands of a peaceful monarch, the
degree of liberty which they themselves had acquired. The advantages
which they gained will appear in the sequel.

Thus setting out with varying and contradictory opinions of the nature
and origin of the new constitution, the parties in the state regarded it
rather as a fortress to be attacked and defended, than as a temple in
which all men were called to worship.


The French of this period might be divided into three distinct and
active parties--Royalists; Liberals of every shade, down to Republicans;
and Buonapartists. And it becomes our duty to say a few words concerning
each of these.

The ROYALISTS, while they added little real strength to the King by
their numbers, attracted much jealous observation from their high birth
and equally high pretensions; embroiled his affairs by their imprudent
zeal; embittered his peace by their just and natural complaints; and
drew suspicion on his government at every effort which he made to serve
and relieve them. They consisted chiefly of the emigrant nobles and

The former class were greatly reduced in number by war and exile;
insomuch, that to the House of Peers, consisting of one hundred and
seventy, and upwards, the ancient nobles of France supplied only thirty.
The rest were the fortunate maréchals and generals, whom the wars of the
Revolution had raised to rank and wealth; and the statesmen, many of
whom had attained the same station by less honourable means of
elevation. The old noblesse, after their youth had been exhausted, their
fortunes destroyed, and their spirits broken, while following through
foreign countries the adverse fortunes of the exiled Bourbons, beheld
the restoration, indeed, of the monarchy, but were themselves recalled
to France only to see their estates occupied, and their hereditary
offices around the person of the monarch filled, by the fortunate
children of the Revolution. Like the disappointed English cavaliers,
they might well complain that though none had wished more earnestly for
the return of the legitimate prince, yet none had shared so little in
the benefits attending it. By a natural, and yet a perverse mode of
reasoning, the very injuries which the nobility had sustained, rendered
them the objects of suspicion to the other ranks and parties of the
state. They had been the companions of the King's exile, were connected
with him by the ties of friendship, and had near access to his person by
the right of blood. Could it be in nature, it was asked, that Louis
could see their sufferings without attempting to relieve them; and how
could he do so in the present state of France, unless at the expense of
those who occupied or aspired to civil and military preferment, or of
those who had acquired during the Revolution the national domains which
those nobles once possessed? Yet the alarm was founded rather on
suspicion than on facts. Of the preferment of emigrants in the army, we
shall speak hereafter; but in the civil departments of the state, few of
the old noblesse obtained office. To take a single example, in the
course of eleven months there were thirty-seven prefects nominated to
the departments, and the list did not comprehend a single one of those
emigrants who returned to France with Louis; and but very few of those
whose exile had terminated more early. The nobles felt this exclusion
from royal favour, and expressed their complaints, which some, yet more
imprudently, mingled with threatening hints, that their day of triumph
might yet arrive. This language, as well as the air of exclusive dignity
and distance which they affected, as if, the distinction of their birth
being all that they had left to them, they were determined to enforce
the most punctilious deference to that, was carefully remarked and
recorded against the King.

The noblesse were supposed to receive particular encouragement from the
princes of the blood, while, upon the whole, they were rather
discouraged than brought forward or distinguished by Louis, who, as many
of them spared not to say, was disposed to act upon the ungenerous maxim
of courting his enemies, and neglecting those who could not upon
principle become any thing save his friends. They did not, perhaps, make
sufficient allowance for the great difficulties which the King incurred
in governing France at so critical a period.

[Sidenote: THE CLERGY.]

The state of the Clergy is next to be considered. They were, generally
speaking, sincerely attached to the King; and had they been in
possession of their revenues, and of their natural influence upon the
public mind, their attachment would have been of the utmost consequence.
But without this influence, and without the wealth, or at least the
independence, on which it partly rests, they were as useless,
politically speaking, as a key which does not fit the lock to which it
is applied. This state of things, unfortunate in many respects, flowed
from a maxim adopted during the Revolution, and followed by Buonaparte,
who had his reasons for fearing the influence of the clergy. "We will
not put down the ecclesiastical establishment by force; we will starve
it to death." Accordingly, all grants and bequests to the Church had
been limited and qualified by so many conditions and restrictions, as to
intercept that mode of acquisition so fruitful in a Catholic country;
while, on the other hand, the salary allowed by the State to each
officiating curate was only five hundred livres (£26, 16s. 8d.) yearly.
No doubt each community were permitted to subscribe what they pleased in
addition to this miserable pittance; but in France, when the number of
those who care for no religion at all, and of those whose zeal will not
lead them the length of paying for it, is deduced, the remainder will
afford but a small list of subscribers. The consequence was, that at the
period of the restoration, many parishes were, and had been for years,
without any public worship. Ignorance had increased in an incalculable
degree. "We are informed," was the communication from Buonaparte to one
of his prefects, "that dangerous books are distributed in your
department."--"Were the roads sown with them," was the answer returned
by the prefect, "your Majesty need not fear their influence; we have not
a man who would or could read them."--When we add to this the relaxed
state of public morals, the pains taken in the beginning of the
Revolution to eradicate the sentiments of religion, and render its
professors ridiculous, and the prevalence of the military character, so
conspicuous through France, and so unfavourable to devotion; and when it
is further remembered that all the wealth of the Church had fallen into
the hands of the laity, which were fast clenched to retain it, and
trembling at the same time lest it should be wrested from them--the
reader may, from all these causes, form some notion of the low ebb of
religion and of the Church in France.

The disposition of the King and Royal Family to restore the formal
observances of the Romish Church, as well as to provide the suitable
means of educating in future those designed for the ministry, and other
religious institutions, excited among the Parisians a feeling of hatred
and contempt. It must be owned, also, that though the abstract motive
was excellent, there was little wisdom in attempting to bring back the
nation to all those mummeries of Popish ceremonial, which, long before
the Revolution, only subsisted through inveterate custom, having lost
all influence on the public mind.

This general feeling was increased by particular events. Alarming
tumults took place, on the subject of enforcing a rule unworthy of
Christianity and civilisation, by which theatrical performers are
declared in a constant state of excommunication. The rites of sepulture
being refused to Mademoiselle Raucour, an actress, but a person of
decent character and morals, occasioned a species of insurrection, which
compelled from the government an order for interring her with the usual

The enforcing of the more regular observation of the Sabbath, an order
warranted alike by religion and good morals, gave also great offence to
the inhabitants of the capital. The solemn obsequies performed for the
death of Louis XVI. and his unfortunate queen, when their remains were
transferred from their hasty grave to the royal mausoleum at Saint
Denis, a fraternal action, and connected with the forms of the Catholic
Church--was also construed to the King's prejudice, as if, by the honour
paid to these poor relics, he had intended to mark his hatred of the
Revolution, and his recollection of the injuries he had sustained from
it.[77] Some honours and attention bestowed on the few surviving chiefs
of La Vendée, were equally the subject of misrepresentation. In short,
whatever Louis XVIII. did, which had the least appearance of gratifying
those who had lost all for his sake, was accounted an act of treason
against freedom and the principles of the Revolution.

None of the circumstances we have noticed had, however, so much effect
upon the public feeling as the fear which prevailed, that Louis, in his
veneration for religion and its members, might be led to form some
scheme of resuming the Church lands, which, having been confiscated by
the decrees of the National Assembly, were now occupied by a host of
proprietors, who watched, with vigilant jealousy, incipient measures,
which they feared might end in resumption of their property. Imprudent
priests added to this distrust and jealousy, by denunciations against
those who held Church lands, and by refusing to grant them absolution
unless they made restitution or compensation for them. This distrust
spread far wider than among the actual proprietors of national domains.
For if these were threatened with resumption of the property they had
acquired under authority of the existing government for the time, it was
most probable that the divine right of the clergy to a tithe of the
produce of the earth, might next have been brought forward--a claim
involving the interest of every landholder and farmer in France to a
degree almost incalculable.

It is plain, from what we have stated, that the Royalist party, whether
lay or clerical, were so little in a condition to be effectually
serviceable to the King in the event of a struggle, that while their
adherence and their sufferings claimed his attachment and gratitude,
every mark which he afforded them of those feelings was calculated to
render his government suspected and unpopular.

[Sidenote: THE JACOBINS.]

Whilst the Royalists rather sapped and encumbered than supported the
throne to which they adhered, their errors were carefully pointed out,
circulated, and exaggerated, by the Jacobin, or as they called
themselves, the Patriotic party. This faction, small in numbers, but
formidable from their audacity, their union, and the dreadful
recollection of their former power and principles, consisted of
ex-generals, whose laurels had faded with the Republic; ex-ministers and
functionaries, whose appointments and influence had not survived the
downfall of the Directory; men of letters, who hoped again to rule the
state by means of proclamations and journals; and philosophers, to whose
vanity or enthusiasm abstract principles of unattainable liberty, and
undesirable equality, were dearer than all the oceans of blood, and
extent of guilt and misery, which they had already cost, and were likely
again to occasion. It cannot be denied, that, in the discussion of the
original rights of humanity, and constitutions of society, several of
this party showed distinguished talent, and that their labours were
calculated to keep up a general love of liberty, and to promote inquiry
into the principles upon which it is founded. Unfortunately, however,
their theoretical labours in framing constitutions diverted their
attention from the essential points of government, to its mere external
form, and led them, for example, to prefer a republic, where every
species of violence was practised by the little dictator of the day, to
a limited monarchy, under which life, person, and property, were
protected. The chiefs of this party were men of that presumptuous and
undoubting class, who, after having failed repeatedly in political
experiments, were as ready as ever again to undertake them, with the
same unhesitating and self-deceptive confidence of success. They were
never satisfied even with what they themselves had done; for as there is
no end of aiming at an ideal perfection in any human establishment, they
proceeded with alterations on their own work, as if what Butler says of
religion had been true in politics, and that a form of government

                      "was intended
    For nothing else but to be mended."

Danger did not appal the sages of this school. Many of them had been
familiar with, and hardened to the perils of the most desperate
revolutionary intrigues, by their familiar acquaintance with the springs
which set each in motion, and were ready to recommence their desperate
labours with as little forethought as belongs to the labourers in a
powder-mill, which has exploded ten times during their remembrance, and
destroyed the greater number of their comrades. In the character of
these self-entitled philosophers and busy agitators, vanity as well as
egotism were leading principles. The one quality persuaded them, that
they might be able, by dint of management, to avert danger from
themselves; and the other rendered them indifferent respecting the
safety of others.

During the government of Buonaparte, this Jacobinical party was
repressed by a strong hand. He knew, by experience of every sort, their
restless, intriguing, and dangerous disposition. They also knew and
feared his strength, and his unscrupulous use of it. The return of the
Bourbons called them into life, like the sun which thaws the frozen
adder; but it was only to show how they hated the beams which revived
them. The Bourbon dynasty, with all the remembrances it combined, seemed
to this faction the very opposite to their favourite Revolution; and
they studied with malignant assiduity the degree of liberty afforded by
the national charter, not in order to defend or to enjoy it, but to
discover how it might be made the vantage-ground for overthrowing both
the throne and the constitution.

Carnot and Fouché, formidable names, and revolutionists from their youth
upward, were the ostensible leaders of this active party, and most of
the surviving revolutionists rallied under their standards. These
agitators had preserved some influence over the lees of the people, and
were sure to find the means of augmenting it in the moment of popular
commotion. The rabble of a great town is democratical and revolutionary
by nature; for their vanity is captivated with such phrases as the
sovereignty of the people, their sense of poverty and licentious fury
tempted by occasion for uproar, and they regard the restraints of laws
and good order as their constant and natural enemies. It is upon this
envenomed and corrupted mass of evil passions that the experimental
philosophers of the Revolution have always exercised their chemical
skill. Of late, however, the intercourse between the philosophers of the
Revolution and this class of apt and docile scholars had been
considerably interrupted. Buonaparte, as we have hinted, restrained with
a strong hand the teachers of the Revolutionary school; while, by the
eclat of his victories, his largesses, and his expensive undertakings,
in which many workmen were employed, he debauched from them great part
of their popular disciples, who may be said, with the inconsequence and
mutability belonging to their habits, principles, and temper, to have
turned imperialists, without losing their natural aptitude to become
Jacobins again on the next tempting opportunity.


The party of Imperialists or Buonapartists, if we lay the army out of
view, was small and unimportant. The public functionaries, whom the King
had displaced from the situations of emolument which they held under the
Emperor--courtiers, prefects, commissioners, clerks, and
commissaries--whose present means and future hopes were cut off, were of
course disobliged and discontented men, who looked with a languishing
eye towards the island of Elba. The immediate family connexions,
favourites, and ministers of the late Emperor, confident in the wealth
which most of them had acquired, and resenting the insignificance to
which they were reduced by the restoration of the Bourbons, lent to this
party the activity which money, and the habit of political intrigue, can
at all times communicate. But the real and tremendous strength of the
Buonapartists lay in the attachment of the existing army to its
abdicated general. This was the more formidable, as the circumstances of
the times, and the prevailing military character of the French nation,
had raised the soldiers from their proper and natural character of
servants of the state, into a distinct deliberative body, having
interests of their own, which were in their nature incompatible with
those of the commonwealth; since the very profession of arms implies an
aptitude to a state of war, which, to all other ranks in the state, the
army itself excepted, may indeed be a necessary and unavoidable evil,
but never can be a real advantage.

The King could not be accused of neglecting to cultivate the affections,
soothe the prejudices, and gratify the wishes of the army. The fact is,
that the unprecedented difficulties of his situation forced him to study
how to manage by flattery, and by the most imprudent indulgences and
favours, the only part of his subjects, who, according to the rules of
all well-governed states, ought to be subjected to absolute authority.
Every effort was made to gratify the feelings of the troops, and the
utmost exertions were made to remount, re-establish, and re-clothe them.
Their ranks were augmented by upwards of 150,000 prisoners of war, whose
minds were in general actuated by the desire of avenging the dishonour
and hardship of their defeat and captivity, and whose presence greatly
increased the discontent as well as the strength of the French army.

While the King cultivated the affections of the common soldiers with
very imperfect success, he was more fortunate in attaching to himself
the maréchals, whom he treated with the utmost respect and kindness.
They were gratified by his attentions, and, having most of them some
recent reason to complain of Napoleon, it is possible, that had they
possessed absolute, or even very extensive interest with the army, that
disturbance in the state of the nation which ensued, could not possibly
have taken place. But while Napoleon had preserved towards the maréchals
the distance at which a sovereign keeps subjects, he was often familiar
with the inferior officers and soldiers, and took care to keep himself
in their eye, and occupy their attention personally. He desired that his
generals should resemble the hilt of the sword, which may be changed at
pleasure, while the army was the blade itself, and retained the same
temper, notwithstanding such partial alteration. Thus, the direct and
personal interest of the Emperor superseded, in the soldier's bosom, all
attachment to his lieutenants.


It would be wasting time to show reasons, why the French army should
have been attached to Napoleon. They could not be supposed to forget the
long career of success which they had pursued under his banner, the
pensions granted in foreign countries which were now retrenched, and the
licensed plunder of their Emperor's unceasing campaigns. At present,
they conceived the King proposed to reduce their numbers so soon as he
could with safety, and imagined their very existence was about to be at

Nor was it only the selfish interests of the army which rendered them
discontented. The sense of honour, as it was called, or rather the
vanity of military ascendency and national aggrandisement, had been
inspired by Buonaparte into all classes of his subjects, though they
were chiefly cherished by his companions in arms. According to their
opinion, the glory of France had risen with Buonaparte, and sunk with
him for ever; not, as they fondly contended, through the superior force
of the enemy, but by the treachery of Marmont, and the other generals
whom Napoleon trusted. This sentiment passed from the ranks of the
soldiers into other classes of society, all of which are in France
deeply susceptible of what is represented to them as national glory; and
it was again echoed back to the soldiers from fields, from workshops,
from manufactories. All began to agree, that they had received the
Bourbons from the hands of foreign conquerors; and that the King's reign
had only commenced, because France had been conquered, and Paris
surrendered. They remembered that the allies had declared the
restoration of the ancient family was combined with the restriction of
France within the ancient limits; and that, accordingly, the first act
of Monsieur, as lieutenant of the kingdom, had been to order the
surrender of upwards of fifty fortresses beyond the frontiers, which
Buonaparte, it was supposed, would have rendered the means of
re-acquiring the conquests, of which fortune or treachery had for a time
bereft him. The meanest follower of the camp affected to feel his share
in the national disgrace of losing provinces, to which France had no
title save that of military usurpation. The hope that the government
would at least endeavour to reconquer Belgium, so convenient for France,
and which, as they contended, fell within her natural boundaries, served
for a time to combat these feelings; but when it was perceived plainly
that the government of France neither could nor would engage in external
war, for this or any other object, the discontent of the army became
universal, and they might be pronounced ripe for any desperate

Among the soldiers, the late Imperial Guards were distinguished for
their sullen enmity to the new order of things, and deemed themselves
insulted at the guard of the King's person being committed to a body of
household troops, selected as approved loyalists. The army were also
much disgusted, that the decorations of the Legion of Honour had been
distributed with a profusion, which seemed intended to diminish its
value. But the course of promotion was the deepest source of discontent.
The princes of the blood-royal had been early declared colonels-general
by the King; and the army soon discovered, or supposed they discovered,
that under their auspices the superior ranks of the army were likely to
be filled by the emigrant nobility, whose military service was
considered as having been continued, while they were in attendance upon
the King during his exile. The most indecent competition was thus
excited between those whose claims were founded on their devoted
attachment to the House of Bourbon, and those who had borne arms against
that family, but still in the service of France. The truth is, that the
derangement of the finances, and the jealousy of the ministers, each of
whom claimed the exclusive patronage of his own department, left the
King no means so ready for discharging his debts of gratitude, and
affording the means of subsistence to his ancient friends and adherents,
as by providing for them in the army. The measure, though perhaps
unavoidable, was in many respects undesirable. Old men, past the age of
service, or young men who had never known it, were, in virtue of these
claims, placed in situations, to which the actual warriors conceived
they had bought a title by their laurels and their scars. The appearance
of the superannuated emigrants, who were thus promoted to situations
ill-suited to age and infirmity, raised the ridicule and contempt of
Buonaparte's soldiers, while the patrician haughtiness, and youthful
presumption, of the younger nobles, excited their indignation. The
agents and friends of Buonaparte suffered not these passions to cool.
"There is a plot of the royalists against you," was incessantly repeated
to the regiments upon which these new officers were imposed. "The
Bourbons cannot think themselves safe while those who shared the
triumphs of Napoleon have either honour or existence. Your ranks are
subjected to the command of dotards, who have never drawn a sword in
battle, or who have served only in the emigrant bands of Condé, or among
the insurgent Chouans and Vendéans. What security have you against being
disbanded on a day's notice? And if the obligations of the government to
you bind them, as it would seem, so slightly, will you consider yours to
them as of a stricter description?" Such insinuations, and such
reasoning, inflamed the prejudices of the army. Disaffection spread
generally through their ranks; and, long before the bold attempt of
Napoleon, his former soldiery were almost universally prepared to aid
him in the recovery of his power.

The state of active political parties in France, we have thus described;
but, as is usual, the mass of the population were somewhat indifferent
to their principles, unless in moments of excitation. Parties in a
state are to the people at large what the winds are to the ocean. That
which predominates for the time, rolls the tide in its own direction;
the next day it is hushed, and the waves are under a different
influence. The people of France at large were averse to the Republicans
or Jacobins. They retained too awful an impression of the horrors of the
tyranny exercised by these political fanatics, to regard them otherwise
than with terror. They were as little Buonapartists; because they
dreaded the restless temper of him who gave name to this faction, and
saw that while he was at the head of the French government, the state of
war must be perpetual. They could not be termed Royalists, for they
comprehended many with whom the name of Bourbon had lost its charms; and
a very large proportion of the country had their fortune and prosperity
so intimately connected with the Revolution, that they were not disposed
to afford any countenance to the re-establishment of the monarchy on its
ancient footing.

Upon the whole, this class of Frenchmen who may be called moderates, or
constitutionalists, and who contained the great bulk of the men of
property, substance, and education, hoped well of the King's government.
His good sense, humanity, love of justice, moderation, and other
valuable qualities, recommended him to their esteem, and they thought
his restoration might be considered as the guarantee of a lasting peace
with the other nations of Europe. But they dreaded and deprecated that
counter revolutionary _reaction_, as the established phrase was, which
was regarded as the object of the princes of the blood, the nobility,
and the clergy. The property of many of the constitutionalists was
vested in national domains, and they watched with doubt and fear every
step which the emigrant nobility and clergy seemed disposed to take for
recovery of their former rights.

On this subject the moderate party were sensitively jealous, and the
proceedings which took place in the Chamber of Deputies threw striking
light on the state of the public mind. We must, therefore, turn the
reader's attention in that direction.

A petty riot, concerning precedence, had arisen in a church called
Durnac, between the seigneur of the parish, and the mayor of the
commune. The mayor brought the affair before the Chamber of Deputies by
a violent petition, in which he generalized his complaint against the
whole body of emigrants, whom he accused of desiring to place themselves
above the constituted authorities, and to treat France as a conquered
country. The Chamber, 20th November, 1814, treated the language of the
petition as calumnious, and the squabble as unworthy of their notice.
But the debate called forth expressions which intimated a suspicion that
there existed a dark and secret system, which tended to sow the seeds of
discord and anarchy among the citizens, and to resuscitate pretensions
incompatible with the laws. "It was," said the member[78] who made this
statement, "important to impress every class of Frenchmen with the
great idea, that there was no safety for France, for the King, for every
member of society, but in the maintenance of those constitutional
principles on which were founded the laws for protecting the whole."


The claims of the emigrants for restoration of their forfeited property,
were, abstractedly, as just and indubitable as that of the King to the
throne. But the political considerations in which they were involved,
rendered any general attempt to enforce those claims the sure signal of
civil war; a civil war almost certain to end in a second expatriation,
both of the royal family and their followers. In this dilemma,
government seems to have looked anxiously for some means of compromise
which might afford relief to the emigrants, without innovating on that
article of the charter which ratified the sale of national domains. M.
Ferrand brought forward in the Chamber of Delegates, a motion [Dec. 3]
for the restoration of such estates of emigrants as yet remained unsold.
But this involved a question respecting the rights of the much more
numerous class whose property had been seized upon by the state, and
disposed of to third parties, to whom it was guaranteed by the charter.
Since these gentlemen could not be restored _ex jure_, to their estates,
as was proposed towards their more fortunate brethren, they had at least
a title to the price which had been surrogated in place of the property,
of which price the nation had still possession.

These proposals called forward M. Durbach, who charged Ferrand with the
fatal purpose of opening the door on the vast subject of national
domains. "Already," continued the orator, "the two extremities of the
kingdom have resounded with the words of the minister, as with the claps
which precede the thunderbolt. The effect which they have produced has
been so rapid and so general, that all civil transactions have been at
once suspended. A general distrust and excessive fear have caused a
stagnation, the effects of which even the royal treasury has felt. The
proprietors of national property can no longer sell or mortgage their
estates. They are suddenly reduced to poverty in the very bosom of
wealth. Whence arises this calamity? The cause of it is the declaration
of the minister, that the property they possess does not legally belong
to them. For this is, in fact, the consequence of his assertion, that
'the law recognises in the emigrants a right to property which always

The celebrated Maréchal Macdonald, a friend at once of monarchy and
freedom, of France and the Bourbons, undertook to bring forward a plan
for satisfying the emigrants, as far as the condition of the nation
permitted; and giving, at the same time, some indemnity for the pensions
assigned by Buonaparte to his veteran soldiers, which, during his reign,
had been paid from countries beyond the verge of France, until after the
retreat from Moscow, when they ceased to be paid at all. The maréchal's
statement of the extent of the sale of the national domains, shows how
formidable the task of undoing that extensive transference of property
must necessarily have been; the number of persons directly or indirectly
interested in the question of their security, amounting to nine or ten
millions. "Against this Colossus," continued the maréchal, "whose height
the eye cannot measure, some impotent efforts would affect to direct
themselves; but the wisdom of the King has foreseen this danger, even
for the sake of those imprudent persons who might have exposed
themselves to it." He proceeded, in a very eloquent strain, to eulogize
the conduct of the emigrants, to express respect for their persons,
compassion for their misfortunes, honour for their fidelity, and
proceeded to observe, that the existence of these old proprietors, as
having claims on the estates which had been acquired by others, placed
them in a situation which ought not to exist. He therefore proposed that
the nation should satisfy the claims of these unfortunate gentlemen, if
not in full, at least upon such terms of composition as had been applied
to other national obligations. Upon this footing, he calculated that an
annuity of twelve millions of livres yearly, would pay off the claims of
the various emigrants of all descriptions. He next drew a picture of the
distressed veteran soldiers; pensioners of the state who had been
reduced to distress by the discontinuance of their pensions, bought with
their blood in a thousand battles. Three millions more of livres he
computed as necessary to discharge this sacred obligation.[79]

There was wisdom, manliness, and generosity in the plan of Maréchal
Macdonald; and, could it have been carried into decisive execution, it
would have greatly appeased the fears and jealousies of the proprietors
of national domains, and shown an impartiality betwixt the claims of the
emigrants and those of the army, which ought to have conciliated both.
Unhappily, funds were awanting, and the royal government, so far from
being able to incur a new expense of fifteen millions yearly, was not in
a condition to discharge the various demands upon them, without
continuing the oppressive tax of _Les droits réunis_.

It is, indeed, on the subject of finance and taxation, that almost all
revolutions among civilized nations have been found to hinge; and there
is scarce any judging how long actual oppression may be endured, so long
as it spares the purse of individuals, or how early a heavy tax, even
for the most necessary objects, will excite insurrection. Without the
heavy taxation of the Spaniards, the Dutch would scarcely have rebelled
against them; it was imposts which fired the blood of the Swiss against
the Austrians; without the stamp-act the American Revolution might have
been long postponed; and but for the disorder of the French finances,
Louis XVI. need never have summoned together the National Assembly.
France was now again agitated by one of those fever fits, which arise
from the sensitiveness of the subject's purse.


A report on the state of the public finances, by the Abbé de
Montesquieu, had given a singular instance of Buonaparte's deceptive
policy. Annual expositions of national receipt and expenditure had been
periodically published since he assumed the reins of government, which
were, to outward appearance, unchallengeably accurate; and as they
seemed to balance each other, afforded the fair prospect that, the
revenues of the state being realized, the expenses could not fall into
arrear. But in reality, a number of extraordinary expenses were withheld
from the view of the public, while, on the other hand, the produce of
the taxes was over-estimated. Thus the two budgets of 1812, and 1813,
upon close examination, exhibited a deficit of upwards of 312 millions
of livres,[80] or thirteen millions sterling. Buonaparte was not
ignorant of this fact, but concealed it from the eyes of the nation, in
hopes of replacing it, as in his more successful days, by foreign
tribute, and, in the meantime, supplied himself by the anticipation of
other funds; as an unfaithful book-keeper makes up a plausible balance
to meet the eye of his master, and covers his peculations by his
dexterity in the use of ciphers. Upon the whole, the debts of France
appeared to have increased in the course of thirteen years to the extent
of 1,645,469,000 francs, or more than sixty-eight millions and a half of
sterling money.

These financial involvements accorded ill with the accomplishment of an
unfortunate and hasty promise of Monsieur,[81] that the severe and
pressing taxes called _les droits réunis_ should be abolished, which had
been made when he first entered France, and while, betwixt hope and
despair, he essayed every inducement for the purpose of drawing
adherents to the royal cause. On the other hand, the King, upon
ascending the throne, had engaged himself, with perhaps too much
latitude, to pay all the engagements which the state had contracted
under the preceding government. To redeem both these pledges was
impossible, for without continuing this very obnoxious and oppressive
tax, the crown could not have the means of discharging the national
debt. A plan was in vain proposed by Jalabert to replace this oppressive
excise by a duty on wines; the motion was referred to a committee of the
Chamber of Representatives, but the substitution seems to have been
found impossible. Louis naturally made the promise of his brother give
way to his own more deliberate engagement. But it is not the less true,
that by continuing to levy _les droits réunis_, many, not otherwise
disinclined to the royal government than as it affected their purses,
were enabled to charge the King with breach of faith towards his
subjects, and would listen to no defence upon a topic on which few
people are disposed to hear reason against their own interest.

[Sidenote: THE PRESS.]

There remained yet another subject of alarm and dread, to excite the
minds not only of those who were desirous of revolution, or, according
to the Roman phrase, _cupidi novarum rerum_; but of others, who,
devotedly attached to the welfare of France, desired to see her enjoy,
under the sway of a legitimate monarch, the exercise of national
liberty. They had the misfortune to see that liberty attacked in the
point where it is most sensitive, namely, by imposing restraints upon
the public press.

Buonaparte had made it part of his system to keep this powerful engine
in his own iron hand, well aware that his system of despotism could not
have subsisted for six months, if his actions had been exposed to the
censure of the public, and his statements to contradiction and to
argument. The Bourbons having unloosed the chain by which the liberty of
the press was confined, the spirit of literary and political controversy
rushed out with such demoniacal violence, as astonished and terrified
those who had released it from confinement. The quantity of furious
abuse poured out against the Bourbons, might have authorised the authors
to use the words of Caliban--

    "You taught me language, and my profit on't
    Is--I know how to curse."[82]

Eager to repress the spirit which displayed itself so unequivocally, a
motion was made on the 4th of July, 1814,[83] for establishing a
censorship upon pamphlets under a certain length, and placing all
journals and newspapers under the direction of government.

This important subject was discussed with great manliness and talent in
the Assembly; but it is one of the many political maxims which the
British receive as theorems, that, without absolute freedom of the
public press (to be exercised always on the peril of such as misuse it,)
there can neither be enlightened patriotism nor liberal discussion; and
that, although the forms of a free constitution may be preserved where
this liberty is restricted, they will soon fail to have the necessary
beneficial effects in protecting the rights of the community and the
safety of individuals. The liberty of the press affords a channel
through which the injured may challenge his oppressor at the bar of the
nation; it is the means by which public men may, in case of misconduct,
be arraigned before their own and succeeding ages; it is the only mode
in which bold and undisguised truth can press its way into the cabinets
of monarchs; and it is the privilege, by means of which he, who vainly
lifts his voice against the corruptions or prejudices of his own time,
may leave his counsels upon record as a legacy to impartial posterity.
The cruelty which would deafen the ear and extinguish the sight of an
individual, resembles, in some similar degree, his guilt, who, by
restricting the freedom of the press, would reduce a nation to the
deafness of prejudice, and the blindness of ignorance. The downfall of
this species of freedom, as it is the first symptom of the decay of
national liberty, has been in all ages followed by its total
destruction, and it may be justly pronounced that they cannot exist
separately; or, as the elegiac poet has said of his hero and the country
to which he belonged--

    "Ille tibi superesse negat; tu non potes illi."

We must own, at the same time, that as no good comes to us unmixed with
evil, the unlimited freedom of the press is attended with obvious
inconveniencies, which, when a nation is in a certain state of
excitation, render the exercise of it peculiarly dangerous. This is
especially the case when a people, as then in France, are suddenly
released from a state of bondage, and disposed, "like youthful colts
broke loose," to make the most extravagant use of their liberty. With
minds unprepared for discussion; with that degree of political
misinformation which has done this age more dire mischief than absolute
ignorance itself could have effected; subject to be influenced by the
dashing pamphleteer, who soothes their prevailing passions, as the
orations of their popular demagogues soothed those of the Athenians--it
has been the opinion of many statesmen, that to withhold from such a
nation the freedom of the press, is a measure justifiable alike by
reason and necessity. "We proportion," say these reasoners, "liberty to
the power of enjoying it. The considerate and the peaceful we suffer to
walk at liberty, and armed, if their occasions require it; but we
restrain the child, we withhold weapons from the ruffian, and we fetter
the maniac. Why, therefore," they ask, "should a nation, when in a state
of fever, be supplied, without restriction, with the indulgences which
must necessarily increase the disorder?" Our answer is ready--that,
granting the abuse of the liberty of the press to exist in the most
fearful latitude (and we need not look to France for examples,) the
advantages derived from it are so inestimable, that, to deprive us of
them, would be as if an architect should shut up the windows which
supply light and air to a mansion, because a certain proportion of cold,
and perhaps of rain, may force their way in at the aperture. Besides, we
acknowledge ourselves peculiarly jealous of the sentiments of the
members of every government on this delicate subject. Their situation
renders them doubtful friends to a privilege, through which alone they
can be rendered amenable to the public for the abuse of their power, and
through which also they often see their just and temperate exercise of
authority maligned and misconstrued. To princes, also, the license of
the press is, for many reasons distasteful. To put it under regulation,
seems easy and desirable, and the hardship on the community not greater
(in their account) than the enforcing of decent respect and
subordination--of the sort of etiquette, in short, which is established
in all courts, and which forbids the saving, under any pretext, what may
be rude or disagreeable to a sovereign, or even unpleasing to be heard.
Under these circumstances, and in the present state of France, men
rather regretted than wondered that the ministers of Louis XVIII. were
disposed to place restrictions on the freedom of the press, or that they
effected their purpose of placing the light of nations under a censorial

But the victory thus obtained brought additional evils on the
government. The law was evaded under various devices; the works which it
was intended to intercept, acquired circulation and importance from the
very circumstance of their being prohibited; while the whole tenor of
the measure impressed many who had otherwise been friendly to the
Bourbon family, with distrust respecting their designs upon the national

Thus split into parties, oppressed with taxes, vexed with those nameless
and mysterious jealousies and fears which form the most dangerous
subjects of disagreement, because alike incapable of being explained and
confuted, France was full of inflammable materials; and the next chapter
will show that there was not wanting a torch to give kindling to them.


[73] See Treaty of Paris, Art. III. Parl. Debates, vol. xxviii., p. 178.

[74] See Annual Register, vol. lvi., p. 420.

[75] See _ante_, vol. i., p. 255.

[76] Savary, tom. iv., p. 235.

[77] Annual Register, vol. lvi., p. 51.

[78] M. Dumolard. See Moniteur, Nov. 24.

[79] Moniteur, Dec. 7 and 10; Montgaillard, tom. viii., p. 84; Annual
Register, vol. lvi., p. 63.

[80] Moniteur, July 13; Montgaillard, tom. viii., p. 52.

[81] "No conqueror, no war, no conscription, no consolidated
taxes!"--_Proclamation on entering France._

[82] Tempest, act i., scene ii.

[83] Moniteur, July 6; Annual Register, vol. lxvi., p. 56.

[84] Montgaillard, tom. viii., pp. 65, 79; Mad. de Staël, tom. iii., p.


    _Carnot's Memorial on Public Affairs--Fouché joins the
    Jacobins--Projects of that Party; which finally joins the
    Buonapartists--Active Intrigues--Congress of Vienna--Murat, alarmed
    at its proceedings, opens an intercourse with Napoleon--Plans of the
    Conspirators--Buonaparte's Escape from Elba--He lands at Cannes--Is
    joined at Grenoble, by 3000 Troops--Halts at Lyons, appoints a
    Ministry, and issues several Decrees--Dismay of the
    Government--Intrigues of Fouché--Treachery of Ney--Revolt of the
    Royal Army at Melun--The King leaves Paris and Buonaparte arrives
    there--His Reception._

Carnot has been repeatedly mentioned in this history as having been the
associate and colleague of Robespierre during the whole Reign of Terror.
His admirers pretend, that charging himself only with the conduct of the
foreign war, he left to his brethren of the Committee of Public Safety
the sole charge of those measures, for which no human language affords
epithets of sufficient horror, through which they originally rose to
power, and by which they maintained it. According to these fond
advocates, their hero held his course through the Reign of Terror,
unsullied by a bloody spot, as Arethusa rolled her waters through the
ocean without mingling with its waves; and the faith of most readers
will swallow the ancient miracle as easily as the modern. Carnot,
however, had the independence of spirit to oppose Napoleon's seizure of
the throne, and remained in obscurity until 1814, when he employed his
talents as an engineer in defence of Antwerp. He gave in, late and
reluctantly, his adherence to the restoration, and was confirmed in his
rank of inspector-general of engineers. But this did not prevent him
from being extremely active in conspiring the downfall of the monarch to
whose allegiance he had submitted himself, and who afforded him
subsistence and rank.


Carnot gave his opinion upon public affairs in a "Memorial to his most
Christian Majesty," made public in October, 1814, which was at once an
apology for the Jacobin party, and a direct attack on the reigning
dynasty. This document we must necessarily consider at some length, as
it conveys the ostensible reasons on which the author, and many
thousands besides, having in their anxious consideration the interests
of the freedom of France, thought these interests would be best provided
for by destroying the sway of a mild and somewhat feeble monarch, whose
reign was identified with peace and tranquillity, in order to recall to
the throne an absolute sovereign, ruling on military principles only,
and whose first step under the canopy of state must necessarily be
followed by war with all Europe.

In this singular, and, as it proved, too effective production, every
fault committed by the restored family is exaggerated; and they, with
the nobles, their personal adherents, are, under a thin and contemptuous
veil of assumed respect towards the King, treated alike as fools, who
did not understand how to govern France, and as villains, who meditated
her ruin. The murder of the King is, with irony as envenomed as unjust,
stated to have been occasioned, not by the violence and cruelty of his
persecutors, but by the pusillanimity of his nobility, who first
provoked the resentment of the nation, and then fled from the kingdom,
when, if they had loved their sovereign, they should have rallied around
him.[85] This plea, in the mouth of a regicide, is as if one of a band
of robbers should impute an assassination not to their own guilty
violence, but to the cowardice of the domestics of the murdered, by whom
that violence might have been resisted.

No one also knew better than Carnot by what arts Louis XVI. was induced
by degrees to abandon all means of defence which his situation afforded
him, and to throw himself upon the sworn faith and allegiance of those
by whom he was condemned to death. As whimsical and unlogical were the
examples and arguments referred to by Carnot in support of the
condemnation of Louis. Cicero, it seems, says in his Offices, "We hate
all those we fear, and we wish for the death of those we hate." On this
comprehensive ground, Carnot vindicates the orator's approbation of the
death of Cæsar, notwithstanding the clemency of the usurper; "and Cato,
indeed" (continues the colleague of Robespierre,) "went farther, and did
not think it possible there should be a good king." Of course, not Louis
XVI. alone, but all monarchs, might be justly put to death in Carnot's
estimation; because they are naturally the objects of fear to their
subjects--because we hate those we fear--and because, according to the
kindred authority of Shylock, no man "hates the thing he would not
kill."[86] The doctrine of regicide is said to be confirmed in the Old
Testament; families were massacred--monarchs proscribed--intolerance
promulgated, by the ministers of a merciful deity: Wherefore, then,
should not the Jacobins put Louis XVI. to death? If it was alleged, that
the persons of Kings were inviolable by the laws of all civil
governments, those of usurpers certainly were not so protected; and what
means were there, said Carnot, for positively distinguishing between an
usurper and a legitimate king?--The difficulty of making such a
distinction was no doubt a sufficient vindication of the judges of Louis

Trash like this had scarce been written since the club-room of the
Jacobins was closed. But the object of Carnot's pamphlet was not to
excuse a deed (which he would probably have rather boasted of as
laudable,) but by the exaggerations of his eloquence, and the weight of
his influence with the public, to animate the fury of the other parties
against the Bourbons and their adherents. The King was charged with
having been ungrateful to the call of the nation--(a call which
assuredly he would never have heard but for the cannon of the
allies,)--with having termed himself King by the grace of God--with
resigning Belgium when Carnot was actually governor of Antwerp--with
preferring Chouans, Vendéans, emigrants, Cossacks, or Englishmen, to the
soldiers whose victories had kept him in exile, and in consequence of
whose defeat alone he had regained the throne of his fathers. The
emigrants are represented as an exasperated, yet a contemptible faction.
The people, it is said, care little about the right of their
rulers--about their quarrels--their private life, or even their
political crimes, unless as they affect themselves. All government, of
course, has its basis in popular opinion; but, alas! in actual history,
"the people are only regarded," says M. Carnot, "as the victims of their
chiefs; we witness nothing but the contest of subjects for the private
interest of their princes--kings, who are themselves regicides and
parricides--and priests who incite mankind to mutual slaughter. The eye
can but repose on the generous efforts of some brave men who consecrate
themselves to the deliverance of their fellow-countrymen; if they
succeed, they are called heroes--if they fail, they are traitors and
demagogues." In this and other passages, the author plainly intimated
what spirits were at work, and what was the object of their
machinations. The whole pamphlet was designed as a manifesto to the
French public, darkly, yet distinctly, announcing the existence of a
formidable conspiracy, the principles on which its members proceeded,
and their grounds for expecting success.


Carnot himself affected to say, that the Memorial was only designed for
circulation among his private connexions.[87] But it would not have
answered the intended purpose had it not been printed and dispersed with
the most uncommon assiduity. Small carts traversed the _boulevards_,
from which it was hawked about among the people, in order to avoid the
penalties which booksellers and stationers might have incurred by
dealing in an article so inflammatory. Notwithstanding these evasions,
the printers and retailers of this diatribe were prosecuted by
government; but the _Cour d'Instruction_ refused to confirm the bill of
indictment, and this failure served to encourage the Jacobin faction.
The official proceedings, by which the ministers endeavoured to suppress
the publication, irritated rather than intimidated those who took
interest in it. It argued, they said, at once a timorous and a
vindictive spirit to oppress the inferior agents in an alleged libel,
while the ministers dared not bring to trial the avowed author.[88] In
this unquestionably they argued justly; for the measures corresponded
with that paltry policy, which would rather assail the liberty of the
press, than bring to fair trial and open punishment those by whom it is

It would have been as impossible for Fouché to have lived amid such a
complicated scene of political intrigue, without mingling in it, as for
the sparks to resist flying upwards. He was, however, ill-placed for the
character he desired to act. After having lent Buonaparte his aid to
betray and dethrone the Directors, he had long meditated how to dethrone
and betray Buonaparte, and substitute in his place a regency, or some
form of government under which he might expect to act as prime minister.
In this undertaking, he more than once ran the peril of life, and was
glad to escape with an honourable exile. We have already stated that he
had missed the most favourable opportunity for availing himself of his
political knowledge, by his absence from Paris when it was taken by the
allies. Fouché endeavoured, however, to obtain the notice of the
restored monarch and his government, and to render his services
acceptable to Louis. When the celebrated Revolutionist appeared in the
antechamber on his first attendance at court, he observed a sneer on the
countenance of some Royalists who were in waiting, and took the hint to
read them a lesson, showing, that a minister of police, even when he has
lost his office, is not a person to be jested with. "You, sir," said he
to a gentleman, "seem proud of the lilies with which you are adorned. Do
you recollect the language you held respecting the Bourbon family some
time since in such a company?--And you, madam," he continued, addressing
a lady, "to whom I gave a passport to England, may perhaps wish to be
reminded of what then passed betwixt us on the subject of Louis XVIII."
The laughers were conscience-struck, and Fouché was introduced into the

The plan which Fouché recommended to the King was, as might have been
expected, astucious and artificial in a high degree. He advised the King
to assume the national cockade and three-coloured flag; to occupy the
situation of chief of the Revolution. This, he said, would be the same
sacrifice by Louis XVIII. as the attending on the mass by Henry IV.--He
might have added, it was the sacrifice actually made by Louis XVI., who
lost his life in requital.--What Fouché aimed at by this action is
evident. He desired to place the King in a situation where he must have
relied exclusively on the men of the Revolution, with whom he could not
have communicated save by the medium of the Duc d'Otranto, who thus
would become prime minister at the first step. But in every other point
of view, the following that advice must have placed the King in a mean
and hypocritical attitude, which must have disgusted even those whom it
was adopted to conciliate.

By assuming the colours of the Revolution, the King of France must
necessarily have stained himself with the variation of each of its
numerous changes. It is true that the Revolution had produced many
excellent improvements in France, affecting both the theory and the
practice of government. These the sovereign was bound carefully to
preserve for the advantage of the nation. But while we are grateful for
the advantages of increased health and fertility that may follow a
tornado, and treasure up the valuable things which an angry ocean may
cast upon the shore, none but a blinded heathen worships the tempest, or
sacrifices to the furious waves. The King, courting the murderers of his
brother, could inspire, even in them, nothing save disgust at his
hypocrisy, while it would justly have forfeited the esteem and
affection, not of the royalists alone, but of all honest men.

Further to recommend himself to the Bourbons, Fouché addressed a
singular epistle to Napoleon, in which he endeavoured to convince him,
that the title of sovereign, in the paltry islet of Elba, did not become
him who had possessed an immense empire. He remarked to Napoleon, that
the situation of the island was not suitable to his purpose of
retirement, being near so many points where his presence might produce
dangerous agitation. He observed that he might be accused, although he
was not criminal, and do evil without intending it, by spreading alarm.
He hinted that the King of France, however determined to act with
justice, yet might be instigated by the passions of others to break
through that rule. He told the Ex-Emperor of France, that the titles
which he retained were only calculated to augment his regret for the
loss of real sovereignty. Nay, that they were attended with positive
danger, since it might be thought they were retained only to keep alive
his pretensions. Lastly, he exhorted Napoleon to assume the character of
a private individual, and retire to the United States of America, the
country of Franklin, Washington, and Jefferson.[89]

Fouché could scarcely expect that this monitory epistle should have much
effect upon his once imperial master; he knew human nature and
Buonaparte too well. But as it might tell to advantage with the royal
family, he sent a copy of it to Monsieur, with a corresponding
commentary, the object of which was to point out (what, indeed,
circumstances had made evident,) that the tranquillity of the countries
and sovereigns of Europe could never be secured while Napoleon remained
in his present condition, and that his residence in the isle of Elba was
to France what Vesuvius is to Naples.[90] The practical inference to be
derived from this was, that a gentle degree of violence to remove the
person of Napoleon would have been a stroke of state policy, in case the
Ex-Emperor of France should not himself have the patriotic virtue to
remove himself to America. The honourable and generous prince, to whom
Fouché had addressed himself, had too noble a mind to adopt the hint;
and this attempt to ingratiate himself with the Bourbon family entirely
failed. But plotting was Fouché's element; and it seems to have
signified little to him whom he had for partners, providing he had a
stake in the political game. He retired to his country-house, and
engaged himself with his old friends of the Jacobin party, who were not
a little glad to avail themselves of his extensive acquaintance with all
the ramifications of political intrigue.


It was the policy of this party to insist upon the faults of the royal
family, and enlarge on their prejudices against the men and measures of
that period when France was successful in foreign war, against the
statesman who directed, and the soldiers who achieved her gigantic
enterprises. The King, they said, had suffered misfortune without having
learned wisdom; he was incapable of stepping beyond the circle of his
Gothic prejudices; France had received him from the hand of foreign
conquerors, surrounded by an emaciated group of mendicant nobles, whose
pretensions were as antiquated and absurd as their decorations and
manners. His government went to divide, they alleged, the French into
two classes, opposed to each other in merits as in interests;--the
emigrants, who alone were regarded by Louis as faithful and willing
subjects; and the rest of the nation, in whom the Bourbons saw, at best,
but repentant rebels. They asserted, that, too timid as yet to strike an
open blow, the King and his ministers sought every means to disqualify
and displace all who had taken any active share in the events of the
Revolution, and to evade the general promise of amnesty. Under pretext
of national economy, they were disbanding the army, and removing the
officers of government--depriving thus the military and civil servants
of France of the provision which their long services had earned. Louis,
they said, had insulted the glory of France, and humiliated her heroes,
by renouncing the colours and symbols under which twenty-five years had
seen her victorious; he had rudely refused a crown offered to him by the
people, and snatched it as his own right by inheritance, as if the
dominion of men could be transferred from father to son like the
property of a flock of sheep. The right of Frenchmen to choose their own
ruler was hereditary and imprescriptible; and the nation, they said,
must assert it, or sink to be the contempt, instead of being the pride
at once and dread of Europe.

Such was the language which nettled, while it alarmed, the idle
Parisians, who forgot at the moment that they had seen Napoleon take the
crown from the altar at Notre Dame, and place it on his own head, with
scarcely an acknowledgment to God, and not the shadow of any towards the
nation. The departments were assailed by other arts of instigation. The
chief of these was directed to excite the jealousy, so often alluded to,
concerning the security of the property of national domains. Not content
with urging everywhere that a revocation of the lands of the Church and
emigrants was impending over the present proprietors, and that the
clergy and nobles did not even deign to conceal their hopes and designs,
a singular device was in many instances practised to enforce the belief
of such assertions. Secret agents were despatched into the departments
where property was advertised for sale. These emissaries made inquiries
as if in the character of intending purchasers, and where the property
appeared to have been derived from revolutionary confiscation, instantly
objected to the security as good for nothing, and withdrew their
pretended offers;--thus impressing the proprietor, and all in the same
situation, with the unavoidable belief, that such title was considered
as invalid, owing to the expected and menaced revocation of the Bourbon

It is generally believed that Buonaparte was not originally the object
designed to profit by these intrigues. He was feared and hated by the
Jacobin party, who knew what a slender chance his iron government
afforded of their again attempting to rear their fantastic fabrics,
whether of a pure republic, or a republican monarchy. It is supposed
their eyes were turned in preference towards the Duke of Orleans. They
reckoned probably on the strength of the temptation, and they thought,
that in supplanting Louis XVIII., and placing his kinsman in his room,
they would obtain, on the one hand, a king who should hold his power by
and through the Revolution, and, on the other, that they would
conciliate both foreign powers and the constitutionalists at home, by
choosing their sovereign out of the family of Bourbon. The more cautious
of those concerned in the intrigue, recommended that nothing should be
attempted during the life of the reigning monarch; others were more
impatient and less cautious; and the prince alluded to received an
intimation of their plan in an unsigned billet, containing only these
words--"We will act it without you; we will act it in spite of you; we
will act it FOR you;"[91] as if putting it in his choice to be the
leader or victim of the intended revolution.


The Duke of Orleans was too upright and honourable to be involved in
this dark and mysterious scheme; he put the letter which he had received
into the hands of the King, and acted otherwise with so much prudence,
as to destroy all the hopes which the revolutionary party had founded
upon him. It was necessary to find out some other central point. Some
proposed Eugene Beauharnois as the hero of the projected movement;[92]
some projected a provisional government; and others desired that the
republican model should be once more adopted. But none of these plans
were likely to be favoured by the army. The cry of _Vive la Republique_
had become antiquated; the power once possessed by the Jacobins of
creating popular commotion was greatly diminished; and although the army
was devoted to Buonaparte, yet it was probable that in a civil commotion
in which he had no interest, they would follow the maréchals or generals
who commanded them, in opposition to any insurrection merely
revolutionary. If, on the contrary, the interests of Napoleon were put
in the van, there was no fear of securing the irresistible assistance of
the standing army. If he came back with the same principles of absolute
power which he had formerly entertained, still the Jacobins would get
rid of Louis and the charter, the two chief objects of their hatred; the
former as a King given by the law, the latter as a law given by the

These considerations speedily determined the Jacobin party on a union
with the Buonapartists. The former were in the condition of a band of
housebreakers, who, unable to force an entrance into the house which
they have the purpose to break into, renew their undertaking, and place
at their head a brother of the same profession, because he has the
advantage of having a crow-bar in his hand. When and how this league
was formed--what sanction the Jacobin party obtained that Buonaparte,
dethroned as a military despot, was to resume his dignity under
constitutional restrictions, we have no opportunity of knowing. But so
soon as the coalition was formed, his praises were sung forth on all
sides, especially by many who had been, as Jacobins, his most decided
enemies; and a great part of the French public were disposed to think of
Buonaparte at Elba more favourably than Napoleon in the Tuileries.
Gradually, even from the novelty and peculiarity of his situation, he
began to excite a very different interest from that which attached to
the despot who levied so many conscriptions, and sacrificed to his
ambition so many millions of victims. Every instance of his activity,
within the little circle of his dominions, was contrasted by his
admirers with the constitutional inertness of the restored monarch.
Excelling as much in the arts of peace as in those of war, it wanted but
(they said) the fostering hand and unwearied eye of Napoleon to have
rendered France the envy of the universe, had his military affairs
permitted the leisure and opportunity which the Bourbons now enjoyed.
These allegations, secretly insinuated, and at length loudly murmured,
had their usual effects upon the fickle temper of the public; and, as
the temporary enthusiasm in favour of the Bourbons faded into
indifference and aversion, the general horror of Buonaparte's ambitious
and tyrannical disposition began to give way to the recollection of his
active, energetic, and enterprising qualities.

This change must soon have been known to him who was its object. An
expression is said to have escaped from him during his passage to Elba,
which marked at least a secret feeling that he might one day recover the
high dignity from which he had fallen. "If Marius," he observed, "had
slain himself in the marshes of Minturnæ, he would never have enjoyed
his seventh consulate." What was perhaps originally but the vague
aspirations of an ardent spirit striving against adversity, became, from
the circumstances of France, a plausible and well-grounded hope. It
required but to establish communications among his numerous and zealous
partisans, with instructions to hold out such hopes as might lure the
Jacobins to his standard, and to profit by and inflame the growing
discontents and divisions of France; and a conspiracy was almost ready
formed, with little exertion on the part of him who soon became its
object and its centre.

Various affiliations and points of rendezvous were now arranged to
recruit for partisans. The ladies of the Ex-Emperor's court, who found
themselves humiliated at that of the King by the preference assigned to
noble birth, were zealous agents in these political intrigues, for
offended pride hesitates at no measures for obtaining vengeance. The
purses of their husbands and lovers were of course open to these fair
intriguers, and many of them devoted their jewels to forward the cause
of Revolution. The chief of these female conspirators was Hortensia
Beauharnois, wife of Louis Buonaparte, but now separated from her
husband, and bearing the title of the Duchess of Saint Leu. She was a
person of considerable talents, and of great activity and address. At
Nanterre, Neuilly, and Saint Leu, meetings of the conspirators were
held, and Madame Hamelin, the confidant of the duchess, is said to have
assisted in concealing some of the principal agents.

The Duchess of Bassano, and the Duchess of Montebello (widow of Maréchal
Lannes,) were warmly engaged in the same cause. At the meetings held in
the houses of these intriguing females, the whole artillery of
conspiracy was forged and put in order, from the political lie, which
does its work if believed but for an hour, to the political song or
squib, which, like the fire-work from which it derives its name,
expresses love of frolic or of mischief, according to the nature of the
materials amongst which it is thrown. From these places of rendezvous
the agents of the plot sallied out upon their respective rounds,
furnished with every lure that could rouse the suspicious landholder,
attract the idle Parisian, seduce the _Ideologue_, who longed to try the
experiments of his Utopian theories upon real government, and above all,
secure the military--from the officer, before whose eyes truncheons,
coronets, and even crowns, were disposed in ideal prospect, to the
grenadier, whose hopes only aimed at blood, brandy, and free quarters.

[Sidenote: RICHARD LE NOIR.]

The lower orders of the populace, particularly those inhabiting the two
great suburbs of Saint Marceau and Saint Antoine, were disposed to the
cause from their natural restlessness and desire of change; from the
apprehension that the King would discontinue the expensive buildings in
which Buonaparte was wont to employ them; from a Jacobinical dislike to
the lawful title of Louis, joined to some tender aspirations after the
happy days of liberty and equality; and lastly, from the disposition
which the lees of society every where manifest to get rid of the law,
their natural curb and enemy. The influence of Richard le Noir was
particularly useful to the conspirators. He was a wealthy
cotton-manufacturer, who combined and disciplined no less than three
thousand workmen in his employment, so as to be ready at the first
signal of the conspirators. Le Noir was called by the Royalists Santerre
the Second; being said to aspire, like that celebrated suburban brewer,
to become a general of Sans Culottes. He was bound to Buonaparte's
interest by his daughter having married General Lefebvre Desnouettes,
who was not the less the favourite of Napoleon that he had broken his
parole, and fled from England when a prisoner of war. Thus agitated like
a lake by a subterranean earthquake, revolutionary movements began to
show themselves amongst the populace. At times, under pretence of
scarcity of bread or employment, tumultuous groups assembled on the
terrace of the Tuileries, with clamours which reminded the Duchess
D'Angoulême of those that preceded the imprisonment and death of her
parents. The police dispersed them for the moment; but if any arrests
were made, it was only of such wretches as shouted when they heard
others shout, and no efforts were made to ascertain the real cause of
symptoms so alarming.

The police of Paris was at this time under the direction of M. D'André,
formerly a financier. His loyalty does not seem to have been doubted,
but his prudence and activity are very questionable; nor does he seem
ever to have been completely master either of the duties of his office,
or the tools by which it was to be performed. These tools, in other
words, the subordinate agents and officers and clerks, the whole
machinery as it were of the police, had remained unchanged since that
dreadful power was administered by Savary, Buonaparte's head spy and
confidential minister. This body, as well as the army, felt that their
honourable occupation was declined in emolument and importance since the
fall of Buonaparte, and looked back with regret to the days when they
were employed in agencies, dark, secret, and well-recompensed, unknown
to a peaceful and constitutional administration. Like evil spirits
employed by the spells of a benevolent enchanter, these police officers
seem to have served the King grudgingly and unwillingly; to have
neglected their duty, when that could be done with impunity; and to have
shown that they had lost their activity and omniscience, so soon as
embarked in the service of legitimate monarchy.

Under the connivance, therefore, if not with the approbation of the
police, conspiracy assumed a more open and daring aspect. Several houses
of dubious fame, but especially the Café Montaussier, in the Palais
Royal, were chosen as places of rendezvous for the subordinate
satellites of the cause, where the toasts given, the songs sung, the
tunes performed, and the language held, all bore allusion to
Buonaparte's glories, his regretted absence, and his desired return. To
express their hopes that this event would take place in the spring, the
conspirators adopted for their symbol the violet; and afterwards applied
to Buonaparte himself the name of Corporal Violet. The flower and the
colour were publicly worn as a party distinction, before it would seem
the court had taken the least alarm; and the health of Buonaparte, under
the name of Corporal Violet, or Jean d'Epée, was pledged by many a
Royalist without suspicion of the concealed meaning.

Paris was the centre of the conspiracy; but its ramifications extended
through France. Clubs were formed in the chief provincial towns. Regular
correspondences were established between them and the capital--an
intercourse much favoured, it has been asserted, by Lavalette, who,
having been long director-general of the posts under Buonaparte,
retained considerable influence over the subordinate agents of that
department, none of whom had been displaced upon the King's return. It
appears from the evidence of M. Ferrand, director-general under the
King, that the couriers, who, like the soldiers and police officers, had
found more advantage under the imperial than under the royal government,
were several of them in the interest of their old master. And it is
averred, that the correspondence relating to the conspiracy was carried
on through the royal post-office, contained in letters sealed with the
King's seal, and despatched by public messengers wearing his livery.

Such open demonstrations of treasonable practices did not escape the
observation of the Royalists, and they appear to have been communicated
to the ministers from different quarters. Nay, it has been confidently
stated, that letters, containing information of Napoleon's intended
escape, were actually found in the bureau of one minister, unopened and
unread. Indeed, each of these official personages seems scrupulously to
have intrenched himself within the routine of his own particular
department, so that what was only of general import to the whole, was
not considered as the business of any one in particular. Thus, when the
stunning catastrophe had happened, each endeavoured to shift the blame
from himself, like the domestics in a large and ill-regulated family;
and although all acknowledged that gross negligence had existed
elsewhere, no one admitted that the fault lay with himself. This general
infatuation surprises us upon retrospect; but Heaven, who frequently
punishes mankind by the indulgence of their own foolish or wicked
desires, had decreed that peace was to be restored to Europe, by the
extermination of that army to whom peace was a state so odious; and for
that purpose it was necessary that they should be successful in their
desperate attempt to dethrone their peaceful and constitutional
sovereign, and to reinstate the despotic leader, who was soon to lead
them to the completion of their destiny, and of his own.

While the royal government in France was thus gradually undermined and
prepared for an explosion, the rest of Europe resembled an ocean in the
act of settling after a mighty storm, when the partial wrecks are
visible, heaving on the subsiding swell, which threatens yet farther
damage ere it be entirely lulled to rest.


The Congress of representatives of the principal states of Europe had
met at Vienna, in order to arrange the confused and complicated
interests which had arisen out of so prolonged a period of war and
alteration. The lapse of twenty-five years of constant war and general
change had made so total an alteration, not merely in the social
relations and relative powers of the states of Europe, but in the
habits, sentiments, and principles of the inhabitants, that it appeared
altogether impossible to restore the original system as it existed
before 1792. The continent resembled the wrecks of the city of London
after the great conflagration in 1666, when the boundaries of individual
property were so completely obliterated and confounded, that the king
found himself obliged, by the urgency of the occasion, to make new, and
in some degree arbitrary, distributions of the ground, in order to
rebuild the streets upon a plan more regular, and better fitted to the
improved condition of the age. That which proved ultimately an advantage
to London, may perhaps produce similar good consequences to the
civilized world, and a better and more permanent order of things may be
expected to arise out of that which has been destroyed. In that case,
the next generation may reap the advantages of the storms with which
their fathers had to contend. We are, however, far from approving of
some of the unceremonious appropriations of territory which were made
upon this occasion, which, did our limits admit of entering into the
discussion, carried, we think, the use of superior force to a much
greater extent than could be justified on the principles upon which the
allies acted.

Amid the labours of the Congress, their attention was turned on the
condition of the kingdom of Naples; and it was urged by Talleyrand, in
particular, that allowing the existence of the sovereignty of Murat in
that beautiful kingdom, was preserving, at the risk of future danger to
Europe, an empire, founded on Napoleon's principles, and governed by his
brother-in-law. It was answered truly, that it was too late to challenge
the foundation of Murat's right of sovereignty, after having gladly
accepted and availed themselves of his assistance, in the war against
Buonaparte. Talleyrand, by exhibiting to the Duke of Wellington a train
of correspondence[93] between Buonaparte, his sister Caroline, and
Murat, endeavoured to show that the latter was insincere, when seeming
to act in concert with the allies. The Duke was of opinion, that the
letters did not prove treachery, though they indicated what was to be
expected, that Murat took part against his brother-in-law and
benefactor, with considerable reluctance. The matter was now in
agitation before the Congress; and Murat, conceiving his power in
danger, seems to have adopted the rash expedient of changing sides once
more, and again to have renewed his intercourse with Napoleon. The
contiguity of Elba to Naples rendered this a matter of little
difficulty; and they had, besides, the active assistance of Pauline, who
went and came between Italy and her brother's little court. Napoleon,
however, at all times resolutely denied that he had any precise share or
knowledge of the enterprise which Murat meditated.

The King of France, in the meanwhile, recalled by proclamation all
Frenchmen who were in the Neapolitan service, and directed the title of
King Joachim to be omitted in the royal almanack.

Murat, alarmed at this indication of hostile intentions, carried on a
secret correspondence with France, in the course of which a letter was
intercepted, directed to the King of Naples, from General Excelsman,
professing, in his own name and that of others, devoted attachment, and
assuring him that thousands of officers, formed in his school and under
his eye, would have been ready at his call, had not matters taken a
satisfactory turn. In consequence of this letter, Excelsman was in the
first place put on half-pay and sent from Paris, which order he refused
to obey. Next he was tried before a court-martial, and triumphantly
acquitted. He was admitted to kiss the king's hand, and swear to him
fidelity _à toutes épreuves_. How he kept his word will presently
appear. In the meantime the King had need of faithful adherents, for the
nets of conspiracy were closing fast around him.


The plot formed against Louis XVIII. comprehended two enterprises. The
first was to be achieved by the landing of Napoleon from Elba, when the
universal good-will of the soldiers, the awe inspired by his name and
character, and the suspicions and insinuations spread widely against the
Bourbons, together with the hope of recovering what the nation
considered as the lost glory of France, were certain to insure him a
general good reception. A second, or subordinate branch of the
conspiracy, concerned the insurrection of a body of troops under General
L'Allemand, who were quartered in the north-east of France, and to whom
was committed the charge of intercepting the retreat of the King and
royal family from Paris, and, seizing them, to detain them as hostages
at the restored Emperor's pleasure.

It is impossible to know at what particular period of his residence in
Elba, Napoleon gave an express consent to what was proposed, and
disposed himself to assume the part destined for him in the
extraordinary drama. We should suppose, however, his resolution was
adopted about that time when his manner changed completely towards the
British envoy residing at his little court, and when he assumed the airs
of inaccessible and imperial state, to keep at a distance, as an
inconvenient observer, Sir Niel Campbell, to whom he had before seemed
rather partial. His motions after that time have been described, so far
as we have access to know them. It was on Sunday, 26th February, that
Napoleon embarked with his guards on board the flotilla, consisting of
the Inconstant brig, and six other small vessels, upon one of the most
extraordinary and adventurous expeditions that was ever attempted.[94]
The force, with which he was once more to change the fortunes of France,
amounted but to about a thousand men. To keep the undertaking secret,
his sister Pauline gave a ball on the night of his departure, and the
officers were unexpectedly summoned, after leaving the entertainment, to
go on board the little squadron.

In his passage Napoleon encountered two great risks. The first was from
meeting a royal French frigate,[95] who hailed the Inconstant. The
guards were ordered to put off their caps, and go down below, or lie
upon the deck, while the captain of the Inconstant exchanged some
civilities[96] with the commander of the frigate, with whom he chanced
to be acquainted; and being well known in these seas, was permitted to
pass on without farther inquiry. The second danger was caused by the
pursuit of Sir Niel Campbell, in the Partridge sloop of war, who,
following from Elba, where he had learned Napoleon's escape, with the
determination to capture or sink the flotilla, could but obtain a
distant view of the vessels as they landed their passengers.[97]

This was on the first of March, when Napoleon, causing his followers
once more to assume the three-coloured cockade, disembarked at Cannes, a
small seaport in the gulf of Saint Juan, not far from Frejus, which had
seen him land, a single individual, returned from Egypt, to conquer a
mighty empire; had beheld him set sail, a terrified exile, to occupy the
place of his banishment; and now again witnessed his return, a daring
adventurer, to throw the dice once more for a throne or a grave. A small
party of his guard presented themselves before Antibes, but were made
prisoners by General Corsin the governor of the place.

Undismayed by a circumstance so unfavourable, Napoleon instantly began
his march at the head of scarce a thousand men, towards the centre of a
kingdom from which he had been expelled with execrations, and where his
rival now occupied in peace an hereditary throne. For some time the
inhabitants gazed on them with doubtful and astonished eyes, as if
uncertain whether to assist them as friends, or to oppose them as
invaders. A few peasants cried _Vive l'Empereur!_ but the adventurers
received neither countenance nor opposition from those of the higher
ranks. On the evening of 2d March, a day and a half after landing, the
little band of invaders reached Ceremin, having left behind them their
small train of artillery, in order to enable them to make forced
marches. As Napoleon approached Dauphiné, called the cradle of the
Revolution, the peasants greeted him with more general welcome, but
still no proprietors appeared, no clergy, no public functionaries. But
they were now near to those by whom the success or ruin of the
expedition must be decided.

[Sidenote: GRENOBLE.]

Soult, the minister at war, had ordered some large bodies of troops to
be moved into the country betwixt Lyons and Chamberri, to support, as
he afterwards alleged, the high language which Talleyrand had been of
late holding at the Congress, by showing that France was in readiness
for war. If the maréchal acted with good faith in this measure, he was
at least most unfortunate; for, as he himself admits, even in his
attempt at exculpation, the troops were so placed as if they had been
purposely thrown in Buonaparte's way, and proved unhappily to consist of
corps peculiarly devoted to the Ex-Emperor's person.[98] On the 7th of
March, the seventh regiment of the line, commanded by Colonel
Labédoyère, arrived at Grenoble. He was young, nobly born, handsome, and
distinguished as a military man. His marriage having connected him with
the noble and loyal family of Damas, he procured preferment and active
employment from Louis XVIII. through their interest, and they were
induced even to pledge themselves for his fidelity. Yet Labédoyère had
been engaged by Cambrone deep in the conspiracy of Elba, and used the
command thus obtained for the destruction of the monarch by whom he was

As Napoleon approached Grenoble, he came into contact with the outposts
of the garrison, who drew out, but seemed irresolute. Buonaparte halted
his own little party, and advanced almost alone, exposing his breast, as
he exclaimed, "He who will kill his Emperor, let him now work his
pleasure." The appeal was irresistible--the soldiers threw down their
arms, crowded round the general who had so often led them to victory,
and shouted _Vive l'Empereur!_ In the meanwhile, Labédoyère, at the head
of two battalions, was sallying from the gates of Grenoble. As they
advanced he displayed an eagle, which, like that of Marius, worshipped
by the Roman conspirator, had been carefully preserved to be the type of
civil war; at the same time he distributed among the soldiers the
three-coloured cockades, which he had concealed in the hollow of a drum.
They were received with enthusiasm. It was in this moment that Maréchal
de Camp Des Villiers, the superior officer of Labédoyère, arrived on the
spot, alarmed at what was taking place, and expostulated with the young
military fanatic and the soldiers. He was compelled to retire. General
Marchand, the loyal commandant of Grenoble, had as little influence on
the troops remaining in the place: they made him prisoner, and delivered
up the city to Buonaparte. Napoleon was thus at the head of nearly three
thousand soldiers, with a suitable train of artillery, and a
corresponding quantity of ammunition. He acted with a moderation which
his success could well afford, and dismissed General Marchand uninjured.

When the first news of Napoleon's arrival reached Paris, it excited
surprise rather than alarm;[99] but when he was found to traverse the
country without opposition, some strange and combined treason began to
be generally apprehended. That the Bourbons might not be wanting to
their own cause, Monsieur, with the Duke of Orleans, set out for Lyons,
and the Duke D'Angoulême repaired to Nismes. The Legislative Bodies, and
most of the better classes, declared for the royal cause. The residents
of the various powers hastened to assure Louis of the support of their
sovereigns. Corps of volunteers were raised both among the Royalists and
the Constitutional or moderate party. The most animating proclamations
called the people to arms. An address by the celebrated Benjamin
Constant, one of the most distinguished of the moderate party, was
remarkable for its eloquence. It placed in the most striking light the
contrast between the lawful government of a constitutional monarch, and
the usurpation of an Attila, or Genghis, who governed only by the sword
of his Mamelukes. It reminded France of the general detestation with
which Buonaparte had been expelled from the kingdom, and proclaimed
Frenchmen to be the scorn of Europe, should they again stretch their
hands voluntarily to the shackles which they had burst and hurled from
them. All were summoned to arms, more especially those to whom liberty
was dear; for in the triumph of Buonaparte, it must find its grave for
ever.--"With Louis," said the address, "was peace and happiness; with
Buonaparte, war, misery, and desolation." Even a more animating appeal
to popular feeling was made by a female on the staircase of the
Tuileries, who exclaimed, "If Louis has not men enough to fight for him,
let him call on the widows and childless mothers who have been rendered
such by Napoleon."

[Sidenote: MELUN--LYONS.]

Notwithstanding all these demonstrations of zeal, the public mind had
been much influenced by the causes of discontent which had been so
artfully enlarged upon for many months past. The decided Royalists were
few, the Constitutionalists lukewarm. It became every moment more likely
that not the voice of the people, but the sword of the army, must
determine the controversy. Soult, whose conduct had given much cause for
suspicion,[100] which was augmented by his proposal to call out the
officers who since the restoration had been placed on half-pay, resigned
his office, and was succeeded by Clarke, Duke of Feltre, less renowned
as a soldier, but more trustworthy as a subject. A camp was established
at Melun--troops were assembled there--and as much care as possible was
used in selecting the troops to whom the royal cause was to be

In the meantime, Fortune had not entirely abandoned the Bourbons. That
part of the Buonapartist conspiracy which was to have been executed in
the north was discovered and disconcerted. Lefebvre Desnouettes,
discreditably known in England by his breach of parole, with the two
Generals Lallemand, were the agents in this plot. On the 10th March,
Lefebvre marched forward his regiment to join Buonaparte; but the
officers having discovered his purpose, he was obliged to make his
escape from the arrest with which he was threatened. The two Lallemands
put the garrison of Lisle, to the number of 6000 men, in motion, by
means of forged orders, declaring there was an insurrection in Paris.
But Maréchal Mortier, meeting the troops on the march, detected and
defeated the conspiracy, by which, had it taken effect, the King and
Royal Family must have been made prisoners. The Lallemands were taken,
and to have executed them on the spot as traitors, might have struck a
wholesome terror into such officers as still hesitated; but the
ministers of the King did not possess energy enough for such a

The progress of Buonaparte, in the meantime, was uninterrupted. It was
in vain that, at Lyons, Monsieur and the Duke of Orleans, with the
assistance of the advice and influence of Maréchal Macdonald,
endeavoured to retain the troops in their duty, and the inhabitants in
their allegiance to the King. The latter, chiefly manufacturers, afraid
of being undersold by those of England in their own market, shouted
openly, "_Vive l'Empereur!_" The troops of the line remained silent and
gloomy. "How will your soldiers behave?" said Monsieur to the colonel of
the 13th Dragoons. The colonel referred him to the men themselves. They
answered candidly, that they would fight for Napoleon alone. Monsieur
dismounted, and addressed the soldiers individually. To one veteran,
covered with scars, and decorated with medals, the prince said, "A brave
soldier like you, at least, will cry, _Vive le Roi!_"--"You deceive
yourself," answered the soldier. "No one here will fight against his
father--I will cry, _Vive Napoleon!_" The efforts of Macdonald were
equally vain. He endeavoured to move two battalions to oppose the entry
of Buonaparte's advanced guard. So soon as the troops came in presence
of each other, they broke their ranks, and mingled together in the
general cry of "_Vive l'Empereur!_" Macdonald would have been made
prisoner, but the forces whom he had just commanded would not permit
this consummation of revolt. Monsieur was obliged to escape from Lyons,
almost alone. The guard of honour formed by the citizens, to attend the
person of the second of the Bourbon family, offered their services to
Napoleon; but he refused them with contempt, while he sent a cross of
honour to a single dragoon, who had the loyalty and devotion to attend
Monsieur in his retreat.

Buonaparte, now master of the ancient capital of the Gauls, and at the
head of 7000 men, was acknowledged by Maçon, Chalons, Dijon, and almost
all Burgundy. Marseilles, on the contrary, and all Provence, declared
against the invader, and the former city set a price upon his head.

Napoleon found it necessary to halt at Lyons for the refreshment of his
forces; and, being joined by some of the civilians of his party, he
needed time also to organise his government and administration.
Hitherto, the addresses which he had published had been of a military
character, abounding with the Oriental imagery which Buonaparte regarded
as essential to eloquence, promising that victory should move at the
charging step, and that the eagle should fly with the national colours
from steeple to steeple, till she perched on the towers of Notre Dame.
The present decrees were of a different character, and related to the
internal arrangement of his projected administration.


Cambacérès was named his minister of justice; Fouché, that of police (a
boon to the revolutionists;) Davoust was made minister of war. Decrees
upon decrees issued forth, with a rapidity which showed how Buonaparte
had employed those studious hours at Elba, which he was supposed to have
dedicated to the composition of his Memoirs. They ran in the name of
Napoleon, by the grace of God, Emperor of the French, and were dated on
the 13th of March, although not promulgated until the 21st of that
month. The first of these decrees abrogated all changes in the courts of
justice and tribunals which had taken place during the absence of
Napoleon. The second displaced all officers belonging to the class of
emigrants, and introduced into the army by the King. The third
suppressed the order of St. Louis, the white flag and cockade, and other
royal emblems, and restored the three-coloured banner and the imperial
symbols of Buonaparte's authority. The same decree abolished the Swiss
Guard, and the household troops of the King. The fourth sequestered the
effects of the Bourbons. A similar ordinance sequestered the restored
property of emigrant families, and was so artfully worded as to
represent great changes of property having taken place in this manner.
The fifth decree of Lyons suppressed the ancient nobility and feudal
titles, and formally confirmed proprietors of national domains in their
possessions. The sixth, declared sentence of banishment against all
emigrants not erased from the list previous to the accession of the
Bourbons, to which was added confiscation of their property. The seventh
restored the Legion of Honour, in every respect as it had existed under
the Emperor, uniting to its funds the confiscated revenues of the order
of St. Louis. The eighth and last decree was the most important of all.
Under pretence that emigrants who had borne arms against France, had
been introduced into the body of the Peers, and that the Chamber of
Deputies had already sat for the legal time, it dissolved both Chambers,
and convoked the Electoral Colleges of the empire, in order that they
might hold, in the ensuing month of May, an extraordinary assembly of
the _Champ-de-Mai_. This convocation, for which the inventor found a
name in the history of the ancient Franks, was to have two objects:
_First_, to make such alterations and reformations in the constitution
of the empire as circumstances should render advisable; _secondly_, to
assist at the coronation of the Empress and of the King of Rome.

We cannot pause to criticise these various enactments. In general,
however, it may be remarked, that they were admirably calculated to
serve Napoleon's cause. They flattered the army, and at the same time
heated their resentment against the emigrants, by insinuating that they
had been sacrificed by Louis to the interest of these his followers.
They held out to the Republicans a speedy prospect of confiscations,
proscriptions, and revolutions of government; while the Imperialists
were gratified with a view of ample funds for pensions, offices, and
honorary decorations. To the proprietors of national domains was
promised security; to the Parisians, the spectacle of the
_Champ-de-Mai_; and to all France, peace and tranquillity, since the
arrival of the Empress and her son, so confidently asserted to be at
hand, must be considered as a pledge of the friendship of Austria.
Russia was also said to be friendly to Napoleon, and the conduct of
Alexander toward the members of Buonaparte's family, was boldly appealed
to as evidence of the fact. England, it was averred, befriended him,
else how could he have escaped from an isle surrounded by her naval
force? Prussia, therefore, alone, might be hostile and unappeased; but,
unsupported by the other belligerent powers, Prussia must remain
passive, or would soon be reduced to reason. The very pleasure in
mortifying one, at least, of the late victors of Paris, gave a zest and
poignancy to the revolution, which the concurrence of the other great
states would, according to Buonaparte, render easy and peaceful. Such
news were carefully disseminated through France by Napoleon's adherents.
They preceded his march, and prepared the minds of men to receive him as
their destined master.

On the 13th, Buonaparte recommenced his journey, and, advancing through
Maçon, Chalons, and Dijon, he reached Auxerre on the 17th March. His own
mode of travelling rather resembled that of a prince, who, weary of the
fatigue of state, wishes to extricate himself, as much as possible, from
its trammels, than that of an adventurer coming at the head of an army
of insurgents, to snatch a crown from the head of the lawful monarch who
wore it. He travelled several hours in advance of his army, often
without any guard, or, at most, attended only by a few Polish lancers.
The country through which he journeyed was favourable to his
pretensions. It had been severely treated by the allies during the
military manœuvres of the last campaign, and the dislike of the
suffering inhabitants extended itself to the family who had mounted the
throne by the influence of these strangers. When, therefore, they saw
the late Emperor among them alone, without guards, inquiring, with his
usual appearance of active interest, into the extent of their losses,
and making liberal promises to repair them, it is no wonder that they
should rather remember the battles he had fought in their behalf against
the foreigners, than think on the probability that his presence among
them might be the precursor of a second invasion.

The revolutionary fever preceded Buonaparte like an epidemic disorder.
The 14th regiment of lancers, quartered at Auxerre, trampled under foot
the white cockade at the first signal; the sixth regiment of lancers
declared also for Napoleon, and without waiting for orders, drove a few
soldiers of the household troops from Montereau, and secured that
important post, which commands the passage of the Seine.

The dismay of the royal government at the revolt of Lyons, was much
increased by false tidings which had been previously circulated, giving
an account of a pretended victory obtained by the Royalist party in
front of that town. The conspiracy was laid so deep, and extended so
widely through every branch of the government, that those concerned
contrived to send this false report to Paris in a demi-official form, by
means of the telegraph. It had the expected effect, first, in suspending
the preparations of the loyal party, and afterwards in deepening the
anxiety which overwhelmed them, when Monsieur, returning almost
unattended, brought the news of his bad success.

[Sidenote: FOUCHÉ--NEY.]

At this moment of all but desperation, Fouché offered his assistance to
the almost defenceless King. It is probable, that the more he reflected
on the character of his old master, Napoleon, the deeper became his
conviction, that they knew each other too well ever to resume an
attitude of mutual confidence. Nothing deterred, therefore, by the
communications which he had opened with the Imperialists, he now
demanded a secret audience of the King. It was refused, but his
communications were received through the medium of two confidential
persons deputed by Louis. Fouché's language to them was that of a bold
empiric, to whom patients have recourse in a moment of despair, and who
confidently undertake the most utterly hopeless cases. Like such, he
exacted absolute reliance on his skill--the most scrupulous attention to
his injunctions--the most ample reward for his promised services; and as
such, too, he spoke with the utmost confidence in the certainty of his
remedy, whilst observing a vague yet studious mystery about the
ingredients of which it was composed, and the mode in which it would
operate. He required of Louis XVIII. that he should surrender all the
executive authority to the Duke of Orleans, and all the ministerial
Offices to himself and those whom he should appoint; which two
conditions being granted, he undertook to put a period to Buonaparte's
expedition. The Memoirs of this bold intriguer affirm, that he meant to
assemble all that remained of the revolutionary party, and oppose the
doctrines of Liberty and Equality to those of the glory of France, in
the sense understood by Buonaparte.[102] What were the means that such
politicians, so united, had to oppose to the army of France, Fouché has
not informed us;[103] but it is probable, that, to stop the advance of
10,000 armed men, against whom the revolutionists could now scarce even
array the mob of the suburbs, the ex-minister of police must have
meditated the short sharp remedy of Napoleon's assassination, for
accomplishing which, he, if any man, could have found trusty agents.

The King having refused proposals, which went to preserve his sceptre by
taking it out of his hands, and by further unexplained means, the
morality of which was liable to just suspicion, Fouché saw himself
obliged to carry his intrigues to the service of his old master. He
became, in consequence, so much an object of suspicion to the Royalists,
that an order was issued for his arrest.[104] To the police agents, his
own old dependents, who came to execute the order, he objected against
the informality of their warrant, and stepping into his closet, as if to
draw a protest, he descended by a secret stair into his garden, of which
he scaled the wall. His next neighbour, into whose garden he escaped,
was the Duchess de St. Leu; so that the fugitive arrived, as if by a
trick of the stage, in the very midst of a circle of chosen
Buonapartists, who received him with triumph, and considered the mode of
his coming among them as a full warrant for his fidelity.[105]

Louis XVIII. in his distress, had recourse to the assistance of another
man of the Revolution, who, without possessing the abilities of Fouché,
was perhaps, had he been disposed to do so, better qualified than he to
have served the King's cause. Maréchal Ney was called forth to take the
command of an army destined to attack Napoleon in the flank and rear as
he marched towards Paris, while the forces at Melun opposed him in
front. He had an audience of the King on the 9th of March, when he
accepted his appointment with expressions of the most devoted faith to
the King, and declared his resolution to bring Buonaparte to Paris like
a wild beast in an iron cage. The maréchal went to Besançon, where, on
the 11th of March, he learned that Buonaparte was in possession of
Lyons. But he continued to make preparations for resistance, and
collected all the troops he could from the adjoining garrisons. To those
who objected to the bad disposition of the soldiers, and remarked that
he would have difficulty in inducing them to fight, Ney answered
determinedly, "They _shall_ fight; I will take a musket from a grenadier
and begin the action myself;--I will run my sword to the hilt in the
first who hesitates to follow my example." To the minister at war he
wrote, that all were dazzled by the activity and rapid progress of the
invader; that Napoleon was favoured by the common people and the
soldiers; but that the officers and civil authorities were loyal, and he
still hoped "to see a fortunate close of this mad enterprise."

In these dispositions, Ney advanced to Lons-le-Saulnier. Here, on the
night betwixt the 13th and 14th March, he received a letter from
Napoleon, summoning him to join his standard, as "bravest of the brave,"
a name which could not but awake a thousand remembrances. He had already
sounded both his officers and soldiers, and discovered their unalterable
determination to join Buonaparte. He therefore had it only in his choice
to retain his command by passing over to the Emperor, or else to return
to the King without executing any thing which might seem even an effort
at realizing his boast, and also without the army over which he had
asserted his possession of such influence.

Maréchal Ney was a man of mean birth, who, by the most desperate valour,
had risen to the highest ranks in the army. His early education had not
endowed him with a delicate sense of honour or a high feeling of
principle, and he had not learned either as he advanced in life. He
appears to have been a weak man, with more vanity than pride, and who,
therefore, was likely to feel the loss of power more than the loss of
character. He accordingly resolved upon adhering to Napoleon. Sensible
of the incongruity of changing his side so suddenly, he affected to be a
deliberate knave, rather than he would content himself with being viewed
in his real character, of a volatile, light-principled, and
inconsiderate fool. He pretended that the expedition of Napoleon had
been long arranged between himself and the other maréchals. But we are
willing rather to suppose that this was matter of mere invention, than
to think that the protestations poured out at the Tuileries, only five
days before, were, on the part of this unfortunate man, the effusions of
premeditated treachery.

The maréchal now published an order of the day, declaring that the cause
of the Bourbons was lost for ever. It was received by the soldiers with
rapture, and Buonaparte's standard and colours were instantly
displayed. Many of the officers, however, remonstrated, and left their
commands. One, before he went away, broke his sword in two, and threw
the pieces at Ney's feet, saying, "It is easier for a man of honour to
break iron than to infringe his word."


Ney was received by Napoleon with open arms.[106] His defection did
incalculable damage to the King's cause, tending to show that the spirit
of treason which possessed the common soldiers, had ascended to and
affected the officers of the highest rank in the army.

The King, in the meanwhile, notwithstanding these unpromising
circumstances, used every exertion to induce his subjects to continue in
their allegiance. He attended in person the sitting of the Chamber of
Deputies, and was received with such enthusiastic marks of applause,
that one would have thought the most active exertions must have
followed. Louis next reviewed the national guards, about 25,000 men, who
made a similar display of loyalty. He also inspected the troops of the
line, 6000 in number, but his reception was equivocal. They placed their
caps on their bayonets in token of respect, but they raised no shout.

Some of those about Louis's person continued to believe that these men
were still attached to the King, or that at any rate, they ought to be
sent to the camp at Melun, which was the last remaining point upon which
the royal party could hope to make a stand.

As a last resource, Louis convoked a general council at the Tuileries on
the 18th March. The generals present declared there could be no
effectual opposition offered to Buonaparte. The royalist nobles
contradicted them, and, after some expressions of violence had been
uttered, much misbecoming the royal presence, Louis was obliged to break
up the meeting, and prepare himself to abandon a capital, which the
prevalence of his enemies, and the disunion of his friends, left him no
longer any chance of defending.

Meantime, the two armies approached each other at Melun; that of the
King was commanded by the faithful Macdonald. On the 20th, his troops
were drawn up in three lines to receive the invaders, who were said to
be advancing from Fontainbleau. There was a long pause of suspense, of a
nature which seldom fails to render men more accessible to strong and
sudden emotion. The glades of the forest, and the acclivity which
ascends to it, were full in view of the royal army, but presented the
appearance of a deep solitude. All was silence, except when the
regimental bands of music, at the command of the officers, who remained
generally faithful, played the airs of _Vive Henri Quatre_--_O,
Richard_--_La Belle Gabrielle_, and other tunes connected with the cause
and family of the Bourbons. The sounds excited no corresponding
sentiments among the soldiers. At length, about noon, the galloping of
horse was heard. An open carriage appeared, surrounded by a few hussars,
and drawn by four horses. It came on at full speed; and Napoleon,
jumping from the vehicle, was in the midst of the ranks which had been
formed to oppose him. His escort threw themselves from their horses,
mingled with their ancient comrades, and the effect of their
exhortations was instantaneous on men, whose minds were already half
made up to the purpose which they now accomplished. There was a general
shout of _Vive Napoleon!_--The last army of the Bourbons passed from
their side, and no farther obstruction existed betwixt Napoleon and the
capital, which he was once more--but for a brief space--to inhabit as a

Louis XVIII. had anticipated too surely the defection which took place,
to await the consequence of its actual arrival. The King departed from
Paris, escorted by his household, at one in the morning of the 20th
March. Even at that untimely hour, the palace was surrounded by the
national guards, and many citizens, who wept and entreated him to
remain, offering to spend the last drop of their blood for him. But
Louis wisely declined accepting of sacrifices, which could now have
availed nothing. Escorted by his household troops, he took the way to
Lisle. Maréchal Macdonald, returning from the fatal position of Melun,
assumed the command of this small body, which was indeed augmented by
many volunteers, but such as considered their zealous wishes, rather
than their power of rendering assistance. The King's condition was,
however, pitied and respected, and he passed through Abbeville, and
other garrison towns, where the soldiers received him with sullen
respect; and though indicating that they intended to join his rival,
would neither violate his person nor insult his misfortunes. At Lisle he
had hoped to make a stand, but Maréchal Mortier, insisting upon the
dissatisfied and tumultuary state of the garrison, urged him to proceed,
for the safety of his life; and, compelled to a second exile, he
departed to Ostend, and from thence to Ghent, where he established his
exiled court. Maréchal Macdonald took leave of his Majesty on the
frontiers, conscious that by emigrating he must lose every prospect of
serving in future either France or her monarch. The household troops,
about two hundred excepted, were also disbanded on the frontiers. They
had been harassed in their march thither by some light horse, and in
their attempt to regain their homes in a state of dispersion, some were
slain, and almost all were plundered and insulted.

In the meanwhile, the Revolution took full effect at Paris. Lavalette,
one of Buonaparte's most decided adherents, hastened from a place of
concealment to assume the management of the post-office in the name of
Napoleon, an office which he had enjoyed during his former reign. He was
thus enabled to intercept the royal proclamations, and to announce to
every department officially the restoration of the Emperor. Excelsman,
the oath of fealty to the king, _à toutes épreuves_, scarce dry upon his
lips, took down the white flag, which floated on the Tuileries, and
replaced the three-coloured banner.

[Sidenote: RE-ENTERS PARIS.]

It was late in the evening ere Napoleon arrived in the same open
carriage, which he had used since his landing. There was a singular
contrast betwixt his entry and the departure of the King. The latter was
accompanied by the sobs, tears, and kind wishes of those citizens who
desired peace and tranquillity, by the wailing of the defenceless, and
the anxious fears of the wise and prudent. The former entered amid the
shouts of armed columns, who, existing by war and desolation, welcomed
with military acclamations the chief who was to restore them to their
element. The inhabitants of the suburbs cheered in expectation of
employment and gratuities, or by instigation of their ringleaders, who
were chiefly under the management of the police, and well prepared for
the event. But among the immense crowds of the citizens of Paris, who
turned out to see this extraordinary spectacle, few or none joined in
the gratulation. The soldiers of the guard resented their silence,
commanded the spectators to shout, struck with the flat of their swords,
and pointed their pistols at the multitude, but could not, even by these
military means, extort the expected cry of Liberty and Napoleon, though
making it plain by their demeanour, that the last, if not the first, was
returned to the Parisians. In the court of the Carousel, and before the
Tuileries, all the adherents of the old Imperial government, and those
who, having deserted Napoleon, were eager to expiate their fault, by now
being first to acknowledge him, were assembled to give voice to their
welcome, which atoned in some degree for the silence of the streets.
They crowded around him so closely, that he was compelled to
exclaim--"My friends, you stifle me!" and his adjutants were obliged to
support him in their arms up the grand staircase, and thence into the
royal apartments, where he received the all-hail of the principal
devisers and abettors of this singular undertaking.

Never, in his bloodiest and most triumphant field of battle, had the
terrible ascendency of Napoleon's genius appeared half so predominant as
during his march, or rather his journey, from Cannes to Paris. He who
left the same coast disguised like a slave, and weeping like a woman,
for fear of assassination, reappeared in grandeur like that of the
returning wave, which, the farther it has retreated, is rolled back on
the shore with the more terrific and overwhelming violence. His looks
seemed to possess the pretended power of northern magicians, and blunted
swords and spears. The Bravest of the Brave, who came determined to
oppose him as he would a wild beast, recognised his superiority when
confronted with him, and sunk again into his satellite. Yet the lustre
with which Napoleon shone was not that of a planet duly moving in its
regular sphere, but that of a comet, inspiring forebodings of pestilence
and death, and

            "with fear of change,
    Perplexing nations."

The result of his expedition was thus summed by one of the most eloquent
and best-informed British statesmen.[107]

"Was it," said the accomplished orator, "in the power of language to
describe the evil? Wars which had raged for twenty-five years throughout
Europe; which had spread blood and desolation from Cadiz to Moscow, and
from Naples to Copenhagen; which had wasted the means of human
enjoyment, and destroyed the instruments of social improvement; which
threatened to diffuse among the European nations the dissolute and
ferocious habits of a predatory soldiery--at length by one of those
vicissitudes which bid defiance to the foresight of man, had been
brought to a close, upon the whole happy beyond all reasonable
expectation, with no violent shock to national independence, with some
tolerable compromise between the opinions of the age and the reverence
due to ancient institutions; with no too signal or mortifying triumph
over the legitimate interests or avowable feelings of any numerous body
of men, and, above all, without those retaliations against nations or
parties which beget new convulsions, often as horrible as those which
they close, and perpetuate revenge and hatred and blood from age to age.
Europe seemed to breathe after her sufferings. In the midst of this fair
prospect, and of these consolatory hopes, Napoleon Buonaparte escaped
from Elba; three small vessels reached the coast of Provence; their
hopes are instantly dispelled; the work of our toil and fortitude is
undone; the blood of Europe is spilt in vain--

    "Ibi omnis effusus labor!"


[85] "Did you not abandon him in the most cowardly manner, when you saw
him in that danger into which you had precipitated him? Was it not your
duty to form a rampart round him with your bodies? Was it the business
of Republicans to defend with their tongues him whom you had not the
courage to defend with your swords?"--_Memorial_, pp. 11-14.

[86] Merchant of Venice, act iv., scene i.

[87] The following letter appeared in the Journal des Débats of the 7th
October:--"SIR, I have been for more than a month in the country, eleven
leagues from Paris. On my return to the capital, I learn that there has
been circulated, in my name, a pamphlet, entitled, 'Memorial addressed
to the King,' &c. I declare, that the Memorial has become printed
without my consent, and contrary to my intention.--CARNOT." This
statement is gravely repeated in the Edinburgh Review, vol. xxiv., p.

[88] Journal des Débats, Oct. 11.

[89] Fouché, tom. ii., p. 232.

[90] Fouché, tom. ii., p. 235.

[91] "Nous le ferons sans vous; nous le ferons malgré vous; nous le
ferons pour vous."--S.

[92] "A military party made me a proposal of offering the dictatorship
to Eugene Beauharnois. I wrote to him, under the impression that the
matter had already assumed a substantial form; but I only received a
vague answer. In the interim, all the interests of the Revolution
congregated round myself and Carnot, whose memorial to the King had
produced a general sensation."--FOUCHÉ, tom. i., p. 244.

[93] See Parliamentary Debates, vol. xxxi., 1815.

[94] "At this time there was a very pretty cunning little French actress
at Elba. Napoleon pretended to be very angry with her, saying she was a
spy of the Bourbons, and ordered her out of the island in twenty-four
hours. Captain Adye took her in his vessel to Leghorn: Sir Niel Campbell
went at the same time; and during this absence, on Sunday the 26th
February, a signal gun was fired at four in the afternoon, the drums
beat to arms, the officers tumbled what they could of their effects into
flour sacks, the men arranged their knapsacks, the embarkation began,
and at eight in the evening they were under weigh."--_Memorable Events_,
p. 271.

[95] The Zephyr, Captain Andrieu.

[96] "He asked how the Emperor did. Napoleon replied through the
speaking trumpet, 'Il se porte à merveille.'"--_Memorable Events_, p.

[97] Lord Castlereagh stated, in the House of Commons, 7th April, 1815,
that Napoleon was not considered as a prisoner at Elba, and that if he
should leave it the allies had no right to arrest him.--_Parl. Deb._,
vol. xxx., p. 426.

[98] "Soult did not betray Louis, nor was he privy to my return and
landing in France. For some days, he thought that I was _mad_, and that
I must certainly be lost. Notwithstanding this, appearances were so much
against him, and without intending it, his acts turned out to be so
favourable to my projects, that, were I on his jury, and ignorant of
what I know, I should condemn him for having betrayed Louis. But he
really was not privy to it."--NAPOLEON, _Las Cases_, tom. i., p. 343;
_O'Meara_, vol. i., p. 386.

[99] "The Royalists made a mockery of this terror: it was strange to
hear them say that this event was the most fortunate thing possible,
because we should be relieved from Buonaparte; for the two Chambers
would feel the necessity of giving the king absolute power--as if
absolute power was a thing to be given."--MAD. DE STAËL, tom. iii., p.
138. "Yesterday the King received the diplomatic corps. His majesty said
to the ambassadors, 'write to your respective courts that I am well, and
that the foolish enterprise of _that man_ shall as little disturb the
tranquillity of Europe, as it has disturbed mine.'"--_Moniteur_, March 8.

[100] "I am persuaded that the suspicion of his acting a treacherous
part is groundless."--MAD. DE STAËL, tom. iii., p. 87.

[101] "General Lallemand would have been infallibly shot, had not
Napoleon reached Paris with such extraordinary rapidity."--SAVARY, tom.
iv., p. 256.

[102] Fouché, tom. ii., p. 249.

[103] "When the king's ministers desired to know what were the means
which I proposed to employ, in order to prevent Napoleon from reaching
Paris, I refused to communicate them, being determined to disclose them
to no person but the King himself; but I protested that I was sure of
success."--FOUCHÉ, p. 250.

[104] In the Memoirs of Fouché, it is avowed, that this order of arrest
was upon no political ground, but arose from the envy of Savary, who,
foreseeing that Fouché would be restored to the situation of minister of
police, which he himself desired, on account of the large sums which
were placed at the disposal of that functionary, hoped, in this manner,
to put his rival out of his road.--S.

[105] "Hortense received me with open arms; and as in a wonderful
Arabian tale, I suddenly found myself in the midst of the _élite_ of the
Buonapartists, in the headquarters of the party, where I found mirth,
and where my presence caused an intoxication of joy."--FOUCHÉ, p. 253.

[106] "It is impossible not to condemn Ney's conduct. It behoved him to
imitate Macdonald and to withdraw. It ought, however, to be added, that
Generals Lecourbe and Bourmont were with him when he consented to be led
astray. But, after committing this error, he fell into a still greater
one. He wrote to Napoleon to acquaint him with what he had done,
announcing to him at the same time, that he was about to proceed to
Auxerre, where he expected the honour of seeing him."--SAVARY, tom. iv.,
p. 252.

[107] Sir James Mackintosh. See Debate on Mr. Abercrombie's Motion
respecting Buonaparte's Escape from Elba.--_Parl. Deb._, vol. xxx., p.


    _Various attempts to organise a defence for the Bourbons
    fail--Buonaparte, again reinstated on the throne of France, is
    desirous of continuing the peace with the Allies--but no answer is
    returned to his letters--Treaty of Vienna--Grievances alleged by
    Buonaparte in justification of the step he had taken--Debates in the
    British House of Commons, on the renewal of War--Murat occupies Rome
    with 50,000 men--his Proclamation summoning all Italians to
    arms--He advances against the Austrians--is repulsed at
    Occhio-Bello--defeated at Tolentino--flies to Naples, and thence, in
    disguise, to France--where Napoleon refuses to receive him._

When Paris was lost, the bow of the Bourbons was effectually broken; and
the attempts of individuals of the family to make a stand against the
evil hour, was honourable indeed to their own gallantry, but of no
advantage to their cause.

The Duke d'Angoulême placed himself at the head of a considerable body
of troops, raised by the town of Marseilles, and the royalists of
Provence. But being surrounded by General Gilly, he was obliged to lay
down his arms, on condition of amnesty to his followers, and free
permission to himself to leave France. General Grouchy refused to
confirm this capitulation, till Buonaparte's pleasure was known. But the
restored Emperor, not displeased, it may be, to make a display of
generosity, permitted the Duke d'Angoulême to depart by sea from Cette,
only requiring his interference with Louis XVIII. for returning the
crown jewels which the King had removed with him to Ghent.[108]

The Duke of Bourbon had retired to La Vendée to raise the warlike
royalists of that faithful province. But it had been previously occupied
by soldiers attached to Buonaparte, so judiciously posted as to render
an insurrection impossible; and the duke found himself obliged to escape
by sea from Nantes.


The Duchess d'Angoulême, the only remaining daughter of Louis XVI.,
whose childhood and youth had suffered with patient firmness such storms
of adversity, showed on this trying occasion that she had the active as
well as passive courage becoming the descendant of a long line of
princes. She threw herself into Bourdeaux, where the loyalty of Count
Lynch, the mayor, and of the citizens in general, promised her
determined aid, and the princess herself stood forth amongst them, like
one of those heroic women of the age of chivalry, whose looks and words
were able in moments of peril to give double edge to men's swords, and
double constancy to their hearts. But unhappily there was a considerable
garrison of troops of the line in Bourdeaux, who had caught the general
spirit of revolt. General Clausel also advanced on the city with a force
of the same description. The duchess made a last effort, assembled
around her the officers, and laid their duty before them in the most
touching and pathetic manner. But when she saw their coldness, and heard
their faltering excuses, she turned from them in disdain:--"You fear,"
she said--"I pity you, and release you from your oaths." She embarked on
board an English frigate, and Bourdeaux opened its gates to Clausel, and
declared for the Emperor. Thus, notwithstanding the return of Napoleon
was far from being acceptable to the French universally, or even
generally, all open opposition to his government ceased, and he was
acknowledged as Emperor within about twenty days after he landed on the
beach at Cannes, with a thousand followers.[109]

But though he was thus replaced on the throne, Napoleon's seat was by no
means secure, unless he could prevail upon the confederated sovereigns
of Europe to acknowledge him in the capacity of which their united arms
had so lately deprived him. It is true, he had indirectly promised war
to his soldiers, by stigmatizing the cessions made by the Bourbons of
what he called the territory of France. It is true, also, that then, and
till his death's-day, he continued to entertain the rooted idea that
Belgium, a possession which France had acquired within twenty years, was
an integral portion of that kingdom. It is true, Antwerp and the five
hundred sail of the line which were to be built there, continued through
his whole life to be the very Delilah of his imagination. The cause of
future war was, therefore, blazing in his bosom. But yet at present he
felt it necessary for his interest to assure the people of France, that
his return to the empire would not disturb the treaty of Paris, though
it had given the Low Countries to Holland. He spared no device to spread
reports of a pacific tendency.

From the commencement of his march, it was affirmed by his creatures
that he brought with him a treaty concluded with all the powers of
Europe for twenty years. It was repeatedly averred, that Maria Louisa
and her son were on the point of arriving in France, dismissed by her
father as a pledge of reconciliation; and when she did not appear, it
was insinuated that she was detained by the Emperor Francis, as a pledge
that Buonaparte should observe his promise of giving the French a free
constitution. To such bare-faced assertions he was reduced, rather than
admit that his return was to be the signal for renewing hostilities with
all Europe.

Meantime, Napoleon hesitated not to offer to the allied ministers his
willingness to acquiesce in the treaty of Paris; although, according to
his uniform reasoning, it involved the humiliation and disgrace of
France. He sent a letter to each of the sovereigns, expressing his
desire to make peace on the same principles which had been arranged with
the Bourbons. To these letters no answers were returned. The decision of
the allies had already been adopted.


The Congress at Vienna happened fortunately not to be dissolved, when
the news of Buonaparte's escape from Elba was laid before them by
Talleyrand, on the 11th March. The astonishing, as well as the sublime,
approaches to the ludicrous, and it is a curious physiological fact,
that the first news of an event which threatened to abolish all their
labours, seemed so like a trick in a pantomime, that laughter was the
first emotion it excited from almost every one. The merry mood did not
last long; for the jest was neither a sound nor safe one. It was
necessary for the Congress, by an unequivocal declaration, to express
their sentiments, upon this extraordinary occasion. This declaration
appeared on the 13th March, and after giving an account of the fact,
bore the following denunciation:--

    "By thus breaking the convention which had established him in the
    island of Elba, Buonaparte destroys the only legal title on which
    his existence depended; and, by appearing again in France with
    projects of confusion and disorder, he has deprived himself of the
    protection of the law, and has manifested to the universe, that
    there can be neither peace nor truce with him.

    "The powers consequently declare, that Napoleon Buonaparte has
    placed himself without the pale of civil and social relations, and
    that, as an enemy and disturber of the tranquillity of the world, he
    has rendered himself liable to public vengeance. They declare at the
    same time, that, firmly resolved to maintain entire the treaty of
    Paris of the 30th of May, 1814, and the dispositions sanctioned by
    that treaty, and those which they have resolved on, or shall
    hereafter resolve on, to complete and to consolidate it, they will
    employ all their means, and will unite all their efforts, that the
    general peace, the object of the wishes of Europe, and the constant
    purpose of their labours, may not again be troubled; and to provide
    against every attempt which shall threaten to replunge the world
    into the disorders of revolution."[110]

This manifesto was instantly followed by a treaty betwixt Great Britain,
Austria, Prussia, and Russia, renewing and confirming the league entered
into at Chaumont. The first article declared the resolution of the high
contracting parties to maintain and enforce the treaty of Paris, which
excluded Buonaparte from the throne of France, and to enforce the decree
of outlawry issued against him as above mentioned. 2. Each of the
contracting parties agreed to keep constantly in the field an army of
150,000 men complete, with the due proportion of cavalry and artillery.
3. They agreed not to lay down their arms but by common consent, until
either the purpose of the war should have been attained, or Buonaparte
should be rendered incapable of disturbing the peace of Europe. After
other subordinate articles, the 7th provided, that the other powers of
Europe should be invited to accede to the treaty; and the 8th, that the
King of France should be particularly called upon to become a party to
it. A separate article provided, that the King of Great Britain should
have the option of furnishing his contingent in men, or of paying,
instead, at the rate of L.30 sterling per annum for each cavalry
soldier, and L.20 per annum for each infantry soldier, which should be
wanting to make up his complement. To this treaty a declaration was
subjoined, when it was ratified by the Prince Regent, referring to the
eighth article of the treaty, and declaring that it should not be
understood as binding his Britannic Majesty to prosecute the war, with
the view of forcibly imposing on France any particular government. The
other contracting powers agreed to accept of the accession of his Royal
Highness, under this explanation and limitation.[111]

The treaty of Vienna may be considered in a double point of view, first,
upon principle, and, secondly, as to its mode of expression; and it was
commented upon in both respects in the British House of Commons. The
expediency of the war was denied by several of the Opposition members,
on account of the exhausted state of Great Britain, but they generally
admitted that the escape of Buonaparte gave a just cause for the
declaration of hostilities. The great statesman and jurisconsult, whom
we have already quoted, delivered an opinion for himself, and those with
whom he acted, couched in the most positive terms.

    "Some insinuations," said Sir James Mackintosh, "had been thrown
    out, of differences of opinion on his side of the house, respecting
    the evils of this escape. He utterly denied them. All agreed in
    lamenting the occurrence which rendered the renewal of war so
    probable, not to say certain. All his friends, with whose sentiments
    he was acquainted, were of opinion, that, in the theory of public
    law, the assumption of power by Napoleon had given to the allies a
    just cause of war against France. It was perfectly obvious, that the
    abdication of Napoleon, and his perpetual renunciation of the
    supreme authority, was a condition, and the most important
    condition, on which the allies had granted peace to France. The
    convention of Fontainbleau, and the treaty of Paris, were equally
    parts of the great compact which re-established friendship between
    France and Europe. In consideration of the safer and more
    inoffensive state of France when separated from her terrible leader,
    confederated Europe had granted moderate and favourable terms of
    peace. As soon as France had violated this important condition, by
    again submitting to the authority of Napoleon, the allies were
    doubtless released from their part of the compact, and re-entered
    into their belligerent rights."[112]


The provocations pleaded by Buonaparte (which seem to have been entirely
fanciful, so far as respects any design on his freedom,) were, first,
the separation from his family. But this was a question with Austria
exclusively; for what power was to compel the Emperor Francis to restore
his daughter, after the fate of war had flung her again under his
paternal protection? Napoleon's feelings in his situation were extremely
natural, but those of the Emperor cannot be blamed, who considered his
daughter's honour and happiness as interested in separating her from a
man, who was capable of attempting to redeem his broken fortunes by the
most desperate means. Much would depend upon the inclination of the
illustrious person herself; but even if some degree of paternal
restraint had been exerted, could Napoleon really feel himself justified
in renewing a sort of Trojan war with all the powers in Europe, in order
to recover his wife, or think, because he was separated from her society
by a flinty-hearted father, that he was therefore warranted in invading
and subduing the kingdom of France? The second article of provocation,
and we admit it as a just one, was, that Napoleon was left to
necessities to which he ought not to have been subjected, by France
withholding his pension till the year should elapse. This was a ground
of complaint, and a deep one; but against whom? Surely not against the
allies, unless Buonaparte had called upon them to make good their
treaty; and had stated, that France had failed to make good those
obligations, for which he had their guarantee. England, who was only an
accessory to the treaty, had nevertheless already interfered in
Buonaparte's behalf, and there can be no doubt that redress would have
been granted by the contracting parties, who could not in decency avoid
enforcing a treaty, which had been of their own forming. That this
guarantee gave Napoleon a right to appeal and to complain, cannot be
denied; but that it gave him a right to proceed by violence, without any
expostulation previously made, is contrary to all ideas of the law of
nations, which enacts, that no aggression can constitute a legitimate
cause of war, until redress has been refused. This, however, is all mere
legal argument. Buonaparte did NOT invade France, because she was
deficient in paying his pension. He invaded her, because he saw a strong
prospect of regaining the throne; nor do we believe that millions of
gold would have prevailed on him to forego the opportunity.

His more available ground of defence, however, was, that he was recalled
by the general voice of the nation of France; but the whole facts of the
case contradicted this statement. His league with the Revolutionists was
made reluctantly on their part, nor did that party form any very
considerable portion of the nation. "His election," according to
Grattan, "was a military election; and when the army disposed of the
civil government, it was the march of a military chief over a conquered
nation. The nation did not rise to assist Louis, or resist Buonaparte,
because the nation could not rise against the army. The mind of France,
as well as her constitution, had completely lost, for the present, the
power of resistance. They passively yielded to superior force."[113]

In short, the opinion of the House of Commons was so unanimous on the
disastrous consequences of Napoleon's quitting Elba, that the minority
brought charges against Ministers for not having provided more effectual
means to prevent his escape. To these charges it was replied, that
Britain was not his keeper; that it was impossible to maintain a line of
blockade around Elba; and if it had been otherwise, that Britain had no
right to interfere with Buonaparte's motions, so far as concerned short
expeditions unconnected with the purpose of escape; although it was
avowed, that if a British vessel had detected him in the act of going to
France with an armed force, for the purpose of invasion, the right of
stopping his progress would have been exercised at every hazard. Still
it was urged, they had no title either to establish a police upon the
island, the object of which should be to watch its acknowledged Emperor,
or to maintain a naval force around it, to apprehend him in case he
should attempt an escape. Both would have been in direct contradiction
of the treaty of Fontainbleau, to which Britain had acceded, though she
was not of the contracting parties.[114]

The style of the declaration of the allies was more generally censured
in the British Parliament than its warlike tone. It was contended that,
by declaring Napoleon an outlaw, it invoked against him the daggers of
individuals, as well as the sword of justice. This charge of encouraging
assassination was warmly repelled by the supporters of Ministry.[115]
The purpose of the proclamation, it was said, was merely to point out
Napoleon to the French nation, as a person who had forfeited his civil
rights, by the act of resuming, contrary to treaty, a position in which,
from his temper, habits, and talents, he must again become an object of
suspicion and terror to all Europe. His inflexible resolution, his
unbounded ambition, his own genius, his power over the mind of
others--those great military talents, in short, which, so valuable in
war, are in peace so dangerous, had afforded reasons for making the
peace of Paris, by which Napoleon was personally excluded from the
throne. When Napoleon broke that peace, solemnly concluded with Europe,
he forfeited his political rights, and in that view alone the outlawry
was to be construed. In consequence of these resolutions, adopted at
Vienna and London, all Europe rang with the preparations for war; and
the number of troops with which the allies proposed to invade France
were rated at no less than one million and eleven thousand

Before proceeding farther, it is requisite to say a few words on the
subject of Murat. He had been for some time agitated by fears naturally
arising from the attack made upon his government at the Congress by
Talleyrand. The effect had not, it was true, induced the other powers to
decide against him; but he seems to have been conscious that the reports
of General Nugent and Lord William Bentinck concurred in representing
him as having acted in the last campaign rather the part of a trimmer
betwixt two parties, than that of a confederate, sincere, as he
professed to be, in favour of the allies. Perhaps his conscience
acknowledged this truth, for it certainly seems as if Eugene might have
been more hardly pressed, had Murat been disposed to act with energy in
behalf of the allies. He felt, therefore, that the throne of Tancred
tottered under him, and rashly determined that it was better to brave a
danger than to allow time to see whether it might not pass away. Murat
had held intercourse with the isle of Elba, and cannot but have known
Buonaparte's purpose when he left it; but he ought, at the same time, to
have considered, that if his brother-in-law met with any success, his
own alliance would become essential to Austria, who had such anxiety to
retain the north of Italy, and must have been purchased on his own

[Sidenote: MURAT.]

Instead, however, of waiting for an opportunity of profiting by
Napoleon's attempt, which could not have failed to arrive, Murat
resolved to throw himself into the fray, and carve for himself. He
placed himself at the head of an army of 50,000 men, and without
explaining his intentions, occupied Rome, the Pope and cardinals flying
before him; threatened the whole line of the Po, which the Austrian
force was inadequate to maintain; and, on 31st of March, addressed a
proclamation to all Italians, summoning them to rise in arms for the
liberation of their country.[117] It seemed now clear, that the purpose
of this son of a pastry-cook amounted to nothing else than the formation
of Italy into one state, and the placing himself on the throne of the
Cæsars. The proclamation was signed Joachim Napoleon, which last name,
formerly laid aside, he reassumed at this critical period. The appeal to
the Italians was in vain. The feuds among the petty states are so
numerous, their pretensions so irreconcilable, and their weakness has
made them so often the prey of successive conquerors, that they found
little inviting in the proposal of union, little arousing in the sound
of independence. The proclamation, therefore, had small effect, except
upon some of the students at Bologna. Murat marched northward, however,
and being much superior in numbers, defeated the Austrian general
Bianchi, and occupied Modena and Florence.

Murat's attitude was now an alarming one to Europe. If he should press
forward into Lombardy, he might co-operate with Buonaparte, now restored
to his crown, and would probably be reinforced by thousands of the
veterans of the Viceroy Eugene's army. Austria, therefore, became
desirous of peace, and offered to guarantee to him the possession of the
kingdom of Naples, with an addition he had long coveted, the marches,
namely, of the Roman See. Britain, at the same time, intimated, that
having made truce with Joachim at the instance of Austria, it was to
last no longer than his good intelligence with her ally. Murat refused
the conditions of the one power, and neglected the remonstrances of the
other. "It was too late," he said; "Italy deserves freedom, and she
shall be free." Here closed all hopes of peace; Austria declared war
against Murat, and expedited the reinforcements sent into Italy; and
Britain prepared a descent upon his Neapolitan dominions, where
Ferdinand still continued to have many adherents.[118]

Murat's character as a tactician was far inferior to that which he
deservedly bore as a soldier in the field of battle, and he was still a
worse politician than a general. A repulse sustained in an attempt to
pass the Po near Occhio-bello, seems to have disconcerted the plan of
his whole campaign, nor did he find himself able to renew the
negotiations which he had rashly broken off. He seemed to acknowledge,
by his military movements, that he had attempted a scheme far beyond his
strength and understanding. He retreated upon his whole line, abandoning
Parma, Reggio, Modena, Florence, and all Tuscany, by which last movement
he put the Austrians in possession of the best and shortest road to
Rome. In consequence, he was pressed on his retreat in front and rear,
and compelled to give battle near Tolentino. It was sustained for two
days, (2d and 3d of May,) but the Neapolitans could not be brought into
close action with the iron-nerved Austrians. It was in vain that Murat
placed field-pieces in the rear of his attacking columns, with orders to
fire grape on them should they retreat; in vain that he himself set the
example of the most desperate courage. The Neapolitan army fled in
dispersion and discomfiture. Their guns, ammunition, treasure, and
baggage, became the spoil of the Austrians; and in traversing the
mountains of Abruzzo, Murat lost half his army without stroke of sword.

The defeated prince was pursued into his Neapolitan dominions, where he
learned that the Calabrians were in insurrection, and that an English
fleet, escorting an invading army from Sicily, had appeared in the Bay
of Naples. His army, reduced to a handful by repeated skirmishes, in
which he had behaved with such temerity as to make his followers think
he desired death, was directed to throw itself into Capua. He himself,
who had left Naples splendidly apparelled, according to his custom, and
at the head of a gallant army, now entered its gates, attended only by
four lancers, alighted at the palace, and appeared before the Queen,
pale, haggard, dishevelled, with all the signs of extreme fatigue and
dejection. His salutation was in the affecting words, "Madam, I have not
been able to find death." He presently found, that remaining at Naples,
which was about to fall into other hands, would compromise his liberty,
perhaps his life. He took leave of his Queen, whom circumstances were
about to deprive of that title, cut off his hair, and disguising himself
in a grey frock, escaped to the little island of Ischia, and reached on
25th May, Cannes, which had received Napoleon a few weeks before. His
wife, immediately afterwards, alarmed by the tendency of the Neapolitan
mob to insurrection, surrendered herself to Commodore Campbell of the
Tremendous, and was received on board his vessel.[119]

A courier announced Murat's arrival in France to Buonaparte, who,
instead of sending consolation to his unhappy relative, is said to have
asked with bitter scorn, "Whether Naples and France had made peace since
the war of 1814!" The answer seems to imply, that although the attempts
of Joachim and Napoleon coincided in time, and in other circumstances,
so punctually as to make it evident they had been undertaken in concert,
yet that there had been no precise correspondence, far less any formal
treaty, betwixt the adventurous brothers. Indeed, Napoleon at all times
positively denied that he had the least accession to Murat's
wildly-concerted project (_levée des boucliers_,) and affirmed that it
was essentially injurious to him. Napoleon's account was, that when he
retired to Elba, he took farewell of Murat by letter, forgiving all that
had passed between them, and recommending to his brother-in-law to keep
on good terms with the Austrians, and only to check them if he saw them
likely to advance on France. He offered also to guarantee his kingdom.
Murat returned an affectionate answer, engaging to prove himself, in his
conduct towards Napoleon, more an object of pity than resentment,
declining any other guarantee than the word of the Emperor, and
declaring that the attachment of his future life was to make amends for
the past defection. "But it was Murat's fate to ruin us every way,"
continued Napoleon; "once by declaring against us, and again by
unadvisedly taking our part."[120] He encountered Austria without
sufficient means, and being ruined, left her without any
counterbalancing power in Italy. From that time it became impossible for
Napoleon to negotiate with her.

Receiving the Emperor's account as correct, and allowing that the
brothers-in-law played each his own part, it was not to be supposed that
they acted entirely without a mutual understanding. Each, indeed, was
willing to rest on his own fortunes, well knowing that his claim to the
other's assistance would depend chiefly upon his success, and unwilling,
besides, to relinquish the privilege of making peace, should it be
necessary, at the expense of disowning the kindred enterprise of his
brother-in-law. Notwithstanding the splendid details which the
_Moniteur_ gave of Murat's undertaking, while it yet seemed to promise
success, it is certain that Buonaparte endeavoured to propitiate
Austria, by the offer of abandoning Murat; and that Murat, could his
offers have obtained a hearing after the repulse of Occhio-bello, was
ready once more to have deserted Napoleon, whose name he had so lately
reassumed. Involved in this maze of selfish policy, Murat had now the
mortification to find himself contemned by Napoleon, when he might,
indeed, be a burden, but could afford him no aid. Had he arrived at
Milan as a victor, and extended a friendly hand across the Alps, how
different would have been his reception! But Buonaparte refused to see
him in his distress, or to permit him to come to Paris, satisfied that
the sight of his misery would be a bitter contradiction to the fables
which the French journals had, for some time, published of his success.
Fouché sent him a message, much like that which enjoined the dishonoured
ambassadors of Solomon to tarry at Jericho till their beards grew. It
recommended to Murat to remain in seclusion, till the recollection of
his disgrace should be abated by newer objects of general interest.

Buonaparte had sometimes entertained thoughts of bringing Murat to the
army, but was afraid of shocking the French soldiers, who would have
felt disgust and horror at seeing the man who had betrayed France. "I
did not," he said to his followers at St. Helena, "think I could carry
him through, and yet he might have gained us the victory; for there were
moments during the battle (of Waterloo) when to have forced two or three
of the English squares might have insured it, and Murat was just the man
for the work. In leading a charge of cavalry, never was there an officer
more determined, more brave, and more brilliant."[121]

Murat was thus prohibited to come to the court of the Tuileries, where
his defection might have been forgiven, but his defeat was an inexpiable
offence. He remained in obscurity near Toulon, till his fate called him
elsewhere, after the decisive battle of Waterloo.[122] From this
episode, for such, however important, it is in the present history, we
return to France and our immediate subject.


[108] Napoleon to Grouchy.

[109] "The result of the royalist enterprise rather contributed to
tranquillise Napoleon. He was astonished by the courage which the Duke
d'Angoulême exhibited in La Drôme, and especially Madame at Bourdeaux.
He admired the intrepidity of this heroic princess, whom the desertion
of an entire army had not been able to dispirit. It was proposed in
council to obtain the crown diamonds for the Duke d'Angoulême. I
recommended the Emperor to throw M. de Vitrolles into the bargain; but
he would not consent."--FOUCHÉ, tom. ii., p. 261.

[110] Parl. Debates, vol. xxx., p. 373.

[111] Parl. Debates, vol. xxx.; Ann. Reg., vol. lvii.

[112] Parl. Debates, vol. xxx., p. 378.

[113] See debate, May 25, 1815, on the Prince Regent's message relating
to France. Parl. Debates, vol. xxxii., p. 424.

[114] See Parl. Debates, vol. xxx., p. 726.

[115] See Parl. Debates, vol. xxx., p. 338.

[116] The contingents of the various powers were as follows:--Austria
300,000 men; Russia 225,000; Prussia 236,000; States of Germany 150,000;
Great Britain 50,000; Holland 50,000; in all, 1,011,000 soldiers.--S.

[117] Mémoires de Fleury de Chamboullon, tom. i., p. 397.

[118] See papers relating to Maréchal Murat.--Parl. Debates, vol. xxxi.,
pp. 59-153.

[119] Commodore Campbell had promised Caroline a free passage to France;
but, on the declaration of Lord Exmouth, that the commodore had exceeded
his instructions, fresh negotiations were entered into with Austria; the
result being that the ex-queen accepted the protection of the Emperor
Francis, and has since resided, as Countess of Lipano, in his dominions.

[120] Las Cases, tom. ii., p. 355.

[121] O'Meara, vol. ii., p. 95.

[122] It is well known that Joachim Murat, escaping with difficulty from
France, fled to Corsica, and might have obtained permission to reside
upon parole in the Austrian territories, safe and unmolested. He
nourished a wild idea, however, of recovering his crown, which induced
him to reject these terms of safety, and invade the Neapolitan
territories at the head of about two hundred men. That his whole
expedition might be an accurate parody on that of Buonaparte to Cannes,
he published swaggering proclamations, mingled with a proper quantum of
falsehood. A storm dispersed his flotilla. He himself, October 8th,
landed at a little fishing town near Monte Leone. He was attacked by the
country people, fought as he was wont, but was defeated and made
prisoner, tried by martial law, and condemned. The Sicilian royal family
have shown themselves no forgiving race, otherwise mercy might have been
extended to one, who, though now a private person, had been so lately a
king, that he might be pardoned for forgetting that he had no longer the
power of making peace and war without personal responsibility. Murat met
his fate as became _Le Beau Sabreur_. He fastened his wife's picture on
his breast, refused to have his eyes bandaged, or to use a seat,
received six balls through his heart, and met the death which he had
braved with impunity in the thick of many conflicts, and sought in vain
in so many others.--S.


    _Buonaparte's attempts to conciliate Britain--Plot to carry off
    Maria Louisa fails--State of feeling in France--The Army--The
    Jacobins--The Constitutionalists--Fouché and Siêyes made
    Peers--Freedom of the Press granted, and outraged--Independent
    conduct of Comté, editor of Le Censeur--Disaffections among the
    lower orders--Part of these assemble before the Tuileries, and
    applaud the Emperor--Festival of the Federates--New Constitution--It
    is received with dissatisfaction--Meeting of the Champ de Mai to
    ratify it--Buonaparte's Address to the Chambers of Peers and
    Deputies--The spirit of Jacobinism predominant in the latter._

[Sidenote: MARIA LOUISA.]

While Murat was struggling and sinking under his evil fate, Buonaparte
was actively preparing for the approaching contest. His first attempt,
as we have already seen, was to conciliate the allied powers. To satisfy
Great Britain, he passed an act abolishing the slave trade, and made
some regulations concerning national education, in which he spoke highly
of the systems of Bell and Lancaster. These measures were favourably
construed by some of our legislators; and that they were so, is a
complete proof that Buonaparte understood the temper of our nation. To
suppose that, during his ten months of retirement, his mind was actively
employed upon the miseries of the negroes, or the deplorable state of
ignorance to which his own measures, and the want of early instruction,
had reduced the youth of France, would argue but little acquaintance
with his habits of ambition. To believe, on the contrary, that he would,
at his first arrival in France, make any apparent sacrifices which might
attract the good-will of his powerful and dangerous neighbours, is more
consonant with his schemes, his interest, and his character. The path
which he chose to gain the esteem of Britain, was by no means
injudicious. The abolition of negro slavery, and the instruction of the
poor, have (to the honour of our legislature) been frequent and anxious
subjects of deliberation in the House of Commons; and to mankind,
whether individually or collectively, no species of flattery is more
pleasing than that of assent and imitation. It is not a little to the
credit of our country, that the most avowed enemy of Britain strove to
cultivate our good opinion, not by any offers of national advantage but
by appearing to concur in general measures of benevolence, and attention
to the benefit of society. Yet, upon the whole, the character of
Napoleon was too generally understood, and the purpose of his apparent
approximation to British sentiments, too obviously affected, for serving
to make any general or serious impression in his favour.

With Austria, Napoleon acted differently. He was aware that no
impression could be made on the Emperor Francis, or his minister
Metternich, and that it had become impossible, with their consent, that
he should fulfil his promise of presenting his wife and son to the
people on the Champ de Mai. Stratagem remained the only resource; and
some Frenchmen at Vienna, with those in Maria Louisa's train, formed a
scheme of carrying off the Empress of France and her child. The plot was
discovered and prevented, and the most public steps were immediately
taken, to show that Austria considered all ties with Buonaparte as
dissolved for ever. Maria Louisa, by her father's commands, laid aside
the arms and liveries of her husband, hitherto displayed by her
attendants and carriages, and assumed those of the house of Austria.
This decisive event put an end to every hope so long cherished by
Napoleon, that he might find some means of regaining the friendship of
his father-in-law.

Nor did the other powers in Europe show themselves more accessible to
his advances. He was, therefore, reduced to his own partisans in the
French nation, and those won over from other parties, whom he might be
able to add to them.

The army had sufficiently shown themselves to be his own, upon grounds
which are easily appreciated. The host of public official persons, to
whom the name under which they exercised their offices was indifferent,
provided the salary continued to be attached to them, formed a large and
influential body. And although we, who have never, by such mutations of
our political system, been put to the trial of either abandoning our
means of living, or submitting to a change of government, may, on
hearing quoted names of respectability and celebrity who adopted the
latter alternative, exclaim against French versatility, a glance at
Britain during the frequent changes of the 17th century, may induce us
to exchange the exclamation of poor France! for that of poor human
nature! The professors of Cromwell's days, who piously termed themselves
followers of Providence, because they complied with every change that
came uppermost; and the sect of time-servers, including the honest
patriot, who complained at the Restoration that he had complied with
seven forms of government during the year, but lost his office by being
too late of adhering to the last--would have made in their day a list
equally long, and as entertaining, as the celebrated _Dictionnaire de
Girouettes_. In matters dependent upon a sudden breeze of sentiment, the
mercurial Frenchman is more apt to tack about than the phlegmatic and
slowly-moved native of Britain; but when the steady trade-wind of
interest prevails for a long season, men in all nations and countries
show the same irresistible disposition to trim their sails by it; and in
politics as in morals, it will be well to pray against being led into


Besides those attached to him by mere interest, or from gratitude and
respect for his talents, Napoleon had now among his adherents, or rather
allies, not as a matter of choice, but of necessity, the Jacobin party,
who had been obliged, though unwillingly, to adopt him as the head of a
government, which they hoped to regenerate. To these were to be added a
much larger and more respectable body, who, far from encouraging his
attempt, had testified themselves anxious to oppose it to the last, but
who, conceiving the cause of the Bourbons entirely lost, were willing to
adhere to Buonaparte, on condition of obtaining a free constitution for
France. Many of these acted, of course, on mixed motives; but if we were
asked to form a definition of them, we should be induced to give the
same, which, laying aside party spirit, we should ascribe to a right
English Whig, whom we conceive to be a man of sense and moderation, a
lover of laws and liberty, whose chief regard to particular princes and
families is founded on what he apprehends to be the public good; and who
differs from a sensible Tory so little, that there is no great chance of
their disputing upon any important constitutional question, if it is
fairly stated to both. Such, we believe, is the difference betwixt
rational Constitutionalists and Royalists in France; and, undoubtedly,
while all the feelings of the latter induced them to eye with abhorrence
the domination of a usurper, there must have been many of the former,
who, fearing danger to the independence of France from the intervention
of foreign powers, conceived, that by advocating the cause of Napoleon,
they were in some degree making a virtue of necessity, and playing an
indifferent game with as much skill as the cards they held would permit.
Many patriotic and sensible men, who had retained a regard for liberty
during all the governments and all the anarchies which had subsisted for
twenty years, endeavoured now to frame a system of government, grounded
upon something like freedom, upon the difficulties of Buonaparte.
Pressed as he was from abroad, and unsupported at home, save by the
soldiery, he would, they conceived, be thrown by necessity under the
protection of the nation, and obliged to recruit his adherents by
complying with public opinion, and adopting a free government. Under
this persuasion a great number of such characters, more or less shaded
by attachment to a moderate and limited monarchy, were prepared to
acknowledge Buonaparte's re-established authority, in so far as he
should be found to deserve it, by concessions on his part.

The conduct and arguments of another portion of the friends of the
constitution, rather resembled that which might have been adopted in
England by moderate and intelligent Tories. Such men were not prepared
to resign the cause of their lawful monarch, because fortune had for a
time declared against him. They were of opinion, that to make a
constitution permanent, the monarch must have his rights ascertained and
vindicated, as well as those of the people; and that if a usurper were
to be acknowledged upon any terms, however plausible, so soon as he had
cut his way to success by his sword, the nation would be exposed to
perpetual revolutions. Louis, these men might argue, had committed no
crime whatever; he was only placed in circumstances which made some
persons suppose he might possibly be tempted to meditate changes on the
constitution, and on the charter which confirmed it. There was meanness
in deserting a good and peaceable king at the command of a revolted
army, and a discarded usurper. They regretted that their prince must be
replaced by foreign bayonets; yet it was perhaps better that a moderate
and peaceful government should be restored even thus, than that the
French nation should continue to suffer under the despotic tyranny of
their own soldiery. Those reasoners ridiculed the idea of a free
constitution, which was to be generated betwixt Buonaparte, who, in his
former reign, never allowed freedom of thought, word, or action, to
exist unrepressed, and the old Revolutionists, who, during their period
of power, could be satisfied with no degree of liberty until they
destroyed every compact which holds civil society together, and made the
country resemble one great bedlam, set on fire by the patients, who
remained dancing in the midst of the flames.

Such we conceive to have been the principles on which wise and moderate
men on either side acted during this distracted period. It is easy to
suppose, that their opinions must have been varied by many more and less
minute shades, arising from temperament, predilections, prejudices,
passions, and feelings of self-interest, and that they were on either
side liable to be pushed into exaggeration, or, according to the word
which was formed to express that exaggeration--into Ultraism.

Meantime, Napoleon did all that was possible to conciliate the people's
affection, and to show himself sincerely desirous of giving France the
free constitution which he had promised. He used the advice of Carnot,
Siêyes, and Fouché, and certainly profited by several of their lessons.
He made it, notwithstanding, a condition, that Carnot and Siêyes should
accept each a title and a seat in his House of Peers, to show that they
were completely reconciled to the Imperial government; and both the
ancient republicans condescended to exchange the _bonnet rouge_, for a
coronet, which, considering their former opinions, sate somewhat
awkwardly upon their brows.

But although the union of the Imperialists and popular party had been
cemented by mutual hatred of the Bourbons, and was still kept together
by apprehension of the King's adherents within, and his allies on the
exterior, seeds of discord were soon visible between the Emperor and the
popular leaders. While the former was eager once more to wield with full
energy the sceptre he had recovered, the latter were continually
reminding him, that he had only assumed it in a limited and restricted
capacity, as the head of a free government, exercising, indeed, its
executive power, but under the restraint of a popular constitution.
Napoleon, in the frequent disputes which arose on these important
points, was obliged to concede to the demagogues the principles which
they insisted upon. But then, for the safety of the state, involved in
foreign and domestic dangers, he contended it was necessary to invest
the chief magistrate with a vigour beyond the law, a dictatorial
authority, temporary in its duration, but nearly absolute in its extent,
as had been the manner in the free states of antiquity, when the
republic was in imminent danger. Carnot and Fouché, on the other hand,
considered, that although it seemed natural, and might be easy, to
confer such power at the present moment, the resumption of it by the
nation, when it was once vested in the hands of Buonaparte, would be a
hopeless experiment. The Emperor, therefore, and his ministers,
proceeded to their mutual tasks with no mutual confidence; but, on the
contrary, with jealousy, thinly veiled by an affectation of deference on
the side of Buonaparte, and respect on that of his counsellors.


The very first sacrifice which the Emperor gave to freedom proved an
inconvenient one to his government. This was nothing less than the
freedom of the press. It is true, that the influence of his minister of
police managed by indirect means to get possession of most of the
journals; so that of sixty writers, employed generally, if not
constantly, in periodical composition, five only were now found friendly
to the royal cause. The other pens, which a few days before described
Napoleon as a species of Ogre, who had devoured the youth of France, now
wrote him down a hero and a liberator. Still, when the liberty of the
press was once established, it was soon found impossible to prevent it
from asserting its right of utterance; and there were found authors to
advocate the cause of the Bourbons, from principle, from caprice, from
the love of contradiction.

Napoleon, who always showed himself sensitively alive to the public
censure, established inspectors of the booksellers. The minister of
police, a friend of liberty, but, as Compte, the editor of _Le Censeur_,
neatly observed, only of liberty after the fashion of M. Fouché, used
every art in his power to prevent the contagion of freedom from
spreading too widely. This M. Compte was a loud, and probably a sincere
advocate of freedom, and had been a promoter of Buonaparte's return, as
likely to advance the good cause. Seeing the prevailing influence of the
military, he published some severe remarks on the undue weight the army
assumed in public affairs, which, he hesitated not to say, was bringing
France to the condition of Rome, when the empire was disposed of by the
Prætorian guards. This stung to the quick--the journal was seized by the
police, and the minister endeavoured to palliate the fact in the
_Moniteur_, by saying, that, though seized, it had been instantly
restored. But Compte was not a man to be so silenced; he published a
contradiction of the official statement, and declared that his journal
had not been restored. He was summoned the next day before the prefect,
alternately threatened and wheedled, upbraided at one moment with
ungrateful resistance to the cause of the Emperor, and requested at the
next to think of something in which government might serve him. Steeled
against every proffer and entreaty, Compte only required to be permitted
to profit by the restored liberty of the press; nor could the worthy
magistrate make him rightly understand that when the Emperor gave all
men liberty to publish what pleased themselves, it was under the tacit
condition that it should also please the prefect and minister of police.
Compte had the spirit to publish the whole affair.

In the meanwhile, proclamations of Louis, forbidding the payment of
taxes, and announcing the arrival of 1,200,000 men under the walls of
Paris, covered these walls every night in spite of the police. A
newspaper, called the _Lily_, was also secretly, but generally
circulated, which advocated the royal cause. In the better classes of
society, where Buonaparte was feared and hated, lampoons, satires,
pasquinades, glided from hand to hand, turning his person, ministers,
and government, into the most bitter ridicule. Others attacked him with
eloquent invective, and demanded what he had in common with the word
Liberty, which he now pretended to connect with his reign. He was, they
said, the sworn enemy of liberty, the assassin of the Republic, the
destroyer of French freedom, which had been so dearly bought; the show
of liberty which he held, was a trick of legerdemain, executed under
protection of his bayonets. Such was his notion of liberty when it
destroyed the national representation at St. Cloud--Such was the freedom
he gave when he established an Oriental despotism in the enlightened
kingdom at France. Such, when abolishing all free communication of
sentiments among citizens, and proscribing every liberal and
philosophical idea under the nickname of Ideology. "Can it be
forgotten," they continued, "that Heaven and Hell are not more
irreconcilable ideas, than Buonaparte and Liberty?--The very word
Freedom," they said, "was proscribed under his iron reign, and only
first gladdened the ears of Frenchmen after twelve years of humiliation
and despair, on the happy restoration of Louis XVIII.--Ah, miserable
impostor!" they exclaimed, "when would he have spoke of liberty, had not
the return of Louis familiarized us with freedom and peace." The spirit
of disaffection spread among certain classes of the lower ranks. The
market-women (_dames des halles_,) so formidable during the time of the
Fronde, and in the early years of the Revolution, for their opposition
to the court, were now royalists, and, of course, clamorous on the side
of the party they espoused. They invented, or some loyal rhymer composed
for them, a song,[123] the burden of which demanded back the King, as
their father of Ghent. They ridiculed, scolded, and mobbed the
commissaries of police, who endeavoured to stop these musical
expressions of disaffection; surrounded the chief of their number,
danced around him, and chanted the obnoxious burden, until Fouché being
ashamed to belie the new doctrines of liberty of thought, speech, and
publication, his agents were instructed to leave these Amazons
undisturbed on account of their political sentiments.

While Buonaparte was unable to form an interest in the saloons, and
found that even the _dames des halles_ were becoming discontented, he
had upon his side the militia of the suburbs; those columns of pikemen
so famous in the Revolution, whose furious and rude character added to
the terrors, if not to the dignity, of his reign. Let us not be accused
of a wish to depreciate honest industry, or hold up to contempt the
miseries of poverty. It is not the poverty, but the ignorance and the
vice of the rabble of great cities, which render them always
disagreeable, and sometimes terrible. They are entitled to protection
from the laws, and kindness from the government; but he who would use
them as political engines, invokes the assistance of a blatant beast
with a thousand heads, well furnished with fangs to tear and throats to
roar, but devoid of tongues to speak reason, ears to hear it, eyes to
see it, or judgment to comprehend it.

For a little time after Buonaparte's return, crowds of artisans of the
lowest order assembled under the windows of the Tuileries, and demanded
to see the Emperor, whom, on his appearance, they greeted with shouts,
as _le Grand Entrepreneur_, or general employer of the class of
artisans, in language where the coarse phraseology of their rank was
adorned with such flowers of rhetoric as the times of terror had coined.
Latterly, the numbers of this assembly were maintained by a distribution
of a few _sous_ to the shouters.

However disgusted with these degrading exhibitions, Buonaparte felt he
could not dispense with this species of force, and was compelled to
institute a day of procession, and a solemn festival, in favour of this
description of persons, who, from the mode in which they were enrolled,
were termed Federates.


On 14th May, the motley and ill-arranged ranks which assembled on this
memorable occasion, exhibited, in the eyes of the disgusted and
frightened spectators, all that is degraded by habitual vice, and
hardened by stupidity and profligacy. The portentous procession moved on
along the Boulevards to the court of the Tuileries, with shouts, in
which the praises of the Emperor were mingled with imprecations, and
with the Revolutionary songs (long silenced in Paris,)--the Marseilloise
Hymn, the Carmagnole, and the Day of Departure. The appearance of the
men, the refuse of manufactories, of work-houses, of jails; their rags,
their filth, their drunkenness; their ecstacies of blasphemous rage, and
no less blasphemous joy, stamped them with the character of the willing
perpetrators of the worst horrors of the Revolution. Buonaparte himself
was judged, by close observers, to shrink with abhorrence from the
assembly he himself had convoked. His guards were under arms, and the
field artillery loaded, and turned on the Place de Carrousel, filled
with the motley crowd, who, from the contrasted colour of the corn
porters and charcoal-men, distinguished in the group, were facetiously
called his Grey and Black Mousquetaires. He hasted to dismiss his
hideous minions, with a sufficient distribution of praises and of
liquor. The national guards conceived themselves insulted on this
occasion, because compelled to give their attendance along with the
Federates. The troops of the line felt for the degraded character of the
Emperor. The haughty character of the French soldiers had kept them from
fraternizing with the rabble, even in the cause of Napoleon. They had
been observed, on the march from Cannes, to cease their cries of _Vive
l'Empereur_, when, upon entering any considerable town, the shout was
taken up by the mob of the place, and to suspend their acclamations,
rather than mingle them with those of the _pequins_, whom they despised.
They now muttered to each other, on seeing the court which Buonaparte
seemed compelled to bestow on these degraded artisans, that the
conqueror of Marengo and Wagram had sunk into the mere captain of a
rabble. In short, the disgraceful character of the alliance thus formed
between Buonaparte and the lees of the people, was of a nature incapable
of being glossed over even in the flattering pages of the _Moniteur_,
which, amidst a flourishing description of this memorable procession,
was compelled to admit, that, in some places, the name of the Emperor
was incongruously mingled with expressions and songs, which recalled an
era _unfortunately too famous_.

Fretted by external dangers, and internal disturbances, and by the
degrading necessity of appearing every night before a mob, who
familiarly hailed him as _Père le Violette_, and, above all, galled by
the suggestions of his philosophical counsellors, who, among other
innovations, wished him to lay aside the style of Emperor for that of
President, or Grand General of the Republic, Napoleon, to rid himself at
once of occupations offensive to his haughty disposition, withdrew from
the Tuileries to the more retired palace of the Elysée Bourbon, and
seemed on a sudden to become once more the Emperor he had been before
his abdication. Here he took into his own hands, with the assistance of
Benjamin Constant, and other statesmen, the construction of a new
constitution. Their system included all those checks and regulations
which are understood to form the essence of a free government, and
greatly resembled that granted by the Royal Charter.[124] Nevertheless,
it was extremely ill received by all parties, but especially by those
who expected from Napoleon a constitution more free than that which they
had dissolved by driving Louis XVIII. from the throne. There were other
grave exceptions stated against the scheme of government.

First, The same objection was stated against this Imperial grant which
had been urged with so much vehemence against the royal charter, namely,
that it was not a compact between the people and the sovereign, in which
the former called the latter to the throne under certain conditions, but
a recognition by the sovereign of the liberties of the people. The
meeting of the Champ de Mai had indeed been summoned, (as intimated in
the decrees from Lyons,) chiefly with the purpose of forming and
adopting the new constitution; but, according to the present system,
they were only to have the choice of adopting or rejecting that which
Napoleon had prepared for them. The disappointment was great among those
philosophers who desired "better bread than is made of wheat;" and could
not enjoy liberty itself, unless it emanated directly from the will of
the people, and was sanctioned by popular discussion. But Napoleon was
determined that the convention of the 10th May should have no other
concern in the constitution, save to accept it when offered. He would
not intrust such an assembly with the revision of the laws by which he
was to govern.


Secondly, This new constitution, though presenting an entirely new basis
of government, was published under the singular title of an
"Additional[125] Act to the Constitutions of the Emperor," and thereby
constituted a sort of appendix to a huge mass of unrepealed organic
laws, many of them inconsistent with the Additional Act in tenor and in

Those who had enjoyed the direct confidence of the Emperor while the
treaty was framing, endeavoured to persuade themselves that Napoleon
meant fairly by France, yet confessed they had found it difficult to
enlighten his ideas on the subject of a limited monarchy. They felt,
that though the Emperor might be induced to contract his authority, yet
what remained in his own hand would be wielded as arbitrarily as ever;
and likewise that he would never regard his ministers otherwise than as
the immediate executors of his pleasure, and responsible to himself
alone. He would still continue to transport his whole chancery at his
stirrup, and transmit sealed orders to be executed by a minister whom he
had not consulted on their import.[126]

The Royalists triumphed on the publication of this Additional Act: "Was
it for this," they said, "you broke your oaths, and banished your
monarch, to get the same, or nearly similar laws, imposed on you by a
Russian ukase or a Turkish firman, which you heretofore enjoyed by
charter, in the same manner as your ancestors, called freemen by
excellence, held their rights from their limited sovereigns; and for
this have you exchanged a peaceful prince, whose very weakness was your
security, for an ambitious warrior, whose strength is your weakness? For
this have you a second time gone to war with all Europe--for the
Additional Act and the Champ de Mai?"

The more determined Republicans, besides their particular objections to
an Upper House, which the Emperor could fill with his own minions, so as
effectually to control the representatives of the people, found the
proposed constitution utterly devoid of the salt which should savour it.
There was no acknowledgment of abstract principles; no dissertation
concerning the rights of government and the governed; no metaphysical
discussions on the origin of laws; and they were as much mortified and
disappointed as the zealot who hears a discourse on practical morality,
when he expected a sermon on the doctrinal points of theology. The
unfortunate Additional Act became the subject of attack and raillery on
all sides; and was esteemed to possess in so slight a degree the
principles of durability, that a bookseller being asked for a copy by a
customer, replied, He did not deal in _periodical publications_.[127]

Under these auspices the Champ de Mai was opened, and that it might be
in all respects incongruous, it was held on the 1st of June.[128]
Deputies were supposed to attend from all departments, not, as it had
been latterly arranged, to canvass the new constitution, but to swear to
observe it; and not to receive the Empress Maria Louisa and her son as
the pledge of twenty years peace, but to behold the fatal eagles, the
signal of instant and bloody war, distributed by the Emperor to the

Napoleon and his brothers, whom he had once more collected around him,
figured, in quaint and fantastic robes, in the Champ de Mai; he as
Emperor, and they as princes of the blood--another subject of discontent
to the Republicans. The report of the votes was made, the electors swore
to the Additional Act, the drums rolled, the trumpets flourished, the
cannon thundered. But the acclamations were few and forced. The Emperor
seemed to view the scene as an empty pageant, until he was summoned to
the delivery of the eagles to the various new-raised regiments; and
then, amid the emblems of past, and, as might be hoped, the auguries of
future victories, he was himself again. But, on the whole, the Champ de
Mai, was, in the language of Paris, _une pièce tombée_, a condemned
farce, which was soon to be succeeded by a bloody tragedy.


The meeting of the Chambers was the next subject of interest. The
Chamber of Peers did not present, like the corresponding assembly in
Britain, members of long descent, ample fortunes, independence of
principle, and education corresponding to their rank of hereditary
legislators. It consisted in the princes of Napoleon's blood royal, to
whom was added Lucien, long estranged from his brother's councils, but
who now, instigated by fraternal affection, or tired of literary
leisure, having presented his epic poem to a thankless and regardless
public, endeavoured to save his brother in his present difficulties, as
by his courage and presence of mind he had assisted him during the
revolution of Brumaire. There were about one hundred other dignitaries,
more than one half of whom were military men, including two or three old
Jacobins, such as Siêyes and Carnot, who had taken titles, decorations,
and rank, inconsistently with the tenor of their whole life. The rest
had been the creatures of Buonaparte's former reign, with some men of
letters devoted to his cause, and recently ennobled. This body, which
could have no other will than that of the Emperor, was regarded by the
Republicans and Constitutionalists with jealousy, and by the citizens
with contempt. Buonaparte himself expressed his opinion of it with
something approaching the latter sentiment. He had scarce formed his
tools, before he seems to have been convinced of their inefficacy, and
of the little influence which they could exercise on the public

It was very different with the second Chamber, in which were posted the
ancient men of the Revolution, and their newer associates, who looked
forward with hope that Buonaparte might yet assume the character of a
patriot sovereign, and by his military talents save France for her sake,
not for his own. The latter class comprehended many men, not only of
talent, but of virtue and public spirit; with too large a proportion,
certainly, of those who vainly desired a system of Republican liberty,
which so many years of bloody and fruitless experiment should have led
even the most extravagant to abandon, as inconsistent with the situation
of the country, and the genius of the French nation.

The disputes of the Chamber of Representatives with the executive
government commenced on June 4th, the first day of their sitting; and,
like those of their predecessors, upon points of idle etiquette. They
chose Lanjuinais for their president; a preferment which, alighting on
one who had been the defender of Louis XVI., the active and determined
resister of the power of Robespierre, and especially, the statesman who
drew up the list of crimes in consequence of which Napoleon's forfeiture
had been declared in 1814, could not be acceptable to the Emperor.
Napoleon being applied to for confirmation of the election, referred the
committee for his answer to the chamberlain, who, he stated, would
deliver it the next day by the page in waiting. The Chamber took fire,
and Napoleon was compelled to return an immediate though reluctant
approval of their choice. The next remarkable indication of the temper
of the Chamber, was the _extempore_ effusion of a deputy named Sibuet,
against the use of the epithets of duke, count, and other titles of
honour, in the Chamber of Representatives. Being observed to read his
invective from notes, which was contrary to the form of the Chamber,
Sibuet was silenced for the moment as out of order; but the next day, or
soon afterwards, having got his speech by heart, the Chamber was under
the necessity of listening to him, and his motion was got rid of with
difficulty.[130] On the same day, a list of the persons appointed to the
peerage was demanded from Carnot, in his capacity of minister, which he
declined to render till the session had commenced. This also occasioned
much uproar and violence, which the president could scarce silence by
the incessant peal of his bell. The oath to be taken by the deputies was
next severely scrutinized, and the Imperialists carried with difficulty
a resolution, that it should be taken to the Emperor and the
constitution, without mention of the nation.

The second meeting, on June 7th, was as tumultuous as the first. A
motion was made by Felix Lepelletier, that the Chamber should decree to
Napoleon the title of Saviour of his Country. This was resisted on the
satisfactory ground, that the country was not yet saved; and the Chamber
passed to the order of the day by acclamation.[131]

Notwithstanding these open intimations of the reviving spirit of
Jacobinism, or at least of opposition to the Imperial sway, Napoleon's
situation obliged him for the time to address the unruly spirits which
he had called together, with the confidence which it was said
necromancers found it needful to use towards the dangerous fiends whom
they had evoked. His address to both Chambers was sensible, manly, and
becoming his situation. He surrendered, in their presence, all his
pretensions to absolute power, and professed himself a friend to
liberty; demanded the assistance of the Chambers in matters of finance,
intimated a desire of some regulations to check the license of the
press, and required from the representatives an example of confidence,
energy, and patriotism, to encounter the dangers to which the country
was exposed. The Peers replied in corresponding terms. Not so the second
Chamber; for, notwithstanding the utmost efforts of the Imperialists,
their reply bore a strong tincture of the sentiments of the opposite
party. The Chamber promised, indeed, their unanimous support in
repelling the foreign enemy; but they announced their intention to take
under their consideration the constitution, as recognised by the
Additional Act, and to point out its defects and imperfections, with the
necessary remedies. They also added a moderating hint, directed against
the fervour of Napoleon's ambition. "The nation," they said, "nourishes
no plans of aggrandisement. Not even the will of a victorious prince
will lead them beyond the boundaries of self-defence." In his rejoinder,
Napoleon did not suffer these obnoxious hints to escape his notice. He
endeavoured to school this refractory assembly into veneration for the
constitution, which he declared to be "the pole-star in the tempest;"
and judiciously observed, "there was little cause to provide against the
intoxications of triumph, when they were about to contend for existence.
He stated the crisis to be imminent, and cautioned the Chamber to avoid
the conduct of the Roman people in the latter ages of the empire, who
could not resist the temptation of engaging furiously in abstract
discussions, even while the battering-rams of the common enemy were
shaking the gates of the capitol."

Thus parted Buonaparte and his Chambers of Legislature; he to try his
fortune in the field of battle, they to their task of altering and
modifying the laws, and inspiring a more popular spirit and air into the
enactments he had made, in hopes that the dictatorship of the Jacobins
might be once again substituted for the dictatorship of the Emperor. All
men saw that the Imperialists and Republicans only waited till the field
was won, that they might contend for the booty; and so little was the
nation disposed to sympathize with the active, turbulent, and bustling
demagogues by whom the contest was to be maintained against the Emperor,
that almost all predicted with great unconcern their probable expulsion,
either by the sword of Buonaparte or the Bourbons.


[123] _Donnez nous nôtre paire de gants_, equivalent in pronunciation to
_nôtre Père de Ghent_.--S.

[124] The following is an abridgment of its declarations:--The
legislative power resides in the Emperor and two Chambers. The Chamber
of Peers is hereditary, and the Emperor names them. Their number is
unlimited. The Second Chamber is elected by the people, and is to
consist of 629 members--none are to be under twenty-five years. The
President is appointed by the members, but approved of by the Emperor.
Members to be paid at the rate settled by the Constituent Assembly. It
is to be renewed every five years. The Emperor may prorogue, adjourn, or
dissolve the House of Representatives. Sittings to be public. The
Electoral Colleges are maintained. Land-tax and direct taxes to be voted
only for a year; indirect may be for several years. No levy of men for
the army, nor any exchange of territory, but by a law. Taxes to be
proposed by the Chamber of Representatives. Ministers to be responsible.
Judges to be irremovable. Juries to be established. Right of petition is
established--freedom of worship--inviolability of property. The last
article says, that "the French people declare that they do not mean to
delegate the power of restoring the Bourbons, or any prince of that
family, even in case of the exclusion of the Imperial dynasty."--S.

[125] "The word _additional_ disenchanted the friends of liberty. They
recognised in it the ill-disguised continuation of the chief
institutions created in favour of absolute power. From that moment
Napoleon to their view became an incurable despot, and I, for my part,
regarded him in the light of a madman delivered, bound hand and foot, to
the mercy of Europe."--FOUCHÉ, tom. ii., p. 276.

[126] Letters from Paris, written during the last reign of Napoleon,
vol. i., p. 197 [By John Cam Hobhouse, Esq.; now Sir J. C. Hobhouse.]

[127] It was subjected, notwithstanding, with the usual success, to the
electoral bodies, whose good-nature never refused a constitution which
was recommended by the existing government. The number of those who gave
their votes were more than a million; being scarce a tenth part,
however, of those who had qualifications.

[128] Moniteur, June 2; Savary, tom. iv., p. 34; Fouché, tom. ii., p.

[129] The punsters of Paris selected Labédoyère, Drouot, Ney, and
L'Allemand, as the _Quatre pairs fides (perfides.)_ while Vandamme and
others were termed the _Pairs sifflés_.--S.

[130] See Moniteur, June 6.

[131] Moniteur, June 9.


    _Preparations for War--Positions of the Allied Forces, amounting in
    whole to One Million of Men--Buonaparte's Force not more than
    200,000--Conscription not ventured upon--National Guard--their
    reluctance to serve--Many Provinces hostile to Napoleon--Fouché's
    Report makes known the Disaffection--Insurrection in La
    Vendée--quelled--Military Resources--Plan of Campaign--Paris Placed
    in a Complete State of Defence--Frontier Passes and Towns
    fortified--Generals who accept Command under Napoleon--He Announces
    his Purpose to measure himself with Wellington._


We are now to consider the preparations made for the invasion of France
along the whole eastern frontier--the means of resistance which the
talents of the Emperor presented to his numerous enemies--and the
internal situation of the country itself.

While the events now commemorated were passing in France, the allies
made the most gigantic preparations for the renewal of war. The
Chancellor of the Exchequer of England had achieved a loan of thirty-six
millions, upon terms surprisingly moderate, and the command of this
treasure had put the whole troops of the coalition into the most active

The seat of the Congress had been removed from Vienna to Frankfort, to
be near the theatre of war. The Emperors of Russia and Austria, with the
King of Prussia, had once more placed themselves at the head of their
respective armies. The whole eastern frontier was menaced by immense
forces. One hundred and fifty thousand Austrians, disengaged from Murat,
might enter France through Switzerland, the Cantons having acceded to
the coalition. An army equal in strength menaced the higher Rhine.
Schwartzenberg commanded the Austrians in chief, having under him
Bellegarde, and Frimont, Bianchi, and Vincent. Two hundred thousand
Russians were pressing towards the frontiers of Alsace. The Archduke
Constantine was nominated generalissimo, but Barclay de Tolly, Sacken,
Langeron, &c. were the efficient commanders. One hundred and fifty
thousand Prussians, under Blucher, occupied Flanders, and were united
with about eighty thousand troops, British, or in British pay, under the
Duke of Wellington. There were also to be reckoned the contingents of
the different princes of Germany, so that the allied forces were
computed grossly to amount to upwards of one million of men. The reader
must not, however, suppose that such an immense force was, or could be,
brought forward at once. They were necessarily disposed on various lines
for the convenience of subsistence, and were to be brought up
successively in support of each other.

To meet this immense array, Napoleon, with his usual talent and
celerity, had brought forward means of surprising extent. The regular
army, diminished by the Bourbons, had been, by calling out the retired
officers and disbanded soldiers, increased from something rather under
100,000 men, to double that number of experienced troops, of the first
quality. But this was dust in the balance; and the mode of conscription
was so intimately connected with Napoleon's wars of conquest and
disaster, that he dared not propose, nor would the Chamber of
Representatives have agreed, to have recourse to the old and odious
resource of conscription, which, however, Buonaparte trusted he might
still find effectual in the month of June, to the number of 300,000. In
the meantime, it was proposed to render moveable, for active service,
two hundred battalions of the national guard, choosing those most fit
for duty, which would make a force of 112,000 men. It was also proposed
to levy as many Federates, that is, volunteers of the lower orders, as
could be brought together in the different departments. The levy of the
national guards was ordered by an Imperial decree of 5th April, 1815,
and commissioners, chiefly of the Jacobin faction, were sent down into
the different departments, Buonaparte being well pleased at once to
employ them in their own sphere, and to get rid of their presence at
Paris. Their efforts were, however, unable to excite the spirit of the
country; for they had either survived their own energies, or the nation
had been too long accustomed to their mode of oratory, to feel any
responsive impulse. Liberty and fraternity was no longer a rallying
sound, and the summons to arms, by decrees as peremptory as those
relating to the conscription, though bearing another name, spread a
general spirit of disgust through many departments in the north of
France. There and in Brittany the disaffection of the inhabitants
appeared in a sullen, dogged stubbornness, rather than in the form of
active resistance to Napoleon's decrees. The national guards refused to
parade, and, if compelled to do so, took every opportunity to desert and
return home; so that it often happened that a battalion, which had
mustered six hundred men, dwindled down to a fifth before they had
marched two leagues.

In the departments of La Garde, of the Marne, and the Nether Loire, the
white flag was displayed, and the tree of liberty, which had been
replanted in many places after the political regeneration of Buonaparte,
was cut down. The public mind in many provinces displayed itself as
highly unfavourable to Napoleon.


A report drawn up by Fouché, stated in high-coloured language the
general disaffection. Napoleon always considered this communication as
published with a view of prejudicing his affairs; and as that versatile
statesman was already in secret correspondence with the allies, it was
probably intended as much to encourage the Royalists, as to dismay the
adherents of Napoleon. This arch-intriguer, whom, to use an expression
of Junius, treachery itself could not trust, was at one moment nearly
caught in his own toils; and although he carried the matter with
infinite address, Napoleon would have made him a prisoner, or caused him
to be shot, but for the intimation of Carnot, that, if he did so, his
own reign would not last an hour longer.[132]

Thus Buonaparte was already, in a great measure, reduced to the office
of Generalissimo of the State; and there were not wanting many, who
dared to entreat him to heal the wounds of the country by a second
abdication in favour of his son--a measure which the popular party
conceived might avert the impending danger of invasion.

In the meantime, about the middle of May, a short insurrection broke out
in La Vendée, under De Autechamp, Suzannet, Sapineau, and especially the
brave La Rochejacquelein. The war was neither long nor bloody, for an
overpowering force was directed against the insurgents, under Generals
Lamarque and Travot. The people were ill prepared for resistance, and
the government menaced them with the greatest severities, the
instructions of Carnot to the military having a strong tincture of his
ancient education in the school of terror. Yet the Chamber of Deputies
did not in all respects sanction the severities of the government. When
a member, called Leguevel, made a motion for punishing with pains and
penalties the Royalists of the west, the assembly heard him with
patience and approbation, propose that the goods and estates of the
revolters (whom he qualified as brigands, priests, and Royalists) should
be confiscated; but when he added, that not only the insurgents
themselves, but their relations in the direct line, whether ascendants
or descendants, should be declared outlaws, a general exclamation of
horror drove the orator from the tribune.

After a battle near La Roche Servière, which cost the brave La
Rochejacquelein his life, the remaining chiefs signed a capitulation, by
which they disbanded their followers, and laid down their arms, at the
very time when holding out a few days would have made them acquainted
with the battle of Waterloo. Released from actual civil war, Napoleon
now had leisure to prepare for the external conflict.

The means resorted to by the French government, which we have already
alluded to, had enabled Carnot to represent the national means in a most
respectable point of view. By his report to the two Chambers, he stated,
that on 1st April 1814, the army had consisted of 450,000 men, who had
been reduced by the Bourbons to 175,000. Since the return of Napoleon,
the number had been increased to 375,000 combatants of every kind; and
before the 1st of August, was expected to amount to half a million. The
Imperial Guards, who were termed the country's brightest ornament in
time of peace, and its best bulwark in time of war, were recruited to
the number of 40,000 men.

Stupendous efforts had repaired, the report stated, the losses of the
artillery during the three disastrous years of 1812, 1813, 1814. Stores,
ammunition, arms of every kind, were said to be provided in abundance.
The remounting of the cavalry had been accomplished in such a manner as
to excite the surprise of every one. Finally, there was, as a body in
reserve, the whole mass of sedentary national guards, so called, because
they were not among the chosen bands which had been declared moveable.
But the bulk of these were either unfit for service, or unwilling to
serve, and could only be relied on for securing the public tranquillity.
Corps of Federates had been formed in all the districts where materials
could be found of which to compose them.

From these forces Napoleon selected a grand army to act under his
personal orders. They were chosen with great care, and the preparation
of their _matériel_ was of the most extensive and complete description.
The numbers in gross might amount to 150,000; as great a number of
troops, perhaps, as can conveniently move upon one plan of operations,
or be subjected to one generalissimo. A large deduction is to be made to
attain the exact amount of his effective force.


Thus prepared for action, no doubt was made that Buonaparte would open
the campaign, by assuming offensive operations. To wait till the enemy
had assembled their full force on his frontier, would have suited
neither the man nor the moment. It was most agreeable to his system, his
disposition, and his interest, to rush upon some separate army of the
allies, surprise them, according to his own phrase, in delict, and, by
its dispersion or annihilation, give courage to France, animate her to
fresh exertions in his cause, intimidate the confederated powers, and
gain time for sowing in their league the seeds of disunion. Even the
Royalists, whose interest was so immediately connected with the defeat
of Buonaparte, were dismayed by witnessing his gigantic preparations,
and sadly anticipated victories as the first result, though they trusted
that, as in 1814, he would be at length worn out by force of numbers and
reiterated exertions.

But though all guessed at the mode of tactics which Napoleon would
employ, there was a difference of opinion respecting the point on which
his first exertions would be made; and in general it was augured, that,
trusting to the strength of Lisle, Valenciennes, and other fortified
places on the frontiers of Flanders, his first real attack, whatever
diversion might be made elsewhere, would take place upon Manheim, with
the view of breaking asunder the Austrian and Russian armies as they
were forming, or rather of attacking them separately, to prevent their
communication in line. If he should succeed in thus overwhelming the
advance of the Austrians and Russians, by directing his main force to
this one point, before they were fully prepared, it was supposed he
might break up the plan of the allies for this campaign.

But Buonaparte was desirous to aim a decisive blow at the most
enterprising and venturous of the invading armies. He knew Blucher, and
had heard of Wellington; he therefore resolved to move against those
generals, while he opposed walls and fortified places to the more slow
and cautious advance of the Austrian general, Schwartzenberg, and
trusted that distance might render ineffectual the progress of the


According to this general system, Paris, under the direction of General
Haxo, was, on the northern side, placed in a complete state of defence,
by a double line of fortifications, so that, if the first were forced,
the defenders might retire within the second, instead of being
compelled, as in the preceding year, to quit the heights and fall back
upon the city. Montmartre was very strongly fortified. The southern part
of the city on the opposite side of the Seine was only covered with a
few field-works; time, and the open character of the ground, permitting
no more. But the Seine itself was relied upon as a barrier, having
proved such in 1814.

On the frontiers, similar precautions were observed. Intrenchments were
constructed in the five principal passes of the Vosgesian mountains, and
all the natural passes and strongholds of Lorraine were put in the best
possible state of defence. The posts on the inner line were strengthened
with the greatest care. The fine military position under the walls of
Lyons was improved with great expense and labour. A _tête-de-pont_ was
erected at Brotteau; a drawbridge and barricade protected the suburb la
Guillotière; redoubts were erected between the Saonne and Rhine, and
upon the heights of Pierre Encise and the Quarter of Saint John. Guise,
Vitri, Soissons, Chauteau-Thierry, Langres, and all the towns capable of
any defence, were rendered as strong as posts, palisades, redoubts, and
field-works could make them. The Russian armies, though pressing fast
forward, were not as yet arrived upon the line of operations; and
Napoleon doubtless trusted that these impediments, in front of the
Austrian line, would arrest any hasty advance on their part, since the
well-known tactics of that school declare against leaving in their rear
fortresses or towns possessed by the enemy, however insignificant or
slightly garrisoned, or however completely they might be masked.

About now to commence his operations, Napoleon summoned round him his
best and most experienced generals. Soult, late minister of war for
Louis XVIII., was named major-general. He obeyed, he says, not in any
respect as an enemy of the King, but as a citizen and soldier, whose
duty it was to obey whomsoever was at the head of the government, as
that of the Vicar of Bray subjected him in ghostly submission to each
head of the Church _pro tempore_. Ney was ordered to repair to the army
at Lisle, "if he wished," so the command was expressed, "to witness the
first battle." Macdonald was strongly solicited to accept a command, but
declined it with disdain. Davoust, the minister-at-war, undertook to
remove his scruples, and spoke to him of what his honour required. "It
is not from you," replied the maréchal, "that I am to learn sentiments
of honour," and persisted in his refusal. D'Erlon, Reille, Vandamme,
Gerard, and Mouton de Lobau, acted as lieutenant-generals. The cavalry
was placed under the command of Grouchy (whom Napoleon had created a
maréchal.) Pajol, Excelmans, Milhaud, and Kellerman, were his seconds in
command. Flahault, Dejean, Labédoyère, and other officers of
distinction, acted as the Emperor's aides-de-camp. The artillery were
three hundred pieces; the cavalry approached to twenty-five thousand
men; the guard to the same number; and there is little doubt that the
whole army amounted in effective force to nearly 130,000 soldiers, in
the most complete state as to arms and equipment, who now marched to a
war which they themselves had occasioned, under an Emperor of their own
making, and bore both in their hearts and on their tongues the
sentiments of death or victory.

For the protection of the rest of the frontier, during Napoleon's
campaign in Flanders, Suchet was intrusted with the command on the
frontiers of Switzerland, with directions to attack Montmellian as soon
as possible after the 14th of June, which day Buonaparte had fixed for
the commencement of hostilities. Massena was ordered to repair to Metz,
to assume the government of that important fortress, and the command of
the 3d and 4th divisions. All preparations being thus made, Napoleon at
length announced what had long occupied his secret thoughts. "I go," he
said, as he threw himself into his carriage to join his army, "I go to
measure myself with Wellington."

But although Napoleon's expressions were those of confidence and
defiance, his internal feelings were of a different complexion. "I no
longer felt," as he afterwards expressed himself in his exile, "that
complete confidence in final success, which accompanied me on former
undertakings. Whether it was that I was getting beyond the period of
life when men are usually favoured by fortune, or whether the impulse of
my career seemed impeded in my own eyes, and to my own imagination, it
is certain that I felt a depression of spirit. Fortune, which used to
follow my steps to load me with her bounties, was now a severe deity,
from whom I might snatch a few favours, but for which she exacted severe
retribution. I had no sooner gained an advantage than it was followed by
a reverse."[133] With such feelings, not certainly unwarranted by the
circumstances under which the campaign was undertaken, nor disproved by
the event, Napoleon undertook his shortest and last campaign.


[132] The particulars of this intrigue show with what audacity, and at
what risk, Fouché waded, swam, or dived, among the troubled waters which
were his element. An agent of Prince Metternich had been despatched to
Paris, to open a communication with Fouché on the part of the Austrian
government. Falling under suspicion, from some banking transaction, this
person was denounced to Buonaparte as a suspicious person, and arrested
by his interior police, which, as there cannot be too much precaution in
a well-managed state, watched, and were spies upon, the general police
under Fouché. The agent was brought before Buonaparte, who threatened to
cause him be shot to death on the very spot, unless he told him the
whole truth. The man then confessed that Metternich sent him to Fouché,
to request the latter to send a secure agent to Bâle, to meet with a
confidential person on the part of the Austrian minister, whom Fouché's
envoy was to recognise by a peculiar sign, which the informer also made
known. "Have you fulfilled your commission so far as concerns Fouché?"
said the Emperor.--"I have," answered the Austrian agent.--"And has he
despatched any one to Bâle?"--"That I cannot tell." The agent was
detained in a secret prison. Baron Fleury de Chamboullon, an auditor,
was instantly despatched to Bâle, to represent the agent whom Fouché
should have sent thither, and fathom the depth and character of the
intrigue betwixt the French and Austrian ministers. Fouché soon
discovered that the agent sent to him by Metternich was missing,
conjectured his fate, and instantly went to seek an audience of the
Emperor. Having mentioned other matters, he seemed to recollect himself,
and begged pardon, with affected unconcern, for not having previously
mentioned an affair of some consequence, which, nevertheless, he had
forgotten amid the hurry of business. "An agent had come to him from the
Austrian government," he said, "requesting him to send a confidential
person to Bâle, to a correspondent of Metternich, and he now came to ask
whether it would be his Majesty's pleasure that he should avail himself
of the opening, in order to learn the secret purposes of the enemy?"
Napoleon was not deceived by this trick. There were several mirrors in
the room, by which he could perceive and enjoy his perfidious minister's
ill-concealed embarrassment. "Monsieur Fouché," he said, "it may be
dangerous to treat me as a fool: I have your agent in safe custody, and
penetrate your whole intrigue. Have you sent to Bâle?"--"No,
Sire."--"The happier for you: had you done so, you should have died."
Fleury was unable to extract any thing of consequence from Werner, the
confidant of Metternich, who met him at Bâle. The Austrian seemed to
expect communications from Fouché, without being prepared to make them.
Fleury touched on the plan of assassinating Buonaparte, which Werner
rejected with horror, as a thing not to be thought of by Metternich or
the allies. They appointed a second meeting, but in the interim Fouché
made the Austrian aware of the discovery, and Baron Fleury, on his
second journey to Bâle, found no Mr. Werner to meet him.--See Fleury de
Chamboullon, tom. ii., p. 6.

Buonaparte gives almost the same account of this intrigue in his St.
Helena Conversations as Fouché in his Memoirs. But Napoleon does not
mention Carnot's interposition to prevent Fouché from being put to death
without process of law. "You may shoot Fouché to-day," said the old
Jacobin, "but to-morrow you will cease to reign. The people of the
Revolution permit you to retain the throne only on condition you respect
their liberties. They account Fouché one of their strongest guarantees.
If he is guilty, he must be legally proceeded against." Buonaparte,
therefore, gaining no proof against Fouché by the mission of Fleury, was
fain to shut his eyes on what he saw but too well.--S.


    _Army of Wellington covers Brussels--that of Blucher on the Sambre
    and Meuse--Napoleon reviews his Grand Army on 14th June--Advances
    upon Charleroi--His plan to separate the Armies of the two opposing
    Generals fails--Interview of Wellington and Blucher at Bric--British
    Army concentrated at Quatre-bras--Napoleon's plan of attack--Battle
    of Ligny, and defeat of Blucher on 16th June--Action at Quatre-bras
    on the same day--The British retain possession of the field--Blucher
    eludes the French pursuit--Napoleon joins Ney--Retreat of the
    British upon Waterloo._

The triple line of strong fortresses possessed by the French on the
borders of Belgium served Napoleon as a curtain, behind which he could
prepare his levies and unite his forces at pleasure, without any
possibility of the allies or their generals being able to observe his
motions, or prepare for the attack which such motions indicated. On the
other hand, the frontier of Belgium was open to his observation, and he
knew perfectly the general disposal of the allied force.

If the French had been prepared to make their meditated attack upon
Flanders in the month of May, they would have found no formidable force
to oppose them, as at that time the armies of the Prussian general
Kleist, and the hereditary Prince of Orange, did not, in all, exceed
50,000 men. But the return of Napoleon, which again awakened the war,
was an event as totally unexpected in France as in Flanders, and,
therefore, that nation was as much unprepared to make an attack as the
allies to repel one. Thus it happened, that while Napoleon was exerting
himself to collect a sufficient army by the means we have mentioned,
the Duke of Wellington, who arrived at Brussels from Vienna in the
beginning of April, had leisure to garrison and supply the strong places
of Ostend, Antwerp, and Nieuport, which the French had not dismantled,
and to fortify Ypres, Tournay, Mons, and Ath. He had also leisure to
receive his reinforcements from England, and to collect the German,
Dutch, and Belgian contingents.

Thus collected and reinforced, the Duke of Wellington's army might
contain about 30,000 English troops. They were not, however, those
veteran soldiers who had served under him during the Peninsular war; the
flower of which had been despatched upon the American expedition. Most
were second battalions, or regiments which had been lately filled up
with new recruits. The foreigners were 15,000 Hanoverians, with the
celebrated German Legion, 8000 strong, which had so often distinguished
itself in Spain; 5000 Brunswickers, under their gallant duke; and about
17,000 Belgians, Dutch, and Nassau troops, commanded by the Prince of

Great and just reliance was placed upon the Germans; but some
apprehensions were entertained for the steadiness of the Belgian troops.
Discontents had prevailed among them, which, at one period, had broken
out in open mutiny, and was not subdued without bloodshed. Most of them
had served in the French ranks, and it was feared some of them might
preserve predilections and correspondences dangerous to the general
cause. Buonaparte was under the same belief. He brought in his train
several Belgian officers, believing there would be a movement in his
favour so soon as he entered the Netherlands. But the Flemings are a
people of sound sense and feeling. Whatever jealousies might have been
instilled into them for their religion and privileges under the reign of
a Protestant and a Dutch sovereign, these were swallowed up in their
apprehensions for the returning tyranny of Napoleon. Some of these
troops behaved with distinguished valour; and most of them supported the
ancient military character of the Walloons. The Dutch corps were in
general enthusiastically attached to the Prince of Orange, and the cause
of independence.

[Sidenote: BLUCHER'S ARMY.]

The Prussian army had been recruited to its highest war-establishment,
within an incredibly short space of time after Buonaparte's return had
been made public, and was reinforced in a manner surprising to those who
do not reflect, how much the resources of a state depend on the zeal of
the inhabitants. Their enthusiastic hatred to France, founded partly on
the recollection of former injuries, partly on that of recent success,
was animated at once by feelings of triumph and of revenge, and they
marched to this new war, as to a national crusade against an inveterate
enemy, whom, when at their feet, they had treated with injudicious
clemency. Blucher was, however, deprived of a valuable part of his army
by the discontent of the Saxon troops. A mutiny had broken out among
them, when the Congress announced their intention of transferring part
of the Saxon dominions to Prussia; much bloodshed had ensued, and it was
judged most prudent that the troops of Saxony should remain in garrison
in the German fortresses.

Prince Blucher arrived at Liege, with the Prussian army, which was
concentrated on the Sambre and Meuse rivers, occupying Charleroi, Namur,
Givet, and Liege. The Duke of Wellington covered Brussels, where he had
fixed his headquarters, communicating by his left with the right of the
Prussians. There was a general idea that Napoleon's threatened advance
would take place on Namur, as he was likely to find least opposition at
that dismantled city.

The Duke of Wellington's first corps, under the Prince of Orange, with
two divisions of British, two of Hanoverians, and two of Belgians,
occupied Enghien, Brain le Comte, and Nivelles, and served as a reserve
to the Prussian division under Ziethen, which was at Charleroi. The
second division, commanded by Lord Hill, included two British, two
Hanoverian, and one Belgian divisions. It was cantoned at Halle,
Oudenarde, and Grammont. The reserve, under Picton, who, at Lord
Wellington's special request, had accepted of the situation of second in
command, consisted of the remaining two British divisions, with three of
the Hanoverians, and was stationed at Brussels and Ghent. The cavalry
occupied Grammont and Nieve.

The Anglo-Belgic army was so disposed, therefore, as might enable the
divisions to combine with each other, and with the Prussians, upon the
earliest authentic intelligence of the enemy's being put in motion. At
the same time, the various corps were necessarily, to a certain degree,
detached, both for the purpose of being more easily maintained
(especially the cavalry,) and also because, from the impossibility of
foreseeing in what direction the French Emperor might make his attack,
it was necessary to maintain such an extensive line of defence as to be
prepared for his arrival upon any given point. This is the necessary
inconvenience attached to a defensive position, where, if the resisting
general should concentrate his whole forces upon any one point of the
line to be defended, the enemy would, of course, choose to make their
assault on some of the other points, which such concentration must
necessarily leave comparatively open.

In the meantime, Napoleon in person advanced to Vervins on 12th June,
with his Guard, who had marched from Paris. The other divisions of his
selected grand army had been assembled on the frontier, and the whole,
consisting of five divisions of infantry, and four of cavalry, were
combined at Beaumont on the 14th of the same month, with a degree of
secrecy and expedition which showed the usual genius of their commander.
Napoleon reviewed the troops in person, reminded them that the day was
the anniversary of the great victories of Marengo and Friedland, and
called on them to remember that the enemies whom they had then defeated,
were the same which were now arrayed against them. "Are they and we," he
asked, "no longer the same men?"[134] The address produced the strongest
effect on the minds of the French soldiery, always sensitively alive to
military and national glory.

Upon the 15th June, the French army was in motion in every direction.
Their advanced-guard of light troops swept the western bank of the
Sambre clear of all the allied corps of observation. They then advanced
upon Charleroi, which was well defended by the Prussians under General
Ziethen, who was at length compelled to retire on the large village of
Gosselies. Here his retreat was cut off by the second division of the
French army, and Ziethen was compelled to take the route of Fleurus, by
which he united himself with the Prussian force, which lay about the
villages of Ligny and St. Amand. The Prussian general had, however,
obeyed his orders, by making such protracted resistance as gave time for
the alarm being taken. In the attack and retreat, he lost four or five
guns, and a considerable number in killed and wounded.

By this movement the plan of Napoleon was made manifest. It was at once
most scientific and adventurous. His numbers were unequal to sustain a
conflict with the armies of Blucher and Wellington united, but by
forcing his way so as to separate the one enemy from the other, he would
gain the advantage of acting against either individually with the gross
of his forces, while he could spare enough of detached troops to keep
the other in check. To accomplish this masterly manœuvre, it was
necessary to push onwards upon a part of the British advance, which
occupied the position of Quatre-bras, and the yet more advanced post of
Frasnes, where some of the Nassau troops were stationed. But the extreme
rapidity of Napoleon's forced marches had in some measure prevented the
execution of his plan, by dispersing his forces so much, that at a time
when every hour was of consequence, he was compelled to remain at
Charleroi until his wearied and over-marched army had collected.


In the meantime, Ney was detached against Frasnes and Quatre-bras, but
the troops of Namur kept their post on the evening of the 15th. It is
possible the French maréchal might have succeeded had he attacked at
Frasnes with his whole force; but hearing a cannonade in the direction
of Fleurus (which was that of Ziethen's action,) he detached a division
to support the French in that quarter. For this exercise of his own
judgment, instead of yielding precise obedience to his orders, Ney was
reprimanded; a circumstance curiously contrasted with the case of
Grouchy, upon whom Napoleon laid the whole blame of the defeat at
Waterloo, because he _did_ follow his orders precisely, and press the
Prussians at Wavre, instead of being diverted from that object by the
cannonade on his left.

The manœuvre meditated by Napoleon thus failed, though it had nearly
been successful. He continued, however, to entertain the same purpose of
dividing, if possible, the British army from the Prussians.

The British general received intelligence of the advance of the French,
at Brussels, at six o'clock on the evening of the 15th,[135] but it was
not of sufficient certainty to enable him to put his army in motion, on
an occasion when a false movement might have been irretrievable ruin.
About eleven of the same night, the certain accounts reached Brussels
that the advance of the French was upon the line of the Sambre.
Reinforcements were hastily moved on Quatre-bras, and the Duke of
Wellington arrived there in person at an early hour on the 16th, and
instantly rode from that position to Bric, where he had a meeting with
Blucher. It appeared at this time that the whole French force was about
to be directed against the Prussians.

Blucher was prepared to receive them. Three of his divisions, to the
number of 80,000 men, had been got into position on a chain of gentle
heights, running from Bric to Sombref; in front of their line lay the
villages of the Greater and Lesser St. Amand, as also that of Ligny, all
of which were strongly occupied. From the extremity of his right,
Blucher could communicate with the British at Quatre-bras, upon which
the Duke of Wellington was, as fast as distance would permit,
concentrating his army. The fourth Prussian division, being that of
Bulow, stationed between Liege and Hainault, was at too great a distance
to be brought up, though every effort was made for the purpose. Blucher
undertook, however, notwithstanding the absence of Bulow, to receive a
battle in this position, trusting to the support of the English army,
who, by a flank movement to the left, were to march to his assistance.

Napoleon had, in the meantime, settled his own plan of battle. He
determined to leave Ney with a division of 45,000 men, with instructions
to drive the English from Quatre-bras, ere their army was concentrated
and reinforced, and thus prevent their co-operating with Blucher, while
he himself, with the main body of his army, attacked the Prussian
position at Ligny. Ney being thus on the French left wing at Frasnes and
Quatre-bras, and Buonaparte on the right at Ligny, a division under
D'Erlon, amounting to 10,000 men, served as a centre of the army, and
was placed near Marchiennes, from which it might march laterally either
to support Ney or Napoleon, whichever might require assistance. As two
battles thus took place on the 16th June, it is necessary to take
distinct notice of both.

[Sidenote: LIGNY.]

That of Ligny was the principal action. The French Emperor was unable to
concentrate his forces, so as to commence the attack upon the Prussians,
until three o'clock in the afternoon, at which hour it began with
uncommon fury all along the Prussian line. After a continued attack of
two hours, the French had only obtained possession of a part of the
village of St. Amand. The position of the Prussians, however, was thus
far defective, that the main part of their army being drawn up on the
heights, and the remainder occupying villages which lay at their foot,
the reinforcements despatched to the latter were necessarily exposed
during their descent to the fire from the French artillery, placed on
the meadows below. Notwithstanding this disadvantage, by which the
Prussians suffered much, Napoleon thought the issue of the contest so
doubtful, that he sent for D'Erlon's division, which, as we have
mentioned, was stationed near Marchiennes, half-way betwixt Quatre-bras
and Ligny. In the meanwhile, observing that Blucher drew his reserves
together on St. Amand, he changed his point of attack, and directed all
his force against Ligny, of which, after a desperate resistance, he at
length obtained possession. The French Guards, supported by their heavy
cavalry, ascended the heights, and attacked the Prussian position in the
rear of Ligny. The reserves of the Prussian infantry having been
despatched to St. Amand, Blucher had no means of repelling this attack,
save by his cavalry. He placed himself at their head, and charged in the
most determined manner, but without success. The cavalry of Blucher were
forced back in disorder.

The prince maréchal, as he directed the retreat, was involved in one of
the charges of cavalry, his horse struck down by a cannon-shot, and he
himself prostrated on the ground. His aide-de-camp threw himself beside
the veteran, determined to share his fate, and had the precaution to
fling a cloak over him, to prevent his being recognised by the French.
The enemy's cuirassiers passed over him, and it was not until they were
repulsed, and in their turn pursued by the Prussian cavalry, that the
gallant veteran was raised and remounted.[136] Blucher's death, or
captivity, at that eventful moment, might have had most sinister effects
on the event of the campaign, as it may be fairly doubted whether any
thing short of his personal influence and exertion could, after this
hard-fought and unfortunate day, have again brought the Prussian army
into action on the eventful 18th of June. When relieved, and again
mounted, Blucher directed the retreat upon Tilly, and achieved it
unmolested by the enemy, who did not continue their pursuit beyond the
heights which the Prussians had been constrained to abandon.

Such was the battle of Ligny, in which the Prussians, as Blucher truly
said, "lost the field, but not their honour."[137] The victory was
attended with none of those decisive consequences which were wont to
mark the successes of Buonaparte. There were no corps cut off or
dispersed, no regiments which fled or flung down their arms, no line of
defence forced, and no permanent advantage gained. Above all, there was
not a man who lost heart or courage. The Prussians are believed to have
lost in this bloody action at least 10,000 men; the _Moniteur_ makes the
number of the killed and wounded 15,000, and General Gourgaud,
dissatisfied with this liberal allowance, rates them afterwards at no
less than 25,000 men, while writing under Napoleon's dictation. The loss
of the victors was, by the official accounts, estimated at 3000
men,[138] which ought to have been more than tripled. Still, the French
Emperor had struck a great blow--overpowered a stubborn and inveterate
enemy, and opened the campaign with favourable auspices. The degree of
advantage, however, which Napoleon might have derived from the Prussian
retreat was greatly limited by the indifferent success of Ney against
the forces of Lord Wellington. Of this second action we have now to give
some account.

[Sidenote: QUATRE-BRAS.]

Frasnes had been evacuated by the British, who, on the morning of the
16th, were in position at Quatre-bras, a point of importance, as four
roads diverge from it in different directions; so that the British
general might communicate from his left with the Prussian right at St.
Amand, besides having in his rear a causeway open for his retreat. On
the left of the causeway, leading from Charleroi to Brussels, is a wood,
called Bois de Bossu, which, during the early part of the day, was
strongly contested by the sharpshooters on both sides, but at length
carried by the French, and maintained for a time. About three o'clock in
the afternoon, the main attack commenced, but was repulsed. The British
infantry, however, and particularly the 42d Highlanders, suffered
severely from an unexpected charge of lancers, whose approach was hid
from them by the character of the ground, intersected with hedges, and
covered with heavy crops of rye. Two companies of the Highlanders were
cut off, not having time to form the square; the other succeeded in
getting into order, and beating off the lancers. Ney then attempted a
general charge of heavy cavalry; but they were received with such a
galling fire from the British infantry, joined to a battery of two guns,
that it could not be sustained; the whole causeway was strewed with men
and horses, and the fugitives, who escaped to the rear, announced the
loss of an action which was far from being decided, considering that the
British had few infantry and artillery, though reinforcements of both
were coming fast forward.

The French, as already noticed, had, about three o'clock, obtained
possession of the Bois de Bossu and driven out the Belgians. They were
in return themselves expelled by the British guards, who successfully
resisted every attempt made by the French to penetrate into the wood
during the day.

As the English reinforcements arrived in succession, Maréchal Ney became
desirous of an addition of numbers, and sent to procure the assistance
of D'Erlon's division, posted, as has been said, near Marchiennes. But
these troops had been previously ordered to succour Buonaparte's own
army. As the affair of Ligny was, however, over before they arrived, the
division was again sent back towards Frasnes to assist Ney; but his
battle was also by this time over, and thus D'Erlon's troops marched
from one flank to the other, without firing a musket in the course of
the day. The battle of Quatre-bras terminated with the light. The
British retained possession of the field, which they had maintained with
so much obstinacy, because the Duke of Wellington conceived that Blucher
would be able to make his ground good at Ligny, and was consequently
desirous that the armies should retain the line of communication which
they had occupied in the morning.

But the Prussians, evacuating all the villages which they held in the
neighbourhood of Ligny, had concentrated their forces to retreat upon
the river Dyle, in the vicinity of Wavre. By this retrograde movement,
they were placed about six leagues to the rear of their former position,
and had united themselves to Bulow's division, which had not been
engaged in the affair at Ligny. Blucher had effected this retreat, not
only without pursuit by the French, but without their knowing for some
time in what direction he had gone.

This doubt respecting Blucher's movements, occasioned an uncertainty and
delay in those of the French, which were afterwards attended with the
very worst consequences. Napoleon, or General Gourgaud in his name, does
not hesitate to assert, that the cause of this delay rested with
Maréchal Grouchy, on whom was devolved the duty of following up the
Prussian retreat. "If Maréchal Grouchy," says the accusation, "had been
at Wavre on the 17th, and in communication with _my_ (Napoleon's) right,
Blucher would not have dared to send any detachment of his army against
me on the 18th; or if he had, I would have destroyed them."[139] But the
maréchal appears to make a victorious defence. Grouchy says, that he
sought out the Emperor on the night of the 16th, so soon as the Prussian
retreat commenced, but that he could not see him till he returned to
Fleurus; nor did he obtain any answer to his request of obtaining some
infantry to assist his cavalry in following Blucher and his retreating
army, excepting an intimation that he would receive orders next day. He
states, that he went again to headquarters in the morning of the 17th,
aware of the full importance of following the Prussians closely up, but
that he could not see Buonaparte till half-past seven, and then was
obliged to follow him to the field of battle of the preceding day,
previous to receiving his commands. Napoleon talked with various persons
on different subjects, without giving Grouchy any orders until near
noon, when he suddenly resolved to send the maréchal with an army of
32,000 men, not upon Wavre, for he did not know that the Prussians had
taken that direction, but to follow Blucher wherever he might have gone.
Lastly, Grouchy affirms that the troops of Gérard and Vandamme, who were
placed under his command, were not ready to move until three o'clock.
Thus, according to the maréchal's very distinct narrative, the first
orders for the pursuit were not given till about noon on the 17th, and
the troops were not in a capacity to obey them until three hours after
they were received. For this delay Grouchy blames Excelmans and Gérard,
who commanded under him. His corps, at any rate, was not in motion until
three o'clock upon the 17th.[140]

Neither could his march, when begun, be directed with certainty on
Wavre. The first traces of the Prussians which he could receive, seemed
to intimate, on the contrary, that they were retiring towards Namur,
which induced Grouchy to push the pursuit in the latter direction, and
occasioned the loss of some hours. From all these concurring reasons,
the maréchal shows distinctly, that he could not have attained Wavre on
the evening of the 17th June, because he had no orders to go there till
noon, nor troops ready to march till three o'clock; nor had either
Napoleon or his general any foreknowledge of the motions of Blucher,
which might induce them to believe Wavre was the true point of his
retreat. It was not till he found the English resolved to make a stand
at Waterloo, and the Prussians determined to communicate with them, that
Napoleon became aware of the plan arranged betwixt Wellington and
Blucher, to concentrate the Prussian and English armies at Waterloo.
This was the enigma on which his fate depended, and he failed to solve
it. But it was more agreeable, and much more convenient, for Napoleon to
blame Grouchy, than to acknowledge that he himself had been surprised by
the circumstances in which he unexpectedly found himself on the 18th.

Meantime, having detached Grouchy to pursue the Prussians, Napoleon
himself moved laterally towards Frasnes, and there united himself with
the body commanded by Maréchal Ney. His purpose was to attack the Duke
of Wellington, whom he expected still to find in the position of

But about seven in the morning, the duke, having received intelligence
of the Prince Maréchal Blucher's retreat to Wavre, commenced a retreat
on his part towards Waterloo, in order to recover his communication with
the Prussians, and resume the execution of the plan of co-operation,
which had been in some degree disconcerted by the sudden irruption of
the French, and the loss of the battle of Ligny by the Prussians. The
retreat was conducted with the greatest regularity, though it was as
usual unpleasant to the feelings of the soldier. The news of the battle
of Ligny spread through the ranks, and even the most sanguine did not
venture to hope that the Prussians would be soon able to renew the
engagement. The weather was dreadful, as the rain fell in torrents; but
this so far favoured the British, by rendering the ploughed fields
impracticable for horse, so that their march was covered from the
attacks of the French cavalry on the flanks, and the operations of those
by whom they were pursued were confined to the causeway.


At Genappe, however, a small town, where a narrow bridge over the river
Dyle can only be approached by a confined street, there was an attack on
the British rear, which the English light cavalry were unable to repel;
but the heavy cavalry being brought up, repulsed the French, who gave
the rear of the army no farther disturbance for the day.

At five in the evening, the Duke of Wellington arrived on the memorable
field of WATERLOO, which he had long before fixed as the position in
which he had, in certain events, determined to make a stand for covering

The scene of this celebrated action must be familiar to most readers,
either from description or recollection. The English army occupied a
chain of heights, extending from a ravine and village, termed Merke
Braine, on the right, to a hamlet called Ter la Haye, on the left.
Corresponding to this chain of heights there runs one somewhat parallel
to them, on which the French were posted. A small valley winds between
them of various breadth at different points, but not generally exceeding
half a mile. The declivity on either side into the valley has a varied,
but on the whole a gentle slope, diversified by a number of undulating
irregularities of ground. The field is crossed by two highroads, or
causeways, both leading to Brussels--one from Charleroi through
Quatre-bras and Genappe, by which the British army had just retreated,
and another from Nivelles. These roads traverse the valley, and meet
behind the village of Mont St. Jean, which was in the rear of the
British army. The farm-house of Mont St. Jean, which must be carefully
distinguished from the hamlet, was much closer to the rear of the
British than the latter. On the Charleroi causeway in front of the line,
there is another farm-house, called La Haye Sainte, situated nearly at
the foot of the declivity leading into the valley. On the opposite chain
of eminences, a village called La Belle Alliance gives name to the
range of heights. It exactly fronts Mont St. Jean, and these two points
formed the respective centres of the French and English positions.

An old-fashioned Flemish villa, called Goumont, or Hougomont, stood in
the midst of the valley, surrounded with gardens, offices, and a wood,
about two acres in extent, of tall beech-trees. Behind the heights of
Mont St. Jean, the ground again sinks into a hollow, which served to
afford some sort of shelter to the second line of the British. In the
rear of this second valley, is the great and extensive forest of
Soignies, through which runs the causeway to Brussels. On that road, two
miles in the rear of the British army, is placed the small town of


[133] Las Cases, tom. ii., p. 276.

[134] "The madmen! a moment of prosperity has blinded them. The
oppression and humiliation of the French people are beyond their power:
if they enter France, they will there find their tomb. Soldiers! we have
forced marches to make, battles to fight, hazards to run; but, with
firmness, victory will be ours: the rights, honour, and happiness of our
country will be reconquered. To every Frenchman who has any heart, the
moment is arrived--to conquer or to die!"--_Moniteur, June 17._

[135] The reader will find this statement corrected, on some points, in
a note of chap. lxxxix., _post_.

[136] Blucher's Official Report.

[137] Blucher's Official Report.

[138] Bulletin, Moniteur, June 21. Gourgaud, however, states the actual
loss, on the part of the French, to have been 7000.

[139] Gourgaud, Campaign de 1815, ou Relation des Opérations, &c.

[140] Grouchy, Observations sur la Relation de Gourgaud.


    _Strength of the two armies--Plans of their Generals--THE BATTLE OF
    WATERLOO commenced on the forenoon of the 18th June--French attack
    directed against the British centre--shifted to their right--Charges
    of the Cuirassiers--and their reception--Advance of the
    Prussians--Ney's charge at the head of the Guards--His repulse--and
    Napoleon's orders for retreat--The victorious Generals meet at La
    Belle Alliance--Behaviour of Napoleon during the
    engagement--Blucher's pursuit of the French--Loss of the British--of
    the French--Napoleon's subsequent attempts to undervalue the
    military skill of the Duke of Wellington answered--His unjust
    censures of Grouchy--The notion that the British were on the point
    of losing the battle when the Prussians came up, shown to be

[Sidenote: WATERLOO.]

There might be a difference of opinion in a mere military question,
whether the English general ought to have hazarded a battle for the
defence of Brussels, or whether, falling back on the strong city of
Antwerp, it might have been safer to wait the arrival of the
reinforcements which were in expectation. But in a moral and political
point of view, the protecting Brussels was of the last importance.
Napoleon has declared, that, had he gained the battle of Waterloo, he
had the means of revolutionizing Belgium;[141] and although he was
doubtless too sanguine in this declaration, yet unquestionably the
French had many partisans in a country which they had so long possessed.
The gaining of the battle of Ligny had no marked results, still less had
the indecisive action at Quatre-bras; but had these been followed by the
retreat of the English army to Antwerp, and the capture of Brussels, the
capital city of the Netherlands, they would then have attained the rank
of great and decisive victories.

Napoleon, indeed, pretended to look to still more triumphant results
from such a victory, and to expect nothing less than the dissolution of
the European Alliance as the reward of a decided defeat of the English
in Belgium. So long as it was not mentioned by what means this was to be
accomplished, those who had no less confidence in Napoleon's intrigues
than his military talents, must have supposed that he had already in
preparation among the foreign powers some deep scheme, tending to sap
the foundation of their alliance, and ready to be carried into action
when he should attain a certain point of success. But when it is
explained that these extensive expectations rested on Napoleon's belief
that a single defeat of the Duke of Wellington would occasion a total
change of government in England; that the statesmen of the Opposition
would enter into office as a thing of course, and instantly conclude a
peace with him;[142] and that the coalition, thus deprived of subsidies,
must therefore instantly withdraw the armies which were touching the
French frontier on its whole northern and eastern line--Napoleon's
extravagant speculations can only serve to show how very little he must
have known of the English nation, with which he had been fighting so
long. The war with France had been prosecuted more than twenty years,
and though many of these were years of bad success and defeat, the
nation had persevered in a resistance which terminated at last in
complete triumph. The national opinion of the great general who led the
British troops, was too strongly rooted to give way upon a single
misfortune; and the event of the campaign of 1814, in which Napoleon,
repeatedly victorious, was at length totally defeated and dethroned,
would have encouraged a more fickle people than the English to continue
the war notwithstanding a single defeat, if such an event had unhappily
occurred. The Duke had the almost impregnable fortress and seaport of
Antwerp in his rear, and might have waited there the reinforcements from
America. Blucher had often shown how little he was disheartened by
defeat; at worst, he would have fallen back on a Russian army of 200,000
men, who were advancing on the Rhine. The hopes, therefore, that the
battle of Waterloo, if gained by the French, would have finished the
war, must be abandoned as visionary, whether we regard the firm and
manly character of the great personage at the head of the British
monarchy, the state of parties in the House of Commons, where many
distinguished members of the Opposition had joined the Ministry on the
question of the war, or the general feeling of the country, who saw with
resentment the new irruption of Napoleon. It cannot, however, be denied,
that any success gained by Napoleon in this first campaign, would have
greatly added to his influence both in France and other countries, and
might have endangered the possession of Flanders. The Duke of Wellington
resolved, therefore, to protect Brussels, if possible, even by the risk
of a general action.

By the march from Quatre-bras to Waterloo, the Duke had restored his
communication with Blucher, which had been dislocated by the retreat of
the Prussians to Wavre. When established there, Blucher was once more
upon the same line with the British, the distance between the Prussian
right flank, and the British left, being about five leagues, or five
leagues and a half. The ground which lay between the two extreme points,
called the heights of St. Lambert, was exceedingly rugged and wooded;
and the cross-roads which traversed it, forming the sole means of
communication between the English and Prussians, were dreadfully broken
up by the late tempestuous weather.

The duke despatched intelligence of his position in front of Waterloo to
Prince Blucher, acquainting him at the same time with his resolution to
give Napoleon the battle which he seemed to desire, providing the prince
would afford him the support of two divisions of the Prussian army. The
answer was worthy of the indefatigable and indomitable old man, who was
never so much disconcerted by defeat as to prevent his being willing and
ready for combat on the succeeding day. He sent for reply, that he would
move to the Duke of Wellington's support, not with two divisions only,
but with his whole army; and that he asked no time to prepare for the
movement, longer than was necessary to supply food and serve out
cartridges to his soldiers.

It was three o'clock on the afternoon of the 17th,[143] when the British
came on the field, and took up their bivouac for the night in the order
of battle in which they were to fight the next day. It was much later
before Napoleon reached the heights of Belle Alliance in person, and his
army did not come up in full force till the morning of the 18th. Great
part of the French had passed the night in the little village of
Genappe, and Napoleon's own quarters had been at the farm-house called
Caillou, about a mile in the rear of La Belle Alliance.

In the morning, when Napoleon had formed his line of battle, his brother
Jerome, to whom he ascribed the possession of very considerable military
talents, commanded on the left--Counts Reille and D'Erlon the
centre--and Count Lobau on the right. Maréchals Soult and Ney acted as
lieutenant-generals to the Emperor. The French force on the field
consisted probably of about 75,000 men. The English army did not exceed
that number, at the highest computation. Each army was commanded by the
chief, under whom they had offered to defy the world. So far the forces
were equal. But the French had the very great advantage of being trained
and experienced soldiers of the same nation, whereas the English, in the
Duke of Wellington's army, did not exceed 35,000; and although the
German Legion were veteran troops, the other soldiers under his command
were those of the German contingents, lately levied, unaccustomed to act
together, and in some instances suspected to be lukewarm to the cause in
which they were engaged; so that it would have been imprudent to trust
more to their assistance and co-operation than could possibly be
avoided. In Buonaparte's mode of calculating, allowing one Frenchman to
stand as equal to one Englishman, and one Englishman or Frenchman
against two of any other nation, the inequality of force on the Duke of
Wellington's side was very considerable.

The British army thus composed, was divided into two lines. The right of
the first line consisted of the second and fourth English divisions, the
third and sixth Hanoverians, and the first corps of Belgians, under Lord
Hill. The centre was composed of the corps of the Prince of Orange, with
the Brunswickers and troops of Nassau, having the guards, under General
Cooke, on the right, and the division of General Alten on the left. The
left wing consisted of the divisions of Picton, Lambert, and Kempt. The
second line was in most instances formed of the troops deemed least
worthy of confidence, or which had suffered too severely in the action
of the 16th to be again exposed until extremity. It was placed behind
the declivity of the heights to the rear, in order to be sheltered from
the cannonade, but sustained much loss from shells during the action.
The cavalry were stationed in the rear, distributed all along the line,
but chiefly posted on the left of the centre, to the east of the
Charleroi causeway. The farm-house of La Haye Sainte, in the front of
the centre, was garrisoned, but there was not time to prepare it
effectually for defence. The villa, gardens, and farm-yard of Hougomont
formed a strong advanced post towards the centre of the right. The whole
British position formed a sort of curve, the centre of which was nearest
to the enemy, and the extremities, particularly on their right, drawn
considerably backward.

[Sidenote: PLANS OF ATTACK.]

The plans of these two great generals were extremely simple. The object
of the Duke of Wellington was to maintain his line of defence, until the
Prussians coming up, should give him a decided superiority of force.
They were expected about eleven or twelve o'clock; but the extreme
badness of the roads, owing to the violence of the storm, detained them
several hours later.

Napoleon's scheme was equally plain and decided. He trusted by his usual
rapidity of attack, to break and destroy the British army before the
Prussians should arrive in the field; after which, he calculated to have
an opportunity of destroying the Prussians, by attacking them on their
march through the broken ground interposed betwixt them and the British.
In these expectations he was the more confident, that he believed
Grouchy's force, detached on the 17th in pursuit of Blucher, was
sufficient to retard, if not altogether to check, the march of the
Prussians. His grounds for entertaining this latter opinion, were, as we
shall afterwards show, too hastily adopted.

Commencing the action according to his usual system, Napoleon kept his
guard in reserve, in order to take opportunity of charging with them,
when repeated attacks of column after column, and squadron after
squadron, should induce his wearied enemy to show some symptoms of
irresolution. But Napoleon's movements were not very rapid. His army had
suffered by the storm even more than the English, who were in bivouac at
three in the afternoon of the 17th June; while the French were still
under march, and could not get into line on the heights of La Belle
Alliance until ten or eleven o'clock of the 18th. The English army had
thus some leisure to take food, and to prepare their arms before the
action; and Napoleon lost several hours ere he could commence the
attack. Time was, indeed, inestimably precious for both parties, and
hours, nay, minutes, were of importance. But of this Napoleon was less
aware than was the Duke of Wellington.

The tempest which had raged with tropical violence all night, abated in
the morning; but the weather continued gusty and stormy during the whole
day. Betwixt eleven and twelve, before noon, on the memorable 18th June,
this dreadful and decisive action commenced, with a cannonade on the
part of the French, instantly followed by an attack, commanded by
Jerome, on the advanced post of Hougomont. The troops of Nassau, which
occupied the wood around the chateau, were driven out by the French, but
the utmost efforts of the assailants were unable to force the house,
garden, and farm offices, which a party of the guards sustained with the
most dauntless resolution. The French redoubled their efforts, and
precipitated themselves in numbers on the exterior hedge, which screens
the garden-wall, not perhaps aware of the internal defence afforded by
the latter. They fell in great numbers on this point by the fire of the
defenders, to which they were exposed in every direction. The number of
their troops, however, enabled them, by possession of the wood, to mask
Hougomont for a time, and to push on with their cavalry and artillery
against the British right, which formed in squares to receive them. The
fire was incessant, but without apparent advantage on either side. The
attack was at length repelled so far, that the British again opened
their communication with Hougomont, and that important garrison was
reinforced by Colonel Hepburn and a body of the guards.

Meantime, the fire of artillery having become general along the line,
the force of the French attack was transferred to the British centre. It
was made with the most desperate fury, and received with the most
stubborn resolution. The assault was here made upon the farm-house of
Saint Jean by four columns of infantry, and a large mass of cuirassiers,
who took the advance. The cuirassiers came with the utmost intrepidity
along the Genappe causeway, where they were encountered and charged by
the English heavy cavalry; and a combat was maintained at the sword's
point, till the French were driven back on their own position, where
they were protected by their artillery. The four columns of French
infantry, engaged in the same attack, forced their way forward beyond
the farm of La Haye Sainte, and dispersing a Belgian regiment, were in
the act of establishing themselves in the centre of the British
position, when they were attacked by the brigade of General Pack,
brought up from the second line by General Picton, while, at the same
time, a brigade of British heavy cavalry wheeled round their own
infantry, and attacked the French charging columns in flank, at the
moment when they were checked by the fire of the musketry. The results
were decisive. The French columns were broken with great slaughter, and
two eagles, with more than 2000 men, were made prisoners. The latter
were sent instantly off for Brussels.


The British cavalry, however, followed their success too far. They got
involved amongst the French infantry and some hostile cavalry which were
detached to support them, and were obliged to retire with considerable
loss. In this part of the action, the gallant General Picton, so
distinguished for enterprise and bravery, met his death, as did General
Ponsonby, who commanded the cavalry.

About this period the French made themselves masters of the farm of La
Haye Sainte, cutting to pieces about two hundred Hanoverian
sharpshooters, by whom it was most gallantly defended. The French
retained this post for some time, till they were at last driven out of
it by shells.

Shortly after this event, the scene of conflict again shifted to the
right, where a general attack of French cavalry was made on the squares,
chiefly towards the centre of the British right, or between that and the
causeway. They came up with the most dauntless resolution, in despite of
the continued fire of thirty pieces of artillery, placed in front of the
line, and compelled the artillerymen, by whom they were served, to
retreat within the squares. The enemy had no means, however, to secure
the guns, or even to spike them, and at every favourable moment the
British artillerymen sallied from their place of refuge, again manned
their pieces, and fired on the assailants--a manœuvre which seems
peculiar to the British service.[144] The cuirassiers, however,
continued their dreadful onset, and rode up to the squares in the full
confidence, apparently, of sweeping them before the impetuosity of their
charge. Their onset and reception was like a furious ocean pouring
itself against a chain of insulated rocks. The British squares stood
unmoved, and never gave fire until the cavalry were within ten yards,
when men rolled one way, horses galloped another, and the cuirassiers
were in every instance driven back.

The French authors have pretended that squares were broken, and colours
taken; but this assertion, upon the united testimony of every British
officer present, is a positive untruth. This was not, however, the fault
of the cuirassiers, who displayed an almost frantic valour. They rallied
again and again, and returned to the onset, till the British could
recognise even the faces of individuals among their enemies. Some rode
close up to the bayonets, fired their pistols, and cut with their swords
with reckless and useless valour. Some stood at gaze, and were destroyed
by the musketry and artillery. Some squadrons, passing through the
intervals of the first line, charged the squares of Belgians posted
there, with as little success. At length the cuirassiers suffered so
severely on every hand, that they were compelled to abandon the attempt,
which they had made with such intrepid and desperate courage. In this
unheard-of struggle, the greater part of the French heavy cavalry were
absolutely destroyed. Buonaparte hints at it in his bulletin as an
attempt made without orders, and continued only by the desperate courage
of the soldiers and their officers.[145] It is certain that, in the
destruction of this noble body of cuirassiers, he lost the corps which
might have been most effectual in covering his retreat. After the broken
remains of this fine cavalry were drawn off, the French confined
themselves for a time to a heavy cannonade, from which the British
sheltered themselves in part by lying down on the ground, while the
enemy prepared for an attack on another quarter, and to be conducted in
a different manner.

It was now about six o'clock, and during this long succession of the
most furious attacks, the French had gained no success save occupying
for a time the wood around Hougomont, from which they had been expelled,
and the farm house of La Haye Sainte, which had been also recovered. The
British, on the other hand, had suffered very severely, but had not lost
one inch of ground, save the two posts, now regained. Ten thousand men
were, however, killed and wounded; some of the foreign regiments had
given way, though others had shown the most desperate valour. And the
ranks were thinned both by the actual fugitives, and by the absence of
individuals, who left the bloody field for the purpose of carrying off
the wounded, and some of whom might naturally be in no hurry to return
to so fatal a scene.

[Sidenote: WATERLOO.]

But the French, besides losing about 15,000 men, together with a column
of prisoners more than 2000 in number, began now to be disturbed by the
operations of the Prussians on their right flank; and the secret of the
Duke of Wellington was disclosing itself by its consequences. Blucher,
faithful to his engagement, had, early in the morning, put in motion
Bulow's division, which had not been engaged at Ligny, to communicate
with the English army, and operate a diversion on the right flank and
rear of the French. But although there were only about twelve or
fourteen miles between Wavre and the field of Waterloo, yet the march
was, by unavoidable circumstances, much delayed. The rugged face of the
country, together with the state of the roads, so often referred to,
offered the most serious obstacles to the progress of the Prussians,
especially as they moved with an unusually large train of artillery. A
fire, also, which broke out in Wavre, on the morning of the 18th,
prevented Bulow's corps from marching through that town, and obliged
them to pursue a circuitous and inconvenient route. After traversing,
with great difficulty, the cross-roads by Chapelle Lambert, Bulow, with
the 4th Prussian corps, who had been expected by the Duke of Wellington
about eleven o'clock, announced his arrival by a distant fire, about
half-past four. The first Prussian corps, following the same route with
Bulow, was yet later in coming up. The second division made a lateral
movement in the same direction as the fourth and first, but by the
hamlet of Ohain, nearer to the English flank. The Emperor instantly
opposed to Bulow, who appeared long before the others, the 6th French
corps, which he had kept in reserve for that service; and, as only the
advanced guard was come up, they succeeded in keeping the Prussians in
check for the moment. The first and second Prussian corps appeared on
the field still later than the fourth. The third corps had put
themselves in motion to follow in the same direction, when they were
furiously attacked by the French under Maréchal Grouchy, who, as already
stated, was detached to engage the attention of Blucher, whose whole
force he believed he had before him.

Instead of being surprised, as an ordinary general might have been, with
this attack upon his rear, Blucher contented himself with sending back
orders to Thielman, who commanded the third corps, to defend himself as
well as he could upon the line of the Dyle. In the meantime, without
weakening the army under his own command, by detaching any part of it to
support Thielman, the veteran rather hastened than suspended his march
towards the field of battle, where he was aware that the war was likely
to be decided in a manner so complete, as would leave victory or defeat
on every other point a matter of subordinate consideration.

At half-past six, or thereabouts, the second grand division of the
Prussian army began to enter into communication with the British left,
by the village of Ohain, while Bulow pressed forward from Chapelle
Lambert on the French right and rear, by a hollow, or valley, called
Frischemont. It became now evident that the Prussians were to enter
seriously into the battle, and with great force. Napoleon had still the
means of opposing them, and of achieving a retreat, at the certainty,
however, of being attacked upon the ensuing day by the combined armies
of Britain and Prussia. His celebrated Guard had not yet taken any part
in the conflict, and would now have been capable of affording him
protection after a battle which, hitherto, he had fought at
disadvantage, but without being defeated. But the circumstances by which
he was surrounded must have pressed on his mind at once. He had no
succours to look for; a reunion with Grouchy was the only resource which
could strengthen his forces; the Russians were advancing upon the Rhine
with forced marches; the Republicans at Paris were agitating schemes
against his authority. It seemed as if all must be decided on that day,
and on that field. Surrounded by these ill-omened circumstances, a
desperate effort for victory, ere the Prussians could act effectually,
might perhaps yet drive the English from their position; and he
determined to venture on this daring experiment.

About seven o'clock, Napoleon's Guard were formed in two columns, under
his own eye, near the bottom of the declivity of La Belle Alliance. They
were put under command of the dauntless Ney. Buonaparte told the
soldiers, and, indeed, imposed the same fiction on their commander, that
the Prussians whom they saw on the right were retreating before Grouchy.
Perhaps he might himself believe that this was true. The Guard answered,
for the last time, with shouts of _Vive l'Empereur_, and moved
resolutely forward, having, for their support, four battalions of the
Old Guard in reserve, who stood prepared to protect the advance of their
comrades. A gradual change had taken place in the English line of
battle, in consequence of the repeated repulse of the French. Advancing
by slow degrees, the right, which at the beginning of the conflict,
presented a segment of a convex circle, now resembled one that was
concave, the extreme right, which had been thrown back, being now rather
brought forward, so that their fire both of artillery and infantry fell
upon the flank of the French, who had also to sustain that which was
poured on their front from the heights. The British were arranged in a
line of four men deep, to meet the advancing columns of the French
Guard, and poured upon them a storm of musketry which never ceased an
instant. The soldiers fired independently, as it is called; each man
loading and discharging his piece as fast as he could. At length the
British moved forward, as if to close round the heads of the columns,
and at the same time continued to pour their shot upon the enemy's
flanks. The French gallantly attempted to deploy, for the purpose of
returning the discharge; but in their effort to do so, under so dreadful
a fire, they stopt, staggered, became disordered, were blended into one
mass, and at length gave way, retiring, or rather flying, in the utmost
confusion. This was the last effort of the enemy, and Napoleon gave
orders for the retreat; to protect which, he had now no troops left,
save the last four battalions of the Old Guard, which had been stationed
in the rear of the attacking columns. These threw themselves into
squares, and stood firm. But at this moment the Duke of Wellington
commanded the whole British line to advance, so that whatever the
bravery and skill of these gallant veterans, they also were thrown into
disorder, and swept away in the general rout, in spite of the efforts of
Ney, who, having had his horse killed, fought sword in hand, and on
foot, in the front of the battle, till the very last.[146] That
maréchal, whose military virtues at least cannot be challenged, bore
personal evidence against two circumstances, industriously circulated by
the friends of Napoleon. One of these fictions occurs in his own
bulletin, which charges the loss of the battle to a panic fear, brought
about by the treachery of some unknown persons, who raised the cry of
"_Sauve qui peut_."[147] Another figment, greedily credited at Paris,
bore, that the four battalions of Old Guard, the last who maintained the
semblance of order, answered a summons to surrender, by the magnanimous
reply, "The Guard can die, but cannot yield." And one edition of the
story adds, that thereupon the battalions made a half wheel inwards, and
discharged their muskets into each other's bosoms, to save themselves
from dying by the hands of the English. Neither the original reply, nor
the pretended self-sacrifice of the Guard, have the slightest
foundation. Cambrone, in whose mouth the speech was placed, gave up his
sword, and remained prisoner; and the military conduct of the French
Guard is better eulogised by the undisputed truth, that they fought to
extremity, with the most unyielding constancy, than by imputing to them
an act of regimental suicide upon the lost field of battle.[148] Every
attribute of brave men they have a just right to claim. It is no
compliment to ascribe to them that of madmen. Whether the words were
used by Cambrone or no, the Guard well deserved to have them inscribed
on their monument.

Whilst this decisive movement took place, Bulow, who had concentrated
his troops, and was at length qualified to act in force, carried the
village of Planchenois in the French rear, and was now firing so close
on their right wing, that the cannonade annoyed the British who were in
pursuit, and was suspended in consequence. Moving in oblique lines, the
British and Prussian armies came into contact with each other on the
heights so lately occupied by the French, and celebrated the victory
with loud shouts of mutual congratulation.

The French army was now in total and inextricable confusion and rout;
and when the victorious generals met at the farm-house of La Belle
Alliance, it was agreed that the Prussians, who were fresh in
comparison, should follow up the chase, a duty for which the British,
exhausted by the fatigues of a battle of eight hours, were totally

During the whole action, Napoleon maintained the utmost serenity. He
remained on the heights of La Belle Alliance, keeping pretty near the
centre, from which he had a full view of the field, which does not
exceed a mile and a half in length. He expressed no solicitude on the
fate of the battle for a long time, noticed the behaviour of particular
regiments, and praised the English several times, always, however,
talking of them as an assured prey. When forming his guard for the last
fatal effort, he descended near them, half down the causeway from La
Belle Alliance, to bestow upon them what proved his parting exhortation.
He watched intently their progress with a spyglass, and refused to
listen to one or two aides-de-camp, who at that moment came from the
right to inform him of the appearance of the Prussians. At length, on
seeing the attacking columns stagger and become confused, his
countenance, said our informer, became pale as that of a corpse, and
muttering to himself, "They are mingled together," he said to his
attendants, "All is lost for the present," and rode off the field; not
stopping or taking refreshment till he reached Charleroi, where he
paused for a moment in a meadow, and occupied a tent which had been
pitched for his accommodation.[149]

Meantime, the pursuit of his discomfited army was followed up by
Blucher with the most determined perseverance. He accelerated the march
of the Prussian advanced guard, and despatched every man and horse of
his cavalry upon the pursuit of the fugitive French. At Genappe they
attempted something like defence, by barricading the bridge and streets;
but the Prussians forced them in a moment, and although the French were
sufficiently numerous for resistance, their disorder was so
irremediable, and their moral courage was so absolutely quelled for the
moment, that in many cases they were slaughtered like sheep. They were
driven from bivouac to bivouac, without exhibiting even the shadow of
their usual courage. One hundred and fifty guns were left in the hands
of the English, and a like number taken by the Prussians in course of
the pursuit. The latter obtained possession also of all Napoleon's
baggage, and of his carriage, where, amongst many articles of curiosity,
was found a proclamation intended to be made public at Brussels the next


The loss on the British side during this dreadful battle was, as the
Duke of Wellington, no user of exaggerated expressions, truly termed it,
_immense_. One hundred officers slain, five hundred wounded, many of
them to death, fifteen thousand men killed and wounded, (independent of
the Prussian loss at Wavre,) threw half Britain into mourning. Many
officers of distinction fell. It required all the glory, and all the
solid advantages, of this immortal day, to reconcile the mind to the
high price at which it was purchased. The commander-in-chief, compelled
to be on every point of danger, was repeatedly in the greatest jeopardy.
Only the Duke himself, and one gentleman, of his numerous staff, escaped
unwounded in horse and person.

It would be difficult to form a guess at the extent of the French loss.
Besides those who fell in the battle and flight, great numbers deserted.
We do not believe, that of 75,000 men, the half were ever again
collected under arms.[150]

Having finished our account of this memorable action, we are led to
notice the communications and criticisms of Napoleon himself on the
subject, partly as illustrative of the narrative, but much more as
indicating his own character.

The account of the battle of Waterloo, dictated by Napoleon to Gourgaud,
so severely exposed by General Grouchy[151] as a mere military romance,
full of gratuitous suppositions, misrepresentations, and absolute
falsehoods, accuses the subordinate generals who fought under Buonaparte
of having greatly degenerated from their original character. Ney and
Grouchy are particularly aimed at; the former by name, the latter by
obvious implication. It is said they had lost that energy and
enterprising genius by which they had formerly been distinguished, and
to which France owed her triumphs. They had become timorous and
circumspect in all their operations; and although their personal bravery
remains, their greatest object was to compromise themselves as little as
possible. This general remark, intended, of course, to pave the way for
transferring from the Emperor to his lieutenants the blame of the
miscarriage of the campaign, is both unjust and ungrateful. Had they
lost energy, who struggled to the very last in the field of Waterloo,
long after the Emperor had left the field? Was Grouchy undecided in his
operations, who brought his own division safe to Paris, in spite of all
the obstacles opposed to him by a victorious army, three times the
amount of his own in numbers? Both these officers had given up, for the
sake of Napoleon, the rank and appointments which they might have
peacefully borne under the Bourbons. Did it indicate the reluctance to
commit themselves, with which they are charged, that they ventured on
the decided step of joining his desperate career, not only abandoning
all regard to their interest and their safety, but compromising their
character as men of loyalty in the face of all Europe, and exposing
themselves to certain death, if the Bourbons should be successful? Those
who fight with the cord around their neck, which was decidedly the case
with Grouchy and Ney, must have headed the forlorn hope; and is it
consistent with human nature, in such circumstances, to believe that
they, whose fortune and safety depended on the victory, personally brave
as they are admitted to be, should have loitered in the rear, when their
fate was in the balance?

He who was unjust to his own followers, can scarce be expected to be
candid towards an enemy. The Duke of Wellington has, upon all occasions,
been willing to render the military character of Napoleon that justice
which a generous mind is scrupulously accurate in dispensing to an
adversary, and has readily admitted that the conduct of Buonaparte and
his army on this memorable occasion, was fully adequate to the support
of their high reputation. It may be said that the victor can afford to
bestow praise on the vanquished, but that it requires a superior degree
of candour in the vanquished to do justice to the conqueror. Napoleon,
at any rate, does not seem to have attained, in this particular, to the
pitch of a great or exalted mind, since both he and the various persons
whom he employed as the means of circulating his statements, concur in a
very futile attempt to excuse the defeat at Waterloo, by a set of
apologies founded in a great degree upon misrepresentation. The reader
will find these scientifically discussed in a valuable article in the
Appendix.[152] But it may be necessary, at the risk of some repetition,
to take some notice of them here in a popular form. The allegations,
which are designed to prove the incapacity of the British general, and
to show that the battle of Waterloo was only lost by a combination of
extraordinary fatalities, may be considered in their order.

The first, and most frequently repeated, is the charge, that the Duke of
Wellington, on the 15th, was surprised in his cantonments, and could not
collect his army fast enough at Quatre-bras. In this his Grace would
have been doubtless highly censurable, if Napoleon had, by express
information, or any distinct movement indicative of his purpose, shown
upon which point he meant to advance. But the chivalrous practice of
fixing a field of combat has been long out of date; and Napoleon, beyond
all generals, possessed the art of masking his own movements, and
misleading his enemy concerning the actual point on which he meditated
an attack. The Duke and Prince Blucher were, therefore, obliged to
provide for the concentration of their forces upon different points,
according as Buonaparte's selection should be manifested; and in order
to be ready to assemble their forces upon any one position, they must,
by spreading their cantonments, in some degree delay the movement upon
all. The Duke could not stir from Brussels, or concentrate his forces,
until he had certain information of those of the enemy; and it is said
that a French statesman, who had promised to send him a copy of the plan
of Buonaparte's campaign, contrived, by a trick of policy, to evade
keeping his word.[153] We do not mean to deny the talent and activity
displayed by Buonaparte, who, if he could have brought forward his whole
army upon the evening of the 15th of June, might probably have succeeded
in preventing the meditated junction of Blucher and Wellington. But the
celebrated prayer for annihilation of time and space would be as little
reasonable in the mouth of a general as of a lover, and, fettered by the
limitations against which that modest petition is directed, Buonaparte
failed in bringing forward in due time a sufficient body of forces to
carry all before him at Quatre-bras; while, on the other hand, the Duke
of Wellington, from the same obstacles of time and space, could not
assemble a force sufficient to drive Ney before him, and enable him to
advance to the support of Blucher during the action of Ligny.[154]

The choice of the field of Waterloo is also charged against the Duke of
Wellington as an act of weak judgment; because, although possessed of
all the requisites for maintaining battle or pursuing victory, and,
above all, of the facilities for communicating with the Prussian army,
it had not, according to the imperial critic, the means of affording
security in case of a retreat, since there was only one communication to
the rear--that by the causeway of Brussels, the rest of the position
being screened by the forest of Soignies, in front of which the British
army was formed, and through which, it is assumed, retreat was

Taking the principle of this criticism as accurate, it may be answered,
that a general would never halt or fight at all, if he were to refuse
combat on every other save a field of battle which possessed all the
various excellences which may be predicated of one in theory. The
commander must consider whether the ground suits his present exigencies,
without looking at other circumstances which may be less pressing at the
time. Generals have been known to choose by preference the ground from
which there could be no retiring; like invaders who burn their ships, as
a pledge that they will follow their enterprise to the last. And
although provision for a safe retreat is certainly in most cases a
desirable circumstance, yet it has been dispensed with by good generals,
and by none more frequently than by Napoleon himself. Was not the battle
of Essling fought without any possible mode of retreat save the frail
bridges over the Danube? Was not that of Wagram debated under similar
circumstances? And, to complete the whole, did not Napoleon, while
censuring the Duke of Wellington for fighting in front of a forest,
himself enter upon conflict with a defile in his rear, formed by the
narrow streets and narrower bridge of Genappe, by which alone, if
defeated, he could cross the Dyle?--It might, therefore, be presumed,
that if the Duke of Wellington chose a position from which retreat was
difficult, he must have considered the necessity of retreat as unlikely,
and reckoned with confidence on being able to make good his stand until
the Prussians should come up to join him.

Even this does not exhaust the question; for the English
general-officers unite in considering the forest of Soignies as a very
advantageous feature in the field; and, far from apprehending the least
inconvenience from its existence, the Duke of Wellington regarded it as
affording a position, which, if his first and second line had been
unhappily forced, he might have nevertheless made good against the whole
French army. The hamlet of Mont Saint Jean, in front, affords an
excellent key to the position of an army compelled to occupy the forest.
The wood itself is every where passable for men and horses, the trees
being tall, and without either low boughs or underwood; and, singular as
the discrepancy between the opinions of distinguished soldiers may seem,
we have never met an English officer who did not look on the forest of
Soignies as affording an admirable position for making a final stand. In
support of their opinion they refer to the defence of the Bois de Bossu,
near Quatre-bras, against the reiterated attacks of Maréchal Ney. This
impeachment of the Duke of Wellington may therefore be set aside, as
inconsistent with the principles of British warfare. All that can be
added is, that there are cases in which national habits and manners may
render a position advantageous to soldiers of one country, which is
perilous or destructive to those of another.

The next subject of invidious criticism, is of a nature so singular,
that, did it not originate with a great man, in peculiar circumstances
of adversity, it might be almost termed ludicrous. Napoleon expresses
himself as dissatisfied, because he was defeated in the common and
vulgar proceeding of downright fighting, and by no special manœuvres or
peculiar display of military art on the part of the victor. But if it
can afford any consolation to those who cherish his fame, it is easy to
show that Napoleon fell a victim to a scheme of tactics early conceived,
and persevered in under circumstances which, in the case of ordinary
men, would have occasioned its being abandoned; resumed after events
which seemed so adverse, that nothing save dauntless courage and
unlimited confidence could have enabled the chiefs to proceed in their
purpose; and carried into execution, without Napoleon's being able to
penetrate the purpose of the allied generals, until it was impossible to
prevent the annihilation of his army;--that he fell, in short, by a
grand plan of strategie, worthy of being compared to that of any of his
own admirable campaigns.

To prove what we have said, it is only necessary to remark, that the
natural bases and points of retreat of the Prussian and English armies
were different; the former being directed on Maestricht, the other on
Antwerp, where each expected their reinforcements. Regardless of this,
and with full confidence in each other, the Prince Maréchal Blucher, and
the Duke of Wellington, agreed to act in conjunction against the French
army. The union of their forces, for which both were prepared, was
destined to have taken place at Ligny, where the duke designed to have
supported the Prussians, and where Blucher hazarded an action in
expectation of his ally's assistance. The active movements of Napoleon,
and the impossibility of the English force being sufficiently
concentrated at Quatre-bras to afford the means of overpowering Ney and
the force in their front, prevented their making a lateral march to
relieve Blucher at that critical period. Otherwise, the parts of the
bloody drama, as afterwards acted, would have been reversed, and the
British army would have moved to support the Prussians at Ligny, as the
Prussians came to the aid of the British at Waterloo.

Napoleon had the merit of disconcerting this plan for the time; but he
did not, and could not, discover that the allied generals retained,
after the loss of the battle of Ligny, the same purpose which they had
adopted on the commencement of the campaign. He imagined, as did all
around him, that Blucher must retreat on Namur, or in such a direction
as would effectually accomplish a separation betwixt him and the
English, as it was natural to think a defeated army should approach
towards its own resources, instead of attempting further offensive
operations. At all events, Napoleon was in this respect so much
mistaken, as to believe that if Blucher did retire on the same line with
the English, the means which the Prussian retained for co-operating with
his allies were so limited, and (perhaps he might think) the spirit of
the general so subdued, that Maréchal Grouchy, with 32,000 men, would be
sufficient to keep the whole Prussian force in check. The maréchal was
accordingly, as we have seen, despatched much too late, without any
other instructions than to follow and engage the attention of the
Prussians. Misled by the demonstration of Blucher, he at first took the
road to Namur, and thus, without any fault on his part, lost time, which
was inconceivably precious.

Buonaparte's subsequent accounts of this action blame Maréchal Grouchy
for not discovering Blucher's real direction, which he had no means of
ascertaining, and for not obeying orders which were never given to him,
and which could not be given, because Napoleon was as ignorant as the
maréchal, that Blucher had formed the determination, at all events, to
unite himself with Wellington. This purpose of acting in co-operation,
formed and persevered in, was to the French Emperor the riddle of the
Sphinx, and he was destroyed because he could not discover it. Indeed,
he ridiculed even the idea of such an event. One of his officers,
according to Baron Muffling, having hinted at the mere possibility of a
junction between the Prussian army and that of Wellington, he smiled
contemptuously at the thought. "The Prussian army," he said, "is
defeated--It cannot rally for three days--I have 75,000 men, the English
only 50,000. The town of Brussels awaits me with open arms. The English
Opposition waits but for my success to raise their heads. Then adieu
subsidies, and farewell coalition!" In like manner, Napoleon frankly
acknowledged, while on board the Northumberland, that he had no idea
that the Duke of Wellington meant to fight, and therefore omitted to
reconnoitre the ground with sufficient accuracy. It is well known, that
when he observed them still in their position on the morning of the
18th, he exclaimed, "I have them, then, these English!"

It was half past eleven, just about the time that the battle of Waterloo
commenced, that Grouchy, as already hinted, overtook the rear of the
Prussians. A strong force, appearing to be the whole of the Prussian
army, lay before the French maréchal, who, from the character of the
ground, had no means of ascertaining their numbers, or of discovering
the fact, that three divisions of Blucher's army were already on the
march to their right, through the passes of Saint Lambert; and that it
was only Thielman's division which remained upon the Dyle. Still less
could he know, what could only be known to the duke and Blucher, that
the English were determined to give battle in the position at Waterloo.
He heard, indeed, a heavy cannonade in that direction, but that might
have proceeded from an attack on the British rear-guard, the duke being,
in the general opinion of the French army, in full retreat upon Antwerp.
At any rate, the maréchal's orders were to attack the enemy which he
found before him. He could not but remember, that Ney had been
reprimanded for detaching a part of his force on the 16th, in
consequence of a distant cannonade; and he was naturally desirous to
avoid censure for the self-same cause. Even if Napoleon was seriously
engaged with the English, it seemed the business of Grouchy to occupy
the large force which he observed at Wavre, and disposed along the Dyle,
to prevent their attempting any thing against Napoleon, if, contrary to
probability, the Emperor should be engaged in a general battle. Lastly,
as Grouchy was to form his resolution under the idea of having the whole
Prussian force before him, which was estimated at 80,000 men, it would
have been impossible for him to detach from an army of 32,000 any
considerable body, to the assistance of Napoleon; and in attacking with
such inadequate numbers, he showed his devotion, at the risk of being
totally destroyed.

He engaged, however, in battle without any hesitation, and attacked the
line of the Prussians along the Dyle on every accessible point; to wit,
at Wavre, at the mill of Bielge, and at the village of Limale. The
points of attack were desperately defended by the Prussians under
Thielman, so that Grouchy could only occupy that part of Wavre which was
on his own side of the Dyle. About four o'clock, and consequently when
the fate of the battle of Waterloo was nearly decided, Grouchy received
from Maréchal Soult the only order which reached him during the day,
requiring him to manœuvre so as to unite himself to the right flank of
the Emperor, but at the same time acquainting him with the (false)
intelligence, that the battle was gained upon the line of Waterloo. A
postscript informed Grouchy, that Bulow was appearing upon Napoleon's
right flank, and that if he could come up with speed, he would take the
Prussian _flagrante delicto_.[155]

These orders were quite intelligible. But two things were necessary to
their being carried into execution. First, that Grouchy should get clear
of Thielman, the enemy with whom he was closely engaged, and who would
not fail to pursue the French maréchal if he retreated or moved to his
left flank, without having repulsed him. Secondly, it was indispensable
he should pass the small river Dyle, defended by Thielman's division,
since the road leading through the woods of Chapelle Lambert, was that
by which he could best execute his march towards Waterloo. Grouchy
redoubled his efforts to force the Dyle, but he could not succeed till
night, and then but partially; for the Prussians continued to hold the
mill of Bielge, and remained in force within a cannon-shot of Grouchy's

In the morning, the maréchal, anxious to learn with certainty the fate
of Napoleon, though believing, according to Soult's letter, that he was
victorious, sent out reconnoitring parties. When he learned the truth,
he commenced a retreat, which he conducted with such talent, that though
closely pursued by the Prussians, then in all the animation of triumph,
and though sustaining considerable loss, he was enabled to bring his
corps unbroken under the walls of Paris. Weighing all these
circumstances, it appears that Buonaparte had no right to count upon the
assistance of Grouchy, far less to throw censure on that general for not
coming to his assistance, since he scrupulously obeyed the orders he
received; and when at four o'clock, that of attacking and pressing the
Prussian rear was qualified by the directions of Soult, to close up to
Buonaparte's right wing, Grouchy was engaged in an obstinate engagement
with Thielman, whom he must necessarily defeat before he could cross the
Dyle, to accomplish the junction proposed.

The movement of Blucher, therefore, was a masterpiece of courage and
judgment, since the prince maréchal left one division of his army to
maintain a doubtful onset against Grouchy, and involved himself with the
other three in that flank movement through the woods of Saint Lambert,
by which he paid with interest the debt which he owed Napoleon for a
similar movement, previous to the affairs of Champ-Aubert and
Montmirail, in 1814.

The same system which placed Blucher in motion, required that the Duke
of Wellington should maintain his position, by confining himself to a
strictly defensive contest. The British, as they were to keep their
place at all risks, so on no temptation of partial success were they to
be induced to advance. Every step which they might have driven the
French backward, before the coming up of the Prussians, would have been
a disadvantage as far as it went, since the object was not to beat the
enemy by the efforts of the English only, which, in the state of the two
armies, might only have amounted to a repulse, but to detain them in the
position of La Belle Alliance, until the army of Blucher should come up.
When Napoleon, therefore, objects to the conduct of the Duke of
Wellington on the 18th, that he did not manœuvre in the time of action,
he objects to the very circumstance which rendered the victory of the
day so decisive. He was himself decoyed into, and detained in a
position, until his destruction was rendered inevitable.

It has been a favourite assertion with almost all the French, and some
English writers, that the English were on the point of being defeated,
when the Prussian force came up. The contrary is the truth. The French
had attacked, and the British had resisted, from past eleven until near
seven o'clock; and though the battle was most bloody, the former had
gained no advantage save at the wood of Hougomont, and the farm-house of
La Haye Sainte; both they gained, but speedily lost. Baron Muffling has
given the most explicit testimony, "that the battle could have afforded
no favourable result to the enemy, even if the Prussians had never come
up." He was an eyewitness, and an unquestionable judge, and willing,
doubtless, to carry the immediate glory acquired by his countrymen on
this memorable occasion, and in which he had a large personal stake, as
high as truth and honour will permit. At the time when Napoleon made the
last effort, Bulow's troops were indeed upon the field, but had not made
any physical impression by their weapons, or excited any moral dread by
their appearance. Napoleon announced to all his Guard, whom he collected
and formed for that final exertion, that the Prussians whom they saw
were closely pursued by the French of Grouchy's army. He himself,
perhaps, had that persuasion; for the fire of Grouchy's artillery,
supposed to be a league and a half, but in reality nearly three leagues
distant, was distinctly heard; and some one of Napoleon's suite saw the
smoke from the heights above Wavre. "The battle," he said, "is won; we
must force the English position, and throw them upon the
defiles.--_Allons! La Garde en avant!_"[156] Accordingly, they then made
the attack in the evening, when they were totally repulsed, and chased
back upon, and beyond, their own position. Thus, before the Prussians
came into serious action, Napoleon had done his utmost, and had not a
corps remaining in order, excepting four battalions of the Old Guard. It
cannot be therefore said, that our allies afforded the British army
protection from any enemy that was totally disorganised; but that for
which the Prussians do deserve the gratitude of Britain and of Europe,
is the generous and courageous confidence with which they marched at so
many risks to assist in the action, and the activity and zeal with which
they completed the victory. It is universally acknowledged, that the
British army, exhausted by so long a conflict, could not have availed
themselves of the disorder of their enemy at its conclusion; while, on
the contrary, nothing could exceed the dexterity and rapidity with which
the Prussians conducted the pursuit. The laurels of Waterloo must be
divided--the British won the battle, the Prussians achieved and rendered
available the victory.[157]


[141] Montholon, tom. ii., p. 283.

[142] "My intentions were, to attack and to destroy the English. This, I
knew, would produce an immediate change of ministry. The indignation
against them would have excited such a popular commotion, that they
would have been turned out; and peace would have been the
result."--NAPOLEON, _Voice_, &c., vol. i., p. 176.

[143] "All his arrangements having been effected early in the evening of
the 17th, the Duke of Wellington rode across the country to Blucher, to
inform him personally that he had thus far effected the plan agreed on
at Bry, and express his hope to be supported on the morrow by two
Prussian divisions. The veteran replied, that he would leave a single
corps to hold Grouchy at bay as well as they could, and march himself
with the rest of his army upon Waterloo; and Wellington immediately
returned to his post. The fact of the duke and Blucher having met
between the battles of Ligny and Waterloo, is well known to many of the
superior officers then in the Netherlands; but the writer of this
compendium has never happened to see it mentioned in print. The horse
that carried the Duke of Wellington through this long night's journey,
so important to the decisive battle of the 18th, remained till
lately--if does not still remain--a free pensioner in the best paddock
of Strathfield-saye."--_Hist. of Nap. Buonaparte_, Family Library, vol.
ii., p. 313.

[144] Baron Muffling, speaking of this peculiarity, says--"The English
artillery have a rule not to remove their guns, when attacked by cavalry
in a defensive position. The field pieces are worked till the last
moment, and the men then throw themselves into the nearest square,
bearing off the implements they use for serving the guns. If the attack
is repulsed, the artillerymen hurry back to their pieces, to fire on the
retreating enemy. This is an extremely laudable practice, if the
infantry be properly arranged to correspond with it."--S.

[145] "By a movement of impatience, which has often been so fatal to us,
the cavalry of reserve having perceived a retrograde movement made by
the English to shelter themselves from our batteries, crowned the
heights of Mount St. Jean, and charged the infantry. This movement,
which, made in time, and supported by the reserves, must have decided
the day, made in an isolated manner, and before affairs on the right
were terminated, became fatal."--_Bulletin, Moniteur_, June 21.

[146] "I had my horse killed and fell under it. The brave men who will
return from this terrible battle, will, I hope, do me the justice to
say, that they saw me on foot with sword in hand during the whole of the
evening; and that I only quitted the scene of carnage among the last,
and at the moment when retreat could no longer be prevented."--_Ney's
Letter to the Duke of Otranto._

[147] "Cries of _all is lost, the Guard is driven back_, were heard on
every side. The soldiers pretend even that on many points ill-disposed
persons cried out _sauve qui peut_. However this may be, a complete
panic at once spread itself throughout the whole field. The Old Guard
was infected, and was itself hurried along. In an instant, the whole
army was nothing but a mass of confusion; all the soldiers of all arms
were mixed _pel-mel_, and it was utterly impossible to rally a single
corps."--_Bulletin, Moniteur_, June 21. "A retrograde movement was
declared, and the army formed nothing but a confused mass. There was
not, however, a total rout, nor the cry of _sauve qui peut_, as has been
calumniously stated in the official bulletin."--_Ney to the Duke of

[148] Fleury de Chamboullon, tom. ii., p. 187.

[149] Our informant on these points, was Lacoste, a Flemish peasant, who
was compelled to act as Buonaparte's guide, remained with him during the
whole action, and accompanied him to Charleroi. He seemed a shrewd
sensible man in his way, and told his story with the utmost simplicity.
The author saw him, and heard his narrative, very shortly after the

[150] See Captain Pringle's Remarks on the Campaign of 1815, APPENDIX,
No. I.

[151] "Observations sur 'Le Campagne de 1815,' par Le Général Grouchy,

[152] See an account of the action of Waterloo, equally intelligible and
scientific, drawn up by Captain Pringle of the artillery, which will
amply supply the deficiencies of our narrative--APPENDIX, No. I.

[153] This was Fouché, who seems to have been engaged in secret
correspondence with all and sundry of the belligerent powers, while he
was minister of police under Napoleon. In his Memoirs [vol. ii., p. 279]
he is made to boast that he contrived to keep his word to the Duke of
Wellington, by sending the plan of Buonaparte's campaign by a female, a
Flemish postmistress, whom he laid wait for on the frontier, and caused
to be arrested. Thus he

          "kept the word of promise to the ear,
    And broke it to the sense."

This story, we have some reason to believe, is true. One of the marvels
of our times is how Fouché, after having been the mainspring of such a
complication of plots and counterplots, revolutionary and
counter-revolutionary intrigues, contrived after all _to die in his
bed!_--S.--On the second restoration, Louis XVIII. saw himself reduced
to the sad necessity of admitting Fouché to his counsels. But the
clamours raised against his profligacy and treachery convincing him that
it would be dangerous to continue in France, he resigned in September,
and was sent ambassador to Dresden. In January, 1816, he was denounced
as a regicide by both Chambers, and condemned to death, in case he
re-entered the French territory. He died at Trieste, December 26, 1820,
in his sixty-seventh year, leaving behind him an immense fortune.

[154] Some people have been silly enough to consider the Duke of
Wellington's being surprised as a thing indisputable, because the news
of the French advance first reached him in a ball-room. It must be
supposed that these good men's idea of war is, that a general should sit
sentinel with his truncheon in his hand, like a statue in the midst of a
city market-place, until the tidings come which call him to the field.

    "Free is his heart who for his country fights;
    He on the eve of battle may resign
    Himself to social pleasure--sweetest then,
    When danger to the soldier's soul endears
    The human joy that never may return."

        HOME'S _Douglas_.--S.

"The fiction of the Duke of Wellington having been _surprised_ on this
great occasion, has maintained its place in almost all narratives of the
war for fifteen years. The duke's magnanimous silence under such
treatment, for so long a period, will be appreciated by posterity. The
facts of the case are now given from the most unquestionable authority.
At half-past one o'clock, P.M., of Thursday the 15th, a Prussian officer
of high rank arrived at Wellington's headquarters in Brussels, with the
intelligence of Napoleon's decisive operations. By two o'clock, orders
were despatched to all the cantonments of the duke's army, for the
divisions to break up and concentrate on the left of Quatre-bras his
grace's design being that his whole force should be assembled there by
eleven o'clock on the next night, Friday the 16th. It was at first
intended, to put off a ball announced for the evening of Thursday, at
the Duchess of Richmond's hotel in Brussels; but on reflection it seemed
highly important that the population of that city should be kept, as far
as possible, in ignorance as to the course of events, and the Duke of
Wellington desired that the ball should proceed accordingly; nay, the
general officers received his commands to appear in the ball room, each
taking care to quit the apartment as quietly as possible at ten o'clock,
and proceed to join his respective division _en route_. This arrangement
was carried into strict execution. The duke himself retired at twelve
o'clock, and left Brussels at six o'clock next morning for
Quatre-bras."--_Hist. of Nap. Buonaparte_, Family Library, vol. ii., p.

[155] Savary, tom. iv., p. 75.

[156] He gave the same explanation when on board of the Northumberland.
General Gourgaud had inaccurately stated that the Emperor had mistaken
the corps of Bulow for that of Grouchy. Napoleon explained, that this
was not the case, but that he had opposed a sufficient force to those
Prussians whom he saw in the field, and concluded that Grouchy was
closing up on their flank and rear.--S.

[157] Baron Muffling's account of the British army must interest our
readers:--"There is not, perhaps, in all Europe, an army superior to the
English in the actual field of battle. That is to say, an army in which
military instruction is entirely directed to that point, as its
exclusive object. The English soldier is strongly formed and well fed,
and nature has endowed him with much courage and intrepidity. He is
accustomed to severe discipline, and is very well armed. The infantry
opposes with confidence the attack of cavalry, and shows more
indifference than any other European army when attacked in the flank or
rear. These qualities explain why the English have never been defeated
in a pitched field since they were commanded by the Duke of Wellington.

"On the other hand, there are no troops in Europe less experienced than
the English in the light service and in skirmishes; accordingly, they do
not practise that service themselves. The English army in Spain formed
the standing force round which the Spaniards and Portuguese rallied. The
Duke of Wellington acted wisely in reserving his English troops for
regular battles, and in keeping up that idea in his army.

"If, on the one hand, a country is worthy of envy which possesses an
army consisting entirely of grenadiers, that army might, on the other
hand, experience great disadvantage if forced to combat unassisted
against an able general, who understands their peculiarities, and can
avoid giving them battle excepting on advantageous ground. However, it
is to be supposed that the English will seldom make war on the Continent
without allies, and it appears their system is established on that
principle. Besides, such an army as the English is most precious for
those they may act with, as the most difficult task of the modern art of
war is to form an army for pitched battles." The Baron adds, in a note
upon the last sentence,--"The people who inhabit other quarters of the
world, and are not come to the same state of civilisation with us,
afford a proof of this. Most of them know better than Europeans how to
fight man to man, but can never attain the point of gaining a battle
over us. Discipline, in the full extent of the word, is the fruit of
moral and religious instruction."--_Histoire de la Campagne de l'Armée
Angloise, &c., sous les ordres du Duc de Wellington, et de l'Armée
Prussienne, sous les ordres du Prince Blucher de Wahlstadt, 1815, Par 6
de 10. Stutgart et Tubingue. 1817._--S.


    _Buonaparte's arrival at Paris--The Chambers assemble, and adopt
    Resolutions, indicating a wish for Napoleon's Abdication--Fouché
    presents Napoleon's Abdication, which stipulates that his Son shall
    succeed him--Carnot's Report to the Peers, of the means of
    defence--Contradicted by Ney--Stormy Debate on the Abdication
    Act--Both Chambers evade formally recognising Napoleon
    II.--Provisional Government--Napoleon at Malmaison--His offer of his
    services in the defence of Paris rejected--Surveillance of General
    Beker--Means provided at Rochefort for his departure to the United
    States--He arrives at Rochefort on 3d July--The Provisional
    Government attempt in vain to treat with the Allies--The Allies
    advance to Paris--Chamber of Peers disperse--Louis XVIII. re-enters
    Paris on 8th July._

Immense as the direct and immediate consequences of the battle of
Waterloo certainly were, being the total loss of the campaign, and the
entire destruction of Napoleon's fine army, the more remote
contingencies to which it gave rise were so much more important, that it
may be doubted whether there was ever in the civilized world a great
battle followed by so many and such extraordinary results.

[Sidenote: PARIS.]

That part of the French army which escaped from the field of Waterloo,
fled in the most terrible disorder towards the frontiers of France.
Napoleon himself continued his flight from Charleroi, in the
neighbourhood of which was his first place of halting, and hurried on to
Philippeville. From this point, he designed, it was said, to have
marched to place himself at the head of Grouchy's army. But no troops of
any kind having been rallied, and Charleroi having been almost instantly
occupied by the Prussian pursuers, a report became current that the
division was destroyed, and Grouchy himself made prisoner. Napoleon,
therefore, pursued his own retreat, leaving orders, which were not
attended to, that the relics of the army should be rallied at Avesnes.
Soult could only succeed in gathering together a few thousands, as far
within the French territory as Laon. Meanwhile, Buonaparte, travelling
post, had reached Paris, and brought thither the news of his own defeat.

On the 19th of June the public ear of the capital had been stunned by
the report of a hundred pieces of cannon, which announced the victory at
Ligny, and the public prints had contained the most gasconading accounts
of that action; of the forcing the passage of the Sambre, the action at
Charleroi, and the battle of Quatre-bras. The Imperialists were in the
highest state of exultation, the Republicans doubtful, and the Royalists
dejected. On the morning of the 21st, the third day after the fatal
action, it was at first whispered, and then openly said, that Napoleon
had returned alone from the army on the preceding night, and was now in
the palace of Bourbon-Elysée. The fatal truth was not long in
transpiring--he had lost a dreadful and decisive pitched battle, and the
French army, which had left the capital so confident, so full of hope,
pride, and determination, was totally destroyed.


Many reasons have been given for Napoleon's not remaining with his army
on this occasion, and endeavouring at least to bring it into a state of
reorganisation; but the secret seems to be explained by his apprehension
of the faction of Republicans and Constitutionalists in Paris. He must
have remembered that Fouché, and others of that party, had advised him
to end the distresses of France by his abdication of the crown, even
before he placed himself at the head of his army. He was aware, that
what they had ventured to suggest in his moment of strength, they would
not hesitate to demand and extort from him in the hour of his weakness,
and that the Chamber of Representatives would endeavour to obtain peace
for themselves by sacrificing him. "He is known," says an author already
quoted, friendly to his fame, "to have said, after the disasters of the
Russian campaign, that he would confound the Parisians by his presence,
and fall among them like a thunderbolt. But there are things which
succeed only because they have never been done before, and for that
reason ought never to be attempted again. His fifth flight from his army
occasioned the entire abandonment of himself and his cause by all who
might have forgiven him his misfortune, but required that he should be
the first to arise from the blow."[158]

It was a curious indication of public spirit in Paris, that, upon the
news of this appalling misfortune, the national funds rose, immediately
after the first shock of the tidings was past; so soon, that is, as men
had time to consider the probable consequence of the success of the
allies. It seemed as if public credit revived upon any intelligence,
however disastrous otherwise, which promised to abridge the reign of

The anticipations of Napoleon did not deceive him. It was plain, that,
whatever deference the Jacobins had for him in his hour of strength,
they had no compassion for his period of weakness. They felt the
opportunity favourable to get rid of him, and did not disguise their
purpose to do so.

The two Chambers hastily assembled. La Fayette addressed that of the
Representatives in the character of an old friend of freedom, spoke of
the sinister reports that were spread abroad, and invited the members to
rally under the three-coloured banner of liberty, equality, and public
order, by adopting five resolutions. The first declared, that the
independence of the nation was menaced; the second declared the sittings
of the Chambers permanent, and denounced the pains of treason against
whomever should attempt to dissolve them; the third announced that the
troops had deserved well of their country; the fourth called out the
national guard; the fifth invited the ministers to repair to the

These propositions intimated the apprehensions of the Chamber of
Representatives, that they might be a second time dissolved by an armed
force, and, at the same time, announced their purpose to place
themselves at the head of affairs, without farther respect to the
Emperor. They were adopted, all but the fourth concerning the national
guard, which was considered as premature. Regnault de St. Jean d'Angely
attempted to read a bulletin, giving an imperfect and inconsistent
account of what had passed on the frontiers; but the representatives
became clamorous, and demanded the attendance of the ministers. At
length, after a delay of three or four hours, Carnot, Caulaincourt,
Davoust, and Fouché, entered the hall with Lucien Buonaparte.

The Chamber formed itself into a secret committee, before which the
ministers laid the full extent of the disaster, and announced that the
Emperor had named Caulaincourt, Fouché, and Carnot, as commissioners to
treat of peace with the allies. The ministers were bluntly reminded by
the Republican members, and particularly by Henry Lacoste, that they had
no basis for any negotiations which could be proposed in the Emperor's
name, since the allied powers had declared war against Napoleon, who was
now in plain terms pronounced, by more than one member, the sole
obstacle betwixt the nation and peace. Universal applause followed from
all parts of the hall, and left Lucien no longer in doubt, that the
representatives intended to separate their cause from that of his
brother. He omitted no art of conciliation or entreaty, and--more
eloquent probably in prose than in poetry--appealed to their love of
glory, their generosity, their fidelity, and the oaths which they had so
lately sworn. "We _have_ been faithful," replied Fayette; "we have
followed your brother to the sands of Egypt--to the snows of Russia. The
bones of Frenchmen, scattered in every region, attest our
fidelity."[160] All seemed to unite in one sentiment, that the
abdication of Buonaparte was a measure absolutely necessary. Davoust,
the minister at war, arose, and disclaimed, with protestations, any
intention of acting against the freedom or independence of the Chamber.
This was, in fact, to espouse their cause. A committee of five members
was appointed to concert measures with Ministers. Even the latter
official persons, though named by the Emperor, were not supposed to be
warmly attached to him. Carnot and Fouché were the natural leaders of
the popular party, and Caulaincourt was supposed to be on indifferent
terms with Napoleon, whose Ministers, therefore, seemed to adopt the
interest of the Chamber in preference to his. Lucien saw that his
brother's authority was ended, unless it could be maintained by
violence. The Chamber of Peers might have been more friendly to the
Imperial cause, but their constitution gave them as little confidence in
themselves as weight with the public. They adopted the three first
resolutions of the Lower Chamber, and named a committee of public

The line of conduct which the Representatives meant to pursue was now
obvious; they had spoken out, and named the sacrifice which they exacted
from Buonaparte, being nothing less than abdication. It remained to be
known whether the Emperor would adopt measures of resistance, or submit
to this encroachment. If there could be a point of right, where both
were so far wrong, it certainly lay with Napoleon. These very
Representatives were, by voluntary consent, as far as oaths and
engagements can bind men, his subjects, convoked in his name, and having
no political existence excepting as a part of his new constitutional
government. However great his faults to the people of France, he had
committed none towards these accomplices of his usurpation, nor were
they legislators otherwise than as he was their Emperor. Their right to
discard and trample upon him in his adversity, consisted only in their
having the power to do so; and the readiness which they showed to
exercise that power, spoke as little for their faith as for their
generosity. At the same time, our commiseration for fallen greatness is
lost in our sense of that justice, which makes the associates and tools
of a usurper the readiest implements of his ruin.

When Buonaparte returned to Paris, his first interview was with Carnot,
of whom he demanded, in his usual tone of authority, an instant supply
of treasure, and a levy of 300,000 men. The minister replied, that he
could have neither the one nor the other. Napoleon then summoned Maret,
Duke of Bassano, and other confidential persons of his court. But when
his civil counsellors talked of defence, the word wrung from him the
bitter ejaculation, "Ah, my old guard, could they but defend themselves
like you!" A sad confession, that the military truncheon, his best
emblem of command, was broken in his gripe. Lucien urged his brother to
maintain his authority, and dissolve the Chambers by force; but
Napoleon, aware that the national guard might take the part of the
representatives, declined an action so full of hazard. Davoust, was,
however, sounded concerning his willingness to act against the Chambers,
but he positively refused to do so. Some idea was held out by Fouché to
Napoleon, of his being admitted to the powers of a dictator; but this
could be only thrown out as a proposal for the purpose of amusing him.
In the meantime, arrived the news of the result of the meeting of the
Representatives in secret committee.

The gauntlet was now thrown down, and it was necessary that Napoleon
should resist or yield; declare himself absolute, and dissolve the
Chambers by violence; or abdicate the authority he had so lately
resumed. Lucien finding him still undetermined, hesitated not to say,
that the smoke of the battle of Mont Saint Jean had turned his
brain.[161] In fact, his conduct at this crisis was not that of a great
man. He dared neither venture on the desperate measures which might, for
a short time, have preserved his power, nor could he bring himself to
the dignified step of an apparently voluntary resignation. He clung to
what could no longer avail him, like the distracted criminal, who,
wanting resolution to meet his fate by a voluntary effort, must be
pushed from the scaffold by the hand of the executioner.


Buonaparte held, upon the night of the 21st, a sort of general council,
comprehending the ministers of every description; the president and four
members of the Chamber of Peers, the president, and four
vice-presidents, of the Representatives, with other official persons and
counsellors of state. The Emperor laid before this assembly the state of
the nation, and required their advice. Regnault (who was the Imperial
orator in ordinary) seconded the statement with a proposal, that
measures be taken to recruit with heroes the heroic army, and bring
succours to what, by a happily selected phrase, he termed the
"astonished eagle." He opined, therefore, that the Chambers should make
an appeal to French valour, while the Emperor was treating of peace "in
the most steady and dignified manner." Fayette stated, that resistance
would but aggravate the calamities of France. The allies stood pledged
to demand a particular sacrifice when they first engaged in the war;
they were not likely to recede from it after this decisive victory. One
measure alone he saw betwixt the country and a bloody and ruinous
conflict, and he referred to the great and generous spirit of the
Emperor to discover its nature. Maret, Duke of Bassano, long
Buonaparte's most confidential friend, and fatally so, because (more a
courtier than a statesman) he attended rather to soothe his humour than
to guide his councils, took fire at this suggestion. He called for
severe measures against the Royalists and the disaffected; a
revolutionary police, and revolutionary punishments. "Had such," he
said, "been earlier resorted to, a person" (meaning probably Fouché)
"who now hears me, would not be now smiling at the misfortunes of his
country, and Wellington would not be marching upon Paris." This speech
was received with a burst of disapprobation, which even the presence of
the Emperor, in whose cause Maret was thus vehement, proved unable to
restrain; hisses and clamour drowned the voice of the speaker. Carnot,
who had juster views of the military strength, or rather weakness of
France at the moment, was desirous, democrat as he was, to retain the
advantage of Napoleon's talents. He is said to have wept when the
abdication was insisted upon. Lanjuinais and Constant supported the
sentiments of Fayette. But the Emperor appeared gloomy, dissatisfied,
and uncertain, and the council broke up without coming to any

For another anxious night the decision of Buonaparte was suspended. Had
the nation, or even the ministers, been unanimous in a resolution to
defend themselves, unquestionably France might have been exposed to the
final chance of war, with some prospect of a struggle on Napoleon's
part; though, when it is considered within how short a time the allies
introduced, within the limits of France, an armed force amounting to
800,000 effective men, it does not appear how his resistance could have
eventually proved successful. It would be injustice to deny Napoleon a
natural feeling of the evils which must have been endured by the nation
in such a protracted contest, and we readily suppose him unwilling to
have effected a brief continuation of his reign, by becoming the cause
of so much misery to the fine country which he had so long ruled. Like
most men in difficulties, he received much more advice than offers of
assistance. The best counsel was, perhaps, that of an American
gentleman, who advised him instantly to retreat to the North American
States, where he could not indeed enjoy the royal privileges and
ceremonial, to which he was more attached than philosophy warrants, but
where that general respect would have been paid to him, which his
splendid talents, and wonderful career of adventure, were so well
calculated to enforce. But now, as at Moscow, he lingered too long in
forming a decided opinion; for, though the importunity of friends and
opponents wrung from him the resignation which was demanded at all
hands, yet it was clogged by conditions which could only be made in the
hope of retaining a predominant interest in the government by which his
own was to be succeeded.

On the morning of the 22d June, only four days after the defeat at
Waterloo, the Chamber of Representatives assembled at nine in the
morning, and expressed the utmost impatience to receive the Act of
Abdication. A motion was made by Duchesne, that it should be
peremptorily demanded from the Emperor, when this degree of violence was
rendered unnecessary by his compliance.[163] It was presented by Fouché,
whose intrigues were thus far crowned with success, and was couched in
the following terms:--

    "Frenchmen!--In commencing war for maintaining the national
    independence, I relied on the union of all efforts, of all wills,
    and the concurrence of all the national authorities. I had reason to
    hope for success, and I braved all the declarations of the powers
    against me.

    "Circumstances appear to me changed. I offer myself as a sacrifice
    to the hatred of the enemies of France. May they prove sincere in
    their declarations, and have really directed them only against my
    power! My political life is terminated, and I proclaim my son, under
    the title of Napoleon II., Emperor of the French.

    "The present ministers will provisionally form the council of the
    government. The interest which I take in my son induces me to invite
    the Chambers to form, without delay, the regency by a law.

    "Unite all for the public safety, in order to remain an independent

        (Signed) "NAPOLEON."[164]


The Republican party having thus obtained a victory, proposed instantly
several new models for settling the form of a constitution, in the room
of that, which, exactly three weeks before, they had sworn to in the
Champ de Mai. This was judged somewhat premature; and they resolved for
the present to content themselves with nominating a Provisional
Government, vesting the executive powers of the state in five
persons--two to be chosen from Buonaparte's House of Peers, and three
from that of the Representatives.

In the meanwhile, to preserve the decency due to the late Emperor, the
Chamber named a committee to wait on him with an address of thanks, in
which they carefully avoided all mention and recognition of his son.
Napoleon, for the last time, received the committee delegated to present
the address, in the imperial habit, and surrounded by his state-officers
and guards. He seemed pale and pensive, but firm and collected, and
heard with a steady indifference the praises which they bestowed on his
patriotic sacrifice. His answer recommended unanimity, and the speedy
preparation of means of defence; but at the conclusion he reminded them,
that his abdication was conditional, and comprehended the interests of
his son.

Lanjuinais, President of the Chamber, replied, with profound respect,
that the Chamber had given him no directions respecting the subject
which Napoleon pressed upon. "I told you," said he, turning to his
brother Lucien, "they would not, could not do it.--Tell the Assembly,"
he said, again addressing the President, "that I recommend my son to
their protection. It is in his favour I have abdicated."

Thus the succession of Napoleon II. came to be now the point of debate
between the abdicated Emperor and the Legislative Bodies. It is certain
the appointment could not have been rendered acceptable to the allies;
and the influence which Buonaparte and his friends were likely to have
in a regency, were strong arguments for all in France who had opposed
him in the struggle, uniting to set aside his family and dynasty.

Upon the same 22d June, a strange scene took place in the Chamber of
Peers. The government had received intelligence that Maréchal Grouchy,
whom we left on the banks of the Dyle, near Wavre, and who continued his
action with Thielman, to whom he was opposed, till deep in the night,
had, on hearing the loss of the battle at Waterloo, effected a most able
retreat through Namur, defended himself against several attacks, and
finally made his way to Laon. This good news encouraged Carnot to render
a brilliant account to the Chamber, of Grouchy being at the head of an
untouched army of upwards of 60,000 men (Grouchy's whole force at Wavre
having been only 32,000); of Soult collecting 20,000 of the old guard at
Mezières; of 10,000 new levies despatched from the interior to join the
rallied forces, with 200 pieces of cannon. Ney, half frantic at hearing
these exaggerated statements, and his mind galled with the sense of
Napoleon's injustice towards him, as expressed in the bulletins, started
up, and spoke like a possessed person under the power of the exorcist.
There was a reckless desperation in the manner of his contradicting the
minister. It seemed as if he wished the state of the world undone in his
own undoing. "The report," he said, "was false--false in every respect.
Dare they tell eyewitnesses of the disastrous day of the 18th, that we
have yet 60,000 soldiers embodied? Grouchy cannot have under him 20,000,
or 25,000 soldiers, at the utmost. Had he possessed a greater force, he
might have covered the retreat, and the Emperor would have been still in
command of an army on the frontiers. Not a man of the guard," he said,
"will ever rally more. I myself commanded them--I myself witnessed their
total extermination, ere I left the field of battle. They are
annihilated.--The enemy are at Nivelles with 80,000 men; they may, if
they please, be at Paris in six days. There is no safety for France but
in instant propositions of peace." On being contradicted by General
Flahault, Ney resumed his sinister statement with even more vehemence;
and at length striking at once into the topic which all felt, but none
had ventured yet to name, he said in a low, but distinct voice--"Yes! I
repeat it--your only course is by negotiation--you must recall the
Bourbons;--and, for me, I will retire to the United States."

The most bitter reproaches were heaped on Ney for this last expression.
Lavalette and Carnot especially appeared incensed against him. Ney
replied with sullen contempt to those who blamed his conduct, "I am not
one of those to whom their interest is every thing; what should I gain
by the restoration of Louis, except being shot for desertion? but I must
speak the truth, for the sake of the country." This strange scene sunk
deep into the minds of thinking men, who were thenceforward induced to
view the subsequent sounding resolutions, and bustling debates of the
Chambers, as empty noise, unsupported by the state of the national


After this debate on the state of the means of defence, there followed
one scarce less stormy, in the House of Peers, upon the reading of the
Act of Abdication. Lucien Buonaparte took up the question of the
succession, and insisted upon the instant recognition of his nephew,
according to the rules of the constitution. The Count de Pontecoulant
interrupted the orator, demanding by what right Lucien, an Italian
prince, and an alien, presumed to name a sovereign to the French empire,
where he himself had not even the privileges of a denizen? To this
objection--a strange one, certainly, coming from lips which had sworn
faith but twenty-two days before to a constitution, recognising Lucien
not only as a denizen, but as one of the blood-royal of France, the
prince answered, that he was a Frenchman by his sentiments, and by
virtue of the laws. Pontecoulant then objected to accept as sovereign a
child residing in a different kingdom; and Labédoyère, observing the
hesitation of the assembly, started up, and demeaning himself with
unrestrained fury, exhibited the same blind and devoted attachment to
Napoleon, which had prompted him to show the example of defection at

"The Emperor," he said, "had abdicated solely in behalf of his son. His
resignation was null, if his son was not instantly proclaimed. And who
were they who opposed this generous resolution? Those whose voices had
been always at the sovereign's devotion while in prosperity; who had
fled from him in adversity, and who were already hastening to receive
the yoke of foreigners. Yes," continued this impetuous young man, aiding
his speech with the most violent gestures, and overpowering, by the
loudness of his tone, the murmurs of the assembly, "if you refuse to
acknowledge the Imperial prince, I declare that Napoleon must again draw
his sword--again shed blood. At the head of the brave Frenchmen who have
bled in his cause, we will rally around him; and woe to the base
generals who are perhaps even now meditating new treasons! I demand that
they be impeached, and punished as deserters of the national
standard--that their names be given to infamy, their houses razed, their
families proscribed and exiled. We will endure no traitors amongst us.
Napoleon, in resigning his power to save the nation, has done his duty
to himself, but the nation is not worthy of him, since she has a second
time compelled him to abdicate; she who vowed to abide by him in
prosperity and reverses." The ravings of this daring enthusiast, who
was, in fact, giving language to the feelings of a great part of the
French army, were at length drowned in a general cry of order. "You
forget yourself," exclaimed Massena. "You believe yourself still in the
_corps de garde_," said Lameth. Labédoyère strove to go on, but was
silenced by the general clamour, which at length put an end to this
scandalous scene.[165]

The peers, like the deputies of the Lower Chamber, having eluded the
express recognition of Napoleon II., the two chambers proceeded to name
the members of the provisional government. These were Carnot, Fouché,
Caulaincourt, Grenier, and Quinette.[166] In their proclamation they
stated that Napoleon had resigned, and that his son had been
_proclaimed_, (which, by the way, was not true;) calling on the nation
for exertions, sacrifices, and unanimity, and promising, if not an
actually new constitution, as had been usual on such occasions, yet such
a complete revision and repair of that which was now three weeks old, as
should make it in every respect as good as new.[167]

This address had little effect either on the troops or the Federates,
who, like Labédoyère, were of opinion that Napoleon's abdication could
only be received on his own terms. These men assembled in armed parties,
and paraded under Buonaparte's windows, at the palace of Bourbon-Elysée.
Money and liquor were delivered to them, which increased their cries of
_Vive Napoleon!_ _Vive l'Empereur!_ They insulted the national guards,
and seemed disposed to attack the residence of Fouché. On the other
hand, the national guards were 30,000 men in number, disposed in general
to support order, and many of them leaning to the side of Louis XVIII. A
moment of internal convulsion seemed inevitable; for it was said, that
if Napoleon II. was not instantly acknowledged, Buonaparte would come
down and dissolve the Chamber with an armed force.

On the meeting of the 24th June, the important question of succession
was decided, or rather evaded, as follows:--Manuel, generally understood
to be the organ of Fouché in the House of Representatives, made a long
speech to show that there was no occasion for a formal recognition of
the succession of Napoleon II., since he was, by the terms of the
constitution, already in possession of the throne. When the orator had
given this deep reason that their sovereign should neither be
acknowledged nor proclaimed, purely because he was their sovereign, all
arose and shouted, _Vive Napoleon II.!_ But when there was a proposal to
swear allegiance to the new Emperor, there was a general cry of "No
oaths! No oaths!" as if there existed a consciousness in the Chamber of
having been too lavish of these ill-redeemed pledges, and a general
disgust at commencing a new course of perjury.

The Chamber of Representatives thus silenced, if they did not satisfy,
the Imperialist party, by a sort of incidental and ostensible
acknowledgment of the young Napoleon's right to the crown; while at the
same time, by declaring the Provisional Government to be a necessary
guarantee for the liberties of the subject, they prevented the
interference either of Napoleon himself, or any of his friends, in the
administration of the country. Yet, notwithstanding the simulated nature
of their compliance with the special condition of Napoleon's
resignation, the Chambers and Provisional Government were as strict in
exacting from the abdicated sovereign the terms of his bargain, as if
they had paid him the stipulated value in sterling, instead of
counterfeit coin. Thus they exacted from him a proclamation, addressed
in his own name to the soldiers, in order to confirm the fact of his
abdication, which the troops were unwilling to believe on any authority
inferior to his own. In this address, there are, however, expressions
which show his sense of the compulsion under which he acted. After an
exhortation to the soldiers to continue in their career of honour, and
an assurance of the interest which he should always take in their
exploits, follows this passage:--"Both you and I have been calumniated.
Men, very unfit to appreciate our labours, have seen in the marks of
attachment which you have given me, a zeal of which I was the sole
object. Let your future successes tell them, that it was the country,
above all things, which you served in obeying me; and that, if I had any
share in your affections, I owed it to my ardent love for France, our
common mother."[168]

[Sidenote: MALMAISON.]

These expressions were highly disagreeable to the Chamber of
Representatives, who at the same time regarded the presence of Napoleon
in the capital as dangerous to their own power, and to the public
tranquillity. The suburbs, with their fierce inmates, continued to be
agitated, and soldiers, the straggling relics of the field of Waterloo,
were daily gathering under the walls of Paris, furious at their recent
defeat, and calling on their Emperor to lead them to vengeance. There
seems to have been little to prevent Napoleon from still placing himself
at the head of a small but formidable army. To remove him from this
temptation, the Provisional Government required him to retire to the
palace of Malmaison, near St. Germains, so long the favourite abode of
the discarded Josephine. Napoleon had not been within its walls a single
day, before, surrounded by Fouché's police, he found that he, who, not a
month since, had disposed of the fate of myriads, was no longer the free
master of his own actions. He was watched and controlled, though without
the use of actual force, and now, for the first time, felt what it was
to lose that free agency, of which his despotism had for so many years
deprived so large a portion of mankind. Yet he seemed to submit to his
fate with indifference, or only expressed impatience when beset by his
personal creditors, who, understanding that he was not likely to remain
long in France, attempted to extort from him a settlement of their
claims. This petty persecution was given way to by the government, as
one of several expedients to abridge his residence in France; and they
had the means of using force, if all should fail.

Short as was the time he lingered at Malmaison, incredible as it may be
thought, Napoleon was almost forgotten in Paris. "No one," says a
well-informed author, living in that city during the crisis, "except the
immediate friends of government, pretends to know whether he is still at
Malmaison, or seems to think it a question of importance to ask. On
Saturday last, Count M---- saw him there; he was tranquil, but quite
lost. His friends now pretend, that, since his return from Elba, he has
never been quite the man he was."[169] There was, however, a reason for
his protracting his residence at Malmaison, more honourable than mere
human reluctance to submit to inevitable calamity.

The English and Prussian forces were now approaching Paris by rapid
marches; every town falling before them which could have been reckoned
upon as a bar to their progress. When Paris was again to be girt round
with hostile armies, honourable as well as political feelings might lead
Napoleon to hope that the Representatives might be inclined to wave all
personal animosity, and, having recourse to his extraordinary talents
and his influence over the minds of the army and federates, by which
alone the capital could be defended, might permit him once more to
assume the sword for protection of Paris. He offered to command the army
as general in chief, in behalf of his son. He offered to take share in
the defence, as an ordinary citizen. But the internal discord had gone
too far. The popular party which then prevailed, saw more danger in the
success of Napoleon, than in the superiority of the allies. The latter
they hoped to conciliate by treaty. They doubted, with good reason, the
power of resisting them by force; and if such resistance was, or could
be maintained by Napoleon, they feared his supremacy, in a military
command, at least as much as the predominance of the allies. His
services were therefore declined by them.

Like skilful anglers, the Provisional Government had been gradually
drawing their nets around Napoleon, and it was now time, as they
thought, to drag him upon the shallows. They proceeded to place him
under a sort of arrest, by directing General Beker, an officer with whom
Napoleon had been on indifferent terms, to watch over, and, if
necessary, to restrain his movements in such a manner, that it should be
impossible for him to make his escape, and to use measures to induce him
to leave Malmaison for Rochefort, where the means were provided for his
departure out of France. Orders were at the same time given for two
frigates to transport him to the United States of America; and the
_surveillance_ of General Beker and the police was to continue until the
late Emperor was on board the vessels. This order was qualified by
directions that all possible care should be taken to ensure the safety
of Napoleon's person. A corresponding order was transmitted by Davoust,
who, giving way to one of those equivocal bursts of feeling, by which
men compromise a conflict between their sentiments and their duty or
their interest, refused to sign it himself, but ordered his secretary to
do so, which, as he observed, would be quite the same.[170]

Napoleon submitted to his destiny with resignation and dignity. He
received General Beker with ease, and even cheerfulness; and the latter,
with feelings which did him honour, felt the task committed to him the
more painful, that he had experienced the personal enmity of the
individual who was now intrusted to his custody.[171] About forty
persons, of different ranks and degrees, honourably dedicated their
services to the adversity of the Emperor, whom they had served in

Yet, amid all these preparations for departure, a longing hope remained,
that his exile might be dispensed with. He heard the distant cannonade
as the war-horse hears the trumpet. Again he offered his services to
march against Blucher as a simple volunteer, undertaking that, when he
had repulsed the invaders, he would then proceed on his journey of
expatriation.[172] He had such hopes of his request being granted as to
have his horses brought out and in readiness to enable him to join the
army. But the Provisional Government anew declined an offer, the
acceptance of which would indeed have ruined all hopes of treating with
the allies. Fouché, on hearing Napoleon's proposal, is said to have
exclaimed, "Is he laughing at us!" Indeed, his joining the troops would
have soon made him master of the destiny of the Provisional Government,
whatever might have been the final result.


On the 29th of June, Napoleon departed from Malmaison; on the 3d of July
he arrived at Rochefort. General Beker accompanied him, nor does his
journey seem to have been marked by any circumstances worthy of remark.
Wherever he came, the troops received him with acclamation; the citizens
respected the misfortunes of one who had been wellnigh master of the
world, and were silent where they could not applaud.

Thus, the reign of the Emperor Napoleon was completely ended. But,
before adverting to his future fate, we must complete, in a few words,
the consequences of his abdication, and offer some remarks on the
circumstances by which it was extorted and enforced.

The Provisional Government had sent commissioners to the Duke of
Wellington, to request passports for Napoleon to the States of America.
The duke had no instructions from his government to grant them. The
Prussian and English generals alike declined all overtures made for the
establishment, or acknowledgment, either of the present Provisional
Administration, or any plan which they endeavoured to suggest, short of
the restoration of the Bourbons to the seat of government. The
Provisional Commissioners endeavoured, with as little success, to awaken
the spirit of national defence. They had lost the road to the soldiers'
hearts. The thoughts of patriotism had in the army become indissolubly
united with the person and the qualities of Napoleon. It was in vain
that deputies, with scarfs, and proclamations of public right, and
invocation of the ancient watchwords of the Revolution, endeavoured to
awaken the spirit of 1794. The soldiers and federates answered sullenly,
"Why should we fight any more? we have no longer an Emperor."

Meanwhile, the Royalist party assumed courage, and showed themselves in
arms in several of the departments, directed the public opinion in many
others, and gained great accessions from the Constitutionalists. Indeed,
if any of the latter still continued to dread the restoration of the
Bourbons, it was partly from the fear of reaction and retaliation on the
side of the successful Royalists, and partly because it was apprehended
that the late events might have made on the mind of Louis an impression
unfavourable to constitutional limitations, a disgust to those by whom
they were recommended and supported, and a propensity to resume the
arbitrary measures by which his ancestors had governed their kingdom.
Those who nourished those apprehensions could not but allow, that they
were founded on the fickleness and ingratitude of the people, who had
shown themselves unworthy of, and easily induced to conspire against,
the mild and easy rule of a limited monarchy. But they involved,
nevertheless, tremendous consequences, if the King should be disposed to
act upon rigorous and vindictive principles; and it was such an
apprehension on the part of some, joined to the fears of others for
personal consequences, the sullen shame of a third party, and the hatred
of the army to the princes whom they had betrayed, which procured for
the Provisional Government a show of obedience.

It was thus that the Chambers continued their resistance to receiving
their legitimate monarch, though unable to excite any enthusiasm save
that expressed in the momentary explosions discharged within their own
place of meeting, which gratified no ears, and heated no brains but
their own. In the meanwhile, the armies of Soult and Grouchy were driven
under the walls of Paris, where they were speedily followed by the
English and the Prussians. The natural gallantry of the French then
dictated a resistance, which was honourable to their arms, though
totally unsuccessful. The allies, instead of renewing the doubtful
attack on Montmartre, crossed the Seine, and attacked Paris on the
undefended side. There was not, as in 1814, a hostile army to endanger
the communications on their rear. The French, however, showed great
bravery, both by an attempt to defend Versailles, and in a
_coup-de-main_ of General Excelmans, by which he attempted to recover
that town. But at length, in consequence of the result of a council of
war held in Paris, on the night betwixt the 2d and 3d of July, an
armistice was concluded, by which the capital was surrendered to the
allies, and the French army was drawn off behind the Loire.

The allies suspended their operations until the French troops should be
brought to submit to their destined movement in retreat, against which
they struggled with vain enthusiasm. Permitting their violence to
subside, they delayed their own occupation of Paris until the 7th of
July, when it had been completely evacuated. The British and Prussians
then took military possession, in a manner strictly regular, but arguing
a different state of feelings on both parts, from those exhibited in the
joyous procession of the allies along the Boulevards in 1814. The
Provisional Government continued their sittings, though Fouché, the
chief among them, had been long intriguing (and ever since the battle of
Waterloo, with apparent sincerity) for the second restoration of the
Bourbon family, on such terms as should secure the liberties of France.
They received, on the 6th of July, the final resolution of the allied
sovereigns, that they considered all authority emanating from the
usurped power of Napoleon Buonaparte as null, and of no effect; and that
Louis XVIII., who was presently at Saint Denis, would on the next day,
or day after at farthest, enter his capital, and resume his regal

On the 7th of July, the Provisional Commission dissolved itself. The
Chamber of Peers, when they heard the act of surrender, dispersed in
silence; but that of the Representatives continued to sit, vote, and
debate, for several hours. The president then prorogued the meeting till
eight the next morning, in defiance of the cries of several members, who
called on him to maintain the literal permanence of the sitting. The
next morning, the members who attended found the hall sentinelled by the
national guard, who refused them admittance, and heard the exclamations
and complaints of the deputies with great disregard. Nay, the
disappointed and indignant legislators were subjected to the ridicule of
the idle spectators, who accompanied the arrival and retreat of each
individual with laughter and acclamation, loud in proportion to the
apparent excess of his mortification.


On the 8th of July, Louis re-entered his capital, attended by a very
large body of the national guards and royal volunteers, as well as by
his household troops. In the rear of these soldiers came a numerous
état-major, among whom were distinguished the Maréchals Victor, Marmont,
Macdonald, Oudinot, Gouvion, St. Cyr, Moncey, and Lefebvre. An immense
concourse of citizens received, with acclamations, the legitimate
monarch; and the females were observed to be particularly eager in their
expressions of joy. Thus was Louis again installed in the palace of his
ancestors, over which the white banner once more floated. Here,
therefore, ended that short space, filled with so much that is
wonderful, that period of an Hundred Days, in which the events of a
century seemed to be contained. Before we proceed with the narrative,
which must in future be the history of an individual, it may not be
improper to cast a look back upon the events comprised within that
extraordinary period, and offer a few remarks on their political nature
and tendency.

It is unnecessary to remind the reader, that Napoleon's restoration to
the throne was the combined work of two factions. One comprehended the
army, who desired the recovery of their own honour, sullied by recent
defeats, and the recalling of the Emperor to their head, that he might
save them from being disbanded, and lead them to new victories. The
other party was that which not only desired that the kingdom should
possess a large share of practical freedom, but felt interested that the
doctrines of the Revolution should be recognised, and particularly that
which was held to entitle the people, or those who might contrive to
assume the right of representing them, to alter the constitution of the
government at pleasure, and to be, as was said of the great Earl of
Warwick, the setters up and pullers down of kings. This party, availing
themselves of some real errors of the reigning family, imagining more,
and exciting a cloud of dark suspicions, had instigated a general
feeling of dissatisfaction against the Bourbons. But though they
probably might have had recourse to violence, nothing appears less
probable than their success in totally overturning royalty, had they
been unsupported by the soldiers. The army, which rose so readily at
Buonaparte's summons, had no community of feeling with the Jacobins, as
they were called; and but for his arrival upon the scene, would have
acted, there can be little doubt, at the command of the maréchals, who
were almost all attached to the royal family. It was, therefore, the
attachment of the army to their ancient commander which gave success to
the joint enterprise, which the Jacobinical party alone would have
attempted in vain.

[Sidenote: THE CHAMBERS.]

The Republican, or Jacobin party, closed with their powerful ally; their
leaders accepted titles at his hands; undertook offices, and became
members of a Chamber of Peers and of Representatives, summoned by his
authority. They acknowledged him as their Emperor; received as his boon
a new constitution; and swore in the face of all France the oath of
fealty to it, and to him as their sovereign. On such terms the Emperor
and his Legislative Body parted on the 7th of June. Suspicion there
existed between them certainly, but, in all outward appearance, he
departed a contented prince from a contented people. Eleven days
brought the battle of Waterloo, with all its consequences. Policy of a
sound and rational sort should have induced the Chambers to stand by the
Emperor whom they had made, to arm him with the power which the occasion
required, and avail themselves of his extraordinary military talent, to
try some chance of arresting the invaders in their progress. Even shame
might have prevented them from lending their shoulders to overthrow the
tottering throne before which they had so lately kneeled. They
determined otherwise. The instant he became unfortunate, Napoleon ceased
to be their Emperor, the source of their power and authority. They could
see nothing in him but the hurt deer, who is to be butted from the herd;
the Jonas in the vessel, who is to be flung overboard. When Napoleon,
therefore, talked to them of men and arms, they answered him, with
"equality and the rights of man;" every chance of redeeming the
consequences of Waterloo was lost, and the Emperor of their choice, if
not ostensibly, was in effect at least arrested, and sent to the
sea-coast, like a felon for deportation. Their conduct, however, went
clearly to show, that Napoleon was not the free choice of the French
people, and especially that he was not the choice of those who termed
themselves exclusively the friends of freedom.

Having thus shown how easily they could get rid of the monarch who had
called them into political existence, the Chambers applied to the
allies, inviting them to give their concurrence to the election of
another sovereign, and assist them to build another throne on the
quicksand which had just swallowed that of Napoleon. In one respect they
were not unreasonably tenacious. They cared little who the sovereign
should be, whether Orleans or Orange, the Englishman Wellington or the
Cossack Platoff, providing only he should derive no right from any one
but themselves; and that they should be at liberty to recall that right
when it might please them to do so. And there can be little doubt, that
any new sovereign and constitution which could have been made by the
assistance of such men, would have again occasioned the commencement of
the wild dance of revolution, till like so many mad Dervises, dizzy with
the whirl, the French nation would once more have sunk to rest under the
iron sway of despotism.

The allied sovereigns viewed these proposals with an evil eye, both in
respect to their nature, and to those by whom they were proposed. Of the
authorities, the most prudent was the Duke of Otranto, and he had been
Fouché of Nantes. Carnot's name was to be found at all the bloody
rescripts of Robespierre, in which the conscience of the old decemvir
and young count had never found any thing to boggle at. There were many
others, distinguished in the Revolutionary days. The language which they
held was already assuming the cant of democracy, and though there was
among them a large proportion of good and able men, it was not to be
forgotten how many of such existed in the first Assembly, for no purpose
but to seal the moderation and rationality of their political opinions
with their blood. It was a matter of imperious necessity to avoid
whatever might give occasion to renew those scenes of shameful
recollections, and the sovereigns saw a guarantee against their return,
in insisting that Louis XVIII. should remount the throne as its
legitimate owner.

[Sidenote: LEGITIMACY.]

The right of legitimacy, or the right of succession, a regulation
adopted into the common law of most monarchical constitutions, is
borrowed from the analogy of private life, where the eldest son becomes
naturally the head and protector of the family upon the decease of the
father. While states, indeed, are small--before laws are settled--and
when much depends on the personal ability and talents of the
monarch--the power, which, for aught we know, may exist among the
abstract rights of man, of choosing each chief magistrate after the
death of his predecessor, or perhaps more frequently, may be exercised
without much inconvenience. But as states become extended, and their
constitutions circumscribed and bounded by laws, which leaves less scope
and less necessity for the exercise of the sovereign's magisterial
functions, men become glad to exchange the licentious privilege of a
Tartarian couroultai, or a Polish diet, for the principle of legitimacy;
because the chance of a hereditary successor's proving adequate to the
duties of his situation, is at least equal to that of a popular election
lighting upon a worthy candidate; and because, in the former case, the
nation is spared the convulsions occasioned by previous competition and
solicitation, and succeeding heart-burnings, factions, civil war, and
ruin, uniformly found at last to attend elective monarchies.

The doctrine of legitimacy is peculiarly valuable in a limited monarchy,
because it affords a degree of stability otherwise unattainable. The
principle of hereditary monarchy, joined to that which declares that the
King can do no wrong, provides for the permanence of the executive
government, and represses that ambition which would animate so many
bosoms, were there a prospect of the supreme sway becoming vacant, or
subject to election from time to time. The King's ministers, on the
other hand, being responsible for his actions, remain a check, for their
own sakes, upon the exercise of his power; and thus provision is made
for the correction of all ordinary evils of administration, since, to
use an expressive, though vulgar simile, it is better to rectify any
occasional deviation from the regular course by changing the driver,
than by overturning the carriage.

Such is the principle of legitimacy which was invoked by Louis XVIII.,
and recognised by the allied sovereigns. But it must not be confounded
with the slavish doctrine, that the right thus vested is, by divine
origin, indefeasible. The heir-at-law in private life may dissipate by
his folly, or forfeit by his crimes, the patrimony which the law conveys
to him; and the legitimate monarch may most unquestionably, by
departing from the principles of the constitution under which he is
called to reign, forfeit for himself, and for his heirs if the
legislature shall judge it proper, that crown, which the principle of
legitimacy bestowed on him as his birth-right. The penalty of forfeiture
is an extreme case, provided, not in virtue of the constitution, which
recognises no possible delinquency in the sovereign, but because the
constitution has been attacked and infringed upon by the monarch, and
therefore can no longer be permitted to afford him shelter. The crimes
by which this high punishment is justly incurred, must therefore be of
an extraordinary nature, and beyond the reach of those correctives for
which the constitution provides, by the punishment of ministers and
counsellors. The constitutional buckler of impeccability covers the
monarch (personally) for all blameworthy use of his power, providing it
is exercised within the limits of the constitution; it is when he stirs
beyond it, and not sooner, that it affords no defence for the bosom of a
tyrant. A King of Britain, for example, may wage a rash war, or make a
disgraceful peace, in the lawful, though injudicious and blameworthy
exercise of the power vested in him by the constitution. His advisers,
not he himself, shall be called in such a case, to their responsibility.
But if, like James II., the sovereign infringes upon, or endeavours to
destroy, the constitution itself, it is then that resistance becomes
lawful and honourable; and the King is justly held to have forfeited the
right which descended to him from his forefathers, by his attempt to
encroach on the rights of the subjects.

The principles of hereditary monarchy, of the inviolability of the
person of the King, and of the responsibility of ministers, were
recognised by the constitutional charter of France. Louis XVIII. was
therefore, during the year previous to Buonaparte's return, the lawful
sovereign of France, and it remains to be shown by what act of treason
to the constitution he had forfeited his right of legitimacy. If the
reader will turn back to vol. iv., p. 86, (and we are not conscious of
having spared the conduct of the Bourbons,) he will probably be of
opinion with us, that the errors of the restored King's government were
not only fewer than might have been expected in circumstances so new and
difficult, but were of such a nature as an honest, well-meaning, and
upright Opposition would soon have checked; he will find that not one of
them could be personally attributed to Louis XVIII., and that, far from
having incurred the forfeiture of his legitimate rights, he had, during
these few months, laid a strong claim to the love, veneration, and
gratitude of his subjects. He had fallen a sacrifice, in some degree, to
the humours and rashness of persons connected with his family and
household--still more to causeless jealousies and unproved doubts, the
water-colours which insurrection never lacks to paint her cause with; to
the fickleness of the French people, who became tired of his simple,
orderly, and peaceful government; but, above all, to the dissatisfaction
of a licentious and licensed soldiery, and of clubs of moody banditti,
panting for a time of pell-mell havoc and confusion. The forcible
expulsion of Louis XVIII., arising from such motives, could not break
the solemn compact entered into by France with all Europe, when she
received her legitimate monarch from the hand of her clement conquerors,
and with him, and for his sake, obtained such conditions of peace as she
was in no condition to demand, and would never otherwise have been
granted. The King's misfortune, as it arose from no fault of his own,
could infer no forfeiture of his vested right. Europe, the virtual
guarantee of the treaty of Paris, had also a title, leading back the
lawful King in her armed and victorious hand, to require of France his
reinstatement in his rights; and the termination which she thus offered
to the war was as just and equitable as the conduct of the sovereigns
during this brief campaign had been honourable and successful.

To these arguments, an unprejudiced eye could scarcely see any answer;
yet the popular party endeavoured to found a pleading against the second
restoration of Louis, upon the declaration of the allies. This manifesto
had announced, they said, that the purpose of the war was directed
against Buonaparte personally, and that it was the intention of the
allied sovereigns, when he should be dethroned, to leave the French the
free exercise of choice respecting their own internal government.[173]
The Prince Regent's declaration, in particular, was referred to, as
announcing that the treaty of Vienna, which resolved on the dethronement
of Napoleon, should not bind the British government to insist upon the
restoration of the Bourbon family as an indispensable condition of
peace.[174] Those who urged this objection did not, or would not
consider the nature of the treaty which this explanatory clause referred
to. That treaty of Vienna had for its express object the restoration of
Louis XVIII., and the Prince Regent adhered to it with the same purpose
of making every exertion for bringing about that event. The restrictive
clause was only introduced, because his Royal Highness did not intend to
bind himself to make that restoration _alone_ the cause of continuing
the war to extremity. Many things might have happened to render an
absolute engagement of this nature highly inexpedient; but, since none
of these did happen, and since the re-establishment of the throne of the
Bourbons was, in consequence of the victory of Waterloo, a measure which
could be easily accomplished, it necessarily followed, that it _was_ to
be accomplished according to the tenor of the treaty of Vienna.

But, even had the sovereigns positively announced in their manifestoes,
that the will of the French people should be consulted exclusively, what
right had the Legislative Body, assembled by Buonaparte, to assume the
character of the French people? They had neither weight nor influence
with any party in the state, except by the momentary possession of an
authority, which was hardly acknowledged on any side. The fact, that
Napoleon's power had ceased to exist, did not legitimate them. On the
contrary, flowing from his commission, it must be held as having fallen
with his authority. They were either the Chambers summoned by Napoleon,
and bound to him as far as oaths and professions could bind them, or
they were a body without any pretension whatever to a political

La Fayette, indeed, contended that the present representatives of France
stood in the same situation as the convention parliaments of England,
and the army encamped in Hounslow-heath, at the time of the English
Revolution. To have rendered this parallel apt, it required all the
peculiar circumstances of justice which attended the great event of
1688. The French should have been able to vindicate the reason of their
proceedings by the aggressions of their exiled monarch, and by the will
of the nation generally, nay, almost unanimously, expressed in
consequence thereof. This, we need not say, they were wholly unable to
do. But the English history _did_ afford one example of an assembly,
exactly resembling their own, in absence of right, and exuberance of
pretension; and that precedent existed when the Rump Parliament
contrived to shuffle the cards out of the hands of Richard Cromwell, as
the Provisional Commissioners at Paris were endeavouring by legerdemain
to convey the authority from Napoleon II. This Rump Parliament also sat
for a little time as a government, and endeavoured to settle the
constitution upon their own plan, in despite of the whole people of
England, who were longing for the restoration of their lawful monarch,
as speedily was shown to be the case, when Monk, with an armed force,
appeared to protect them in the declaration of their real sentiments.
This was the most exact parallel afforded by English history to the
situation of the Provisional Commissioners of France; and both they and
the Rump Parliament being equally intrusive occupants of the supreme
authority, were alike justly deprived of it by the return of the
legitimate monarch.


While the allied powers were thus desirous that the King of France
should obtain possession of a throne which he had never forfeited, they,
and England in particular, saw at once the justice and the policy of
securing to France every accession of well-regulated freedom, which she
had obtained by and through the Revolution, as well as such additional
improvements upon her constitution as experience had shown to be
desirable. These were pointed out and stipulated for by the celebrated
Fouché, who, on this occasion, did much service to his country. Yet he
struggled hard, that while the King acknowledged, which he was ready to
do, the several benefits, both in point of public feeling and public
advantage, which France had derived from the Revolution, the sovereign
should make some steps to acknowledge the Revolution itself.[175] He
contended for the three-coloured banners being adopted, as a matter of
the last importance;--in that, somewhat resembling the archfiend in the
legends of necromancy, who, when the unhappy persons with whom he deals
decline to make over their souls and bodies according to his first
request, is humble enough to ask and accept the most petty
sacrifices--the paring of the nails, or a single lock of hair, providing
it is offered in symbol of homage and devotion. But Louis XVIII. was not
thus to be drawn into an incidental and equivocal homologation, as
civilians term it, of all the wild work of a period so horrible, which
must have been by implication a species of ratification even of the
death of his innocent and murdered brother. To preserve and cherish the
good which had flowed from the Revolution, was a very different thing
from a ratification of the Revolution itself. A tempest may cast rich
treasures upon the beach, a tornado may clear the air; but while these
benefits are suitably prized and enjoyed, it is surely not requisite
that, like ignorant Indians, we should worship the wild surge, and erect
altars to the howling of the wind.

The King of France having steadily refused all proposals which went to
assign to the government an authority founded on the Revolution, the
constitution of France is to be recognised as that of a hereditary
monarchy, limited by the Royal Charter, and by the principles of
freedom. It thus affords to the other existing monarchies of Europe a
guarantee against sudden and dangerous commotion; while in favour of the
subject, it extends all the necessary checks against arbitrary sway, and
all the suitable provisions for ameliorating and extending the
advantages of liberal institutions, as opportunity shall offer, and the
expanding light of information shall recommend.

The allies, though their treaty with France was not made in the same
humour of romantic generosity which dictated that of 1814, insisted upon
no articles which could be considered as dishonourable to that nation.
The disjoining from her empire three or four border fortresses was
stipulated, in order to render a rapid and successful invasion of
Germany or the Netherlands more difficult in future. Large sums of money
were also exacted in recompense of the heavy expenses of the allies; but
they were not beyond what the wealth of France could readily discharge.
A part of her fortresses were also detained by the allies as a species
of pledge for the peaceable behaviour of the kingdom; but these were to
be restored after a season, and the armies of Europe, which for a time
remained within the French territories, were at the same time to be
withdrawn. Finally, that splendid Museum, which the right of conquest
had collected by the stripping of so many states, was transferred by the
same right of conquest, not to those of the allies who had great armies
in the field, but to the poor and small states, who had resigned their
property to the French under the influence of terror, and received it
back from the confederates with wonder and gratitude.

These circumstances were indeed galling to France for the moment; but
they were the necessary consequence of the position in which, perhaps
rather passively than actively, she had been placed by the Revolution of
the Hundred Days. All the prophecies which had been circulated to
animate the people against the allies, of their seeking selfish and
vindictive objects, or endeavouring to destroy the high national rank
which that fair kingdom ought to hold in Europe, were proved to be
utterly fallacious. The conquered provinces, as they are called, the
acquisitions of Louis XIV., were not rent from the French empire--their
colonies were left as at the peace of Paris. The English did not impose
on them an unfavourable treaty of commerce, which Napoleon affirmed was
their design, and the omission to insist on which he afterwards
considered as a culpable neglect of British interests by the English
ministers. France was left, as she ought to be, altogether independent,
and splendidly powerful.

Neither were the predictions concerning the stability of the new royal
government less false than had been the vaticinations respecting the
purposes of the allies. Numbers prophesied the downfall of the Bourbon
dynasty. It was with difficulty that the political augurs would allow
that it might last as long as the life of Louis XVIII. He now sleeps
with his fathers; and his successor, generally beloved for his courteous
manners, and respected for his integrity and honour, reigns over a free
and flourishing people. Time, that grand pacificator, is daily abating
the rancour of party, and removing from the scene those of all sides,
who, unaccustomed to the general and impartial exercise of the laws,
were ready to improve every advantage, and debate every political
question, sword in hand, or, as they themselves express it, _par voie du
fait_. The guarantee for the permanence of their freedom, is the only
subject on which reasonable Frenchmen of the present day are anxious. We
trust there is no occasion for their solicitude. Fatal indeed would be
the advice which should induce the French Government to give the
slightest subject for just complaints. The ultra Royalist, the Jacobin
_enragé_, are gradually cooled by age, or fate has removed them from the
scene. Those who succeed, having never seen the sword drawn, will be
less apt to hurry into civil strife; and the able and well-intentioned
on either side, while they find room in the Chambers for expressing
their difference of opinion, will acquire the habit of enduring
contradiction with candour and good-humour, and be led to entertain the
wholesome doubt, whether, in the imperfect state of the human intellect,
it is possible for one class of statesmen to be absolutely and
uniformly right, and their opponents, in all instances, decidedly wrong.
The French will learn, that it is from freedom of debate--from an
appeal, not to the arms, but to the understandings of the people--by the
collision of intellect, not the strife of brutal violence, that the
political institutions of this ingenious people are in future to be

The aspirations of France after glory in the field had been indulged,
during the period of which we have treated, dreadfully for other
countries, and the requital to herself was sufficiently fearful. A
sentiment friendly to peace and good order has of late years
distinguished even those two nations, which, by a rash and wicked
expression, have been sometimes termed natural enemies. The enlarged
ideas of commerce, as they spread wider, and become better understood,
will afford, perhaps, the strongest and most irresistible motive for
amicable intercourse--that, namely, which arises from mutual advantage;
for commerce keeps pace with civilisation, and a nation, as it becomes
wealthy from its own industry, acquires more and more a taste for the
conveniences and luxuries, which are the produce of the soil, or of the
industry, of other countries. Britain, of whom all that was selfish was
expected and predicated by Napoleon and his friends--Britain, who was
said to meditate enchaining France by a commercial treaty (which would
have ruined her own manufactures,) has, by opening her ports to the
manufactures of her neighbour, had the honour to lead the way in a new
and more honourable species of traffic, which has in some degree the
property ascribed by the poet to Mercy--

    "It blesseth him who gives, and him who takes."

To the eye of a stranger, the number of new buildings established in
Paris, and indeed throughout France, are indications of capital and
enterprise, of a nature much more satisfactory than the splendid but
half-finished public edifices which Napoleon so hastily undertook, and
so often left in an incomplete state. The general improvement of ideas
may be also distinctly remarked, on comparing the French people of 1815
and 1826, and observing the gradual extinction of long-cherished
prejudices and the no less gradual improvement and enlargement of ideas.
This state of advancement cannot, indeed, be regular--it must have its
ebbs and flows. But on the whole, there seems more reason than at any
former period of the world, for hoping that there will be a general
peace of some lengthened endurance; and that Britain and France, in
particular, will satisfy themselves with enjoying in recollection the
laurels each country has won in the field, and be contented to struggle
for the palm of national superiority by the arts of peaceful and
civilized industry.


[158] Hobhouse's Letters from Paris, written during the Last Reign of

[159] Moniteur, June 22; Montgaillard, tom. viii., p. 220.

[160] Montgaillard, tom. viii., p. 222.

[161] Fleury de Chamboullon, tom. ii., p. 296; Miss Williams' Narrative.

[162] Montgaillard, tom. viii., p. 223; Fouché, tom. ii., p. 282; Las
Cases, tom. i., p. 10; Savary, tom. iv., p. 98.

[163] "We all manœuvred to extort his abdication. There was a multitude
of messages backwards and forwards, parleys, objections, replies--in a
word, evolutions of every description: ground was taken, abandoned, and
again retaken. At length, after a warm battle, Napoleon surrendered, in
full council, under the conviction that longer resistance was useless;
then turning to me, he said, with a sardonic smile, 'Write to those
gentlemen to make themselves easy; they shall be satisfied.' Lucien took
up the pen, and drew, under Napoleon's dictation, the act of
abdication."--FOUCHÉ, tom. ii., p. 283.

[164] Moniteur, June 23.

[165] Moniteur, June 23.

[166] Carnot, Fouché, Grenier, and Quinette, had all voted for the death
of Louis XVI.

[167] "I was present at the moment of abdication; and, when the question
of Napoleon's removal was agitated, I requested permission to
participate in his fate. Such had been till then the disinterestedness
and simplicity, some will say folly, of my conduct, that,
notwithstanding my daily intercourse as an officer of the household, and
member of his council, the Emperor scarcely knew me. 'Do you know
whither your offer may lead you?' said he, in his astonishment. 'I have
made no calculation about it,' I replied. He accepted me, and here I am
at St. Helena."--LAS CASES, tom. i., part i., p. 9.

[168] Dated Malmaison, June 25. See Fleury de Chamboullon, tom. ii., p.

[169] Hobhouse's Letters from Paris, vol. ii.; Fleury de Chamboullon,
tom. ii., p. 298.

[170] "The secretary found himself equally incapable of putting his name
to such a communication. Was it sent or not?--this is a point which I
cannot decide."--LAS CASES, tom. i., part i., pp. 17-20.

[171] "Fouché knew that General Beker had a private pique against the
Emperor; and therefore did not doubt of finding in the former a man
disposed to vengeance; but he was grossly deceived in his expectations,
for Beker constantly showed a degree of respect and attachment to the
Emperor highly honourable to his character."--LAS CASES, tom. i., p. 17.

[172] Las Cases, tom. i., p. 20.

[173] Parl. Debates, vol. xxx., p. 373.

[174] "It is not to be understood as binding his Britannic Majesty to
prosecute the war with a view of imposing upon France any particular
government."--_Parl. Debates_, vol. xxx., p. 798.

[175] Memoirs, tom. ii., p. 292.


    _Disposition of the British Fleet along the Western Coast of France,
    in order to prevent Buonaparte's Escape--The Bellerophon off
    Rochefort--Orders under which Captain Maitland acted--Plans agitated
    for Napoleon's Escape--Savary and Las Cases open a Negotiation with
    Captain Maitland--Captain Maitland's Account of what passed at their
    Interviews--Las Cases' Account--The Statements compared--Napoleon's
    Letter to the Prince Regent--He surrenders himself on board the
    Bellerophon, on 15th July--His arrival off Plymouth--All approach to
    the Ship prohibited--Final determination of the English Government
    that Buonaparte shall be sent to St. Helena--His Protest._

Our history returns to its principal object. Buonaparte arrived at
Rochefort upon the 3d July; so short had been the space between the
bloody cast of the die at Waterloo, and his finding himself an exile.
Yet even this brief space of fifteen days had made his retreat
difficult, if not impracticable. Means, indeed, were provided for his
transportation. The two French frigates, the Saale and the Medusa,
together with the Balladière, a corvette, and the Epervier, a large
brig, waited Buonaparte's presence, and orders to sail for America from
their station under the isle d'Aix. But, as Napoleon himself said
shortly afterwards, wherever there was water to swim a ship, there he
was sure to find the British flag.


The news of the defeat at Waterloo had been the signal to the Admiralty
to cover the western coast of France with cruisers, in order to prevent
the possibility of Napoleon's escaping by sea from any of the ports in
that direction. Admiral Lord Keith, an officer of great experience and
activity, then commander-in-chief of the Channel fleet, had made a most
judicious disposition of the fleet under his command, by stationing an
inner line of cruisers, of various descriptions, off the principal ports
between Brest and Bayonne, with an exterior line, necessarily more
widely extended, betwixt Ushant and Cape Finisterre. The commanders of
these vessels had the strictest orders to suffer no vessel to pass
unexamined. No less than thirty ships of different descriptions
maintained this blockade. According to this arrangement, the British
line-of-battle ship, the Bellerophon, cruised off Rochefort, with the
occasional assistance of the Slaney, the Phœbe, and other small
vessels, sometimes present, and sometimes detached, as the service might
require. Captain Maitland, who commanded the Bellerophon, is a man of
high character in his profession, of birth, of firmness of mind, and of
the most indisputable honour. It is necessary to mention these
circumstances, because the national character of England herself is
deeply concerned and identified with that of Captain Maitland, in the
narrative which follows.

The several orders under which this officer acted, expressed the utmost
anxiety about intercepting Buonaparte's flight, and canvassed the
different probabilities concerning its direction. His attention was at a
later date particularly directed to the frigates in Aix roads, and the
report concerning their destination. Admiral Hotham writes to Captain
Maitland, 8th July, 1815, the following order:--

    "The Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty having every reason to
    believe that Napoleon Buonaparte meditates his escape, with his
    family, from France to America, you are hereby required and
    directed, in pursuance of orders from their Lordships, signified to
    me by Admiral the Right Honourable Viscount Keith, to keep the most
    vigilant look-out, for the purpose of intercepting him; and to make
    the strictest search of any vessel you may fall in with; and if you
    should be so fortunate as to intercept him, you are to transfer him
    and his family to the ship you command, and, there keeping him in
    careful custody, return to the nearest port in England (going into
    Torbay in preference to Plymouth,) with all possible expedition;
    and, on your arrival, you are not to permit any communication
    whatever with the shore, except as hereinafter directed; and you
    will be held responsible for keeping the whole transaction a
    profound secret, until you receive their Lordships' further orders.

    "In case you should arrive at a port where there is a flag officer,
    you are to send to acquaint him with the circumstances, strictly
    charging the officer sent on shore with your letter not to divulge
    its contents; and if there should be no flag-officer at the port
    where you arrive, you are to send one letter express to the
    Secretary of the Admiralty, and another to Admiral Lord Keith, with
    strict injunctions of secrecy to each officer who may be the bearer
    of them."

We give these orders at full length, to show that they left Captain
Maitland no authority to make conditions or stipulations of surrender,
or to treat Napoleon otherwise than as an ordinary prisoner of war.

Captain Maitland proceeded to exercise all the vigilance which an
occasion so interesting demanded; and it was soon evident, that the
presence of the Bellerophon was an absolute bar to Napoleon's escape by
means of the frigates, unless it should be attempted by open force. In
this latter case, the British officer had formed his plan of bearing
down upon and disabling the one vessel, and throwing on board of her a
hundred men selected for the purpose, while the Bellerophon set sail
with all speed in pursuit of her consort, and thus made sure of both. He
had also two small vessels, the Slaney and the Phœbe, which he could
attach to the pursuit of the frigate, so as at least to keep her in
view. This plan might have failed by accident, but it was so judiciously
laid as to have every chance of being successful; and it seems that
Napoleon received no encouragement from the commanders of the frigates
to try the event of a forcible escape.

The scheme of a secret flight was next meditated. A chasse-marée, a
peculiar species of vessel, used only in the coasting trade, was to be
fitted up and manned with young probationers of the navy, equivalent to
our midshipmen. This, it was thought, might elude the vigilance of such
British cruisers as were in shore; but then it must have been a
suspicious object at sea, and the possibility of its being able to make
the voyage to America, was considered as precarious. A Danish corvette
was next purchased, and as, in leaving the harbour, it was certain she
would be brought to and examined by the English, a place of concealment
was contrived, being a cask supplied with air-tubes, to be stowed in the
hold of the vessel, in which it was intended Napoleon should lie
concealed. But the extreme rigour with which the search was likely to be
prosecuted, and the corpulence of Buonaparte, which would not permit him
to remain long in a close or constrained position, made this as well as
other hopeless contrivances be laid aside.[176]


There were undoubtedly at this time many proposals made to the
Ex-Emperor by the army, who, compelled to retreat behind the Loire, were
still animated by a thirst of revenge, and a sense of injured honour.
There is no doubt that they would have received Napoleon with
acclamation; but if he could not, or would not, pursue a course so
desperate in 1814, when he had still a considerable army, and a
respectable extent of territory remaining, it must have seemed much more
ineligible in 1815, when his numbers were so much more disproportioned
than they had formerly been, and when his best generals had embraced the
cause of the Bourbons, or fled out of France. Napoleon's condition, had
he embraced this alternative, would have been that of the chief of a
roving tribe of warriors, struggling for existence, with equal misery to
themselves and the countries through which they wandered, until at
length broken down and destroyed by superior force.

Rejecting this expedient, and all others having been found equally
objectionable, the only alternative which remained was to surrender his
person, either to the allied powers as a body, or to any one of them in
particular. The former course would have been difficult, unless Napoleon
had adopted the idea of resorting to it earlier, which, in the view of
his escape by sea, he had omitted to do. Neither had he time to
negotiate with any of the allied sovereigns, or of travelling back to
Paris for the purpose, with any chance of personal safety, for the
Royalists were now every where holding the ascendency, and more than one
of his generals had been attacked and killed by them.

He was cooped up, therefore, in Rochefort,[177] although the white flag
was already about to be hoisted there, and the commandant respectfully
hinted the necessity of his departure. It must have been anticipated by
Napoleon, that he might be soon deprived of the cover of the batteries
of the isle of Aix. The fact is (though we believe not generally known,)
that on the 13th July, Lord Castlereagh wrote to Admiral Sir Henry
Hotham, commanding off Cape Finisterre, suggesting to him the propriety
of attacking, with a part of his force, the two frigates in the roads of
the isle d'Aix, having first informed the commandant that they did so
in the capacity of allies of the King of France, and placing it upon
his responsibility if he fired on them from the batteries. Napoleon
could not, indeed, know for certain that such a plan was actually in
existence, and about to be attempted, but yet must have been aware of
its probability, when the Royalist party were becoming every where
superior, and their emblems were assumed in the neighbouring town of
Rochelle. It is, therefore, in vain to state Buonaparte's subsequent
conduct, as a voluntary confidence reposed by him in the honour of
England. He was precisely in the condition of the commandant of a
besieged town, who has the choice of surrendering, or encountering the
risks of a storm. Neither was it open for him to contend, that he
selected the British, out of all the other allied powers, with whom to
treat upon this occasion. Like the commandant in the case above
supposed, he was under the necessity of surrendering to those who were
the immediate besiegers, and therefore he was compelled to apply for
terms of safety to him who alone possessed the direct power of granting
it, that is, to Captain Frederick Maitland, of the Bellerophon.


Napoleon opened a communication with this officer on the 10th July, by
two of his attendants, General Savary and Count Las Cases, under
pretence of inquiring about a safe-conduct--a passport which Napoleon
pretended to expect from England, and which, he said, had been promised
to him, without stating by whom. Under this round assertion, for which,
there was not the slightest ground, Messrs. Savary and Las Cases desired
to know, whether Captain Maitland would permit the frigates to sail with
him uninterrupted, or at least give him leave to proceed in a neutral
vessel. Captain Maitland, without hesitation, declared that he would not
permit any armed vessel to put to sea from the port of Rochefort. "It
was equally out of his power," he stated, "to allow the Emperor to
proceed in a neutral vessel, without the sanction of Admiral Hotham, his
commanding officer." He offered to write to that officer, however, and
the French gentlemen having assented, he wrote, in their presence, to
the admiral, announcing the communication he had received, and
requesting orders for his guidance. This was all but a prelude to the
real subject of negotiation. The Duke of Rovigo (Savary) and Count Las
Cases remained two or three hours on board, and said all they could to
impress Captain Maitland with the idea, that Napoleon's retirement was a
matter of choice, not of compulsion, and that it was the interest of
Britain to consent to his going to America; a measure, they said, which
was solely dictated to him by humanity, and a desire to save human
blood. Captain Maitland asked the natural question, which we give in his
own words:--

    "'Supposing the British government should be induced to grant a
    passport for Buonaparte's going to America, what pledge could he
    give that he would not return, and put England, as well as all
    Europe, to the same expense of blood and treasure that has just been

    "General Savary made the following reply:--'When the Emperor first
    abdicated the throne of France, his removal was brought about by a
    faction, at the head of which was Talleyrand, and the sense of the
    nation was not consulted: but in the present instance he has
    voluntarily resigned the power. The influence he once had over the
    French people is past; a very considerable change has taken place in
    their sentiments towards him, since he went to Elba; and he could
    never regain the power he had over their minds; therefore, he would
    prefer retiring into obscurity, where he might end his days in peace
    and tranquillity; and were he solicited to ascend the throne again,
    he would decline it.'

    "'If that is the case,' said Captain Maitland, 'why not ask an
    asylum in England?' Savary answered, 'There are many reasons for his
    not wishing to reside in England; the climate is too damp and cold;
    it is too near France; he would be, as it were, in the centre of
    every change and revolution that might take place there, and would
    be subject to suspicion; he has been accustomed to consider the
    English as his most inveterate enemies, and they have been induced
    to look upon him as a monster, without one of the virtues of a human

Captain Knight of the Falmouth was present during the whole of this
conversation, from which Captain Maitland, like an able diplomatist,
drew a conclusion respecting the affairs of Napoleon, exactly opposite
from that which they endeavoured to impress upon him, and concluded that
he must be in extremity.

On the 14th July, Count Las Cases again came on board the Bellerophon,
now attended by General Count Lallemand. The pretext of the visit was,
to learn whether Captain Maitland had received any answer from the
admiral. Captain Maitland observed, the visit on that account was
unnecessary, as he would have forwarded the answer so soon as received;
and added, he did not approve of frequent communication by flags of
truce; thus repelling rather than inviting them. The conference was
resumed after breakfast, Captain Maitland having, in the meantime, sent
for Captain Sartorius of the Slaney, to be witness of what passed. In
this most important conference, we hold it unjust to Captain Maitland to
use any other words than his own, copied from his Journal, the original
of which we have ourselves had the advantage of seeing:--

    "When breakfast was over, we retired to the after-cabin. Count Las
    Cases then said, 'The Emperor is so anxious to spare the further
    effusion of human blood, that he will proceed to America in any way
    the British Government chooses to sanction, either in a French ship
    of war, a vessel armed _en flute_, a merchant vessel, or even in a
    British ship of war.' To this I answered, 'I have no authority to
    agree to any arrangement of that sort, nor do I believe my
    Government would consent to it; but I think I may venture to receive
    him into this ship, and convey him to England; _if however_,' I
    added, '_he adopts that plan, I cannot enter into any promise, as to
    the reception he may meet with, as, even in the case I have
    mentioned, I shall be acting on my own responsibility, and cannot be
    sure that it would meet with the approbation of the British

    "There was a great deal of conversation on this subject, in the
    course of which Lucien Buonaparte's name was mentioned, and the
    manner in which he had lived in England alluded to; but I invariably
    assured Las Cases most explicitly, that I had no authority to make
    conditions of any sort, as to Napoleon's reception in England. In
    fact, I could not have done otherwise, since, with the exception of
    the order [inserted at page 220,] I had no instructions for my
    guidance, and was, of course, in total ignorance of the intention of
    his Majesty's ministers as to his future disposal. One of the last
    observations Las Cases made, before quitting the ship, was, 'Under
    all circumstances, I have little doubt that you will see the Emperor
    on board the Bellerophon;' and, in fact, Buonaparte must have
    determined on that step before Las Cases came on board, as his
    letter to his Royal Highness the Prince Regent is dated the 13th of
    July, the day before this conversation."

The Count Las Cases gives nearly a similar detail of circumstances, with
a colouring which is exaggerated, and an arrangement of dates which is
certainly inaccurate. It must be also noticed that Count Las Cases
dissembled his acquaintance with the English language; and therefore, if
any mistake had occurred betwixt him and Captain Maitland, who spoke
French with difficulty, he had himself so far to blame for it.[178] Of
the visit on board the Bellerophon on the 10th, after giving the same
statement as Captain Maitland, concerning the application for the
passports, the count states, "It was suggested to us to go to England,
and we were assured we had no room to fear any bad treatment."[179]

On the 14th, being the date of his second visit, he states that there
was a repetition of the invitation to England, and the terms on which it
was recommended. "Captain Maitland," he says, "told him, that if the
Emperor chose immediately to embark, he had authority to receive him on
board, and conduct him to England." This is so expressed as to lead the
reader to believe that Captain Maitland spoke to the Count of some new
directions or orders which he had received, or pretended to have
received, concerning Buonaparte. Such an inference would be entirely
erroneous; no new or extended authority was received by Captain
Maitland, nor was he capable of insinuating the existence of such. His
sole instructions were contained in the orders of Admiral Hotham, quoted
at p. 220, directing him, should he be so fortunate as to intercept
Buonaparte, to transfer him to the ship he commanded, to make sail for a
British port, and, when arrived there, to communicate instantly with the
port-admiral, or with the Admiralty.


Count Las Cases makes Captain Maitland proceed to assure him and Savary,
that, "in his own private opinion, Napoleon would find in England all
the respect and good treatment to which he could make any pretension;
that there, the princes and ministers did not exercise the absolute
authority used on the continent, and that the English people had a
liberality of opinion, and generosity of sentiment, superior to that
entertained by sovereigns." Count Las Cases states himself to have
replied to the panegyric on England, by an oration in praise of
Buonaparte, in which he described him as retiring from a contest which
he had yet the means of supporting, in order that his name and rights
might not serve as a pretext to prolong civil war. The Count, according
to his own narrative, concluded by saying, that, "under all the
circumstances, he thought the Emperor might come on board the
Bellerophon, and go to England with Captain Maitland, for the purpose of
receiving passports for America." Captain Maitland desired it should be
understood, that he by no means warranted that such would be granted.

"At the bottom of my heart," says Las Cases, "I never supposed the
passports would be granted to us; but as the Emperor had resolved to
remain in future a personal stranger to political events, we saw,
without alarm, the probability that we might be prevented from leaving
England; but to that point all our fears and suppositions were limited.
Such, too, was doubtless the belief of Maitland. I do him, as well as
the other officers, the justice to believe, that he was sincere, and of
good faith, in the painting they drew us of the sentiments of the
English nation."[180]

The envoys returned to Napoleon, who held, according to Las Cases, a
sort of council, in which they considered all the chances. The plan of
the Danish vessel, and that of the chasse-marée, were given up as too
perilous; the British cruiser was pronounced too strong to be attacked;
there remained only the alternative of Napoleon's joining the troops,
and renewing the war, or accepting Captain Maitland's offer by going on
board the Bellerophon. The former was rejected; the latter plan adopted,
and "then," says M. Las Cases, "_Napoleon wrote to the Prince
Regent_."[181] The letter follows, but it is remarkable that the date is
omitted. This is probably the reason why Count Las Cases did not
discover that his memory was betraying him, since that date must have
reminded him that the letter was written _before_, not _after_, the
conference of the 14th July.

From this narrative two things are plain; I. That no terms of
capitulation were made with Captain Maitland. II. That it is the object
of Count Las Cases to insinuate the belief, that it was in consequence
of the arguments used by Captain Maitland, supported by the British
officers present, that Las Cases was induced to recommend, and Napoleon
to adopt, the step of surrendering himself on board the Bellerophon. But
this whole inference is disproved by two small ciphers; the date,
namely, of _13th of July_ on the letter addressed to the Prince Regent,
which, therefore, could not, in the nature of things, have been written
in consequence of a conference betwixt Las Cases and Captain Maitland,
and a consultation betwixt Napoleon and his followers; which conference
and consultation did not take place till the _14th of July_. The
resolution was taken, and the letter written, the day before all those
glowing descriptions of the English people put into the mouth of Captain
Maitland; and the faith of Napoleon was grounded upon the impersonal
suggestion to go to England,[182] made to Las Cases and Savary on their
first visit to the Bellerophon. The visit of the 14th, doubtless,
confirmed the resolution which had been adopted the preceding day.

No delay now intervened. On the same 14th of July, General Baron
Gourgaud was sent off with the letter, so often mentioned, addressed to
the Prince Regent, which was in these well-known terms:

                                        "_Rochefort, July 13th, 1815._


    "A victim to the factions which distract my country, and to the
    enmity of the greatest powers of Europe, I have terminated my
    political career, and I come, like Themistocles, to throw myself
    upon the hospitality of the British people. I put myself under the
    protection of their laws; which I claim from your Royal Highness, as
    the most powerful, the most constant, and the most generous of my


Captain Maitland informed Count Las Cases, that he would despatch
General Gourgaud to England, by the Slaney, and himself prepare to
receive Napoleon and his suite. General Gourgaud proposed to write to
Count Bertrand instantly, when, in presence and hearing of his brother
officers, Captains Sartorius and Gambier, Captain Maitland gave another
instance of his anxiety not to be misunderstood on this important

    "When General Gourgaud was about to write the letter, to prevent any
    future misunderstanding, I said, 'M. Las Cases, you will recollect
    that I am not authorised to stipulate as to the reception of
    Buonaparte in England, but that he must consider himself entirely at
    the disposal of his Royal Highness the Prince Regent.' He answered,
    'I am perfectly aware of that, and have already acquainted the
    Emperor with what you said on the subject.'"

Captain Maitland subjoins the following natural and just remark:--

    "It might, perhaps, have been better if this declaration had been
    given in an official written form; and could I have foreseen the
    discussions which afterwards took place, and which will appear in
    the sequel, I undoubtedly should have done so; but as I repeatedly
    made it in the presence of witnesses, it did not occur to me as
    being necessary; and how could a stronger proof be adduced, that no
    stipulations were agreed to respecting the reception of Buonaparte
    in England, than the fact of their not being reduced to writing?
    which certainly would have been the case had any favourable terms
    been demanded on the part of M. Las Cases, and agreed to by me."

To conclude the evidence on this subject, we add Captain Maitland's
letter, addressed to the Secretary of the Admiralty on 14th July:

    "For the information of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, I
    have to acquaint you that the Count Las Cases and General Lallemand
    this day came on board his Majesty's ship under my command, with a
    proposal from Count Bertrand for me to receive on board Napoleon
    Buonaparte, for the purpose of throwing himself on the generosity of
    the Prince Regent. Conceiving myself authorised by their lordships'
    secret order, I have acceded to the proposal, and he is to embark on
    board this ship to-morrow morning. That no misunderstanding might
    arise, I have explicitly and clearly explained to Count Las Cases,
    that I have no authority whatever for granting terms of any sort,
    but that all I can do is to carry him and his suite to England, to
    be received in such manner as his Royal Highness may deem

Is it in human nature to suppose, that a British officer, with two
others of the same rank as witnesses of the whole negotiation, would
have expressed himself otherwise than as truth warranted, in a case
which was sure to be so strictly inquired into?

On the 15th July, 1815, Napoleon finally left France, to the history of
which he had added so much of victory, and so much of defeat; the
country which his rise had saved from civil discord and foreign
invasion, and which his fall consigned to both; in a word, that fair
land to which he had been so long as a Deity, and was in future to be of
less import than the meanest peasant on the soil. He was accompanied by
four of his generals--Bertrand, Savary, Lallemand, and Montholon, and by
Count Las Cases, repeatedly mentioned as counsellor of state. Of these,
Bertrand and Montholon had their ladies on board, with three children
belonging to Count Bertrand, and one of Count Montholon's. The son of
Las Cases accompanied the Emperor as a page. There were nine officers of
inferior rank, and thirty-nine domestics. The principal persons were
received on board the Bellerophon, the others in the corvette.

Buonaparte came out of Aix roads on board of the Epervier. Wind and tide
being against the brig, Captain Maitland sent the barge of the
Bellerophon to transport him to that ship. Most of the officers and crew
of the Epervier had tears in their eyes, and they continued to cheer the
Emperor while their voices could be heard. He was received on board the
Bellerophon respectfully, but without any salute or distinguished
honours.[183] As Captain Maitland advanced to meet him on the
quarterdeck, Napoleon pulled off his hat, and, addressing him in a firm
tone of voice, said, "I come to place myself under the protection of
your prince and laws." His manner was uncommonly pleasing, and he
displayed much address in seizing upon opportunities of saying things
flattering to the hearers whom he wished to conciliate.[184]

As when formerly on board Captain Usher's vessel, Buonaparte showed
great curiosity concerning the discipline of the ship, and expressed
considerable surprise that the British vessels should so easily defeat
the French ships, which were heavier, larger, and better manned than
they. Captain Maitland accounted for this by the greater experience of
the men and officers. The Ex-Emperor examined the marines also, and,
pleased with their appearance, said to Bertrand, "How much might be done
with an hundred thousand such men!" In the management of the vessel, he
particularly admired the silence and good order of the crew while going
through their manœuvres, in comparison to a French vessel, "where every
one," he said, "talks and gives orders at once." When about to quit the
Bellerophon, he adverted to the same subject, saying, there had been
less noise on board that vessel, with six hundred men, in the whole
passage from Rochefort, than the crew of the Epervier, with only one
hundred, had contrived to make between the isle d'Aix and Basque roads.

He spoke, too, of the British army in an equal style of praise, and was
joined by his officers in doing so. One of the French officers observing
that the English cavalry were superb, Captain Maitland observed, that in
England, they had a higher opinion of the infantry. "You are right,"
said the French gentleman; "there is none such in the world; there is no
making an impression on them; you might as well attempt to charge
through a wall; and their fire is tremendous." Bertrand reported to
Captain Maitland that Napoleon had communicated to him his opinion of
the Duke of Wellington in the following words:--"The Duke of Wellington,
in the management of an army, is fully equal to myself, with the
advantage of possessing more prudence." This we conceive to be the
genuine unbiassed opinion of one great soldier concerning another. It is
a pity that Napoleon could on other occasions express himself in a
strain of depreciation, which could only lower him who used it, towards
a rival in the art of war.

During the whole passage, notwithstanding his situation, and the painful
uncertainty under which he laboured, Napoleon seemed always tranquil,
and in good temper;[185] at times, he even approached to cheerfulness.
He spoke with tenderness of his wife and family, complained of being
separated from them, and had tears in his eyes when he showed their
portraits to Captain Maitland. His health seemed perfectly good; but he
was occasionally subject to somnolency, proceeding, perhaps, from the
exhaustion of a constitution which had gone through such severe service.

On 23d July, they passed Ushant. Napoleon remained long on deck, and
cast many a melancholy look to the coast of France, but made no
observations. At daybreak on 24th, the Bellerophon was off Dartmouth;
and Buonaparte was struck, first with the boldness of the coast, and
then, as he entered Torbay,[186] with the well-known beauty of the
scenery. "It reminded him," he said, "of Porto Ferrajo, in Elba;" an
association which must at the moment have awakened strange remembrances
in the mind of the deposed Emperor.


The Bellerophon had hardly anchored, when orders came from the admiral,
Lord Keith, which were soon after seconded by others from the Admiralty,
enjoining that no one, of whatever rank or station, should be permitted
to come on board the Bellerophon, excepting the officers and men
belonging to the ship. On the 26th, the vessel received orders to move
round to Plymouth Sound.

In the meantime, the newspapers which were brought on board tended to
impress anxiety and consternation among the unhappy fugitives. The
report was generally circulated by these periodical publications, that
Buonaparte would not be permitted to land, but would be presently sent
off to St. Helena, as the safest place for detaining him as a prisoner
of war. Napoleon himself became alarmed, and anxiously desirous of
seeing Lord Keith, who had expressed himself sensible of some kindness
which his nephew, Captain Elphinstone of the 7th Hussars, had received
from the Emperor, when wounded and made prisoner at Waterloo. Such an
interview accordingly took place betwixt the noble admiral and the late
Emperor, upon the 28th July, but without any results of importance, as
Lord Keith was not then possessed of the decision of the British

That frenzy of popular curiosity, which, predominating in all free
states, seems to be carried to the utmost excess by the English nation,
caused such numbers of boats to surround the Bellerophon, that,
notwithstanding the peremptory orders of the Admiralty, and in spite of
the efforts of the man-of-war's boats, which maintained constant guard
round the vessel, it was almost impossible to keep them at the
prescribed distance of a cable's length from the ship. They incurred the
risk of being run down--of being, as they might apprehend, shot (for
muskets were discharged for the purpose of intimidation,) of all the
dangers of a naval combat, rather than lose the opportunity of seeing
the Emperor whom they had heard so much of. When he appeared he was
greeted with huzzas, which he returned with bows, but could not help
expressing his wonder at the eagerness of popular curiosity, which he
was not accustomed to see in such a pitch of excitation.


On the evening of the 30th of July, Major-General Sir Henry Bunbury, one
of the Under Secretaries of State, arrived, bringing with him the final
intentions of the British Government, for the disposal of Buonaparte and
his suite. Upon the 31st, Lord Keith and Sir Henry waited upon the
Ex-Emperor, on board of the Bellerophon, to communicate to him the
unpleasing tidings. They were accompanied by Mr. Meike, the secretary of
Lord Keith, whose presence was deemed necessary as a witness to what
passed. Napoleon received the admiral and under secretary of state with
becoming dignity and calmness. The letter of Lord Melville (First Lord
of the Admiralty) was read to the Ex-Emperor, announcing his future
destination. It stated, that "it would be inconsistent with the duty of
the British ministers to their sovereign and his allies, to leave
_General Buonaparte_ the means or opportunity of again disturbing the
peace of Europe--announced that the island of St. Helena was selected
for his future residence, and selected as such, because its local
situation would permit his enjoying more freedom than could be
compatible with adequate security elsewhere--that, with the exception of
Generals Savary and Lallemand, the General might select three officers,
together with his surgeon, to attend him to St. Helena--that twelve
domestics would also be allowed." The same document stated, that "the
persons who might attend upon him would be liable to a certain degree of
restraint, and could not be permitted to leave the island without the
sanction of the British Government." Lastly, it was announced that
"Rear-Admiral Sir George Cockburn, appointed to the chief command of the
Cape of Good Hope, would be presently ready to sail, for the purpose of
conveying General Buonaparte to St. Helena, and therefore it was
desirable that he should without delay make choice of the persons who
were to form his suite."[187]

The letter was read in French to Buonaparte by Sir Henry Bunbury. He
listened without impatience, interruption, or emotion of any kind. When
he was requested to state if he had any reply, he began, with great
calmness of manner and mildness of countenance, to declare that he
solemnly protested against the orders which had been read--that the
British Ministry had no right to dispose of him in the way
proposed--that he appealed to the British people and the laws--and asked
what was the tribunal which he ought to appeal to. "I am come," he
continued, "voluntarily to throw myself on the hospitality of your
nation--I am not a prisoner of war, and if I was, have a right to be
treated according to the law of nations. But I am come to this country
a passenger on board one of your vessels, after a previous negotiation
with the commander. If he had told me I was to be a prisoner, I would
not have come. I asked him if he was willing to receive me on board, and
convey me to England. _Admiral_ Maitland said he was, having received,
or telling me he had received, special orders of government concerning
me. It was a snare, then, that had been spread for me; I came on board a
British vessel as I would have entered one of their towns--a vessel, a
village, it is the same thing. As for the island of St. Helena, it would
be my sentence of death. I demand to be received as an English citizen.
How many years entitle me to be domiciliated?"

Sir Henry Bunbury answered, that he believed four were necessary. "Well,
then," continued Napoleon, "let the Prince Regent during that time place
me under any superintendence he thinks proper--let me be placed in a
country-house in the centre of the island, thirty leagues from every
seaport--place a commissioned officer about me, to examine my
correspondence and superintend my actions; or if the Prince Regent
should require my word of honour, perhaps I might give it. I might then
enjoy a certain degree of personal liberty, and I should have the
freedom of literature. In St. Helena I could not live three months; to
my habits and constitution it would be death. I am used to ride twenty
miles a-day--what am I to do on that little rock at the end of the
world? No! Botany Bay is better than St. Helena--I prefer death to St.
Helena--And what good is my death to do you? I am no longer a sovereign.
What danger could result from my living as a private person in the heart
of England, and restricted in any way which the Government should think

He referred repeatedly to the manner of his coming on board the
Bellerophon, insisting upon his being perfectly free in his choice, and
that he had preferred confiding to the hospitality and generosity of the
British nation.

"Otherwise," he said, "why should I not have gone to my father-in-law,
or to the Emperor Alexander, who is my personal friend? We have become
enemies, because he wanted to annex Poland to his dominions, and my
popularity among the Poles was in his way. But otherwise he was my
friend, and he would not have treated me in this way. If your Government
act thus, it will disgrace you in the eyes of Europe. Even your own
people will blame it. Besides, you do not know the feeling that my death
will create both in France and Italy. There is, at present, a high
opinion of England in these countries. If you kill me, it will be lost,
and the lives of many English will be sacrificed. What was there to
force me to the step I took? The tri-coloured flag was still flying at
Bourdeaux, Nantes, and Rochefort.[188] The army has not even yet
submitted. Or, if I had chosen to remain in France, what was there to
prevent me from remaining concealed for years amongst a people so much
attached to me?"

He then returned to his negotiation with Captain Maitland, and dwelt on
the honours and attentions shown to him personally by that officer and
Admiral Hotham. "And, after all, it was only a snare for me!"[189] He
again enlarged on the disgrace to England which was impending. "I hold
out to the Prince Regent," he said, "the brightest page in his history,
in placing myself at his discretion. I have made war upon you for twenty
years, and I give you the highest proof of confidence by voluntarily
giving myself into the hands of my most inveterate and constant enemies.
Remember," he continued, "what I have been, and how I stood among the
sovereigns of Europe. _This_ courted my protection--_that_ gave me his
daughter--all sought for my friendship. I was Emperor acknowledged by
all the powers in Europe, except Great Britain, and she had acknowledged
me as Chief Consul. Your Government has no right to term me _General
Buonaparte_," he added, pointing with his finger to the offensive
epithet in Lord Melville's letter. "I am Prince, or Consul, and ought to
be treated as such, if treated with at all. When I was at Elba, I was at
least as much a sovereign in that island as Louis on the throne of
France. We had both our respective flags, our ships, our troops--Mine,
to be sure," he said with a smile, "were rather on a small scale--I had
six hundred soldiers, and he had two hundred thousand. At length, I made
war upon him, defeated him, and dethroned him. But there was nothing in
this to deprive me of my rank as one of the sovereigns of Europe."

During this interesting scene, Napoleon spoke with little interruption
from Lord Keith and Sir Henry Bunbury, who declined replying to his
remonstrances, stating themselves to be unauthorised to enter into
discussions, as their only duty was to convey the intentions of
Government to Napoleon, and transmit his answer, if he charged them with
any. He repeated again and again his determination not to go to St.
Helena, and his desire to be suffered to remain in Great Britain.

Sir Henry Bunbury then said, he was certain that St. Helena had been
selected as the place of his residence, because its local situation
allowed freer scope for exercise and indulgence than could have been
permitted in any part of Great Britain.

"No, no," repeated Buonaparte, with animation, "I will not go there--You
would not go there, sir, were it your own case--nor, my Lord, would
you." Lord Keith bowed and answered--"He had been already at St. Helena
four times." Napoleon went on reiterating his protestations against
being imprisoned, or sent to St. Helena. "I _will not_ go thither," he
repeated; "I am not a Hercules," (with a smile,) "but you shall not
conduct me to St. Helena. I prefer death in this place. You found me
free, send me back again; replace me in the condition in which I was, or
permit me to go to America."

He dwelt much on his resolution to die rather than to go to St. Helena;
he had no great reason, he said, to wish for life. He urged the admiral
to take no farther steps to remove him into the Northumberland, before
Government should have been informed of what he had said, and have
signified their final decision. He conjured Sir Henry Bunbury to use no
delay in communicating his answer to Government, and referred himself to
Sir Henry to put it into form. After some cursory questions and pauses,
he again returned to the pressing subject, and urged the same arguments
as before. "He had expected," he said, "to have had liberty to land, and
settle himself in the country, some commissioner being named to attend
him, who would be of great use for a year or two to teach him what he
had to do. You could choose," he said, "some respectable man, for the
English service must have officers distinguished for probity and honour;
and do not put about me an intriguing person, who would only play the
spy, and make cabals." He declared again his determination not to go to
St. Helena; and this interesting interview was concluded.


After the admiral and Sir Henry Bunbury had left the cabin, Napoleon
recalled Lord Keith, whom, in respect of his former attention to his
lordship's relative, Captain Elphinstone, he might consider as more
favourable to his person.

Napoleon, opened the conversation, by asking Lord Keith's advice how to
conduct himself. Lord Keith replied, that he was an officer, and had
discharged his duty, and left with him the heads of his instructions. If
he considered it necessary to renew the discussion, Sir Henry Bunbury
must be called in. Buonaparte said that was unnecessary. "Can you," said
he, "after what is passed, detain me until I hear from London?" Lord
Keith replied, that must depend on the instructions brought by the other
admiral, with which he was unacquainted. "Was there any tribunal," he
asked, "to which he could apply?" Lord Keith answered, that he was no
civilian, but believed that there was none whatever. He added, that he
was satisfied there was every disposition on the part of the British
Government to render his situation as comfortable as prudence would
permit. "How so?" said Napoleon, lifting the paper from the table, and
speaking with animation. Upon Lord Keith's observing, that it was surely
preferable to being confined to a smaller space in England, or being
sent to France, or perhaps to Russia. "Russia!" exclaimed Buonaparte,
"God preserve me from it!"[190]

During this remarkable scene, Napoleon's manner was perfectly calm and
collected, his voice equal and firm, his tones very pleasing. Once or
twice only he spoke more rapidly, and in a harsher key. He used little
gesticulation, and his attitudes were ungraceful; but the action of the
head was dignified, and the countenance remarkably soft and placid,
without any marks of severity. He seemed to have made up his mind,
anticipating what was to be announced, and perfectly prepared to reply.
In expressing his positive determination not to go to St. Helena, he
left it to his hearers to infer, whether he meant to prevent his removal
by suicide, or to resist it by force.[191]


[176] Savary, tom. iv., p. 149; Las Cases, tom. i., pp. 24-27.

[177] "At Rochefort, the Emperor lived at the prefecture: numbers were
constantly grouped round the house; and acclamations continued to be
frequently repeated. He leads the same sort of life as if at the
Tuileries: we do not approach his person more frequently; he scarcely
receives any persons but Bertrand and Savary."--LAS CASES, tom. i., p.

[178] "Our situation was quite sufficient to remove any scruples I might
otherwise have entertained, and rendered this little deception
pardonable."--LAS CASES, tom. i., p. 26.

[179] "Il nous fut suggéré de nous rendre en Angleterre, et affirmé
qu'on ne pouvait y craindre aucun mauvais traitement."--_Journal de Las
Cases_, tom. i., part i., p. 28.--S.

[180] Las Cases, tom. i., p. 29.

[181] "_Alors_ Napoléon écrivitu Prince Régent."--_Journal_, tom. i., p.

[182] See p. 224, where Las Cases says, "_It was suggested_ to us to go
to England."--S.

[183] "Buonaparte's dress was an olive-coloured great coat over a green
uniform, with scarlet cape and cuffs, green lapels turned back and edged
with scarlet, skirts hooked back with bugle horns embroidered in gold,
plain sugar-loaf buttons and gold epaulettes; being the uniform of
_chasseur à cheval_ of the imperial guard. He wore the star, or grand
cross of the legion of honour, and the small cross of that order; the
iron crown; and the union, appended to the button-hole of his left
lapel. He had a small cocked hat, with a tri-coloured cockade, plain
gold-hilted sword, military boots, and white waistcoat and breeches. The
following day he appeared in shoes, with gold buckles, and silk
stockings--the dress he always wore afterwards while with
me."--MAITLAND, p. 66.

[184] "Rear-Admiral Hotham came to visit the Emperor, and remained to
dinner. From the questions asked by Napoleon relative to his ship, he
expressed a wish to know whether his Majesty would condescend to go on
board the following day; upon which the Emperor said he would breakfast
with the admiral, accompanied by all his attendants. On the 16th, I
attended him on board the Superb: all the honours, except those of
firing cannon, were liberally done; we went round the ship, and examined
the most trifling objects: every thing seemed to be in admirable order.
Admiral Hotham evinced, throughout, all the refinement and grace of a
man of rank and education. On our leaving the Bellerophon in the morning
to visit the Superb, Napoleon stopped short in front of the guard drawn
up on the quarterdeck to salute him. He made them perform several
movements, giving them the word of command himself; having desired them
to charge bayonets, and perceiving this motion was not performed
altogether in the French manner, he advanced into the midst of the
soldiers, put the weapons aside with his hands, and seized a musket from
one of the rear rank, with which he went through the exercise himself,
according to our method."--LAS CASES, tom. i., p. 35.

[185] Some of the London newspapers having represented Napoleon "as
taking possession of the chief cabin in a most brutal way, saying '_Tout
ou rien pour moi_.'"--Captain Maitland makes this declaration--"I here,
once for all, beg to state most distinctly, that from the time of his
coming on board my ship, to the period of his quitting her, his conduct
was invariably that of a gentleman; and in no instance do I recollect
him to have made use of a rude expression, or to have been guilty of any
kind of ill-breeding."--_Narrative_, p. 72.

[186] "July 24, we anchored at Torbay about eight in the morning:
Napoleon had risen at six, and went on the poop, whence he surveyed the
coast and anchorage. I remained by his side to give the explanations he
required."--_Las Cases_, tom. i., p. 41.

[187] Las Cases, tom. i., p. 50.

[188] The white flag was flying at Rochelle and the isle of Oleron. It
was hoisted on the 12th, and hauled down afterwards; again hoisted on
the 13th July, to the final exclusion of the three-coloured ensign.--S.

[189] Admiral Hotham and Captain Maitland had no particular orders how
this uncommon person was to be treated, and were naturally desirous of
showing respect under misfortunes to one who had been so great. Their
civilities went no farther than manning the yards when he entered the
Superb on a breakfast visit, and when he returned to the Bellerophon on
the same occasion. Captain Maitland also permitted Napoleon to lead the
way into the dining cabin, and seat himself in the centre of the table;
an honour which it would have been both ungracious and uncalled for to
have disputed. Even these civilities could not have been a portion of
the snare of which Napoleon complains, or have had the least effect in
inducing him to take his resolution of surrendering to the English, as
the argument in the text infers; for that resolution had been taken, and
the surrender made, before the attentions Napoleon founds upon could
have been offered and received. This tends to confirm the opinion of
Nelson, that the French, when treated with ceremonial politeness, are
apt to form pretensions upon the concessions made to them in ordinary

[190] Russie!--Dieu m'en garde.--S.

[191] Having had the inestimable advantage of comparing Sir Henry
Bunbury's Minutes of this striking transaction with those of Mr. Meike,
who accompanied Lord Keith in the capacity of secretary, the Author has
been enabled to lay before the public the most ample and exact account
of the interview of 31st July which has yet appeared.--S.


    _Napoleon's real view of the measure of sending him to St.
    Helena--Allegation that Captain Maitland made terms with
    him--disproved--Probability that the insinuation arose with Las
    Cases--Scheme of removing Napoleon from the Bellerophon, by citing
    him as a witness in a case of libel--Threats of
    self-destruction--Napoleon goes on board the Northumberland, which
    sails for St. Helena--His behaviour on the voyage--He arrives at St.
    Helena, 16th October._

The interest attaching to the foregoing interview betwixt Napoleon and
the gentlemen sent to announce his doom, loses much, when we regard it
in a great measure as an empty personification of feeling, a
well-painted passion which was not in reality felt. Napoleon, as will
presently appear, was not serious in averring that he had any
encouragement from Captain Maitland to come on board his ship, save in
the character of a prisoner, to be placed at the Prince Regent's
discretion. Neither had he the most distant idea of preventing his
removal to the Northumberland, either by violence to himself or any one
else. Both topics of declamation were only used for show--the one to
alarm the sense of honour entertained by the Prince Regent and the
people of England, and the other to work upon their humanity.


There is little doubt that Napoleon saw the probability of the St.
Helena voyage, so soon as he surrendered himself to the captain of the
Bellerophon.[192] He had affirmed, that there was a purpose of
transferring him to St. Helena or St. Lucie, even before he left Elba;
and if he thought the English capable of sending him to such banishment
while he was under the protection of the treaty of Fontainbleau, he
could hardly suppose that they would scruple to execute such a purpose,
after his own conduct had deprived him of all the immunities with which
that treaty had invested him.

Nevertheless, while aware that his experiment might possibly thus
terminate, Napoleon may have hoped a better issue, and conceived himself
capable of cajoling the Prince Regent[193] and his administration into
hazarding the safety and the peace of Europe, in order to display a
Quixotic generosity towards an individual, whose only plea for deserving
it was that he had been for twenty years their mortal enemy. Such hopes
he may have entertained; for it cannot be thought that he would
acknowledge even to himself the personal disqualifications which
rendered him, in the eyes of all Europe, unworthy of trust or
confidence. His expectation of a favourable reception did not go so far,
in all likelihood, as those of the individual among his followers, who
believed that Napoleon would receive the Order of the Garter from the
Prince Regent; but he might hope to be permitted to reside in Britain on
the same terms as his brother Lucien had done.

Doubtless he calculated upon, and perhaps overrated, all these more
favourable chances. Yet, if the worst should arrive, he saw even in that
_worst_, that island of St. Helena itself, the certainty of personal
safety, which he could not be assured of in any despotic country, where,
as he himself must have known pretty well, an obnoxious prisoner, or
_detenu_, may lose his life _par négligence_, without any bustle or
alarm being excited upon the occasion. Upon the 16th August, while on
his passage to St. Helena, he frankly acknowledged, that though he had
been deceived in the reception he had expected from the English, still,
harshly and unfairly as he thought himself treated, he found comfort
from knowing that he was under the protection of British laws, which he
could not have enjoyed had he gone to another country, where his fate
would have depended upon the caprice of an individual. This we believe
to be the real secret of his rendition to England, in preference to his
father-in-law of Austria, or his friend in Russia. He might, in the
first-named country, be kept in custody, more or less severe; but he
would be at least secure from perishing of some political disease. Even
while at St. Helena, he allowed, in an interval of good tempered
candour, that comparing one place of exile to another, St. Helena was
entitled to the preference. In higher latitudes, he observed, they would
have suffered from cold, and in any other tropical island they would
have been burned to death. At St. Helena the country was wild and
savage, the climate monotonous, and unfavourable to health, but the
temperature was mild and pleasing.[194]


The allegation on which Napoleon had insisted so much, namely, that
Captain Maitland had pledged himself for his good reception in England,
and received him on board his vessel, not as a prisoner, but as a guest,
became now an important subject of investigation. All the while Napoleon
had been on board the Bellerophon, he had expressed the greatest respect
for Captain Maitland, and a sense of his civilities totally inconsistent
with the idea that he conceived himself betrayed by him. He had even
sounded that officer, by the means of Madame Bertrand, to know whether
he would accept a present of his portrait set with diamonds, which
Captain Maitland requested might not be offered, as he was determined to
decline it.

On the 6th of August, Count Las Cases, for the first time, hinted to
Captain Maitland, that he had understood him to have given an assurance,
that Napoleon should be well received in England. Captain Maitland
replied, it was impossible the count could mistake him so far, since he
had expressly stated he could make no promises; but that he thought his
orders would bear him out in receiving Napoleon on board, and conveying
him to England. He reminded the count, that he had questioned him
(Captain Maitland) repeatedly, as to his private opinion, to which he
could only answer, that he had no reason to think Napoleon would be ill
received. Las Cases had nothing to offer in reply. Upon the same 6th
August, Napoleon himself spoke upon the subject, and it will be observed
how very different his language was to Captain Maitland, from that which
he held in his absence. "They say," he remarked, "that I made no
conditions. _Certainly I made no conditions._ How could an individual
enter into terms with a nation? I wanted nothing of them but
hospitality, or, as the ancients would express it, air and water. As for
you, captain, I have no cause of complaint; your conduct has been that
of a man of honour."

The investigation of this matter did not end here, for the ungrounded
assertion that Captain Maitland had granted some conditions, expressed
or implied, was no sooner repelled than it was again revived.

On the 7th, Count Las Cases having a parting interview with Lord Keith,
for the purpose of delivering to him a protest on the part of
Buonaparte, "I was in the act of telling him," said the count, "that
Captain Maitland had said he was authorised to carry us to London,
without letting us suspect that we were to be regarded as prisoners of
war; and that the captain could not deny that we came freely and in good
faith; that the letter from the Emperor to the Prince of Wales, of the
existence of which I had given Captain Maitland information, must
necessarily have created tacit conditions, since he had made no
observation on it." Here the admiral's impatience, nay, anger, broke
forth. He said to him sharply, that in that case Captain Maitland was a
fool, since his instructions contained not a word to such a purpose; and
this he should surely know, since it was he, Lord Keith, who issued
them. Count Las Cases still persevered, stating that his lordship spoke
with a hasty severity, for which he might be himself responsible; since
the other officers, as well as Rear-Admiral Hotham, had expressed
themselves to the same effect, which could not have been the case had
the letter of instructions been so clearly expressed, and so positive,
as his lordship seemed to think.[195]

Lord Keith, upon this statement of Count Las Cases, called upon Captain
Maitland for the most ample account he could give of the communications
which he had had with the count, previous to Napoleon's coming on board
the Bellerophon. Captain Maitland of course obeyed, and stated at full
length the manner in which the French frigates lay blockaded, the great
improbability of their effecting an escape, and the considerable risk
they would have run in attempting it; the application to him, first by
Savary and Las Cases, afterwards by Las Cases and Gourgaud; his
objecting to the frequent flags of truce; his refusal to allow
Buonaparte to pass to sea, either in French ships of war, or in a
neutral vessel; his consenting to carry to England the late Emperor and
his suite, to be at the disposal of the Prince Regent, with his cautions
to them, again and again renewed, in the presence of Captain Sartorius
and Captain Gambier, that he could grant no stipulations or conditions
whatever. These officers gave full evidence to the same effect, by their
written attestations. If, therefore, the insinuation of Count Las Cases,
for it amounts to no more, is to be placed against the express and
explicit averment of Captain Maitland, the latter must preponderate,
were it but by aid of the direct testimony of two other British
officers. Finally, Captain Maitland mentioned Napoleon's acknowledgment,
and that of his suite, that though their expectations had been
disappointed, they imputed no blame to him, which he could not have
escaped, had he used any unwarranted and fallacious proposals to entice
them on board his vessel. As the last piece of evidence, he mentioned
his taking farewell of Montholon, who again reverted to Napoleon's wish
to make him a present, and expressed the Emperor's sense of his
civilities, and his high and honourable deportment through the whole

Captain Maitland, to use his own words, then said, "'I feel much hurt
that Count Las Cases should have stated to Lord Keith, that I had
promised Buonaparte should be well received in England, or indeed made
promises of any sort. I have endeavoured to conduct myself with
integrity and honour throughout the whole of this transaction, and
therefore cannot allow such an assertion to go uncontradicted.'--'Oh!'
said Count Montholon, 'Las Cases negotiated this business; it has turned
out very differently from what he and all of us expected. He attributes
the Emperor's situation to himself, and is therefore desirous of giving
it the best countenance he can; but I assure you the Emperor is
convinced your conduct has been most honourable;' then taking my hand,
he pressed it, and added, 'and that is my opinion also.'"

Lord Keith was of course perfectly convinced that the charge against
Captain Maitland was not only totally unsupported by testimony, but that
it was disproved by the evidence of impartial witnesses, as well as by
the conduct and public expression of sentiments of those who had the
best right to complain of that officer's conduct, had it been really
deserving of censure. The reason why Count Las Cases should persist in
grounding hopes and wishes of his own framing, upon supposed expressions
of encouragement from Captain Maitland, has been probably rightly
treated by Count Montholon. Napoleon's conduct, in loading Captain
Maitland with the charge of "laying snares for him," while his own
conscience so far acquitted that brave officer, that he pressed upon him
thanks, and yet more substantial evidence of his favourable opinion,
can, we are afraid, only be imputed to a predominant sense of his own
interest, to which he was not unwilling to have sacrificed the
professional character and honourable name of an officer, to whom, on
other occasions, he acknowledged himself obliged. As Captain Maitland's
modest and manly Narrative[196] is now published, the figment, that
Napoleon came on board the Bellerophon in any other character than as a
prisoner of war, must be considered as silenced for ever.

Having prosecuted this interesting subject to a conclusion, we return to
the train of circumstances attending Napoleon's departure from England,
so far as they seem to contain historical interest.


The inconvenient resort of immense numbers, sometimes not less than a
thousand boats, scarce to be kept off by absolute force by those who
rowed guard within the prescribed distance of 300 yards from the
Bellerophon, was rendered a greater annoyance, when Napoleon's repeated
expressions, that he would never go to St. Helena, occasioned some
suspicions that he meant to attempt his escape. Two frigates were
therefore appointed to lie as guards on the Bellerophon, and sentinels
were doubled and trebled, both by night and day.

An odd incident, of a kind which could only have happened in England
(for though as many bizarre whims may arise in the minds of foreigners,
they are much more seldom ripened into action,) added to the cares of
those who were to watch this important prisoner. Some newspaper, which
was not possessed of a legal adviser to keep it right in point of form,
had suggested (in tenderness, we suppose, to public curiosity,) that the
person of Napoleon Buonaparte should be removed to shore by agency of a
writ of Habeas Corpus. This magical rescript of the Old Bailey, as
Smollett terms it, loses its influence over an alien and prisoner of
war, and therefore such an absurd proposal was not acted upon. But an
individual prosecuted for a libel upon a naval officer, conceived the
idea of citing Napoleon as an evidence in a court of justice, to prove,
as he pretended, the state of the French navy, which was necessary to
his defence. The writ was to have been served on Lord Keith; but he
disappointed the litigant, by keeping his boat off the ship while he was
on board, and afterwards by the speed of his twelve-oared barge, which
the attorney's panting rowers toiled after in vain. Although this was a
mere absurdity, and only worthy of the laughter with which the anecdote
of the attorney's pursuit and the admiral's flight was generally
received, yet it might have given rise to inconvenience, by suggesting
to Napoleon, that he was, by some process or other, entitled to redress
by the common law of England, and might have encouraged him in resisting
attempts to remove him from the Bellerophon. On the 4th of August, to
end such inconvenient occurrences, the Bellerophon was appointed to put
to sea and remain cruising off the Start, where she was to be joined by
the squadron destined for St. Helena, when Napoleon was with his
immediate attendants to be removed on board the Northumberland.

His spirit for some time seemed wound up to some desperate resolve, and
though he gave no hint of suicide before Captain Maitland, otherwise
than by expressing a dogged resolution not to go to St. Helena, yet to
Las Cases he spoke in undisguised terms of a Roman death.[197] We own we
are not afraid of such resolutions being executed by sane persons when
they take the precaution of consulting an intelligent friend. It is
quite astonishing how slight a backing will support the natural love of
life, in minds the most courageous, and circumstances the most
desperate. We are not, therefore, surprised to find that the philosophic
arguments of Las Cases determined Napoleon to survive and write his
history. Had he consulted his military attendants, he would have
received other counsels, and assistance to execute them if necessary.
Lallemand, Montholon, and Gourgaud, assured Captain Maitland, that the
Emperor would sooner kill himself than go to St. Helena, and that even
were he to consent, they three were determined themselves to put him to
death, rather than he should so far degrade himself. Captain Maitland,
in reply, gave some hints indicative of the gallows, in case such a
scheme were prosecuted.

Savary and Lallemand, were, it must be owned, under circumstances
peculiarly painful. They had been among the list of persons excluded
from the amnesty by the royal government of France, and now they were
prohibited by the British Ministry from accompanying Napoleon to St.
Helena. They entertained, not unnaturally, the greatest anxiety about
their fate, apprehensive, though entirely without reason, that they
might be delivered up to the French Government. They resolved upon
personal resistance to prevent their being separated from their Emperor,
but fortunately were so considerate amid their wrath, as to take the
opinion of the late distinguished lawyer and statesman, Sir Samuel
Romilly.[198] As the most effectual mode of serving these unfortunate
gentlemen, Sir Samuel, by personal application to the Lord Chancellor,
learned that there were no thoughts of delivering up his clients to the
French government, and thus became able to put their hearts at ease upon
that score. On the subject of the resistance, as to the legality of
which they questioned him, Sir Samuel Romilly acquainted them, that life
taken in an affray of the kind, would be construed into murder by the
law of England. No greater danger, indeed, was to be expected from an
assault, legalized upon the opinion of an eminent lawyer, than from a
suicide adjusted with the advice of a counsellor of state; and we
suppose neither Napoleon nor his followers were more serious in the
violent projects which they announced, than they might think necessary
to shake the purpose of the English Ministry. In this they were totally
unsuccessful; and their intemperate threats only occasioned their being
deprived of arms, excepting Napoleon, who was left in possession of his
sword. Napoleon and his followers were greatly hurt at this marked
expression of want of confidence, which must also have been painful to
the English officers who executed the order, though it was explained to
the French gentlemen, that the measure was only one of precaution, and
that their weapons were to be carefully preserved and restored to them.
During his last day on board the Bellerophon, Napoleon was employed in
composing a Protest, which, as it contains nothing more than his address
to Lord Keith and Sir Henry Bunbury, we have thrown into the
Appendix.[199] He also wrote a second letter to the Prince Regent.

On the 4th of August, the Bellerophon set sail, and next morning fell in
with the Northumberland, and the squadron destined for St. Helena, as
also with the Tonnant, on board of which Lord Keith's flag was hoisted.


It was now that Napoleon gave Captain Maitland the first intimation of
his purpose to submit to his exile, by requesting that Mr. O'Meara,
surgeon of the Bellerophon, might be permitted to attend him to St.
Helena, instead of his own surgeon, whose health could not stand the
voyage. This made it clear that no resistance was designed; and, indeed,
so soon as Napoleon observed that his threats had produced no effect, he
submitted with his usual equanimity. He also gave orders to deliver up
his arms. His baggage was likewise subjected to a form of search, but
without unpacking or disturbing any article. The treasure of Buonaparte,
amounting only to 4000 gold Napoleons, was taken into custody, to
abridge him of that powerful means of effecting his escape. Full
receipts, of course, were given, rendering the British Government
accountable for the same; and Marchand, the favourite valet-de-chambre
of the Emperor, was permitted to take whatever money he thought might be
immediately necessary.

About eleven o'clock on the morning of the 7th August, Lord Keith came
in his barge to transfer Napoleon from the Bellerophon to the
Northumberland. About one o'clock, when Buonaparte had announced that he
was in full readiness, a captain's guard was turned out; Lord Keith's
barge was prepared; and as Napoleon crossed the quarter-deck, the
soldiers presented arms under three ruffles of the drum, being the
salute paid to a general officer. His step was firm and steady; his
farewell to Captain Maitland polite and friendly.[200] That officer had
no doubt something to forgive to Napoleon, who had endeavoured to fix
on him the stigma of having laid a snare for him; yet the candid and
manly avowal of the feelings which remained on his mind at parting with
him, ought not to be suppressed. They add credit, were that required, to
his plain, honest, and unvarnished narrative.

"It may appear surprising, that a possibility could exist of a British
officer being prejudiced in favour of one who had caused so many
calamities to his country; but to such an extent did he possess the
power of pleasing, that there are few people who could have sat at the
same table with him for nearly a month, as I did, without feeling a
sensation of pity, allied perhaps to regret, that a man possessed of so
many fascinating qualities, and who had held so high a station in life,
should be reduced to the situation in which I saw him."[201]


Napoleon was received on board of the Northumberland with the same
honours paid at leaving the Bellerophon. Sir George Cockburn, the
British admiral, to whose charge the late Emperor was now committed, was
in every respect a person highly qualified to discharge the task with
delicacy towards Napoleon, yet with fidelity to the instructions he had
received. Of good birth, accustomed to the first society, a handsome
person, and an agreeable address, he had yet so much of the firmness of
his profession as to be able to do unpleasing things when necessary. In
every particular within the circle of his orders, he was kind, gentle,
and accommodating; beyond them, he was inflexible. This mixture of
courtesy and firmness was particularly necessary, since Napoleon, and
still more his attendants on his behalf, were desirous upon several
occasions to arrogate a degree of royal rank for the prisoner, which Sir
George Cockburn's instructions, for reasons to be hereafter noticed,
positively forbade him to concede. All that he could give, he gave with
a readiness which showed kindness as well as courtesy; but aware that,
beyond the fixed limit, each admitted claim would only form the
foundation for another, he made his French guests sensible that
ill-humour or anger could have no effect upon his conduct.

The consequence was, that though Napoleon, when transferred to the
Northumberland, was, by the orders of the Admiralty, deprived of certain
marks of deference which he received on board of the Bellerophon (where
Captain Maitland had no precise orders on the subject, and the
withholding of which in him would have been a gratuitous infliction of
humiliation,) yet no positive quarrel, far less any rooted ill-will,
took place betwixt Napoleon and the admiral. The latter remained at the
principal place of his own table, was covered when on the quarterdeck,
after the first salutations had passed, and disregarded other
particulars of etiquette observed towards crowned heads; yet such
circumstances only occasioned a little temporary coldness, which, as the
admiral paid no attention to his guests' displeasure, soon gave way to a
Frenchman's natural love of society; and Sir George Cockburn (ceasing to
be the _Réquin_, as Las Cases says the French termed him when they were
in the pet,) became that mixture of the obliging gentleman and strict
officer, for which Napoleon held him whenever he spoke candidly on the

It may be mentioned as no bad instance of this line of conduct, and its
effects, that upon the Northumberland crossing the line, the Emperor
desiring to exhibit his munificence to the seamen, by presenting them
with a hundred louis-d'or, under pretext of paying the ordinary fine,
Sir George Cockburn, considering this tribute to Neptune as too
excessive in amount, would not permit the donative to exceed a tenth
part of the sum; and Napoleon, offended by the restriction, paid nothing
at all. Upon another occasion, early in the voyage, a difference in
national manners gave rise to one of those slight misunderstandings
which we have noticed. Napoleon was accustomed, like all Frenchmen, to
leave the table immediately after dinner, and Sir George Cockburn, with
the English officers, remained after him at table; for, in permitting
his French guests their liberty, the admiral did not choose to admit the
right of Napoleon to break up the party at his, Sir George's, own table.
This gave some discontent.[202] Notwithstanding these trifling subjects
of dissatisfaction, Las Cases informs us that the admiral, whom he took
to be prepossessed against them at first, became every day more
amicable. The Emperor used to take his arm every evening on the
quarterdeck, and hold long conversations with him upon maritime
subjects, as well as past events in general.[203]

While on board the Northumberland, the late Emperor spent his mornings
in reading or writing;[204] his evenings in his exercise upon deck, and
at cards. The game was generally _vingt un_. But when the play became
rather deep, he discouraged that amusement, and substituted chess. Great
tactician as he was, Napoleon did not play well at that military game,
and it was with difficulty that his antagonist, Montholon, could avoid
the solecism of beating the Emperor.

During this voyage, Napoleon's _jour de fête_ occurred, which was also
his birth-day. It was the 15th August; a day for which the Pope had
expressly canonized a St. Napoleon to be the Emperor's patron. And now,
strange revolution, it was celebrated by him on board of an English
man-of-war, which was conducting him to his place of imprisonment, and,
as it proved, his tomb. Yet Napoleon seemed cheerful and contented
during the whole day, and was even pleased with being fortunate at play,
which he received as a good omen.[205]

[Sidenote: ST. HELENA.]

Upon the 15th October, 1815, the Northumberland reached St. Helena,
which presents but an unpromising aspect to those who design it for a
residence, though it may be a welcome sight to the sea-worn mariner. Its
destined inhabitant, from the deck of the Northumberland, surveyed it
with his spy-glass. St. James' Town, an inconsiderable village, was
before him, enchased as it were in a valley, amid arid and scarped rocks
of immense height; every platform, every opening, every gorge, was
bristled with cannon. Las Cases, who stood by him, could not perceive
the slightest alteration of his countenance.[206] The orders of
Government had been that Napoleon should remain on board till a
residence could be prepared suitable for the line of life he was to lead
in future. But as this was likely to be a work of time, Sir George
Cockburn readily undertook, on his own responsibility, to put his
passengers on shore, and provide in some way for the security of
Napoleon's person, until the necessary habitation should be fitted up.
He was accordingly transferred to land upon the 16th October;[207] and
thus the Emperor of France, nay, wellnigh of Europe, sunk into the
Recluse of St. Helena.


[192] "Aug. 3. The Emperor said to me, 'after all, it is quite certain
that I shall go to St. Helena; but what can we do in that desolate
place?'--'Sire,' I replied, 'we will live on the past; there is enough
in it to satisfy us. Do we not enjoy the life of Cæsar and that of
Alexander? We shall possess still more; you will reperuse yourself,
Sire!'--'Be it so,' rejoined Napoleon, 'we will write our memoirs. Yes,
we must be employed; for occupation is the scythe of time.'"--LAS CASES,
tom. i., p. 57.

[193] "Speaking of Napoleon's wish for an interview with the Prince
Regent, Lord Keith said, 'D--n the fellow, if he had obtained an
interview with his Royal Highness, in half an hour they would have been
the best friends in England.'"--MAITLAND, p. 211.

[194] Las Cases, tom. i., part ii., p. 229.

[195] Las Cases, tom. i., p. 69.--The reader may judge for himself, by
turning to p. 220, where the instructions are printed, acting under
which no man but a fool, as the admiral truly said, could have entered
into such a treaty, as Count Las Cases pretends Captain Maitland to have
engaged in.--S.

[196] "Narrative of the surrender of Buonaparte, and of his residence on
Board H.M.S. Bellerophon. By Captain F. L. Maitland, C. B. 1826."

[197] "'My friend,' said the Emperor to me, 'I have sometimes an idea of
quitting you, and this would not be very difficult; it is only necessary
to create a little mental excitement, and I shall soon have escaped. All
will be over, and you can then quietly rejoin your families.' I
remonstrated warmly against such notions. Poets and philosophers had
said, that it was a spectacle worthy of the Divinity to see men
struggling with fortune; reverses and constancy had their glory."--LAS
CASES, tom. i., p. 56.

[198] Savary, tom. iv., p. 189.

[199] See APPENDIX, No. II.--"It occurred to me, that, in such a
decisive moment, the Emperor was bound to show a formal opposition to
this violence. I ventured, therefore, to read to him a paper which I had
prepared, with the general sense of which he seemed pleased. After
suppressing a few phrases, and correcting others, it was signed, and
sent to Lord Keith."--LAS CASES, tom. i., p. 59.

[200] "Taking off his hat, he said, 'Captain Maitland, I take this last
opportunity of once more returning you my thanks for the manner in which
you have treated me while on board the Bellerophon, and also to request
you will convey them to the officers and ship's company you command;'
then turning to the officers, who were standing by me, he added,
'Gentlemen, I have requested your captain to express my gratitude to you
for your attention to me, and to those who have followed my fortunes.'
He then went forward to the gangway; and before he went down the ship's
side, bowed two or three times to the ship's company. After the boat had
shoved off, and got the distance of about thirty yards from the ship, he
stood up, pulled his hat off, and bowed, first to the officers, and then
to the men; and immediately sat down and entered into conversation with
Lord Keith."--MAITLAND, p. 202.

[201] "After Napoleon had quitted the ship, being desirous to know what
were the feelings of the ship's company towards him, I asked my servant
what the people said of him. 'Why, sir,' he answered, 'I heard several
of them conversing together about him this morning; when one of them
observed, "Well! they may abuse that man as much as they please, but if
the people of England knew him as well as we do, they would not hurt a
hair of his head;" in which the others agreed.'"--MAITLAND, p. 223.

[202] Las Cases [tom. i., p. 101,] gives somewhat a different account of
this trifling matter, which appears to have been a misunderstanding. Las
Cases supposes the admiral to have been offended at Napoleon's rising,
whereas Sir George Cockburn was only desirous to show that he did not
conceive himself obliged to break up the party because his French guests
withdrew. It seems, however, to have dwelt on Napoleon's mind, and was
always quoted when he desired to express dissatisfaction with the

[203] Las Cases, tom. i., p. 138.--"After dinner the grand maréchal and
I always followed the Emperor to the quarterdeck. After the preliminary
remarks on the weather, &c., Napoleon used to start a subject of
conversation, and when he had taken eight or nine turns the whole length
of the deck, he would seat himself on the second gun from the gangway,
on the larboard side. The midshipmen soon observed this habitual
predilection, so that the cannon was thenceforth called the _Emperor's
gun_. It was there that Napoleon often conversed hours together, and
that I learned, for the first time, a part of what I am about to
relate."--LAS CASES, p. 95.

[204] "Sept. 1-6.--The Emperor expressed a wish to learn English. I
endeavoured to form a very simple plan for his instruction. This did
very well for two or three days; but the _ennui_ occasioned by the study
was at least equal to that which it was intended to counteract, and the
English was laid aside."--LAS CASES, tom. i., p. 137. "Sept. 7. The
Emperor observed that I was very much occupied, and he even suspected
the subject on which I was engaged. He determined to ascertain the fact,
and obtained sight of a few pages of my Journal; he was not displeased
with it. He observed that such a work would be interesting rather than
useful. The military events, for example, thus detailed, in the ordinary
course of conversation, would be meagre, incomplete, and devoid of end
or object. I eagerly seized the favourable opportunity, and ventured to
suggest the idea of his dictating to me the campaigns in Italy. On the
9th, the Emperor called me into his cabin, and dictated to me, for the
first time, some details respecting the siege of Toulon," &c.--LAS
CASES, p. 171. "Sept. 19-22. The Emperor now began regularly to dictate
to me his campaigns of Italy. For the first few days he viewed this
occupation with indifference; but the regularity and promptitude with
which I presented to him my daily task, together with the progress we
made, soon excited his interest; and at length the pleasure he derived
from this dictation, rendered it absolutely necessary to him. He was
sure to send for me about eleven o'clock every morning, and he seemed
himself to wait the hour with impatience."--LAS CASES, p. 187.

[205] Las Cases, tom. i., p. 92.

[206] Las Cases, tom. i., p. 241.


    _Causes which justify the English Government in the measure of
    Napoleon's Banishment--Napoleon's wish to retire to England, in
    order that, being near France, he might again interfere in her
    affairs--Reasons for withholding from him the title of Emperor--Sir
    George Cockburn's Instructions--Temporary Accommodation at
    Briars--Napoleon removes to Longwood--Precautions taken for the safe
    custody of the Prisoner._

We are now to touch upon the arguments which seem to justify the
Administration of England in the strict course which they adopted
towards Napoleon Buonaparte, in restraining his person, and abating the
privileges of rank which he tenaciously claimed. And here we are led to
observe the change produced in men's feelings within the space of only
twelve years. In 1816, when the present author, however inadequate to
the task, attempted to treat of the same subject,[208] there existed a
considerable party in Britain who were of opinion that the British
government would best have discharged their duty to France and Europe,
by delivering up Napoleon to Louis XVIII.'s government, to be treated as
he himself had treated the Duke d'Enghien. It would be at this time of
day needless to throw away argument upon the subject, or to show that
Napoleon was at least entitled to security of life, by his surrender to
the British flag.

As needless would it be to go over the frequently repeated ground, which
proves so clearly that in other respects the transaction with Captain
Maitland amounted to an unconditional surrender. Napoleon had considered
every plan of escape by force or address, and none had seemed to him to
present such chance of a favourable result, as that which upon full
consideration he adopted. A surrender to England ensured his life, and
gave him the hope of taking further advantages from the generosity of
the British nation; for an unconditional surrender, as it secures
nothing, so it excludes nothing. General Bertrand, when on board the
Northumberland, said that Napoleon had been much influenced in taking
the step he had done by the Abbé Siêyes, who had strongly advised him to
proceed at once to England, in preference to taking any other course,
which proves that his resolution must of course have been formed long
before he ever saw Captain Maitland. Even M. Las Cases, when closely
examined, comes to the same result; for he admits that he never hoped
that Napoleon would be considered as a free man, or receive passports
for America; but only that he would be kept in custody under milder
restrictions than were inflicted upon him. But as he made no stipulation
of any kind concerning the nature of these restrictions, they must of
course have been left to the option of the conquering party. The
question, therefore, betwixt Napoleon and the British nation, was not
one of _justice_, which has a right to its due, though the consequence
should be destruction to the party by which it is to be rendered, but
one of generosity and clemency, feelings which can only be wisely
indulged with reference to the safety of those who act upon them.

Napoleon being thus a prisoner surrendered at discretion, became
subjected to the common laws of war, which authorise belligerent powers
to shut up prisoners of war in places of confinement, from which it is
only usual to except such whose honour may be accounted as a sufficient
guarantee for their good faith, or whose power of doing injury is so
small that it might be accounted contemptible. But Buonaparte was
neither in the one situation nor the other. His power was great; the
temptation to use it strong; and the confidence to be placed in his
resolution or promise to resist such temptation, very slight indeed.

There is an unauthorised report, that Lord Castlereagh, at the time of
the treaty of Fontainbleau, asked Caulaincourt, why Napoleon did not
choose to ask refuge in England, rather than accept the almost
ridiculous title of Emperor of Elba. We doubt much if Lord Castlereagh
did this. But if, either upon such a hint, or upon his own free motion,
Napoleon had chosen in 1814, to repose his confidence in the British
nation; or even had he fallen into our hands by chance of war, England
ought certainly, on so extraordinary an occasion, to have behaved with
magnanimity; and perhaps ought either to have permitted Napoleon to
reside as an individual within her dominions, or suffered him to have
departed to America. It might then have been urged (though cautious
persons might even then hesitate,) that the pledged word of a soldier,
who had been so lately a sovereign, ought to be received as a guarantee
for his observance of treaty. Nay, it might then have been held, that
the talents and activity of a single individual, supposing them as great
as human powers can be carried, would not have enabled him, however
desirous, to have again disturbed the peace of Europe. There would have
been a natural desire, therefore, to grant so remarkable a person that
liberty which a generous nation might have been willing to conceive
would not, and could not, be abused. But the experiment of Elba gave too
ample proof at once how little reliance was to be placed in Napoleon's
engagement, and how much danger was to be apprehended from him, even
when his fortunes were apparently at the lowest ebb. His breach of the
treaty of Fontainbleau altered entirely his relations with England and
with Europe; and placed him in the condition of one whose word could not
be trusted, and whose personal freedom was inconsistent with the
liberties of Europe. The experiment of trusting to his parole had been
tried and failed. The wise may be deceived once; only fools are twice
cheated in the same manner.

It may be pleaded and admitted for Napoleon, that he had, to instigate
his returning from Elba, as strong a temptation as earth could hold out
to an ambitious spirit like his own--the prospect of an extraordinary
enterprise, with the imperial throne for its reward. It may be also
allowed, that the Bourbons, delaying to pay his stipulated revenue,
afforded him, so far as they were concerned, a certain degree of
provocation. But all this would only argue against his being again
trusted within the reach of such temptation. While France was in a state
of such turmoil and vexation, with the remains of a disaffected army
fermenting amid a fickle population--while the king (in order to make
good his stipulated payments to the allies) was obliged to impose heavy
taxes, and to raise them with some severity, many opportunities might
arise, in which Napoleon, either complaining of some petty injuries of
his own, or invited by the discontented state of the French nation,
might renew his memorable attempt of 28th February. It was the business
of the British Ministry to prevent all hazard of this. It was but on the
20th April before, that they were called upon by the Opposition to
account to the House of Commons for not taking proper precautions to
prevent Buonaparte's escape from Elba.[209] For what then would they
have rendered themselves responsible, had they placed him in
circumstances which admitted of a second escape?--at least for the full
extent of all the confusion and bloodshed to which such an event must
necessarily have given rise. The justice, as well as the necessity of
the case, warranted the abridgement of Buonaparte's liberty, the extent
of which had been made, by his surrender, dependent upon the will of

In deducing this conclusion, we have avoided having any recourse to the
argument _ad hominem_. We have not mentioned the dungeon of Toussaint,
on the frontier of the Alps, or the detention of Ferdinand, a confiding
and circumvented ally, in the chateau of Valençay. We have not adverted
to the instances of honours and appointments bestowed on officers who
had broken their parole of honour, by escaping from England, yet were
received in the Tuileries with favour and preferments. Neither have we
alluded to the great state maxim, which erected political necessity, or
expediency, into a power superior to moral law. Were Britain to
vindicate her actions by such instances as the above, it would be
reversing the blessed rule, acting towards our enemy, not according as
we would have _desired_ he should have done, but as he actually _had_
done in regard to us, and observing a crooked and criminal line of
policy, because our adversary had set us the example.

But Buonaparte's former actions must necessarily have been considered,
so far as to ascertain what confidence was to be reposed in his personal
character; and if that was found marked by gross instances of breach of
faith to others, Ministers would surely have been inexcusable had they
placed him in a situation where his fidelity was what the nation had
principally to depend on for tranquillity. The fact seems to be admitted
by Las Cases, that while he proposed to retire to England, it was with
the hope of again meddling in French affairs.[210] The example of Sir
Niel Campbell had shown how little restraint the mere presence of a
commissioner would have had over this extraordinary man; and his
resurrection after leaving Elba, had distinctly demonstrated that
nothing was to be trusted to the second political death which he
proposed to submit to as a recluse in England.

It has, however, been urged, that if the character of the times and his
own rendered it an act of stern necessity to take from Napoleon his
personal freedom, his captivity ought to have been at least accompanied
with all marks of honourable distinction; and that it was unnecessarily
cruel to hurt the feelings of his followers and his own, by refusing him
the Imperial title and personal observances, which he had enjoyed in his
prosperity, and of which he was tenacious in adversity.

It will be agreed on all hands, that if any thing could have been done
consistent with the main exigencies of the case, to save Napoleon a
single pang in his unfortunate situation, that measure should have been
resorted to. But there could be no reason why Britain, in compassionate
courtesy, should give to her prisoner a title which she had refused to
him _de jure_, even while he wielded the empire of France _de facto_;
and there were arguments, to be hereafter stated, which weighed
powerfully against granting such an indulgence.

The place of Napoleon's confinement, also, has been the subject of
severe censure; but the question is entirely dependent upon the right of
confining him at all. If that is denied, there needs no further
argument; for a place of confinement, to be effectual, must connect
several circumstances of safety and seclusion, each in its degree
aggravating the sufferings of the person confined, and inflicting pain
which ought only to be the portion of a legal prisoner. But if it be
granted that a person so formidable as Napoleon should be debarred from
the power of making a second avatar on the earth, there is perhaps no
place in the world where so ample a degree of security could have been
reconciled with the same degree of personal freedom to the captive, as
St. Helena.

The healthfulness of the climate of that island will be best proved by
the contents of a report annexed to a return made on 20th March, 1821,
by Dr. Thomas Shortt, physician to the forces; from which it appears,
that among the troops then stationed in St. Helena, constantly employed
in ordinary or on fatigue duty, and always exposed to the atmosphere,
the proportion of sick was only as one man to forty-two, even including
casualties, and those sent to the hospital after punishment. This
extraordinary degree of health, superior to that of most places in the
world, Dr. Shortt imputes to the circumstance of the island being placed
in the way of the trade-winds, where the continued steady breeze carries
off the superfluous heat, and with it such effluvia noxious to the human
constitution, as it may have generated. The same cause, bringing with it
a succession of vapours from the ocean, affords a cloudy curtain to
intercept the sun's rays, and prevents the occurrence of those violent
and rapid forms of disease, which present themselves throughout the
tropics in general. Checked perspiration is noticed as an occasional
cause of disease, but which, if properly treated, is only fatal to those
whose constitutions have been previously exhausted by long residence in
a hot climate. It should also be observed, that the climate of the
island is remarkably steady, not varying upon an average more than
twenty degrees in the course of the year; which equality of temperature
is another great cause of the general healthfulness.[211] The atmosphere
is warm indeed; but, as Napoleon was himself born in a hot climate, and
was stated to be afraid of the cold even of Britain, that could hardly
in his case be considered as a disadvantageous circumstance.

In respect to Napoleon's personal treatment, Sir George Cockburn
proceeded on his arrival to arrange this upon the system recommended by
his final instructions, which run thus:

    "In committing so important a trust to British officers, the Prince
    Regent is sensible that it is not necessary to impress upon them his
    anxious desire that no greater measure of severity with respect to
    confinement or restriction be imposed, than what is deemed necessary
    for the faithful discharge of that duty, which the admiral, as well
    as the Governor of St. Helena must ever keep in mind--the perfect
    security of General Buonaparte's person. Whatever, consistent with
    this great object, can be allowed in the shape of indulgence, his
    royal highness is confident will be willingly shown to the general;
    and he relies on Sir George Cockburn's known zeal and energy of
    character, that he will not allow himself to be betrayed into any
    improvident relaxation of his duty."[212]

It was in the spirit of these instructions that Sir George Cockburn
acted, in selecting a place of residence for his important prisoner,
while, at the same time, he consulted Napoleon's wishes as much as the
case could possibly admit.

The accommodation upon the island was by no means such as could be
desired in the circumstances. There were only three houses of a public
character, which were in any degree adapted for such a guest. Two, the
town residences of the governor and lieutenant-governor of the island,
were unfit for the habitation of Napoleon, because they were within
James' Town, a situation which, for obvious reasons, was not advisable.
The third was Plantation-house, a villa in the country, belonging to the
governor, which was the best dwelling in the island. The British
Administration had prohibited the selection of this house for the
residence of the late Imperial captive. We differ from their opinion in
this particular, because the very best accommodation was due to fallen
greatness; and, in his circumstances, Napoleon, with every respect to
the authority of the governor, ought to have been the last person on the
island subjected to inconvenience. We have little doubt that it would
have been so arranged, but for the disposition of the late French
Emperor and his followers to use every point of deference, or
complaisance, exercised towards them, as an argument for pushing their
pretensions farther. Thus the civility showed by Admiral Hotham and
Captain Maitland, in manning the yards as Napoleon passed from one
vessel to the other, was pleaded upon as a proof that his free and regal
condition was acknowledged by these officers; and, no doubt, the
assigning for his use the best house in the island, might, according to
the same mode of logic, have been assumed to imply that Napoleon had no
superior in St. Helena. Still there were means of repelling this spirit
of encroachment, if it had shown itself; and we think it would have been
better to risk the consequences indicated, and to have assigned
Plantation-house for his residence, as that which was at least the best
accommodation which the island afforded. Some circumstances about the
locality, it is believed, had excited doubts whether the house could be
completely guarded. But this, at any rate, was a question which had been
considered at home, where, perhaps the actual state of the island was
less perfectly understood; and Sir George Cockburn, fettered by his
instructions, had no choice in the matter.


Besides Plantation-house, there was another residence situated in the
country, and occupied by the lieutenant-governor, called Longwood,
which, after all the different estates and residences in the island had
been examined, was chosen by Sir George Cockburn as the future residence
of Napoleon. It lies detached from the generally inhabited places of the
island, consequently none were likely to frequent its neighbourhood,
unless those who came there on business. It was also distant from those
points which were most accessible to boats, which, until they should be
sufficiently defended, it was not desirable to expose to the observation
of Napoleon or his military companions. At Longwood, too, there was an
extent of level ground, capable of being observed and secured by
sentinels, presenting a space adapted for exercise, whether on horseback
or in a carriage; and the situation, being high, was more cool than the
confined valleys of the neighbourhood. The house itself was equal in
accommodation (though that is not saying much) to any on the island,
Plantation-house excepted.

To conclude, it was approved of by Napoleon, who visited it personally,
and expressed himself so much satisfied, that it was difficult to
prevail on him to leave the place. Immediate preparations were therefore
made, for making such additions as should render the residence, if not
such a one as could be wished, at least as commodious as the
circumstances admitted. Indeed it was hoped, by assistance of
artificers, and frames to be sent from England, to improve it to any
extent required. In the meanwhile, until the repairs immediately
necessary could be made at Longwood, General Bertrand, and the rest of
Napoleon's suite, were quartered in a furnished house in James' Town,
while he himself, at his own request, took up his abode at Briars, a
small house or cottage, romantically situated, a little way from the
town, in which he could only have one spare room for his own
accommodation. Sir George Cockburn would have persuaded him rather to
take up his temporary abode in the town, where the best house in the
place was provided for him. Napoleon declined this proposal, pleading
his natural aversion to expose himself to the public gaze. Besides the
solitude, the pleasing landscape, agreeable especially to those whose
persons have been lately confined to a ship, and whose eyes have long
wandered over the waste of ocean, determined the Ex-Emperor in favour of

Whilst dwelling at Briars, Napoleon limited himself more than was
necessary; for, taking exception at the sentinels, who were visible from
the windows of the house, and objecting more reasonably to the resort of
visitors, he sequestered himself in a small pavilion, consisting of one
good room, and two small attic apartments, which stood about twenty
yards from the house. Of course his freedom, unless when accompanied by
a British field-officer, was limited to the small garden of the cottage,
the rest of the precincts being watched by sentinels. Sir George
Cockburn felt for the situation of his prisoner, and endeavoured to
hurry forward the improvements at Longwood, in order that Napoleon
might remove thither. He employed for this purpose the ship-carpenters
of the squadron, and all the artificers the island could afford; "and
Longwood," says Dr. O'Meara, "for nearly two months, exhibited as busy a
scene as had ever been witnessed, during the war, in any of his
Majesty's dock-yards, whilst a fleet was fitting out under the personal
direction of some of our best naval commanders. The admiral,
indefatigable in his exertions, was frequently seen to arrive at
Longwood shortly after sunrise, stimulating by his presence the St.
Helena workmen, who, in general lazy and indolent, beheld with
astonishment the despatch and activity of a man-of-war succeed to the
characteristic idleness, which until then they had been accustomed both
to witness and to practise."[213]

During the Ex-Emperor's residence at Briars, he remained much secluded
from society, spent his mornings in the garden, and in the evening
played at whist for sugar-plums, with Mr. Balcombe, the proprietor, and
the members of his family. The Count Las Cases, who seems, among those
of his retinue, to have possessed the most various and extensive
information, was naturally selected as the chief, if not the only
companion of his studies and recreations in the morning.[214] On such
occasions he was usually gentle, accessible, and captivating in his

The exertions of Sir George Cockburn, struggling with every difficulty
which want of building materials, means of transport, and every thing
which facilitates such operations, could possibly interpose, at length
enabled him to accomplish the transmutation of Longwood into such a
dwelling-house, as, though it was far below the former dignity of its
possessor, might sufficiently accommodate a captive of the rank at which
Napoleon was rated by the British Government.[215]

[Sidenote: LONGWOOD.]

On the 9th December, Longwood received Napoleon and part of his
household; the Count and Countess of Montholon and their children; the
Count Las Cases and his son. General Gourgaud, Doctor O'Meara, who had
been received as his medical attendant, and such other of Napoleon's
attendants as could not be lodged within the house, were, for the time,
accommodated with tents; and the Count and Countess Bertrand were lodged
in a small cottage at a place called Hut's-gate, just on the verge of
what might be called the privileged grounds of Longwood, whilst a new
house was building for their reception. Upon the whole, as it is
scarcely denied, on the one hand, that every effort was made to render
Longwood-house as commodious for the prisoner as time and means could
possibly permit, so, on the other, it must in fairness be considered,
that the delay, however inevitable, must have been painfully felt by the
Ex-Emperor, confined to his hut at Briars; and that the house at
Longwood, when finished as well as it could be in the circumstances, was
far inferior in accommodation to that which every Englishman would have
desired that the distinguished prisoner should have enjoyed whilst in
English custody.

It had been proposed to remedy the deficiencies of Longwood by
constructing a habitation of wood upon a suitable scale, and sending it
out in pieces from England, to be put together on the spot; the only
mode, as the island can scarce be said to afford any building-materials,
by which the desired object of Napoleon's fitting accommodation could,
it was thought, be duly attained. Circumstances, however, prevented this
plan from being attempted to be carried into execution for several
months; and a series of unhappy disputes betwixt the governor and his
prisoner added years of delay; which leads us again to express our
regret that Plantation-house had not been at once assigned to Napoleon
for his residence.

We have already said, that around the house of Longwood lay the largest
extent of open ground in the neighbourhood, fit for exercise either on
foot or upon horseback. A space of twelve miles in circumference was
traced off, within which Napoleon might take exercise without being
attended by any one. A chain of sentinels surrounded this domain to
prevent his passing, unless accompanied by a British officer. If he
inclined to extend his excursions, he might go to any part of the
island, providing the officer was in attendance, and near enough to
observe his motions. Such an orderly officer was always in readiness to
attend him when required. Within the limited space already mentioned,
there were two camps, that of the 53d regiment at Deadwood, about a mile
from Longwood; another at Hut's-gate, where an officer's guard was
mounted, that being the principal access to Longwood.

We are now to consider the means resorted to for the safe custody of
this important prisoner. The old poet has said, that "every island is a
prison;"[216] but, in point of difficulty of escape, there is none
which can compare with St. Helena; which was no doubt the chief reason
for its being selected as the place of Napoleon's detention.

Dr. O'Meara, no friendly witness, informs us that the guards, with
attention at once to Napoleon's feelings, and the security of his
person, were posted in the following manner:

    "A subaltern's guard was posted at the entrance of Longwood, about
    six hundred paces from the houses, and a cordon of sentinels and
    picquets was placed round the limits. At nine o'clock the sentinels
    were drawn in and stationed in communication with each other,
    surrounding the house in such positions, that no person could come
    in or go out without being seen and scrutinized by them. At the
    entrance of the house double sentinels were placed, and patrols were
    continually passing backward and forward. After nine, Napoleon was
    not at liberty to leave the house, unless in company with a field
    officer; and no person whatever was allowed to pass without the
    counter-sign. This state of affairs continued until daylight in the
    morning. Every landing-place in the island, and, indeed, every place
    which presented the semblance of one, was furnished with a picquet,
    and sentinels were even placed upon every goat-path leading to the
    sea: though in truth the obstacles presented by nature, in almost
    all the paths in that direction, would, of themselves, have proved
    insurmountable to so unwieldy a person as Napoleon."[217]

The precautions taken by Sir George Cockburn, to avail himself of the
natural character and peculiarities of the island, and to prevent the
possibility of its new inhabitant making his escape by sea, were so
strict, as, even without the assistance of a more immediate guard upon
his person, seemed to exclude the possibility, not only of an escape,
but even an attempt to communicate with the prisoners from the

    "From the various signal-posts on the island," continues the account
    of Dr. O'Meara, "ships are frequently discovered at twenty-four
    leagues' distance, and always long before they can approach the
    shore. Two ships of war continually cruised, one to windward, and
    the other to leeward, to whom signals were made, as soon as a vessel
    was discovered, from the posts on shore. Every ship, except a
    British man-of-war, was accompanied down to the road by one of the
    cruisers, who remained with her until she was either permitted to
    anchor, or was sent away. No foreign vessels were allowed to anchor,
    unless under circumstances of great distress; in which case, no
    person from them was permitted to land, and an officer and party
    from one of the ships of war was sent on board to take charge of
    them as long as they remained, as well as in order to prevent any
    improper communication. Every fishing-boat belonging to the island
    was numbered, and anchored every evening at sunset, under the
    superintendence of a lieutenant in the navy. No boats, excepting
    guard-boats from the ships of war, which pulled about the island all
    night, were allowed to be down after sunset. The orderly officer was
    also instructed to ascertain the actual presence of Napoleon twice
    in the twenty-four hours, which was done with as much delicacy as
    possible. In fact, every human precaution to prevent escape, short
    of actually incarcerating or enchaining him, was adopted by Sir
    George Cockburn."[218]


[207] "Before Napoleon stepped into the boat, he sent for the captain of
the Northumberland and took leave of him, desiring him, at the same
time, to convey his thanks to the officers and crew."--LAS CASES, tom. i.,
p. 243.

[208] See the Edinburgh Annual Register for 1815.

[209] Mr. Abercrombie's motion respecting the escape of Buonaparte from
Elba.--_Parl. Debates_, vol. xxx., p. 716.

[210] This, to be sure, according to Las Cases, was only in order to
carry through those great schemes of establishing the peace, the honour,
and the union of the country. He had hoped to the last, it seems, in the
critical moment, "That, at the sight of the public danger, the eyes of
the people of France would be opened; that they would return to him, and
enable him to save the country of France. It was this which made him
prolong the time at Malmaison; it was this which induced him to tarry
yet longer at Rochefort. If he is now at St. Helena, he owes it to that
sentiment. It is a train of thought from which he could never be
separated. Yet more lately, when there was no other resource than to
accept the hospitality of the Bellerophon, perhaps it was not without a
species of satisfaction that he found himself irresistibly drawn on by
the course of events towards England, since being there was being near
France. He knew well that he would not be free, but he hoped to make his
opinion heard; and then how many chances would open themselves to the
new direction which he wished to inspire."--_Journal_, tom. i., p. 334.
We cannot understand the meaning of this, unless it implies that
Napoleon, while retiring into England, on condition of abstaining from
politics, entertained hopes of regaining his ascendency in French
affairs, by and through the influence which he expected to exercise over
those of Britain.--S.

[211] See Appendix, No. III.

[212] Extract of a despatch from Earl Bathurst, addressed to the Lords
Commissioners of the Admiralty, dated 30th July 1815.

[213] Voice, &c., vol. i., p. 14.

[214] "_Briars, Oct. 28-31._ We had nearly arrived at the end of the
campaign of Italy. The Emperor, however, did not yet find that he had
sufficient occupation. Employment was his only resource, and the
interest which his first dictations had assumed furnished an additional
motive for proceeding with them. The campaign of Egypt was now about to
be commenced. The Emperor had frequently talked of employing the grand
mareschal on this subject. I suggested, that he should set us all to
work at the same time, and proceed at once with the campaigns of Italy
and Egypt--the history of the Consulate--the return from Elba, &c. The
idea pleased the Emperor; and, from that time, one or two of his suite
came regularly every day to write by his dictations, the transcript of
which they brought to him next morning."--LAS CASES, tom. i., p. 286.

[215] The suite of apartments, destined for his own peculiar use,
consisted of a saloon, an eating-room, a library, a small study, and a
sleeping apartment. This was a strange contrast with the palaces which
Napoleon had lately inhabited; but it was preferable, in the same
proportion, to the Tower of the Temple, and the dungeons of


    "Every island is a prison,
      Strongly guarded by the sea;
    Kings and princes, for that reason,
      Prisoners are, as well as we."

        RITSON'S _Songs_, vol. ii., p. 105.

[217] Voice from St. Helena, vol. i., p. 21.

[218] Voice from St. Helena, vol. i., p. 22.


    _Buonaparte's alleged grievances considered--Right to restrict his
    Liberty--Limits allowed Napoleon--Complaints urged by Las Cases
    against Sir George Cockburn--Sir Hudson Lowe appointed Governor of
    St. Helena--Information given by General Gourgaud to
    Government--Agitation of various Plans for Buonaparte's
    Escape--Writers on the subject of Napoleon's Residence at St.
    Helena--Napoleon's irritating Treatment of Sir Hudson
    Lowe--Interviews between them._

Hitherto, as we have prosecuted our task, each year has been a history
which we have found it difficult to contain within the limits of half a
volume; remaining besides conscious, that, in the necessary compression,
we have been obliged to do injustice to the importance of our theme. But
the years of imprisonment which pass so much more slowly to the captive,
occupy, with their melancholy monotony, only a small portion of the page
of history; and the tale of five years of St. Helena, might, so far as
events are concerned, be sooner told than the history of a single
campaign, the shortest which was fought under Buonaparte's auspices. Yet
these years were painfully marked, and indeed embittered, by a train of
irritating disputes betwixt the prisoner and the officer to whom was
committed the important, and yet most delicate, task of restraining his
liberty, and cutting off all prospect of escape; and whose duty it was,
at the same time, to mix the necessary degree of vigilance with as much
courtesy, and we will add kindness, as Napoleon could be prevailed on to

We have had considerable opportunity to collect information on this
subject, the correspondence of Sir Hudson Lowe with his Majesty's
Government having been opened to our researches by the liberality of
Lord Bathurst, late secretary of state for the colonial department. This
communication has enabled us to speak with confidence respecting the
general principles by which the British Government were guided in their
instructions to Sir Hudson Lowe, and the tenor of these instructions
themselves. We therefore propose to discuss, in the first place, the
alleged grievances of Napoleon, as they arose out of the instructions of
the British Government; reserving as a second subject of discussion, the
farther complaints of the aggravated mode in which these instructions
are alleged to have been executed by the Governor of St. Helena. On the
latter subject our information is less perfect, from the distance of Sir
Hudson Lowe from Europe precluding personal inquiry, and the
impossibility of producing impartial evidence on the subject of a long
train of minute and petty incidents, each of which necessarily demands
investigation, and is the subject of inculpation and defence. We have,
however, the means of saying something upon this subject also.

We have already discussed the circumstances of Napoleon's surrender to
the British, without reserve, qualification, or condition of any kind;
and we have seen, that if he sustained any disappointment in being
detained a prisoner, instead of being considered as a guest, or free
inmate of Britain, it arose from the failure of hopes which he had
adopted on his own calculation, without the slightest encouragement from
Captain Maitland. We doubt greatly, indeed, if his most sanguine
expectations ever seriously anticipated a reception very different from
what he experienced; at least he testified little or no surprise when
informed of his destiny. But, at any rate, he was a prisoner of war,
having acquired by his surrender no right save to claim safety of life
and limb. If the English nation had inveigled Napoleon into a
capitulation, under conditions which they had subsequently broken, he
would have been in the condition of Toussaint, whom, nevertheless, he
immured in a dungeon. Or, if he had been invited to visit the Prince
Regent of England in the character of an ally, had been at first
received with courteous hospitality, and then committed to confinement
as a prisoner, his case would have approached that of Prince Ferdinand
of Spain, trepanned to Bayonne. But we should be ashamed to vindicate
our country by quoting the evil example of our enemy. Truth and
falsehood remain immutable and irreconcilable; and the worst criminal
ought not to be proceeded against according to his own example, but
according to the general rules of justice. Nevertheless, it greatly
diminishes our interest in a complaint, if he who prefers it has himself
been in the habit of meting to others with the same unfair weight and
measure, which he complains of when used towards himself.

Napoleon, therefore, being a prisoner of war, and to be disposed of as
such, (a point which admits of no dispute,) we have, we conceive,
further proved, that his residence within the territories of Great
Britain was what could hardly take place consistently with the safety of
Europe. To have delivered him up to any of the other allied powers,
whose government was of a character similar to his own, would certainly
have been highly objectionable; since in doing so Britain would have so
far broken faith with him, as to part with the power of protecting his
personal safety, to which extent the country to which he surrendered
himself stood undeniably pledged. It only remained to keep this
important prisoner in such a state of restraint, as to ensure his not
having the means of making a second escape, and again involving France
and Europe in a bloody and doubtful war. St. Helena was selected as the
place of his detention, and, we think, with much propriety; since the
nature of that sequestered island afforded the means for the greatest
certainty of security, with the least restriction on the personal
liberty of the distinguished prisoner. Waves and rocks around its shores
afforded the security of walls, ditches, bars, and bolts, in a citadel;
and his hours of exercise might be safely extended over a space of many
miles, instead of being restrained within the narrow and guarded limits
of a fortress.

The right of imprisoning Napoleon being conceded, or at least proved,
and the selection of St. Helena, as his place of residence, being
vindicated, we have no hesitation in avowing the principle, that every
thing possible ought to have been done to alleviate the painful
feelings, to which, in every point of view, a person so distinguished as
Napoleon must have been subjected by so heavy a change of fortune. We
would not, at that moment, have remembered the lives lost, fortunes
destroyed, and hopes blighted, of so many hundreds of our countrymen,
civilians travelling in France, and detained there against every rule of
civilized war; nor have thought ourselves entitled to avenge upon
Napoleon, in his misfortunes, the cruel inflictions, which his policy,
if not his inclination, prompted him to award against others. We would
not have made his dungeon so wretched, as that of the unhappy Negro
chief, starved to death amidst the Alpine snows. We would not have
surrounded him, while a prisoner, with spies, as in the case of the Earl
of Elgin; or, as in that of Prince Ferdinand, have spread a trap for him
by means of an emissary like the false Baron Koli, who, in proffering to
assist his escape, should have had it for an object to obtain a pretence
for treating him more harshly. These things we would not then have
remembered; or, if we could not banish them from our recollection, in
considering how far fraud and ignoble violence can debase genius, and
render power odious, we would have remembered them as examples, not to
be followed, but shunned. To prevent the prisoner from resuming a power
which he had used so fatally, we would have regarded as a duty not to
Britain alone, but to Europe and to the world. To accompany his
detention with every alleviation which attention to his safe custody
would permit, was a debt due, if not to his personal deserts, at least
to our own nobleness. With such feelings upon the subject in general, we
proceed to consider the most prominent subjects of complaint, which
Buonaparte and his advocates have brought against the Administration of
Great Britain, for their treatment of the distinguished exile.


The first loud subject of complaint has been already touched upon, that
the imperial title was not given to Napoleon, and that he was only
addressed and treated with the respect due to a general officer of the
highest rank. On this subject Napoleon was particularly tenacious. He
was not of the number of those persons mentioned by the Latin poet, who,
in poverty and exile, suited their titles and their language to their
condition.[219] On the contrary, he contended with great obstinacy,
from the time he came to Portsmouth, on his right to be treated as a
crowned head; nor was there, as we have noticed, a more fertile source
of discord betwixt him and the gentlemen of his suite on one side, and
the Governor of St. Helena on the other, than the pertinacious claim, on
Napoleon's part, for honours and forms of address, which the orders of
the British Ministry had prohibited the governor from granting, and
which, therefore, Napoleon's knowledge of a soldier's duty should have
prevented his exacting. But, independently of the governor's
instructions, Buonaparte's claim to the peculiar distinction of a
sovereign prince was liable to question, both in respect of the party by
whom it was insisted on, and in relation to the government from whom it
was claimed.

Napoleon, it cannot be denied, had been not only an Emperor, but perhaps
the most powerful that has ever existed; and he had been acknowledged as
such by all the continental sovereigns. But he had been compelled, in
1814, to lay aside and abdicate the empire of France, and to receive in
exchange the title of Emperor of Elba. His breach of the treaty of Paris
was in essence a renunciation of the empire of Elba; and the
reassumption of that of France was so far from being admitted by the
allies, that he was declared an outlaw by the Congress at Vienna.
Indeed, if this second occupation of the French throne were even to be
admitted as in any respect re-establishing his forfeited claim to the
Imperial dignity, it must be remembered that he himself a second time
abdicated, and formally renounced a second time the dignity he had in an
unhappy hour reassumed. But if Napoleon had no just pretension to the
Imperial title or honours after his second abdication, even from those
who had before acknowledged him as Emperor of France, still less had he
any right to a title which he had laid down, from a nation who had never
acquiesced in his taking it up. At no time had Great Britain recognised
him as Emperor of France; and Lord Castlereagh had expressly declined to
accede to the treaty of Paris, by which he was acknowledged as Emperor
of Elba.[220] Napoleon, indeed, founded, or attempted to found, an
argument upon the treaty of Amiens having been concluded with him, when
he held the capacity of First Consul of France. But he had himself
destroyed the Consular Government, of which he then constituted the
head; and his having been once First Consul gave him no more title to
the dignity of Emperor, than the Directorship of Barras invested _him_
with the same title. On no occasion whatever, whether directly or by
implication, had Great Britain recognised the title of her prisoner to
be considered as a sovereign prince; and it was surely too late to
expect acquiescence in claims in his present situation, which had not
been allowed when he was actually master of half the world.

But it may be urged that, admitting that Napoleon's claim to be treated
with royal ceremonial was in itself groundless, yet since he had
actually enjoyed the throne for so many years, the British ministers
ought to have allowed to him that rank which he had certainly possessed
_de facto_, though not _de jure_. The trifling points of rank and
ceremonial ought, it may be thought, according to the principles which
we have endeavoured to express, to have been conceded to eclipsed
sovereignty and down-fallen greatness.

To this it may be replied, that if the concession recommended could have
had no further consequences than to mitigate the repinings of
Napoleon--if he could have found comfort in the empty sound of titles,
or if the observance of formal etiquette could have reconciled his
feelings to his melancholy and dethroned condition, without altering the
relative state of the question in other respects--such concession ought
not to have been refused to him.

But the real cause of his desiring to have, and of the British
Government's persisting in refusing to him, the name and honours of a
sovereign, lay a great deal deeper. It is true, that it was a foible of
Buonaparte, incident, perhaps, to his situation as a _parvenu_ amongst
the crowned heads of Europe, to be at all times peculiarly and anxiously
solicitous that the most strict etiquette and form should be observed
about his person and court. But granting that his vanity, as well as his
policy, was concerned in insisting upon such rigid ceremonial as is
frequently dispensed with by sovereigns of ancient descent, and whose
title is unquestionable, it will not follow that a person of his sense
and capacity could have been gratified, even if indulged in all the
marks of external influence paid to the Great Mogul, on condition that,
like the later descendants of Timur, he was still to remain a close
prisoner. His purpose in tenaciously claiming the name of a sovereign,
was to establish his claim to the immunities belonging to that title. He
had already experienced at Elba the use to be derived from erecting a
barrier of etiquette betwixt his person and any inconvenient visitor.
Once acknowledged as Emperor, it followed, of course, that he was to be
treated as such in every particular; and thus it would have become
impossible to enforce such regulations as were absolutely demanded for
his safe custody. Such a _status_, once granted, would have furnished
Napoleon with a general argument against every precaution which might be
taken to prevent his escape. Who ever heard of an emperor restricted in
his promenades, or subjected, in certain cases, to the surveillance of
an officer, and the restraint of sentinels? Or how could these
precautions against escape have been taken, without irreverence to the
person of a crowned head, which, in the circumstances of Napoleon
Buonaparte, were indispensably necessary? Those readers, therefore, who
may be of opinion that it was necessary that Napoleon should be
restrained of his liberty, must also allow that the British Government
would have acted imprudently if they had gratuitously invested him with
a character which they had hitherto refused him, and that at the very
moment when their doing so was to add to the difficulties attending his
safe custody.

The question, however, does not terminate even here; for not only was
Great Britain at full liberty to refuse to Buonaparte a title which she
had never recognised as his due--not only would her granting it have
been attended with great practical inconvenience, but farther, she could
not have complied with his wishes, without affording the most serious
cause of complaint to her ally the King of France. If Napoleon was
called emperor, his title could apply to France alone; and if he was
acknowledged as Emperor of France, of what country was Louis XVIII.
King? Many wars have arisen from no other cause than that the government
of one country has given the title and ceremonial due to a sovereign, to
a person pretending to the throne of the other, and it is a ground of
quarrel recognised by the law of nations. It is true, circumstances
might have prevented Louis from resenting the supposed recognition of a
royal character in his rival, as severely as Britain did the
acknowledgment of the exiled Stuarts by Louis XIV., yet it must have
been the subject of serious complaint; the rather that a conduct tending
to indicate England's acquiescence in the imperial title claimed by
Napoleon, could not but keep alive dangerous recollections, and
encourage a dangerous faction in the bosom of France.

Yet, notwithstanding all we have said, we feel there was an awkwardness
in approaching the individual who had been so preeminently powerful,
with the familiarity applicable to one who had never stood more high
above others than he would have done merely as General Buonaparte. A
compromise was accordingly offered by Sir Hudson Lowe, in proposing to
make use of the word Napoleon, as a more dignified style of addressing
his prisoner. But an easy and respectable alternative was in the
prisoner's own power. Napoleon had but to imitate other sovereigns, who,
either when upon foreign travel, or when other circumstances require it,
usually adopt a conventional appellative, which, while their doing so
waves no part of their own claim of right to royal honours, is equally
far from a concession of that right on the part of those who may have
occasion to transact with them. Louis XVIII. was not the less the
legitimate King of France, that he was for many years, and in various
countries, only known by the name of the Comte de Lille. The conveniency
of the idea had struck Napoleon himself; for at one time, when talking
of the conditions of his residence in England, he said he would have no
objection to resume the name of Meuron, an aide-de-camp who had died by
his side at the battle of Arcola.[221] But it seems that Napoleon, more
tenacious of form than a prince who had been cradled in it, considered
this vailing of his dignity as too great a concession on his part to be
granted to the Governor of St. Helena. Sir Hudson Lowe, at one time
desirous to compromise this silly subject of dispute, would have been
contented to render Napoleon the title of Excellency, as due to a
field-mareschal, but neither did this meet with acceptation. Napoleon
was determined either to be acknowledged by the governor as Emperor, or
to retain his grievance in its full extent. No modifications could be
devised by which it could be rendered palatable.

Whether this pertinacity in claiming a title which was rendered
ridiculous by his situation, was the result of some feelings which led
him to doubt his own title to greatness, when his ears were no longer
flattered by the language of humility; or whether the political
considerations just alluded to, rendered him obstinate to refuse all
epithets, except one which might found him in claims to those
indemnities and privileges with which so high a title is intimate, and
from which it may be said to be inseparable, it is impossible for us to
say; vanity and policy might combine in recommending to him perseverance
in his claim. But the strife should certainly, for his own sake, have
been abandoned, when the point remained at issue between the governor
and him only, since even if the former had wished to comply with the
prisoner's desires, his instructions forbade him to do so. To continue
an unavailing struggle, was only to invite the mortification of defeat
and repulse. Yet Napoleon and his followers retained so much sensibility
on this subject, that though they must have been aware that Sir Hudson
Lowe only used the language prescribed by his government, and indeed
dared use no other, this unfortunate phrase of _General Buonaparte_
occurring so often in their correspondence, seemed to render every
attempt at conciliation a species of derogation and insult, and made
such overtures resemble a coarse cloth tied over a raw wound, which it
frets and injures more than it protects.


Whatever might be the merits of the case, as between Napoleon and the
British Ministry, it was clear that Sir George Cockburn and Sir Hudson
Lowe were left by their instructions no option in the matter at issue.
These instructions bore that Napoleon, their prisoner, was to receive
the style and treatment due to General Buonaparte, a prisoner of war;
and it was at their peril if they gave him a higher title, or a
different style of attention from what that title implied. No one could
know better than Napoleon how strictly a soldier is bound by his
_consigne_; and to upbraid Sir Hudson Lowe as ungenerous, unmanly, and
so forth, because he did not disobey the instructions of his
government, was as unreasonable as to hope that his remonstrances could
have any effect save those of irritation and annoyance. He ought to have
been aware that persisting to resent, in rough and insulting terms, the
deprivation of his title on the part of an officer who was prohibited
from using it, might indeed fret and provoke one with whom it would have
been best to keep upon civil terms, but could not bring him one inch
nearer to the point which he so anxiously desired to attain.

In fact, this trivial but unhappy subject of dispute was of a character
so subtle, that it penetrated into the whole correspondence between the
Emperor and the governor, and tended to mix with gall and vinegar all
attempts made by the latter to cultivate something like civil
intercourse. This unlucky barrier of etiquette started up and poisoned
the whole effect of any intended politeness. While Sir George Cockburn
remained on the island, for example, he gave more than one ball, to
which _General Buonaparte_ and his suite were regularly invited. In
similar circumstances, Henry IV. or Charles II. would have attended the
ball, and to a certainty would have danced with the prettiest young
woman present, without dreaming that, by so doing, they derogated from
pretensions derived from a long line of royal ancestors. Buonaparte and
Las Cases, on the contrary, took offence at the familiarity, and wrote
it down as a wilful and flagrant affront on the part of the admiral.
These were not the feelings of a man of conscious dignity of mind, but
of an upstart, who conceives the honour of preferment not to consist in
having enjoyed, or in still possessing, a high situation, gained by
superiority of talent, so much as in wearing the robes or listening to
the sounding titles, which are attached to it.

A subject, upon which we are called upon to express much more sympathy
with the condition of Napoleon, than moves us upon the consideration of
his abrogated title, is, the screen which was drawn betwixt him, and, it
may be said, the living world, through which he was not permitted to
penetrate, by letter, even to his dearest friends and relatives, unless
such had been previously communicated to, and read by, the governor of
the island.

It is no doubt true, that this is an inconvenience to which prisoners of
war are, in all cases, subjected; nor do we know any country in which
their parole is held so sacred as to induce the government to dispense
with the right of inspecting their letters. Yet the high place so lately
occupied by the fallen monarch might, we think, have claimed for him
some dispensation from a restriction so humiliating. If a third person,
cold-blooded at best, perhaps inclined to hold up to scorn the
expressions of our grief or our affection, is permitted to have the
review of the effusions of our heart towards a wife, a sister, a
brother, or a bosom-friend, the correspondence loses half its value;
and, forced as we are to keep it within the bounds of the most discreet
caution, it becomes to us rather a new source of mortification, than the
opening of a communion with those absent persons, whose friendship and
attachment we hold to be the dearest possession of our lives. We the
rather think that some exercise of this privilege might have been left
to Napoleon, without any risk of endangering the safe custody of his
person; because we are pretty well convinced that all efforts strictly
to enforce this regulation did, and must have proved, ineffectual, and
that in some cases by means of money, and at other times by the mere
influence of compassion, he and his followers would always acquire the
means of transmitting private letters from the island without regard to
the restriction. Whatever, therefore, was to be apprehended of danger in
this species of intercourse by letter, was much more likely to occur in
a clandestine correspondence, than in one carried on even by sealed
letters, openly and by permission of the government. We cannot help
expressing our opinion, that, considering the accurate attention of the
police, which would naturally have turned in foreign countries towards
letters from St. Helena, there was little danger of the public post
being made use of for any dangerous machinations. Supposing, therefore,
that the Exile had been permitted to use it, it would have been too
dangerous to have risked any proposal for his escape through that
medium. A secret correspondence must have been resorted to for that
purpose, and that under circumstances which would have put every
well-meaning person, at least, upon his guard against being aiding in
it; since, if the ordinary channels of communication were open to the
prisoner, there could have been no justifiable reason for his resorting
to private means of forwarding letters from the island. At the same
time, while such is our opinion, it is founded upon reasoning totally
unconnected with the claim of right urged by Napoleon; as his situation,
considering him as a prisoner of war, and a most important one,
unquestionably entitled the government of Britain to lay him under all
the restrictions incident to persons in that situation.

Another especial subject of complaint pleaded upon by Napoleon and his
advocates, arose from a regulation, which, we apprehend, was so
essential to his safe custody, that we are rather surprised to find it
was dispensed with upon any occasion, or to any extent; as, if fully and
regularly complied with, it would have afforded the means of relaxing a
considerable proportion of other restrictions of a harassing and
irritating character, liable to be changed from time to time, and to be
removed and replaced in some cases, without any very adequate or
intelligible motive. The regulation which we allude to is that which
required that Buonaparte should be visible twice, or at least once, in
the day, to the British orderly officer. If this regulation had been
submitted to with equanimity by the Ex-Emperor, it would have given the
strongest possible guarantee against the possibility of his attempting
an escape. From the hour at which he had been seen by the officer, until
that at which he should again become visible, no vessel would have been
permitted to leave the island; and supposing that he was missed by the
officer at the regular hour, the alarm would have been general, and,
whether concealed in the town, or on board any of the vessels in the
roadstead, he must necessarily have been discovered. Indeed, the risk
was too great to induce him to have tried an effort so dangerous. It
might easily have been arranged, that the orderly officer should have
the opportunity to execute his duty with every possible respect to
Napoleon's privacy and convenience, and the latter might himself have
chosen the time and manner of exhibiting himself for an instant. In this
case, and considering how many other precautions were taken to prevent
escape--that every accessible path to the beach was closely guarded--and
that the island was very much in the situation of a citadel, of which
soldiers are the principal inhabitants--the chance of Napoleon's
attempting to fly, even if permitted the unlimited range of St. Helena,
was highly improbable, and the chance of his effecting his purpose next
to an impossibility. But this security depended upon his submitting to
see a British officer at a fixed hour; and, resolute in his plan of
yielding nothing to circumstances, Napoleon resisted, in every possible
manner, the necessity of complying with this very important regulation.
Indeed, Sir Hudson Lowe, on his part, was on many occasions contented to
wink at its being altogether neglected, when the orderly officer could
not find the means of seeing Napoleon by stealth while engaged in a
walk, or in a ride, or as it sometimes happened, through the casement.
This was not the way in which this important regulation ought to have
been acted upon and enforced, and the governor did not reap a great
harvest of gratitude from his conduct in dispensing with this act of
superintendence upon his own responsibility.

We have seen that a circuit of twelve miles and upwards was laid off for
Buonaparte's private exercise. No strangers entered these precincts
without a pass from Bertrand, and the Emperor had uninterrupted freedom
to walk or ride within them, unaccompanied by any one save those in his
own family. Beyond these privileged bounds, he was not permitted to
move, without the attendance of a British officer; but under the escort
of such a person he was at liberty to visit every part of the island. To
this arrangement Napoleon was more averse, if possible, than to that
which appointed that a British officer should see him once a-day.

Other subjects of complaint there were; but as they chiefly arose out of
private discussions with Sir Hudson Lowe--out of by-laws enacted by that
officer--and restrictions of a more petty description, we limit
ourselves for the present to those of a general character, which,
however inconvenient and distressing, were, it is to be observed, such
as naturally attached to the condition of a prisoner; and which, like
the fetters of a person actually in chains, are less annoying when
submitted to with fortitude and equanimity, than when the captive
struggles in vain to wrench himself out of their gripe. We are far,
nevertheless, from saying, that the weight of the fetters in the one
case, and the hardship of the personal restrictions in the other, are in
themselves evils which can be easily endured by those who sustain them.
We feel especially how painful the loss of liberty must have been to one
who had not only enjoyed the freedom of his own actions, but the
uncontrolled right of directing those of others. Impatience, however, in
this, as in other instances, has only the prerogative of injuring its
master. In the many hours of meditation which were afforded to
Buonaparte by his residence in St. Helena, we can never perceive any
traces of the reflection, that he owed his present unhappy situation
less to the immediate influence of those who were agents in his defeat
and imprisonment, than to that course of ambition, which, sparing
neither the liberties of France, nor the independence of Europe, had at
length rendered his personal freedom inconsistent with the rights of the
world in general. He felt the distresses of his situation, but he did
not, or could not, reason on their origin. It is impossible to reflect
upon him without the idea being excited, of a noble lion imprisoned
within a narrow and gloomy den, and venting the wrath which once made
the forest tremble, upon the petty bolts and bars, which, insignificant
as they are, defy his lordly strength, and detain him captive.

The situation was in every respect a painful one; nor is it possible to
refuse our sympathy, not only to the prisoner, but to the person whose
painful duty it became to be his superintendent. His duty of detaining
Napoleon's person was to be done most strictly, and required a man of
that extraordinary firmness of mind, who should never yield for one
instant his judgment to his feelings, and should be able at once to
detect and reply to all such false arguments, as might be used to deter
him from the downright and manful discharge of his office. But, then,
there ought to have been combined with those rare qualities a calmness
of temper almost equally rare, and a generosity of mind, which,
confident in its own honour and integrity, could look with serenity and
compassion upon the daily and hourly effects of the maddening causes,
which tortured into a state of constant and unendurable irritability the
extraordinary being subjected to their influence. Buonaparte, indeed,
and the followers who reflected his passions, were to be regarded on all
occasions as men acting and speaking under the feverish and delirious
influence of things long past, and altogether destitute of the power of
cool or clear reasoning, on any grounds that exclusively referred to
things present. The emperor could not forget his empire, the husband
could not forget his wife, the father his child, the hero his triumphs,
the legislator his power. It was scarce in nature, that a brain agitated
by such recollections should remain composed under a change so fearful,
or be able to reflect calmly on what he now was, when agitated by the
extraordinary contrast of his present situation with what he had been.
To have soothed him would have been a vain attempt; but the honour of
England required that he should have no cause of irritation, beyond
those which severely enough attached to his condition as a captive.

From the character we have given of Sir George Cockburn, it may be
supposed that he was attentive, as far as his power extended, and his
duty permitted, to do all that could render Napoleon's situation more
easy. The various authors, Dr. O'Meara, Las Cases, Santini, and others,
who have written with much violence concerning Sir Hudson Lowe's
conduct, have mentioned that of Sir George as fair, honourable, and
conciliatory. No doubt there were many occasions, as the actual
inconveniences of the place were experienced, and as the rays of
undefined hope vanished from their eyes, when Napoleon and his followers
became unreasonably captious in their discussions with the admiral. On
such occasions he pursued with professional bluntness the
straightforward path of duty, leaving it to the French gentlemen to be
sullen as long as they would, and entering into communication again with
them whenever they appeared to desire it. It was probably this
equanimity, which, notwithstanding various acknowledgments of his good
and honourable conduct towards them, seemed to have drawn upon Sir
George Cockburn the censure of M. Las Cases, and something that was
meant as a species of insult from Napoleon himself. As Sir George
Cockburn is acknowledged on the whole to have discharged his duty
towards them with mildness and temper, we are the rather tempted to
enter into their grounds of complaint against him, because they tend to
show the exasperated and ulcerated state of mind with which these
unfortunate gentlemen regarded those, who, in their present office, had
no alternative but to discharge the duty which their sovereign and
country had imposed upon them.

At the risk of being thought trifling with our readers' patience, we
shall recapitulate the grievances complained of by Las Cases, who
frankly admits, that the bad humour, arising out of his situation, may
have in some degree influenced his mind in judging of Sir George
Cockburn's conduct, and shall subjoin to each charge the answer which
seems to correspond to it.


1st, The admiral is accused of having called the Emperor Napoleon,
_General Buonaparte_; and to have pronounced the words with an air of
self-satisfaction, which showed that the expression gratified him. It is
replied, that Sir George Cockburn's instructions were to address
Napoleon by that epithet; and the commentary on the looks or tone with
which he did so, is hypercritical.--2d, Napoleon was quartered in Briars
for two months, while the admiral himself resided in Plantation-house.
Answered, that the instructions of Government were, that Napoleon should
remain on board till his abode was prepared; but finding that would
occupy so much more time than was expected, Sir George Cockburn, on his
own responsibility, placed him on shore, and at Briars, as being the
residence which he himself preferred.--3d, The admiral placed sentinels
under Napoleon's windows. Replied, it is the usual practice when
prisoners of importance are to be secured, especially if they do not
even offer their parole that they will make no attempt to escape.--4th,
Sir George did not permit any one to visit Napoleon without his
permission. Replied, it seemed a necessary consequence of his situation,
until Sir George should be able to distinguish those visitors who might
be with propriety admitted to an unlimited privilege of visiting the
important prisoner.--5th, He invited Napoleon to a ball, by the title of
General Buonaparte. The subject of the title has been already discussed;
and it does not appear how its being used in sending an invitation to a
convivial party, could render the name by which the admiral was
instructed to address his prisoner more offensive than on other
occasions.--6th, Sir George Cockburn, pressed by Bertrand's notes, in
which he qualified the prisoner as an emperor, replied sarcastically,
that he knew of no emperor at St. Helena, nor had heard that any
European emperor was at present travelling abroad. Replied, by referring
to the admiral's instructions, and by the fact, that if an emperor can
abdicate his quality, certainly Napoleon was no longer one.--7th, Sir
George Cockburn is said to have influenced the opinions of others upon
this subject, and punished with arrest some subordinate persons, who
used the phrase of emperor. Answered as before, he had orders from his
government not to suffer Buonaparte to be addressed as emperor, and it
was his duty to cause them to be obeyed. He could not, however, have
been very rigorous, since Monsieur La Cases informs us that the officers
of the 53d used the _mezzotermine_ Napoleon, apparently without censure
from the governor.--Lastly, There remains only to be added the
complaint, that there was an orderly officer appointed to attend
Napoleon when he went beyond certain limits, a point of precaution which
must be very useful, if not indispensable, where vigilant custody is

From this summary of offences, it must be plain to the reader, that the
resentment of Las Cases and his master was not so much against Sir
George Cockburn personally, as against his office; and that the admiral
would have been very acceptable, if he could have reconciled it to his
duty to treat Napoleon as an emperor and a free man; suffered himself,
like Sir Niel Campbell, to be admitted or excluded from his presence, as
the etiquette of an imperial court might dictate; and run the risk of
being rewarded for his complaisance by learning, when he least looked
for it, that Napoleon had sailed for America, or perhaps for France. The
question how far Britain, or rather Europe, had a right to keep Napoleon
prisoner, has already been discussed. If they had no such right, and if
a second insurrection in France, a second field of Waterloo, should be
hazarded, rather than that Napoleon Buonaparte should suffer diminution
of dignity, or restraint of freedom, then Napoleon had a right to
complain of the ministry, but not of the officer, to whom his
instructions were to be at once the guide and vindication of his

While these things passed at St. Helena, the ministry of Great Britain
were employed in placing the detention of the Ex-Emperor under the
regulation of an act of Parliament, which interdicted all intercourse
and commerce with St. Helena, excepting by the East India Company's
regular chartered vessels. Ships not so chartered, attempting to trade
or touch at St. Helena, or hovering within eight leagues of the island,
were declared subject to seizure and confiscation. The crews of the
vessels who came on shore, or other persons visiting the island, were
liable to be sent on board, at the governor's pleasure; and those who
might attempt to conceal themselves on shore, were declared subject to
punishment. Ships were permitted to approach upon stress of weather, but
it was incumbent on them to prove the indispensable necessity, and while
they remained at St. Helena, they were watched in the closest manner. A
clause of indemnity protected the governor and commissioners from any
act transgressing the letter of the law, which they might already have
committed, while detaining Napoleon in custody. Such was the act 56
George III. ch. 23, which legalized the confinement of Napoleon at St.

Another convention betwixt the principal powers of Europe, at Paris, 2d
August, 1815, had been also entered into upon the subject of Napoleon,
and the custody of his person. It set forth, I. That, in order to render
impossible any further attempt on the part of Napoleon Buonaparte
against the repose of the world, he should be considered as prisoner to
the high contracting powers, the King of Great Britain and Ireland, the
Emperor of Austria, the Emperor of Russia, and the King of Prussia. II.
That the custody of his person was committed to the British Government,
and it was remitted to them to choose the most secure place and mode of
detaining him in security. III. That the courts of Austria, Russia, and
Prussia, were to name commissioners who were to inhabit the same place
which should be assigned for Napoleon Buonaparte's residence, and who,
without being responsible for his detention, should certiorate
themselves that he was actually present. IV. His Most Christian Majesty
was also invited to send a commissioner. V. The King of Great Britain
engaged faithfully to comply with the conditions assigned to him by this

Of these powers, only three availed themselves of the power, or
privilege, of sending commissioners to St. Helena. These were Count
Balmain, on the part of Russia, Baron Sturmer for Austria, and an old
emigrant nobleman, the Marquis de Montchenu, for France. Prussia seems
to have thought the expense of a resident commissioner at St. Helena
unnecessary. Indeed, it does not appear that any of these gentlemen had
an important part to play while at St. Helena, but yet their presence
was necessary to place what should pass there under the vigilance of
accredited representatives of the high powers who had engaged in the
Convention of Paris. The imprisonment of Napoleon was now not the work
of England alone, but of Europe, adopted by her most powerful states, as
a measure indispensable for public tranquillity.

[Sidenote: SIR HUDSON LOWE.]

Several months before the arrival of the commissioners, Sir George
Cockburn was superseded in his anxious and painful office by Sir Hudson
Lowe, who remained Governor of St. Helena, and had the charge of
Napoleon's person, until the death of that remarkable person. The
conduct of this officer has been censured, in several of the writings
which have treated of Napoleon's confinement, with such extremity of
bitterness as in some measure defeats its own end, and leads us to doubt
the truth of charges which are evidently brought forward under deep
feelings of personal animosity to the late Governor of St. Helena. On
the other hand, it would require a strong defence on the part of Sir
Hudson Lowe himself, refuting or explaining many things which as yet
have neither received contradiction nor commentary, to induce us to
consider him as the very rare and highly exalted species of character,
to whom, as we have already stated, this important charge ought to have
been intrusted.

Sir Hudson Lowe had risen to rank in the army while serving chiefly in
the Mediterranean, in a foreign corps in the pay of England. In this
situation he became master of the French and Italian languages,
circumstances which highly qualified him for the situation to which he
was appointed. In the campaign of 1814, he had been attached to the army
of the allies, and carried on a correspondence with the English
Government, describing the events of the campaign, part of which was
published, and intimates spirit and talent in the writer. Sir Hudson
Lowe received from several of the allied sovereigns and generals the
most honourable testimonies of his services that could be rendered. He
had thus the opportunity and habit of mixing with persons of distinction
in the discussion of affairs of importance; and his character as a
gentleman and a man of honour was carefully inquired into, and highly
vouched, ere his nomination was made out. These were points on which
precise inquiries could be made, and distinct answers received, and they
were all in favour of Sir Hudson Lowe.

But there were other qualifications, and those not less important, his
possession of which could only be known by putting him upon trial. The
indispensable attribute, for example, of an imperturbable temper, was
scarce to be ascertained, until his proceedings in the office intrusted
to him should show whether he possessed or wanted it. The same must be
said of that firmness and decision, which dictate to an official person
the exact line of his duty--prevent all hesitation or wavering in the
exercise of his purpose--render him, when it is discharged, boldly and
firmly confident that he has done exactly that which he ought--and
enable him fearlessly to resist all importunity which can be used to
induce him to change his conduct, and to contemn all misrepresentations
and obloquy which may arise from his adhering to it.

Knowing nothing of Sir Hudson Lowe personally, and allowing him to
possess the qualities of an honourable, and the accomplishments of a
well-informed man, we are inclined, from a review of his conduct,
divesting it so far as we can of the exaggerations of his personal
enemies, to think there remain traces of a warm and irritable temper,
which seems sometimes to have overborne his discretion, and induced him
to forget that his prisoner was in a situation where he ought not, even
when his conduct seemed most unreasonable and most provoking, to be
considered as an object of resentment, or as being subject, like other
men, to retort and retaliation. Napoleon's situation precluded the
possibility of his inflicting an insult, and therefore the temper of the
person to whom such was offered, ought, if possible, to have remained
cool and unruffled. It does not seem to us that this was uniformly the

In like manner, Sir Hudson Lowe appears to have been agitated by an
oppressive sense of the importance and the difficulties of his
situation, to a nervous and irritating degree. This over-anxiety led to
frequent changes of his regulations, and to the adoption of measures
which were afterwards abandoned, and perhaps again resumed. All this
uncertainty occasioned just subject of complaint to his prisoner; for,
though a captive may become gradually accustomed to the fetters which he
wears daily in the same manner, he must be driven to impatience if the
mode of adjusting them be altered from day to day.

It is probable that the warm temper of Sir Hudson Lowe was in some
degree convenient to Napoleon, as it afforded him the means of reprisals
upon the immediate instrument of his confinement, by making the governor
feel a part of the annoyance which he himself experienced. Sir George
Cockburn had been _in seipso totus, teres, atque rotun dus_. He did what
his duty directed, and cared little what Napoleon thought or said upon
the subject. The new governor was vulnerable; he could be rendered
angry, and might therefore be taken at advantage. Thus Napoleon might
enjoy the vindictive pleasure, too natural to the human bosom, of giving
pain to the person who was the agent, though not the author, in the
restrictions to which he himself was subjected. But Napoleon's interest
in provoking the governor did not rest upon the mere gratification of
spleen. His views went far deeper, and were connected with the prospect
of obtaining his liberty, and with the mode by which he hoped to
accomplish it. And this leads us to inquire upon what these hopes were
rested, and to place before our readers evidence of the most
indisputable credit, concerning the line of policy adopted in the
councils of Longwood.

[Sidenote: GOURGAUD.]

It must be premised that the military gentlemen, who, so much to the
honour of their own fidelity, had attended on Buonaparte, to soften his
calamity by their society and sympathy, were connected by no other link
than their mutual respect for the same unhappy master. Being unattached
to each other by any ties of friendship, or community of feelings or
pursuits, it is no wonder that these officers, given up to ennui, and
feeling the acidity of temper which such a situation is sure to cause,
should have had misunderstandings, nay, positive quarrels, not with the
governor only, but with each other. In these circumstances, the conduct
of General Gourgaud distinguished him from the rest. After the peace of
Paris, this officer had been aide-de-camp to the Duke of Berri, a
situation which he abandoned on Napoleon's return at the period of the
Hundred Days. As he was in attendance upon the Ex-Emperor at the moment
of his fall, he felt it his duty to accompany him to St. Helena. While
upon that island, he took less share in Napoleon's complaints and
quarrels with the governor, than either Generals Bertrand and Montholon,
or Count Las Cases, avoided all appearance of intrigue with the
inhabitants, and was regarded by Sir Hudson Lowe as a brave and loyal
soldier, who followed his emperor in adversity, without taking any part
in those proceedings which the governor considered as prejudicial to his
own authority. As such, he is characterised uniformly in Sir Hudson's
despatches to his Government.

This officer had left in France a mother and sister, to whom he was
tenderly devoted, and who loved him with the fondest affection. From
attachment to these beloved relatives, and their affecting desire that
he should rejoin them, General Gourgaud became desirous of revisiting
his native country; and his resolution was the stronger, that
considerable jealousies and misunderstandings arose betwixt him and
Count Bertrand. In these circumstances, he applied for and obtained
permission from the governor, to return to London direct. Before leaving
St. Helena, he was very communicative both to Sir Hudson Lowe and Baron
Sturmer, the Austrian commissioner, respecting the secret hopes and
plans which were carrying on at Longwood. When he arrived in Britain in
the spring 1818, he was no less frank and open with the British
Government; informing them of the various proposals for escape which had
been laid before Napoleon; the facilities and difficulties which
attended them, and the reasons why he preferred remaining on the island,
to making the attempt. At this period it was supposed that General
Gourgaud was desirous of making his peace with the King of France; but
whatever might be his private views, the minutes of the information
which he afforded to Sir Hudson Lowe and Baron Sturmer at St. Helena,
and afterwards at London to the Under Secretary at War, are still
preserved in the records of the Foreign Office. They agree entirely with
each other, and their authenticity cannot be questioned. The
communications are studiously made, with considerable reserve as to
proper names, in order that no individual should be called in question
for any thing which is there stated; and in general they bear, as was to
be expected, an air of the utmost simplicity and veracity. We shall
often have occasion to allude to these documents, that the reader may be
enabled to place the real purposes of Napoleon in opposition to the
language which he made use of for accomplishing them; but we have not
thought it proper to quote the minutes at length, unless as far as
Napoleon is concerned. We understand that General Gourgaud, on his
return to the continent, has resumed that tenderness to Napoleon's
memory, which may induce him to regret having communicated the secrets
of his prison-house to less friendly ears. But this change of sentiments
can neither diminish the truth of his evidence, nor affect our right to
bring forward what we find recorded as communicated by him.

Having thus given an account of the evidence we mean to use, we resume
the subject of Napoleon's quarrels with Sir Hudson Lowe.

It was not, according to General Gourgaud, for want of means of escape,
that Napoleon continued to remain at St. Helena. There was one plan for
carrying him out in a trunk with dirty linen; and so general was the
opinion of the extreme stupidity of the English sentinels, that there
was another by which it was proposed he should slip through the camp in
disguise of a servant carrying a dish. When the Baron Sturmer
represented the impossibility of such wild plans being in agitation,
Gourgaud answered, "There was no impossibility to those who had millions
at their command. Yes, I repeat it," he continued, "he can escape from
hence, and go to America whenever he has a mind."[224]--"Why, then,
should he remain here?" said Baron Sturmer. Gourgaud replied, "That all
his followers had urged him to make the experiment of escape; but he
preferred continuing on the island. He has a secret pride in the
consequence attached to the custody of his person, and the interest
generally taken in his fate. He has said repeatedly, 'I can no longer
live as a private person. I would rather be a prisoner on this rock,
than a free but undistinguished individual in the United States.'"[225]

General Gourgaud said, therefore, that the event to which Napoleon
trusted for liberty, was some change of politics in the court of Great
Britain, which should bring into administration the party who were now
in opposition, and who, he rather too rashly perhaps conceived, would
at once restore to him his liberty. The British ministers received the
same assurances from General Gourgaud with those given at St. Helena.
These last are thus expressed in the original:--

    "Upon the subject of General Buonaparte's escape, M. Gourgaud stated
    confidently, that although Longwood was, from its situation, capable
    of being well protected by sentries, yet he was certain that there
    would be no difficulty in eluding at any time the vigilance of the
    sentries posted round the house and grounds; and, in short, that
    escape from the island appeared to him in no degree impracticable.
    The subject, he confessed, had been discussed at Longwood amongst
    the individuals of the establishment, who were separately desired to
    give their plans for effecting it. But he expressed his belief to
    be, that General Buonaparte was so fully impressed with the opinion,
    that he would be permitted to leave St. Helena, either upon a change
    of ministry in England, or by the unwillingness of the English to
    bear the expense of detaining him, that he would not at present run
    the hazard to which an attempt to escape might expose him. It
    appeared, however, from the statement of General Gourgaud, and from
    other circumstances stated by him, that Buonaparte had always looked
    to the period of the removal of the allied armies from France as
    that most favourable for his return; and the probability of such an
    event, and the consequences which would flow from it, were urged by
    him as an argument to dissuade General Gourgaud from quitting him
    until after that period."

[Sidenote: WARDEN--O'MEARA, ETC.]

General Gourgaud's communications further bear, what, indeed, can be
collected from many other circumstances, that as Napoleon hoped to
obtain his liberty from the impression to be made on the minds of the
English nation, he was careful not to suffer his condition to be
forgotten, and most anxious that the public mind should be carefully
kept alive to it, by a succession of publications coming out one after
another, modified according to the different temper and information of
the various authors, but bearing all of them the stamp of having issued
in whole or in part from the interior of Longwood. Accordingly, the
various works of Warden,[226] O'Meara,[227] Santini,[228] the letter of
Montholon,[229] and other publications upon St. Helena,[230] appeared
one after another, to keep the subject awake; which, although seemingly
discharged by various hands, bear the strong peculiarity of being
directed at identically the same mark, and of being arrows from the same
quiver. Gourgaud mentioned this species of file-firing, and its purpose.
Even the _Manuscrit de St. Hélène_, a tract, in which dates and facts
were misplaced and confounded, was also, according to General Gourgaud,
the work of Buonaparte, and composed to puzzle and _mystify_ the British
public. He told Sir Hudson Lowe that he was not to consider the abuse in
these various pamphlets as levelled against him personally, but as
written upon political calculation, with the view of extorting some
relaxation of vigilance by the reiteration of complaints. The celebrated
Letter of Montholon was, according to the same authority, written in a
great measure by Napoleon; and the same was the case with Santini's,
though so grossly over coloured that he himself afterwards disowned
it.[231] Other papers, he said, would appear under the names of captains
of merchantmen and the like, for Napoleon was possessed by a mania for
scribbling, which had no interruption. It becomes the historian,
therefore, to receive with caution the narratives of those who have thus
taken a determinedly partial part in the controversy, and concocted
their statements from the details afforded by the party principally
concerned. If what General Gourgaud has said be accurate, it is Napoleon
who is pleading his own cause under a borrowed name, in the pages of
O'Meara, Santini, Montholon, &c. Even when the facts mentioned in these
works, therefore, are undeniable, still it is necessary to strip them of
exaggeration, and place them in a fair and just light before pronouncing
on them.

The evidence of O'Meara, as contained in a _Voice from St. Helena_, is
that of a disappointed man, bitterly incensed against Sir Hudson Lowe,
as the cause of his disappointment. He had no need to kindle the flame
of his own resentment, at that of Buonaparte. But it may be granted that
their vindictive feelings must have strengthened each other. The quarrel
was the more irreconcilable, as it appears that Dr. O'Meara was
originally in great habits of intimacy with Sir Hudson Lowe, and in the
custom of repeating at Plantation-house the gossip which he had heard at
Longwood. Some proofs of this were laid before the public, in the
_Quarterly Review_;[232] and Sir Hudson Lowe's correspondence with
government contains various allusions to Mr. O'Meara's authority,[233]
down to the period when their mutual confidence was terminated by a
violent quarrel.[234]

Count Las Cases is not, in point of impartiality, to be ranked much
above Dr. O'Meara. He was originally a French emigrant, a worshipper by
profession of royalty, and therefore only changed his idol, not his
religion, when he substituted the idol Napoleon for the idol Bourbon. He
embraces with passive obedience the interests of his chief, real or
supposed, and can see nothing wrong which Napoleon is disposed to think
right. He was also the personal enemy of Sir Hudson Lowe. We have no
idea that he would falsify the truth; but we cannot but suspect the
accuracy of his recollection, when we find he inserts many expressions
and incidents in his Journal, long after the period at which it was
originally written, and it is to be presumed from memory. Sir Hudson
Lowe had the original manuscript for some time in his possession, and we
have at present before us a printed copy, in which Sir Hudson has, with
his own hand, marked those additions which had been made to the Journal
since he saw it in its primitive state. It is remarkable that all, or
almost all, the additions which are made to the Journal, consist of
passages highly injurious to Sir Hudson Lowe, which had no existence in
the original manuscript. These additions must therefore have been made
under the influence of recollection, sharpened by angry passions, since
they did not at first seem important enough to be preserved. When memory
is put on the rack by passion and prejudice, she will recollect strange
things; and, like witnesses under the actual torture, sometimes avow
what never took place.

[Sidenote: ANTOMMARCHI.]

Of Dr. Antommarchi it is not necessary to say much; he was a legatee of
Buonaparte, and an annuitant of his widow, besides being anxious to
preserve the countenance of his very wealthy family. He never speaks of
Sir Hudson Lowe without rancour. Sir Hudson's first offence against him
was inquiring for clandestine correspondence;[235] his last was,
preventing the crowd at Napoleon's funeral from pulling to pieces the
willow-trees by which the grave was sheltered, besides placing a guard
over the place of sepulture.[236] What truth is there, then, to be
reposed in an author, who can thus misrepresent two circumstances--the
one imposed on Sir Hudson Lowe by his instructions; the other being what
decency and propriety, and respect to the deceased, imperatively

The mass of evidence shows, that to have remained upon good, or even on
decent terms with the governor, would not have squared with the politics
of one who desired to have grievances to complain of; and who, far from
having the usual motives which may lead a captive and his keeper to a
tolerable understanding, by a system of mutual accommodation, wished to
provoke the governor, if possible, beyond the extent of human patience,
even at the risk of subjecting himself to some new infliction, which
might swell the list of wrongs which he was accumulating to lay before
the public.

What we have stated above is exemplified by Napoleon's reception of Sir
Hudson Lowe, against whom he appears to have adopted the most violent
prejudices at the very first interview, and before the governor could
have afforded him the slightest disrespect. We quote it, because it
shows that the mind of the prisoner was made up to provoke and insult
Sir Hudson, without waiting for any provocation on his part.

The governor's first aggression (so represented,) was his requiring
permission of _General Buonaparte_ to call together his domestics, with
a view to their taking the declaration required by the British
Government, binding themselves to abide by the rules laid down for the
custody of Buonaparte's person. This permission was refused in very
haughty terms. If Napoleon had been at the Tuileries, such a request
could not have been more highly resented. The servants, however,
appeared, and took the necessary declaration. But the affront was not
cancelled; "Sir Hudson Lowe had put his finger betwixt Napoleon and his
valet-de-chambre." This was on the 27th April, 1816.[237]

Upon the 30th, the governor again paid his respects at Longwood, and was
received with one of those calculated bursts of furious passion with
which Napoleon was wont to try the courage and shake the nerves of those
over whom he desired to acquire influence. He spoke of protesting
against the Convention of Paris, and demanded what right the sovereigns
therein allied had to dispose of one, their equal always, and often
their superior. He called upon the governor for death or liberty--as if
it had been in Sir Hudson Lowe's power to give him either the one or the
other. Sir Hudson enlarged on the conveniences of the building which was
to be sent from England, to supply the present want of accommodation.
Buonaparte repelled the proposed consolation with fury. It was not a
house that he wanted, it was an executioner and a line. These he would
esteem a favour; all the rest was but irony and insult. Sir Hudson Lowe
could in reply only hope that he had given no personal offence, and was
reminded of his review of the domestics; which reproach he listened to
in silence.[238]

Presently afterwards, Napoleon fell on a new and cutting method of
exercising Sir Hudson's patience. A book on the campaign of 1814,[239]
lay on the table. Napoleon turned up some of the English bulletins, and
asked, with a tone which was perfectly intelligible, whether the
governor had not been the writer of these letters. Being answered in the
affirmative, Napoleon, according to Dr. O'Meara, told Sir Hudson they
were full of folly and falsehood; to which the governor, with more
patience than most men could have commanded on such an occasion,
replied, "I believe I saw what I have stated;"[240] an answer certainly
as temperate as could be returned to so gratuitous an insult. After Sir
Hudson left the room in which he had been received with so much
unprovoked incivility, Napoleon is described as having harangued upon
the sinister expression of his countenance, abused him in the coarsest
manner, and even caused his valet-de-chambre throw a cup of coffee out
of the window, because it had stood a moment on the table beside the

Every attempt at conciliation on the part of the governor, seemed always
to furnish new subjects of irritation. He sent fowling-pieces to
Longwood, and Napoleon returned for answer, it was an insult to give
fowling-pieces where there is no game; though Santini, by the way,
pretended to support the family in a great measure by his gun. Sir
Hudson sent a variety of clothes and other articles from England, which
it might be supposed the exiles were in want of. The thanks returned
were, that the governor treated them like paupers, and that the articles
ought, in due respect, to have been left at the store, or governor's
house, while a list was sent to the Emperor's household, that such
things were at their command if they had any occasion for them. On a
third occasion, Sir Hudson resolved to be cautious. He had determined to
give a ball; but he consulted Dr. O'Meara whether Napoleon would take it
well to be invited. The doctor foresaw that the fatal address, _General
Buonaparte_, would make shipwreck of the invitation. The governor
proposed to avoid this stumbling-block, by asking Napoleon verbally and
in person. But with no name which his civility could devise for the
invitation, could it be rendered acceptable. A governor of St. Helena,
as Napoleon himself observed, had need to be a person of great
politeness, and at the same time of great firmness.


At length, on 18th August, a decisive quarrel took place. Sir Hudson
Lowe was admitted to an audience, at which was present Sir Pulteney
Malcolm, the admiral who now commanded on the station. Dr. O'Meara has
preserved the following account of the interview, as it was detailed by
Napoleon to his suite, the day after it took place.

    "'That governor,' said Napoleon, 'came here yesterday to annoy me.
    He saw me walking in the garden, and in consequence, I could not
    refuse to see him. He wanted to enter into some details with me
    about reducing the expenses of the establishment. He had the
    audacity to tell me that things were as he found them, and that he
    came up to justify himself; that he had come up two or three times
    before to do so, but that I was in a bath.' I replied, 'No, sir, I
    was not in a bath; but I ordered one on purpose not to see you. In
    endeavouring to justify yourself you make matters worse.' He said,
    that I did not know him; that, if I knew him, I should change my
    opinion. 'Know you, sir!' I answered, 'how could I know you? People
    make themselves known by their actions--by commanding in battles.
    You have never commanded in battle. You have never commanded any but
    vagabond Corsican deserters, Piedmontese and Neapolitan brigands. I
    know the name of every English general who has distinguished
    himself; but I never heard of you, except as a _scrivano_ [clerk] to
    Blucher, or as a commandant of brigands. You have never commanded,
    or been accustomed to men of honour.' He said, that he had not
    sought for his present situation. I told him that such employments
    were not asked for; that they were given by governments to people
    who had dishonoured themselves. He said, that he only did his duty,
    and that I ought not to blame him, as he only acted according to his
    orders. I replied, 'So does the hangman; he acts according to his
    orders. But when he puts a rope about my neck to finish me, is that
    a reason that I should like that hangman, because he acts according
    to his orders? Besides, I do not believe that any government could
    be so mean as to give such orders as you cause to be executed.' I
    told him, that if he pleased, he need not send up any thing to eat;
    that I would go over and dine at the table of the brave officers of
    the 53d; that I was sure there was not one of them who would not be
    happy to give a plate at the table to an old soldier; that there was
    not a soldier in the regiment who had not more heart than he had;
    that in the iniquitous bill of Parliament, they had decreed that I
    was to be treated as a prisoner; but that he treated me worse than a
    condemned criminal or a galley slave, as they were permitted to
    receive newspapers and printed books, of which he deprived me.' I
    said, 'You have power over my body, but none over my soul. That soul
    is as proud, fierce, and determined at the present moment, as when
    it commanded Europe.' I told him that he was a _sbirro Siciliano_
    (Sicilian thief-taker,) and not an Englishman; and desired him not
    to let me see him again until he came with orders to despatch me,
    when he would find all the doors thrown open to admit him.'"[242]

It is not surprising that this extreme violence met with some return on
Sir Hudson's part. He told Napoleon that his language was uncivil and
ungentlemanlike, and that he would not remain to listen to it.
Accordingly, he left Longwood without even the usual salutation.

Upon these occasions, we think it is evident that Napoleon was the
wilful and intentional aggressor, and that his conduct proceeded either
from the stings of injured pride, or a calculated scheme, which made him
prefer being on bad rather than good terms with Sir Hudson Lowe. On the
other hand, we could wish that the governor had avoided entering upon
the subject of the expenses of his detention with Napoleon in person.
The subject was ill-chosen, and could produce no favourable result.

They never afterwards met in friendship, or even on terms of decent
civility; and having given this account of their final quarrel, it only
remains for us to classify, in a general manner, the various subjects of
angry discussion which took place betwixt them, placed in such
uncomfortable relative circumstances, and each determined not to give
way to the other's arguments, or accommodate himself to the other's
wishes or convenience.



    Et tragicus plerumque dolet sermone pedestri.
    Telephus et Peleus, cum pauper et exul uterque,
    Projicit ampullas et sesquipedalia verba.

        HOR. _Ars Poetica._

    "Princes will sometimes mourn their lot in prose.
    Peleus and Telephus, broke down by woes,
    In indigence and exile forced to roam,
    Leave sounding phrase, and long-tail'd words, at home."--S.

[220] Parl. Debates, vol. xxx., p. 377.

[221] "In default of America, I prefer England to any other country. I
shall take the name of Colonel Meuron, or of Duroc."--_Instructions to
Gourgaud_, July 13, 1815; Savary, tom. iv., p. 162.

[222] Parl. Debates, vol. xxxiii., p. 213.

[223] Parl. Debates, vol. xxxiii., p. 235.

[224] "_Je le répète, il peut s'évader seul, et aller en Amérique quand
il le voudra._" Taken from a report of Baron Sturmer to Prince
Metternich, giving an account of General Gourgaud's communications,
dated 14th March, 1818.--S.

[225] "_Je ne puis plus vivre en particulier. J'aime mieux être
prisonnier ici, que abre aux Etats Unis._"--S.

[226] Warden's Letters from St. Helena.

[227] Voice from St. Helena, &c.

[228] Appeal to the British Nation, &c. By M. Santini, Porter of the
Emperor's closet.

[229] Official Memoir, dictated by Napoleon; being a Letter from Count
de Montholon to Sir Hudson Lowe.

[230] Manuscrit venu de St. Hélène d'une manière inconnue, &c.

[231] "Santini has published a brochure full of trash. There are some
truths in it; but every thing is exaggerated."--NAPOLEON, _Voice_, &c.,
vol. ii., p. 76.

[232] Vol. xxviii., p. 227.

[233] Sir Hudson Lowe writes, for example, to Lord Bathurst, 13th May,
1816:--"Having found Dr. O'Meara, who was attached to Buonaparte's
family on the removal of his French physician, very useful in giving
information in many instances, and as, if removed, it might be difficult
to find another person who might be equally agreeable to General
Buonaparte, I have deemed it advisable to suffer him to remain in the
family on the same footing as before my arrival." On the 29th of March,
1817, Sir Hudson writes:--"Dr. O'Meara had informed me of the
conversations that had occurred, and, with that readiness which he
always manifests upon such occasions, immediately wrote them down for

[234] "A catastrophe seemed inevitable. Napoleon indeed concluded that
there was a determination to bring it about. On the 6th of May, he sent
for O'Meara, in order that he might learn his personal position. He
desired me to express to him in English, that he had hitherto no cause
of complaint against him. It was necessary, he said, to come to an
understanding. Was he to consider him as his own physician personally,
or merely as a prison doctor, appointed by the English Government? Was
he his confessor or his inspector? _Had he made reports respecting him_,
or was it his intention to do so if called upon. The doctor replied with
great firmness, and in a tone of feeling. He said he had made _no
report_ respecting the Emperor, and that he could not imagine any
instance in which he might be induced to make a report, except in case
of serious illness."--LAS CASES, tom. i., p. 211.

[235] Last Days of the Emperor Napoleon, vol. i., p. 60.

[236] Last Days of the Emperor Napoleon, vol. ii., p. 185.

[237] Las Cases, tom. ii., p. 89.

[238] Las Cases, tom. ii., p. 115-120.

[239] Hist. de la Campagne de 1814 par Alphonse de Beauchamp.

[240] "It appears that this governor was with Blucher, and is the writer
of some official letters to your government, descriptive of part of the
operations of 1814. I pointed them out to him, and asked him, '_Est-ce
vous, Monsieur?_' He replied, 'Yes.' I told him that they were _pleines
de faussetés et de sottises_. He shrugged up his shoulders, and replied,
'_J'ai cru voir cela_.'"--_Voice_, &c., vol. i., p. 49.

[241] Las Cases, tom. i., p. 121.

[242] _Voice_, &c., vol. i., p. 93.--"The Emperor admitted that he had,
during this conversation, seriously and repeatedly offended Sir Hudson
Lowe; and he also did him the justice to acknowledge, that Sir Hudson
had not precisely shown, in a single instance, any want of respect; he
had contented himself with muttering, between his teeth, sentences which
were not audible. The only failure, perhaps, on the part of the
governor, and which was trifling, compared with the treatment he had
received, was the abrupt way in which he retired, while the admiral
withdrew slowly, and with numerous salutes."--LAS CASES, tom. iii., p.


    _Instructions to Sir Hudson Lowe--Sum allowed for the Ex-Emperor's
    Expenses--Napoleon's proposal to defray his own Expenses--Sale of
    his Plate--made in order to produce a false impression: he had at
    that time a large sum of Money in his strong-box--Wooden-House
    constructed in London, and transported to St. Helena--Interview
    between Sir H. Lowe and Napoleon--Delays in the Erection of the
    House--The Regulation that a British Officer should attend Napoleon
    in his Rides--Communication with Europe carried on by the Inmates of
    Longwood--Regulation respecting Napoleon's Intercourse with the
    Inhabitants of St. Helena--General Reflections on the Disputes
    between him and Sir H. Lowe._


Before entering upon such brief inquiry as our bounds will permit, into
the conduct of the new governor towards Napoleon, it may be necessary to
show what were his, Sir Hudson Lowe's, instructions from the English
Government on the subject of the custody of the Ex-Emperor:--

                              "_Downing Street, 12th September, 1816._

    "You will observe, that the desire of his Majesty's Government is,
    to allow every indulgence to General Buonaparte, which may be
    compatible with the entire security of his person. That he should
    not by any means escape, or hold communication with any person
    whatsoever, excepting through your agency, must be your unremitted
    care; and those points being made sure, every resource and
    amusement, which may serve to reconcile Buonaparte to his
    confinement, may be permitted."

A few weeks later, the Secretary of State wrote to Sir Hudson Lowe a
letter to the same purpose with the former, 26th October, 1816:--

    "With respect to General Buonaparte himself, I deem it unnecessary
    to give you any farther instructions. I am confident that your own
    disposition will prompt you to anticipate the wishes of his Royal
    Highness the Prince Regent, and make every allowance for the effect
    which so sudden a change of situation cannot fail to produce on a
    person of his irritable temper. You will, however, not permit your
    forbearance or generosity towards him to interfere with any
    regulations which may have been established for preventing his
    escape, or which you may hereafter consider necessary for the better
    security of his person."

The just and honourable principle avowed by Government is obvious. But
it was an extraordinary and most delicate tax upon Sir Hudson Lowe,
which enjoined him to keep fast prisoner an individual, who, of all
others, was likely to be most impatient of restraint, and, at the same
time, to treat him with such delicacy as might disguise his situation
from himself, if it could not reconcile him to it. If Sir Hudson failed
in doing so, he may be allowed to plead, that it was in a case in which
few could have succeeded. Accordingly, Napoleon's complaints against the
governor were bitter and clamorous.


The first point of complaint on the part of the family at Longwood,
respected the allowance assigned by the British Government for their
support, which they alleged to be insufficient to their wants. This was
not a point on which Napoleon thought it proper to express his feelings
in his own person. _His_ attention was apparently fixed upon obtaining
concessions in certain points of etiquette, which might take him from
under the condition in which he was most unwilling to allow himself to
be placed, in the rank, namely, of a prisoner of war. The theme, of the
inadequacy of the allowance, was not, however, left untouched, as those
concerned were well aware that there was no subject of grievance which
would come more home to the people of England than one which turned upon
a deficiency either in the quantity or quality of the food supplied to
the exiles. Montholon's letter was clamant on the subject; and Santini
intimated, that the Emperor must sometimes have gone without a meal
altogether, had he (Santini) not been successful with his gun.

The true state of the case was this:--The British Government had
determined that Napoleon's table should be provided for at the rate of a
general of the first rank, together with his military family. The
expense of such an establishment was, by the regulations furnished to
Sir Hudson Lowe, dated 15th April, and 22d November, 1816, supposed to
reach to £8000 a-year, with permission, however, to extend it as far as
£12,000, should he think it necessary. The expense could not, in Sir
Hudson Lowe's opinion, be kept within £8000; and indeed it was instantly
extended by him to £12,000, paid in monthly instalments to the purveyor,
Mr. Balcombe, by whom it was expended in support of the establishment at
Longwood. If, however, even £12,000, the sum fixed as a probable
ultimatum, should, in the governor's opinion, be found, from dearth,
high price of provisions, or otherwise, practically insufficient to meet
and answer the expense of a general's family, calculated on a liberal
scale, Sir Hudson Lowe had liberty from Government to extend the
purveyor's allowance without limitation. But if, on the other hand, the
French should desire to add to their housekeeping any thing which the
governor should think superfluous, in reference to the rank assigned to
the principal person, they were themselves to be at the charge of such
extraordinary expenditure.

It is apprehended that the British Government could not be expected to
do more for Napoleon's liberal maintenance, than to give the governor an
unlimited order to provide for it, upon the scale applicable to the rank
of a general officer of the first rate. But yet the result, as the
matter was managed, was not so honourable to Great Britain, as the
intentions of the Government really designed. The fact is, that virtues
as well as vices have their day of fashion in England; and at the
conclusion of the peace, when the nation were cloyed with victory, men
began, like epicures after a feast, to wrangle about the reckoning.
Every one felt the influence of the _Quart d'heure de Rabelais_. It
ascended into the Houses of Parliament, and economy was the general
theme of the day. There can be no doubt that a judicious restriction
upon expenditure is the only permanent source of national wealth; but,
like all other virtues, parsimony may be carried to an extreme, and
there are situations in which it has all the meanness of avarice. The
waste of a few pounds of meat, of a hundred billets of wood, of a few
bottles of wine, ought not to have been made the shadow of a question
between Britain and Napoleon; and it would have been better to have
winked at and given way to the prodigality of a family, which had no
motives of economy on their own part, than to be called upon to discuss
such petty domestic details in the great council of the nation, sitting
as judges betwixt England and her prisoner. A brief answer to those who
might in that case have charged the government with prodigality, might
have been found in referring the censors to the immense sums saved by
the detention of Napoleon in St. Helena. It is something of a different
scale of expense, which is requisite to maintain a score of persons even
in the most extravagant manner, and to support an army of three hundred
thousand men.

But although such disputes arose, we think, from the governor mistaking
the meaning of the British ministers, and descending, if he really did
so, to details about the quality of salt or sugar to be used in the
kitchen at Longwood, there is no reason to entertain the belief that the
prisoners had any actual restriction to complain of, though it might not
always happen that articles of the first quality could be procured at
St. Helena so easily as at Paris. The East India Company sent out the
supplies to the purveyor, and they consisted of every luxury which could
be imagined; so that delicacies very unusual in St. Helena could, during
Napoleon's residence, be obtained there for any one who chose to be at
the expense. The wine was (generally speaking) excellent in quality, and
of the first price;[243] and although there was rather too much said and
thought about the quantity consumed, yet it was furnished, as we shall
hereafter see, in a quantity far beyond the limits of ordinary
conviviality. Indeed, though the French officers, while hunting for
grievances, made complaints of their treatment at table, and circulated,
in such books as that of Santini, the grossest scandal on that subject,
yet when called on as men of honour to give their opinion, they did
justice to the governor in this respect.

In a letter of General Bertrand to the governor, he expresses himself
thus:--"Be assured that we are well persuaded of the good intentions of
the governor, to supply us with every thing necessary, and that as to
provisions there will never be any complaints, or if there are, they
will be made against the government, not against the governor, upon whom
the matter does not depend." He adds, "that such were the sentiments of
the Emperor. That indeed they had been under some difficulties when the
plate was broken up, but that ever since then they had been well
supplied, and had no complaint whatever to make." Such is the evidence
of Count Bertrand, when deliberately writing to the governor through his
military secretary.

But we have also the opinion of the Ex-Emperor himself, transmitted by
Dr. O'Meara, who was at that time, as already noticed, in the habit of
sending to the governor such scraps of information as he heard in
conversation at Longwood:

                                                    "_5th June, 1817._

    "He (Buonaparte) observed that Santini's was a foolish production,
    exaggerated, full of _coglionerie_, and some lies: Truths there were
    in it, but exaggerated. That there never had existed that actual
    want described by him; that there had been enough to eat supplied,
    but not enough to keep a proper table; that there had been enough of
    wine for them; that there certainly had been sometimes a deficiency
    of necessary articles, but that this might be accounted for by
    accidents; that he believed frequent purchases had been made, at the
    camp, of bread and other provisions, which might also have
    occasionally arisen from the same cause. He added, he was convinced
    some Englishman had written it, and not Santini."

There is something to the same purpose in Dr. O'Meara's printed
book,[244] but not so particular. What makes Napoleon's confutation of
Santini's work the more amusing, is, that according to General
Gourgaud's communication to the British Government, Napoleon was himself
the author of the whole, or greater part, of the work in question. The
difference between the prisoner and governor, so far as it really
existed, may have had its rise in the original dispute; for a table,
which suited the rank of a general, must have been considerably inferior
to one kept for an emperor; and while the former was what the governor
was directed to maintain, the latter was what Napoleon conceived himself
entitled to expect.

The permission given to Buonaparte, and which indeed could not be well
refused, to purchase from his own funds what additional articles he
desired beyond those supplied by the British Government, afforded
peculiar facilities to the French, which they did not fail to make use
of. Napoleon's money had been temporarily taken into custody when he
left the Bellerophon, with a view to prevent his having the means of
facilitating his escape by bribery. The permitting him to draw upon the
Continent for money, would have been in a great measure restoring to him
the golden key before which prison-gates give way, and also tending to
afford him the means of secret correspondence with those friends abroad,
who might aid him to arrange a scheme of flight.

Indeed, the advantages of this species of correspondence were of such
evident importance, that Napoleon, through General Montholon, made the
following proposal, which was sent to Lord Bathurst by the governor, 8th
September, 1816:--

    "The Emperor," he said, "was desirous to enter into arrangements for
    paying the _whole_ of his expenses, providing any house here, or in
    England, or on the continent of Europe, to be fixed on with the
    governor's consent, or even at his own choice, were appointed to
    transact his money-matters; under assurance from him, General
    Buonaparte, that all letters sent through his hands would be solely
    on pecuniary affairs. But provided always, that such letters should
    pass _sealed and unopened_ to their direction."

It is probable that Napoleon concluded, from the ferment which was at
that time taking place in Parliament on the subject of economy, that the
English nation was on the point of bankruptcy, and did not doubt that an
offer, which promised to relieve them of £12,000 a-year, would be
eagerly caught at by Sir Hudson Lowe, or the British Ministry. But the
governor saw the peril of a measure, which, in its immediate and direct
tendency, went to place funds to any amount at the command of the
Ex-Emperor, and might, more indirectly, lead the way to private
correspondence of every kind. Napoleon, indeed, had offered to plight
his word, that the communication should not be used for any other than
pecuniary purposes; but Sir Hudson liked not the security. On his part,
the governor tendered a proposal, that the letters to the bankers should
be visible only to himself, and to Lord Bathurst, the secretary for the
colonial department, and pledged his word that they would observe the
most inviolable secrecy on the subject of the contents; but this
arrangement did not answer Napoleon's purposes, and the arrangement was
altogether dropped.

It was about the same time that Sir Hudson Lowe was desirous to keep the
expense of the establishment within £12,000. A conference on this
subject was held betwixt General Montholon, who took charge of the
department of the household, and Major Gorrequer, belonging to Sir
Hudson's staff, who acted on the part of the governor. It appears that
Sir Hudson had either misapprehended the instructions of the government,
and deemed himself rigidly bound to limit the expenses of Longwood
within £12,000 yearly, not adverting that he had an option to extend it
beyond that sum; or else that he considered the surplus above £1000 per
month, to consist of such articles of extra expenditure as the French
might, in a free interpretation of his instructions, be required to pay
for themselves, as being beyond the limits of a general-officer's table,
provided upon the most liberal plan. General Montholon stated, that the
family could not be provided, even after many reductions, at a cheaper
rate than £15,194, and that this was the _minimum of minimums_, the
least possible sum. He offered, that the Emperor would draw for the sum
wanted, providing he was permitted to send a sealed letter to the
banking-house. This, Major Gorrequer said, could not be allowed. Count
Montholon then declared, that as the Emperor was not permitted by the
British Government to have access to his funds in Europe, he had no
other means left than to dispose of his property here; and that if the
Emperor was obliged to defray those expenses of the establishment, which
went beyond the allowance made by Britain, he must dispose of his plate.

This proposal was too rashly assented to by Sir Hudson Lowe, whose
instructions of 22d November empowered him to have prevented a
circumstance so glaringly calculated to accredit all that had ever been
said or written respecting the mean and sordid manner in which the late
Emperor of France was treated. Napoleon had an opportunity, at the
sacrifice of a parcel of old silver plate, to amuse his own moments of
languor, by laughing at and turning into ridicule the inconsistent
qualities of the English nation--at one time sending him a house and
furniture to the value of £60,000 or £70,000; at another, obliging him
to sell his plate, and discharge his servants; and all for the sake of a
few bottles of wine, or pounds of meat. Sir Hudson Lowe ought not to
have exposed his country to such a charge; and, even if his instructions
seemed inexplicit on the subject, he ought, on his own interpretation of
them, to have paid the extra expense, without giving room to such
general scandal as was sure to arise from Napoleon's disposing of his

But if the governor took too narrow a view of his duty upon this
occasion, what are we to say of the poor conduct of Napoleon, who, while
he had specie in his strong-box to have defrayed three times the sum
wanted to defray the alleged balance, yet preferred making the paltry
sale alluded to, that he might appear before Europe _in formâ pauperis_,
and set up a claim to compassion as a man driven to such extremity as to
be obliged to part with the plate from his table, in order to be enabled
to cover it with the necessary food! He was well aware that little
compassion would have been paid to him, had he been possessed of ready
money sufficient to supply any deficiencies in the tolerably ample
allowance paid by England; and that it was only the idea of his poverty,
proved, as it seemed, by a step, which even private individuals only
take in a case of necessity, which made his case appear strong and
clamant. The feeling of compassion must have given place to one of a
very different kind, had the actual circumstances of the case been fully
and fairly known.

The communications of General Gourgaud, upon parting with Sir Hudson
Lowe, put the governor in possession of the curious fact, that the
breaking up of the plate[245] was a mere trick, resorted to on account
of the impression it was calculated to produce in England and Europe;
for that at the time they had at Longwood plenty of money. Sir Hudson
Lowe conjectured, that General Gourgaud alluded to the sale of some
stock belonging to Las Cases, the value of which that devoted adherent
had placed at Napoleon's disposal; but General Gourgaud replied, "No,
no; before that transaction they had received 240,000 francs, chiefly in
Spanish doubloons." He further said, that it was Prince Eugene who
lodged the money in the hands of the bankers. In London, General
Gourgaud made the same communication. We copy the words in which it is
reported by Sir Hudson Lowe to Lord Bathurst:--

    "General Gourgaud stated himself to have been aware of General
    Buonaparte having received a considerable sum of money in Spanish
    doubloons, viz. £10,000, at the very time he disposed of his plate;
    but, on being pressed by me as to the persons privy to that
    transaction, he contented himself with assuring me, that the mode of
    its transmission was one purely accidental; that it could never
    again occur; and that, such being the case, he trusted that I should
    not press a discovery, which, while it betrayed its author, could
    have no effect, either as it regarded the punishment of the
    offenders, or the prevention of a similar act in future. The actual
    possession of money was, moreover, not likely, in his view of the
    subject, to afford any additional means of corrupting the fidelity
    of those whom it might be advisable to seduce; as it was well known,
    that any draught, whatever might be its amount, drawn by General
    Buonaparte on Prince Eugene, or on certain other members of his
    family, would be scrupulously honoured."

He further stated, that it was Napoleon's policy to make a _moyen_, a
fund for execution of his plans, by placing sums of money at his,
General Gourgaud's command, and that he had sustained ill-treatment on
the part of Napoleon, and much importunity on that of Bertrand, because
he declined lending himself to facilitate secret correspondence.

Whatever sympathy Buonaparte may claim for his other distresses at St.
Helena, it was made plain from this important disclosure, that want of
funds could be none of them; and it is no less so, that the trick of
selling the plate can now prove nothing, excepting that Napoleon's
system was a deceptive one; and that evidence of any sort, arising
either from his word or actions, is to be received with caution, when
there is an apparent point to be carried by it.


When Sir Hudson Lowe's report reached England, that the excess of the
expenditure at Longwood, about twelve thousand pounds, had been defrayed
by Napoleon himself, it did not meet the approbation of the Ministry;
who again laid before the governor the distinction which he was to draw
betwixt expenses necessary to maintain the table and household of a
general officer, and such as might be of a nature different from, and
exceeding those attendant on the household of a person of that rank;
which last, and those alone, the French might be called on to defray.
The order is dated 24th Oct. 1817.

    "As I observe from the statement contained in your despatch, No. 84,
    that the expense of General Buonaparte's establishment exceeds
    £12,000 per annum, and that the excess beyond that sum has, up to
    the date of that despatch, been defrayed from his own funds, I deem
    it necessary again to call your attention to that part of my
    despatch, No. 15, of the 22d November last, in which, in limiting
    the expense to £12,000 a-year, I still left you at liberty to incur
    a farther expenditure, should you consider it to be necessary for
    the comfort of General Buonaparte; and to repeat, that, _if you
    should consider the sum of £12,000 a-year not to be adequate to
    maintain such an establishment as would be requisite for a general
    officer of distinction, you will have no difficulty in making what
    you deem to be a requisite addition_. But, on the other hand, if the
    expenses which General Buonaparte has himself defrayed are beyond
    what, on a liberal construction, might be proper for a general
    officer of distinction, you will permit them, as heretofore, to be
    defrayed from his own funds."

These positive and reiterated instructions serve to show that there was
never a wish on the part of Britain to deal harshly, or even closely
with Napoleon; as the avowals of General Gourgaud prove, on the other
hand, that if the governor was too rigid on the subject of expense, the
prisoner possessed means sufficient to have saved him from any possible
consequences of self-denial, which might have accrued from being
compelled to live at so low a rate as twelve thousand pounds a-year.

The subject of the residence of Napoleon continued to furnish great
subjects of complaint and commotion. We have recorded our opinion, that,
from the beginning, Plantation-house, as the best residence in the
island, ought to have been set apart for his use. If, however, this was
objected to, the building a new house from the foundation, even with the
indifferent means which the island affords, would have been far more
respectable, and perhaps as economical, as constructing a great wooden
frame in London, and transporting it to St. Helena, where it arrived,
with the furniture destined for it, in May, 1816. It was not, however, a
complete _parapluie_ house, as such structures have been called, but
only the materials for constructing such a one; capable of being erected
separately, or, at Napoleon's choice, of being employed for making large
and commodious additions to the mansion which he already occupied. It
became a matter of courtesy to inquire whether it would best answer
Napoleon's idea of convenience that an entirely new edifice should be
constructed, or whether that end would be better attained by suffering
the former building to remain, and constructing the new one in the form
of an addition to it. We have recounted an interview betwixt Napoleon
and the governor, in the words of the former, as delivered to O'Meara.
The present we give as furnished by Sir Hudson, in a despatch to Lord
Bathurst, dated 17th May, 1816:--


    "It becoming necessary to come to some decision in respect to the
    house and furniture which had been sent from England for the
    accommodation of General Buonaparte and his followers, I resolved on
    waiting upon him, communicating to him the arrival of the various
    materials, and asking his sentiments with respect to their
    appropriation, before I made any disposition of them. I previously
    called on General Bertrand, to ask if he thought General Buonaparte
    would be at leisure to receive me; and on his reply, which was in
    the affirmative, I proceeded to Longwood-house, where, having met
    Count Las Cases, I begged he would be the bearer of my message to
    the general, acquainting him with my being there, if his convenience
    admitted of being visited by me. I received a reply, saying, 'The
    Emperor would see me.'

    "I passed through his outer dining-room into his drawing-room. He
    was alone, standing with his hat under his arm, in the manner in
    which he usually presents himself when he assumes his imperial
    dignity. He remained silent, expecting I would address him. Finding
    him not disposed to commence, I began in the following words:--'Sir,
    you will probably have seen by our English newspapers, as well,
    perhaps, as heard through other channels, of the intention of the
    British Government to send out hither for your accommodation the
    materials for the construction of a house, with every necessary
    furniture. These articles have now for the first time arrived. In
    the meantime, Government has received information of the building
    prepared for your reception at this place, and I have instructions
    for appropriating the articles as may seem best, whether for making
    a new building, or adding to the conveniences of your present one.
    Before making any disposition on the subject, I waited to know
    whether you had any desires to communicate to me regarding it.' He
    stood as before, and made no reply.

    "Observing his silence continue, I again commenced by saying, 'I
    have conceived, sir, that possibly the addition of two or three good
    rooms (_deux ou trois salons_) to your present house, with other
    improvements to it, might add to your convenience in less time than
    by constructing a new building.' He then commenced, but spoke with
    such rapidity, such intemperance, and so much warmth, that it is
    difficult to repeat every word he used. Without apparently having
    lent an ear to what I said, he began--'I do not at all understand
    the conduct of your government towards me. Do they desire to kill
    me? And do you come here to be my executioner, as well as my
    gaoler?--Posterity will judge of the manner in which I have been
    treated. The misfortunes which I suffer will recoil upon your
    nation. No, sir; never will I suffer any person to enter into the
    interior of my house, or penetrate into my bed-chamber, as you have
    given orders. When I heard of your arrival in this island, I
    believed that, as being an officer of the army, you would be
    possessed of a more polite character than an admiral, who is a
    navy-officer, and might have more harsh manners. I have no reason to
    complain of his heart. But you, sir--in what manner do you treat me?
    It is an insult to invite me to dinner by the name of General
    Buonaparte. I am not General Buonaparte--I am the Emperor Napoleon.
    I ask you again--have you come hither to be my gaoler--my hangman?'
    Whilst speaking in this manner, his right arm moved backward and
    forward; his person stood fixed; his eyes and countenance exhibiting
    every thing which could be supposed in a person who meant to
    intimidate or irritate.

    "I suffered him to proceed throughout, not without a strong feeling
    of restraint on myself, until he was really out of breath, when, on
    his stopping, I said, 'Sir, I am not come here to be insulted, but
    to treat of an affair which regards you more than me. If you are not
    disposed to talk upon the subject'----

    "'I have no intention to insult you, sir,' he replied; 'but in what
    sort of manner have you treated me? is it in a soldierlike fashion?'

    "I answered, 'Sir, I am a soldier according to the fashion of my own
    country, to do my duty to her accordingly, and not according to the
    fashion of foreigners. Besides, if you conceive you have any reason
    to complain of me, you have only to put your accusation upon paper,
    and I will send it to England by the first opportunity.'

    "'To what good purpose?' he said; 'my complaints will not be more
    public there than here.'

    "'I will cause them be published,' I answered, 'in all the gazettes
    of the continent, if you desire it. I do my duty, and every thing
    else is indifferent to me.'

    "Then, adverting for the first time to the matter which had brought
    me to him, he said, 'Your government has made me no official
    communication of the arrival of this house. Is it to be constructed
    where I please, or where you may fix it to be?'

    "'I am now come, sir, for the express purpose of announcing it to
    you. I have no difficulty in replying to the other point: If there
    is any particular spot, which you might have thought of to erect it
    upon, I will examine it, and have it erected there, if I see no
    objection to it. If I see any objection to it, I will acquaint you
    with it. It was to combine this matter in some degree of concert
    with you that I am now come.'

    "'Then you had better speak to the grand maréchal about it, and
    settle it with him.'

    "'I prefer, sir, addressing you upon it. I find so many
    _mésintelligences_ happen, when I adopt the medium of other persons
    (particularly as in the instance of the orders which you mention I
    had given for forcing an entrance into your private apartments,)
    that I find it more satisfactory to address yourself.'

    "He made no particular reply to this, walked about for a moment, and
    then, working himself up apparently to say something which he
    thought would appal me with extraordinary surprise or dread, he
    said--'Do you wish me, sir, to tell you the truth? Yes, sir, I ask
    you if you desire me to tell you the truth? I believe that you have
    received orders to kill me--yes, to kill me--yes, sir, I believe
    that you have received orders to stick at nothing--nothing.' He then
    looked at me, as if expecting a reply. My answer was--'You were
    pleased to remark, sir, in our last interview, that you had
    miscalculated the spirit of the English people. Give me leave to
    say, you at present calculate as erroneously the spirit of an
    English soldier.'

    "Our interview here terminated; and, as if neither of us had any
    thing more to say, we mutually separated."

Sir Hudson received a letter in reply to his account of this strange and
violent scene, in which his forbearance and firmness are approved of.
But we quote it, chiefly because it marks the intention of the British
Government with respect to Buonaparte, and shows the consideration which
they had for his peculiar condition, and the extent of forbearance which
it was their desire should be extended towards him by the governor of
St. Helena:

    "There is a wide distinction between the conduct which you ought to
    hold towards General Buonaparte, and towards those who have chosen
    to follow his fortunes, by accompanying him to St. Helena.

    "It would be a want of generosity not to make great allowance for
    the intemperate language into which the former may at times be
    betrayed. The height from whence he has been precipitated, and all
    the circumstances which have attended his fall, are sufficient to
    overset a mind less irritable than his; and it is to be apprehended
    that he can find little consolation in his reflections, either in
    the means by which he obtained his power, or his manner of
    exercising it. So long, therefore, as his violence is confined to
    words, it must be borne with--always understanding, and giving him
    to understand, that any wilful transgression, on his part, of the
    rules which you may think it necessary to prescribe for the security
    of his person, will place you under the necessity of adopting a
    system of restraint, which it will be most painful to you to

    "With respect to his followers, they stand in a very different
    situation; they cannot be too frequently reminded, that their
    continuance in the island is an act of indulgence on the part of the
    British Government; and you will inform them that you have received
    strict instructions to remove them from the person of General
    Buonaparte, and to transport them out of the island, if they shall
    not conduct themselves with that respect which your situation
    demands, and with that strict attention to your regulations which is
    the indispensable condition on which their residence in the island
    is permitted."

[Sidenote: LONGWOOD.]

The stormy dispute, which took place on the 16th May, 1816,[246] left
every thing unsettled with respect to the house; and indeed it may be
conjectured, without injustice, that Napoleon preferred the old and
inconvenient mansion, with the right to complain of it as a grievance,
to the new and commodious one, the possession of which must have shut
his lips upon one fertile subject of misrepresentation. Repeated and
equally nugatory discussions on the subject took place during the course
of two or three years, all which time Napoleon complained of the want
of the promised house, and the governor, on his side, alleged, there was
no getting Napoleon to express a fixed opinion on the situation or the
plan, or to say whether he would prefer a thorough repair of the old
house, occupying M. Bertrand's apartments in the mean while, until the
work should be accomplished. Sometimes Napoleon spoke of changing the
situation of the house, but he never, according to Sir Hudson Lowe's
averment, intimated any specific wish upon that subject, nor would
condescend to say distinctly in what place it should be erected.
Napoleon on his part maintained that he was confined for three years in
an unhealthy barn, during which time the governor was perpetually
talking about a house which had never been commenced. While the blame is
thus reciprocally retorted, the impartial historian can only say, that
had Sir Hudson Lowe delayed willingly the building of the house, he must
have exposed himself to severe censure from his government in
consequence, since his despatches were daily urging the task. There was
nothing which the governor could place against this serious risk, except
the malicious purpose of distressing Napoleon. On the other hand, in
submitting to indifferent accommodation, rather than communicate with a
man whom he seemed to hold in abhorrence, Napoleon only acted upon his
general system, of which this was a part, and sacrificed his
convenience, as he afterwards did his health, rather than bend his mind
to comply with the regulations of his place of captivity. Mr. Ellis, an
unprejudiced witness, declares that the original house seemed to him
commodious and well furnished.

The fate of the new house was singular enough. It was at last erected,
and is said to be a large and comfortable edifice. But it happened, that
the plan directed the building to be surrounded, as is common in
England, with something like a sunk ditch, surrounded by cast-iron
railing of an ornamental character. No sooner had Napoleon seen these
preparations, than the idea of a fortification and a dungeon entered
into his head; nor was it possible to convince him that the rails and
sunk fence were not intended as additional means of securing his person.
When Sir Hudson Lowe learned the objection which had been started, he
ordered the ground to be levelled, and the palisade removed. But before
this was accomplished, Napoleon's health was too much broken to permit
of his being removed, so that he died under the same roof which received
him after his temporary residence at Briars.

Another subject of complaint, which Napoleon greatly insisted upon, was,
that the governor of St. Helena had not been placed there merely as a
ministerial person, to see duly executed the instructions which he
should receive from Britain, but as a legislator, himself possessing and
exercising the power to alter the regulations under which his prisoner
was to be confined, to recall them, to suspend them, and finally, to
replace them. To this it must be answered, that in such a situation,
where the governor, holding so important a charge, was at so great a
distance from the original source of his power, some discretionary
authority must necessarily be lodged in him, since cases must occur
where he was to act on the event as it arose, and it was indispensable
that he should possess the power to do so. It must also be remembered,
that different constructions might possibly be given to the instructions
from the Secretary of State; and it would, in that case, have been
equally anomalous and inconvenient should the governor not have had it
in his power to adopt that explanation which circumstances demanded, and
not less so if he had been obliged to litigate the point with his
prisoner, and, as a mere ministerial person must have done, wait till a
commentary on the disputed article should arrive from England.

It is a different question, and on which we are far from having so clear
an opinion, whether Sir Hudson Lowe, in every case, exercised this high
privilege with sound discretion. It would be unjust to condemn him
unheard, who has never fairly been put upon his defence, and the
evidence against whom is, we must again say, of a very suspicious
nature. Still it appears, that alterations of the existing regulations
were, as far as we have information, more frequent than necessity, the
best if not the only apology for varying the manner of such proceedings,
seems to have authorised.

For example, one of the heaviest of Napoleon's complaints is made
against the restriction of the limits within which he might take
exercise without the company of a British officer, which, instead of
extending to twelve miles in circumference, were contracted to
two-thirds of that space. Every thing in this world is relative, and we
can conceive the loss of one-third of his exercising ground to have
been, at this moment, a more sincere subject of distress to Napoleon,
than the loss of a kingdom while he yet governed Europe. The apology
alleged for this was the disposition which Napoleon seemed to show to
cultivate the acquaintance of the inhabitants of St. Helena, more than
it was advisable that he should have the opportunity of doing. We can
easily conceive this to be true; for not only might Napoleon be
disposed, from policy, to make friends among the better classes by his
irresistible conciliation of manners, and of the lower class by
familiarity and largesses; but he must also be supposed, with the
feelings natural to humanity in distress, to seek some little variety
from the monotony of existence, some little resumption of connexion with
the human race, from which, his few followers excepted, he was in a
manner excluded. But this aptitude to mingle with such society as chance
threw within his reach, in his very limited range, might perhaps have
been indulged without the possibility of his making any bad use of it,
especially since no one could enter these grounds without passes and
orders. The limits were shortly after restored by Sir Hudson Lowe to
their original extent, Napoleon having declared that unless this were
the case, he would not consent to take exercise, or observe the usual
means of keeping himself in health.

The injunction requiring that Buonaparte should daily be seen by an
orderly officer, was, under Sir Hudson Lowe's authority, as it had been
under that of Sir George Cockburn, the subject of Buonaparte's most
violent opposition. He affected to apprehend that it was to be enforced
by positive violence, and carried this so far as to load fire-arms, with
the idea of resisting by force any attempt of an orderly officer to
insist upon performing this part of his duty. He alludes resentfully to
the circumstance in his angry interview with Sir Hudson Lowe upon the
16th May, 1816. Yet, of all unpleasant regulations to which a prisoner
is subjected by his captivity, that appears the least objectionable,
which, assuring us from space to space that the person of the prisoner
is secure, enables us, in the interval, to leave him a much greater
share of personal freedom than otherwise could be permitted, because the
shortness of each interval does not allow him time to use it in escape.
Nevertheless, Sir Hudson Lowe, as already hinted, was content in this
case to yield to the violent threats of Napoleon, and rather suffer the
duty to be exercised imperfectly and by chance, than run the risk of his
prisoner perishing in the affray which his obstinacy threatened. Perhaps
the governor may be in this case rather censured as having given up a
point impressed upon him by his original instructions, than blamed for
executing them too strictly against the remarkable person who was his
prisoner. We cannot but repeat the opinion we have been led to form,
that, could Buonaparte's bodily presence have been exactly ascertained
from time to time, his rambles through the whole of the island might
have been permitted, even without the presence of a military officer.

This regulation was another circumstance, of which Napoleon most heavily
complained. He regarded the company of such attendant as a mark of his
defeat and imprisonment, and resolved, therefore, rather to submit to
remain within the limits of the grounds of Longwood, narrow as they
were, than, by stirring without them, to expose himself to the necessity
of admitting the company of this odious guardian. It may be thought,
that in thus judging, Napoleon did not adopt the most philosophical or
even the wisest opinion. Misfortune in war is no disgrace; and to be
prisoner, has been the lot before now both of kings and emperors. The
orderly officers, also, who were ready to accompany Napoleon in his
ride, might be often men of information and accomplishment; and their
society and conversation could not but have added some variety to days
so little diversified as those spent by Napoleon.

The prisoner, however, was incapable of deriving amusement from any such
source. It might be as well expected that the occupant of a dungeon
should amuse himself with botanizing in the ditches which moat it
round. Napoleon could not forget what he had been and what he was, and
plainly confessed by his conduct that he was contented rather to die,
than to appear in public wearing the badge of his fate, like one who was
sitting down resigned to it.

While so averse to this regulation, Napoleon had not taken the proper
mode of escaping from its influence. Sir George Cockburn, upon his
remonstrance after his first arrival, had granted to him a dispensation
from the attendance of an orderly officer, at least in his immediate
company or vicinity. This privilege was suddenly withdrawn while the
admiral was yet upon the island, and both Napoleon and the various St.
Helena authors, Las Cases in particular, make the most bitter complaints
on the tantalizing conduct of Sir George Cockburn, who gave an
indulgence, as it would seem, only with the cruel view of recalling it
the next morning. The truth is here told, but not the whole truth.
Napoleon had engaged to the admiral, that, in consideration of this
indulgence, he would not enter into any intercourse with any of the
inhabitants whom he might meet during the time of his excursion. He
chose to break through his promise the very first time that he rode out
alone, or only with his suite; and hence Sir George Cockburn,
considering faith as broken with him, recalled the permission
altogether. It was not, therefore, with a good grace, that Napoleon
complained of the want of inclination on the part of the governor, to
restore an indulgence to him, which he had almost instantly made a use
of that was contrary to his express engagement. The truth is, that the
Ex-Emperor had his own peculiar manner of viewing his own case. He
considered every degree of leniency, which was at any time exercised, as
a restoration of some small portion of that liberty, of which he
conceived himself to be deprived illegally and tyrannically; and
scrupled no more to employ what he got in endeavouring to attain a
farther degree of freedom, than the prisoner whose hand is extricated
from fetters would hesitate to employ it in freeing his feet. There can
be no doubt, that if by means of such a privilege as riding without the
attendance of an officer, he could have arranged or facilitated any mode
of final escape, he would not have hesitated to use it to that effect.

But, on the other hand, such being his way of thinking, and hardly
disguised, it put the governor strongly on his guard against granting
any relaxation of the vigilance necessary for effectually confining him.
Indulgences of this nature are, so far as they go, a species of
confidence reposed in the captive by the humanity of his keeper, and
cannot, in perfect good faith, be used to purposes, which must lead to
the disgrace, or perhaps the ruin, of the party who grants them. If,
therefore, Napoleon showed himself determined to hold a closer and more
frequent intercourse with the natives of St. Helena, and the strangers
who visited the island, than Sir Hudson Lowe approved, it only remained
for the latter to take care that such interviews should not occur
without a witness, by adhering to the restrictions, which required that
a British officer should attend upon the more distant excursions of the
hard-ruled captive.


It is to be remarked, that this intercourse with the inhabitants, and
others who visited St. Helena, was no imaginary danger, but actually
existed to a considerable extent, and for purposes calculated to alarm
Sir Hudson Lowe's watchfulness, and to transgress in a most material
respect his instructions from government. The disclosures of General
Gourgaud are on these points decisive.

    That officer "had no difficulty in avowing, that there has always
    existed a free and uninterrupted communication betwixt the
    inhabitants of Longwood and the country, without the knowledge or
    intervention of the governor; and that this has been made use of,
    not only for the purpose of receiving and transmitting letters, but
    for that of transmitting pamphlets, money, and other articles, of
    which the party in Longwood might from time to time have been in
    want; and that the correspondence was for the most part carried on
    direct with Great Britain. That the persons employed in it were
    those Englishmen who from time to time visit St. Helena, to all of
    whom the attendants and servants of Buonaparte have free access, and
    who, generally speaking, are willing, many of them without reward,
    and others for very small pecuniary considerations, to convey to
    Europe any letter or packet intrusted to their charge. It would
    appear also, that the captains and others on board the merchant
    ships touching at the island, whether belonging to the East India
    Company, or to other persons, are considered at Longwood as being
    peculiarly open to the seduction of Buonaparte's talents; so much
    so, that the inhabitants of Longwood have regarded it as a matter of
    small difficulty to procure a passage on board one of these ships
    for General Buonaparte, if escape should be at any time his object."

In corroboration of what is above stated, of the free communication
betwixt St. Helena and Europe, occurs the whimsical story told by Dr.
Antommarchi, of a number of copies of Dr. O'Meara's book being smuggled
ashore at St. Helena, under the disguise of tracts distributed by a
religious society. Another instance is mentioned by Count Las Cases,
who, when removed from Longwood, and debarred from personally
communicating with his master, felt considerable difficulty in
discovering a mode of conveying to him a diamond necklace of great
value, which had been intrusted to his keeping, and which Napoleon might
want after his departure. He addressed at hazard the first
decent-looking person he saw going to Longwood, and conjured him in the
most pathetic manner, to take charge of the packet. The stranger
slackened his pace without speaking, and pointed to his coat-pocket. Las
Cases dropt in the packet; and the jewels, thus consigned to the faith
of an unknown person, reached their owner in safety.[247]

It is honourable to humanity, that distress of almost any kind, but
especially that which affects the imagination by exciting the memory of
fallen greatness, should find assistants even among those who were
enemies to that greatness when in prosperity.

But it was the duty of the governor to take heed, that neither
overstrained notions of romantic compassion and generosity, nor the
temptation of worse motives, should lead to any combination which might
frustrate his diligence; and Napoleon having at once avarice and the
excess of generosity to solicit in his favour, the governor naturally
secluded him as much as he could from those individuals who might be
liable to be gained over to his interest by such powerful seductions.

Upon the 7th January, 1818, the Government of Britain intimated their
approbation of the enlargement of Napoleon's bounds of exercise to the
ordinary limits which had been for a time restricted; and, in order to
preserve for him the opportunity of keeping up society with such of the
people of the island as he might desire to receive on business, or as
visitors, the following regulation was adopted:--

    "Respecting the intercourse with the inhabitants, I see no material
    objection to the placing it upon the footing recently suggested by
    Count Bertrand, as it is one which he represents would be more
    consonant to General Buonaparte's wishes. The count's proposition
    is, that a list of a given number of persons, resident in the
    island, should be made out who shall be at once admitted to Longwood
    on the general's own invitation, without a previous application
    being made to your excellency on each invitation. You will,
    therefore, consider yourself at liberty to accede to the suggestions
    of Count Bertrand; and you will for this purpose direct him to
    present to you for your approbation, a list of persons, not
    exceeding fifty in number, resident in the island, who may be
    admitted to Longwood at reasonable hours, without any other pass
    than the invitation of General Buonaparte, it being understood that
    they are on each occasion to deliver in the invitation as a voucher,
    with their names, at the barrier. In giving your approbation to the
    list, you will, as far as is consistent with your duty, consult the
    wishes of General Buonaparte; but you will let it be clearly
    understood, that you reserve to yourself a discretionary power of
    erasing from the list, at any time, any of those individuals, to
    whom you may have found it inexpedient to continue such
    extraordinary facility of access; and you will take special care,
    that a report be always made to you by the orderly officer, of the
    several persons admitted to Longwood upon General Buonaparte's

We have touched upon these various subjects of grievance, not as being
the only causes of dispute, or rather of violent discord, which existed
betwixt the Ex-Emperor of France and the governor of St. Helena, for
there were many others. It is not in our purpose, however, nor even in
our power, to give a detailed or exact history of these particular
quarrels, but merely to mark--as our duty, in this a very painful one,
demands--what was the character and general scope of the debate which
was so violently conducted on both sides. Of course it follows, that a
species of open war having been declared betwixt the parties, every one
of the various points of discussion which must necessarily have arisen
betwixt Sir Hudson Lowe and Napoleon, or through their respective
attendants and followers, was turned into matter of offence on the one
side or the other, and as such warmly contested. It is thus, that, when
two armies approach each other, the most peaceful situations and
positions lose their ordinary character, and become the subjects of
attack and defence. Every circumstance, whether of business or of
etiquette, which occurred at St. Helena, was certain to occasion some
dispute betwixt Napoleon and Sir Hudson Lowe, the progress and
termination of which seldom passed without an aggravation of mutual
hostilities. It is beneath the dignity of history to trace these
_tracasseries_; and beyond possibility, unless for one present on the
spot, and possessed of all the minute information attending each subject
of quarrel, to judge which had the right or the wrong.

It would be, indeed, easy for us, standing aloof and remote from these
agitating struggles, to pass a sweeping condemnation on the one party or
the other, or perhaps upon each of them; and to show that reason and
temper on either side would have led to a very different course of
proceeding on both, had it been permitted by those human infirmities to
which, unhappily, those who have power or pretensions are more liable
than the common class, who never possessed the one, and make no claim to
the other.

Neither would it be difficult for us to conceive a governor of St.
Helena, in the abstract, who, treating the reviling and reproaches with
which he was on all occasions loaded by Buonaparte, as the idle chidings
of a storm, which must howl around whatever it meets in its course,
would, with patience and equanimity, have suffered the tempest to expend
its rage, and die away in weakness, the sooner that it found itself
unresisted. We can conceive such a person wrapping himself up in his own
virtue, and, while he discharged to his country the duty she had
intrusted to him, striving, at the same time, by such acts of indulgence
as might be the more gratifying because the less expected, or perhaps
merited, to melt down the sullenness which the hardship of his situation
naturally imposed on the prisoner. We can even conceive that a man of
such rare temper might have found means, in some happy moment, of
re-establishing a tolerable and ostensible good understanding, if not a
heartfelt cordiality, which, could it have existed, would so much have
lessened the vexations and troubles, both of the captive and of the
governor. All this is very easily conceived. But in order to form the
idea of such a man, we must suppose him, in the case in question,
stoically impassive to insults of the grossest kind, insults poured on
him before he had done any thing which could deserve them, and expressed
in a manner which plainly intimated the determination of Napoleon to
place himself at once on the most hostile terms with him. This must have
required the most uncommon share of calmness and candour. It is more
natural that such a functionary as the governor of St. Helena--feeling
the impulse of ill usage from a quarter where no regular satisfaction
could be had--if he did not use the power which he held for the time, to
the actual annoyance and vexation of the party by whom he had been
deliberately insulted, should be apt at least to become indifferent how
much, or how little, his prisoner was affected by the measures which he
adopted, and to go forward with the necessary means of confining the
person, without being so solicitous as he might otherwise have been, to
spare the feelings. An officer, termed to his face a liar, a brigand, an
assassin, a robber, a hangman, has few terms to keep with him by whom he
has been loaded with such unworthy epithets; and who, in using them, may
be considered as having declared mortal war, and disclaimed the
courtesy, while he defied the power, of the person to whom he addressed

In the same manner, judging with the coolness of a third party, we
should be inclined to say, that the immediate attendants and followers
of Napoleon might have here served their master more effectually, by
endeavouring to accommodate the subjects of dispute with Sir Hudson
Lowe, than by aggravating and carrying them still farther by their own
subordinate discussions with the governor and his aides-de-camp, and
thus heating their master's passions by their own. But while that was
the line of conduct to be desired, it is impossible to deny that another
was more naturally to be expected. Generals Bertrand, Montholon, and
Gourgaud, were all soldiers of high reputation, who rising to fame under
Napoleon's eye, had seen their own laurels flourish along with his. In
the hour of adversity, they had most laudably and honourably followed
him, and were now sharing with him the years of solitude and exile. It
was not, therefore, to be wondered at, that they, wearied of their own
restrained and solitary condition, enraged, too, at every thing which
appeared to add to the calamitous condition of their fallen master,
should be more disposed to increase the angry spirit which manifested
itself on both sides, than, by interposing their mediation, to endeavour
to compose jars which might well render Napoleon's state more irritable
and uncomfortable, but could not, in any point of view, tend to his
comfort, peace, or even respectability.

But perhaps we might have been best entitled to hope, from the high part
which Napoleon had played in the world, from the extent of his genius,
and the natural pride arising from the consciousness of talent, some
indifference towards objects of mere form and ceremony, some confidence
in the genuine character of his own natural elevation, and a noble
contempt of the change which fortune could make on circumstances around
him. We might have hoped that one whose mental superiority over the rest
of his species was so undeniable, would have been the last to seek with
eagerness to retain the frippery and feathers of which the wind of
adverse fortune had stripped him, or to be tenacious of that etiquette,
which now, if yielded to him at all, could only have been given by
compassion. We might have thought the conqueror in so many bloody
conflicts, would, even upon provocation, have thought it beneath him to
enter on a war of words with the governor of an islet in the Atlantic,
where foul language could be the only weapon on either side, and held it
a yet greater derogation, so far to lay aside his high character, as to
be the first to engage in so ignoble a conflict. It might, we should
have supposed, have been anticipated by such a person, not only that
calm and patient endurance of inevitable misfortunes is the noblest
means of surmounting them, but that, even with a view to his liberty,
such conduct would have been most advisable, because most politic. The
people of Europe, and especially of Britain, would have been much sooner
apt to unite in the wish to see him removed from confinement, had he
borne himself with philosophical calmness, than seeing him, as they did,
still evincing within his narrow sphere the restless and intriguing
temper which had so long disturbed the world, and which now showed
itself so engrained in his constitution, as to lead him on to the
unworthy species of warfare which we have just described. But the
loftiest and proudest beings of mere humanity are like the image which
the Assyrian monarch beheld in his dream--blended of various metals,
uniting that which is vile with those which are most precious; that
which is frail, weak, and unsubstantial, with what is most perdurable
and strong. Napoleon, like many an emperor and hero before him, sunk
under his own passions after having vanquished nations; and became, in
his exile, the prey of petty spleen, which racked him almost to frenzy,
and induced him to hazard his health, or perhaps even to throw away his
life, rather than submit with dignified patience to that which his
misfortunes had rendered unavoidable.


[243] The claret, for example, was that of Carbonel, at £6 per dozen
without duty. Each domestic of superior rank was allowed a bottle of
this wine, which is as choice, as dear certainly, as could be brought to
the table of sovereigns. The labourers and soldiers had each, daily, a
bottle of Teneriffe wine of excellent quality.--S.

[244] Voice, &c., vol. ii., p. 76.

[245] "Sept. 19.--The Emperor examined a large basket-full of broken
plate, which was to be sent next day to the town. This was to be for the
future the indispensable complement for our monthly subsistence, in
consequence of the late reductions of the governor. When the moment had
come for breaking up this plate, the servants could not, without the
greatest reluctance, bring themselves to apply the hammer to these
objects of their veneration. This act upset all their ideas; it was to
them a sacrilege, a desolation! Some of them shed tears on the
occasion!!"--LAS CASES, tom. iii., p. 184.

[246] "As I was waiting in the antechamber with the military secretary,
I could hear, from the Emperor's tone of voice, that he was irritated.
The audience was a very long, and a very clamorous one. On the
governor's departure, I went to the garden, whither the Emperor had sent
for me. 'Well, Las Cases,' said he, 'we have had a violent scene. I have
been thrown quite out of temper! They have now sent me worse than a
gaoler! Sir Hudson Lowe is a downright executioner; I received him
to-day with my stormy countenance, my head inclined, and my ears pricked
up. We looked most furiously at each other. My anger must have been
powerfully excited, for I felt a vibration in the calf of my left leg.
This is always a sure sign with me; and I have not felt it for a long
time before.'"--LAS CASES, tom. ii., p. 286.

[247] Las Cases, tom. i., p. 61.


    _Napoleon's Domestic Habits--Manner in which he spent the day--his
    Dress--Nature of the Fragments of Memoirs he dictated to Gourgaud
    and Montholon--His admiration of Ossian--He prefers Racine and
    Corneille to Voltaire--Dislike of Tacitus--His Vindication of the
    Character of Cæsar--His Behaviour towards the Persons of his
    Household--Amusements and Exercises--His Character of Sir Pulteney
    Malcolm--Degree of his Intercourse with the Islanders, and with
    Visitors to the Island--Interview with Captain Basil Hall--with Lord
    Amherst and the Gentlemen attached to the Chinese Embassy._


The unpleasant and discreditable disputes, of which we have given some
account in the last chapter, form, unhappily, the most marked events of
Napoleon's latter life. For the five years and seven months that he
remained in the island of St. Helena, few circumstances occurred to vary
the melancholy tenor of his existence, excepting those which affected
his temper or his health. Of the general causes influencing the former,
we have given some account; the latter we shall hereafter allude to. Our
present object is a short and general view of his personal and domestic
habits while in this melancholy and secluded habitation.

Napoleon's life, until his health began to give way, was of the most
regular and monotonous character. Having become a very indifferent
sleeper, perhaps from his custom of assigning, during the active part of
his life, no precise time for repose, his hours of rising were
uncertain, depending upon the rest which he had enjoyed during the
earlier part of the night. It followed from this irregularity, that
during the day time he occasionally fell asleep, for a few minutes, upon
his couch or arm-chair. At times, his favourite valet-de-chambre,
Marchand, read to him while in bed until he was composed to rest, the
best remedy, perhaps, for that course of "thick-coming fancies," which
must so oft have disturbed the repose of one in circumstances so
singular and so melancholy. So soon as Napoleon arose from bed, he
either began to dictate to one of his generals, (Montholon or Gourgaud
generally,) and placed upon record such passages of his remarkable life
as he desired to preserve; or, if the weather and his inclination
suited, he went out for an hour or two on horseback. He sometimes
breakfasted in his own apartment, sometimes with his suite, generally
about ten o'clock, and almost always _à la fourchette_. The fore part of
the day he usually devoted to reading, or dictating to one or other of
his suite, and about two or three o'clock received such visitors as had
permission to wait upon him. An airing in the carriage or on horseback
generally succeeded to this species of levee, on which occasions he was
attended by all his suite. Their horses, supplied from the Cape of Good
Hope, were of a good race and handsome appearance. On returning from his
airings, he again resumed the book, or caused his amanuensis take up the
pen until dinner-time, which was about eight o'clock at night. He
preferred plain food, and eat plentifully, and with an apparent
appetite. A very few glasses of claret, scarce amounting to an English
pint in all, and chiefly drank during the time of dinner, completed his
meal. Sometimes he drank champagne; but his constitutional sobriety was
such, that a large glass of that more generous wine immediately brought
a degree of colour to his cheek. No man appears to have been in a less
degree than Napoleon, subject to the influence of those appetites which
man has in common with the lower range of nature. He never took more
than two meals a day, and concluded each with a small cup of coffee.
After dinner, chess, cards, a volume of light literature, read aloud for
the benefit of his suite, or general conversation, in which the ladies
of his suite occasionally joined, served to consume the evening till ten
or eleven, about which time he retired to his apartment, and went
immediately to bed.

We may add to this brief account of Napoleon's domestic habits, that he
was very attentive to the duties of the toilet. He usually appeared in
the morning in a white night-gown, with loose trousers and stockings
joined in one, a chequered red Madras handkerchief round his head, and
his shirt-collar open. When dressed, he wore a green uniform, very
plainly made, and without ornament, similar to that which, by its
simplicity, used to mark the sovereign among the splendid dresses of the
Tuileries, white waistcoat, and white or nankeen breeches, with silk
stockings, and shoes with gold buckles, a black stock, a triangular
cocked hat, of the kind to be seen in all the caricatures, with a very
small tri-coloured cockade. He usually wore, when in full dress, the
riband and grand cross of the Legion of Honour.[248]

[Sidenote: HIS MEMOIRS.]

Such were the personal habits of Napoleon, on which there is little for
the imagination to dwell, after it has once received the general idea.
The circumstance of the large portion of his time employed in dictation,
alone interests our curiosity, and makes us anxious to know with what he
could have found means to occupy so many pages, and so many hours. The
fragments upon military subjects, dictated from time to time to Generals
Gourgaud and Montholon, are not voluminous enough to account for the
leisure expended in this manner; and even when we add to them the number
of pamphlets and works issuing from St. Helena, we shall still find room
to suppose either that manuscripts remain which have not yet seen the
light, or that Napoleon was a slow composer, and fastidious in the
choice of his language. The last conjecture seems most probable, as the
French are particularly scrupulous in the punctilios of composition, and
Napoleon, emperor as he had been, must have known that he would receive
no mercy from the critics upon that particular.

The avowed works themselves, fragments as they are, are extremely
interesting in a military point of view; and those in which the
campaigns of Italy are described, contain many most invaluable lessons
on the art of war. Their political value is by no means so considerable.
Gourgaud seems to have formed a true estimation of them, when, in answer
to Baron Sturmer's inquiries, whether Napoleon was writing his history,
he expressed himself thus:--"He writes disjointed fragments, which he
will never finish. When asked why he will not put history in possession
of the exact fact, he answers, it is better to leave something to be
guessed at than to tell too much. It would also seem, that not
considering his extraordinary destinies as entirely accomplished, he is
unwilling to detail plans which have not been executed, and which he may
one day resume with more success." To these reasons for leaving blanks
and imperfections in his proposed history, should be added the danger
which a faithful and unreserved narrative must have entailed upon many
of the actors in the scenes from which he was lifting the veil. It is no
doubt true, that Napoleon seems systematically to have painted his
enemies, more especially such as had been once his adherents, in the
most odious colours, and particularly in such as seemed likely to render
them most obnoxious to the ruling powers; but the same principle induced
him to spare his friends, and to afford no handle against them for their
past efforts in his favour, and no motive for taking from them the power
of rendering him farther service, if they should be in a capacity to do

These considerations operated as a check upon the pen of the historian;
and it may be truly said, that no man who has written so much of his own
life, and that consisting of such singular and important events, has
told so little of himself which was not known before from other sources.
But the present is not the less valuable; for there is sometimes as much
information derived from the silence as from the assertions of him who
aspires to be his own biographer; and an apology for, or vindication of,
the course of a remarkable life, however partially written, perhaps
conveys the most information to the reader, next to that candid
confession of faults and errors, which is so very seldom to be obtained
in autobiography.

Napoleon's Memoirs, together with the labour apparently bestowed upon
his controversial pamphlets written against Sir Hudson Lowe, seem to
have furnished the most important part of his occupation whilst at St.
Helena, and probably also of his amusement. It was not to be expected
that in sickness and calamity he could apply himself to study, even if
his youth had furnished him with more stores to work upon. It must be
remembered that his whole education had been received at the military
school of Brienne, where indeed he displayed a strong taste for the
sciences. But the studies of mathematics and algebra were so early
connected and carried on with a view to the military purposes in which
he employed them, that it may be questioned whether he retained any
relish for prosecuting his scientific pursuits in the character of an
inquirer into abstract truths. The practical results had been so long
his motive, so long his object, that he ceased to enjoy the use of the
theoretical means, when there was no siege to be formed, no complicated
manœuvres to be arranged, no great military purpose to be gained by the
display of his skill--but when all was to begin and end with the
discussion of a problem.

That Napoleon had a natural turn for belles lettres is unquestionable;
but his leisure never permitted him to cultivate it, or to refine his
taste or judgment on such subjects. The recommendation which, in 1784,
described him as fit to be sent to the Military School at Paris,
observes, that he is tolerably acquainted with history and geography,
but rather deficient in the ornamented branches, and in the Latin
language.[249] At seventeen years of age, he joined the regiment of La
Fère, and thus ended all the opportunities afforded him of regular
education. He read, however, very extensively; but, like all young
persons, with little discrimination, and more to amuse himself than for
the purpose of instruction. Before he had arrived at that more advanced
period when youths of such talent as his, and especially when gifted
with such a powerful memory, usually think of arranging and classifying
the information which they have collected during their earlier course of
miscellaneous reading, the tumults of Corsica, and subsequently the
siege of Toulon, carried him into those scenes of war and business which
were his element during the rest of his life, and down to the period we
now speak of.

The want of information which we have noticed, he supplied, as most able
men do, by the assistance derived from conversing with persons
possessing knowledge, and capable of communicating it. No one was ever
more dexterous than Napoleon at extracting from individuals the kind of
information which each was best qualified to impart; and in many cases,
while in the act of doing so, he contrived to conceal his own ignorance,
even of that which he was anxiously wishing to know. But although in
this manner he might acquire facts and results, it was impossible to
make himself master, on such easy terms, of general principles, and the
connexion betwixt them and the conclusions which they lead to.

[Sidenote: OSSIAN.]

It was no less certain, that though in this manner Napoleon could obtain
by discoursing with others the insulated portions of information which
he was desirous of acquiring, and though the knowledge so acquired
served his immediate purpose in public life, these were not habits which
could induce him to resume those lighter subjects of study so
interesting and delightful in youth, but which an advanced age is
unwilling to undertake, and slow to profit by. He had, therefore, never
corrected his taste in the belles lettres, but retained his admiration
for Ossian, and other books which had fascinated his early attention.
The declamatory tone, redundancy of expression, and exaggerated
character of the poetry ascribed to the Celtic bard, suit the taste of
very young persons; but Napoleon continued to retain his relish for them
to the end of his life; and, in some of his proclamations and bulletins,
we can trace the hyperbolical and bombastic expressions which pass upon
us in youth for the sublime, but are rejected as taste and reason become
refined and improved. There was indeed this apology for Napoleon's
lingering fondness for Ossian, that the Italian translation, by
Cesarotti, is said to be one of the most beautiful specimens of the
Tuscan language. The work was almost constantly beside him.

Historical, philosophical, or moral works, seem more rarely to have been
resorted to for the amusement of Longwood. We have, indeed, been
informed, that the only books of this description for which Napoleon
showed a decided partiality, were those of Machiavel and Montesquieu,
which he did not perhaps consider as fit themes of public recitation;
Tacitus, who holds the mirror so close to the features of sovereigns, he
is said always to have held in aversion, and seldom to have mentioned
without terms of censure or dislike. Thus will the patient sometimes
loathe the sight of the most wholesome medicine. The French novels of
the day were sometimes tried as a resource; but the habits of order and
decency which Napoleon observed, rendered their levities and
indelicacies unfitted for such society.

There remained another department of literature, from which the party
at Longwood derived frequent resources. The drama occupied a
considerable part of those readings with which Napoleon used to while
away the tedious hours of his imprisonment. This was an indication that
he still retained the national taste of France, where few neglect to
attend the spectacle, in one form or another, during the space betwixt
dinner and the reunion of society in the evening. Next to seeing his
ancient favourite Talma, was to Napoleon the reading some of those
chef-d'œuvres to which he had seen and heard him give life and
personification. He is himself said to have read with taste and effect,
which agrees with the traditions that represent him as having been early
attached to theatrical representations.[250] It was in the discussions
following these readings, which Las Cases has preserved with so much
zeal, that Buonaparte displayed his powers of conversation, and
expressed his peculiar habits and opinions.

Corneille[251] and Racine[252] stood much higher in his estimation than
Voltaire. There seems a good reason for this. They wrote their immortal
works for the meridian of a court, and at the command of the most
monarchical of monarchs, Louis XIV. The productions, therefore, contain
nothing that can wound the ear of the most sensitive sovereign. In the
King of Denmark's phrase, they "have no offence in them."

With Voltaire it is different. The strong and searching spirit, which
afterwards caused the French Revolution, was abroad at this time, and
though unaware of the extent to which it might lead, the philosopher of
Ferney was not the less its proselyte. There were many passages,
therefore, in his works, which could not but be instantly applied to the
changes and convulsions of the period during which Napoleon had lived,
to the despotic character of his government, and to the plans of freedom
which had sunk under the influence of his sword. On this account
Voltaire, whose compositions recalled painful comparisons and
recollections, was no favourite with Napoleon. The _Mahomet_[253] of
that author he particularly disliked, avowing, at the same time, his
respect for the Oriental impostor, whom he accused the poet of traducing
and misrepresenting. Perhaps he secretly acknowledged a certain degree
of resemblance between his own career and that of the youthful
camel-driver, who, rising from a mean origin in his native tribe, became
at once the conqueror and the legislator of so many nations. Perhaps,
too, he remembered his own proclamations while in Egypt, in the assumed
character of a Moslem, which he was wont to term by the true phrase of
_Charlatanerie_, but adding, that it was charlatanerie of a high and
elevated character.

The character of Cæsar was another which Napoleon always strove to
vindicate. The French general could not be indifferent to the Roman
leader, who, like himself, having at first risen into notice by his
victories over the enemies of the republic, had, also like himself,
ended the struggles between the patricians and plebeians of ancient
Rome, by reducing both parties equally under his own absolute dominion;
who would have proclaimed himself their sovereign, even by the
proscribed title of king, had he not been prevented by conspiracy; and
who, when he had conquered his country, thought of nothing so much as
extending an empire, already much too large, over the distant regions of
Scythia and Parthia. The points of personal difference, indeed, were
considerable; for neither did Napoleon indulge in the gross debauchery
and sensuality imputed to Cæsar, nor can we attribute to him the Roman's
powers as an author, or the gentle and forgiving character which
distinguished him as a man.


Yet, although Napoleon had something vindictive in his temper, which he
sometimes indulged when Cæsar would have scorned to do so, his
intercourse with his familiar friends was of a character the most
amiable. It is true, indeed, that, determined, as he expressed himself
to be Emperor within Longwood and its little demesne, he exacted from
his followers the same marks of severe etiquette which distinguished the
Court of the Tuileries; yet, in other respects, he permitted them to
carry their freedom in disputing his sentiments, or replying to his
arguments, almost beyond the bounds of ordinary decorum. He seemed to
make a distinction between their duty towards him as subjects, and their
privileges as friends. All remained uncovered and standing in his
presence, and even the person who played at chess with him sometimes
continued for hours without sitting down. But their verbal intercourse
of language and sentiments was that of free men, conversing with a
superior, indeed, but not with a despot. Captain Maitland mentions a
dispute betwixt Napoleon and General Bertrand. The latter had adopted a
ridiculous idea that £30,000 a-year, or some such extravagant sum, was
spent in maintaining the grounds and establishment at Blenheim.
Napoleon's turn for calculation easily detected the improbability.
Bertrand insisted upon his assertion, on which Buonaparte said with
quickness, "_Bah! c'est impossible._"--"Oh!" said Bertrand, much
offended, "if you are to reply in that manner, there is an end of all
argument;" and for some time would not converse with him. Buonaparte, so
far from taking umbrage, did all he could to soothe him and restore him
to good-humour, which was not very difficult to effect.[254]

But although Napoleon tolerated freedoms of this kind to a considerable
extent, yet he still kept in his own hands the royal privilege of
starting the topic of conversation, and conducting it as he should think
proper; so that, in some respects, it seemed that, having lost all the
substantial enjoyment of power, he had become more attached than ever to
the observance of its monotonous, wearisome, unprofitable ceremonial.
Yet there might be a reason for this, besides the gratification of his
own pertinacious temper. The gentlemen who inhabited Longwood had
followed him from the purest motives, and there was no reason to suppose
that their purpose would waver, or their respect diminish. Still their
mutual situation compelled the deposed sovereign, and his late subjects,
into such close familiarity, as might perhaps beget, if not contempt, at
least an inconvenient degree of freedom betwixt the parties, the very
possibility of which he might conceive it as well to exclude by a strict
barrier of etiquette.

[Sidenote: AMUSEMENTS.]

We return to Napoleon's habits of amusement. Music was not one of the
number. Though born an Italian, and possessing something of a musical
ear, so far, at least, as was necessary to enable him to hum a song, it
was probably entirely without cultivation.[255] He appears to have had
none of the fanaticism for music which characterises the Italians; and
it is well known that in Italy he put a stop to the cruel methods which
had been used in that country to complete their concerts.

Neither was Napoleon, as we have heard Denon reluctantly admit, a judge
or an admirer of painting. He had some pretence to understand sculpture;
and there was one painting in the Museum, before which he used to pause,
terming it his own; nor would he permit it to be ransomed for a very
large sum by its proprietor the Duke of Modena.[256] But he valued it,
not on account of its merits, though a masterpiece of art, but because
he had himself been the means of securing it to the Museum at a great
sacrifice. The other paintings in that immense collection, however great
their excellence, he seldom paid much attention to. He also shocked
admirers of painting by the contempt he showed for the durability of the
art. Being informed that a first-rate picture would not last above five
or six hundred years, he exclaimed, "Bah! a fine immortality!" Yet by
using Denon's advice, and that of other sçavans, Napoleon sustained a
high reputation as an encourager of the arts. His medals have been
particularly and deservedly admired.

In respect of personal exercise at St. Helena, he walked occasionally,
and while strong, did not shun steep, rough, and dangerous paths. But
although there is some game on the island, he did not avail himself of
the pleasure of shooting. It does not indeed appear that he was ever
much attached to field sports, although, when Emperor, he replaced the
hunting establishment upon a scale still more magnificent, as well as
better regulated, than formerly. It is supposed he partook of this
princely pastime, as it has been called, rather out of a love of
magnificent display than any real attachment to the sport. We may here
mention, in his own words, the danger in which he was once placed at a
boar hunt. The picture will remind the amateur of the pieces of Rubens
and Schneider.

"Upon one occasion at Marli," said the Emperor, "at a boar-hunt, I kept
my ground with Soult and Berthier against three enormous wild-boars, who
charged us up to the bayonet's point. All the hunting party fled: 'twas
a complete military rout. We killed the three animals dead; but I had a
scratch from mine, and had nigh lost my finger" (on which a deep scar
was still visible.) "But the jest was to see the number of men,
surrounded with their dogs, concealing themselves behind the three
heroes, and crying at top of their throats--'to the Emperor's
assistance! save the Emperor! help the Emperor!'--and so forth; but not
one coming forward."[257]

While on the subject of Napoleon's exercises, we may mention another
danger which he incurred by following an amusement more common in
England than in France. He chose at one time to undertake the task of
driving a calash, six in hand, which he overturned, and had a severe and
dangerous fall. Josephine and others were in the vehicle.[258] The
English reader cannot fail to recollect that a similar accident happened
to Cromwell, who, because, as the historian says, he could manage three
nations, took upon him to suppose that he could drive six fiery horses,
of which he had just received a present; and, being as unsuccessful as
Napoleon in later days, overturned the carriage, to the great damage of
the Secretary Thurlow, whom he had placed inside, and to his own double
risk, both from the fall, and from the explosion of a pistol, which he
carried privately about his person. Buonaparte's sole observation,
after his own accident, was, "I believe every man should confine himself
to his own trade."


The chief resource of Napoleon at St. Helena, as we have already said,
was society and conversation, and those held chiefly with the gentlemen
of his own suite. This need not have been the case, had he been able in
the present instance to command that temper which had not failed him
under great misfortunes, but seemed now to give way under a series of
petty quarrels and mortifications.

The governor and the staff belonging to him were of course excluded from
the society of Longwood, by the terms on which Napoleon stood with Sir
Hudson Lowe. The officers of the regiments which lay in the island might
most probably have afforded some well-informed men, who, having been
engaged in the recent war, would have occasionally supplied amusing
society to the Emperor and his suite. But they did not in general
frequent Longwood. Dr. O'Meara observes, that the governor had exerted
his influence to prevent the officers from cultivating the acquaintance
of the French; which Sir Hudson Lowe repels as a calumny, confuted by
the declarations of the officers of the 53d themselves. But admitting
that no intimations were used of set purpose to keep asunder the British
officers from the French prisoners, such estrangement naturally followed
from the unwillingness of military men to go where they were sure to
hear not only their commanding officer for the time, but also their
country and its ministers, treated with the grossest expressions of
disrespect, while there was no mode of calling the person who used them
either to account or to explanation.

The rank and character of Sir Pulteney Malcolm, who commanded the
squadron upon the station, set him above the feelings which might
influence inferior officers, whether of the army or navy. He visited
Napoleon frequently, and was eulogised by him in a description, which
(though we, who have the advantage of seeing in the features of Sir
Pulteney those of an honoured friend, can vouch for its being just) may
have been painted the more willingly, because it gave the artist an
opportunity of discharging his spleen, while contrasting the appearance
of the admiral with that of the governor, in a manner most unfavourable
to the latter. Nevertheless we transcribe it, to prove that Buonaparte
could occasionally do justice, and see desert even in a Briton.

"He said he had seen the new admiral. 'Ah! there is a man with a
countenance really pleasing, open, frank, and sincere. There is the face
of an Englishman. His countenance bespeaks his heart, and I am sure he
is a good man: I never yet beheld a man of whom I so immediately formed
a good opinion, as of that fine soldier-like old man. He carries his
head erect, and speaks out openly and boldly what he thinks, without
being afraid to look you in the face at the time. His physiognomy would
make every person desirous of a further acquaintance, and render the
most suspicious confident in him.'"[259]

Sir Pulteney Malcolm was also much recommended to Napoleon's favourable
judgment by the circumstance of having nothing to do with the restraints
imposed upon his person, and possessing the power neither of altering or
abating any of the restrictions he complained of. He was fortunate, too,
in being able, by the calmness of his temper, to turn aside the violent
language of Buonaparte, without either granting the justice of his
complaints or giving him displeasure by direct contradiction. "Does your
Government mean," said Napoleon, one day to the English admiral, "to
detain me upon this rock until my death's day?"--"I am sorry to say,
sir," answered Sir Pulteney, "that such I apprehend is their
purpose."--"Then the term of my life will soon arrive," said Napoleon.
"I hope not, sir," answered the admiral; "I hope you will survive to
record your great actions, which are so numerous that the task will
ensure you a term of long life." Napoleon bowed, and was gratified,
probably both as a hero and as an author. Nevertheless, before Sir
Pulteney Malcolm left the island, and while he was endeavouring to
justify the governor against some of the harsh and extravagant charges
in which Napoleon was wont to indulge, the latter began to appeal from
his judgment as being too much of an Englishman to be an impartial
judge. They parted, however, on the best terms, and Napoleon often
afterwards expressed the pleasure which he had received from the society
of Sir Pulteney Malcolm.

The colonists of St. Helena did not, it may be well supposed, furnish
many individuals, sufficiently qualified, by rank and education, to be
admitted into the society of the exile. They, too, lay under the same
awkward circumstances, which prevented the British officers from holding
intercourse with Longwood and its inhabitants. The governor, should he
be displeased at the too frequent attentions of any individual, or
should he conceive any suspicion arising out of such an intercourse, had
the power, and, in the opinion of the colonists, might not want the
inclination, to make his resentment severely felt. Mr. Balcomb, however,
who held the situation of purveyor, with one or two other inhabitants of
the island, sometimes visited at Longwood. The general intercourse
between the French prisoners and the colonists was carried on by means
of the French domestics, who had the privilege of visiting James' Town
as often as they pleased, and whose doing so could infer no
disadvantageous suspicions. But the society of Longwood gained no
advantage by the intercourse with James' Town, although unquestionably
the facility of foreign communication was considerably increased to the
exiles. Their correspondence was chiefly maintained by the way of Bahia;
and it is certain they succeeded in sending many letters to Europe,
although they are believed to have been less fortunate in receiving

It was to be expected, that some accession to the society of Longwood
might have accrued, from the residence of three gentlemen of rank (two
of them, we believe, having ladies and a family) the commissioners of
Austria, Russia, and France. But here also ceremonial interposed one of
those bars, which are effectual, or otherwise, according to the opinion
of those betwixt whom they are erected. The commissioners of the allied
powers had requested to be presented to Napoleon. On their wish being
announced, he peremptorily declined to receive them in their official
capacity, disclaiming the right which the princes of Europe had to
interfere with and countenance the custody of his person. On the other
hand, the commissioners, finding their public function disowned, refused
to hold any communication with Longwood in their private capacity; and
thus there were excluded from this solitary spot three persons, whose
manners and habits, as foreigners, might have assorted tolerably with
those of the exile and his attendants.

The society of St. Helena receives a great temporary increase at the
seasons when vessels touch there on their way to India, or on their
return to Europe. Of course, every officer and every passenger on such
occasions was desirous to see a person so celebrated as Napoleon; and
there might sometimes occur individuals among them whom he too might
have pleasure in receiving. The regulation of these visits to Longwood
seems to have been one of the few parts of the general system of which
Napoleon made no complaints. He had a natural reluctance to gratify the
idle curiosity of strangers, and the regulations protected him
effectually against their intrusion. Such persons as desired to wait
upon Napoleon were obliged to apply, in the first place, to the
governor, by whom their names were transmitted to General Bertrand, as
grand maréchal of the household, who communicated Napoleon's reply, if
favourable, and assigned an hour at which he was to receive their visit.

Upon such occasions, Napoleon was particularly anxious that the
etiquette of an imperial court should be observed, while the visitors,
on the contrary, were strictly enjoined by the governor not to go beyond
the civilities due to a general of rank. If, therefore, as sometimes
happened, the introduction took place in the open air, the French part
of the company attendant on Buonaparte remained uncovered, while the
English replaced their hats after the first salutation. Napoleon saw the
incongruity of this, and laid his orders on his attendants to imitate
the English in this particular point. It is said, that they did not obey
without scruples and murmurs.

Those visitors who were permitted to pay their respects at Longwood,
were chiefly either persons of distinguished birth, officers of rank in
the army and navy, persons of philosophical inquiry (to whom he was
very partial,) or travellers from foreign regions, who could repay, by
some information, the pleasure which they received from being admitted
to the presence of a man so remarkable. Of these interviews, some who
enjoyed the benefit of them have published an account; and the memoranda
of others we have seen in manuscript. All agree in extolling the extreme
good grace, propriety, and appearance of benevolence, with which
Napoleon clothed himself whilst holding these levees; and which scarce
left the spectators permission to believe that, when surprised by a fit
of passion, or when choosing to assume one for the purpose of effect, he
could appear the rude, abrupt, and savage despot, which other accounts
described him. His questions were uniformly introduced with great tact,
so as to put the person interrogated at his ease, by leading to some
subject with which he was acquainted, while, at the same time, they
induced him to produce any stock of new or curious information which he


The Journal of Captain Basil Hall of the Royal Navy, well-known by his
character both in his profession and in literature, affords a pleasing
example of what we have been endeavouring to express, and displays at
the same time the powerful extent of Buonaparte's memory. He recognised
the name of Captain Hall instantly, from having seen his father, Sir
James Hall, Bart. when he was at the Military Academy of Brienne, to
which visit Sir James had been led by the love of science, by which he
was always distinguished. Buonaparte explained the cause of his
recollecting a private individual, after the intervention of such
momentous events as he had himself been concerned in. "It is not," he
said, "surprising. Your father was the first Englishman that I ever saw;
and I have recollected him all my life on that account." He was
afterwards minute in his inquiries respecting the Royal Society of
Edinburgh, of which Sir James Hall was long President. He then came to
the very interesting subject of the newly-discovered island of Loo-Choo;
and Captain Hall gives an account of the nature of the interrogations
which he underwent, which we will not risk spoiling by an attempt at
condensing it.

    "Having settled where the island lay, he cross-questioned me about
    the inhabitants with a closeness--I may call it a severity of
    investigation--which far exceeds every thing I have met with in any
    other instance. His questions were not by any means put at random,
    but each one had some definite reference to that which preceded it,
    or was about to follow. I felt in a short time so completely exposed
    to his view, that it would have been impossible to have concealed or
    qualified the smallest particular. Such, indeed, was the rapidity of
    his apprehension of the subjects which interested him, and the
    astonishing ease with which he arranged and generalized the few
    points of information I gave him, that he sometimes outstripped my
    narrative, saw the conclusion I was coming to before I spoke it, and
    fairly robbed me of my story.

    "Several circumstances, however, respecting the Loo-Choo people,
    surprised even him a good deal; and I had the satisfaction of seeing
    him more than once completely perplexed, and unable to account for
    the phenomena which I related. Nothing struck him go much as their
    having no arms. '_Point d'armes!_' he exclaimed, '_c'est à dire
    point de canons--ils ont des fusils?_' Not even muskets, I replied.
    '_Eh bien donc--des lances, ou, au moins, des arcs et des flèches?_'
    I told him they had neither one nor other. '_Ni poignards?_' cried
    he, with increasing vehemence.--'No, none.'--'_Mais!_' said
    Buonaparte, clenching his fist, and raising his voice to a loud
    pitch, '_Mais! sans armes, comment se bat-on?_'

    "I could only reply, that as far as we had been able to discover,
    they had never had any wars, but remained in a state of internal and
    external peace. 'No wars!' cried he, with a scornful and incredulous
    expression, as if the existence of any people under the sun without
    wars was a monstrous anomaly.

    "In like manner, but without being so much moved, he seemed to
    discredit the account I gave him of their having no money, and of
    their setting no value upon our silver or gold coins. After hearing
    these facts stated, he mused for some time, muttering to himself, in
    a low tone, 'Not know the use of money--are careless about gold and
    silver.' Then looking up, he asked, sharply, 'How then did you
    contrive to pay these strangest of all people for the bullocks and
    other good things which they seem to have sent on board in such
    quantities?' When I informed him that we could not prevail upon the
    people of Loo-Choo to receive payment of any kind, he expressed
    great surprise at their liberality, and made me repeat to him twice,
    the list of things with which we were supplied by these hospitable

The conversation proceeded with equal spirit, in which it is singular to
remark the acuteness of Napoleon, in seizing upon the most remarkable
and interesting facts, notwithstanding the hurry of a casual
conversation. The low state of the priesthood in Loo-Choo was a subject
which he dwelt on without coming to any satisfactory explanation.
Captain Hall illustrated the ignorance of the people of Loo-Choo with
respect to all the world, save Japan and China, by saying they knew
nothing of Europe at all--knew nothing of France and England--and never
had even heard of his Majesty; at which last proof of their absolute
seclusion from the world, Napoleon laughed heartily. During the whole
interview, Napoleon waited with the utmost patience until his questions
were replied to, inquired with earnestness into every subject of
interest, and made naturally a most favourable impression on his

    "Buonaparte," says the acute traveller, "struck me as differing
    considerably from the pictures and busts I had seen of him. His face
    and figure looked much broader and more square, larger, indeed, in
    every way, than any representation I had met with. His corpulency,
    at this time universally reported to be excessive, was by no means
    remarkable. His flesh looked, on the contrary, firm and muscular.
    There was not the least trace of colour in his cheeks; in fact, his
    skin was more like marble than ordinary flesh. Not the smallest
    trace of a wrinkle was discernible on his brow, nor an approach to a
    furrow on any part of his countenance. His health and spirits,
    judging from appearances, were excellent; though at this period it
    was generally believed in England, that he was fast sinking under a
    complication of diseases, and that his spirits were entirely gone.
    His manner of speaking was rather slow than otherwise, and perfectly
    distinct: he waited with great patience and kindness for my answers
    to his questions, and a reference to Count Bertrand was necessary
    only once during the whole conversation. The brilliant and sometimes
    dazzling expression of his eye could not be overlooked. It was not,
    however, a permanent lustre, for it was only remarkable when he was
    excited by some point of particular interest. It is impossible to
    imagine an expression of more entire mildness, I may almost call it
    of benignity and kindliness, than that which played over his
    features during the whole interview. If, therefore, he were at this
    time out of health and in low spirits, his power of self-command
    must have been even more extraordinary than is generally supposed;
    for his whole deportment, his conversation, and the expression of
    his countenance, indicated a frame in perfect health, and a mind at

The date of this meeting was 13th August, 1817.

[Sidenote: LORD AMHERST.]

In the above interview, Buonaparte played a natural part. Upon another
remarkable occasion, 1st July, 1817, when he received Lord Amherst and
the gentlemen composing and attached to the embassy, then returning from
China, his behaviour and conversation were of a much more studied,
constrained, and empirical character. He had obviously a part to play, a
statement to make, and propositions to announce, not certainly with the
view that the seed he had sowed might fall into barren ground, but that
it might be retained, gathered up, and carried back to Britain, there to
take root in public credulity, and bear fruit sevenfold. He rushed at
once into a tide of politics, declaring that the Russian ascendency was
to be the destruction of Europe; yet, in the same moment, proclaimed the
French and English to be the only effective troops deserving notice for
their discipline and moral qualities. Presently after, he struck the
English out of the field on account of the smallness of the army, and
insisted that, by trusting to our military forces, we were endangering
our naval ascendency. He then entered upon a favourite topic--the
extreme negligence of Lord Castlereagh in failing to stipulate, or
rather extort, a commercial treaty from France, and to wring out of
Portugal reimbursement of our expenses. He seemed to consider this as
sacrificing the interest and welfare of his country, and stated it as
such with a confidence which was calculated to impress upon the hearers
that he was completely serious in the extravagant doctrines which he

He failed, of course, to make any impression on Lord Amherst, or on Mr.
Henry Ellis, third commissioner of the embassy, to whom a large portion
of this violent tirade was addressed, and who has permitted us to have
the perusal of his private journal, which is much more full on the
subject of this interview than the account given in the printed
narrative of the embassy which appeared in 1817.[261]

Having stated Lord Castlereagh's supposed errors towards the state,
Napoleon was not silent upon his own injuries. It was chiefly in his
conversation with Lord Amherst that he dwelt with great bitterness on
Sir Hudson Lowe's conduct to him in various respects; but totally failed
in producing the conviction which he aimed at. It seemed, on the
contrary, to the ambassador and his attendants, that there never,
perhaps, was a prisoner of importance upon whose personal liberty fewer
actual restraints had been imposed, than on that of the late Sovereign
of France. Mr. Ellis, after personal inspection, was induced to regard
his complaints concerning provisions and wine as totally undeserving of
consideration, and to regret that real or pretended anger should have
induced so great a man to countenance such petty misrepresentations.
The house at Longwood, considered as a residence for a sovereign, Mr.
Ellis allowed to be small and inadequate; but, on the other hand,
regarded as the residence of a person of rank living in retirement,
being the view taken in England of the prisoner's condition, it was, in
his opinion, both convenient and respectable. Reviewing, also, the
extent of his limits, Mr. Ellis observes that greater personal liberty,
consistent with any pretension to security, could not be granted to an
individual supposed to be under any restraint at all. His intercourse
with others, he observes, was certainly under immediate surveillance, no
one being permitted to enter Longwood, or its domains, without a pass
from the governor; but this pass, he affirms, was readily granted, and
had never formed any check upon such visitors as Napoleon desired to
see. The restraint upon his correspondence is admitted as disagreeable
and distressing to his feelings, but is considered as a "necessary
consequence of that which he now is, and had formerly been." "Two
motives," said Mr. Ellis, "may, I think, be assigned for Buonaparte's
unreasonable complaints: The first, and principal, is to keep alive
public interest in Europe, but chiefly in England, where he flatters
himself that he has a party; and the second, I think, may be traced to
the personal character and habits of Buonaparte, who finds an occupation
in the petty intrigues by which these complaints are brought forward,
and an unworthy gratification in the _tracasseries_ and annoyance which
they produce on the spot."

The sagacity of Mr. Ellis was not deceived; for General Gourgaud, among
other points of information, mentions the interest which Buonaparte had
taken in the interview with the embassy which returned to Britain from
China, and conceived that his arguments had made a strong impression
upon them. The publication of Mr. Ellis's account of the embassy
dispelled that dream, and gave rise to proportional disappointment at
St. Helena.

Having now given some account of the general circumstances attending
Buonaparte's residence in St. Helena, while he enjoyed a considerable
portion of health, of his mode of living, his studies and amusements,
and having quoted two remarkable instances of his intercourse with
strangers of observation and intelligence, we have to resume, in the
next chapter, the melancholy particulars of his decline of health, and
the few and unimportant incidents which occurred betwixt the
commencement of his sickness and its final termination.


[248] Las Cases, tom. ii., pp. 1-7.

[249] See _ante_, vol. ii., pp. 7 and 8, _note_.

[250] "Plays occupied our attention for the future; tragedies in
particular. Napoleon is uncommonly fond of analyzing them, which he does
in a singular mode of reasoning, and with a great deal of taste. He
remembers an immense quantity of poetry, which he learned when he was
eighteen years old, at which time, he says, he knew more than he does at
present."--LAS CASES, tom. i., p. 249.

[251] "Tragedy fires the soul, elevates the heart, and is calculated to
generate heroes. Considered under this point of view, perhaps, France
owes to Corneille a part of her great actions; and, had he lived in my
time, I would have made him a prince."--NAPOLEON, tom. i., p. 250.

[252] "Napoleon is delighted with Racine, in whom he finds an abundance
of beauties. He thinks but little of Voltaire, who, he says, is full of
bombast and tinsel; always incorrect, unacquainted either with men or
things, with truth or the sublimity of the passions of mankind."--LAS
CASES, tom. i., p. 249.

[253] "Voltaire, in the character and conduct of his hero, has departed
both from nature and history. He has degraded Mahomet, by making him
descend to the lowest intrigues. He has represented a great man who
changed the face of the world, acting like a scoundrel, worthy of the
gallows. He has no less absurdly travestied the character of Omar, which
he has drawn like that of a cut-throat in a melo-drama. Voltaire
committed a fundamental error in attributing to intrigue that which was
solely the result of opinion. Those who have wrought great changes in
the world, never succeeded by gaining over chiefs: but always by
exciting the multitude. The first is the resource of intrigue, and
produces only secondary results: the second is the resort of genius, and
transforms the face of the universe."--NAPOLEON, _Las Cases_, tom. ii.,
p. 80.

[254] Narrative, p. 234.

[255] "The sound of bells produced upon Napoleon a singular effect. When
we were at Malmaison, and while walking in the avenue leading to Ruel,
how often has the booming of the village bell broken off the most
interesting conversations. He stopped, lest the moving of our feet might
cause the loss of a tone in the sounds which charmed him. The influence,
indeed, was so powerful, that his voice trembled with emotion while he
said--'That recalls to me the first years I passed at Brienne.'"--BOURRIENNE,
tom. iii., p. 222.

[256] See _ante_, vol. ii., p. 76.

[257] Las Cases, tom. ii., p. 325.

[258] Las Cases, tom. ii., p. 324.

[259] O'Meara, vol. i., p. 65.

[260] Captain Hall's Voyage to the Eastern Seas, vol. i., ch. vii., pp.
302, 319.

[261] See APPENDIX, No. IV., for one of the best and most authentic
accounts of Napoleon's conversation and mode of reasoning.


    _Napoleon's Illness--viz. Cancer in the Stomach--Removal of Las
    Cases--Montholon's Complaints brought forward by Lord Holland--and
    replied to by Lord Bathurst--Effect of the failure of Lord Holland's
    motion--Removal of Dr. O'Meara from his attendance on
    Buonaparte--who refuses to permit the visits of any other English
    Physician--Two Priests sent to St. Helena at his desire--Dr.
    Antommarchi--Continued Disputes with Sir Hudson Lowe--Plans for
    Effecting Buonaparte's Escape--Scheme of a Smuggler to approach St.
    Helena in a Submarine Vessel--Seizure of the Vessel--Letter
    expressing the King of England's interest in the Illness of
    Napoleon--Consent of the latter to admit the visits of Dr.
    Arnott--Napoleon employs himself in making his Will--and gives other
    directions connected with his Decease--Extreme Unction administered
    to him--HIS DEATH, on 5th May, 1821--Anatomization of the Body--His

[Sidenote: ILLNESS.]

Reports had been long current concerning the decline of Buonaparte's
health, even before the battle of Waterloo; and many were disposed to
impute his failure in that decisive campaign, less to the superiority of
his enemies than to the decrease of his own habits of activity. There
seems no room for such a conclusion: The rapid manner in which he
concentrated his army upon Charleroi, ought to have silenced such a
report for ever. He was subject occasionally to slight fits of
sleepiness, such as are incident to most men, especially after the age
of forty, who sleep ill, rise early, and work hard. When he landed at
St. Helena, so far did he seem from showing any appearance of declining
health, that one of the British grenadiers, who saw him, exclaimed, with
his national oath, "They told us he was growing old;--he has forty good
campaigns in his belly yet, d--n him!" A speech which the French
gentlemen envied, as it ought, they said, to have belonged to one of the
Old Guard. We have mentioned Captain Hall's account of his apparent
state of health in summer 1817; that of Mr. Ellis, about the same
period, is similar, and he expresses his belief that Buonaparte was
never more able to undergo the fatigues of a campaign than at the moment
he saw him. Yet at this time, viz. July, 1817, Napoleon was alleging the
decline of his health as a reason for obtaining more indulgence, while,
on the other hand, he refused to take the exercise judged necessary to
preserve his constitution, unless a relaxation of superintendence should
be granted to him. It is probable, however, that he himself felt, even
at that period, the symptoms of that internal malady which consumed his
life. It is now well known to have been the cruel complaint of which his
father died, a cancer, namely, in the stomach, of which he had
repeatedly expressed his apprehensions, both in Russia and elsewhere.
The progress of this disease, however, is slow and insidious, if indeed
it had actually commenced so early as 1817. Gourgaud, at a much later
period, avowed himself a complete disbeliever in his illness. He
allowed, indeed, that he was in low spirits to such an extent as to talk
of destroying himself and his attached followers, by shutting himself
and them up in a small apartment with burning charcoal--an easy death,
which Berthollet the chemist had, it seems, recommended. Nevertheless,
"on the subject of General Buonaparte's health, General Gourgaud stated,
that the English were much imposed upon; for that he was not, as far as
bodily health was concerned, in any degree materially altered, and that
the representations upon this subject had little, if any, truth in them.
Dr. O'Meara was certainly the dupe of that influence which General
Buonaparte always exercises over those with whom he has frequent
intercourse, and though he (General Gourgaud) individually had only
reason _de se louer de Mr. O'Meara_, yet his intimate knowledge of
General Buonaparte enabled him confidently to assert, that his state of
health was not at all worse than it had been for some time previous to
his arrival at St. Helena."

Yet, as before hinted, notwithstanding the disbelief of friends and
foes, it seems probable that the dreadful disease of which Napoleon
died, was already seizing upon the vitals, though its character was not
decisively announced by external symptoms. Dr. Arnott, surgeon to the
20th regiment, who attended on Napoleon's death-bed, has made the
following observations upon this important subject:

    "We are given to understand, from great authority,[262] that this
    affection of the stomach cannot be produced without a considerable
    predisposition of the parts to disease. I will not venture an
    opinion: but it is somewhat remarkable, that he often said that his
    father died of scirrhus of the pylorus; that the body was examined
    after death, and the fact ascertained. His faithful followers, Count
    and Countess Bertrand, and Count Montholon, have repeatedly declared
    the same to me.

    "If, then, it should be admitted that a previous disposition of the
    parts to this disease did exist, might not the depressing passions
    of the mind act as an exciting cause? It is more than probable that
    Napoleon Buonaparte's mental sufferings in St. Helena were very
    poignant. By a man of such unbounded ambition, and who once aimed at
    universal dominion, captivity must have been severely felt.

    "The climate of St. Helena I consider healthy. The air is pure and
    temperate, and Europeans enjoy their health, and retain the vigour
    of their constitution, as in their native country."

Dr. Arnott proceeds to state, that notwithstanding this general
assertion, dysentery, and other acute diseases of the abdominal viscera,
prevailed among the troops. This he imputes to the carelessness and
intemperance of the English soldiers, and the fatigue of the working
parties; as the officers, who had little night duty, retained their
health and strength as in Europe.

    "I can therefore safely assert," continues the physician, "that any
    one of temperate habits who is not exposed to much bodily exertion,
    night air, and atmospherical changes, as a soldier must be, may
    have as much immunity from disease in St. Helena as in Europe; and I
    may therefore farther assert, that the disease of which Napoleon
    Buonaparte died was _not_ the effect of climate."

In support of Dr. Arnott's statement, it may be observed, that of
Napoleon's numerous family of nearly fifty persons, English servants
included, only one died during all their five years' residence on the
island;[263] and that person (Cipriani, the major-domo) had contracted
the illness which carried him off, being a species of consumption,
before he left Europe.

Dr. Arnott, to whose opinion we are induced to give great weight, both
from the excellence of his character and his having the best
opportunities of information, states that the scirrhus, or cancer of the
stomach, is an obscure disease; the symptoms which announce it being
common to, and characteristic of, other diseases in the same region; yet
he early conceived that some morbid alteration of the structure of the
stomach had taken place, especially after he learned that his patient's
father had died of scirrhus of the pylorus. He believed, as already
hinted, that the disease was in its incipient state, even so far back as
the end of the year 1817, when the patient was affected with pain in the
stomach, nausea, and vomiting, especially after taking food; which
symptoms never left him from that period, but increased progressively
till the day of his death.

From this period, therefore, Napoleon was in a situation which,
considering his great actions, and the height of his former fortunes,
deserved the compassion of his most bitter enemies, and the sympathy of
all who were disposed to take a moral lesson from the most extraordinary
vicissitude of human affairs which history has ever presented. Nor can
we doubt that such reflections might have eventually led to much
relaxation in the severity with which the prisoner was watched, and, it
may be, at length to his entire emancipation. But to attain this end, it
would have been necessary that Napoleon's conduct, while under
restrictions, should have been of a very different character from that
which he thought it most politic, or felt it most natural, to adopt.
First, to obtain the sympathy and privileges due to an invalid, he ought
to have permitted the visits of some medical person, whose report might
be held as completely impartial. This could not be the case with that of
Dr. O'Meara, engaged as he was in the prisoner's intimate and even
secret service, and on the worst terms with the governor; and Napoleon's
positive rejection of all other assistance seemed to countenance the
belief, however unjust, that he was either feigning indisposition, or
making use of some slight symptoms of it to obtain a relaxation of the
governor's vigilance. Nor was it to be supposed that Dr. Antommarchi's
evidence, being that of an individual entirely dependent on Napoleon,
could be considered as more authentic, till corroborated by some
indifferent, and, at the same time, competent medical authority.

Secondly, It is to be remembered, that the fundamental reason on which
Napoleon's confinement was vindicated, was, that his liberty was
inconsistent with the tranquillity of Europe. To prove the contrary, it
would have been necessary that the Ex-Emperor should have evinced a
desire to retreat from political disputes, and shown symptoms of having
laid aside or forgotten those ambitious projects which had so long
convulsed Europe. Compassion, and the admiration of great talents, might
then have led the states of Europe to confide in the resigned
dispositions of one, whom age, infirmities, and sufferings, appeared to
incline to dedicate the remainder of his days to ease and retirement,
and in whom they might seem a sure guarantee for his pacific intentions.
But so far were such feelings from being exhibited, that every thing
which emanated from St. Helena showed that the Ex-Emperor nourished all
his former plans, and vindicated all his former actions. He was not
satisfied that the world should adopt the opinion that his ambition was
allayed, and his pretensions to empire relinquished. On the contrary,
his efforts, and those of the works into which he breathed his spirit,
went to prove, if they proved any thing, that he never entertained
ambition of a culpable character--that his claims of sovereignty were
grounded upon national law and justice--that he had a right to entertain
them formerly, and that he was disposed and entitled to assert them
still. He was at pains to let the world know that he was not altered in
the slightest degree, was neither ashamed of his projects, nor had
renounced them; but, if restored to Europe, that he would be in all
respects the same person, with the same claims, and little diminished
activity, as when he landed at Cannes to recover the empire of France.

This mode of pleading his cause had the inevitable consequence of
confirming all those who had deemed restrictions on his freedom to be
necessary in the outset (and these were the great majority of Europe,)
in the belief that the same reasons existed for continuing the
restraint, which had originally caused it to be imposed. We are
unwilling to revert again to the hackneyed simile of the imprisoned
lion; but certainly, if the royal animal which Don Quixotte desired to
set at liberty, had, instead of demeaning himself peaceably and with
urbanity, been roaring, ramping, and tearing the bars of his cage, it
may be questioned whether the Great Redresser of Wrongs himself would
have advocated his freedom.

[Sidenote: LAS CASES.]

In November 1816, Napoleon sustained a loss to which he must have been
not a little sensible, in the removal of Count Las Cases from his
society. The devoted attachment of the Count to his person could not be
doubted, and his age and situation as a civilian, made him less apt to
enter into those feuds and quarrels, which sometimes, notwithstanding
their general attachment to Napoleon, seemed to have arisen among the
military officers of the household of Longwood. He was of a literary
turn, and qualified to converse upon general topics, both of history and
science. He had been an emigrant, and understanding all the manœuvres
and intrigues of the ancient noblesse, had many narrations which
Napoleon was not unwilling to listen to. Above all, he received and
recorded every thing which was said by Napoleon, with undoubting faith
and unwearied assiduity. And, like the author of one of the most
entertaining books in the English language (Boswell's Life of Johnson,)
Count Las Cases thought nothing trivial that could illustrate his
subject. Like Boswell, too, his veneration for his principal was so
deep, that he seems to have lost, in some cases, the exact perception of
right and wrong, in his determination to consider Napoleon as always in
the right. But his attachment, if to a certain degree tending to blind
his judgment, came warm from his heart. The count gave a substantial
mark, also, of his sincerity, in dedicating to his master's service a
sum of £4000, or thereabout, his whole private fortune, which was vested
in the English funds.[264]

For our misfortune, as also for his own, since he must have considered
his separation from Buonaparte as such, Count Las Cases had been tempted
into a line of conduct inconsistent with the engagement he had come
under with the other attendants of the Ex-Emperor, not to hold secret
communication beyond the verge of the island. The opportunity of a
servant of his own returning to England, induced him to confide to the
domestic's charge a letter, written upon a piece of white silk, that it
might be the more readily concealed, which was stitched into the lad's
clothes. It was addressed to Prince Lucien Buonaparte. As this was a
direct transgression, in a most material point, of the conditions which
Count Las Cases had promised to observe, he was dismissed from the
island and sent to the Cape of Good Hope, and from thence to
Europe.[265] His Journal remained for some time in the hands of Sir
Hudson Lowe; but, as we had formerly occasion to mention, alterations
and additions were afterwards made, which, in general, are more
vituperative of the governor, than the manuscript as it originally stood
when the Count left St. Helena. The abridgement of the Count's stay at
the island was much to be regretted, as his Journal forms the best
record, not only of Napoleon's real thoughts, but of the opinions which
he desired should be received as such. Unquestionably, the separation
from this devoted follower added greatly to the disconsolate situation
of the Exile of Longwood; but it is impossible to suppress the remark,
that, when a gentleman attached to Napoleon's suite found himself at
liberty thus to break through a plighted engagement in his chief's
behalf, it sufficiently vindicated Sir Hudson Lowe for putting little
faith in the professions made to him, and declining to relax any
reasonable degree of vigilance which the safe custody of his prisoner
seemed to demand.

The complaints of Napoleon and his followers produced, as they ought to
have done, an inquiry into the personal treatment of the Ex-Emperor, in
the British Parliament; when the general reasoning which we have hinted
at, joined to the exposure which ministers afforded of the exaggerated
representations that had been made in the statements which had come from
St. Helena, were found greatly to preponderate over the arguments of
Napoleon's compassionate and accomplished advocate, Lord Holland.


The question came before the House of Lords, on 18th March, 1817.[266]
Lord Holland, in a speech of great good sense and moderation, disowned
all attempts at persuading the House, that the general line of policy
adopted with respect to Napoleon should be changed. It had been adopted
in contradiction to his (Lord Holland's) sentiments, but it had been
confirmed by Parliament, and he did not hope to obtain a reversal of
their judgment. But, if the confining Napoleon was, as had been alleged,
a measure of necessity, it followed that necessity must limit what
necessity had created, and of course that the prisoner should be treated
with no unnecessary harshness. His lordship did not presume to state the
reports which had reached him as absolute matters of fact, but only as
rumours which demanded an inquiry, where the honour of the country was
so nearly concerned. Most of the allegations on which Lord Holland
grounded his motion, were contained in a paper of complaints sent by
General Montholon. The particulars noticed in this remonstrance were
circumstances which have been already adverted to, but may be here
briefly noticed, as well as the answers by the British Government.

First, the restrictions upon the exercising ground formerly allowed to
Napoleon, was alleged as a grievance. The climate of St. Helena, Lord
Holland admitted, was good, but his lordship complained that the upper
part of the island, where Longwood was situated, was damp and unhealthy.
The inconvenience of the house was also complained of.

Lord Bathurst, the colonial secretary of state, replied to this charge,
that the general accounts of Longwood described it as healthy. It had
been the usual country residence of the lieutenant-governor, which went
far to show that the site could not be ineligible. The situation had
been preferred by Napoleon himself, who was so impatient to take
possession of it, that he even wished to have pitched a tent there till
the house could be cleared for his reception. The restriction of the
bounds of exercise, he explained to have been caused by Napoleon's
evincing some disposition to tamper with the inhabitants. He still had a
circuit of eight miles, within which he might range unattended and
uncontrolled. If he wished to go farther, he was at liberty to traverse
the island, upon permitting an orderly officer to join his suite. His
refusal to take exercise on such terms, was not the fault of the British
Government; and if Napoleon's health suffered in consequence, it was the
result not of the regulations, which were reasonable and indispensable,
but of his own wilfulness in refusing to comply with them.

The second class of exceptions taken by Lord Holland, was against what
he considered as the harsh and iniquitous restrictions upon the exile's
communication with Europe. He was not, his lordship stated, permitted to
obtain books, or to subscribe for journals and newspapers. All
intercourse by letter was interdicted to the distinguished prisoner,
even with his wife, his child, and his nearest and dearest relatives. He
was not allowed to write under seal to the Prince Regent.

Upon these several topics Lord Bathurst answered, that a list of books,
the value of which amounted to £1400 or £1500 (which General Montholon
termed a few books,) had been sent by Napoleon to Britain; that the
commissioners put this list into the hands of an eminent French
bookseller, who had supplied as many as could be obtained in London and
Paris, but several of them, chiefly works on military matters, could not
be procured. The volumes which could be procured, had been sent, with an
apology for the omission of those which were not to be gotten; but the
residents of Longwood had not admitted the excuse. Respecting the
permission of a free subscription by Napoleon to journals, Lord Bathurst
deemed it his duty to place some restriction upon that species of
indulgence, attempts having been detected to establish a correspondence
with Napoleon through the medium of newspapers. On the subject of
intercourse with Europe by letter, Lord Bathurst stated that it was not
interdicted, unless by the condition that Sir Hudson Lowe should
previously be permitted to read the letter, whether of business or
otherwise. This right, Lord Bathurst stated, had been exercised only by
the governor in person, and with strict delicacy and feeling; and he
repelled, with the most flat contradiction, the assertions of Montholon,
that the governor of St. Helena had broken open and detained letters,
under pretence that they did not come through the channel of the English
minister. Lord Bathurst said, that General Montholon had been challenged
by Sir Hudson Lowe to produce a single instance of such tyranny having
been permitted, but that the French general had remained silent, the
assertion being absolutely false. All the letters which the relatives of
Napoleon were disposed to send through his, Lord Bathurst's office, he
said, should be instantly forwarded, but it was a necessary preliminary
that such should be written. Now, a letter from his brother Joseph,
which was received in October last, and instantly forwarded, was the
only one from any of his family or relatives which had reached the
office. His lordship then adverted to the regulation which enacted, that
even a letter to the Prince Regent must pass through the governor of
St. Helena's hands in an open state. Lord Bathurst explained that the
regulation gave the governor no authority or option as to transmitting
the letter, which he was directed to forward instantly. The rule only
required that Sir Hudson Lowe should be privy to the contents, in order,
that, if it should contain any impeachment of his conduct, his defence
or apology might reach London as soon as the accusation. This, his
lordship remarked, was necessary, in order that no time might be lost in
redressing a complaint of a grave character, or in repelling any
frivolous and unsubstantial charge. He added, that should any sealed
letter be addressed to the Prince Regent by Napoleon, he, Lord Bathurst,
would have no hesitation to open it, if the governor had not previously
done so. He should conceive it to be his duty to forward it instantly as
addressed, whenever he was acquainted with the contents; but being in
his department responsible for the acts of the sovereign, he would feel
it his duty to make himself previously acquainted with the nature of the

Thirdly, Lord Holland touched on the inadequacy of the sum allowed for
the maintenance of Napoleon, and on the unworthiness of making that
personage contribute to bear his own charges. The ministers, his
lordship stated, having placed him in a situation where great expense
was necessary, turned round upon him, and insisted that he should
himself be in a great measure at the charge of supporting it.

Lord Bathurst replied by stating the facts with which the reader is
already acquainted. He mentioned, that the sum of £8000 had been fixed
upon as adequate, after the heavy expenses of the first year; and that
it was increased to £12,000 on the remonstrance of Sir Hudson Lowe. This
allowance, he said, was the same given to the governor, who had to bear
the cost of frequent entertainments. It did not appear to government,
that the family of Napoleon, which was to be maintained on the footing
of that becoming a general officer of distinction, ought to cost more
than that of Sir Hudson Lowe, who actually held that condition, with the
necessity of discharging the expenses of his staff, and all other
incumbent disbursements. He gave some details on the subject of the
provisions and the cellar, from which it appeared, that, besides the
inferior species of wine, the table of Napoleon was supplied at the rate
of two bottles daily of those of a superior quality for each individual.

Lord Holland concluded with stating, that although Queen Mary could be
no otherwise regarded than as the bitterest enemy of the illustrious
Elizabeth, yet the greatest stain upon the memory of the latter
sovereign was not the unjust, for _unjust_ it was not, but the harsh and
ungenerous treatment of Mary. He reminded the House, that it would not
be considered by posterity, whether Buonaparte had been justly punished
for his crimes, but whether Great Britain had acted in that generous
manner which became a great country. He then moved for the production
of such papers and correspondence betwixt St. Helena and the British
Government, as should seem best fitted to throw light on the personal
treatment of Napoleon.

It may be observed, that in the candid and liberal manner in which Lord
Holland stated the case, he was led into a comparison unfavourable to
his own argument. To have rendered the case of Mary (the justice of
which his lordship admitted, in questioning its generosity) parallel to
that of Napoleon, two remarkable circumstances were wanting. First,
Mary, far from being at war with Queen Elizabeth, was ostensibly on the
most friendly terms with that sovereign when she took refuge in England;
secondly, the British Ministry testified no design to finish Napoleon's
confinement by cutting off his head.

Lord Darnley, who had concurred with Lord Holland in desiring an
inquiry, now considered the reports alluded to as totally refuted by the
candid and able statement of Lord Bathurst, and was not of opinion that
Lord Holland should press the motion farther. The Marquis of
Buckingham's opinion was founded on the broad ground of Napoleon's
delinquencies towards Europe, and England in particular. He was of
opinion, that every degree of restraint necessary to prevent his escape,
should be imposed and enforced. The severe and close durance to which
General Buonaparte was subjected, was not, his lordship said, dictated
by motives of revenge, but of security. It was a piece of political
justice which we owed to Europe, and the defeat of which would never be
forgotten in this or in any other state of the civilized world.

The motion of Lord Holland does not appear to have been seconded, and
was negatived without a division.

There can be no doubt that the failure of this effort in the British
Senate had a deep effect on Napoleon's spirits, and may, perhaps, have
aggravated that tendency to disease in the stomach, which was suspected
to have already taken place. Nothing is better known, though perhaps few
things are more difficult to be satisfactorily explained, than the
mysterious connexion betwixt distress of mind and the action of the
digestive powers. Violent sickness is produced on many persons by
extreme and sudden affliction, and almost every one feels the stomach
more or less affected by that which powerfully and painfully occupies
the mind. And here we may add, that Lord Holland's kindness and
compassion for so great a man, under such severe circumstances, were
shown by a variety of delicate attentions on his part and that of his
lady, and that the supplies of books and other articles sent by them
through the Foreign Office, where every facility was afforded for the
conveyance, continued from time to time to give Napoleon assurance of
their sympathy. But though he gratefully felt their attentions, his
distress of body, and perhaps of mind, assumed a character incapable of
receiving consolation.

This unhappy state was kept up and prolonged by the extent to which
Buonaparte indulged in determined opposition to the various regulations
respecting the custody of his person; on which subject every thing which
occurred occasioned a struggle against the authority of Sir Hudson Lowe,
or a new effort to obtain the Imperial distinctions which he considered
as due to his rank.

The last point seems to have been carried to the length of childish
extravagance. It was necessary, for example, that Dr. O'Meara should
report to the governor of the island the state of the prisoner's health,
which began to give room for serious apprehension. Napoleon insisted,
that when this bulletin was rendered in writing, O'Meara, whom he
considered as in his own service, should give him the title of Emperor.
It was in vain that the Doctor remonstrated, pleading that the
instructions of Government, as well as the orders of Lieutenant-General
Lowe, prohibited him from using this forbidden epithet; and it was with
difficulty that he at last prevailed that the word Personage or Patient
might be substituted for the offensive phrase of _General Buonaparte_.
Had this ingenious device not been resorted to, there could have been no
communication with the Government on the subject of Napoleon's health.

The physician of Napoleon had till now enjoyed an easy office. His
health was naturally sound; and, like many persons who enjoy the same
inestimable advantage, the Ex-Emperor doubted of the healing powers of
medicines which he never needed to use. Abstinence was his chief
resource against stomach complaints, when these began to assail him, and
the bath was frequently resorted to when the pangs became more acute. He
also held it expedient to change the character of his way of living,
when he felt affected with illness. If it had been sedentary, he rode
hard and took violent exercise; and if, on the contrary, he had been
taking more exercise than usual, he was accustomed to lay it aside for
prolonged repose. But more recently he had not the wish to mount on
horseback, or take exercise at all.

About the 25th of September, 1817, Napoleon's health seems to have been
seriously affected. He complained much of nausea, his legs swelled, and
there were other unfavourable symptoms, which induced his physician to
tell him that he was of a temperament which required much activity; that
constant exertion of mind and body was indispensable; and that without
exercise he must soon lose his health. He immediately declared, that
while exposed to the challenge of sentinels, he never would take
exercise, however necessary. Dr. O'Meara proposed calling in the
assistance of Dr. Baxter, a medical gentleman of eminence on Sir Hudson
Lowe's staff. "He could but say the same as you do," said Napoleon, "and
recommend my riding abroad; nevertheless, as long as the present system
continues, I will never stir out." At another time he expressed the same
resolution, and his determination to take no medicines. Dr. O'Meara
replied, that, if the disease should not be encountered by remedies in
due time, it would terminate fatally. His answer was remarkable: "I will
have at least the consolation that my death will be an eternal dishonour
to the English nation, who sent me to this climate to die under the
hands of * * * *." The physician again represented, that, by neglecting
to take medicine, he would accelerate his own death. "That which is
written is written," said Napoleon, looking up. "Our days are

This deplorable and desperate course seems to have been adopted partly
to spite Sir Hudson Lowe, partly in the reckless feelings of despondency
inspired by his situation, and in some degree, perhaps, was the effect
of the disease itself, which must necessarily have disinclined him to
motion. Napoleon might also hope, that, by thus threatening to injure
his health by forbearing exercise, he might extort the governor's
acquiescence in some points which were disputed betwixt them. When the
governor sent to offer him some extension of his riding ground, and Dr.
O'Meara wished him to profit by the permission, he replied, that he
should be insulted by the challenge of the sentinels, and that he did
not choose to submit to the caprice of the governor, who, granting an
indulgence one day, might recall it the next. On such grounds as
these--which, after all, amounted just to this, that being a prisoner,
and one of great importance, he was placed under a system of vigilance,
rendered more necessary by the constant intrigues carried on for his
escape--did he feel himself at liberty to neglect those precautions of
exercise and medicine, which were necessary for the preservation of his
health. His conduct on such occasions can scarce be termed worthy of his
powerful mind; it resembled too much that of the froward child, who
refuses its food, or its physic, because it is contradicted.


The removal of Dr. O'Meara from Napoleon's person, which was considered
by him as a great injury, was the next important incident in the
monotony of his life. It seems, from quotations given elsewhere in this
volume, that Dr. O'Meara had been for some time a confident of Sir
Hudson Lowe, and was recommended by him to ministers as a person by
whose means he could learn what passed in the family of Napoleon. But in
process of time, Dr. O'Meara, growing, perhaps, more intimate with the
prisoner, became unwilling to supply the governor with the information
of which he had been formerly profuse, and a quarrel took place betwixt
him and Sir Hudson Lowe. In describing the scenes which passed between
him and the governor, we have already said that Dr. O'Meara writes with
a degree of personal animosity, which is unfavourable to his own credit.
But his departure from St. Helena was occasioned by a warmer mark of the
interest which he took in Napoleon's fortunes, than could be inferred
from his merely refusing to inform Sir Hudson of what was said at

Dr. O'Meara seems not only to have taken the part of Napoleon in his
controversies with the governor, but also to have engaged deeply in
forwarding a secret correspondence with a Mr. Holmes, the Ex-Emperor's
agent in London. This appears to have been clearly proved by a letter
received from the agent, relating to large remittances of money to St.
Helena, by the connivance of the physician.[268] Under such suspicions,
Dr. O'Meara was withdrawn by the governor's mandate from attending on
the person of Napoleon, and sent back to England. Napoleon had never
obeyed his medical injunctions, but he complained severely when he was
recalled from his household; expressing his belief that the depriving
him of the medical attendant, whose prescriptions he had never followed,
was a direct and bold step in the plan contrived for murdering him. It
is probable, however, he regretted Dr. O'Meara's secret services more
than those which were professional.

Sir Hudson Lowe again offered the assistance of Dr. Baxter, but this was
construed at Longwood into an additional offence. It was even treated as
an offer big with suspicion. The governor tried, it was said, to palm
his own private physician upon the Emperor, doubtless that he might hold
his life more effectually in his power. On the other hand, the British
ministers were anxious that every thing should be done which could
prevent complaints on this head. "You cannot better fulfil the wishes of
his Majesty's Government" (says one of Lord Bathurst's despatches to the
Governor) "than by giving effect to any measure which you may consider
calculated to prevent any just ground of dissatisfaction on the part of
General Buonaparte, on account of any real or supposed inadequacy of
medical attendance."

Dr. Stokoe, surgeon on board the Conqueror, was next called in to visit
at Longwood. But differences arose betwixt him and the governor, and
after a few visits his attendance on Napoleon was discharged.

After this period, the prisoner expressed his determination, whatever
might be the extremity of his case, not to permit the visits of an
English physician; and a commission was sent to Italy to obtain a
medical man of reputation from some of the seminaries in that country.
At the same time, Napoleon signified a desire to have the company of a
Catholic priest. The proposition for this purpose came through his
uncle, Cardinal Fesch, to the Papal government, and readily received the
assent of the British ministry. It would appear that this mission had
been thought by his Holiness to resemble, in some degree, those sent
into foreign and misbelieving countries; for two churchmen were
despatched to St. Helena instead of one.

The senior priest, Father Bonavita, was an elderly man, subject to the
infirmities belonging to his period of life, and broken by a residence
of twenty-six years in Mexico. His speech had been affected by a
paralytic stroke. His recommendation to the office which he now
undertook, was his having been father confessor to Napoleon's mother.
His companion was a young abbé, called Vignali.[269] Both were pious,
good men, well qualified, doubtless, to give Napoleon the comfort which
their Church holds out to those who receive its tenets, but not so much
as to reclaim wanderers, or confirm those who might doubt the doctrines
of the Church.


Argument or controversy, however, were not necessary. Napoleon had
declared his resolution to die in the faith of his fathers. He was
neither an infidel, he said, nor a philosopher. If we doubt whether a
person who had cond