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Title: Memoirs of the life, exile, and conversations of the Emperor Napoleon. (Vol. III)
Author: Cases, Emmanuel-Auguste-Dieudonné Las
Language: English
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This is the third of four volumes, which can be found at Project



  _Published for Henry Colburn, March 1836._

                            THE LIFE, EXILE,
                                 OF THE
                           EMPEROR NAPOLEON.

                        THE COUNT DE LAS CASES.

                             A NEW EDITION.

                             WITH PORTRAITS

                               VOL. III.

                      PUBLISHED FOR HENRY COLBURN,
                          AND ALL BOOKSELLERS.






                         THE EMPEROR NAPOLEON.


                          WORKS OF CHERBOURG.

July 15, 1816. About ten o’clock, the Emperor entered my apartment: he
came unawares, as he wished to take a walk. I followed him, and he
walked for some time towards the wood, where we were taken up by the
calash. A considerable interval had elapsed since he made use of it. I
was the only person with him, and the Bill, which related to him, and
with the nature of which we were unacquainted, was, during the whole
time, the subject of our conversation.

Upon our return, the Emperor, after some hesitation whether he should
breakfast under the trees, determined to go in, and remained at home the
whole of the day. He dined alone.

He sent for me after dinner; I found him engaged in reading some
_Mercures_ or old newspapers. He found in them various anecdotes and
circumstances respecting Beaumarchais, whom the Emperor, during his
Consulate, had, notwithstanding all his wit, uniformly discountenanced,
on account of his bad character and his gross immorality. The difference
of manners imparted a poignancy to the anecdotes, although the
difference of times was so trifling. He found an account of Louis the
Sixteenth’s visit to Cherbourg, on which he dwelt for some time. He next
adverted to the works of Cherbourg, and took a rapid review of them,
with the clearness, precision, and lively manner that characterized
every thing he said.

Cherbourg is situated at the bottom of a semicircular bay, the two
extremities of which are the Pelée Island on the right, and Point
Querqueville on the left. The line, by which these two points are
connected, forms the chord or the diameter, and runs East and West.

Opposite to the North, and at a very small distance, about 20 leagues,
is the famous Portsmouth, the grand arsenal of the English. The
remainder of their coast runs nearly parallel opposite to ours. Nature
has done every thing for our rivals; nothing for us. Their shores are
safe and clear themselves daily from obstructions. They abound in deep
soundings, in the means of shelter, in harbours and excellent ports;
ours are, on the contrary, full of rocks, the water is shallow, and they
are every day choking up. We have not in these parts a single real port
of large dimensions, and it might be said that the English are, at the
same moment, both at home and on our coast, since it is not requisite
for their squadrons, at anchor in Portsmouth, to put to sea to molest
us. A few light vessels are sufficient to convey intelligence of our
movements, and, in an instant, without trouble or danger, they are ready
to pounce upon their prey.

If, on the contrary, our squadrons are daring enough to appear in the
British Channel, which ought, in reality, to be called the French Sea,
they are exposed to perpetual danger; their total destruction may be
effected by the hurricane or the superiority of the enemy, because in
both these cases there is no shelter for them. This is what happened at
the famous battle of La Hogue, where Tourville might have united the
glory of a skilful retreat with that of a hard fought and unequal
contest, had there been a port for him to take shelter in.

In this state of things, men of great sagacity and anxious for the
welfare of their country, prevailed upon government, by dint of projects
and memorials, to seek, by the assistance of art, those resources of
which we had been deprived by nature; and, after a great deal of
hesitation, the bay of Cherbourg was selected, and it was determined to
protect it by an immense dike, projecting into the sea. In that way we
were to acquire, even close to the enemy, an artificial road, whence our
ships might be able, in all times and in all weathers, to attack his, or
to escape his pursuit.

“It was,” said the Emperor, “a magnificent and glorious undertaking,
very difficult with respect to the execution and to the finances of that
period. The dike was to be formed by immense cones constructed empty in
the port and towed afterwards to the spot, where they were sunk by the
weight of the stones with which they were filled.[1] There certainly was
great ingenuity in the invention. Louis XVI. honoured these operations
with his presence. His departure from Versailles was a great event. In
those times, a king never left his residence, his excursions did not
extend beyond the limits of a hunting party; they did not hurry about as
at present, and I really believe that I contributed not a little to the
rapidity of their movements.

Footnote 1:

  The diameter of these cones, which were 60 feet high, was 104 feet at
  the base, and 60 at the top.

“However, as it was absolutely necessary that things should be impressed
with the character of the age, the eternal rivalry between the land and
sea, that question which can never be decided, continued to be carried
on. It might have been said in that respect, that there were two kings
in France, or that he who reigned had two interests, and ought to have
two wills, which proved rather that he had none at all. Here the sea was
the only subject for consideration, yet the question was decided in
favour of the land, not by superiority of argument, but by priority of
right. Where the fate of the empire was at stake, a point of precedence
was substituted, and thus the grand object, the magnificent enterprise,
failed of success. The land-party established itself at Pelée Island and
at fort Querqueville; it was employed there merely to lend an auxiliary
hand to the construction of the dike, which was itself the chief object;
but instead of that, it began by establishing its own predominance, and
afterwards compelled the dike to become the instrument of its
convenience, and subservient to its plans and discretion. What was the
result? The harbour, which was forming and which was intended to contain
the mass of our navy, whether designed to strike at the heart of the
enemy’s power, or to take occasional shelter, could only accommodate
fifteen sail at most, while we wanted anchorage for more than a hundred,
which might have been effected without more labour and with little more
expense, had the works been carried more forward into the sea, merely
beyond the limits which the land-party had appropriated to itself.

“Another blunder highly characteristic, and scarcely conceivable, took
place. All the principal measures for completing the harbour were fixed
upon; the dike commenced; one of the channels, that to the eastward,
finished, and the other to the westward was on the point of being
formed, without an exact and precise knowledge of all the soundings.
This oversight was so great that the channel already formed, that to the
eastward, five hundred fathoms broad, having been carried too close to
the fort, did not, without inconvenience, admit vessels at low water,
and that the other, which was about to be constructed to the westward,
would have been impracticable, or at least very dangerous, but for the
individual zeal of one officer (M. de Chavagnac), who made that
important discovery in time, and caused the works on the left extremity
of the dike to be stopped at the distance of twelve hundred fathoms from
fort Querqueville, by which it was to be defended. This seems to me, and
is, in fact, too great a distance.[2]

Footnote 2:

  It was not until 1789, five years after the commencement of these
  works, that orders were given by government for taking the soundings
  of the harbour and ascertaining the state of the bottom. Up to that
  time, the works had been carried on solely on vague and imperfect
  notions!! (Mémoire du Baron Cachin, Inspecteur Général des ponts et

“The system adopted in the works of the dike, which is more than a
league from the shore, and more than 1900 fathoms long by 90 feet broad,
was also subjected to numerous changes, suggested, however, by
experience. The cones, which, according to the established principle,
ought to have touched each other at their bases, were, in that respect,
either separated by accident or with a view to economy. They were
damaged by storms, eaten by worms, or rotted with age. They were at
length altogether neglected, with the exception of stones thrown at
random into the sea; and when it was observed that these were scattered
by the rolling of the waves, recourse was had to enormous blocks, which
finally answered every expectation.

“The works were continued, without interruption, under Louis XVI. An
encreased degree of activity was imparted to them by our legislative
assemblies; but in consequence of the commotions which soon followed,
they were completely abandoned, and at the time of the Consulate, not a
trace of that famous dike was to be seen. Every thing had been destroyed
for several feet under low water level, by the original imperfection of
the plan, by the length of time, and the violence of the waves.

“The moment, however, I took the helm of affairs, one of the first
things I did was to turn my attention to so important a point. I ordered
commissions of inquiry; I had the subject discussed in my presence; I
made myself acquainted with the local circumstances; and I decided that
the dike should be run up with all possible expedition, and that two
solid fortifications should, in the course of time, be constructed at
the two extremities; but that measures should be immediately taken for
the establishment of a considerable provisional battery. I had then to
encounter, on all sides, the inconveniencies, the objections, the
particular views, the fondness which attaches itself to individual
opinions, &c. Several maintained that the thing certainly could not be
done; I continued steady, I insisted, I commanded, and the thing was
done. In less than two years, a real island was seen rising as it were,
by magic, from the sea, on which was erected a battery of large calibre.
Until that moment, our labours had almost constantly been the sport of
the English; they had, they said, been convinced, from their origin,
that they would prove fruitless; they had foretold that the cones would
destroy themselves, that the small stones would be swept away by the
waves, and above all, they relied upon our lassitude and our
inconstancy. But here things were completely altered, and they made a
shew of molesting our operations; they were, however, too late; I was
already prepared for them. The western channel naturally continued very
wide, and the two extreme fortifications, which defended, each its
peculiar passage, being incapable of maintaining a cross-fire, it was
probable that an enterprising enemy might be enabled to force the
western channel, come to an anchor within the dike, and there renew the
disaster of Aboukir. But I had already guarded against this with my
central provisional battery. However, as I am for permanent
establishments, I ordered within the dike, in the centre, by way of
support, and which in its turn might serve as an envelope, an enormous
elliptical paté to be constructed, commanding the central battery, and
mounted itself in two casemated stories, bomb-proof, with 50 pieces of
large calibre and 20 mortars of an extensive range, as well as barracks,
powder-magazine, cistern, &c.

“I have the satisfaction of having left this noble work in a finished

“Having provided for the defensive, my only business was to prepare
offensive measures, which consisted in the means of collecting the mass
of our fleets at Cherbourg. The harbour, however, could contain but
fifteen sail. For the purpose of increasing the number, I caused a new
port to be dug; the Romans never undertook a more important, a more
difficult task, or one which promised a more lasting duration! It was
sunk into the granite to the depth of 50 feet, and I caused the opening
of it to be celebrated by the presence of Maria Louisa, while I myself
was on the fields of battle in Saxony. By this means I procured
anchorage for 25 sail more. Still that number was not sufficient, and I
therefore relied upon very different means of augmenting my naval
strength. I was resolved to renew the wonders of Egypt at Cherbourg. I
had already erected my pyramid in the sea; I would also have my lake
Mœris. My great object was to be enabled to concentrate all our
maritime force, and in time, it would have been immense and adequate to
strike a fatal blow against the enemy. I was preparing my scene of
action in such a way, that the two nations, in their totality, might
have been enabled to grapple with each other, man to man, and the issue
could not be doubtful, for we should have been more than 40 millions of
French against 15 millions of English. I should have wound up the war,
with a battle of Actium, and afterwards what did I want of England? Her
destruction? Certainly not. I merely wanted the end of an intolerable
usurpation, the enjoyment of imprescriptible and sacred rights, the
deliverance, the liberty, of the seas, the independence, the honour, of
flags. I was speaking in the name of all and for all, and I should have
succeeded by concession or by force. I had, on my side, power,
indisputable right, the wishes of nations,” &c.

I have reasons for believing that the Emperor, disgusted with the losses
occasioned by partial attempts at sea, and enlightened by fatal
experience, had adopted a new system of maritime warfare.

The war between England and France had insensibly assumed the aspect of
a real struggle for life or death. The irritation of all the English
against Napoleon was raised to the highest degree. His Berlin and Milan
decrees, his continental system, and his offensive expressions, had
shocked all minds on the other side of the Channel; while the English
ministers, by their libels, fabrications, and all imaginable means, had
succeeded, by exciting every passion, in rendering the quarrel
altogether national. On this ground, it was declared in full Parliament,
that the war was _perpetual_, or at least for _life_. The Emperor
thought it his duty to shape his plans in conformity to that state of
things, and from that instant, as much from calculation as from
necessity, he gave up all kind of cruizing, distant enterprizes, and
hazardous attempts. He determined upon a strict defensive system, until
his continental affairs should be finally settled, and the accumulation
of his maritime force should allow him to strike, with certainty, at a
later period. He, therefore, retained the whole of his shipping in port,
and confined himself to the gradual augmentation of our naval resources,
without exposing them to any further risk. Every thing was calculated on
the basis of a remote result.

Our navy had lost a great number of vessels, the greatest part of our
good seamen were prisoners in England, and all our ports were blockaded
by the English, who obstructed their communications. The Emperor ordered
canals in Britanny, by means of which, and in spite of the enemy, points
of communication for providing Brest with all kinds of supplies were
established between Bordeaux, Rochefort, Nantes, Holland, Antwerp,
Cherbourg, and that port. He was desirous of having wet docks at
Flushing or in its neighbourhood, for the purpose of containing the
Antwerp squadron, completely equipped and ready to put to sea in
four-and-twenty hours, which was necessarily confined in the Scheldt
four or five months of the year. Finally, he projected near Boulogne, or
on some spot along that coast, the construction of a dike similar to
that of Cherbourg, and between Cherbourg and Brest, a suitable harbour
at the Ile-à-Bois. All this was planned, for the purpose of securing, at
all times and without danger, a full and free communication to our large
ships between Antwerp and Brest. To obviate the want of seamen, and the
great difficulty of forming them, it was ordered that the young
conscripts should be, every day, trained in all our ports. They were, at
first, to be put on board small light vessels, and a flotilla of that
kind was even to navigate the Zuiderzee; they were afterwards to be
turned over to large ships and immediately replaced by others of the
same class. The vessels were ordered to get under sail every day, to go
through every possible manœuvre and evolution, and even to exchange
shots with the enemy, without exposing themselves to the chance of an

The last point was the force and number of our vessels; they were
considerable, notwithstanding all our losses, and the Emperor calculated
on being enabled to build 20 or 25 yearly. The crews would be ready as
fast as they were wanted, and thus, at the expiration of four or six
years, he could have relied upon having 200 sail of the line, and
perhaps 300, had that number been necessary, in less than 10 years. And
what was that period in comparison with the perpetual war, or the war
for life, which was declared against us? The affairs of the continent
would, in the mean time, be brought to a termination; the whole of it
would have embraced our system; the Emperor would have marched back the
greatest part of his troops to our coast, and it was in that situation
that he looked with confidence to a decisive issue of the contest. All
the respective resources of the two nations would have been called into
action, and we should then, in his opinion, subdue our enemies by moral
energy, or strangle them by our material strength.

The Emperor entertained several projects for the improvement of the
navy, and adapted to that end part of his military tactics. He intended
to establish his offensive and defensive line from Cape Finisterre to
the mouth of the Elbe. He was to have had three squadrons with admirals
commanding in chief, as he had corps d’armée with their generals in
chief. The Admiral of the centre was to establish his head quarters at
Cherbourg; of the left, at Brest; and of the right, at Antwerp. Smaller
divisions were to be stationed at the extremities, at Rochefort, and at
Ferrol, in the Texel, and at the mouth of the Elbe, for the purpose of
turning and outflanking the enemy. All these points were to be connected
by numerous intermediate stations, and their respective commanders in
chief were to be considered as constantly present, by the assistance of
telegraphs, which, lining the coast, were to preserve an uninterrupted
communication between the parts of the grand system.

Let us consider, however, what would have been the conduct of the
English during our preparations and the progressive increase of our
naval power. Would they have continued the blockade of our ports? We
should have had the satisfaction of witnessing the wear and tear of
their cruising squadrons; we should have compelled them to maintain 100
or 150 vessels constantly exposed on our coasts to the violence of
tempests, to the danger of rocks, to all the hazards of disaster, while
we, on the contrary, had every chance of success, should any unforeseen
catastrophe occur from natural events, or the faults of their admirals,
which could not fail to happen in the course of time. What advantages
should we not have derived from the event? We, fresh and in excellent
condition; we, waiting only for the opportunity, always ready to set
sail and engage! Should the English be tired out? Our vessels would
immediately put to sea for the purpose of exercising and training their

On the completion of our armaments and at the approach of the decisive
moment, were the English alarmed for the safety of their island, to
collect their strength in front of their principal arsenals, Plymouth,
Portsmouth, and the Thames, our three divisions of Brest, Cherbourg, and
Antwerp, would attack them, and our wings would turn then upon Ireland
and Scotland. Were they, relying upon their skill and bravery, resolved
to oppose us in one great body, then the struggle would be reduced to a
decisive issue, of which we should have been at liberty to choose the
_time_, the _place_, and the _opportunity_;—and this is what the Emperor
called the battle of Actium, in which, if we were defeated, we should
experience but simple losses, while, if we proved victorious, the enemy
would cease to exist. But our triumph, he maintained, was certain, for
the two nations would have to contend man to man, and we were upwards of
forty millions against fifteen. This was the favourite position on which
he uniformly dwelt. Such was one of his grand ideas, his gigantic

Napoleon has been the founder of so many establishments, that his works
and monuments are injurious to each other by their number, variety, and
importance. It was my earnest wish to have given a full relation of his
works, which were executed at Cherbourg, as well as of those which he
had projected. A person precisely of the profession best qualified to
appreciate the subject, and one of its brightest ornaments, has promised
me a description of them. Should he keep his word, it shall be given


16th.—About nine o’clock, the Emperor took an airing in the calash.
There was a vessel in sight, at which he looked through the glass. He
invited the Doctor, whom he found employed in the same way, to accompany
him. On our return, we breakfasted under the trees. He conversed at
great length with the Doctor respecting the Governor’s conduct to us,
his endless vexations, &c.

About two o’clock, a person came to enquire if the Emperor would receive
the Governor. He gave him an audience that lasted nearly two hours, and
ran over, without falling into a passion, he said, all the objects under
discussion. He recapitulated all our grievances; enumerated all his
wrongs; addressed himself, he observed, by turns to his understanding,
his imagination, his feelings, and his heart. He put it in his power to
repair all the mischief he had done, to recommence upon a plan
altogether new, but in vain, for that man, he declared, was without
fibres; nothing was to be expected from him.

This Governor, said the Emperor, assured him that, when the detention of
M. de Montholon’s servant took place, he did not know he was in our
service, and he added that he had not read Madame Bertrand’s sealed
letter. The Emperor observed to him that his letter to Count Bertrand
was altogether repugnant to our manners and in direct opposition to our
prejudices; that if he, the Emperor, were but a mere general and a
private individual, and had received such a letter from him, the
Governor, he would have called him out; that a man so well known and
respected in Europe, as the Grand Marshal, was not to be insulted, under
the penalty of social reprobation; that he did not take a correct view
of his situation with regard to us; that all his actions here came
within the province of history, and that even the conversation which was
passing at that moment belonged to history; that he injured every day,
by his conduct, his own government and his own nation, and that in time
he might feel the consequences of it; that his government would disclaim
his conduct in the end, and that a stain would attach itself to his
name, which would disgrace his children. “Will you allow me,” said the
Emperor, “to tell you what we think of you? We think you capable of
every thing; _yes, of every thing_; and while you retain your hatred, we
shall retain our opinion. I shall still wait for some time, because I
like to act upon certainties; and I shall then have to complain, not
that the worst proceeding of ministers was to send me to St. Helena, but
that they gave you the command of it. You are a greater calamity to us
than all the wretchedness of this horrible rock.”

The Governor’s answer to all this was that he was about to make a report
to his government; that he learned at least something from the Emperor,
but that he received only provoking treatment from us, and that we made
matters worse.

With respect to the Commissioners of the powers, whom the Governor
wished to present, the Emperor rejected them in their political
capacity, but assured the Governor that he would readily receive them as
private individuals; that he had no dislike to any one of them, not even
to the French Commissioner, M. de Montchenu, who might be a very worthy
man, who had been his subject ten years, and, having been an emigrant,
was probably indebted to him, the Emperor, for the happiness of
returning to France; that, besides, after all, he was a Frenchman; that
title was indelible in his eyes, and no opinion could destroy it in his
estimation, &c.

With regard to the new buildings at Longwood which were the great object
of the Governor’s visit, the Emperor replied to his communication on
that topic that he did not wish for them; that he preferred his present
inconvenient residence to a better, situated at a great distance, and to
be obtained at the expense of a great deal of bustle and the trouble of
moving; that the buildings which he had just mentioned to him required
years to be completed, and that before that time, either we should not
be worth the cost incurred for us, or Providence would have delivered
him from us, &c.

                           V—— AND BERTHIER.

17th.—The Emperor sent for me about two o’clock; he dressed himself and
went out in the calash. Madame de Montholon was of the party. It was her
first appearance since her accouchement. The conversation turned
particularly on the Italian ladies, their character and beauty.

The young General, who effected the conquest of Italy, excited in that
country, from the first moment, every feeling of enthusiasm and
ambition. This the Emperor was delighted to hear and to repeat. Above
all, there was not a beauty who did not aspire to please and touch his
heart, but in vain. “My mind,” he said, “was too strong to be caught in
the snare; I fancied that there was a precipice under the flowers. My
situation was singularly delicate; I had the command of veteran
generals; the task I had to execute was immense; all my motions were
watched by jealous eyes; my circumspection was extreme. My good fortune
consisted in my prudence; I might have forgotten myself for an hour, and
how many of my victories,” said he, “depended on no greater length of

Several years afterwards, at the time of his coronation at Milan, his
attention was attracted by _Grassini_, the celebrated singer.
Circumstances were then more auspicious. He desired to see her, and
immediately after her introduction, she reminded him that she had made
her début precisely during the early achievements of the General of the
army of Italy. “I was then,” said she, “in the full lustre of my beauty
and my talent. My performance in the Virgins of the Sun was the topic of
universal conversation. I fascinated every eye and inflamed every heart.
The young General alone was insensible to my charms, and yet he was the
only object of my wishes! What caprice, what singularity! When I
possessed some value, when all Italy was at my feet, and I heroically
disdained its admiration for a single glance from you, I was unable to
obtain it; and now, how strange an alteration! you condescend to notice
me—now, when I am not worth the trouble and am no longer worthy of you!”

The celebrated Madame V.... was also among the crowd of Armidas; but,
tried with losing her time, she lowered her pretensions to Berthier,
who, from the first instant, lived but for her. The Commander-in-Chief
made him a present one day of a magnificent diamond worth more than
100,000 francs. “Here,” said he, “take that; we often play high, lay it
up against a rainy day.”—Scarcely had four-and-twenty hours elapsed,
before Madame Bonaparte came to tell her husband of a diamond which was
the subject of her admiration. It was the present that was to have been
laid up against a rainy day, which had already found its way from
Berthier’s hand to Madame ——’s head. He has since, in all the
circumstances of his life, been uniformly governed by her.

The Emperor, having gradually heaped riches and honours upon Berthier,
pressed him often to marry, but he as constantly refused, declaring,
that Madame V—— could alone make him happy. The son, however, of Madame
V—— having got acquainted with a duchess of Bavaria, who had come to
Paris, with the hope of obtaining a husband, through the Emperor’s
favour, Madame V—— , thought she was doing wonders and advancing her
son’s fortune by the marriage of her lover; and, with this impression,
she prevailed upon Berthier to espouse the Bavarian princess. But, said
the Emperor, there is no project, however excellent, which does not
become the sport of fortune; for scarcely was the marriage concluded,
when Madame V——’s husband died and left his wife at liberty. That event
proved to her and to Berthier the source of real despair; they were
inconsolable. Berthier came with tears in his eyes to communicate his
wretched fate to the Emperor, who laughed at his misfortune. To what a
miserable condition, he exclaimed, was he reduced; with a little more
constancy, Madame V—— might have been his wife!


18th.—About four o’clock, I was sent for by the Emperor, who was in a
very weak state. He had, by an absence of mind, remained three hours in
a very hot bath and scalded his right thigh with the boiling water. He
had read two volumes in the bath. He shaved, but would not dress

At half-past seven, the Emperor ordered two covers to be laid in his
cabinet, and was very much out of temper, because his papers were thrown
into confusion by being removed for the purpose of using the table on
which they lay. They were replaced by his direction, and the covers laid
upon another small table.

We conversed for a long time; he brought me back to topics which often
suggested themselves to him when we were together, and upon which I must
endeavour not to be guilty of repetitions, the more so, as they possess
attractions, which to me are peculiarly interesting. We talked a great
deal about our youthful years and the time we passed at the military
school. This subject led him again to notice the new schools which he
had established at St. Cyr and at St. Germain, and he finally recurred
to the emigrants and those he called _nos encroûtés_. He became gay and
lively in consequence of some anecdotes of the Faubourg St. Germain,
respecting his person, which I related, and as the slightest things grew
into importance the moment he touched upon them, he said—“I see plainly
that my plan with respect to your Faubourg St. Germain was ill-managed.
I did too much or too little. I did enough to dissatisfy the opposite
party, and not enough to attach it to me altogether. Although some of
them were fond of money, the multitude would have been content with the
rattles and sound, with which I could have crammed them, without any
injury, in the main, to our new principles. My dear Las Cases, I did too
much and not enough, and yet I was earnestly occupied with the business.
Unfortunately, I was the only one seriously engaged in the undertaking.
All who were about me thwarted, instead of promoting it, and yet there
were but two grand measures to be taken with regard to you;—that of
annihilating, or that of melting you down into the great mass of
society. The former could not enter my head, and the latter was not an
easy task, but I did not consider it beyond my strength. And, in fact,
although I had no support, and was even counteracted in my views, I
nearly realized them at length. Had I remained, the thing would have
been accomplished. This will appear astonishing to him who knows how to
appreciate the heart of man and the state of society. I do not think
that history can furnish any case of a similar kind, or that so
important a result, obtained in so short a space of time, can be found.
I should have carried that fusion into effect, and cemented that union
by every sacrifice; it would have rendered us invincible. The opposite
conduct has ruined us, and may for a long time protract the misfortunes,
perhaps the last gasps of unhappy France. I once more repeat, that I did
too much or too little. I ought to have attached the emigrants to me
upon their return; I might have easily become an object of adoration
with the aristocracy. An establishment of that nature was necessary for
me. It is the real, the only, support of monarchy—its guide—its
lever—its point of resistance. Without it, the state is but a vessel
without a rudder, a real balloon in the air. But, the essence of
aristocracy, its talismanic charm, consists in antiquity, in age; and
these were the only things I could not create. The intermediate means
were wanting. M. de Breteuil, who had insinuated himself into my favour,
encouraged me. On the contrary, M. de T——, who certainly was not a
favourite with the emigrants, discouraged me by every possible means.
Reasonable democracy contents itself with husbanding equality for all,
as a fair ground of pretension and possession. The real line of conduct
would have been to employ the remains of aristocracy, with the forms and
intention of democracy. Above all, it was necessary to collect the
ancient names, those celebrated in our history. This is the only mode of
giving an instantaneous air of antiquity to the most modern

“I entertained, upon that subject, ideas which were altogether peculiar
to myself. Had any difficulties been started by Austria and Russia, I
would have married a French woman. I would have selected one of the most
illustrious names of the monarchy. That was even my original thought, my
real inclination. If my ministers prevented me, it was only by their
earnest appeals to political views. Had I been surrounded by the
Montmorencies, the Nesles, and the Clissons, I should, by adopting their
daughters, have united them with foreign sovereigns. My pride and my
delight would have been to extend these noble French stocks, had they
taken part with us, or given themselves up to us altogether. They and
those belonging to me thought that I was influenced by prejudice alone,
when I was acting in conformity with the most profound combinations. Be
that as it will, your friends have lost more in me than they are aware
of!... They are destitute of soul, of the feeling of true glory. By what
unhappy propensity have they preferred wallowing in the mire of the
allies to following me to the top of mount Simplon, and commanding, from
its summit, the respect and admiration of the rest of Europe. Senseless
men!—I had, however,” he continued, “a project in my portfolio; time
alone was wanting to mature it, which would have rallied round me a
great number of that class of persons, and which, after all, would have
been but just. It was that every descendent of ancient marshals,
ministers, &c., should be considered at all times capable of getting
himself declared a duke, by presenting the requisite endowment. All the
sons of generals and governors of provinces were upon the same
principle, to be qualified to assume the title of count, and so on in
gradation. This would have advanced some, raised the hopes of others,
excited the emulation of all, and hurt the pride of none; grand, but
altogether harmless rattles, and belonging, besides, to my system and my

“Old and corrupt are not governed like ancient and virtuous nations. For
one individual, at present, who would sacrifice himself for the public
good, there are thousands and millions who are insensible to every thing
but their own interests, enjoyments and vanity. To pretend, therefore,
to regenerate a people in an instant or as if one were travelling post,
would be an act of madness. The genius of the workman ought to consist
in knowing how to employ the materials he has at hand, and that is one
of the causes of the resumption of all the monarchical forms, of the
re-establishment of titles, of classes, and of the insignia of orders.
The secret of the legislator should consist in knowing how to derive
advantage even from the caprice and irregularities of those whom he
pretends to rule; and, after all, these gewgaws were attended with few
inconveniences, and not destitute of benefit. At the point of
civilization to which we have now attained, they are calculated to
attract the respect of the multitude, provided always that the person
decorated with them preserves respect for himself. They may satisfy the
vanity of the weak, without scaring, in the slightest degree, strong and
powerful minds.” It was very late, and the Emperor said, at parting,
“There is another pleasant evening spent.”


19th.—The chimney of the saloon took fire in the night, but the flames
did not break out until day-light. Two hours sooner, and the building
would have been a heap of ashes.

The Emperor took a walk; he was attended by several of us, and we went
round the park on foot.

One of his shoe-buckles fell out, and we all eagerly strove to put it in
again; he, who succeeded, considered himself the most fortunate. The
Emperor, who would not have permitted this at the Tuileries, seemed here
to feel a kind of satisfaction at our conduct; he let us do as we liked,
and we were thankful to him for indulging us in an act, that did honour
to us, in our own opinion.

This leads me to observe that I have not yet spoken of our customary
manners when about his person, and I am more peculiarly induced to
notice them because we have received several London newspapers, which
circulate a thousand idle stories on this subject, and assert that the
imperial etiquette was as strictly maintained at Longwood as at the


The Emperor behaved to us in the kindest manner, and with a paternal
familiarity. We were, on our part, the most attentive and respectful of
courtiers. We uniformly endeavoured to anticipate his wishes; we
carefully watched all his wants, and he had scarcely time to make a sign
with his hand, before we were in motion.

None of us entered his apartment without being sent for, and, if any
thing of importance was to be communicated to him, it was necessary to
apply to be admitted. If he walked separately with any of us, no other
presumed to intrude. In the beginning, we constantly remained uncovered
near his person, which appeared strange to the English, who had been
ordered to put on their hats, after the first salute. This contrast
appeared so ridiculous to the Emperor that he commanded us, once for
all, to behave like them. Nobody, except the two ladies, took a seat in
his presence, unless desired to do so. He was never spoken to till he
had spoken first, and always, and in all cases, the conversation was
under his control and guidance. Such was the etiquette at Longwood,
which was entirely, as it must be evident, that of our recollections and

On our return, the Emperor received and questioned, for a long time, the
master of the Newcastle.

In consequence of the fire in the saloon, and a billiard-table being
placed in the dining-room, we dined in the topographical cabinet. After
dinner, there being no other apartment to retire to, we were obliged to
remain a long time at table. That circumstance seemed, however, to give
an additional interest to the conversation; we became more acquainted,
more united with each other; we gave a greater scope to our language,
and the evening passed off more rapidly.


20th.—The Emperor sent for me in the morning; I found him reading an
English work on the poor’s rate, the immense sums raised, and the vast
number of individuals maintained at the expense of their parishes; the
account embraced millions of men and hundreds of millions of money.

The Emperor was apprehensive that he had not read the work correctly, or
that he had mistaken the meaning. The thing, he said, seemed altogether
impossible. He could not conceive by what vices and defects so many poor
could be found in a country so opulent, so industrious, and so abundant
in resources for labour as England. He was still less capable of
comprehending, by what prodigy the proprietors, overloaded with an
oppressive ordinary and extraordinary taxation, were also enabled to
provide for the wants of such a multitude. “But we have nothing,” he
observed, “in France to be compared to it in the proportion of a
hundredth or a thousandth part. Have you not told me that I sent you
into the departments on a particular mission with regard to mendicity?
Let us see, what is the number of our beggars? What did they cost? How
many poor-houses did I establish? What was the number they held? What
effect had they in removing mendicity?”

To this crowd of questions I was compelled to answer that a considerable
period of time had since elapsed, that my mind had been occupied with
several other objects, and that it was impossible for me to enter into
correct statements from mere recollection; but that I had the official
report itself among the few papers I had preserved, and that, the first
time he might be pleased to send for me, I should be enabled to satisfy
him. “But,” said he, “go instantly and look for it, things are not
profitable unless seasonably applied, and I shall soon run it over _with
my thumb_, as Abbé de Pradt ingeniously said; although, to tell the
truth, I don’t much like to think of such subjects; they remind me of
mustard after dinner.”

In two minutes the report was in his hand. “Well!” said the Emperor to
me, also, in a very few minutes, for it might be really said that he had
not turned over the leaves; “well, this, in fact, is not at all like
England. Our organization, however, had failed; I suspected as much, and
it was on that account I entrusted you with the mission. Your report
would have been in perfect conformity with my views. You took up the
consideration frankly and like an honest man, without fear of exciting
the displeasure of the minister, by depriving him of a great many

“I am pleased with a great number of your details. Why did you not come
and converse with me about them yourself? You would have satisfied me,
and I should have known how to value your services.”—“Sire, as things
were then situated, it would have been impossible for me to do so; we
were then involved in the confusion and embarrassment caused by our
misfortunes.”—“Your observation is perfectly correct; you establish an
unquestionable position. The fact is that, in the flourishing state to
which I had raised the empire, no hands could any where be found
destitute of employment. It was idleness and vice alone that could
produce mendicants.

“You think that their complete annihilation was possible; and, for my
part, I am of the same opinion.

“Your levy _en masse_, to build a vast and single prison in each
department, was equally adapted to the tranquility of society and to the
well-being of those confined in it;—your idea of making them monuments
for ages would have attracted my attention. That gigantic undertaking,
its utility, its importance, the permanence of its results, were all in
my way.

“With respect to your university for the people, I am very apprehensive
that it would have been but a beautiful chimera of philanthropy, worthy
of the unsophisticated Abbé de Saint Pierre. There is, however, some
merit in the aggregate of those conceptions; but energy of character,
and an unbending perseverance, for which we are not generally
distinguished, would be requisite to produce any good result.

“For the rest, I every day collect ideas from you in this place, of
which I did not imagine you capable; but it was not at all my fault. You
were near me; why did you not open your mind to me? I did not possess
the gift of divination. Had you been minister, those ideas, however
fantastical they might at first have appeared to me, would not have been
the less attended to, because there is, in my opinion, no conception
altogether unsusceptible of some positive good, and a wrong notion, when
properly controlled and regulated, often leads to a right conclusion. I
should have handed you over to commissioners, who would have analyzed
your plans; you would have defended them by your arguments, and, after
taking cognizance of the subject, I alone should have finally decided
according to my own judgment. Such was my way of acting, and my
intention; I gave an impulse to industry; I put it into a state of
complete activity throughout Europe; I was desirous of doing as much for
all the faculties of the mind, but time was not allowed me. I could not
bring my plans to maturity at full gallop; and, unfortunately, I but too
often wasted them upon a sandy foundation, and consigned them to
unproductive hands.

“What were the other missions with which I entrusted you?”—“One in
Holland, another in Illyria.”—“Have you the reports?”—“Yes, Sire.”—“Go
for them.” But I had not got to the door, when he said, “Never mind,
come back, spare me the trouble of reading such matters!—They are
henceforth, in reality, altogether useless.”—What did not these words
unfold to me!

The Emperor resumed the subject of Illyria. “In obtaining possession of
Illyria, it was never my intention to retain it; I never entertained the
idea of destroying Austria. Her existence was, on the contrary,
indispensably requisite for the execution of my plans. But Illyria was,
in our hands, a vanguard to the heart of Austria, calculated to keep a
check upon her; a sentinel at the gates of Vienna, to keep her steady to
our interests. Besides, I was desirous of introducing and establishing
in that country our doctrines, our system of government, and our codes.
It was an additional step to the regeneration of Europe. I had merely
taken it as a pledge, and intended, at a later period, to exchange it
for Gallicia, at the restoration of Poland, which I hurried on against
my own opinion. I had, however, more than one project with regard to
Illyria; for I frequently fluctuated in my designs, and had few ideas
that were fixed on solid grounds. This arose rather from adapting myself
to circumstances than from giving an impulse and direction to them, and
I was every instant compelled to shift about. The consequence was that,
for the greater part of the time, I came to no absolute decision, and
was occupied merely with projects. My predominant idea, however,
particularly after my marriage, was to give it up to Austria as an
indemnity for Gallicia, on the re-establishment of Poland, at any rate,
as a separate and independent kingdom. Not that I cared upon whose head,
whether on that of a friend, an enemy, or an ally, the crown was placed,
provided the thing was effected. The results were indifferent to me. I
have, my dear Las Cases, formed vast and numerous projects, all
unquestionably for the advancement of reason and the welfare of the
human race. I was dreaded as a thunderbolt; I was accused of having a
hand of iron; but the moment that hand had struck the last blow, every
thing would have been softened down for the happiness of all. How many
millions would have poured their benedictions on me, both then and in
future times! But how numerous, it must be confessed, the fatal
misfortunes which were accumulated and combined to effect my overthrow,
at the end of my career! My unhappy marriage; the perfidies which
resulted from it; that villainous affair of Spain; from which I could
not disengage myself; that fatal war with Russia, which occurred through
a misunderstanding; that horrible rigour of the elements, which devoured
a whole army; ... and then, the whole universe against me!... Is it not
wonderful that I was still able to make so long a resistance, and that I
was more than once on the point of surmounting every danger and emerging
from that chaos more powerful than ever!... O destiny of man!—What is
human wisdom, human foresight!”—And then abruptly adverting to my
report, he said, “I observed, that you travelled over a great number of
departments. Did your mission last long? Was your journey agreeable? Was
it of real benefit to you? Did you collect much information? Were you
enabled to form a correct judgment on the state of the country, on that
of public opinion?

“I now recollect that I selected you precisely because you had just
returned from your mission to Illyria, and I found in your report
several things which made a strong impression upon me; for it is
surprising how many things at present are every day brought back to my
memory, which, at the time, struck me in you, and which, by a singular
fatality, were immediately afterwards completely forgotten. When any
appointments were about to take place to those special and confidential
missions, the decree, with blanks for the names, was laid before me, and
I filled them up with persons of my own selection—I must have written
your name with my own hand.”

“Sire,” I replied, “there never was, perhaps, a mission more agreeable
and satisfactory in every point of view. I commenced it early in the
spring, and proceeded from Paris to Toulon, and from Toulon to Antibes,
following the line of coast and occasionally diverging into the
interior. I travelled nearly thirteen hundred leagues, but unfortunately
the time was short. The minister, in his instructions, had strictly
limited the period to three, or at most, to four months. It would be
difficult for me to give an adequate description of all the delight,
enjoyments, and advantages which I derived from the journey. I was a
member of your Council, an officer of your household. I was every where
considered as one of your _missi dominici_, and was received with
suitable respect. The more I behaved with discretion, moderation, and
simplicity, visiting myself the high functionaries, whose attendance I
was authorized to require, the more I was treated with deference and
complaisance. For one, who shewed any distrust, or betrayed any symptom
of ill-humour or envy; (for I afterwards learnt from themselves, that my
character, as a nobleman, emigrant, and chamberlain, formed three
certain grounds for reprobation;) for one, I repeat, who looked upon me
with a jealous eye, I found many whose communications were altogether
unreserved, even upon subjects, respecting which I should not have
presumed to make inquiry. They assured me that they took pleasure in
unbosoming themselves to me with perfect openness; that they viewed my
situation, near the person of the sovereign, as a favourable medium; and
considered me as the confessor upon whom they relied for transmitting
their most secret thoughts to the _Most High_. The more I endeavoured to
convince them that they were mistaken with regard to my situation and
the nature of my mission, the more they were confirmed in the contrary
opinion. In so short a period, what a lesson for me on mankind! There
were none of these high functionaries who did not differ from each other
with regard to the views, means, and designs of all the objects under
consideration; and yet they were all men selected with care, of tried
ability, and generally of great merit. Persons in private life also
looked up to me as to a ray of Providence, and applied to me either
publicly or in secret. How many things did I not learn! How numerous the
denunciations and accusations communicated to me! What a multitude of
local abuses, of petty intrigues, were disclosed to me!

“Altogether unacquainted with affairs, and until then absolutely
ignorant of official proceedings, I made use of that peculiar
opportunity to obtain information. I did not fail to make myself
acquainted with all the objects and particular circumstances of every
party. I was not apprehensive of shewing my ignorance to the first who
presented themselves, for I was thus enabled to qualify myself for
discussing business with the others.

“It is true, Sire, that my special mission was restricted to the
mendicity establishments and the houses of correction: but feeling, as I
did, all the want of a stock of knowledge, fit to render myself useful
to the Council of State, and taking advantage of my appointment, I
connected with it, of my own accord, the minute inspection of prisons,
hospitals, and beneficent institutions, and I also took a survey of all
our ports and squadrons.

“How magnificent the combination which thus presented itself to my view!
I every where beheld the most perfect tranquillity and complete
confidence in the government; every hand, every faculty, every branch of
industry, was employed; the soil was embellished by the flourishing
state of agriculture, it was the finest time of the year; the roads were
excellent; public works were in progress in almost in every quarter;—the
canal of Arles, the noble bridge of Bordeaux, the works of Rochefort,
the canals from Nantes to Brest, to Rennes, to Saint Malo; the
foundation of Napoleonville, intended to be the key of the whole
peninsula of Britanny; the magnificent works of Cherbourg, those of
Antwerp, sluices, moles, or other improvements in most of the towns of
the Channel—such is the sketch of what I saw.

“On the other hand, the ports of Toulon, Rochefort, L’Orient, Brest,
Saint Malo, Havre, and Antwerp, displayed an extraordinary degree of
activity; our roads were filled with vessels, and the numbers increased
daily: our crews were training in spite of every obstacle, and our young
conscripts were becoming good seamen, fit for future service. I, who
belonged to the old naval establishment, was astonished at every thing I
saw on board, so very great were the improvements made in the art, and
so far did they exceed, in every point of view, all that I had

“The squadrons belonging to the different ports got under sail every
day, and executed their regular manœuvres, like the parades of
garrisons, and all this took place within sight of the English, who
thought it a ridiculous farce, without foreseeing the danger with which
they were threatened; for, never at any period was our navy more
formidable, or our ships more numerous. We already had upwards of 100
afloat or on the stocks, and we were making daily additions to the
number. The officers were excellent, and animated with zeal and ardour.
I had no idea whatever of the forward state of our preparations, before
I witnessed it in person, and should not have believed it, had I been
told of it.

“With respect to the mendicity establishments, the special object of my
mission, your intentions, Sire, had been ill understood, and the plan
was altogether unsuccessful. In most of the departments, mendicity not
only remained with all its defects, but no steps whatever had been taken
for its annihilation. The fact was that several prefects, so far from
making the establishments a terror to the _mendicants_, had merely
considered them as a refuge for the _poor_. Instead of holding out
confinement as a punishment, they caused it to be sought after as an
asylum; and thus the lot of the prisoners might be envied by the
hard-working peasantry of the neighbourhood. France might, in that way,
have been covered with similar establishments, which might have been
filled without diminishing the number of mendicants, who commonly make a
trade of begging, and follow it in preference. I was, however, enabled
to judge that the extirpation of the evil was possible, and the example
of some departments, in which the prefects had taken a better view of
the subject was sufficient to produce that conviction. There were a few
in which it had entirely disappeared.

“It is an observation which makes an immediate and striking impression,
that, all other things fairly averaged, mendicity is much more rare in
those parts which are poor and barren, and much more common in those
which are fruitful and abundant. It is also infinitely more difficult to
effect its destruction in the places where the clergy have enjoyed
superior wealth and power. In Belgium, for instance, mendicants were
seen to derive honour from their trade, and boast of having followed it
for several generations. These claims belonged peculiarly to them, and
that country was accordingly the rendezvous of mendicity.” “But I am not
surprised at it,” resumed the Emperor, “the difficulty of this important
consideration consists entirely in discriminating accurately between the
_poor_ man who commands our respect, and the _mendicant_ who ought to
excite our indignation; besides, our religious absurdities confound
these two classes so completely that they seem to make a merit, a kind
of virtue, of mendicity, and to encourage it by the promise of heavenly
rewards. The mendicants are, in reality, neither more nor less than
monks _au petit pied_; so that in the list of them we even find the
mendicant monks. How was it possible for such ideas not to produce
confusion in the mind, and disorder in society? A great number of saints
have been canonized, whose only apparent merit was mendicity. They seem
to have been transplanted to Heaven for that, which, considered as a
matter of sound policy, ought to have subjected them to castigation and
confinement in this world. This would not, however, have prevented them
from being worthy of Heaven. But go on.”—

“It was not, Sire, without emotion that I observed the details of the
charitable establishments. In contemplating the anxiety, the cares, the
ardent charity, of so many sympathetic hearts, I was enabled to
ascertain that we were far from yielding the palm, whatever might be the
consideration, to any other people, and that we merely had less
ostentation and made less use of artificial means to enhance our merits.
The South, above all, and Languedoc, in particular, displayed a zeal and
animation of which it would be difficult to form an adequate conception.
The hospitals and alms-houses were every where numerous and well
attended to. The foundlings had increased tenfold since the revolution,
and I instantly ascribed it to the corruption of the times; but I was
desired to remark, and constant reflection convinced me of the truth,
that the result was, on the contrary, to be attributed to very
satisfactory causes. I was assured that formerly the foundlings were so
wretchedly taken care of, and so badly fed, that the whole of them were
diminutive, sickly, and short-lived, and that from seven to nine
perished out of ten; while at present their food, cleanliness, and the
care taken of them, in every respect are such that nearly all of them
are preserved, and constitute a fine race of children. They are thus
indebted for their numbers solely to their preservation. Vaccination has
also contributed, in an immense proportion, to their increase. These
children are now treated with such attention as to give rise to a
singular abuse. Mothers, even in easy circumstances, are tempted to
expose their infants; they afterwards apply at the hospital, and, under
a charitable pretence, offer to bring up one themselves; it is their own
which is restored to them with the benefit of a small allowance. All
this is carried on through the favour of the agents themselves, and
often for the purpose of obtaining a trifling pension for one of their
relations. Another abuse of this kind, and not less extraordinary, was
that which I observed in Belgium, of persons getting their names entered
a long time before, for the purpose of entitling them to send their
children to the hospital. Any young couple, on their marriage, strove to
get their names entered for vacancies, which fell to them some years
afterwards, as a matter of right; it was a part of the marriage
settlement.”—“O Jesus! Jesus!” exclaimed the Emperor, shrugging up his
shoulders and laughing, “and after this make laws and regulations!”—

$1“$2”$3But with regard to the prisons, Sire, they were almost uniformly
the scenes of horror and real misery, the shame and disgrace of our
provinces, absolute sinks of corruption and infection, which I was
obliged to pass through with the utmost haste, or from which I was
driven back in spite of all my efforts. I had formerly visited certain
prisons in England, and indulged in a smile at the kind of luxury which
I observed in them; but it was quite a different thing with respect to
ours, and my indignation was excited by the contrary extreme. There are
no offences, I might even say crimes, that are not sufficiently punished
by such habitations, and those who leave them should not, in strict
justice, have any further expiation to make. Yet after all those
confined in them were merely under a simple accusation, while those who
had been found guilty, the real criminals, and hardened villains, had
their special prisons, their houses of correction, where they were,
perhaps, too well taken care of; and even, in the latter case, the
honest day-labourer might have reason to envy their lot, and make
comparisons injurious to Providence and society. Another striking
inconsistency was observable in these houses of correction; it was the
amalgamation, the habitual mixture of all the classes upon whom sentence
had been passed. Some being imprisoned for small offences only for a
year, and others for fifteen, twenty years, or for life, on account of
the dreadful crimes they had perpetrated, it necessarily followed that
they would be all reduced to one moral level, not by the amelioration of
the latter, but rather by the corruption of the former.

“What struck me also very forcibly in La Vendée and the adjacent country
was that maniacs had increased there, perhaps, tenfold more than in any
other part of the empire, and that persons were detained in the
mendicity establishments and other places of confinement, who were
treated as vagabonds, or likely to become so, and who having been taken
up in their childhood, had no knowledge of their parents or origin. Some
of them had marks of wounds on their persons, but were ignorant how they
had been inflicted. They had, no doubt, been made in their infancy. The
opportunity of employing these persons, who had not acquired a single
social idea, has been suffered to pass by; they are now unfit for any
purpose.”—“Ah!” exclaimed the Emperor, “this is civil war and its
hideous train; its inevitable consequences and its certain fruits! If
some leaders make fortunes, and extricate themselves from danger, the
dregs of the population are always trodden under foot, and become the
victims of every calamity!”

“With respect to other matters, I found in the aggregate of these
establishments a considerable number of persons who, I was told, whether
right or wrong, were prisoners of state, and were kept in custody by
order of the high, the intermediate, or the low, police.

“I listened to all those prisoners, I heard their complaints, and
received their petitions, certainly, without any engagement on my part;
for I had no right to contract any; and besides, I was perfectly aware
that, having heard their testimony only, I could not attach guilt to any
person. With the exception, however, of some notorious villains, they
did not really, in general, deserve more at farthest than the common
punishments of the correctional police.

“I found among them, in the prisons of Rennes, a boy between twelve and
fourteen, who had, when only a few months old, been taken with a band of
_Chauffeurs_. They had been all executed, and the boy had remained there
ever since, without any decision on his case. His moral capabilities may
be easily appreciated. He never saw, knew, or heard any but villains;
they were the only kind of people of whose existence he was able to form
an idea.

“At Mont Saint-Michel, a woman, whose name I have forgotten,
particularly attracted my attention. She had rather a pretty face,
pleasing manners, and a modest deportment. She had been imprisoned
fourteen years, having taken a very active part in the troubles of La
Vendée, and constantly accompanied her husband, who was the chief of a
battalion of insurgents, and whom she succeeded, after his death, in the
command. The wretchedness she suffered, and the tears she shed, had
sensibly impaired her charms. I assumed a severe air during the recital
of her misfortunes, but it was put on for the purpose of concealing the
emotions which she excited. She had, by the kindness of her manners and
her other qualifications, acquired a kind of empire over the vulgar and
depraved women that were about her. She had devoted herself to the care
of the sick; the prison infirmary was entrusted to her, and she was
beloved by every one.

“With the exception of that woman, a few priests, and two or three old
Chouan spies, the rest exhibited but a filthy compound of disgusting or
extravagant depravity.

“I met with a married man, possessing an annual income of 15,000 livres,
evidently confined in consequence of his wife’s intrigues, after the
manner of the ancient _lettres de cachet_; and with prostitutes, who
assured me they were detained, not as a punishment for the
indiscriminate profusion of their favours, but out of spite at their
want of complaisance for a single person. They told me lies, or they did
not; but in either case ought they to be honoured with the title of
prisoners of state, to be maintained at the expense of two francs a day,
and contribute to render the government odious and ridiculous? Finally,
I met with an unhappy man in a town of Belgium, who had married one of
those girls for whom the municipalities provide marriage portions on
great occasions. He was imprisoned on a charge of having stolen the
portion, because he had neglected to earn it. He was positively required
to discharge that important debt, and he as positively refused. He was,
perhaps, required to do what was absolutely impossible for him.

“Immediately upon my return to Paris, I called on M. Réal, prefect of
police of the district I had just visited. I considered it my duty, I
said, to communicate to him, in a _friendly_ manner, the result of my
observations. I must do him justice; for whether he was far from having
a bad heart, whether he was impressed with my plain dealing, or affected
perhaps, Sire, by the magic influence of your uniform, he thanked me,
observed that I was doing him a real service, and assured me that he
would take immediate steps for _relieving_ and _redressing_, such were
his words, the cases I had laid before him. Meeting him, however, a few
days afterwards at an assembly, he said, with apparent grief, ‘That is
an unfortunate business, and very unfavourable to your Amazon (he
alluded to General Mallet’s rash enterprise), which I thought myself
capable of doing a few days ago of my own accord. I cannot now pretend
to undertake it without an order from a superior quarter.’—I do not know
how the thing ended.”

The Emperor dwelt some time on the abuses I had pointed out, and then
concluded: “In the first place, in order to proceed regularly, it was
incumbent upon you to ascertain whether your information was well
founded, and to hear the evidence against the persons accused; and then
it must be frankly admitted that abuses are inherent in every human
establishment. You see that almost every thing, of which you complain,
is done by the very persons who were expressly entrusted with the means
of prevention. Can a remedy be provided, when it is impossible to see
what passes every where? There is, as it were, a net spread over the low
places, which envelops the lower classes. A mesh must be broken and
discovered by a fortunate observer like you, before any thing of the
matter is known in the upper regions. Accordingly, one of my dreams
would have been, when the grand events of war were completely
terminated, and I returned to the interior in tranquillity and at ease,
to look out for half a dozen, or a dozen, of real philanthropists, of
those worthy men who live but to do good. I should have distributed them
through the empire, which they should have secretly inspected for the
purpose of making their report to me. They would have been _spies of
virtue_! They should have addressed themselves directly to me, and
should have been my confessors, my spiritual guides, and my decisions
with them should have been my good works done in secret. My grand
occupation, when at full leisure, and at the height of my power, would
have been the amelioration of every class of society. I should have
descended to the details of individual comfort; and, had I found no
motive for that conduct in my natural disposition, I should have been
actuated by the spirit of calculation; for, after the acquisition of so
much glory, what other means would have been left me to make any
addition to it? It was because I was well aware that that swarm of
abuses necessarily existed, because I wished for the preservation of my
subjects, and was desirous of throwing every impediment in the way of
subordinate and intermediate tyranny, that I conceived my system of
state prisons, adapted to any crisis that might occur.”—“Yes, Sire, but
it was far from being well received in our saloons, and contributed not
a little to make you unpopular. An outcry was every where raised against
the _new bastiles_, against the renewal of _lettres de cachet_.”—“I know
it very well.” said the Emperor, “the outcry was echoed by all Europe,
and rendered me odious. And yet, observe how powerful was the influence
of words, envenomed by perfidy! The whole of the discontent was
principally occasioned by the preposterous title of my decree, which
escaped me from distraction, or some other cause; for, in the main, I
contend that the law itself was an eminent service, and rendered
individual liberty more complete and certain in France than in any other
country of Europe.

“Considering the crisis from which we had emerged, the factions by which
we had been divided, and the plots which had been laid, and were still
contriving, imprisonment became indispensable. It was, in fact, a
benefit; for it superseded the scaffold. But I was desirous of
sanctioning it by legal enactments, and of placing it beyond the reach
of caprice, of arbitrary power, of hatred, and of vengeance. Nobody,
according to my law, could be imprisoned and detained as a prisoner of
state, without the decision of my privy council, which consisted of
sixteen persons; the first, the most independent and most distinguished
characters of the state. What unworthy feeling would have dared to
expose itself to the detection of such a tribunal? Had I not voluntarily
deprived myself of the power of consigning individuals to prison? No man
could be detained beyond a year, without a fresh decision of the
Privy-Council, and four votes out of sixteen were sufficient to effect
his release. Two councillors of state were bound to attend to the
statements of the prisoners, and became from that moment their zealous
advocates with the Privy Council. These prisoners were also under the
protection of the Committee of individual liberty, appointed by the
Senate, which was the object of public derision, merely because it made
no parade of its labours and their results. Its services, however, were
great; for it would argue a defective knowledge of mankind to suppose
that Senators, who had nothing to expect from ministers, and who were
their equals in rank, would not make use of their prerogative to oppose
and attack them, whenever the importance of the case called for their
interference. It must also be considered that I had assigned the
superintendence of the prisoners, and of the police of the prisons, to
the tribunals, which, from that instant, paralyzed the exercise of every
kind of arbitrary authority by the other branches of administration and
their numerous subordinate agents. After such precautions, I do not
hesitate to maintain that civil liberty was as effectually secured by
that law in France as it could possibly be. The public misconceived, or
pretended to misconceive, that truth, for we Frenchmen must murmur at
every thing and on every occasion.

“The fact is, that at the time of my downfal the state prisons scarcely
contained 250 persons, and I found 9000 in them, when I became Consul.
It will appear, from the list of those who were imprisoned, and upon an
examination into the causes and motives of their confinement, that
almost every one of them deserved death, and would have been sentenced
to it by regular process of law; and it consequently follows that their
imprisonment was, on my part, a benefit conferred upon them. Why is
there nothing published against me on this subject at present? Where are
the serious grievances to be found with which I am reproached? There are
none in reality. If some of the prisoners afterwards made a merit of
their sufferings with the King, on account of their exertions in his
favour, did they not by that proceeding pronounce their own sentence and
attest my justice? For what may seem a virtuous action in the King’s eye
was incontestably a crime under me; and it was only because I was
repugnant to the shedding of blood on account of political crimes, and
because such trials would have but tended to the continuance of
commotion and perplexity in the heart of the country, that I commuted
the punishment to mere imprisonment.

“I repeat it, the French were, at my era, the freest people of all
Europe, without even excepting the English; for, in England, if any
extreme danger causes the suspension of the _Habeas Corpus_ act, every
individual may be sent to prison at the mere will of ministers, who are
not called upon to justify their motives, or to account for their
conduct. My law had very different limits.” He concluded with
saying;—“And then, at last, if, in spite of my good intention, and
notwithstanding my utmost care, all that you have just said, and no
doubt, many other things, were well founded, it must not still be
considered so easy a task as it is thought to create a beneficial
establishment for a nation. It is a remarkable circumstance that the
countries which have been separated from us have regretted the laws with
which I governed them. This is an homage paid to their superiority. The
real, the only, mode of passing a decisive sentence upon me, with regard
to their defects, would be to shew the existence of a better code in any
other country. New times are drawing near, it will be seen,” &c.

About five o’clock, I was told by the Grand Marshal, who had just left
the Emperor, that he wished to see me. He had staid at home the whole of
the day. I found him engaged in examining the new billiard-table. He was
apprehensive that the weather was too damp for walking, and he played at
chess until dinner. In the evening, he read us Crebillon’s _Atrée et
Thyeste_. That piece seemed horrible to us; we found it disgusting, and
by no means of a tragic cast. The Emperor could not finish it.


21st. About three o’clock, the Emperor called for his calash. He sent
for me, and we walked together to the bottom of the wood where he had
ordered the carriage to take him up. I had some particulars of no great
moment to communicate, which personally concerned him. We observed, in
the course of our ride, two vessels under sail for the island.

At dinner, the Emperor was very talkative. He had been just employed on
his campaign in Egypt, which he had, for some time, neglected, and
which, he said, would be as interesting as an episode of romance. In
speaking of his position at St. Jean d’Acre, he observed:—It was
certainly a daring thing to post myself thus in the heart of Syria, with
only 12,000 men. I was 500 leagues from Desaix, who formed the other
extremity of my army. It has been related, by Sydney Smith, that I lost
18,000 men before Acre, although my army consisted but of 12,000. An
obscure person, M...., who had just left college, as it seemed, who
knows nothing of what he describes, and whose only talent is that of
tacking some sentences together, with a view, no doubt, of converting
them to his emolument, the brother, however, of one whom I have loaded
with favours, and who was one of my Council of State, has recently
published something on that subject, on which I have cast a glance, and
which vexes me on account of its silliness and the unfavourable
colouring which he endeavours to throw over the glory and exploits of
that army.

“Had I been master of the sea, I should have been master of the East,
and the thing was so practicable that it failed only through the
stupidity or bad conduct of some seamen.

“Volney, who travelled in Egypt before the revolution, had stated his
opinion that that country could not be occupied without three great
wars, against England, the Grand Signor, and the inhabitants. The
latter, in particular, seemed difficult and terrible to him. He was
altogether mistaken in that respect, for it gave us no trouble. We had
even succeeded in making friends of the inhabitants, in the course of a
short time, and of uniting their cause with ours. A handful of Frenchmen
had thus been sufficient to conquer that fine country, which they ought
never to have lost. We had actually accomplished prodigies in war and in
politics. Our undertaking was altogether different from the crusades;
the crusaders were innumerable and hurried on by fanaticism. My army, on
the contrary, was very small, and the soldiers were so far from being
prepossessed in favour of the enterprise that, at first, they were
frequently tempted to carry off the colours and return. I had, however,
succeeded in familiarizing them with the country, which supplied every
thing in abundance, and at so cheap a rate that I was one time on the
point of placing them on half-pay for the purpose of laying by the other
half for them. I had acquired such an ascendancy over them, that I
should have been able, by a mere order of the day, to make them
Mahometan. They would have treated it as a joke, the population would
have been gratified, and the very Christians of the East would have
considered themselves gainers, and approved it, knowing that we could do
nothing better for them and for ourselves.

“The English were struck with consternation at seeing us in possession
of Egypt. We exposed to Europe the certain means of wresting India from
them. They have not yet dismissed their apprehensions, and they are in
the right. If 40 or 50,000 European families ever succeed in
establishing their industry, laws, and government in Egypt, India will
be more effectually lost to the English by the commanding influence of
circumstances than by the force of arms.”

In the course of the evening, the Grand Marshal put the Emperor in mind
of one of his conversations with Monge, the mathematician, at Cutakié,
in the midst of the desert. “What do you think of all this, citizen
Monge?” said Napoleon.—“Why, citizen general,” answered Monge, “I think,
if there are ever seen in this place as many equipages as at the Opera
house, there must first be some wonderful revolutions on the globe.” The
Emperor laughed very heartily at the recollection. He had, however, he
observed, a carriage with six horses on the spot. It was unquestionably
the first of the kind that travelled over the desert, and accordingly it
very much surprised the Arabs.

The Emperor remarked that the desert always had a peculiar influence on
his feelings. He had never crossed it without being subject to a certain
emotion. To him, he said, it was an image of immensity: it seemed to
have no bounds, neither beginning nor end; it was an ocean on terra
firma. His imagination was delighted with the sight, and he took
pleasure in drawing our attention to the observation that Napoleon meant
_Lion of the Desert_!...

The Emperor also told us that, when he was in Syria, it was a settled
opinion at Cairo that he never would be seen there again, and he noticed
the thievery and impudence of a little Chinese, who was one of his
servants. “It was,” said he, “a little deformed dwarf, whom Josephine
once took a fancy to at Paris. He was the only Chinese in France;
thenceforth she would always have him behind her carriage. She took him
to Italy, but as he was in the constant habit of pilfering, she wished
to get rid of him. With that view, I took him with me on my Egyptian
expedition. Egypt was a lift to him half-way on his journey. This little
monster was entrusted with the care of my cellar, and I had no sooner
crossed the desert than he sold, at a very low price, 2000 bottles of
capital claret. His only object was to make money, convinced that I
should never come back. He was not at all disconcerted at my return, but
came eagerly to meet me, and acquainted me, as he said, like a faithful
servant, with the loss of my wine. The robbery was so glaring that he
was himself compelled to confess it. I was much urged to have him
hanged, but I refused, because, in strict justice, I ought to have done
as much to those in embroidered clothes, who had knowingly bought and
drunk the wine. I contented myself with discharging and sending him to
Suez, where he was at liberty to do what he pleased.”

On this subject I must observe that we were induced, in this place, to
give momentary credit to a very singular coincidence. We were informed a
few months ago, that on board one of the Chinese traders, which were
then off the island, on their return to Europe, there was a Chinese, who
said he had been in the Emperor’s service in Egypt. The Emperor
instantly exclaimed, that it must be his little thief, whose story I
have just told; but it was, in fact, a cook of Kleber’s.

The Emperor put a sudden stop to the conversation, and, with more gaiety
than usual, turning to Madame Bertrand, said with a smile, “When shall
you be at your apartments in the Tuileries? When will you give your
splendid dinners to the ambassadors? But you will be obliged, at least,
I am told so, to have new furniture, for it is reported that the
fashions have entirely changed.” The conversation then naturally turned
on the magnificence and luxury which we had witnessed under the Emperor.

                       MESMER, GALL, LAVATER, &C.

22nd.—The Emperor came to my apartment about 10 o’clock, and took me out
to walk. We all breakfasted under the trees. The weather was delightful,
and the heat, though great, was not unwholesome. The Emperor ordered his
calash; two of us were with him, and the third accompanied us on
horseback. The Grand Marshal could not attend. The Emperor recurred to
some misunderstanding which had taken place among us a few days before.
He took a view of our situation and our natural wants;—“You are bound,”
said he, “when you are one day restored to the world, to consider
yourselves as _brothers_, on my account. My memory will dictate this
conduct to you. Be so, then, from this moment!” He next described how we
might be of mutual advantage to each other, the sufferings we had it in
our power to alleviate, &c. It was, at once, a family and moral lesson,
a lesson of feeling and conduct. It ought to have been written in
letters of gold. It lasted nearly an hour and a quarter, and will, I
think, never be forgotten by any of us. For myself, not only the
principles and the words, but the tone, the expression, the action, and
above all, the heart with which he delivered them, will never be
forgotten by me.

About five o’clock, the Emperor entered my apartment where I was
employed with my son, on the chapter of the battle of Arcole. He had
something to say to me, and I followed him to the garden, where he
resumed, at great length, the conversation that had taken place in the

We now dined in the old topographical cabinet, adjoining to that of the
Emperor, and the apartment formerly occupied by Montholon’s family,
which, with the help of the books and shelves lately received from
England, was converted into a tolerable library.

As the damage done by the fire in the saloon was long in repairing, we
were obliged to continue at table in our new dining-room until the
Emperor withdrew. This circumstance, however, gave additional interest
to the conversation.

The Emperor was very communicative to-day. The conversation turned on
dreams, presentiments, and foresights, which the English call _second
sight_. We exhausted every common-place topic, ordinarily connected with
these objects, and came at last to speak of sorcerers and ghosts. The
Emperor concluded with observing, “All these quackeries, and many
others, such as those of Cagliostro, Mesmer, Gall, Lavater, &c. are
destroyed by this sole and simple argument: _All that may exist, but it
does not exist._

“Man is fond of the marvellous; it has for him irresistible
fascinations; he is ever ready to abandon what is near at hand, to run
after what is fabricated for him. He voluntarily gives way to delusion.
The truth is, that every thing about us is a wonder. There is nothing
which can be properly called a phenomenon. Every thing in nature is a
phenomenon. My existence is a phenomenon. The wood that is put on the
fire and warms me, is a phenomenon; that candle yonder, which gives me
light, is a phenomenon. All the first causes, my understanding, my
faculties, are phenomena; for they all exist and we cannot define them.
I take leave of you here,” said he, “and lo! I am at Paris, entering my
box at the Opera. I bow to the audience; I hear their acclamations; I
see the performers; I listen to the music. But if I can bound over the
distance from Saint Helena, why should I not bound over the distance of
centuries? Why should I not see the future as well as the past? Why
should the one be more extraordinary, more wonderful, than the other?
The only reason is, that it does not exist. This is the argument which
will always annihilate, without the possibility of reply, all visionary
wonders. All these quacks deal in very ingenious speculations; their
reasoning may be just and seductive, but their conclusions are false,
because they are unsupported by facts.

“Mesmer and Mesmerism have never recovered from the blow dealt at them
by the report of Bailly on behalf of the Academy of Sciences. Mesmer
produced effects upon a person by magnetizing him to his face, yet the
same person, magnetized behind, without his knowing it, experienced no
effect whatever. It was therefore, on his part, an error of the
imagination, a debility of the senses; it was the act of the somnabule,
who, at night runs along the roof without danger, because he is not
afraid; but who would break his neck in the day, because his senses
would confound him.

“I once attacked the quack Puységur, on his somnabulism, at one of my
public audiences. He would have assumed a very lofty tone: I brought him
down to his proper level with only these words: If your doctrine is so
instructive, let it tell us something new! Mankind will, no doubt, make
very great progress in the next two hundred years; let it specify any
single improvement which is to take place within that period! Let it
tell me what I shall do within the following week! Let it declare the
numbers of the lottery, which will be drawn to-morrow!

“I behaved in the same manner to Gall, and contributed very much to the
discredit of his theory. Corvisart was his principal follower. He and
his colleagues have a great propensity to materialism, which is
calculated to strengthen their theory and influence. But nature is not
so poor. Were she so clumsy as to make herself known by external forms,
we should do our business more promptly and know a great deal more. Her
secrets are more subtle, more delicate, more evanescent, and have
hitherto escaped the most minute researches. We find a great genius in a
little hunchback; and a man, with a fine commanding person, turns out to
be a stupid fellow. A big head, with a large brain, is sometimes
destitute of a single idea; while a small brain is found to possess a
vast understanding. And observe the imbecility of _Gall_. He attributes
to certain protuberances propensities and crimes, which are not in
nature, but arise solely from society and the conventional usages of
mankind. What would become of the protuberance of theft, if there were
no property; of drunkenness, if there were no fermented liquors; and of
ambition, if there were no society?

“The same remarks apply to that egregious charlatan, Lavater, with his
physical and moral relations. Our credulity lies in the defect of our
nature. It is inherent in us to wish for the acquisition of positive
ideas, when we ought, on the contrary, to be carefully on our guard
against them. We scarcely look at a man’s features, before we pretend to
know his character. We should be wise enough to repel the idea and to
neutralize those deceitful appearances. I was robbed by a person who had
grey eyes, and from that moment am I never to look at grey eyes without
the idea, the fear, of being robbed? A weapon wounded me, and I am
afraid of it wherever I see it; but was it the grey eyes that robbed me?
Reason and experience, and I have been enabled to derive great benefit
from both, prove that all those external signs are so many lies; that we
cannot be too strictly on our guard against them, and that the only true
way of appreciating and gaining a thorough knowledge of mankind is by
trying and associating with them. After all, we meet with countenances
so hideous, it must be allowed,” (and as an instance he described one;
it was that of the governor,) “that the most powerful understanding is
confounded, and condemns them in spite of itself.”

                   SINGULAR SERIES OF VEXATIONS, &C.

23d.—The Emperor called upon me about three o’clock. He wished to take a
walk. He had a gloomy look, and had suffered much since yesterday. He
was seriously affected by the intense heat during his ride in the
calash. He had observed a new outer door which was making, and which
would have altered the whole interior of the topographical cabinet and
of Madame Montholon’s former apartment. He had not been consulted on the
occasion, and was sensibly affected at it. He sent instantly for the
person who had given the directions, and the wretched reasons he
assigned served only to vex him still more. We had come out to walk; but
it seemed decided that every thing was to irritate and put him in ill
humour that evening. He saw some English officers on his way, and turned
aside from them almost in anger, observing that shortly it would be
impossible for him to put his foot out of doors. A few paces off he was
joined by the Doctor, who came to tell him, unseasonably enough, of some
arrangements that were making for him, (the Emperor) and to ask his
opinion on the subject. It was one of the topics which, perhaps, hurt
his feelings most. He made no answer, his ordinary resource against
disappointment; but this time he kept silence with a fretfulness which
he could not conceal. He came up with the carriage, and got in; but on
our way we met some more English officers, and then he suddenly ordered
the coachman to drive off, at a gallop, in another direction.

The new door-way, however, which had been made in the house without his
knowledge, and which he found so inconvenient, still lay heavy on his
heart. He was about to lighten the load by a lively playfulness with the
wife of the person who had ordered it, and who happened to be in the
calash. “Ah,” said he, “are you there? You are in my power; you shall
pay the penalty. The husband is the guilty person; it is the wife that
shall answer for him.” But instead of accommodating herself to the sense
in which the words were uttered, which she might have done without the
least inconvenience, and with the certainty of a satisfactory result,
she persisted in making lame excuses for her husband, and repeating
reasons, which served but to revive his dissatisfaction. Finally, to
fill up the chapter of cross-purposes, one of us, on discovering the
tents of the camp, informed him that the evolutions and manœuvres of
the preceding day were in celebration of one of the great victories
gained by the English in Spain, and that the regiment which executed
them had been very nearly destroyed in that battle. “A regiment. Sir, is
never destroyed by the enemy; it is immortalized,” was his only answer.
It is true, that it was delivered very dryly.

For myself, I meditated in silence on this accumulation of
contrarieties, which struck such repeated blows in so short a time. It
was a precious moment for an observer. I estimated the mortification
which they were calculated to produce, and I remarked with admiration,
how little he betrayed. I said to myself: This is the _intractable man_,
this the _tyrant_! One would have supposed that he knew what was passing
in my mind, for, when we left the calash, and were a few paces before
the others, he said to me in a low tone, “If you like to study mankind,
learn how far patience can go, and all that one can put up with,” &c.

On his return, he called for tea; I had never seen him take any. Madame
de Montholon was, for the first time, in possession of her new saloon.
He wished to see it, and observed that she would be much better
accommodated than any of us. He called for fire, and played at chess
with several of us successively. He gradually recovered his natural
temper and ate a little at dinner, which completely restored him. He
indulged in conversation, and again reverted to his early years, which
always possessed fresh charms for him. He spoke a great deal of his
early acquaintances, and of the difficulties which some of them
experienced in obtaining admission to him after his elevation, and
observed that, “if the threshold of his palace was impassable, it was in
spite of himself. What then,” said he, “must be the situation of other
sovereigns in that respect!”

We continued the conversation until eleven, without noticing the
lateness of the hour.

                             THE EMIGRANTS.

24th.—To-day the Emperor tried the billiard-table which had just been
placed, and went out, but the weather being very damp, he returned
almost immediately.

He conversed with me in his apartment, before dinner, on the emigrants,
and the name of Madame de B...., who had been _dame d’atours_ to Madame,
and was very conspicuous in the commencement of our affairs, was
mentioned. The Emperor observed, “But is not this Madame de B.... a very
dangerous woman?”—“Certainly not,” I replied; “she is, on the contrary,
one of the best women in the world, with a great deal of wit, and an
excellent judgment.” “If that is the case,” said the Emperor, “she must
have much cause to complain of me. This is the painful consequence of
false representations; she was pointed out as a very dangerous
character.”—“Yes, Sire, you made her very unhappy. Madame de B....
placed all her happiness in the charms of society, and you banished her
from Paris. I met with her in one of my missions, confined within her
province, and pining away with vexation, yet she expressed no resentment
against your Majesty, and spoke of you with great moderation.” “Well,
then! why did you not come to me, and set me right?”—“Ah, Sire, your
character was then so little known to us, compared with what I know it
to be at present, that I should not have dared to do so. But I will
mention an anecdote of Madame de B.... when in London, during the high
tide of our emigration, which will make you better acquainted with her
than any thing I could say. At the time of your accession to the
Consulate, a person, just arrived from Paris, was invited to a small
party at her house. He engrossed the attention of the company, in
consequence of all the particulars that he had to communicate respecting
a place, which interested us so very materially. He was asked several
questions respecting the Consul. He cannot, said he, live long, he is
most delightfully _sallow_. These were his words. He grew more animated
by degrees, and gave as a toast—The death of the First Consul! Oh
horrible! was the instantaneous exclamation of Madame de B..... What,
drink to the death of a fellow creature! For shame! I will give a much
better one: The King’s health!”

“Well,” said the Emperor, “I repeat that she was very ill used by me, in
consequence of the representations which were made to me. She had been
described to me as a person fond of political intrigues, and remarkable
for the bitterness of her sarcasms. And this puts me in mind of an
expression which is perhaps wrongly attributed to her, but which struck
me, however, solely on account of its wit. I was assured that a
distinguished personage, who was very much attached to her, was seized
with a fit of jealousy, for which she clearly proved that she had given
no cause. He persisted however, and observed that she ought to know that
the wife of Cæsar should be free from suspicion. Madame de B.... replied
that the remark contained two important mistakes; for it was known to
all the world that she was not his wife, and that he was not Cæsar.”

After dinner, the Emperor read to us parts of the comedies of the
Dissipateur and the Glorieux, but he was so little pleased with them
that he left off; they did not possess a sufficient degree of interest.
He had a severe pain in his right side. It was the effect of the damp to
which he had been exposed during his morning walk, and we were not
without apprehensions of its being a symptom of the ordinary malady of
this scorching climate.

On my return home, I found a letter from England, with a parcel,
containing some articles for my toilet. The Griffin ship of war had just
arrived from England.


25th.—About nine o’clock, I received from the Grand Marshal three
letters for the Emperor. They were from Madame Mère, the Princess
Pauline, and Prince Lucien. The latter was enclosed in one addressed to
me, from Rome, by Prince Lucien, dated the 6th of March. I also received
two from my agent in London.

The Emperor passed the whole of the morning in reading the papers from
the 25th of April to the 13th of May. They contained accounts of the
death of the Empress of Austria, the prorogation of the French Chambers,
Cambrone’s acquittal, the condemnation of General Bertrand, &c. He made
many remarks upon all these subjects.

About three, Admiral Malcolm requested to be presented to the Emperor.
He brought him a series of the Journal des Debats to the 13th of May.
The Emperor desired me to introduce him, and he conversed with him
nearly three hours. He gave great pleasure to the Emperor, who treated
him, from the first moment, with a great deal of freedom and good
nature, as if he had been an old acquaintance. The Admiral was entirely
of his opinion with respect to a great number of subjects. He admitted
that it was extremely difficult to escape from St. Helena, and he could
see no inconvenience in allowing him to be at large in the island. He
considered it absurd that Plantation-house had not been given up to the
Emperor, and felt, but only since his arrival, he confessed, that the
title of General might be offensive. It struck him that Lady Loudon’s
conduct had been ridiculous here, and would be laughed at in London. He
thought that the Governor had good intentions, but did not know how to
act. Ministers had, in his opinion, been embarrassed with respect to the
Emperor, but entertained no hatred against him; they did not know how to
dispose of him. Had he remained in England, he would have been, and was
still, a terror to the Continent; he would have been too dangerous and
efficient an instrument in the hands of Opposition, &c. He was
apprehensive, however, that all these circumstances put together would
detain us here a long time; and he expressed his confidence that it was
the intention of Ministers, with the exception of the necessary
precautions to prevent his escape, that Napoleon should be treated with
every possible indulgence at St. Helena, &c. He delivered himself upon
all these points in so satisfactory a manner that the Emperor discussed
the business with him, with as little warmth as if he had not been
concerned in the matter.

At one moment, the Emperor produced a sensible effect upon him; it was
when, alluding to the Commissioners, he pointed out the impossibility of
receiving them. “After all, Sir,” said he, “you and I are men. I appeal
to you, is it possible that the Emperor of Austria, whose daughter I
married, who implored that union on his knees, who keeps back my wife
and my son, should send me his Commissioner, without a line for myself,
without the smallest scrap of a bulletin with respect to my son’s
health? Can I receive him with consistency? Can I have any thing to
communicate to him? I may say the same thing of the Commissioner sent by
Alexander, who gloried in calling himself my friend, with whom, indeed,
I carried on political wars, but had no personal quarrel. It is a fine
thing to be a Sovereign, but we are not on that account the less
entitled to be treated as men; I lay claim to no other character at
present! Can they all be destitute of feeling? Be assured, Sir, that
when I object to the title of General, I am not offended. I decline it
merely because it would be an acknowledgment that I have not been
Emperor; and, in this respect, I advocate the honour of others more than
my own. I advocate the honour of those with whom I have been, in that
rank, connected by treaties, by family and political alliances. The only
one of those Commissioners, whom I might perhaps receive, would be that
of Louis XVIII., who owes me nothing. That Commissioner was a long time
my subject, he acts merely in conformity to circumstances, independent
of his option; and I should accordingly receive him to-morrow, were I
not apprehensive of the misrepresentations that would take place, and of
the false colouring that would be given to the circumstance.”

After dinner, the Emperor again alluded to the time of his Consulate, to
the numerous conspiracies which had been formed against him, to the
celebrated persons of that period, &c. I have already noticed these
topics at considerable length. The conversation lasted until one o’clock
in the morning—a very extraordinary hour for us.


26th—28th. Our usual mode of living, an airing in the carriage in the
middle of the day; conversation at night.

On the 27th the Emperor received, for a moment, a colonel, a relation of
the family of Walsh Serrant, who was on his return from the Cape in the
Haycomb, and was to sail next day for Europe. He had been Governor of
Bourbon, and entertained us with many agreeable particulars respecting
that island.

After dinner, the conversation turned on the old and new Court, with
their arrangements, expenses, etiquette, &c. I have already mentioned
most of these points in another place, and many of them were repeated on
the present occasion. I pass over what would seem but a literal

The Emperor’s Court was, in every respect, much more magnificent than
any thing seen up to that period, and yet, said he, the expense was
infinitely less. That vast difference was caused by the suppression of
abuses, and by the introduction of order and regularity into the
accounts. His hunting and shooting establishment, with the exception of
some useless and ridiculous particulars, he observed, as that of
falconry and some others, was as splendid, as numerous, and as striking,
as that of Louis XVI., and the annual disbursement, he assured us, was
but 400,000 francs, while the King’s amounted to seven millions. His
table was regulated according to the same system. Duroc had, by his
regularity and strictness, done wonders in that respect. Under the
kings, the palaces were not kept furnished, and the same articles were
transferred from one palace to another; the people belonging to the
Court had no furniture allowed them, and every one was obliged to look
out for himself. Under him, on the contrary, there was not a person in
attendance who did not find himself provided as comfortably, or even
more so, with every thing that was necessary or suitable, in the
apartment assigned to him, than in his own house.

The Emperor’s stud cost three millions, the expense of the horses was
averaged at 3000 francs a horse yearly. A page cost from 6 to 8000
francs. That establishment, he observed, was perhaps the most expensive
belonging to the palace, and accordingly the education of the pages and
the care taken of them, were the subjects of just encomium. The first
families of the empire were solicitous to place their children in it,
and they had good reason, said the Emperor.

With respect to the etiquette of the Court, the Emperor said he was the
first who had separated the _service of honour_ (an expression invented
under him) from that which was absolutely necessary. He had dismissed
every thing that was laborious and substantial, and substituted what was
nominal and ornamental only. “A king,” he said, “is not to be found in
nature, he is the mere creature of civilization. There are no naked
kings; they must all be dressed,” &c.

The Emperor remarked that it was impossible for any one to be better
informed of the nature and relation of all these matters than himself;
because they had been all regulated by him, according to the precedents
of past times, from which he had lopped off whatever was ridiculous, and
preserved every thing that appeared suitable.

The conversation lasted until after eleven o’clock. It had been kept up
with tolerable spirit; and the Emperor again observed, on leaving us,
that, after all, we must be a good-natured kind of people to be able to
lead so contented a life at St. Helena.


29th.—The weather had been bad for some days; the Emperor took advantage
of a fine interval to examine a tent, which the admiral had, in a very
handsome manner, ordered to be erected for his accommodation by his
ship’s crew, having heard him complain, in the course of conversation,
of the want of shade, and of the impossibility of enjoying himself in
the air out of his apartment. The Emperor conversed with the officer and
men who were putting the last hand to the work, and ordered a napoleon
to be given to each of the seamen.

We learnt to-day that the last vessel had brought a book on the state of
public affairs for the Emperor, written, as it was said, by a Member of
Parliament. It had been sent by the author himself, and the following
words were inscribed in letters of gold on the outside,—_To Napoleon the
Great_. This circumstance induced the Governor to keep back the work, a
rigour, on his part, which formed a singular contrast with his eagerness
to supply us with libels, that treated the Emperor so disrespectfully.

During dinner, the Emperor, turning, with a stern look, to one of the
servants in waiting, exclaimed, to our utter consternation: “So then,
assassin, you intended to kill the Governor!—Wretch!—If such a thought
ever again enters your head, you will have to do with me; you will see
how I shall behave to you.” And then, addressing himself to us, he said,
“Gentlemen, it is Santini, there, who determined to kill the Governor.
That rascal was about to involve us in a sad embarrassment. I found it
necessary to exert all my authority, all my indignation to restrain

In order to explain this extraordinary transaction, it is necessary for
me to observe that Santini, who was formerly usher of the Emperor’s
cabinet, and whose extreme devotion had prompted him to follow his
master and serve him, no matter, he said, in what capacity, was a
Corsican, of deep feeling and a warm imagination. Enraged at the
Governor’s ill usage, no longer able to bear with patience the affronts
which he saw heaped upon the Emperor, exasperated at the decline of his
health, and affected himself with a distracting melancholy, he had, for
some time, done no work in the house, and, under pretence of procuring
some game for the Emperor’s table, his employment seemed to be that of
shooting in the neighbourhood. In a moment of confidence, he told his
countryman Cypriani that he had formed the project, by the means of his
double barrelled piece, of killing the Governor, and then putting an end
to himself. And all, said he, to rid the world of a monster.

Cypriani, who knew his countryman’s character, was shocked at his
determination, and communicated it to several other servants. They all
united in entreating him to lay aside his design, but their efforts,
instead of mitigating, seemed but to inflame his irritation. They
resolved then to disclose the project to the Emperor, who had him
instantly brought before him: “And it was only,” he told me some time
afterwards, “by _imperial_, by _pontifical_ authority, that I finally
succeeded in making the scoundrel desist altogether from his project.
Observe for a moment the fatal consequences which he was about to
produce. I should have also passed for the murderer, the assassin, of
the Governor, and in reality it would have been very difficult to
destroy such an impression in the mind of a great number of people.”

The Emperor read to us La Mort de Pompée, which was stated in the
journals to be the subject of general interest at Paris, on account of
its political allusions. And this gave rise to the remark that
government had been obliged to forbid the representation of Richard, and
that, certainly on the fifth and sixth of October, Louis XVI. little
thought of its ever being prohibited for its allusions to another. “The
fact is that times are wonderfully changed,” said the Emperor.

30th.—The Emperor, after a few turns in the garden, went to General
Gourgaud’s apartment, where he was a long time employed, with his
compasses and pencil, in laying down the coast of Syria, and the plan of
Saint Jean d’Acre, which the general was to execute. In marking some
points about Acre, he said:—“I passed many unpleasant moments there.”

In the evening we had Le Mariage de Figaro, which entertained and
interested us much more than we had been led to expect. “It was,”
observed the Emperor, in shutting the book, “the Revolution already put
into action.”

                    OF LA TRAPPE.—THE FRENCH CLERGY.

31st.—The weather was horrible about three o’clock, and the Emperor
could scarcely reach Madame de Montholon’s saloon. He amused himself for
some time there in reading the Thousand and One Nights, and afterwards,
perceiving a volume of the Moniteur on which M. de Montholon was then
employed, and which lay open in the part relative to the negotiations
for a maritime armistice in 1800, his whole attention was absorbed by
them for upwards of an hour.

After dinner, the Emperor read first La Mère Coupable, in which we felt
interested, and next the Mélanie of La Harpe, which he thought
wretchedly conceived and very badly executed. “It was,” he said, “a
turgid declamation, in perfect conformity with the taste of the times,
founded in fashionable calumnies and absurd falsehoods. When La Harpe
wrote that piece, a father certainly had not the power of forcing his
daughter to take the veil; the laws would never have allowed it. This
play, which was performed at the beginning of the Revolution, was
indebted for its success solely to the extravagance of public opinion.
Now, that the passion is over, it must be deemed a wretched performance!
La Harpe’s characters are all unnatural. He should not have attacked
defective institutions with defective weapons.”

The Emperor said that La Harpe had so completely failed in his object,
with regard to his own impressions, that all his feelings were in favour
of the father, while he was shocked at the daughter’s conduct. He had
never seen the performance, without being tempted to start from his
seat, and call out to the daughter: “You have but to say, No, and we
will all take your part; you will find a protector in every citizen.”

He observed that, when he was on service with his regiment, he had often
witnessed the ceremony of taking the veil. “It was a ceremony very much
attended by the officers, and which raised our indignation, particularly
when the victims were handsome. We ran in crowds to it, and our
attention was alive to the slightest incident. Had they but said, _No_,
we should have carried them off sword in hand. It is consequently false
that violence was employed: seductive means only were resorted to.
Those, upon whom they were practised, were kept secluded perhaps, like
recruits. The fact is that, before they had done, they had to pass the
ordeal of the nuns, the abbess, the spiritual director, the bishop, the
civil officer, and finally the public spectators. Can it be supposed
that all these had agreed to concur in the commission of a crime?”

The Emperor declared that he was an enemy to convents in general, as
useless, and productive of degrading inactivity. He allowed, however, in
another point of view, that certain reasons might be pleaded in their
favour. The best _mezzo termine_, and he had adopted it, was, in his
opinion, that of tolerating them, of obliging the members to become
useful, and of allowing annual vows only.

The Emperor complained that he had not had time enough to complete his
institutions. It had been his intention to enlarge the establishments of
Saint Denis and Ecouen, for the purpose of affording an asylum to the
widows of soldiers, or women advanced in years. “And then,” he added,
“it must also be admitted that there were characters and imaginations of
all kinds; that compulsion ought not to be used with regard to persons
of an eccentric turn, provided their oddities are harmless, and that an
empire, like France, might and ought to have houses for madmen, called
_Trappistes_. With respect to the latter,” he observed, “that if any one
ever thought of inflicting upon others the discipline which they
practised, it would be justly considered a most abominable tyranny, and
that it might, notwithstanding, constitute the delight of him who
voluntarily exercised it on himself. Such is man, such his whims, or his
follies!... He had tolerated the monks of Mount Cenis, but these, at
least,” he added, “were useful, very useful, and might be even called

The Emperor expressed himself in his Council of State in the following
words, when the organization of the University was about to take place:
“It is my opinion that the monks would be far the best body for
communicating instruction, were it possible to keep them under proper
control, and to withdraw them from their dependence upon a foreign
master. I am disposed to be favourable to them. I should, perhaps, have
had the power to reinstate them in their establishments, but they have
made the thing impossible. The moment I do any thing for the clergy,
they give me cause to repent it. I do not complain of the old
established clergy, for with them I am sufficiently satisfied; but the
young priests are brought up in a gloomy fanatical doctrine; there is
nothing Gallican in the young clergy.

“I have nothing to say against the old bishops. They have shewn
themselves grateful for what I did for religion; they have realized my

“Cardinal de Boisgelin was a man of sense, a virtuous character, who had
faithfully adopted me.

“The Archbishop of Tours, Barral, a man of great acquirements, and who
was of essential service to us in our differences with the Pope, was
always very much attached to me.

“The worthy Cardinal du Belloy, and the virtuous Bishop Roquelaure, had
a sincere affection for me.

“I made no difficulty whatever in placing Bishop Beausset among the
Dignitaries of the University, and I am convinced that he was one of
those who, in that capacity, most sincerely conducted themselves in
conformity with my views.

“All these old bishops possessed my confidence, and none of them
deceived me. It is not a little singular that those whom I had the
greatest cause to complain of were precisely those whom I had chosen
myself; so very true is it that the holy unction, though it attaches us
to the kingdom of Heaven, does not deliver us from the infirmities of
the earth, from its irregularities, its obscenities, its turpitudes.”

The conversation next turned upon the want of priests in France, the
obligation of engaging them at the age of sixteen, and the difficulty,
even the impossibility, of finding any at twenty-one.

It was the Emperor’s wish that they should be ordained at a more
advanced age. The answer of the bishops and the Pope himself was, “It is
very well: your reasons are very just; but if you wait for that period
you will find none to ordain, and yet you admit that you are in want of

“I have no doubt,” observed the Emperor, “that, after me, other
principles will be adopted. A conscription of priests and nuns will,
perhaps, be seen in France, as a military conscription was seen in my
time. My barracks will, perhaps, be turned into convents and seminaries.
Thus goes the world. Poor nations! In spite of all your knowledge, all
your wisdom, you continue, like individuals, the slaves of fashionable

It was nearly one o’clock in the morning before the Emperor retired. It
was, he said, a real victory over _ennui_, and a great relief for the
want of sleep.

                            PÉRE DE FAMILLE.

August 1.—The weather was dreadful. About three o’clock, the Grand
Marshal came to look for me; but as I had at that moment ventured out, I
was not to be found. It was on account of some English, whom he had to
present to the Emperor.

The Emperor sent for me at five; he was in a bad humour, and not a
little so, he said, on my account. The visit of the English, the bad
weather, the want of the saloon and an interpreter, had all combined to
vex him.

He was reading the Veillées du Château, which, he observed, were
tiresome, and he left them for the Tales of Margaret, Queen of Navarre.

He afterwards adverted to Versailles; the Court, the Queen, Madame
Campan, and the King, were the principal subjects of his remarks, and he
said many things, some of which I have already noticed. He concluded
with observing that Louis XVI. would have been a perfect pattern in
private life, but that he had been a sorry King; and that the Queen
would no doubt have been, at all times, the ornament of every circle,
but that her levity, her inconsistencies, and her want of capacity, had
not a little contributed to promote and accelerate the catastrophe. She
had, he remarked, deranged the manners of Versailles; its ancient
gravity and strict etiquette were transformed into the free and easy
manners and absolute tittle-tattle of a private party. No man of sense
and importance could avoid the jests of the young courtiers, whose
natural disposition for raillery was sharpened by the applauses of a
young and beautiful Sovereign.

One of the most characteristic anecdotes of that day was told. A gallant
and worthy German general arrived at Paris, with a special
recommendation to the Queen, from the Emperor Joseph, her brother. The
Queen thought she could not do him a greater favour than to invite him
to one of her private parties. He found himself, it may be easily
imagined, a little out of his element in such company, but it was every
one’s wish to treat him with marked respect, and he was obliged to take
a leading part in the conversation. He was unfortunate in the selection
of his topics, and in his manner of introducing them. He talked a great
deal about _his white mare, and his grey mare_, which he valued above
all things. The subject gave rise to a number of arch inquiries on the
part of the young courtiers, respecting a thousand frivolous points,
which he had the good-nature to answer, as if they were matters of
importance. In conclusion, one of them asked to which of the two he gave
the decided preference: “Really,” answered the general, with peculiar
significance, “I must confess, that, if I were in the day of battle on
my white mare, I do not believe I should dismount to get on my grey
one.” At length he made his bow, and the bursts of laughter that
followed may be easily conceived. The conversation took another turn
after his departure; the attractions of white and brown beauties were
long and ingeniously canvassed, and, the Queen having asked one of the
party which he preferred, he instantly assumed a grave air, and
imitating the solemn tone of the Austrian, answered, “Really, Madam, I
must confess, that if I were in the day of battle on....” “Enough,”
interposed the Queen, “spare us the remainder.”

After dinner he read Beverley and the Père de Famille to us. The latter,
in particular, excited his animadversion. To us it seemed a paltry
production. What most amused the Emperor, as he said, was that it was
Diderot’s, that Coryphœus of philosophers and of the Encyclopedia.
All it contained was, he said, false and ridiculous. The Emperor entered
into a long examination of the details, and concluded with saying, “Why
reason with a madman in the height of a raging fever? It is remedies and
a decisive mode of treatment that he needs. Who does not know that the
only safeguard against love is flight? When Mentor wishes to secure
Telemachus, he plunges him into the sea. When Ulysses endeavours to
preserve himself from the Syrens, he causes himself to be bound fast,
after having stopped the ears of his companions with wax.”


2nd.—Uninterrupted bad weather, with heavy rains. The Emperor was not
well; he felt his nerves very much irritated.

He sent for me to breakfast with him. During the whole of breakfast, and
a long time afterwards, the conversation again turned on the emigration.
I have already remarked that he often brought me back to the subject.
His enquiries to-day were directed to the particulars of what had passed
at Coblentz, our situation, our disposition, our organization, our
views, and our resources, and at the end of all my answers, he
concluded, observing: “You have already several times acquainted me with
a considerable part of those things, and yet I do not retain them,
because you communicate them without regularity. Reduce them to a
consistent historical summary. How could you be better employed in this
place? And then, my dear Las Cases, you will have a piece ready at hand
for your journal.” This demand was like that addressed by Dido to Æneas,
and I too might have exclaimed, _Infandum regina, jubes_ ... however, I
executed the sketch as completely as my memory and judgment enabled me,
for the subject began to grow old, and I was, at that time, very young.
I give it as I read it, a short time afterwards, to Napoleon.

“Sire, after the famous events which overthrew the Bastile, and set all
France in agitation, most of our Princes, who found themselves
implicated in the consequences, fled from the country, with the sole
view, at that period, of securing their personal safety. They were soon
after joined by persons of considerable rank, and by a number of young
men; the former, induced by the connection which they had with them, and
the latter by a persuasion that the measure of itself indicated, in some
degree, a striking, generous, and decided devotedness. When a certain
number were collected, the idea suggested itself of converting to a
political end that which, until then, had been produced by zeal and
chance alone. It was thought that if, with the assistance of these
assemblages, a kind of small power could be created, it might be enabled
to re-act, with advantage, on the interior, become a lever to
insurrection there, make an impression on the public mind, and restrain
popular commotion; while it would be, abroad, a title or pretext for
applying to foreign Powers and claiming their attention. This was the
origin of the emigration; and it is confidently stated that this grand
idea was conceived by M. de Calonne,[3] as he passed through
Switzerland, in the suite of one of our Princes, who was on his way from
Turin to Germany.

Footnote 3:

  Some one who considers himself well informed has assured me that this
  is erroneous, as M. de Calonne did not reach Germany till the measure
  of emigration had been already decided upon; adding that, so far from
  having contrived or instigated it, he had actually censured it.

“The first assemblage took place at Worms, under the Prince de Condé.
The most celebrated was that at Coblentz, under the King’s two brothers,
one of whom came from Italy, where he had at first found an asylum in
the Court of the King of Sardinia, his father-in-law, and the other
arrived by way of Brussels, after escaping the crisis, which had made a
captive of Louis XVI. at Varennes.

“I was one of the first of those who assembled at Worms. The number
about the Prince was scarcely fifty when I arrived. In the entire
effervescence of youth, and with the first inspiration of what was
noble, I hastened to Worms with the most innocent simplicity of heart.
My reading and my prayer each morning consisted of a chapter of Bayard.
I expected, on reaching Worms, to be, at the very least, seized and
embraced by so many brothers in arms; but, to my great surprise (and it
was my first lesson on mankind), instead of this affectionate reception,
I and a companion were, all at once, examined and watched, for the
purpose of ascertaining that we were not spies. We were afterwards
carefully sounded with regard to our interests, our views, and the
pretensions by which we might have been actuated, and, finally, great
pains were taken to prove to us, and to make the Prince perceive (and
this plan was renewed on every fresh arrival), that our numbers
increased greatly, and exceeded, no doubt, already, the places and
favours which he had to confer. My companion was so shocked that he
proposed to me to return instantly to Paris.

“We, who composed the assemblage, in order to make ourselves useful or
to acquire importance, undertook, three or four of us by turns, to form
a kind of regular guard about the Prince’s person night and day; for we
dreamt already of nothing but conspiracies and assassination, so very
powerful and redoubtable did we think ourselves, and when relieved,
whilst on this kind of voluntary guard, we had the honour of being
admitted to the Prince’s table. Three generations of Condé constituted
its ornament, a singular circumstance, which was renewed with more
striking effect in the army of Condé, in which the grandfather fought in
the centre, while the son and grandson commanded the right and left,
where they were, I believe, both wounded, and on the same day.

“The Princess of Monaco had followed the Prince of Condé; he married her
afterwards, but she then governed and did the honours of his
establishment. We had the opportunity of hearing at that table some of
the guests assert and re-assert to the Prince that we were already more
than enough to enter France; that his name and a white handkerchief were
sufficient; that the star of Condé was about to shine forth once more;
that the occasion was singularly happy, and that it was necessary to
seize it; and I would not pledge myself, that adulation was not pushed
so far as to suggest very interested personal views to the Prince.

“Worms, from the nature of its meeting, and the character of its chief,
always evinced more regularity, more austerity of discipline, than
Coblentz, where there was a display of more agitation, luxury, and
pleasure. Worms was accordingly called the _camp_, and Coblentz the
_City_ or the _Court_.

“The importance of the leader was in proportion to the force under his
command, and of this the Prince of Condé was so sensible that he never
saw any one leave him without regret, and remembered it a long time. I
was not, on that account, the less eager to go to Coblentz, the moment
it acquired a certain degree of splendour. I had relations and friends
there, and it was, besides, more attractive, from superior magnificence,
activity, and grandeur. Coblentz became in a short time a focus of
foreign and domestic intrigues. Two distinct parties might be observed
there; Messrs. d’Avaray, de Jaucourt, and some others, were the
confidential friends, the advisers, or the ministers, of Monsieur, now
Louis XVIII. The Bishop of Arras, the Count de Vaudreuil, and others,
were those of Monseigneur, the Count d’Artois; and it was confidently
stated that, even then, these Princes manifested distinctly enough the
same political differences which, it is pretended, have since
characterized them. M. de Breteuil, resident at Brussels, and charged,
according to his own declaration, with unlimited powers by Louis XVI.,
had formed a third party, and added to the complication of our affairs.

“M. de Calonne was relied on for our financial department, and the old
Marshal de Broglie and the Marshal de Castries were at the head of our
military establishment. The brave and able M. de Bouilly, who had left
France after the affair of Varennes, found it impossible to remain with
us, and followed King Gustavus III. to Sweden.

“The emigration had, however, assumed a grand character, thanks to the
care employed for its propagation. Agents had traversed the provinces,
circulars had been distributed in the mansions and country-seats,
summoning every gentleman to join the Princes, and act in co-operation
with them for the security of the altar and the throne, the revenge of
their honour, and the recovery of their rights. An absolute crusade had
been preached, and with so much more effect, as it made an impression on
minds disposed to attend to it. Among the whole of the nobility and
privileged classes there was not a single person who did not feel
himself cut to the quick by the decrees of the Assembly. All, from him
who filled the highest rank to the lowest country squire, had been
deprived of what they held most dear; for the former had lost his title
and his vassals, and the latter had seen his turret and his pigeon-house
invaded, and his hares shot. Accordingly, the movement to begin the
journey was immediate and universal; it could not be abandoned, under
the penalty of dishonour, and the women were directed to send spindles
to those who hesitated, or were too tardy. Whether then from passion,
pusillanimity, or a point of honour, the emigration became a real
infection; multitudes rushed furiously beyond the frontiers; and what
contributed not a little to increase the evil was the means employed by
the leaders of the Revolution to promote it in secret, while they
affected to oppose it in public. They declaimed, in vague terms, against
it from the tribune, it is true; but they took great care that all the
passages should be left open. Did the zeal of the emigrants slacken?—the
declaimers became more violent, and it was decided that the barriers
should be strictly guarded. Then those who had been left behind were
reduced to despair, because they had not taken advantage of the
favourable moment. But, accidentally, or from inattention, the barriers
were again opened, and they were passed with eagerness by those who were
determined not to expose themselves to another disappointment. It was by
this dextrous management that the Assembly assisted its enemies in
plunging themselves into the abyss.

“The able men of the faction had, from the beginning, conceived that
such a measure would deliver them from the heterogeneous parts that
checked their progress, and that the property of all these voluntary
exiles would secure to them incalculable resources. The officers thought
they did wonders in stealing away from their regiments, while the
leaders of the Revolution, on their part, excited the soldiers to
revolt, in order to force them to it. They got rid, by these means, of
enemies who were highly dangerous, and obtained, on the contrary, in the
non-commissioned officers, zealous co-operators, who became heroes in
the national cause; it was they who furnished great captains, and who
beat all the veteran troops of foreign powers.

“The consequence was that Coblentz collected all that was illustrious
belonging to the Court in France, and all that was opulent and
distinguished belonging to the provinces. We were thousands, consisting
of every branch, uniform, and rank of the army; we peopled the town and
overran the palace. Our daily assemblages about the persons of the
Princes seemed like so many splendid festivals. The Court was most
brilliant, and our Princes were so effectually its Sovereigns that the
poor Elector was eclipsed and lost in the midst of us, which induced a
person to observe to him, very pleasantly, one day, whether from perfect
simplicity or keen raillery, that, among all those who thronged his
palace, he was the only stranger.

“During the grand solemnities, we occasionally had public galas; and the
respectable inhabitants were permitted to take a view of the tables. We
then exulted at witnessing the admiration expressed by the people of the
country for the pleasing countenance and chivalrous appearance of
Monseigneur the Count d’Artois, and we were proud of the homage paid by
them to the acquirements and talents of Monsieur. It was worth while to
see with what arrogance we paraded with us, as it were, the whole
dignity, the lustre of our monarchy, and, above all, the superiority of
our Sovereign and the elevation of our Princes. _His Majesty the King_,
was the expression which we pompously used in the German circles to
designate the King of France; for that was, or ought to be, in our
opinion, his title in point of pre-eminence with respect to all Europe.
The Abbé Maury, whom we had at first received with acclamation, but who,
by the by, lost much of our esteem in a very short time, had discovered,
he assured us, that such was his right and his prerogative. Shall I give
another instance of overweening pride and conceit?

“At a later period, during our greatest disasters, and when our cause
was completely ruined, an Austrian officer, of superior rank, charged
with despatches for the Court of London, invited to dinner several of
our officers with whom he had formerly been acquainted on the Continent.
After dinner, and very near the time when every truth comes out, the
company began to talk politics, and he happened to say that, on his
departure from Vienna, one of the principal subjects of conversation was
the marriage of Madame Royale (now Duchess d’Angouleme) with the
Archduke Charles, who at that moment enjoyed great celebrity. ‘But it is
impossible!’ observed one of his French guests. ‘And why?’ ‘Because it
is not a suitable marriage for Madame.’—‘How!’ exclaimed the Austrian,
seriously offended, and almost breathless, ‘His Royal Highness
Monseigneur, the Archduke Charles! not a suitable match for your
Princess.’ ‘Oh! no, Sir, it would be but a garrison match for her!’

“Besides, these lofty pretensions were instilled into us with our
education; they belonged to us as national sentiments, and our Princes
were not exempt from them. With us the King’s brothers disdained the
title of Royal Highness, they had the pretension of addressing all the
sovereigns by the title of brother; the rest of the system was carried
on in a proportionate way, and there was accordingly but one feeling in
Europe against our Versailles, manners and the presumption of our

“Gustavus III. said, at Aix-la-Chapelle—‘Your Court of Versailles was
not accessible; it indulged too much in haughtiness and ridicule. When I
was there, there was scarcely any attention paid to me, and, when I left
it, I brought away the titles of _booby_ and _blockhead_.’

“The Duchess of Cumberland, who was married to the King of England’s
brother, had to complain, at the same time and in the same city, that
the Princess de Lamballe did not grant her the honours of the

“The old Duke of Gloucester complained, on his own account, at a later
period in London, of one of our Princes of the blood, and added that the
Prince of Wales laughed heartily, because he, the Prince of Wales,
addressing the same Prince by the title of Monseigneur, the latter
studiously endeavoured to model his language so as not to return the

“At Coblentz, however, when our circumstances were altered, our Princes
condescended to change their manners in that respect, and to let
themselves down to the level of the foreign Princes. They were then with
the Elector of Treves, a Prince of Saxony, their mother’s brother, whom,
by way of parenthesis, we were at that time eating up, and who was
afterwards deprived of his possessions on our account. They condescended
to call him their _uncle_, and he was allowed to call them his
_nephews_. It is confidently stated that he said to them one day, ‘It is
to your misfortunes that I am indebted for such affectionate
expressions; at Versailles you would have treated me as plain M. l’Abbé,
and it is not certain that you would have received my visits every day.’
It was added that he spoke the truth, and that they had given melancholy
proofs of it to his brother, the Count of Lusatia, who was present.

“The Princes generally passed their evenings in the company of their
intimate friends. One of them was, most of the time, at the house of
Madame de Polastron, to whom he paid attentions that were justified by
her constancy and her behaviour. Frequent attempts were made to destroy
the intimacy, but in vain, for Madame de Polastron was above all the
cabals employed for the purpose; and, in addition to her amiable manners
and excellent conduct, was completely disinterested, and carefully
avoided all interference in political affairs. She saw but very little
company. I was indebted to a female relative for the pleasure of being
admitted to it; but, as it was necessary to withdraw before the Prince’s
arrival, I never had the honour of seeing him there.

“Monsieur passed his evenings at Madame de Balby’s, Dame d’Atours to
Madame. Madame de Balby, who was lively, witty, a warm friend and a
determined enemy, attracted all the most distinguished characters. It
was an honour to be admitted to her house, which was the centre of taste
and fashion. Monsieur sometimes remained there until a late hour; and
when, after the crowd had slipped away and the circle was contracted, he
happened to be communicative, it must be confessed that he was as
superior to us by the charms of his conversation as by his rank and

“So much for our manner of living and our outward appearance at
Coblentz; this was the fair side of our situation; but we were less
happy in a political point of view—that was the degrading side.”

“Good!” said the Emperor, “I begin to find your drawing-room details too
long. This is, however, excusable in you. The subject is a pleasing one
to you. You were then young; but go on.”

“Sire, the whole of our number was but a noble and brilliant mob, and
presented the image of complete confusion. It was anarchy striving
without, to establish, it was said, order within—a real democracy
struggling for the re-establishment of its aristocracy. We presented, on
a small scale, and merely with a few shades of difference, a copy of
every thing that was passing in France. We had among us zealous
adherents to our ancient forms, and ardent admirers of novelty; we had
our constitutionalists, our intolerants, and our moderates. We had our
empirics, who sincerely regretted that they had not made themselves
masters of the King’s person, for the purpose of acting with violence in
his name, or who frankly avowed that they entertained the design of
declaring his incapability. Finally, we had also our Jacobins, who
wished, on their return, to kill, to burn, to destroy every thing.

“No direct authority was exercised over the multitude by our
Princes.—They were our Sovereigns, it was true, but we were very unruly
subjects, and very easily irritated. We murmured on every occasion, and
it was particularly against those who joined us last that our common
fury was directed. It was, we declared, so much glory and good fortune
of which they deprived our exploits and our hopes. Those who were once
admitted considered every subsequent arrival too late. It was maintained
that all merit on that score was at an end. If all continued to be
received in the same way, the whole of France would soon be on our side,
and there would no longer be any person to punish.

“Denunciations of every kind, and from every quarter, were then showered
down upon those who joined us. A Prince de Saint-Maurice, son of the
Prince de Montbarey, found it impossible to resist the storm, although
he had the formal support of every distinguished character, and that of
the Prince himself, who deigned to employ supplication in his favour,
and said, ‘Alas! gentlemen, who is there that has not faults to reproach
himself with in the Revolution? I have been guilty of several, and, by
your oblivion of them, you have given me the right of interceding for
others.’ This did not spare M. de Saint-Maurice the necessity of making
his escape as soon as possible. His crime was that of having belonged to
the Society of the Friends of the Negroes, and of having been violently
attacked in the midst of us by a gentleman of Franche Comté, who
denounced M. de Saint-Maurice for having caused his mansions to be
burnt. It was, however, discovered, a few days afterwards, that the
brawling assailant had no mansion and was neither from Franche Comté,
nor a gentleman: he was a mere adventurer.

“M. de Cazalès, who had filled France and Europe with the celebrity of
his eloquence and courage in the National Assembly, had,
notwithstanding, lost the popular favour at Coblentz. When he arrived at
Paris, a report was spread among us that the Princes would not see him,
or would give him an ungracious reception. We collected eighty natives
of Languedoc to form, in opposition to his own wishes, a kind of escort
for him. M. de Cazalès was the honour of our province; we conducted him
to the Princes, by whom he was well received.

“A deputy of the third estate, who had highly distinguished himself in
the Constituent Assembly by his attachment to royalty, was among us. One
of our Princes, addressing him one day in the crowd, said, ‘But, Sir,
explain to me then.—You are so worthy a man, how could you, at the time,
take the oath of the _jeu de paume_?’ The deputy, struck dumb by the
attack, at first stammered out that he had been taken unawares—that he
did not foresee the fatal consequences—but promptly recovering himself,
he replied with vivacity: ‘I shall, however, observe to Monseigneur that
it was not that which led to the ruin of the French monarchy, but in
fact the assemblage of the nobility, which joined us in consequence of
the very persuasive letter written by Monseigneur.’—‘Stop there,’
exclaimed the Prince, patting him on the stomach, ‘be cool, my dear Sir;
I did not intend to vex you by that question.’

“Something like a system of regularity, whether good or bad, was,
however, adopted in the course of time. We were classed by corps and by
provinces; we had cantonments assigned to us, and were supplied with
arms. The King’s body-guards were again formed, clothed, equipped, and
paid, and soon became a superb corps in appearance and discipline. The
coalition of Auvergne and the marine corps, part on foot and part on
horseback, attracted peculiar notice by its discipline, knowledge, and
union. Our resignation and self-denial could not be too much admired.
Each officer was henceforth but a private soldier, subject to exercises
and fatigues, very contrary to his former manner of life, and exposed to
the greatest privations, for there was no pay, and many of that number
had soon no resource to depend on but the contributions of their more
fortunate comrades. We deserved a better fate, or, to speak more
correctly, we were worthy of a better enterprize. All the officers
belonging to the same regiments had been collected together in separate
bodies, in order that they might be ready to take the command of their
soldiers, who would not fail to join them, as we thought, on their first
seeing them. Such was our delusion! It was from a similar motive that
the gentlemen were classed according to their respective provinces, no
doubt being entertained of their efficient influence over the mass of
the population. Our weakness consisted in the conviction that we
continued to be wished for, respected, adored.

“All these bodies were publicly exercised and manœuvred, and the
diplomatic remonstrances which were made on the subject were answered
with a confident assurance that no such thing existed, or that it
certainly should be prevented. We had generals appointed, a staff
formed, and every thing which distinguishes head-quarters, even to the
office of grand-provost, arranged. Our Princes were gradually surrounded
with all that constitutes a real government. They had Ministers for the
affairs of the moment, and even for France, when we should return, so
certain and near at hand did that time appear.

“M. de Lavilleurnois, who was afterwards so much talked of, on account
of the share which he had in a royalist conspiracy, and who died at
Sinnamary, in consequence of the events of Fructidor, was intrusted with
the Administration of the Police. He set off at an early period to
perform its duties clandestinely at Paris. He had conceived a sincere
affection for me, and was determined to make me his son-in-law. He made
use of the most urgent arguments to induce me to follow him; but I
refused: I disliked the nature of his office. Otherwise, what different
combinations in my destiny!

“We had also direct relations with almost every Court. The Princes had
envoys at them, and received theirs at Coblentz. Monseigneur, the Count
d’Artois, visited Vienna, I believe, but I can state with certainty that
he was at Pilnitz. The nobility, in a body, addressed a letter to
Catherine, from whom we received M. de Romansoff as Ambassador. That
Empress saw, with pleasure, the storm that was rising in the south of
Europe; she cheerfully fanned a flame, which might prove very favourable
to her views, without putting her to any expense, and she accordingly
shewed herself ardent in her sentiments, and enthusiastic in her
promises. She did not despair, in that crisis, of making a dupe of
Gustavus III., whose contiguous activity was troublesome to her; she had
prevailed upon him, it is said, to undertake the crusade, by flattering
him with the rank of Generalissimo. I do not know if this Prince, who
certainly was a very superior character for his time, and possessed a
great share of understanding and talent, suffered himself to be deluded
by her. It is, however, undeniable that he displayed great attachment to
our cause, and announced his wish to fight for it in person. When he
left Aix la Chapelle to arrange his ultimate measures for that purpose
in Sweden, I heard him say, on taking leave of the Princess de Lamballe:
‘You will see me again shortly, but I am, nevertheless, obliged, on my
own account, to adhere to certain proceedings, to certain measures of
caution; for the part I have to play is of a very delicate nature. Know
that I, who am desirous of returning to fight at the head of your
aristocrats in France, am, at home, the first democrat of the country.’

“We also received envoys from Louis XVI., who presented public messages
in reprobation of our conduct, and had confidential conferences, perhaps
totally different. At least, we acted as if that had been the case;
openly declaring that he was a captive, and that we ought to take no
notice of any of his orders; that we were bound to take every thing he
was compelled to say in a contrary sense, and that, when he exhorted us
to peace, he was, in reality, calling upon us to go to war. It is
accordingly my opinion that we were very detrimental to the tranquillity
of the unfortunate Monarch, and that we had our special share in the
pardon which he bequeathed by his will to his friends, who, by an
indiscreet zeal, as he observes, did him so much injury.

“Our emigration, however, was prolonged in spite of all the promises
which were made to us, and of all the hopes with which our fancy was
flattered. With what illusions, what idle tales, what absurdities, was
our impatience mocked! whether those who invented them anticipated our
disappointment, or were themselves deceived. It was pleasantly
calculated that, according to our letters and gazettes, we had, in less
than eighteen months, set in motion nearly two millions of men, although
we ourselves had seen none of them. But those initiated in the mystery
assured us, in special confidence, that these troops marched only by
night, for the purpose of more effectually surprising the democrats, or
that they passed in the day-time only by platoons and without uniform;
or told us some other story of a similar kind. On the other hand, we
shewed each other a heap of letters from all countries and the best
sources, written in an enigmatical style, and which were thought to be
intelligible to us alone. One was acquainted that fifty thousand
Bohemian glasses had been just sent off for his country; another was
informed that ten thousand pieces of Saxon porcelain would soon be sent
off; and a third received intelligence that twenty-five bales of cocoa
would be addressed to him, with other fooleries of the same kind.

“How was it possible, I now ask myself, that men of understanding, for
there certainly were a great many among the number, that Ministers, who
had formerly governed us, and others who were destined to succeed them,
should be gulled by such wretched stuff, or that the plain good sense,
which we possessed as a multitude, did not make us laugh in their faces?
But no; we were not the less convinced that we were near the
accomplishment of our hopes; that the moment was at hand; that it would
infallibly happen; that we had only to show ourselves; that we were
eagerly expected, and that all would fall prostrate at our feet.”

Here the Emperor, who had often interrupted me with laughter and
raillery, said, in a very serious tone, “How very faithful is the
picture you have drawn! I recognise a crowd of your friends in it.
Truly, my dear Las Cases, and I say it without meaning any offence to
you, vapouring, credulity, inconsistency, stupidity itself, might be
said, in spite of all their wit, to be specially their lot. When I
occasionally wished to be amused, and divested myself of all reserve,
for the purpose of giving them full scope, and encouraging their
confidence in me, I have heard, in the Tuileries, under the Consulate
and the Empire, things not less ridiculous than those which you now
relate. None of them ever entertained a doubt of any thing. The love of
the French for their Kings was centered, they assured me, in my person.
I could henceforth do what I pleased; I had a right to use my power; I
should never meet with any other obstacle but a handful of incorrigible
persons who were the detestation of all. That counter-revolution so much
dreaded, observed another, was but child’s play to me; I had effected it
with the utmost ease. And (will this be believed?) ‘the only thing
wanting to it,’ said he, in an insinuating tone, ‘is the substitution of
the ancient white colour for those which have done us so much injury in
all countries.’ The idiot! That was the only blot which he could find in
our escutcheon. I laughed out of sheer pity, although I felt some
difficulty in restraining my feelings; but for his part, his sincerity
was unquestionable; he was fully persuaded that he spoke as I thought;
and still more so that the generality thought as he did.[4] But go on.”

Footnote 4:

  It is certainly an inherent weakness in our nature to deceive
  ourselves with respect to the sentiments that are entertained of us by
  others. At Coblentz, where we threw away so much money, where so many
  amiable and brilliant young men, more to be dreaded, no doubt, from an
  excess than a want of education, filled every house and visited every
  family, it was natural to believe that we should be beloved, and
  accordingly we thought ourselves adored. Well! at the time of my exile
  at the Cape of Good Hope, I was placed by a singular chance under the
  guard of an inhabitant of Coblentz, who had witnessed the brilliant
  moments of our emigration. I felt great pleasure in renewing the
  subject with him. We could not have any secrets on that head to
  conceal from one another; twenty-five years had elapsed. Well, then,
  “you were not absolutely hated,” said he, “but our real affection was
  reserved for your adversaries, for their cause was ours. Liberty had
  slipped in among us through you. There, in the midst of you, even
  before your eyes, we had formed clubs, and God knows how often we
  laughed in them at your expense, &c.” And it happened to him more than
  once, he assured me, when mingled with the crowd, which resounded with
  acclamations as we passed, to shout with a considerable number of his
  comrades, “Long live the French Princes, and may they drink a little
  in the Rhine! You spoke of the reception we gave you,” said he, “it
  was that which we gave to Custine, which you should have seen! There
  you would have had an opportunity of appreciating our real sentiments.
  We ran with enthusiasm to meet him: we crowned his soldiers; a great
  number of us enlisted in his army, and several of them became
  generals. As for me, I missed the opportunity of making my fortune.”

“The appearance of the Duke of Brunswick at Coblentz, and the arrival of
the King of Prussia at the head of his troops, were subjects of great
joy and expectation to the whole of the emigrants. Heaven opens at
length before us! was our exclamation, and we are about to return to the
land of promise. It was, however, the opinion of persons of judgment and
experience, from the beginning, that our struggle would have the same
result as all those that resembled it in history, and that we should be
but instruments and pretexts for foreigners, who only pursued their
private interest, and entertained no feeling for us.

“M. de Cazalès, whom a short time much improved, expressed himself to
that effect with much energy. We beheld, with delight, the Prussians, as
they filed off through the streets of Coblentz, on their march to our
frontiers. ‘Foolish boys,’ he exclaimed, ‘you admire, with enthusiasm,
those troops and all their train. You rejoice at their march; you ought
rather to shudder at it. For my own part, I should wish to see these
soldiers, to the last man of them, plunged in the Rhine. Wo be to them
who incite foreigners to invade their country! O my friends, the French
nobility will not survive this atrocity! They will have the affliction
of expiring far from the places of their birth. I am more guilty than
any other, for I see it, and yet I act like all the rest; but my only
excuse is that I cannot prevent the catastrophe. I repeat, wo to them
who call in foreigners against their country, and trust in them.’

“How oracular these last words! Facts would have speedily convinced us
of their truth, had we been less infatuated, or had the multitude been
capable of reasoning and acting with propriety; but we were destined to
enrich history with one of those lessons that are most entitled to the
meditation of mankind. We might be estimated at 20 or 25,000 men under
arms; and certainly, such a force, filled with ardour and devotion,
fighting for its own interests, maintaining an understanding with the
sympathetic elements of the interior, acting against a nation, shaken to
its foundation and convulsed by the agitation of new rights, not yet
established and but imperfectly understood, might be capable of striking
decisive blows. But it was not upon our strength, our success, our
activity, that the foreigners relied for the attainment of their views.
Accordingly, under the pretence of employing that influence and of
directing its operation, as they said, against several points at once,
they annihilated us by parcelling out our numbers, and by making, as it
were, prisoners of us in the middle of their different corps. In this
way, 6000 of us, under the Prince of Condé, were marched against Alsace;
4000, under the Duke of Bourbon were to act in Flanders, and from 12 to
15,000 continued in the centre, under command of the King’s two
brothers, to co-operate in the invasion of Champagne.

“It had been the plan and wish of our Princes, that Monsieur, as heir to
the crown and the natural representative of Louis XVI., should, on
account of his captivity, proclaim himself Regent of the kingdom, the
moment he set foot on the French territory; that he should march with
his emigrants at the head of the expedition, and that the allies, in his
rear, should be considered only as auxiliaries. But the allies treated
the plan with derision, and confined us to a station at their tail,
under the orders and at the will and pleasure of the Generalissimo,
Brunswick, who caused us to be preceded by the most absurd of
manifestoes; from the ridicule and odium of which, however, he at least
saved us.

“It is but just, however, to acknowledge that this treatment had not
escaped the foresight of some experienced and better advised heads among
us. They had accordingly suggested, it was said, in the Council of the
Princes, that we should throw ourselves, before the arrival of the
allies, on some point of France, and maintain a civil war there by
ourselves. Others more desperate, or more ardent, were of opinion that
we should nobly seize upon the states of the Elector of Treves, our
benefactor; occupy the town and fortress of Coblentz, and establish
there a central rallying point, or point of support, independent of the
Germanic body; and when we exclaimed against such perfidy and
ingratitude, their answer was:—‘Desperate evils called for desperate
remedies.’ It is impossible to say what might have been the result of
such resolutions, which were, however, more consistent with the bold
spirit of enterprize, that characterizes the present times, than with
the state of manners as they then existed. They were, therefore,
unattended to, and besides, the opportunity had slipped by; we were too
closely involved in the midst of foreigners; we were already in their
power, and our destiny was to be fulfilled!...

“As for us who formed the multitude, we were far from foreseeing the
calamities that were to attend us. We began our march in high spirits.
There was not one of us who did not expect to be, in a fortnight from
that moment, at home, triumphant in the midst of his submissive,
humiliated, and increased vassals. Our confidence would not have endured
a single observation or doubt upon that head. Of this I am about to give
an instance, which though personal and very trifling in itself, will not
be the less characteristic with respect to us all. We were marching
through the city of Treves; one of my granduncles had, during the war of
the succession, been Governor for Louis XIV. while we retained
possession of it. I went to see his tomb, which is in a chapel,
belonging to the Carthusians of that town. The ardour of my youth and
the emotion of the moment determined me to erect a small monument to his
memory, with a superb inscription, suitable to the circumstances. I
entertained no doubt of executing my wish. The good friars were of a
different way of thinking; the prior wished me to arrange the matter
with the Abbé, a kind of bishop, and of German bishop. His reserve and
coldness, in spite of his numerous coats of arms, prepossessed me very
much against him, when I communicated my chivalrous project; but when,
after some circumlocution, he declared that under the present
circumstances ... prudence,—discretion,—if the French were to enter the
place—At these last words, my indignation was extreme; it was such that
I did not wait to utter a single word in reply. I instantly hurried
away, with a mingled laugh of contempt and anger, convinced that I had
left the most horrible Jacobin in existence behind me; and nothing but
my natural generosity and respect for my own character could have
prevented me calling in my comrades, who would have certainly pulled
down the chapel. But alas! the abbot saw farther than I did! Three weeks
had not elapsed before the republicans were in Treves, the poor abbé put
to flight, and the ashes of my good uncle profaned by the infidels.

“But no sooner were we in full operation, no sooner had we set foot on
French ground, than it became no difficult matter, except in cases of
downright stupidity and blindness, to comprehend that it actually might
be just possible that we had been the dupes of our own folly. We found
ourselves in the midst of the Prussians, who fettered all our movements;
we could not take a step in advance, to the right or to the left,
without their permission, and they never granted it. Our subsistence,
all our resources, depended solely upon their will; we had the shame of
appearing as slaves on the soil where we aspired to reign.

“As for our countrymen, instead of receiving us as their deliverers, as
we had been convinced they would, they only gave us proofs of dislike
and aversion. With the exception of a few country gentlemen or others
who joined us, the whole mass of the population fled at our approach; we
were treated as enemies, with the look of reproach and the stern silence
of reprobation. They seemed to say to us: ‘Do you not shudder then at
thus staining your country’s soil? Are you not Frenchmen by birth? Do
your hearts then make no appeal to you in favour of your native land?
You say you are wronged; but what wrong, what injury ever gave to a son
the right or the wish to tear open the bosom of his mother?... We are
told that in ancient times a fiery patrician, Coriolanus, was infamous
enough to fight against his country, but he had at least the merit of
uniting elevated sentiments with his furious passion; he came forward
with a victorious arm; he imposed his own conditions; _he_ was not
dragged along at the tail of barbarous foreigners; he commanded them,
and he also suffered himself to be moved to compassion. Can you be
unsusceptible of that tenderness, and do you not tremble at our
maledictions, which will be perpetuated on you by our children? At any
rate, whatever may be your success, it will not equal your
mortifications! You pretend to come for the purpose of governing, and
you will have brought your masters with you.’

“At Verdun and at Estain, we were quartered in the town. Some of my
comrades and myself were lodged in a handsome house, but all the
furniture and all the proprietors had disappeared, with the exception of
two very pretty young ladies, who put us in possession of it. This last
circumstance seemed a favourable omen, we took the opportunity of
remarking it to them, and were desirous of ingratiating ourselves by our
politeness and attentions. ‘Gentlemen,’ said one of the two amazons in
rather a sharp tone, ‘we have remained, because we have felt that we had
the courage to tell you, face to face, that our lovers are in arms
against you, and that they have our prayers at least as much as our
hearts.’ This was intelligible language; we wished for no more of it,
and even shifted our quarters to another house.

“Be it as it may, we were at length in France, and in the rear of that
Prussian army, which pushed forward its brilliant successes, leaving us
three or four marches behind. And, whether their object was to turn us
into ridicule, because we had assured them that all the towns would
throw open their gates on our appearance, or to rid themselves of our
importunities, they charged us with the siege of Thionville. We made our
approaches, and, by a fantastical singularity, the marine corps found
itself precisely opposed to the national volunteers of Brest. When they
recognised each other, it is impossible to describe the volley of
invectives and insults that was instantly exchanged.

“Thionville is, however, as it is known, one of the strongest places,
and we found the reduction of it impossible with our limited means, for
we were in want of every thing; and it absolutely required an important
negociation to obtain two 24-pounders from the Austrians at Luxembourg.
After a great deal of solicitation and hesitation, the two pieces were
at length brought in triumph, and it was with this formidable train,
that we summoned the place, and fired at night, in pure waste of powder,
some hundreds of cannon shot. On my return from emigration, having
fallen by chance into company with General de Wimphen, who commanded the
fortress, he asked me, ‘what could have been our intention, or the
meaning of the jest we had thus attempted to play off?’ ‘It was done, I
believe,’ said I, ‘because reliance was placed upon you.’ ‘But even had
that been the case,’ said he, ‘you still ought to have furnished me with
an excuse for surrendering; you could not expect that I should solicit
you to attack me.’ Every thing was on a proportionate scale: the
slightest sally spread confusion through all our forces; the most
trifling circumstance was an event with us; the cause was obvious; we
were unacquainted with every thing, and accordingly, setting courage
aside, I do not scruple to believe that a hundred picked men of the
Imperial guard would have routed the whole of our army. Happily, our
adversaries were as ignorant as ourselves, all were pigmies then,
although in a very short time giants were found every where.

“Meanwhile we were extremely discontented with all this, under our
tents, and on our wretched straw; but _à la Française_, we found relief
in our gaiety; our ill humour evaporated in puns and jests. All our
principal officers had nicknames, there was not one, even to our
Commander in Chief, the venerable Marshal de Broglie, who escaped us,
and this puts me in mind of a circumstance, which gave rise to a
nickname for one of his lieutenants, which he never got rid of. Should
any of my comrades in the field ever read this, it may even now excite a

“At the moment of a sally, which, as usual, made us very uneasy, every
one pressed forward. We had two small pieces of cannon, which we had
bought, and which, for want of horses, were drawn by the officers of
artillery themselves.” “Well!” observed the Emperor, “I might myself
have been attached to these very pieces, and yet what different
combinations in our destinies and in those of the world! For it is
incontestable that I have given an impulse and direction to it,
emanating solely from myself. But go on.”

“Sire, our two small pieces were rolling along the highway, when the
general officer of the day arrived at full gallop, and stopped with
indignation at the sight of our little cannon, as they were drawn
towards the fortress, breech foremost.—‘How’, exclaimed he, ‘are these
really gentlemen, who draw their cannon in this manner against the
enemy? And, if he were actually to present himself, how could you
contrive to fire upon him?’ He persisted in his blunder, refusing to
comprehend what the officers of artillery strove by every possible means
to explain; that such was the mode of proceeding every where, and that,
unless he had some new invention to communicate, there was no other mode
to be adopted. From that moment we dubbed him by a nickname, by which he
soon became universally known.

“But all this burlesque was soon exchanged for what was serious in the
extreme; the scene shifted, as it were by magic, and our misfortunes
burst upon us in an instant. Whether from treachery, weakness, political
interest, or sickness in his army, from the real superiority of force,
or the mere dexterity of the French general, the King of Prussia entered
into secret negotiation with him, suddenly faced about, and, marching to
the frontier, evacuated the French territory. A most dreadful storm now
burst over our heads; words are inadequate to express the scandalous
treatment we experienced, as well as the just indignation, which could
not fail to animate every generous heart against our allies, the
Prussians. Our Princes degraded, disavowed, insulted, by them; our
equipages, our most necessary effects, even our linen, plundered; our
persons ill-used: and thus we were basely driven and thrust beyond the
frontiers by our friends, our allies!!!

“For my part, sinking under the fatigue of too long marches in the mud,
and under torrents of rain; bending under a musquet and a load of
accoutrements, which did harm to no one but to myself, I took advantage
of my privilege as a volunteer, to leave the ranks, and effect my
retreat as well as I could. I proceeded as occasion served; I never
sought the common halting place; I took refuge in the nearest farm-yard,
and whether it was my own peculiar good fortune, or because the peasants
were in reality kind and not exasperated against us, I passed the
frontier without any unlucky accident. It was not until some time
afterwards that I was enabled to form a correct estimate of the whole
extent of the danger to which I had exposed myself, when I read, in the
papers, that from fifteen to eighteen of us, stragglers like myself, and
some of whom stood near me in the ranks, had been seized, dragged to
Paris, and executed in public, in a kind of auto-da-fé, and, as it were,
by way of expiation.

“As soon as we were out of France, we received notice to disband, but
the intimation was superfluous, for that measure was rendered absolutely
indispensable by our wants, and the privation of every necessary. We
dispersed, each taking his own way at random, with despair and rage for
our companions. We travelled as fugitives, the greater part of the time
on foot, and some almost naked, over the scenes of our past splendour
and luxury; happy when the doors were not shut in our faces, when we did
not receive a brutal repulse! In a moment, we were officially driven
from every quarter; we were prohibited from residing in, or from
entering, all the neighbouring states; we were compelled to take refuge
in distant countries, and to exhibit, throughout Europe, the spectacle
of our miseries, which ought to have been a grand moral and political
lesson to the people, to the great, and to Kings.

“The exploits of the French exacted, however, from foreigners, a cruel
expiation of the indignities with which they overwhelmed us; whilst, on
our part, we experienced a kind of consolation in seeing the honour of
the emigration take refuge in the army of Condé, which displayed itself
to public view, and inscribed itself in history, as a model of loyalty,
valour, and constancy.

“Such, Sire, is that too celebrated era, that fatal determination,
which, with respect to a great number, can be considered only as the
delusion of youth and inexperience. None, however, but themselves,
possess the right of reproaching them with the error. The sentiments by
which they were actuated were so pure, so natural, so generous, that
they might even, were it necessary, derive honour from them; and these
dispositions, I must say, belonged to the mass of which we consisted,
and more particularly to that crowd of country gentlemen, who,
sacrificing all and expecting nothing, without fortune as well as
without hope, displayed a devotion truly heroic, because its only aim
was the performance of duties which they held to be sacred. In other
respects, our defect lay in our political education, which did not teach
us to distinguish our duties, and made us dedicate to the Prince alone
what belonged to the country at large. Accordingly, in future times,
when hostile passions shall be extinct, when no traces shall be left of
jarring interests or of party infatuation and fury, what was doubtful
with us will be positive and clear to others; what was excusable or even
allowable in us, who were situated between an ancient order of things
that was on the point of terminating, and a new one that was about to
commence, will be considered highly culpable in those possessing
established doctrines. Among them, the following will be held as
articles of faith:—1st. That the greatest of all crimes is the
introduction of a foreign power into the heart of one’s country. 2ndly.
That the sovereignty cannot be erratic, but that it is inseparable from
the territory, and remains attached to the mass of the citizens. 3rdly.
That the country cannot be transported abroad; but that it is immutable
and entire on the sacred soil which has given us birth, and which
contains the bones of our ancestors. Such are the grand maxims, and many
others besides, which will remain the offspring of our emigration; such
the great truths, which will be collected from our calamities!”

“Very well!” exclaimed the Emperor, “very well! This is what is called
being free from prejudices! These are really philosophical views! And it
will be said of you, that you were enabled to convert to your advantage
the lessons of time and adversity.”

“Sire, during our stay on board the Northumberland, and the leisure
hours of our passage, the English alluded more than once to this
delicate topic. Misled by the war, which they had carried on with fury
against us, as well as by the maxims with which the interest of the
moment filled their journals, even in opposition to their national
doctrines, they conversed about the merits of the emigration, and the
virtues they had witnessed: and condemned the nation for having resisted
it. But when the arguments became too complicated, or we were desirous
of putting a sudden stop to them, we gained our point with a single
word. We merely said to them:—‘Go back to the period of your own
Revolution; imagine James II. threatening you from the opposite shore
and under French banners: although surrounded by faithful subjects, what
would you have done? And if Louis XIV. had brought him back to London at
the head of 50,000 French, who should have afterwards maintained
garrisons in your country, what would have been your feelings?’—‘Ah!...
But ... Ah!...’ they exclaimed, endeavouring to find out some
difference, but not being able to discover it, they laughed, and were
silent.” “And in fact,” said the Emperor, “there was not a word to be
said in reply.”

He then began to review, with his accustomed rapidity and talent, the
different subjects I had noticed, and stopped to reflect on the
absurdity, the inconsistency, the great mistake of our emigration, and
the real injuries that it had done to France, to the King, and to
ourselves. “You have established, and consecrated in political France,”
he observed, “a separation similar to that which the Catholics and
Protestants introduced into religious Europe; and to what calamities has
it not given rise! I had succeeded in destroying its results, but are
they not on the point of being revived?” He next developed the means
which he had employed to annihilate that plague, the precautions he had
been forced to adopt, and the effects which he had in view. How every
thing that fell from his tongue was changed in appearance!—how every
thing seemed magnified in my eyes in proportion as he discussed the
subject! “And,” he remarked, “a peculiar singularity in my situation was
that in the whole of those transactions I held the helm myself
constantly in the midst of rocks. Every one, judging according to his
own standard, attributed to passion, to simple prejudice, or to
littleness, what in me, however, was but the consequence of profound
views, of grand conceptions, and the most elevated state maxims. It
might have been said that I reigned only over pigmies with respect to
intellectual talent. I was comprehended by none. The national party felt
only jealousy and resentment at what they saw me do in favour of the
emigrants, and the latter, on their part, were persuaded that I sought
only to gain lustre by their assistance. Poor creatures!...

“I obtained, however, my object, in spite of reciprocal infatuation and
prejudice, and I had the satisfaction of leaving every thing quiet in
port, when I launched out to sea in prosecution of my grand

Having mentioned, since my return to Europe, these expressions of
Napoleon’s to a great Officer of the Crown, who had often the honour of
conversing with him in private (Le Comte de S——), he related to me, in
his turn, a conversation precisely on the same subject. Its coincidence
with what has been just read is so very striking as to induce me to
insert it here. The Emperor said to him one day: “What, think you, is my
reason for endeavouring to have about me the great names of the ancient
monarchy?”—“Perhaps, Sire, for the splendour of your throne, and for the
purpose of keeping up certain appearances in the eyes of Europe.”—“Ah!
That is just like you, with your pride and your prejudices of rank! Well
then, learn, that my victories and my power are much better
recommendations for me in Europe than all your great names, and that my
apparent predilection for them does me a great deal of injury, and
renders me very unpopular at home. You attribute to narrow views what
arise from most extensive ones. I am engaged in renovating a society, a
nation, and the elements that I am obliged to employ are hostile to each
other. The nobility and the emigrants are but a point in the mass, and
that mass is inimical to them, and continues very much exasperated
against them; it hardly forgives me for having recalled them. For my own
part, I considered it as a duty: but if I suffer them to continue as a
body, they may one day be serviceable to foreign powers, prove injurious
to us, and subject themselves to great dangers. My object, then, is to
dissolve their union, and to render them independent of each other. If I
place some of them about my person, in the different branches of
administration, and in the army, it is for the purpose of consolidating
them with the mass, and of managing so as to reduce all classes into a
whole; for I am mortal, and if I should happen to leave you before that
fusion is accomplished, you would soon see what disasters would arise
from these heterogeneous parts, and the dreadful dangers of which
certain persons might become the victims! Thus, then, Sir, my views are
all connected with humanity and elevated political considerations, and,
in no respect, with vain and silly prejudices.”

When I observed to the person who related this anecdote, how little we
were acquainted at the Tuileries with Napoleon’s real character, and the
great and excellent qualities of his soul and heart, he answered that,
for his own part, he had been personally more fortunate, and that he
would give me a proof of it, which he selected out of ten: “The Emperor
shewed himself, one day, in his Privy Council, very much incensed
against General La F——, whom he attacked with great severity, and whose
opinions and principles, he said, were capable of effecting the complete
dissolution of a state: becoming animated by degrees, he at length put
himself into a real passion. I was present as a member of the Council; I
had been recently admitted, and was little accustomed to the Emperor’s
manners, and, although stopped by the two members placed next to me, I
undertook to speak in defence of the accused, asserting that he had been
calumniated to the Sovereign, and that he lived quietly on his estate,
with personal opinions which were productive of no ill effect whatever.
The Emperor, still in a passion, resumed the charge for the purpose of
pressing it with vehemence; but after five or six words, he stopped
short, and addressing himself to me, said: ‘But he is your friend, Sir,
and you are right. I had forgotten that.—Let us speak of something
else.’ ‘And why,’ I asked, ‘did you not make us acquainted with all this
at the time?’—By a fatality which would seem to belong to Napoleon’s
atmosphere, whether from prejudice or otherwise, the impression on our
minds was that it could only be told to his intimate friends; for
whoever had said much about it would only have passed for a clumsy
romancer of a courtier, who told not what he believed to be true, but
what he conceived best suited to obtain favour and rewards.”

Since I have mentioned this great Officer of the Crown, who is no less
distinguished by the graces of his mind and the amenity of his manners
than by his exalted character, I shall notice one of his answers to
Napoleon, remarkable for its ingenious and delicate flattery. The
Emperor, at one of his levees, having been obliged to wait some time for
his appearance, attacked him on his arrival, openly, in the presence of
all. It happened to be precisely at the time when five or six Kings (and
among others, those of Bavaria, Saxony, and Wurtemberg), were at Paris.
“Sire,” replied the culprit, “I have, no doubt, a million of excuses to
make to your Majesty, but at this time, one is not at perfect liberty to
go through the streets as one pleases. I just now had the misfortune to
get into a _crowd of kings_, from which I found it impossible to
extricate myself sooner. This, Sire, was the cause of my delay.” Every
one smiled, and the Emperor contented himself with saying, in a softened
tone of voice: “Whatever, Sir, may be the cause, take proper precautions
for the future, and above all, never make me wait again.”


3rd.—The weather is somewhat improved; the Emperor attempted to take a
walk in the garden. General Bingham and the Colonel of the 53d requested
to see the Emperor, who kept them rather long. The appearance of the
Governor put us all to flight. General Bingham disappeared, and, for our
part, we went to the wood, for the purpose of keeping away from the

The Emperor, during his walk, conversed a great deal about a journey
which he took to Burgundy in the beginning of the Revolution. This he
calls his _Sentimental Journey_ to Nuitz. He supped there with his
comrade Gassendi, at that time captain in the same regiment, and who was
advantageously married to the daughter of a physician of the place. The
young traveller soon remarked the difference of political opinion
between the father and son-in-law; Gassendi, the gentleman, was, of
course, an aristocrat, and the physician a flaming patriot. The latter
found in the strange guest a powerful auxiliary, and was so delighted
with him that the following day at dawn he paid him a visit of
acknowledgment and sympathy. The appearance of a young officer of
artillery, with good logical reasoning and a ready tongue, was, observed
the Emperor, a valuable and rare accession to the place. It was easy for
the traveller to perceive that he made a favourable impression. It was
Sunday, and hats were taken off to him from one end of the street to the
other. His triumph, however, was not without a check. He went to sup at
the house of a Madame Maret or Muret, where another of his comrades,
V——, seemed to be comfortably established. Here the aristocracy of the
canton were accustomed to meet, although the mistress was but the wife
of a wine-merchant, but she had great property and the most polished
manners; she was, said the Emperor, the duchess of the place. All the
gentlefolks of the vicinity were to be found there. The young officer
was caught, as he remarked, in a real wasp-nest, and it was necessary
for him to fight his way out again. The contest was unequal. In the very
heat of the action, the mayor was announced. “I believed him to be an
assistant sent to me by Heaven in the critical moment, but he was the
worst of all my opponents. I see this villanous fellow now before me in
his fine Sunday clothes, fat and bloated, in an ample scarlet coat; he
was a miserable animal. I was happily extricated by the generosity of
the mistress of the house, perhaps from a secret sympathy of opinion.
She unceasingly parried with her wit the blows which were dealt at me;
and was a protecting shield on which the enemy’s weapons struck in vain.
She guarded me from every kind of wound, and I have always retained a
pleasing recollection of the services I received from her in that sort
of skirmish.

“The same diversity of opinions,” said the Emperor, “was then to be met
with in every part of France. In the saloons, in the streets, on the
highways, in the taverns, every one was ready to take part in the
contest, and nothing was easier than for a person to form an erroneous
estimate of the influence of parties and opinions, according to the
local situation in which he was placed. Thus a patriot might easily be
deceived, when in the saloons, or among an assembly of officers, where
the majority was decidedly against him; but, the instant he was in the
street, or among the soldiers, he found himself in the midst of the
entire nation. The sentiments of the day succeeded even in making
proselytes among the officers themselves, particularly after the
celebrated oath to the Nation, the Law, and the King. Until that time,”
continued the Emperor, “had I received an order to point my cannon
against the people, I have no doubt, that custom, prejudice, education,
and the name of the King, would have induced me to obey; but, the
national oath once taken, this would have ceased, and I should have
acknowledged the nation only. My natural propensities thenceforth
harmonized with my duties, and happily accorded with all the metaphysics
of the Assembly. The patriotic officers, however, it must be allowed,
constituted but the smaller number; but with the soldiers, as a lever,
they led the regiment and imposed the law. The comrades of the opposite
party, and the officers themselves, had recourse to us in every critical
moment. I remember, for instance, having rescued from the fury of the
populace a brother officer, whose crime consisted in singing from the
windows of our dining-room the celebrated ballad _O Richard! O mon Roi!_
I had little notion then that that air would one day be proscribed in
the same manner on my account. Just so, on the 10th of August, when I
saw the palace of the Tuileries stormed and the person of the King
seized, I was certainly very far from thinking that I should replace
him, and that that palace would be my place of residence.”

In dwelling upon the events of the 10th of August, he said: “I was,
during that horrible epoch, at Paris, in lodgings in the Rue du Mail,
Place des Victoires. On hearing the sound of the tocsin, and the news of
the assault upon the Tuileries, I ran to the Carousel, to the house of
Fauvelet, the brother of Bourrienne, who kept an upholsterer’s shop. He
had been my comrade at the military school of Brienne. It was from that
house, which, by the by, I was never afterwards able to find, in
consequence of the great alterations made there, that I had a good view
of all the circumstances of the attack. Before I reached the Carousel, I
had been met by a group of hideous-looking men, carrying a head at the
end of a pike. Seeing me decently dressed, with the look of a gentleman,
they called upon me to shout _Vive la Nation!_ which, as it may be
easily believed, I did without hesitation.

“The palace was attacked by the vilest rabble. The King had
unquestionably for his defence as many troops as the Convention
afterwards had on the 13th Vendémiaire, and the enemies of the latter
were much better disciplined and more formidable. The greater part of
the national guard shewed themselves favourable to the King; this
justice is due to them.”

Here the Grand Marshal observed “that he actually belonged to one of the
battalions which manifested the most determined devotion. He was several
times on the point of being massacred as he returned alone to his
residence.” We remarked, on our part, that in general the national guard
of Paris had constantly displayed the virtues of its class; the love of
order, attachment to authority, the dread of plunder, and the
detestation of anarchy; and that also was the Emperor’s opinion.

“The palace being forced, and the King having repaired to the Assembly,”
continued he, “I ventured to penetrate into the garden. Never since has
any of my fields of battle given me the idea of so many dead bodies, as
I was impressed with by the heaps of the Swiss; whether the smallness of
the place seemed to increase the number, or because it was the result of
the first impression I ever received of that kind. I saw well dressed
women commit the grossest indecencies on the dead bodies of the Swiss. I
went through all the coffee-houses in the neighbourhood of the Assembly;
the irritation was every where extreme; fury was in every heart and
shewed itself in every countenance, although the persons thus enflamed
were far from belonging to the class of the populace; and all these
places must necessarily have been frequented daily by the same visitors:
for, although I had nothing particular in my dress, or perhaps it was
because my countenance was more calm, it was easy for me to perceive
that I excited many hostile and distrustful looks, as some one who was
unknown or suspected.”


4th.—The weather was much improved. The Emperor ordered his calash, and
walked a good way until it took him up.

The conversation turned upon masked balls, which the Emperor was
peculiarly fond of and frequently ordered. He was then always sure of a
certain meeting which never failed to take place. He was, he said,
regularly accosted every year by the same mask, who reminded him of old
intimacies, and ardently entreated to be received and admitted at Court.
The mask was a most amiable, kind, and beautiful woman, to whom many
persons were certainly much indebted. The Emperor, who continued to love
her, always answered;—“I do not deny that you are charming, but reflect
a little upon your situation; be your own judge and decide. You have two
or three husbands, and children by several of your lovers. It would have
been thought a happiness to have shared in the first fault; the second
would have caused pain, but still it might be pardoned; but the
sequel—and then, and then!... Fancy yourself the Emperor and judge; what
would you do in my place, I who am bound to revive and maintain a
certain decorum.” The beautiful suitor either did not reply, or
said:—“At least do not deprive me of hope;” and deferred her claims of
happiness to the following year. And each of us,” said the Emperor, “was
punctual at the new meeting.”

The Emperor took great pleasure in getting himself insulted at these
balls. He laughed heartily at the house of Cambacérès one day, on being
told by a Madame de St. D——, “that there were people at the ball who
ought to be turned out, and that they certainly could not have got
admittance without stolen tickets.”

Another time, he forced the tender and timid Madame de Mégrigny to rise
and retire in anger, and with tears in her eyes, complaining that the
freedom, allowed at a masked ball, had, in her case, been sadly abused.
The Emperor had just put her in mind of a very remarkable favour, which
he had formerly granted to her, and added that every one supposed she
had paid for it by granting him the lord’s right. “But there was,” said
the Emperor, “nobody but myself who could say so, without insulting her;
because, although such was the report, I was certain of its falsehood.”
The following is an account of the circumstance.

When the Emperor was on his way to be crowned at Milan, he slept at
Troyes. The authorities were presented to him; and with them was a young
lady, on the point of being married, with a petition, intreating his
protection and assistance. As the Emperor was, besides, desirous of
doing something which might produce a good effect, and prove agreeable
to the country, the circumstance appeared favourable, and he took
advantage of it with all imaginable grace. The young lady (Madame de
Mégrigny) belonged to the first families of this province, but had been
completely ruined by the emigration. She had scarcely returned to the
miserable abode of her parents, when a page arrived with the Emperor’s
decree, which put them in possession of an income of 30,000 francs or
more. The effect of such a proceeding may be well imagined. However, as
the young lady was very charming and perfectly handsome, it was decided
that her fascinations had some share in his gallantry, although he left
the town a few hours afterwards, and never thought more of the thing;
but the general opinion was not a jot altered on that account. It is
well known how stories are formed; and as she married one of his
equerries, and had consequently come to Court, all this had been so well
mingled together that, when she was afterwards appointed sub-governess
to the King of Rome, the choice shocked, for a moment, the austere
Madame de Montesquiou, who suspected, said the Emperor, that it was but
a mere arrangement.

The Emperor said that he renewed at Turin, in the person of Madame de
Lascaris, the gracious gallantry exercised at Troyes; and that, in both
instances, he had reason to be gratified with the results of his
liberality. The two families gave proofs of attachment and gratitude.

We enquired what might have been the sentiments of Piedmont with regard
to himself. He had, he said, a particular affection for that province.
M. de Saint-Marsan, on whose fidelity he relied to the end, had assured
him, at the period of our reverses, that the country would shew itself
one of his best provinces.

“In fact,” continued the Emperor, “the Piedmontese do not like to be a
small state; their King was a real feudal lord, whom it was necessary to
court, or to dread: He had more power and authority than I, who, as
Emperor of the French, was but a supreme magistrate, bound to see the
laws executed, and unable to dispense with them. Had I it in my power to
prevent the arrest of a courtier for debt? Could I have put a stop to
the regular action of the laws, no matter upon whom they operated?”

During the conversation at dinner, the Emperor inquired whether the
quantity of river water flowing into the Mediterranean and the Black Sea
had been calculated. This led him to express a wish that a calculation
of the fluvial water of Europe should be made, and that the proportion
contributed by each valley and each stream, should be ascertained. He
regretted much that he had not proposed this series of scientific
questions. This was, he observed, his grand system. Did any useful,
curious or interesting idea suggest itself to him: “I proposed, at my
levees, or in my familiar communications, analogous questions to my
Members of the Institute, with orders to resolve them. The solution
became the subject of public inquiry; it was analyzed, contested,
adopted or rejected; and there is nothing which cannot be accomplished
in this way. It is the grand lever of improvement for a great nation,
possessing a great deal of intelligence, and a great deal of knowledge.”

The Emperor also observed on this subject, that geography had never been
so successfully cultivated as at present, and that his expeditions had
contributed somewhat to its improvement. He afterwards noticed the
canals, which he had caused to be made in France, and particularly
mentioned that from Strasburg to Lyons, in which, he hoped sufficient
progress had been made to induce others to complete it. He thought that,
out of thirty millions, twenty-four must have been already expended.

“Communications are now established in the interior from Bordeaux to
Lyons and Paris. I had constructed a great number of canals, and
projected a great many more.” One of us having observed that a proposal
for the construction of a very useful canal had been submitted to the
Emperor, but that measures had been taken to deceive him, for the
purpose of preventing his acceptance of the offer: “Without doubt,” said
the Emperor, “the plan must have appeared advantageous only on paper;
but I suppose it would have been necessary to advance money, which was
drawn from me with difficulty.”—No, Sire, the refusal was but the effect
of an intrigue. Your Majesty was deceived.”—“It was impossible, with
respect to such a subject. You speak without sufficient
information.”—“But I am confident of it. I was acquainted with the plan,
the offers and the subscribers; my relations had put down their names
for considerable sums. The object was the union of the Meuse with the
Marne. The length of the canal would have been less than seven
leagues.”—“But you do not tell us all; it was, perhaps, required that I
should grant immense national forests in the environs, which I should
not have agreed to.”—“No, Sire, the whole was an intrigue of your Board
of Bridges and Roads.”—“But even then, it was necessary for them to
allege some reasons, some appearance of public interest. What reasons
did they assign?”—“Sire, that the profits would have been too
considerable.”—“But in that case the plan ought to have been submitted
to me in person, and I would have carried it into execution. I repeat,
that you are not justified by the facts; you are speaking now to a man
upon the very subject which constantly engaged his attention. The Board
of Bridges and Roads were, on their part, never better pleased than when
they were employed. There never was an individual who proposed the
construction of a bridge that was not taken at his word. If he asked for
a toll for twenty-five years, I was disposed to grant him one for
thirty. If it cost me nothing, it was a matter of indifference whether
it would prove useful. It was still a capital with which I enriched the
soil. Instead of rejecting proposals for canals, I eagerly courted them.
But, my dear Sir, there are no two things that resemble each other so
little as the conversation of a saloon, and the consideration of an
Administrative Council. The projector is always right in a saloon; his
projects would be magnificent and infallible, if he were listened to,
and if he can, by some little contrivance, but connect the refusal under
which he suffers with some bottles of wine, with some intrigue carried
on by a wife or a mistress, the romance is complete, and that is what
you probably heard. But an Administrative Council is not to be managed
so, because it comes to no decision but on facts and accurate
measurement. What is the canal you mentioned? I cannot be unacquainted
with it.”—“Sire, from the Meuse to the Marne, a distance of seven
leagues only.”—“Very well! my dear Sir, it is from the Meuse to the
Aisne you mean, and it would have been less than seven leagues. I shall
soon recollect all about it; there is, however, but one little
difficulty to overcome, and that is that at this very instant it is
doubtful whether the project be practicable. There, as in other places,
Hippocrates says _yes_, and Galen says _no_. Tarbé maintained that it
was impossible, and denied that there was a sufficiency of water at the
point where it was to commence. I repeat, that you are speaking to him,
who, of all others was the most attentive to these objects, more
especially in the environs of Paris. It was the constant subject of my
thoughts to render Paris the real capital of Europe. I sometimes wished
it, for instance, to become a city with a population of two, three, or
four millions, in short, something fabulous, colossal, unexampled until
our days, and with public establishments suitable to its population.”

Some one having then observed that, if Heaven had allowed the Emperor to
reign sixty years, as it had Louis XIV., he would have left many grand
monuments: “Had Heaven but granted me twenty years, and a little more
leisure,” resumed the Emperor with vivacity, “ancient Paris would have
been sought for in vain; not a trace of it would have been left, and I
should have changed the face of France. Archimedes promised to do any
thing, provided he had a resting place for his lever; I should have done
as much, wherever I could have found a point of support for my energy,
my perseverance, and my budgets; a world might be created with budgets.
I should have displayed the difference between a constitutional Emperor
and a King of France. The Kings of France have never possessed any
administrative or municipal institution. They have merely shown
themselves great Lords who were ruined by their men of business.

“The nation itself has nothing in its character and its tastes but what
is transitory and perishable. Every thing is done for the gratification
of the moment and of caprice, nothing for duration.... That is our
motto, and it is exemplified by our manners in France. Every one passes
his life in doing and undoing; nothing is ever left behind. Is it not
unbecoming that Paris should not possess even a French theatre, or an
Opera house, in any respect worthy of its high claims?

“I have often set myself against the feasts which the city of Paris
wished to give me. They consisted of dinners, balls, artificial
fire-works, at an expense of four, six, or eight hundred thousand
francs; the preparations for which obstructed the public for several
days, and which afterwards cost as much for their removal as they had
for their construction. I proved that, with these idle expenses, they
might have erected lasting and magnificent monuments.

“One must have gone through as much as I have, in order to be acquainted
with all the difficulty of doing good. If the business related to
chimneys, partitions, and furniture for some individuals in the imperial
palaces, the work was quickly accomplished; but if it was necessary to
lengthen the garden of the Tuileries, to render some quarters wholesome,
to cleanse some sewers, and to perform a task beneficial to the public,
in which particular persons had no direct interest, I found it requisite
to exert all the energy of my character, to write six, ten letters a
day, and to get into a downright passion. It was in this way that I laid
out as much as thirty millions in sewers, for which no body will ever
thank me. I pulled down a property worth seventeen millions in houses in
front of the Tuileries, for the purpose of forming the Carousel, and
throwing open the Louvre. What I did is immense; what I had resolved to
do and what I had projected was much more so.”

A person then remarked that the Emperor’s labours had not been limited
either to Paris or to France, but that almost every city in Italy
exhibited traces of his creative powers. Wherever one travelled, at the
foot as well as on the top of the Alps, in the sands of Holland, on the
banks of the Rhine, Napoleon, always Napoleon, was to be seen.

In consequence of this remark, he observed that he had determined on
draining the Pontine marshes. “Cæsar,” he said, “was about to undertake
it, when he perished.” Then reverting to France; “The kings, he said,
had too many country-houses and useless objects. Any impartial historian
will be justified in blaming Louis XIV. for his excessive and idle
expenditure at Versailles, involved as he was in wars, taxes, and
calamities. He exhausted himself for the purpose of forming after all
but a bastard town.” The Emperor then analyzed the advantages of an
administrative city, that is to say, calculated for the union of the
different branches of administration, and they seemed to him truly

The Emperor did not conceal his opinion that the capital was not, at
times, a fit residence for the sovereign; but, in another point of view,
Versailles was not suitable to the great, the ministers, and the
courtiers. Louis XIV. therefore committed a blunder, if he undertook to
build Versailles solely for the residence of the kings, when Saint
Germain was, in every respect, ready for the purpose; Nature seemed to
have made it expressly for the real residence of the kings of France.
Napoleon himself had committed faults in that respect: for it was not
right he said to praise himself for all that had been done in this way.
He ought, for instance, to have given up Compiegne, and he regretted
having celebrated his marriage there instead of selecting Fontainebleau.
“That,” said he, referring to Fontainebleau, “is the real abode of
kings, the house of ages; it is not, perhaps, strictly speaking, an
architectural palace; but it is, unquestionably, well calculated and
perfectly suitable. It was certainly the most commodious and the most
happily situated in Europe for a sovereign.”

He then took a review of the capitals he had visited, of the palaces he
had seen, and claimed a decided superiority in our favour.
Fontainebleau, he further added, was also, at the same time, the most
suitable political and military situation. The Emperor reproached
himself with the sums he had expended on Versailles, but yet it was, he
said, necessary to prevent it from falling into ruin. The demolition of
a considerable part of that palace was a subject of consideration,
during the Revolution; it was proposed to take away the centre, and thus
to separate the two wings. “It would have been of essential service to
me,” he observed; “for nothing is so expensive or so truly useless as
this multitude of palaces: and if, nevertheless, I undertook that of the
King of Rome, it was because I had views peculiar to myself; and
besides, in reality, I never thought of doing more than preparing the
ground. There I should have stopped.[5]

Footnote 5:

  All the world knows, or ought to have known (if, by a fatality,
  altogether peculiar to Napoleon, the greater part of his most
  commendable actions had not been, at the time, stifled under the
  weight of malignity and libels), the history of that miserable hut,
  enclosed within the circuit of the palace of the King of Rome; the
  proprietor of which demanded successively ten, twenty, fifty, and one
  hundred times its real value. When he had reached that ridiculous
  price, the Emperor, whose directions on that point were taken,
  suddenly commanded a stop to be put to the bargain, exclaiming that
  that wretched stall, amidst all the magnificence of the palace of the
  King of Rome, would be, after all, the vineyard of Naboth, the most
  decisive testimony of his justice, the noblest trophy of his reign.

“My errors, in disbursements of this kind, could not, after all, be very
great. They were, thanks to my budgets, observed and necessarily
corrected every year, and could never exceed a small part of the expense
occasioned by the original fault.”

The Emperor assured us that he experienced every possible difficulty in
making his system of budgets intelligible, and in carrying it into
execution. Whenever a plan to the amount of thirty millions, which
suited me, was proposed; Granted, was my answer, but to be completed in
twenty years, that is to say, at a million and a half francs a-year. So
far, all went on very smoothly; but what am I to get, I added, for my
first year? For if my expenditure is to be divided into parts, it is,
however, my determination to have the result, the work, as far as it
goes, entire and complete. In this manner, I wished at first for a
recess, an apartment, no matter what, but something perfect, for my
million and a half of francs. The architects seemed resolved not to
comprehend my meaning; it narrowed their expansive views and their grand
effects. They would, at once, have willingly erected a whole façade,
which must have remained for a long time useless, and thus involved me
in immense disbursements, which, if interrupted, would have swallowed up
every thing.

“It was in this manner, which was peculiar to myself, and in spite of so
many political and military obstacles, that I executed so many
undertakings. I had collected furniture belonging to the Crown, to the
amount of forty millions, and plate worth at least, four millions. How
many palaces have I not repaired? Perhaps, too many; I return to that
subject. Thanks to my mode of acting, I was enabled to inhabit
Fontainebleau within one year after the repairs were begun, and it cost
me no more than 5 or 600,000 francs. If I have since expended six
millions on it, that was done in six years. It would have cost me much
more in the course of time. My principal object was to make the expense
light and imperceptible, and to give durability to the work.

“During my visits to Fontainebleau,” said the Emperor, “from 12 to 1500
persons were invited and lodged, with every convenience; upwards of 3000
might be entertained at dinner, and this cost the Sovereign very little,
in consequence of the admirable order and regularity established by
Duroc. More than twenty or five-and-twenty Princes, Dignitaries, or
Ministers, were obliged to keep their households there.

“I disapproved the building of Versailles; but in my ideas respecting
Paris, and they were occasionally gigantic, I thought of making it
useful and of converting it, in the course of time, into a kind of
fauxbourg, an adjacent site, a point of view from the grand capital;
and, for the purpose of more effectually appropriating it to that end, I
had conceived a plan, of which I had a description sketched out.

“It was my intention to expel from its beautiful groves those nymphs,
the productions of a wretched taste, and those ornaments _à la
Turcaret_, and to replace them by panoramas, in masonry, of all the
capitals, into which we had entered victorious, and of all the
celebrated battles, which had shed lustre on our arms. It would have
been a collection of so many eternal monuments of our triumphs and our
national glory, placed at the gate of the capital of Europe, which
necessarily could not fail of being visited by the rest of the world.”
Here he suddenly left off, and began reading Le Distrait, but he almost
instantly laid it aside, whether from the agitation of his own thoughts,
or from a nervous cough, with which he had, for a short time, been often
affected after dinner. He certainly gets considerably worse, and his
health is altogether declining.


5th.—The Emperor did not go out until after five o’clock. He was in
pain, and had taken a bath, where he remained too long, in consequence
of the arrival of Sir H. Lowe, as he would not leave it until the
Governor was gone.

The Emperor had been reading, while in the bath, the Ottoman History, in
two volumes. He had conceived the idea, and regretted that he had been
unable to execute it, of having all the histories of Europe, from the
time of Louis XIV., composed from the documents belonging to our office
for Foreign Affairs, where the regular official reports of all the
ambassadors are deposited.

“My reign,” he observed, “would have been a perfect epoch for that
object. The superiority of France, its independence, and regeneration,
enabled the then government to publish such matters without
inconvenience. It would have been like publishing ancient history.
Nothing could have been more valuable.”

He next adverted to Sultan Selim III., to whom, he said, he once wrote:
“Sultan, come forth from thy seraglio; place thyself at the head of thy
troops, and renew the glorious days of thy monarchy.”

“Selim, the Louis XVI. of the Turks,” said the Emperor, “who was very
much attached and very favourable to us, contented himself with
answering, that the advice would have been excellent for the first
Princes of his dynasty; but that the manners of those times were very
different; and that such a conduct would, at present, be unseasonable,
and altogether useless.”

The Emperor added, however, that nobody knew how to calculate, with
certainty, the energy of the sudden burst, which might be produced by a
Sultan of Constantinople, who was capable of placing himself at the head
of his people, of infusing new spirit into them, and of exciting that
fanatical multitude to action. At a later period, he observed, that, for
his own part, if he had been able to unite the Mamelukes with his
French, he should have considered himself the master of the world. “With
that chosen handful, and the rabble,” he added, with a smile, “recruited
on the spot, to be expended in the hour of need, I know nothing that
could have resisted me. Algiers trembled at it.

“‘But should your Sultan,’ said, one day, the Dey of Algiers to the
French Consul, ‘ever take it into his head to pay us a visit, what
safety could we hope for? For he has defeated the Mamelukes.’ The
Mamelukes,” observed the Emperor, “were, in fact, objects of veneration
and terror throughout the East; they were looked upon as invincible
until our time.”

The Emperor, while waiting for dinner in the midst of us, opened a book,
which lay at his side on the couch; it was the Regency. He stigmatized
it as one of the most abominable eras of our annals: and was vexed that
it had been described with the levity of the age, and not with the
severity of history. It had been strewed with the flowers of fashionable
life, and set off with the colouring of the Graces, instead of having
been treated with rigorous justice. The Regency, he observed, had been,
in reality, the reign of the depravity of the heart, of the libertinism
of the mind, and of the most radical immorality of every species. It was
such, he said, that he believed all the horrors and abominations with
which the manners of the Regent were reproached in the bosom of his own
family; while he did not give credit to the stories told of Louis XV.,
who, although plunged in the foulest and most frightful debauchery,
afforded, however, no grounds to justify his belief in such shocking and
monstrous indulgencies; and he vindicated him very satisfactorily from
certain imputations, which would have seriously affected the person of
one of his (Napoleon’s) former aides-de-camp. He considered the epoch of
the Regent to have been the overthrow of every kind of property, the
destruction of public morals. Nothing had been held sacred either in
manners or in principles. The Regent was personally overwhelmed with
infamy. In the affair of the legitimate Princes, he had exhibited the
most abject baseness, and committed a great abuse of authority. The King
alone could authorize such a decision, and he, the Regent, had felt
pleasure in gratuitously dishonouring himself in the person of his wife,
the natural daughter of Louis XIV., whom he had found it his interest,
however, to marry, while that King was on the throne.

6th.—As we wished to try the tent, which was just finished, the table
was laid there, and we invited the English officers, who had
superintended the work, to breakfast with us.

The Emperor sent for me to his apartment; he dressed himself, and, when
he went out, I accompanied him to the bottom of the wood, where we
walked for some time. He entered into the discussion of some important

The Emperor returned to the calash for the purpose of ordering it to be
in readiness, and we resumed our walk, until it took us up. On our
return, the Emperor visited the tent, and said a few words, expressive
of his satisfaction to the officer and seamen who were employed in
putting the last hand to it.


7th.—After breakfasting in the tent, the Emperor took a fancy to review
some chapters of the Campaigns in Italy: he sent for my son, whose foot
was at length mending, and whose eyes were much better. He finished the
chapters of Pavia and Leghorn. He afterwards walked towards the bottom
of the wood, having ordered the carriage to follow. On the way, the
Emperor said that he considered the Campaigns of Italy and Egypt as
completely finished, and in a fit state to be given to the public, and
it would, no doubt, he remarked, be a very agreeable present to the
French and Italians; it was the record of their glory and their rights.
He did not think, however, that he ought to put his name to it; and he
repeated that the different epochs of his memoirs would perpetuate those
of his faithful companions.

On the arrival of the calash, the conversation, continuing on the same
subject, he was earnestly pressed to finish 1815; and its importance,
interest, and results, were warmly canvassed. “Very well!” said he, with
a smile, “I must give myself up to it entirely; it is a pleasure to be
encouraged; but it is also requisite to go to work with a proper temper.
We are surfeited here with disgust and trickery; we seem to be envied
the air we breathe.”

He returned to his apartment, and I followed him, when a conversation
peculiarly interesting and remarkable took place. It related to Gustavus
III., to Sweden, to Russia, to Gustavus IV., to Bernadotte, to Paul I.,

I have said that, at Aix-la-Chapelle, Gustavus III. lived among us as a
private individual under the name of Count de Haga. He constituted the
charm of society, by the vivacity of his wit and the interest he
imparted to his conversation. I had heard from his own mouth his famous
Revolution of 1772, and I was in the happiest situation to obtain a
thorough knowledge of that epoch of the history of Sweden. I was, at the
same time, very well acquainted with a Baron de Sprengporten, who, after
having displayed great zeal for Gustavus, had the misfortune to remove
to Russia, and to return at the head of foreigners to fight against his
country. The consequence was that sentence of death had been passed upon
him in Sweden. He was also at Aix-la-Chapelle at the moment, and had
banished himself from it, out of courtesy, he said, on the arrival of
Gustavus. He had not, however, removed farther off than half a league,
so that all I heard the King say in the evening was controverted,
modified, or confirmed for me the next morning at breakfast by the
Baron. He had enjoyed a very considerable share of that Prince’s
confidence, and he communicated the most numerous and minute
particulars, as positive facts, respecting the romance of the birth of
Gustavus IV., who had been represented as altogether unconnected by
blood with Gustavus III., according to his full knowledge and his own

The Emperor observed that this same Sprengporten had been actually sent
to him as envoy by Paul, at the time of his Consulate. With respect to
Gustavus IV., he said that that Prince had, on his appearance in the
world, announced himself as a hero, and had terminated his career merely
as a madman, and that he had distinguished himself in his early days by
some very remarkable traits. While yet a boy, he had insulted Catharine
by the refusal of her grand-daughter, at the moment even when that great
Empress seated on her throne, and surrounded by her Court, waited only
for him to celebrate the marriage ceremony.

At a later period, he had insulted Alexander, in no less marked a
manner, by refusing, after Paul’s catastrophe, to suffer one of the new
Emperor’s officers to enter his dominions, and by answering, to the
official complaints addressed to him on this subject, that Alexander
ought not to be displeased that he, Gustavus, who still mourned the
assassination of his father, should shut the entrance of his States
against one of those, accused by the public voice of having immolated
his (Alexander’s).

“On my accession to the sovereignty,” said the Emperor, “he declared
himself my great antagonist; it might have been supposed that nothing
short of renewing the exploits of the great Gustavus Adolphus would have
satisfied him. He ran over the whole of Germany, for the purpose of
stirring up enemies against me. At the time of the catastrophe of the
Duke d’Enghien, he swore to avenge it in person; and at a later period,
he insolently sent back the black eagle to the King of Prussia, because
the latter had accepted my legion of honour.

“His fatal moment at length arrived; a conspiracy, of no common kind,
tore him from the throne and banished him from his country. The
unanimity evinced against him is, no doubt, a proof of the blunders
which he had committed. I am ready to admit that he was inexcusable and
even mad, but it is, notwithstanding, extraordinary and unexampled that,
in that crisis, not a single sword was drawn in his defence, whether
from affection, from gratitude, from virtuous feeling, or even from
stupidity, if you please; and truly, it is a circumstance which does
little honour to the atmosphere of Kings.”

This Prince, tossed about and deceived by the English, who wished to
make him their instrument, and repulsed by his relatives, seemed
determined to renounce the world, and, as if he had felt his existence
disgraced by his contempt of mankind and his disgust at things, he
voluntarily lost himself altogether in the crowd.

The Emperor said that, after the battle of Leipsic, he had been informed
on the part of Gustavus, that he had no doubt been his enemy a long
time; but that, for a long time, he (Napoleon) was of all others the
sovereign of whom he had the least to complain, and that, for a long
time also, his only sentiments with regard to him were those of
admiration and sympathy; that his actual misfortunes permitted him to
express his feelings without restraint; that he offered to be his
Aide-de-camp, and requested an asylum in France.[6] “I was affected,”
observed the Emperor; “but I soon reflected that if I received him, my
dignity would be pledged to make exertions in his favour. Besides, I no
longer ruled the world, and then common minds would not fail to discover
in the interest I took for him, an impotent hatred against Bernadotte;
finally, Gustavus had been dethroned by the voice of the people, and it
was the voice of the people by which I had been elevated. In taking up
his cause, I should have been guilty of inconsistency in my own conduct,
and have acted upon discordant principles. In short, I dreaded lest I
should render affairs more complicated than they were, and silenced my
feelings of generosity. I caused him to be answered that I appreciated
what he offered me, and that I was sensible of it, but that the
political interest of France did not allow me to indulge in my private
feelings, and that it even imposed upon me the painful task of refusing,
for the moment, the asylum which he asked; that he would, however,
greatly deceive himself, if he supposed me to entertain any other
sentiments than those of extreme good will and sincere wishes for his
happiness, &c.

Footnote 6:

  It is right to remark that Colonel Gustafson (Gustavus IV.) has
  declared this statement to be erroneous. But, from his letter itself,
  one would be induced to think that the error proceeds solely from
  misinterpretation of his real words: now every one knows how easy, how
  common such inaccuracies are in regard to circumstances transmitted
  through several intermediate persons. Fearful that the
  misunderstanding might originate with myself, which is possible
  enough, I should not have hesitated a moment to charge myself with the
  error; but every reader must judge that the length of Napoleon’s
  conversation and the development of his ideas on this subject, could
  not leave me in any doubt.

“Some time after the expulsion of Gustavus, while the succession to the
Crown was vacant, the Swedes, desirous of recommending themselves to me
and securing the protection of France, asked me to give them a King. My
attention was, for an instant, turned to the Viceroy; but it would have
been necessary for him to change his religion, which I deemed beneath my
dignity and that of all those who belonged to me. Besides, I did not
think the political result sufficiently important to excuse an action so
contrary to our manners. I attached, however, too much value to the idea
of seeing the throne of Sweden in possession of a Frenchman. It was, in
my situation, a puerile sentiment. The real King, according to my
political system and the true interests of France, would have been the
King of Denmark, because I should then have governed Sweden by the
influence of my simple contact with the Danish provinces. Bernadotte was
elected, and he was indebted for his elevation to his wife, the
sister-in-law of my brother Joseph, who then reigned at Madrid.

“Bernadotte, affecting great dependence on me, came to ask my
approbation, protesting, with too visible an anxiety, that he would not
accept the Crown, unless it was agreeable to me.

“I, the elected Monarch of the people, had to answer that I could not
set myself against the elections of other nations. It was what I told
Bernadotte, whose whole attitude betrayed the anxiety excited by the
expectation of my answer. I added that he had only to take advantage of
the good-will of which he had been the object; that I wished to be
considered as having had no weight in his election, but that it had my
approbation and my best wishes. I felt, however, shall I say it, a
secret instinct, which made the thing disagreeable and painful.
Bernadotte was, in fact, the serpent which I nourished in my bosom; he
had scarcely left us before he attached himself to the system of our
enemies, and we were obliged to watch and dread him. At a later period,
he was one of the great active causes of our calamities; it was he who
gave to our enemies the key of our political system and communicated the
tactics of our armies; it was he who pointed out to them the way to the
sacred soil! In vain would he excuse himself by saying that, in
accepting the Crown of Sweden, he was thenceforth bound to be a Swede
only; pitiful excuse, valid only with those of the populace and the
vulgar that are ambitious! In taking a wife, a man does not renounce his
mother, still less is he bound to transfix her bosom and tear out her
entrails. It is said that he afterwards repented, that is to say, when
it was no longer time, and when the mischief was done. The fact is that,
in finding himself once more among us, he perceived that opinion exacted
justice of him; he felt himself struck with death. Then the film fell
from his eyes; for it is not known to what dreams his presumption and
his vanity might have incited him in his blindness.”

At the end of this and many other things besides, I presumed to observe
to him, as a very fantastical and extraordinary matter of chance, that
Bernadotte, the soldier, elevated to a Crown, for which Protestantism
was a necessary qualification, was actually born a Protestant, and that
his son, destined, on that account, to reign over the Scandinavians,
presented himself in the midst of them precisely with the national name
of _Oscar_. “My dear Las Cases,” replied the Emperor, “it is because
that chance, so often cited, of which the ancients made a deity, which
astonishes us every day and strikes us every instant, does not, after
all, appear so singular, so capricious, so extraordinary, but in
consequence of our ignorance of the secret and altogether natural
causes, by which it is produced; and yet this single combination is
sufficient to create the marvellous and give birth to mysteries. Here,
for instance, with respect to the first point, that of having been born
a Protestant, let not the honour of that circumstance be assigned to
chance; blot that out. With regard to the second, the name of Oscar; I
was his godfather, and, when I gave him the name, I doted upon Ossian;
it presented itself, of course, very naturally. You now see how simple
that is which so greatly astonished you.”

At the end of this conversation, the Emperor returned to Paul; he talked
of the passionate fits brought upon him by the perfidy of the English
ministry. He had been promised Malta, the moment it was taken possession
of, and accordingly, he was in great haste to get himself nominated
Grand Master. Malta reduced, the English ministers denied that they had
promised it to him. It is confidently stated that, on the reading of
this shameful falsehood, Paul felt so indignant that, seizing the
dispatch in full Council, he ran his sword through it, and ordered it to
be sent back in that condition, by way of answer. “If it be a folly,”
said the Emperor, “it must be allowed that it is the folly of a noble
soul; it is the indignation of virtue, which was incapable, until then,
of suspecting such baseness.”

At the same time, the English ministers, treating with us for the
exchange of prisoners, refused to include, on the same scale, the
Russian prisoners taken in Holland, who were in the actual service and
fought for the sole cause of the English. “I had,” said the Emperor,
“hit upon the bent of Paul’s character. I seized time by the forelock; I
collected these Russians; I clothed them and sent them back to him
without any expense. From that instant, his generous heart was
altogether devoted to me; and, as I had no interest in opposition to
Russia, and should never have spoken or acted but with justice, there
was no doubt that I should be able, for the future, to have had the
Cabinet of St. Petersburgh at my disposal. Our enemies were sensible of
the danger, and it has been thought that this good-will of Paul proved
fatal to him. That might have been the case; for there are Cabinets with
whom nothing is sacred.”

It has been already mentioned that the Emperor complained that the
Prince of Ponte-Corvo (Bernadotte) was scarcely in Sweden before he had
occasion to distrust and counteract his schemes. The following letter is
a decisive proof of this assertion, and also contains an important
exposition of the continental system.

                                       “_Tuileries, August 8, 1811._

“Monsieur, the Prince Royal of Sweden, your private correspondence has
reached me; I have appreciated, as a proof of the sentiments of
friendship you entertain for me, and as a testimony of the loyalty of
your character, the communications which you make to me. There is no
political reason which prevents me from answering you.

“You appreciate, without doubt, the motives of my decree of the 21st of
November, 1806. It prescribes no laws to Europe. It merely traces the
steps that are to be followed, to reach the same end; the treaties,
which I have signed, constitute the remainder. The right of blockade,
which England has arrogated to herself, is as injurious to the commerce
of Sweden and as hostile to the honour of her flag, as it is prejudicial
to the commerce of the French Empire and to the dignity of its power. I
will even assert that the domineering pretensions of England are still
more offensive with regard to Sweden; for your commerce is more maritime
than continental; the real strength of the kingdom of Sweden consists as
much in the existence of its navy as in the existence of its army.

“The development of the forces of France is altogether continental. I
have been enabled to create, within my states, an internal trade, which
diffuses subsistence and money, from the extremities to the centre of
the empire, by the impulse given to agricultural and manufacturing
industry, and by the rigorous prohibition of foreign productions. This
state of things is such that it is impossible for me to decide whether
French commerce would gain much by peace with England.

“The maintenance, observance, or adoption of the decree of Berlin is,
therefore, I venture to say, more for the interest of Sweden and of
Europe, than for the particular interest of France.

“Such are the reasons which my ostensible policy may set up against the
ostensible policy of England. The secret reasons that influence England
are the following: She does not desire peace; she has rejected all the
overtures which I have caused to be made to her; her commerce and her
territory are enlarged by war; she is apprehensive of restitutions; she
will not consolidate the new system by a treaty; she does not wish that
France should be powerful. I wish for peace, I wish for it in its
perfect state, because peace alone can give solidity to new interests,
and States created by conquest. I think, that on this point, your Royal
Highness ought not to differ in opinion from me.

“I have a great number of ships; I have no seamen: I cannot carry on the
contest with England for the purpose of compelling her to make peace;
nothing but the continental system can prove successful. In this
respect, I experience no obstacle on the part of Russia and Prussia;
their commerce can only be a gainer by the prohibitive system.

“Your cabinet is composed of enlightened men. There is dignity and
patriotism in the Swedish nation. The influence of your Royal Highness
in the Government is generally approved: you will experience few
impediments in withdrawing your people from a mercantile submission to a
foreign nation. Do not suffer yourself to be caught by the too tempting
baits which England may hold out to you. The future will prove to you
that, whatever may be the revolutions which time must produce, the
Sovereigns of Europe will establish prohibitive laws, which will leave
them masters in their own dominions.

“The third article of the treaty of the 21st of February, 1802, corrects
the incomplete stipulations of the treaty of Fredericsham. It must be
rigorously observed in every point which relates to colonial
commodities. You tell me that you cannot do without these commodities,
and that, from the want of their introduction, the produce of your
customs is diminished. I will give you twenty millions worth of colonial
produce, which I have at Hamburgh; you will give me twenty millions
worth of iron. You will have no specie to export from Sweden. Give up
these productions to merchants; they will pay the import duties; you
will get rid of your iron; this will answer my purpose. I am in want of
iron at Antwerp, and I know not what to do with the English commodities.

“Be faithful to the treaty of the 24th of February: drive the English
smugglers from the roads of Gottenburg; drive them from the coasts,
where they carry on an open trade: I give you my word that I will, on my
part, scrupulously observe the conditions of that treaty. I shall oppose
the attempts of your neighbours to appropriate to themselves your
continental possessions. If you fail in your engagements, I shall
consider myself released from mine.

“It is my wish to be always on an amicable understanding with your Royal
Highness; I shall hear with pleasure your communication of this answer
to his Swedish Majesty, whose good intentions I have constantly

“My Minister for Foreign Affairs will return an official answer to the
last note, which the Comte d’Essen has submitted for my perusal.

                               “This letter having no other end, &c.





  London: Published for Henry Colburn, Feb. 1836.


8th.—I went to the Emperor’s apartment about eleven o’clock. He was
dressing himself, and looking over, with his valet, some samples of
perfumery and scents, received from England. He enquired about them all,

did not know one of them, and laughed heartily at his gross ignorance,
as he called it. He wished to breakfast in the tent, and we all
assembled there.

He complained of the bad quality of the wine; and appealed to his
maître-d’hôtel, Cipriani, who is a Corsican, whether he had not much
better in their country. He said that he had received, as part of his
patrimony, the best vineyard in the island, extensive and productive,
called _l’Esposata_, and he felt it his duty, he said, not to mention it
but with gratitude. It was to that vineyard that he was indebted, in his
youth, for his visits to Paris; it was that which supplied the expenses
of his vacations. We asked him what had become of it. He told us, that
he had long ago given it to his nurse, to whom, he was sure he must have
given at least one hundred and twenty thousand francs in lands and
houses in the island. He had even resolved, he said, to give her his
patrimonial house; but finding it too much above her situation, he had
made a present of it to the Romalino family, his nearest relatives by
his mother’s side, on condition that they should transfer their
habitation to his nurse.[7]

Footnote 7:

  The patrimonial house of Napoleon, his cradle, at present (1824) in
  the possession of M. Romalino, member of the Chamber of Deputies, is,
  as it might naturally be supposed, an object of eager curiosity and
  great veneration to travellers and military men in particular.

  I am assured by eye-witnesses, that, on the arrival of every regiment
  in Corsica, the soldiers instantly run to it in crowds, and obtain
  admission with a certain degree of authority. It might be said that
  they believe themselves entitled to it as a right. Once admitted,
  every one conducts himself according to the warmth of his feeling, one
  raises his hands to heaven, as he looks about him, another falls on
  his knees, a third kisses the floor, and a fourth bursts into tears.
  There are some who seem to be seized by a fit of insanity. Something
  similar is said of the tomb of the great Frederic. Such is the
  influence of heroes.

In short, he had, he said, made a great lady of her. She had come to
Paris at the time of the coronation, and had an audience of the Pope for
upwards of an hour and a half. “Poor Pope,” exclaimed the Emperor, “he
must have had a good deal of spare time! She was, however, extremely
devout. Her husband was a coasting trader of the island. She gave great
pleasure at the Tuileries, and enchanted the family by the vivacity of
her language and her gestures. The empress Josephine made her a present
of some diamonds.”

After breakfast, the Emperor, adhering to his resolution of yesterday,
proceeded with his work. He finished the chapter of Castiglione, and
then went to the wood, with the intention of waiting for the calash. In
continuance of the conversation, which had been brought on by the
chapter, he related that Josephine had left Brescia with him, and had
thus commenced the campaign against Wurmser. Arrived at Verona, she had
witnessed the first shots that were fired. When she returned to
Castel-Nuovo, and saw the wounded as they passed, she was desirous of
reaching Brescia; but she found herself stopped by the enemy, who was
already at Ponte-Marco. In the anxiety and agitation of the moment, she
was seized with fear, and wept a great deal, on quitting her husband,
who exclaimed, when embracing her, and with a kind of inspiration:
“Wurmser shall pay dearly for those tears which he causes thee!” She was
obliged to pass in her carriage very close to the fortifications of
Mantua. She was fired upon from the place, and one of her suite was even
wounded. She traversed the Po, Bologna, Ferrara, and stopped at Lucca,
attended by dread and the unfavourable reports, which were usually
spread around our patriotic armies; but she was internally supported by
her extreme confidence in her husband’s good fortune.

Such was, however, already the opinion of Italy, observed the Emperor,
and the sentiments impressed by the French General, that, in spite of
the crisis of the moment, and of all the false reports which accompanied
him, his wife was received at Lucca by the Senate, and treated with the
same respect as the greatest princess. It came to compliment her, and
presented her with the oils of honour. It had reason to applaud itself
for that conduct. A short time afterwards the couriers brought
intelligence of the prodigious achievements of her husband, and the
annihilation of Wurmser.

The Emperor returned to the saloon for the first time since the fire. It
is gradually furnished with articles sent expressly from London, which
make it a little more tolerable. After dinner, the Emperor began with
reading Turcaret, with which, he said, notwithstanding all its wit, he
felt himself disgusted, in consequence of its vulgarity; but it bore, he
remarked, the impression of Le Sage. He then took up l’Avocat Patelin,
and was much amused with its genuine humour.

9th.—The Emperor breakfasted in the tent, and revised the chapter of the
Brenta. At three o’clock, he took an airing in the calash. The Governor
called during our ride. It was understood that he wished to speak to the
Emperor on the celebration of the Prince Regent’s birthday, which is to
take place next Monday, the 12th inst., and to give him notice of the
salutes and volleys that are to be fired on the occasion at the camp,
situated so closely to us. It is said, on the other hand, that he has
given directions for supplying the Emperor’s table only, and that each
of us is to be put upon a particular allowance, as he finds the expense
very much beyond his credit. At any rate, we shall see.

                             ON INDIA, &C.

10th.—The Emperor was indisposed and took a bath. At three he walked out
and called for the carriage. He had just read the history of Catherine.
“She was,” he said, “a commanding woman; she was worthy of having a
beard upon her chin. The catastrophe of Peter and that of Paul were
seraglio revolutions, the work of janissaries. These palace-soldiers are
terrible, and dangerous in proportion as the Sovereign is absolute. My
imperial guard might also have become fatal under any other but myself.”

The Emperor said that he and Paul had been on the best terms together.
At the time of his murder, in which the public spared neither his
relations nor his allies, he had concerted a plan with him, at that very
moment, for an expedition to India, and he would have certainly
prevailed upon him to carry it into execution. Paul wrote to him very
often, and at great length. His first communication was curious and
original. “Citizen First Consul,” (he had written to him with his own
hand,) “I do not discuss the merits of the rights of man; but, when a
nation places at its head a man of distinguished merit and worthy of
esteem, it has a government, and France has, henceforth, one in my

On our return, we found the Admiral and his lady; the Emperor took them
in the calash and made another tour. He afterwards walked for some time
with Lady Malcolm, to whom he behaved in a most gracious manner.

After dinner, the Emperor turned over the leaves of two volumes of the
Théâtre Français, without being able to find any thing capable of fixing
his attention.

                        THE EMPEROR BISHOP, &C.

11th.—After our breakfast in the tent and a few turns in the garden, the
Emperor read, for the last time, the chapter of Arcole.

During our ride in the calash, somebody observed that it was Sunday. “We
should have mass,” said the Emperor, “if we were in a Christian country,
if we had a priest; and that would have been a pastime for us during the
day. I have been always fond of the sound of the bells in the country.
We should,” he added in a gay tone, “resolve upon choosing a priest
among us;—the curate of St. Helena.”—But how ordain him, it was said,
without a bishop?—“And am I not one,” replied the Emperor, “have I not
been anointed with the same oil, consecrated in the same manner? Were
not Clovis and his successors anointed, at the time, with the formula of
_Rex Christique sacerdos_? Were they not, in fact, real bishops? Was not
the subsequent suppression of that formula caused by the jealousy and
policy of the bishops and popes?”

I did not eat at dinner, the Emperor wished to know the cause. I had a
violent pain in my stomach, a complaint to which I said I was very
subject. “I am more fortunate than you,” he observed. “In all my life, I
never had either the head-ache or a pain in my stomach” The Emperor
often repeated what he had said, and he has pronounced these same words
perhaps ten, twenty, or thirty times, in the midst of us at different

                         CAMPAIGN OF 1809, &C.

12th.—The Emperor passed the morning in his bath, reading the Journals
des Debats of March and April, received yesterday by way of the Cape.
The Emperor was very much occupied with them; they produced a great
degree of agitation in his system.

In general, since the Emperor had received books, and particularly the
Moniteur, he continued much more at home; he scarcely ever went abroad;
he no longer used a horse, nor even the calash; he hardly took the air
for a few moments in the garden; he was not the better for it, his
features and his health underwent a visible alteration.

I found him to-day reading Les Croisades by Michaud, which he left to
run over Les Memoires de Bezenval. He stopped at the duel between the
Comte d’Artois and the Duc de Bourbon. He found the details curious, but
they seemed to be very remote from us. “It is difficult,” he observed,
“to reconcile times so close to us with manners so different.”

In the course of this day’s conversations, the Emperor happened to
repeat, what I have mentioned elsewhere, that his finest manœuvre had
been at Eckmuhl, without, however, specifying it any further.

Footnote 8:

  I commonly pass over all details of this kind as trivial, unless an
  occasion for their utility presents itself, and unfortunately I have
  not time to look for, or to give rise to, such occasions. The trifling
  circumstance, however, which I relate here, acquires but too great a
  value by the nature of the death and the protracted and terrible
  agonies of the immortal victim, who expired under the triple tortures
  of body, mind, and heart. He would have had much less to endure from
  the hands of cannibals!... And these sufferings and these torments
  were coldly reserved for him by a barbarous administration, which, by
  that proceeding, has stained the annals of a people so justly renowned
  for the elevation of their sentiments and their sympathy with
  misfortune!... But a sad and painful celebrity will attach to the
  names of the executioners of Napoleon. The indignation of the generous
  hearts of every age and of every country strikes them for ever with
  eternal reprobation!


13th. At an early hour in the morning, I accompanied the Emperor very
far into the wood; he conversed for upwards of an hour, on the situation
of France, and then reverted to the persons who had betrayed him, and
the numerous fatalities which had hurried him along; to the perfidious
security caused by his marriage with Austria; to the infatuation of the
Turks, who made peace precisely when they ought to have made war; to
that of Bernadotte, who was actuated by his self-love and his
resentment, rather than by his real grandeur and stability; to a season
severe beyond measure, and even to the superiority of talent, evinced by
M. de Narbonne, who, discovering the designs of Austria, compelled her
to take active measures. Finally, he reverted to the successes of Lutzen
and Bautzen, which, by bringing back the king of Saxony to Dresden, put
him, Napoleon, in possession of the hostile signatures of Austria, and
deprived her of all further subterfuge. “What an unhappy concurrence!”
he exclaimed in a most expressive tone, “and yet,” he continued, “the
day after the battle of Dresden, Francis had already sent a person to
treat. It was necessary, that Vandamme’s disaster should happen at a
given moment, to second, as it were, the decree of fate.”

M. de Talleyrand, to whose conduct the Emperor frequently alluded, for
the purpose of discovering, he said, when he had really begun to betray
him, had strongly urged him to make peace, on his return from Leipsic.
“I must,” he observed, “do him that justice. He found fault with my
speech to the Senate, but warmly approved of that which I made to the
Legislative Body. He uniformly maintained, that I deceived myself with
respect to the energy of the nation; that it would not second mine, and
that it was requisite for me to arrange my affairs by every possible
sacrifice. It appears that he was then sincere. I never, from my own
experience, found Talleyrand eloquent or persuasive. He dwelt a great
deal, and a long time, on the same idea. Perhaps also, as our
acquaintance was of old date, he behaved in a peculiar manner to me. He
was, however, so skilful in his evasions and ramblings that, after
conversations which lasted several hours, he has gone away, frequently
avoiding the explanations and objects I expected to obtain from him on
his coming.”

With regard to the affairs of the moment and to the contents of the last
journals which described France in a constantly increasing agitation,
the result was that the chances of the future seemed indefinite,
multiplied, and inexhaustible for all Europe, and that there existed, at
that instant, an incontrovertible fact, communicated to us from all
quarters, that nobody in Europe considered himself in a permanent
situation. Every one seemed to apprehend or to foresee new events.

The Emperor kept me to breakfast with him in the tent. He afterwards
sent for Madame de Staël’s Corinne, and read some chapters of it. He
said that he could not get through it. Madame de Staël had drawn so
complete a likeness of herself in her heroine, that she had succeeded in
convincing him that it was herself. “I see her,” said he, “I hear her, I
feel her, I wish to avoid her, and I throw away the book. I had a better
impression of this work on my memory, than what I feel at present.
Perhaps it is because, at the time, I read it with my thumb, as M.
l’Abbé de Pradt ingeniously says, and not without some truth. I shall,
however, persevere; I am determined to see the end of it; I still think
that it was not destitute of some interest. Yet I cannot forgive Madame
de Staël for having undervalued the French in her romance. The family of
Madame de Staël is unquestionably a very singular one—her father, her
mother and herself, all three on their knees, in constant adoration of
each other, regaling one another with reciprocal incense, for the better
edification and mystification of the public. Madame de Staël may,
nevertheless, exult in surpassing her noble parents, when she presumed
to write, that her sentiments for her father were such that she detected
herself in being jealous of her mother.

“Madame de Staël,” he continued, “was ardent in her passions, vehement
and extravagant in her expressions. This is what was discovered by the
police, while she was under its superintendence. ‘I am far from you;’
(she was probably writing to her husband,) ‘come instantly;—I command;—I
insist upon it; I am on my knees; I beseech you, come.—My hand grasps a
dagger. If you hesitate, I shall kill myself; and you alone will be
guilty of my destruction’” This was Corinne.

She had, said the Emperor, combined all her efforts and all her means to
make an impression on the General of the army of Italy; without any
knowledge of him, she wrote to him, when far off; she tormented him when
present. If she was to be believed, the union of genius with a little
insignificant Creole, incapable of appreciating or comprehending him,
was a monstrosity. Unfortunately the General’s only answer was an
indifference which women never forgive, and which, indeed, he remarked
with a smile, is hardly to be forgiven.

On his arrival at Paris, he was followed with the same eagerness, but he
maintained, on his part, the same reserve, the same silence. Madame de
Staël resolved, however, to extract some words from him and to struggle
with the conqueror of Italy, attacked him face to face, at the grand
entertainment given by M. de Talleyrand, Minister for Foreign Affairs,
to the victorious General. She challenged him in the middle of a
numerous circle, to tell her who was the greatest woman in the world,
whether dead or living. “She, who has had most children,” answered
Napoleon, with great simplicity. Madame de Staël was, at first, a little
disconcerted, and endeavoured to recover herself by observing that it
was reported that he was not very fond of women. “Pardon me, Madam,”
again replied Napoleon, “I am very fond of my wife.”

The General of the army of Italy, said the Emperor, might, no doubt,
have excited the enthusiasm of the Genevese Corinna to its highest
pitch; but he dreaded her politic perfidy and her thirst of celebrity;
he was, perhaps, in the wrong. The heroine had, however, been too eager
in her pursuit and too often discouraged, not to become a violent enemy.
“She instigated the person, who was then a under her influence, and he,”
observed the Emperor, “did not enter upon the business in a very
honourable manner. On the appointment of the Tribunate, he employed the
most pressing solicitations with the First Consul to be nominated a
member. At eleven o’clock at night, he was supplicating with all his
might; but at twelve, when the favour was granted, he was already erect
and almost in an insulting attitude. The first meeting of the Tribunes
was a splendid occasion for his invectives against me. At night, Madame
de Staël’s hotel was illuminated. She crowned her Benjamin amidst a
brilliant assembly, and proclaimed him a second Mirabeau. This farce,
which was ridiculous enough, was followed by more dangerous plans. At
the time of the Concordat, against which Madame de Staël was quite
furious, she united at once against me the aristocrats and the
republicans. ‘You have,’ she exclaimed, ‘but a single moment left;
to-morrow the tyrant will have forty thousand priests at his disposal.’”

“Madame de Staël,” said Napoleon, “having at length tired out my
patience, was sent into exile. Her father had seriously offended me
before, at the time of the campaign of Marengo. I wished to see him on
my way, and he struck me merely as a dull bloated college tutor. Shortly
afterwards, and with the hope, no doubt, of again appearing, by my help,
in public life, he published a pamphlet, in which he proved that France
could neither be a republic nor a monarchy. What it might be,” remarked
the Emperor, “was not sufficiently evident. In that work, he called the
First Consul, _the necessary man_, &c. Lebrun replied to him, in a
letter of four pages, in his admirable style, and with all his powers of
sarcasm; he asked him whether he had not done sufficient mischief to
France, and whether his pretensions to govern her again were not
exhausted by his experiment of the Constituent Assembly.

“Madame de Staël, in her disgrace, carried on hostilities with the one
hand, and supplicated with the other. She was informed, on the part of
the First Consul, that he left her the universe for the theatre of her
achievements; that he resigned the rest of the world to her, and only
reserved Paris for himself, which he forbade her to approach. But Paris
was precisely the object of Madame de Staël’s wishes. No matter; the
Consul was inflexible. Madame de Staël, however, occasionally renewed
her attempts. Under the empire, she wished to be a lady of the palace.
Yes or no might certainly be pronounced; but by what means could Madame
de Staël be kept quiet in a palace?” &c.

After dinner, the Emperor read the Horatii, and was frequently
interrupted by our bursts of admiration. Never did Corneille appear to
us grander, more noble, more nervous, than on our rock.

                          15TH OF AUGUST, &C.

14th. The Emperor went out early. He sent for me before nine o’clock.
His intention was to mount his horse, and endeavour to get a shot at
some partridges, which we saw every time we were in the carriage; but
which never let any one with a fowling-piece come near them. The Emperor
walked on for the purpose of placing himself in a convenient situation,
but the partridges were no longer to be found. He was soon fatigued, and
got on horseback, observing that our shooting party was not exactly
after the fashion of those of Rambouillet and Fontainebleau. We
breakfasted, on our return, in the tent. The Emperor placed little
Tristan, whom he saw crossing the meadow, at table, and was much amused
with him during the whole of the repast.

After breakfast, the Emperor had the chapter of Rivoli read over again
to him, and finished it. We had gone through three-fourths of it, when
the Governor being announced, we made a precipitate retreat from the
tent, and each of us took refuge in his den. The Emperor was less
inclined than any other person to let himself be seen: his conversations
with the Governor are by far too disagreeable and painful to him. “I am
determined,” he said, “to have no more to do with him. Harsh remarks
escape me, which affect my character and my dignity; nothing should fall
from my lips but what is kind and complimentary.” He found himself
fatigued with his exercise in the morning, and took a bath.

About five o’clock, he took a turn in the calash, the weather was

The Governor had expressed an earnest desire to see the Emperor; he
wished, he said, to speak with him on business. It is suspected that it
was to tell him that he had no more money, that he had exhausted all,
and that he no longer knew how to act; a matter of perfect indifference
to the Emperor, who would not have failed, once more, to entreat to be
let alone.

The Emperor played at chess, before dinner, in the saloon; he had taken
some punch. It was late when I arrived; he told me, on entering, to take
my share of the punch; but it was observed that there were no more
glasses. “O yes,” said he, handing me his, “and he will drink out of it,
I am sure.” He then added, “This is the English fashion; is it not? In
our country one seldom drinks after any one but one’s mistress.“

It was remarked, during dinner, that it was the eve of the 15th of
August; the Emperor then observed; “Many healths will be drunk
to-morrow, in Europe, to St. Helena. There are certainly some
sentiments, some wishes, that will traverse the ocean.” He had
entertained the same thought in the morning when on horseback, and had
said the same things to me.

After dinner, Cinna;—Corneille appears to us divine.

                        THE EMPEROR’S BIRTH-DAY.

15th.—This day, the 15th of August, was the Emperor’s birthday. We had
determined to wait upon him, in a body, about eleven o’clock. He
disappointed us by appearing gaily at our doors at nine. The weather was
mild; he went to the garden, and we all assembled there in succession.
The Grand Marshal, with his wife and children, joined us. The Emperor,
surrounded by his faithful servants, breakfasted in the large and
beautiful tent, which is a really fortunate acquisition. The temperature
was fine, and he himself cheerful and talkative. He seemed, for some
instants, to participate in our sentiments and wishes. He desired, he
said, to pass the whole day in the midst of us. Accordingly, we
continued together, and spent the time in conversation, in different
pursuits, in walking, and in riding in the carriage.


16th.—My son and I went, at a very early hour, to the tent, where the
Emperor continued employed on different chapters of the Campaign of
Italy until two o’clock, when the Governor being announced, he retired,
muttering, “The wretch, I believe, envies me the air I breathe.”

During breakfast, he had called for the Journal des Débats, which
contained the organization of the academies; he wished to see the names
of the members, who had been expelled from the Institute. This led him
to revert to the suppression of the Polytechnic School, which was said
to be useless and dangerous. The English Journal, which we had received,
was not of that opinion. It maintained that the suppression alone was
more valuable to the enemies of France than a signal victory, and that
nothing could more decidedly prove the real pacific sentiments and the
extreme moderation of the dynasty, which then governed France, &c. It
also stated several other things.

Somebody remarked, upon this subject, that the English papers shewed a
malevolence against the French Government, which extended to coarseness
and indecency.

Lord or Lady Holland had, with a peculiar degree of attention, sent to
Longwood, for the Emperor’s use, a newly invented machine, adapted to
the formation of ice. It was delivered to us to-day, through the
intervention of Admiral Malcolm. The Emperor went out about five
o’clock, and was desirous of witnessing the experiment; the Admiral was
present, but the experiment proved very imperfect.

The Emperor, after some time, took a walk, accompanied by the Admiral,
and the conversation turned upon a variety of subjects; it was
maintained in the most affable and friendly manner on the part of the


17th.—While the Emperor was at breakfast in the tent, two persons
described the excesses which they had witnessed in the army, and which
had not come to his knowledge. They noticed the numerous violations of
his orders, the violent abuses of authority, and other outrages. The
Emperor listened; but some were so shocking that he could not, he said,
give credit to them, and observed: “Come, gentlemen, these are libels.”

The wind was very violent; it blew a storm, with occasional showers. The
wet obliged the Emperor to go in again.

After dinner Zaire and the beautiful scenes of Œdipe were read, among
which he particularly pointed out that of the discovery, which he
pronounced the finest and the most finished of the drama.

In speaking of priests and religion, the conversation led the Emperor to
say: “Man, entering into life, asks himself: Whence do I come? What am
I? Whither am I to go? These are so many mysterious questions, which
urge us on to religion. We eagerly embrace it; we are attracted by our
natural propensity; but as we advance in knowledge our course is
stopped. Instruction and history are the great enemies of religion,
deformed by human imperfection. Why, we ask ourselves, is the religion
of Paris neither that of London nor of Berlin? Why is that of
Petersburgh different from that of Constantinople? Why is the latter
different from that of Persia, of the Ganges, and of China? Why is the
religion of ancient times different from that of our days? Then reason
is sadly staggered; it exclaims, O religions, religions! the children of
man!... We very properly believe in God, because every thing around us
proclaims him, and the most enlightened minds have believed in him; not
only Bossuet, whose profession it was, but also Newton and Leibnitz, who
had nothing to do with it. But we know not what to think of the doctrine
that is taught us, and we find ourselves like the watch which goes,
without knowing the watchmaker that made it. And observe a little the
stupidity of those who educate us; they should keep away from us the
idea of paganism and idolatry; because their absurdity excites the first
exercise of our reason, and prepares us for a resistance to passive
belief; and they bring us up, nevertheless, in the midst of the Greeks
and Romans, with their myriads of divinities. Such, for my own part, has
literally been the progress of my understanding. I felt the necessity of
belief; I did believe, but my belief was shocked and undecided, the
moment I acquired knowledge and began to reason; and that happened to me
at so early an age as thirteen. Perhaps, I shall again believe
implicitly; God grant I may! I shall certainly make no resistance, and I
do not ask a greater blessing; it must, in my mind, be a great and real

“In violent agitations, however, and in the casual suggestions of
immorality itself, the absence of that religious faith has never, I
assert, influenced me in any respect, and I never doubted the existence
of God; for, if my reason was inadequate to comprehend it, my mind was
not the less disposed to adopt it. My nerves were in sympathy with that

“When I seized on the helm of affairs, I had already fixed ideas of all
the primary elements by which society is bound together; I had weighed
all the importance of religion; I was convinced, and I determined to
re-establish it. But the resistance I had to overcome in restoring
Catholicism would scarcely be credited. I should have been more
willingly followed had I hoisted the standard of Protestantism. This
reluctance was carried so far that in the Council of State, where I
found great difficulty in getting the Concordat adopted, several yielded
only by forming a plan to extricate themselves from it. ‘Well!’ they
said to one another, ‘let us turn Protestants, and that will not affect
us.’ It is unquestionable that, in the disorder which I succeeded, upon
which I found myself I was at liberty to choose between Catholicism and
Protestantism; and it may also be said, with truth, that the general
disposition, at the moment, was quite in favour of the latter: but,
besides my real adherence to the religion in which I was born, I had the
most important motives to influence my decision. What should I have
gained by proclaiming Protestantism? I should have created two great
parties, very nearly equal, in France, when I wished for the existence
of none at all; I should have revived the fury of religious disputes,
when their total annihilation was called for by the light of the age and
my own feelings. These two parties would, by their mutual distractions,
have destroyed France, and rendered her the slave of Europe, when I had
the ambition to make her the mistress of it. By the help of Catholicism
I attained much more effectually all the grand results that I had in
view. In the interior, at home, the smaller number was swallowed up by
the greater, and I relied upon my treating the former with such an
equality that there would be shortly no motive for marking the
difference. Abroad, the Pope was bound to me by Catholicism; and, with
my influence, and our forces in Italy, I did not despair, sooner or
later, by some means or other, of obtaining for myself the direction of
that Pope, and from that time, what an influence! What a lever of
opinion on the rest of the world!” &c. He concluded with saying;
“Francis I. was really in a state to adopt Protestantism, at its birth,
and to declare himself the head of it in Europe. Charles V., his rival,
was the zealous champion of Rome, because he considered that measure as
an additional means to assist him in his project of enslaving Europe.
Was not that circumstance alone sufficient to point out to Francis the
necessity of taking care of his independence; but he abandoned the
greater to run after the lesser advantage. He persevered in pursuing his
imprudent designs on Italy, and, with the intention of paying court to
the Pope, he burnt Protestants at Paris.

“Had Francis I. embraced Lutheranism, which is favourable to royal
supremacy, he would have preserved France from the dreadful religious
convulsions brought on, at later periods, by the Calvinists, whose
efforts, altogether republican, were on the point of subverting the
throne and dissolving our noble monarchy. Unfortunately, Francis I. was
ignorant of all that; for he could not allege his scruples for an
excuse, he, who entered into an alliance with the Turks, and brought
them into the midst of us. It was precisely because he was incapable of
extending his views so far. The folly of the time! The extent of feudal
intellect! Francis I. was, after all, but a hero for tilts and
tournaments, and a gallant for the drawing-room, one of those pigmy
great men.

“The Bishop of Nantes (De Voisins), said the Emperor, made me a real
Catholic by the efficacy of his arguments, by the excellence of his
morals, and by his enlightened toleration. Marie Louise, whose confessor
he was, consulted him once on the obligation of abstaining from meat on
Fridays.—‘At what table do you dine?’ asked the Bishop.—‘At the
Emperor’s.’ ‘Do you give all the orders there?’—‘No.’ ‘You cannot, then
make any alteration in it; would he do it himself?’—‘I am inclined to
think not.’ ‘Be obedient then, and do not provoke a subject for scandal.
Your first duty is to obey, and make him respected; you will not be in
want of other means to amend your life, and to suffer privations in the
eyes of God.’

“He also behaved in the same way with respect to a public communion,
which some persons put into Marie Louise’s head to celebrate on
Easter-day. She would not, however, consent, without the advice of her
prudent confessor, who dissuaded her from it by similar arguments. What
a difference, said the Emperor, had she been worked upon by a fanatic!
What quarrels, what disagreements might he not have caused between us!
What mischief might he not have done, in the circumstances in which I
was placed!”

The Emperor remarked to us, “that the bishop of Nantes had lived with
Diderot, in the midst of unbelievers, and had uniformly conducted
himself with consistency; he was ready with an answer to every one; and,
above all, he had the good sense to abandon every thing that was not
maintainable, and to strip religion of every thing which he was not
capable of defending.—He was asked, ‘has not an animal, which moves,
combines, and thinks, a soul?’ ‘Why not,’ was his answer. ‘But whither
does it go? For it is not equal to ours.’ ‘What is that to you? It
dwells, perhaps, in limbo.’ He used to retreat within the last
intrenchments, even within the fortress itself, and there he reserved
excellent means for defending himself. He argued better than the Pope,
whom he often confounded. He was the firmest pillar, among our bishops,
of the Gallican liberties. He was my oracle, my luminary; in religious
matters, he possessed my unbounded confidence. For, in my quarrels with
the Pope, it was my first care, whatever intriguers and marplots in
cassocs may say, not to touch upon any dogmatic point: I was so steady
in this conduct, that the instant this good and venerable bishop of
Nantes said to me, ‘Take care, there you are grappling with a dogma,’ I
immediately turned off from the course I was pursuing, to return to it
by other ways, without amusing myself by entering into dissertations
with him, or by seeking even to comprehend his meaning; and, as I had
not let him into my secret, how amazed must he not have been at the
circuits I made! How whimsical, obstinate, capricious, and incoherent,
must I not have appeared to him! It was because I had an object in view,
and he was unacquainted with it.

“The Popes could not forgive us our liberties of the Gallican church.
The four famous propositions of Bossuet, in particular, provoked their
resentment. It was, in their opinion, a real hostile manifesto, and they
accordingly considered us at least as much out of the pale of the church
as the Protestants. They thought us as guilty as they, perhaps more so,
and if they did not overwhelm us with their ostensible thunderbolts, it
was because they dreaded the consequences—our separation. The example of
England was before them. They did not wish to cut off their right arm
with their own hand, but they were constantly on the watch for a
favourable opportunity; they trusted to time for it. They are, no doubt,
ready to believe, that it has now arrived. They will, however, be again
disappointed by the light of the age and the manners of the times.

“Some time before my coronation,” said the Emperor, “the Pope wished to
see me, and made it a point to visit me himself. He had made many
concessions. He had come to Paris for the purpose of crowning me; he
consented not to place the crown on my head himself; he dispensed with
the ceremony of the public communion; he had, therefore, in his opinion,
many compensations to expect in return. He had accordingly at first
dreamt of Romagna and the Legations, and he began to suspect that he
should be obliged to give up all that. He then lowered his pretensions
to a very trifling favour, as he called it, my signature to an ancient
document, a worn-out rag, which he held from Louis XIV. ‘Do me that
favour, said he, in fact, it signifies nothing.’ ‘Cheerfully, most holy
father, and the thing is done, if it be feasible.’” It was, however, a
declaration, in which Louis XIV. at the close of his life, seduced by
Madame de Maintenon, or prevailed upon by his confessors, expressed his
disapprobation of the celebrated articles of 1682, the foundations of
the liberties of the Gallican church. The Emperor shrewdly replied, that
he had not, for his own part, any personal objection, but that it was
requisite for him, as a matter of form, to speak to the bishops about
it; on which the Pope repeatedly observed, that such a communication was
by no means necessary, and that the thing did not deserve to make so
much noise. “‘I shall never,’ he remarked, ‘shew the signature, it shall
be kept as secret as that of Louis XIV.’ ‘But, if it signifies nothing,’
said Napoleon, ‘what use is there for my signature? And if any
signification can be drawn from it, I am bound by a sense of propriety
to consult my doctors.’”

With the view, however, of avoiding the imputation of a constant refusal
of every request, the Emperor wished to seem rather inclined to grant
the favour. “The Bishop of Nantes and the other bishops, who were really
French, came to me in great haste. They were furious, and watched me,”
said the Emperor, “as they would have watched Louis XIV. on his
death-bed, to prevent him from turning Protestant. The Sulpicians were
called in; they were Jesuits _au petit pied_, they strove to find out my
intention, and were ready to do whatever I wished.” The Emperor
concluded with observing;—“The Pope had dispensed with the public
communion in my favour, and it is from his determination in that respect
that I form my opinion of the sincerity of his religious belief. He had
held a congregation of cardinals for the purpose of settling the
ceremonial. The greater number warmly insisted upon my taking the
communion in public, asserting the great influence of the example on the
people, and the necessity of my holding it out. The Pope, on the
contrary, fearful lest I should fulfil that duty as if I were going
through one of the articles of M. de Ségur’s programme, looked upon it
as a sacrilege, and was inflexible in opposing it. ‘Napoleon,’ he
observed, ‘is not perhaps a believer; the time will, no doubt, come, in
which his faith will be established, and in the mean time, let us not
burthen his conscience or our own.’

“In his Christian charity, for he really is a worthy, mild, and
excellent man, he never once despaired of seeing me a penitent, at his
tribunal; he has often let his hopes and thoughts on that subject escape
him. We sometimes conversed about it in a pleasant and friendly manner.
‘It will happen to you, sooner or later,’ said he, with an innocent
tenderness of expression; ‘you will be converted by me or by others, and
you will then feel how great the content, the satisfaction of your own
heart,’ &c. In the mean time, my influence over him was such, that I
drew from him, by the mere power of my conversation, that famous
Concordat of Fontainebleau, in which he renounced the temporal
sovereignty, an act on account of which he has since shown that he
dreaded the judgment of posterity, or rather the reprobation of his
successors. No sooner had he signed than he felt the stings of
repentance. He was to have dined the following day with me in public;
but at night, he was, or pretended to be ill. The truth is that,
immediately after I left him, he again fell into the hands of his
habitual advisers, who drew a terrible picture of the error which he had
committed. Had we been left by ourselves, I might have done what I
pleased with him; I should have governed the religious with the same
facility that I did the political world. He was, in truth, a lamb, a
good man in every respect, a man of real worth, whom I esteem and love
greatly, and who, on his part, is, I am convinced, not altogether
destitute of interest with regard to me. You will not see him make any
severe complaints against me, nor prefer, in particular, any direct and
personal accusation against me, any more than the other sovereigns.
There may, perhaps, be some vague and vulgar declamations against
ambition and bad faith, but nothing positive and direct; because
statesmen are well aware, that when the hour of libels is past, no one
would be allowed to prefer a public accusation without corroborative
proofs, and they have none of these to produce: such will be the
province of history. On the other hand, there will be at most but some
wretched chroniclers, shallow enough to take the ravings of clubs, or
intrigues, for authentic facts, or some writers of memoirs, who,
deceived by the errors of the moment, will be dead before they are
enabled to correct their mistakes.

“When the real particulars of my disputes with the Pope shall be made
public, the world will be surprised at the extent of my patience, for it
is known that I could not put up with a great deal. When he left me,
after my coronation, he felt a secret spite at not having obtained the
compensations which he thought he had deserved. But, however grateful I
might have been in other respects, I could not, after all, make a
traffic of the interests of the empire by way of paying my own
obligations, and, I was, besides, too proud to seem to have purchased
his kindnesses. He had hardly set his foot on the soil of Italy, when
the intriguers and mischief-makers, the enemies of France, took
advantage of the disposition he was in, to govern his conduct, and from
that instant every thing was hostile on his part. He no longer was the
gentle, the peaceable Chiaramonti, that worthy bishop of Imola, who had
at so early a period shown himself worthy of the enlightened state of
the age. His signature was thenceforth affixed to acts only which
characterised the Gregories and Bonifaces more than him. Rome became the
focus of all the plots hatched against us. I strove in vain to bring him
back by the force of reason, but I found it impossible to ascertain his
sentiments. The wrongs became so serious, and the insults offered to us
so flagrant, that I was imperatively called upon to act, in my turn. I,
therefore, seized his fortresses; I took possession of some provinces;
and I finished by occupying Rome itself, at the same time declaring and
strictly observing that I held him sacred in his spiritual capacity,
which was far from being satisfactory to him. A crisis, however,
presented itself; it was believed, that fortune had abandoned me at
Essling, and measures were in immediate readiness for exciting the
population of that great capital to insurrection. The officer, who
commanded there, thought that he could escape the danger only by getting
rid of the Pope, whom he sent off to France. That measure was carried
into effect without my orders, and was even in direct opposition to my
views. I despatched instant orders for stopping the Pope, wherever he
might be met with, and he was kept at Savona, where he was treated with
every possible care and attention; for I wished to make myself feared,
but not to ill-treat him; to bend him to my views, not to degrade him;—I
entertained very different projects! This removal served only to inflame
the spirit of resentment and intrigue. Until then, the quarrel had been
but temporal; the Pope’s advisers, in the hope of re-establishing their
affairs, involved it in all the jumble of spirituality. I then found it
necessary to carry on the contest with him on that head; I had my
council of conscience, my ecclesiastical councils, and I invested my
imperial courts with the power of deciding in cases of appeal from
abuses; for my soldiers could be of no further use in all this: I felt
it necessary to fight the Pope with his own weapons. To his men of
erudition, to his sophists, his civilians, and his scribes, it was
incumbent upon me to oppose mine.

“An English plot was laid to carry him off from Savona; it was of
service to me, I caused him to be removed to Fontainebleau; but that was
to be the period of his sufferings, and the regeneration of his
splendour. All my grand views were accomplished in disguise and mystery.
I had brought things to such a point, as to render the development
infallible, without any exertion, and in a way altogether natural. It
was accordingly consecrated by the Pope in the famous Concordat of
Fontainebleau, in spite even of my disasters at Moscow. What then would
have been the result, had I returned victorious and triumphant? I had
consequently obtained the separation, which was so desirable, of the
spiritual from the temporal, which is so injurious to his Holiness, and
the commixture of which produces disorder in society, in the name and by
the hands of him who ought himself to be the centre of harmony: and from
that time I intended to exalt the Pope beyond measure, to surround him
with grandeur and honours. I should have succeeded in suppressing all
his anxiety for the loss of his temporal power; I should have made an
idol of him; he would have remained near my person. Paris would have
become the capital of the Christian world, and I should have governed
the religious as well as the political world. It was an additional means
of binding tighter all the federative parts of the empire, and of
preserving the tranquillity of every thing placed without it. I should
have had my religious as well as my legislative sessions; my councils
would have constituted the representation of Christendom, and the Popes
would have been only the presidents. I should have called together and
dissolved those assemblies, approved and published their discussions, as
Constantine and Charlemagne had done; and if that supremacy had escaped
the Emperors, it was because they had committed the blunder of letting
the spiritual heads reside at a distance from them; and the latter took
advantage of the weakness of the princes, or of critical events, to
shake off their dependence and to enslave them in their turn.

“But,” resumed the Emperor, “to accomplish that object, I had found it
requisite to manœuvre with a great deal of dexterity; above all, to
conceal my real way of thinking, to give a direction, altogether
different to general opinion, and to feed the public with vulgar trifles
for the purpose of more effectually concealing the importance and depth
of my secret design. I accordingly experienced a kind of satisfaction on
finding myself accused of barbarity towards the Pope, and of tyranny in
religious matters. Foreigners, in particular, promoted my wishes in this
respect, by filling their wretched libels with invectives against my
pitiful ambition, which, according to them, had driven me to devour the
miserable patrimony of Saint Peter. But I was perfectly aware, that
public opinion would again declare itself in my favour at home, and that
no means could exist abroad for disconcerting my plan. What measures
would not have been employed for its prevention, had it been anticipated
at a seasonable period; for how vast its future ascendency over all the
Catholic countries, and how great its influence even upon those that are
not so, by the co-operation of the members of that religion who are
spread throughout these countries!”

The Emperor said, that this deliverance from the Court of Rome, this
legal union, the control of religion in the hands of the sovereign, had
been, for a long time, the constant object of his meditations and his
wishes. England, Russia, the northern crowns, and part of Germany, are,
he said, in possession of it. Venice and Naples had enjoyed it. No
government can be carried on without it; a nation is otherwise, every
instant, affected in its tranquillity, its dignity, its independence.
But the task,” he added, “was very difficult; at every step I was alive
to the danger. I was induced to think, that, once engaged in it, I
should be abandoned by the nation. I more than once sounded and strove
to elicit public opinion, but in vain, and I have been enabled to
convince myself that I never should have had the national co-operation.
And this explains a sally, which I had witnessed.”

The Emperor perceiving, at one of those grand Sunday audiences, which
were very numerously attended, the Archbishop of Tours (de Barral)
addressed him in a very elevated tone; “Well! Monsieur l’Archevêque, how
do our affairs with the Pope go on?—‘Sire, the deputation of your
bishops is about to set out for Savona.’ Very well! endeavour to make
the Pope listen to reason; prevail upon him to conduct himself with
prudence; otherwise, the consequences will be unpleasant. Tell him
plainly, that he is no longer in the times of the Gregories, and that I
am not a Débonnaire. He has the example of Henry the VIIIth., and,
without his wickedness, I possess more strength and power than he had.
Let him know, that whatever part I may take, I have 600,000 Frenchmen in
arms, who, in every contingency will march with me, for me, and as
myself. The peasantry and mechanics look to me alone, and repose
unlimited confidence in me. The prudent and enlightened part of the
intermediate class, those who take care of their interest, and wish for
tranquillity, will follow me; the only class favourable to him will be
the meddling and talkative, who, will forget him at the end of ten days,
to chat upon some fresh subject.”

And as the archbishop, who betrayed his embarrassment by his
countenance, was about to stammer out some words, the Emperor added in a
greatly softened tone: “You are out of all this; I participate in your
doctrines; I honour your piety; I respect your character!”

The Emperor, I now understand him perfectly, had, no doubt, merely
thrown out those observations, in order that we might give effect to
them in other places; but he deceived himself with respect to our
dispositions, or at least to those of the palace. Some, the least
reflecting part, were decided and loud in censuring his conduct on these
occasions; others, with the best intentions, were extremely cautious not
to let a word transpire, lest it should prove injurious to him in the
public opinion; for, such was, in general, our misconception, our
singular manner of understanding and explaining the Emperor’s meaning,
that, although without any bad design, and solely through levity,
incoherency, or for fashion’s sake, instead of making him popular, we
were perhaps the very persons who did him most injury. I very well
remember that, on the morning when that famous concordat of
Fontainebleau unexpectedly appeared in the Moniteur, some persons
confidentially assured each other in the saloons of St. Cloud, that
nothing was less authentic than that document, and that it was a base
fabrication. Others whispered, that it was, no doubt, genuine in the
main points, but that it had been extracted from the Pope by the
Emperor’s anger and violence. To that I should not be surprised, if the
piquant dramatic episode of Napoleon, at Fontainebleau, _dragging the
father of the faithful by his white hair_, was not precisely the
invention of the political proser who wrote it, but caught up from the
mouths of the courtiers and even of the Emperor’s servants themselves;
and this is the way in which history is written!

                          ADMIRAL’S PRESENCE.

18th. The weather was most dreadful during the whole of the night and
day. About three o’clock, the Emperor took advantage of its clearing up
a little and went out. He came to my apartment, and we called on General
Gourgaud, who was indisposed. We then visited Madame de Montholon, who
accompanied us to the garden. The Emperor was in excellent spirits,
which enlivened the conversation. He undertook to persuade Madame de
Montholon to make a general confession, particularly insisting upon her
setting out with her first sin. “Come,” said he, “speak out without
apprehension, do not let our neighbour constrain you; consider him
merely as your confessor; we shall forget it all in a quarter of an

And I really believe he would have succeeded in persuading her, when the
Governor unfortunately came to interrupt so pleasant a scene; he made
his appearance, and the Emperor to avoid receiving him, hastily took
shelter in the bottom of the wood. We were joined in a few moments by M.
de Montholon, who acquainted the Emperor that the Governor and the
Admiral earnestly requested the honour of speaking with him. He thought
that some communication was to be made on their part, and returned to
the garden, where he received them.

We remained behind, with the Governor’s officers. The conversation soon
became animated on the part of the Emperor, who, as he walked between
the Governor and the Admiral, almost uniformly addressed himself to the
latter, even when he spoke to the former. We continued at too great a
distance to hear any thing distinctly; but I have since learned, that he
again repeated, and with, perhaps, more energy and warmth, all that he
said to him in the preceding conversations.

In consequence of the favourable explanations, which the Admiral, who
acted the part of mediator, laboured to give of the Governor’s
intentions, the Emperor observed: “The faults of M. Lowe proceed from
his habits of life. He has never had the command of any but foreign
deserters, of Piedmontese, Corsicans, and Sicilians, all renegadoes, and
traitors to their country; the dregs and scum of Europe. If he had
commanded Englishmen; if he were one himself, he would shew respect to
those who have a right to be honoured.” At another time, the Emperor
declared, that there was a moral courage, as necessary as courage on the
field of battle; that M. Lowe did not exercise it here with regard to
us, in dreaming only of our escape, instead of employing the only real,
prudent, reasonable, and sensible means for preventing it. The Emperor
also told him that, although his body was in the hands of evil-minded
men, his soul was as lofty and independent as when at the head of
400,000 men, or on the throne, when he disposed of kingdoms.

To the article respecting the reduction of our expenses, and the money
which was required of the Emperor, he answered: “All those details are
very painful to me; they are mean. You might place me on the burning
pile of Montezuma or Guatimozin without extracting from me gold, which I
do not possess. Besides, who asks you for any thing? Who entreats you to
feed me? When you discontinue your supply of provisions, those brave
soldiers, whom you see there,” pointing, with his hand, to the camp of
the 53d, “will take pity on me; I shall place myself at the grenadiers’
table, and they will not, I am confident, drive away the first, the
oldest soldier of Europe.”

The Emperor having reproached the Governor with having kept some books,
which were addressed to him, he answered, that he had done so in
consequence of their having been sent under the address of _Emperor_.
“And who,” replied the Emperor, with emotion, “gave you the right of
disputing that title? In a few years, your Lord Castlereagh, your Lord
Bathurst, and all the others—you, who speak to me—will be buried in the
dust of oblivion, or if your names be remembered, it will be only on
account of the indignity with which you have treated me, while the
Emperor Napoleon shall, doubtless, continue for ever the subject, the
ornament of history, and the star of civilized nations. Your libels are
of no avail against me; you have expended millions on them; what have
they produced? Truth pierces through the clouds, it shines like the sun,
and like it, is imperishable.”

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 Lowe had not precisely shewn, in a
single instance, any want of respect; he had contented himself with
muttering, between his teeth, sentences which were not audible. He once
said that he had solicited his recal, and the Emperor observed, that
that was the most agreeable word he could possibly have said. He also
said, that we endeavoured to blacken his character in Europe, but that
our conduct, in that respect, was a matter of indifference to him. The
only disrespect, perhaps, said the Emperor, 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. “The Admiral was precisely then,” observed
the Emperor, in a gay tone of voice, “what the Marquis de Gallo was at
the time of my rupture of Passeriano.”—An allusion to one of the
chapters of the Campaign in Italy, which he had dictated to me.

The Emperor remarked that, after all, he had to reproach himself with
that scene. “I must see this officer no more; he makes me fly into a
violent passion; it is beneath my dignity; expressions escape me which
would have been unpardonable at the Tuileries; if they can at all be
excused here, it is because I am in his hands and subject to his power.”

After dinner, the Emperor caused a letter to be read, in answer to the
Governor, who had officially sent the treaty of the 2nd of August, by
which the allied Sovereigns stipulated for the imprisonment of Napoleon.
Sir Hudson Lowe, by the same conveyance, asked to introduce the foreign
Commissioners to Longwood. The Emperor had, in the course of the day,
dictated the letter to M. de Montholon. It was his wish, that every one
of us should make his objections, and state his opinions. It seemed to
us a master-piece of dignity, energy, and sound reasoning.


19th.—The weather continued as dreadful as we had ever seen it. It has
been, for several days, like one of our equinoctial storms in Europe.
The Emperor exposed himself to it, to come to my apartment about ten
o’clock; in going out, he struck one of his legs against a nail near the
door; his stocking was torn halfway down the leg; luckily the skin was
only scratched. He was obliged to return to change. “You owe me a pair
of stockings,” he said, while his valet de chambre was putting on
another pair; “a polite man does not expose his visitors to such dangers
in his apartments. You are lodged too much like a seaman; it is true,
that is not your fault. I thought myself careless about these matters,
but you actually surpass me.”—“Sire,” I answered, “my merit is not
great, no choice is left me. I am truly a hog in its mire, I must
confess; but as your Majesty says, it is not altogether my fault.”

We went into the garden, when it had cleared up for a moment. The
Emperor reverted to the conversation which he had yesterday with the
Governor, in the Admiral’s presence, and again reproached himself with
the violence of his expressions. “It would have been more worthy of me,
more consistent and more dignified, to have expressed all these things
with perfect composure; they would, besides, have been more impressive.”
He recollected, in particular, a name which had escaped him as applied
to Sir H. Lowe (_scribe d’etat-major_,) which must have shocked him, and
the more so because it expressed the truth, and that, we know, is always
offensive. “I have myself,” said the Emperor, “experienced that feeling
in the island of Elba. When I ran over the most infamous libels, they
did not affect me even in the slightest manner. When I was told or read,
that I had _strangled_, _poisoned_, _ravished_; that I had massacred my
sick; that my carriage had been driven over my wounded; I laughed out of
commiseration. How often did I not then say to Madame: ‘Make haste,
mother, come and see the _savage_, the _man-tiger, the devourer of the
human race_; come and admire your child!’ But when there was a slight
approach to truth, the effect was no longer the same; I felt the
necessity of defending myself; I accumulated reasons for my
justification, and even then, it never happened, that I was left without
some traces of a secret torment. My dear Las Cases, such is man!”

The Emperor passed from this subject to his protest against the treaty
of the 2nd of August, which had been read to us after dinner. I presumed
to ask him, whether after noticing in a conspicuous manner the
acknowledgment of his title of Emperor by the English, during their
negotiations at Paris and Chatillon, he had not forgotten that, which
they must have made on occasion of the treaty of Fontainebleau, and
which, it struck me, was omitted. “It was,” he quickly replied, “done on
purpose; I have nothing to do with that treaty; I disclaim it; I am far
from boasting of it, I am rather ashamed of it. It was discussed for me.
I was betrayed by N——, who brought it to me. That epoch belongs to my
history, but to my history on a large scale. If I had then determined to
treat in a sensible manner, I should have obtained the kingdom of Italy,
Tuscany, or Corsica,—all that I could have desired. My decision was the
result of a fault inherent in my character, a caprice on my part, a real
constitutional excess. I was seized with a dislike and contempt of every
thing around me; I was affected with the same feeling for fortune, which
I took delight in defying. I cast my eye on a spot of land, where I
might be uncomfortable and take advantage of the mistakes that might be
made. I fixed upon the island of Elba. It was the act of a soul of rock.
I am, no doubt, my dear Las Cases, of a very singular disposition, but
we should not be extraordinary, were we not of a peculiar mould; I am a
piece of rock, launched into space! You will not, perhaps, easily
believe me, but I do not regret my grandeur, you see me slightly
affected by what I have lost.”

“And why, Sire,” I observed, “should I not believe you? What have you to
regret?... The life of man is but an atom in the duration of history,
but with regard to your majesty, the one is already so full, that you
scarcely ought to take any interest but in the other; if your body
suffers here, your memory is enriched a hundred-fold. Had it been your
lot to end your days in the bosom of uninterrupted prosperity, how many
grand and striking circumstances would have passed away unknown! You
yourself, Sire, have assured me of this, and I have remained impressed
with the force of that truth. Not a day, in fact, passes in which those,
who were your enemies, do not repeat with us, who are your faithful
servants, that you are unquestionably greater here than in the
Tuileries. And even on this rock, to which you have been transferred by
violence and perfidy, do you not still command? Your jailors, your
masters, are at your feet; your soul captivates every one that comes
near you; you shew yourself what history represents St. Louis in the
chains of the Saracens, the real master of his conquerors. Your
irresistible ascendancy accompanies you here. We, who are all about you,
Sire, entertain this opinion of you; the Russian commissioner expressed
the same sentiment, we are assured, the other day, and it is felt by
those who guard you. What have you to regret?”

On our return the Emperor, in spite of the storm, ordered his breakfast
in the tent, and kept me with him. The rain did not penetrate; the only
inconvenience was a considerable degree of damp; but the squalls of wind
and rain whirled round us, and vented themselves far before us, towards
the bottom of the valley; the spectacle was not destitute of beauty.

The Emperor retired about two o’clock; he sent for me some time
afterwards to his cabinet. “I have,” said he, laying down the book, just
read General S——n; he is a madman, a hair-brained fellow, he writes
nonsense. He is, however, after all, readable and amusing; he cuts up,
dissects, judges, and pronounces sentence upon men and things. He does
not hesitate to give advice, in several instances, to Wellington, and
asserts, that he ought to have made some campaigns under Kleber, &c.
Kleber was no doubt a great general, but the notice taken of Soult is
not precisely the best part of the book; he is an excellent director, a
good minister at war.

“This S——n,” he continued, “deserted from the camp at Boulogne, carrying
all my secrets to the English; that might have been attended with
serious consequences. S——n was a general officer; his conduct was
dreadful and unpardonable. But observe how a man, in the moment of
revolution, may be a bad character, impudent, and shameless. I found
him, on my return from the island of Elba; he waited for me with
confidence, and wrote a long letter in which he attempted to make me his
dupe. The English, he said, were miserable creatures; he had been a long
time among them; he was acquainted with their means and resources, and
could be very useful to me. He knew that I was too magnanimous, too
great, to remember the wrongs I had suffered from him. I ordered him to
be arrested, and as he had been already tried and condemned, I am at a
loss to know why he was not shot. Either there was not time to carry his
sentence into effect, or he was forgotten. There can be no forbearance,
no indulgence for the general, who has the infamy to prostitute himself
to a foreign power.”

The Grand Marshal came in; the Emperor, after continuing the
conversation for some time, took him away to play at chess. He suffered
much from the badness of the weather.

After dinner, he read Le Tartuffe; but he was so fatigued, that he could
not get through it. He laid down the book, and, after paying a just
tribute of eulogy to Moliere, he concluded in a manner which we little
expected. “The whole of the Tartuffe,” he remarked, “is, unquestionably,
finished with the hand of a master, it is one of the best pieces of an
inimitable writer. It is, however, marked with such a character, that I
am not at all surprised, that its appearance should have been the
subject of interesting negotiations at Versailles, and of a great deal
of hesitation on the part of Louis XIV. If I have a right to be
astonished at any thing, it is at his allowing it to be performed. In my
opinion, it holds out devotion under such odious colours; a certain
scene presents so decisive a situation, so completely indecent, that,
for my own part, I do not hesitate to say, if the comedy had been
written in my time, I would not have allowed it to be represented.”

                        THE BARONESS DE S——, &C.

20th.—About four o’clock, I attended the Emperor, according to his
orders, in the billiard-room. The weather still continued dreadful; it
did not allow him to set his foot out of doors, and he was, he said,
nevertheless, driven from his apartment and the saloon by the smoke. My
looks told him, he said, that I was quite flustered; it was with the
most lively indignation, and he wished to know the cause of it.

“Two or three years ago,” said I, “a clerk in the war office, a very
worthy man, as far as I know, used to come to my house to give my son
lessons in writing and in Latin. He had a daughter, whom he wished to
make a governess, and begged us to recommend her, should an occasion
present itself. Madame Las Cases sent for her; she was charming, and in
every respect highly attractive. From that moment, Madame Las Cases
invited her occasionally to her house, with the view of introducing her
into the world, and obtaining some acquaintances for her who might prove
useful. But, how strange! this young person, our acquaintance, our
obliged friend, is actually at this moment the Baroness de S——, the wife
of one of the Commissioners of the allied powers, who arrived nearly a
month since, in the island.

“Your Majesty may judge of my surprise, and of all my joy at this
singular freak of fortune. I am then about to have, I said to myself,
positive, particular, and even secret information respecting every thing
that interests me. Several days passed without any communication, but
without any anxiety, and even with some satisfaction on my part. For, I
thought, the greater the caution, the more I had to expect. At length,
hurried on by my impatience, I sent three or four days ago my servant to
Madame de S——; I had described her very properly, and, as an inhabitant
of the island, he found no difficulty in gaining admittance. He returned
soon with an answer from Madame de S——, that she did not know the person
who had sent him. I might, under every circumstance, be still induced to
think, that this was an excess of prudence, and that she was unwilling
to place confidence in one unknown to her. But this very day, I received
notice from the governor, not to attempt to form any secret connexion in
the island; that I ought to be aware of the danger to which I exposed
myself; and that the attempt with which he reproached me was not a
matter of doubt; for he was put in possession of it by the very person
to whom I had addressed myself. Your Majesty now knows what has
confounded me. To find that so villainous a charge should come from a
quarter where I had a right to expect some interest in my affairs, and
even gratitude, has irritated me beyond measure; I am no longer the same

The Emperor laughed in my face: “How little do you know of the human
heart! What! her father was your son’s tutor, or something of that kind;
she enjoyed your wife’s protection when she was in want of it, and she
is become a German baroness! But, my dear Las Cases, you are the person
whom she dreads most here, who lay her most under constraint; she will
allege that she never saw your wife at Paris, and besides, this
mischievous Sir Hudson Lowe may have been delighted with giving an
odious turn to the thing; he is so artful, so malignant.” And he then
began to laugh at me and my anger.

After dinner, the Emperor resumed his reading of the Tartuffe, which he
had not finished yesterday, and there was enough left for to-day. The
Emperor was quite dejected; the bad weather has a visible effect upon


21st.—The weather as horrible as ever.—We are seriously incommoded with
the wet in our apartments; the rain penetrates every where.

The governor’s secretary brought me a letter from Europe; it afforded a
few moments of real happiness; it contained the recollections and good
wishes of my dearest friends. I went and read it to the Emperor.

The Emperor suffered seriously from the badness of the weather. He went
to his saloon about four o’clock; he thought that he was feverish, and
found himself much depressed; he called for some punch, and played a few
games at chess with the grand marshal. The doctor is come from the town.
The two vessels just arrived are from the Cape; one of them is the
Podargus, which left Europe ten days after the Griffin; the other, a
small frigate, on her way from India to Europe. There was, it was said,
a letter for the _Emperor Napoleon_, but it was not delivered, and we
did not know from whom it came.

After dinner it was said that the medicines in the island were
exhausted, and it was remarked, that the Emperor could not be accused of
having contributed to it. This led him to observe, that he did not
recollect having ever taken any medicine. At the Tuileries, he had had
three blisters at once, and even then he had not taken any. He received
a serious wound at Toulon; it was, he said, like that of Ulysses, by
which his old nurse knew him again; he had recovered altogether, without
taking physic. One of us taking the liberty to say; “If your majesty had
the dysentery to-morrow, would you still reject all kind of medicine?”
The Emperor answered; “Now that I am tolerably well, I answer, yes,
without hesitation; but if I were to be very ill, I should, perhaps,
alter my mind, and should then feel that kind of conversion, which is
produced on a dying man through the fear of the devil.” He again
mentioned his incredulity in physic, but he did not think so, he said,
of surgery. He had three times commenced a course of anatomy, but they
had always been broken off by business and disgust. “On a certain
occasion, and at the end of a long discussion, Corvisart, desirous of
speaking to me, with his proofs in hand, was so abominably filthy as to
bring a stomach, wrapped up in his pocket-handkerchief, to St. Cloud,
and I was instantly compelled, at that horrible sight, to cast up all
that I had in mine.”

The Emperor attempted, after dinner, to read a comedy, but he was so
fatigued, and suffered so much, that he was forced to stop and retire
about nine o’clock. He made me follow him, and as he felt no inclination
to sleep, he said; “Come, my dear Las Cases, let us see; let us have a
story about your fauxbourg Saint Germain, and let us endeavour to laugh
at it, as if we were listening to the Thousand and One Nights’!”—“Very
well, Sire; there was, formerly, one of your Majesty’s chamberlains, who
had a grand-uncle, who was very old, very old indeed, ... and I remember
your Majesty telling us the story of a heavy German officer, who, taken
prisoner at the opening of the campaign in Italy, complained that a
young conceited fellow had been sent to command against them, who
spoiled the profession, and made it intolerable. Well! we had precisely
his likeness among us; it was the old grand-uncle, who was still dressed
nearly in the costume of Louis XIV. He showed off, whenever you sent
accounts of any extraordinary achievements on the other side of the
Rhine; your bulletins of Ulm and Jena operated upon him like so many
revulsions of bile. He was far from admiring you. You also spoiled the
profession, in his opinion. He had, he frequently said, made the
campaigns under Marshal de Saxe, which indeed were prodigies in war, and
had not been sufficiently appreciated. ‘War was, no doubt, then an art;
but now!!!’ he remarked, shrugging up his shoulders.... ‘In our time we
carried on war with great decorum; we had our mules; we were followed by
our canteens; we had our tents; we lived well; we had even plays
performed at head-quarters; the armies approached each other; admirable
positions were occupied; a battle took place; a siege was occasionally
carried on, and afterwards we went into winter-quarters, to renew our
operations in the spring. That is,’ he exclaimed, with exultation, ‘what
may be called making war! But now, a whole army disappears before
another in a single battle, and a monarchy is overturned; a hundred
leagues are run over in ten days; as for sleeping and eating, they are
out of the question. Truly, if you call that genius, I am, for my own
part, obliged to acknowledge, that I know nothing about it; and,
accordingly, you excite my pity, when I hear you call him a great man.’”

The Emperor burst into fits of laughter, particularly when the mules and
canteens were mentioned. He then added; “You were of course accustomed
to say a great many foolish things about me.”—“O yes, Sire, and in vast
abundance.” “Very well! We are alone; nobody will intrude; tell me some
more of them.” “A fine gentleman, who had formerly been a captain of
cavalry, and who seemed perfectly satisfied with his own person and
accomplishments, was introduced to a select society where I was present.
‘I come,’ he said, ‘from the Plain of Sablons. I have just seen _our
Ostrogoth_ manœuvre.’ That, Sire, was your Majesty. ‘He had two or
three regiments, which he threw into confusion upon each other, and they
were all lost in some bushes. I would have taken him and all his men
prisoners with fifty maitres (formerly troopers) only. An usurped
reputation!’ he exclaimed. ‘Accordingly, Moreau was always of opinion,
that he would fail in Germany. A war with Germany is talked of; if it
takes place, we shall see how he will get out of it. He will have
justice done to him.’

“The war took place, and your Majesty sent us, in a very few days, the
bulletin of Ulm, and that of Austerlitz; our fine gentleman again made
his appearance in the same company, and for the moment, in spite of our
malevolence, we could not help crying out all at once: ‘And your fifty
maitres!’ ‘Oh! truly,’ said he, ‘it is impossible to comprehend the
thing; this man triumphs over every obstacle: Fortune leads him by the
hand, and, besides, the Austrians are so awkward; such fools!’”...

The Emperor laughed heartily, and wished for some anecdote still more
absurd. “That would indeed, Sire, be very difficult to find. I
recollect, however, an old dowager, who, to the day of her death,
obstinately refused to give credit to any of your successes in Germany.
When Ulm, Austerlitz, and your entrance into Vienna were mentioned in
her presence:—‘So, you believe all that,‘ said she, shrugging up her
shoulders. ‘It is all his fabrication. He would not presume to set a
foot in Germany; be assured, that he is still behind the Rhine, where he
is perishing from fear, and sends us those silly stories: you will
learn, in time, that I am not to be imposed upon.’”

And these stories being over, the Emperor sent me away, saying: “What
are they doing, what must they say, at present? I am certainly now
giving them a fine opportunity.”

22nd.—This was a day of real mourning for me: it was the first, since
our departure from France, in which I did not see the Emperor. I was the
only one, in consequence of fortunate circumstances, who, until now, had
enjoyed that happiness. His sufferings were great, and his seclusion
complete. He did not ask to see a single person.


23d.—The weather has continued wet and rainy. About half-past three, the
Emperor sent for me to his chamber. He was dressing himself; he had been
very seriously indisposed, but, thanks to his mode of treating himself,
he said, and to his hermetical seclusion of the preceding day, his
complaint was over. He was again well.

I dared to express my sincere grief; I had inscribed, I said, an unhappy
day in my journal; I should have marked it in red ink. And when he
learned what it was: “What indeed,” he said, “is it the only day, since
we left France, in which you have not seen me?... And you are the only
one!...” And after a silence of some seconds, he added, in a tone
peculiarly adapted to make me amends, if that were possible; “But, my
dear Las Cases, if you set such a value on it, if you consider it of so
much moment, why did you not come and knock at my door? I am not
inaccessible to you.”

The Doctor was introduced; he assured us that the Governor had promised
never again to set foot at Longwood. It was ironically observed by one
of us that he began to make himself agreeable.

The Emperor then went to his library, where a long letter which I had
written to Rome,[9] was read to him by my son. He was driven out by the
wet, and, on his way to the saloon and billiard-room, he was tempted by
the sight of the steps to walk a little. “I know,” he said, “I am doing
what is not prudent.” Luckily, the wet weather forced him to return
almost instantly. He took a seat in the saloon, where there was a good
fire, called for infusion of orange-leaves, and played some games of

Footnote 9:

  It was my letter to Prince Lucien, since so celebrated in the history
  of my persecutions, and which will be found in its proper place.

After dinner, the Emperor read Marmontel’s Tales, and stopped at that of
the self-styled philosopher. He still coughed a great deal, and again
called for some of the same drink. He entered into a long and most
interesting review of Jean Jacques, of his talents, his influence, his
eccentricities, his private vices. He retired at ten o’clock. I regret
very much, that I cannot now recollect the particulars relative to all
these subjects.

In the course of the day M. de Montholon addressed the following
official answer to the Governor, who had sent a letter, respecting the
commissioners of the allied powers, and the embarrassed state of his
finances. It is the letter, which I have already noticed on the 18th of
this month.

                           OFFICIAL DOCUMENT.

“General,—I have received the treaty of the 2d of August, 1815,
concluded between his Britannic Majesty, the Emperor of Austria, the
Emperor of Russia, and the King of Prussia, which was annexed to your
letter of the 23d of July.

“The Emperor Napoleon protests against the purport of that treaty; he is
not the prisoner of England. After having placed his abdication in the
hands of the representatives of the nation, for the benefit of the
constitution adopted by the French people, and in favour of his son, he
proceeded voluntarily and freely to England, for the purpose of residing
there, as a private person, in retirement, under the protection of the
British laws. The violation of all laws cannot constitute a right in
fact. The person of the Emperor Napoleon is in the power of England; but
neither, as a matter of fact, nor of right, has it been, nor is it, at
present, in the power of Austria, Russia, and Prussia; even according to
the laws and customs of England, which has never included, in its
exchange of prisoners, Russians, Austrians, Prussians, Spaniards, or
Portuguese, although united to these powers by treaties of alliance, and
making war conjointly with them. The Convention of the 2d of August,
made fifteen days after the Emperor Napoleon had arrived in England,
cannot, as a matter of right have any effect; it merely presents the
spectacle of the coalition of the four principal powers of Europe, for
the oppression of a single man; a coalition which the opinion of all
nations disavows, as do all the principles of sound morality. The
Emperors of Austria and Russia, and the King of Prussia, not possessing,
either in fact or by right any power over the person of the Emperor
Napoleon, were incapable of enacting any thing with regard to him. If
the Emperor Napoleon had been in the power of the Emperor of Austria,
that prince would have remembered the relations formed by religion and
nature between a father and a son, relations which are never violated
with impunity. He would have remembered that four times Napoleon
re-established him on his throne; at Leoben, in 1797, and at Luneville
in 1801, when his armies were under the walls of Vienna; at Presburgh in
1806, and at Vienna in 1809, when his armies were in possession of the
capital and of three-fourths of the monarchy. That prince would have
remembered the protestations which he made to him at the bivouac in
Moravia in 1806, and at the interview at Dresden in 1812. If the person
of the Emperor Napoleon had been in the power of the Emperor Alexander,
he would have remembered the ties of friendship, contracted at Tilsit,
at Erfurth, and during twelve years of daily intercourse; he would have
remembered the conduct of the Emperor Napoleon the day after the battle
of Austerlitz, when, having it in his power to take him prisoner with
the remains of his army, he contented himself with his word, and
suffered him to effect his retreat; he would have remembered the dangers
to which the Emperor Napoleon personally exposed himself to extinguish
the fire of Moscow and preserve that capital for him: unquestionably
that prince would not have violated the duties of friendship and
gratitude towards a friend in distress. If the person of the Emperor
Napoleon had been even in power of the King of Prussia, that sovereign
would not have forgotten that it was optional with the Emperor, after
the battle of Friedland, to place another prince on the throne of
Berlin; he would not have forgotten, in the presence of a disarmed
enemy, the protestations of attachment and the sentiments which he
expressed to him in 1812, at the interviews at Dresden. It is,
accordingly, evident from the 2d and 5th articles of the said treaty,
that, being incapable of any influence whatever over the fate, and the
person of the Emperor Napoleon, who is not in their power, these princes
refer themselves in that respect to the future conduct of his Britannic
Majesty, who undertakes to fulfil all obligations.

“These princes have reproached the Emperor Napoleon with preferring the
protection of the English laws to theirs. The false ideas which the
Emperor Napoleon entertained of the liberality of the English laws, and
of the influence of a great, generous, and free people on its
government, decided him in preferring the protection of these laws to
that of his father-in-law, or of his old friend. The Emperor Napoleon
always would have been able to obtain the security of what related
personally to himself, whether by placing himself again at the head of
the army of the Loire, or by putting himself at the head of the army of
the Gironde, commanded by General Clausel; but, looking for the future
only to retirement and to the protection of the laws of a free nation,
either English or American, all stipulations appeared useless to him. He
thought that the English people would have been more bound by his frank
conduct, which was noble and full of confidence, than it could have been
by the most solemn treaties. He has been mistaken, but this error will
for ever excite the indignation of real Britons, and, with the present
as well as future generations, it will be a proof of the perfidy of the
English administration. Austrian and Russian commissioners are arrived
at St. Helena; if the object of their mission be to fulfil part of the
duties, which the Emperors of Austria and Russia have contracted by the
treaty of the 2d of August, and to take care, that the English agents,
in a small colony, in the midst of the Ocean, do not fail in the
attentions due to a prince connected with them by the ties of affinity,
and by so many relations, the characteristics of these two sovereigns
will be recognized in that measure. But you, Sir, have asserted, that
these commissioners possessed neither the right nor the power of giving
any opinion on whatever may be transacted on this rock.

“The English ministry have caused the Emperor Napoleon to be transported
to Saint Helena, two thousand leagues from Europe. This rock, situated
under the tropic at the distance of five hundred leagues from any
continent is, in that latitude, exposed to a devouring heat; it is,
during three-fourths of the year, covered with clouds and mists; it is
at once the driest and wettest country in the world. This is the most
inimical climate to the Emperor’s health. It is hatred which dictated
the selection of this residence, as well as the instructions, given by
the English ministry to the officers who command in this country; they
have been ordered to call the Emperor Napoleon, General, being desirous
of compelling him to acknowledge that he never reigned in France, which
decided him not to take an incognito title, as he had determined on
quitting France. First magistrate for life, under the title of first
consul, he concluded the preliminaries of London and the treaty of
Amiens with the king of Great Britain. He received as ambassadors, Lord
Cornwallis, Mr. Merry, and Lord Whitworth, who resided in that quality
at his court. He sent to the King of England, Count Otto and General
Andreossi, who resided as ambassadors at the Court of Windsor. When,
after the exchange of letters between the ministers for foreign affairs
belonging to the two monarchies, Lord Lauderdale came to Paris, provided
with full powers from the King of England, he treated with the
plenipotentiaries provided with full powers from the Emperor Napoleon,
and resided several months at the court of the Tuileries. When,
afterwards, at Chatillon, Lord Castlereagh signed the ultimatum, which
the allied powers presented to the plenipotentiaries of the Emperor
Napoleon, he thereby recognized the fourth dynasty. That ultimatum was
more advantageous than the treaty of Paris; but France was required to
renounce Belgium and the left bank of the Rhine, which was contrary to
the propositions of Frankfort and to the proclamations of the allied
powers; and was also contrary to the oath by which, at his consecration,
the Emperor had sworn the integrity of the empire. The Emperor then
thought these national limits were necessary to the security of France
as well as to the equilibrium of Europe; he thought that the French
nation, in the circumstances under which it found itself, ought rather
to risk every chance of war than to give them up. France would have
obtained that integrity, and with it preserved her honour, had not
treason contributed to the success of the allies. The treaty of the 2d
of August, and the bill of the British parliament, style the Emperor,
Napoleon Bonaparte, and give him only the title of General. The title of
_General Bonaparte_ is, no doubt, eminently glorious; the Emperor bore
it at Lodi, at Castiglione, at Rivoli, at Arcole, at Leoben, at the
Pyramids, at Aboukir: but for seventeen years he has borne that of First
Consul and of Emperor; it would be an admission that he has been neither
first magistrate of the republic, nor sovereign of the fourth dynasty.
Those, who think that nations are flocks, which, by divine right, belong
to some families, are neither of the present age, nor of the spirit of
the English legislature, which has several times changed the succession
of its dynasties, because the great alterations occasioned by opinions,
in which the reigning princes did not participate, had made them enemies
to the happiness of the great majority of that nation. For kings are but
hereditary magistrates, who exist but for the happiness of nations, and
not nations for the satisfaction of kings. It is the same spirit of
hatred, which directed that the Emperor Napoleon should not write or
receive any letter, without its being opened and read by the English
ministers and the officers of St. Helena. He has, by that regulation,
been interdicted the possibility of receiving intelligence from his
mother, his wife, his son, his brothers; and when, wishing to avoid the
inconvenience of having his letters read by inferior officers, he wished
to send sealed letters to the Prince Regent, he was told, that open
letters only could be taken charge of and conveyed, and that such were
the instructions of the ministry. That measure stands in need of no
comment; it will suggest strange ideas of the spirit of the
administration by which it was dictated; it would be disclaimed even at
Algiers! Letters have been received for general officers in the
Emperor’s suite; they were opened and delivered to you; you have
retained them, because they had not been transmitted through the medium
of the English ministry; it was found necessary to make them travel four
thousand leagues over again, and these officers had the misfortune to
know, that there existed on this rock news from their wives, their
mothers, and their children, and that they could not be put in
possession of it, in less than six months!!!—The heart revolts.

“Permission could not be obtained to subscribe to the Morning Chronicle,
to the Morning Post, or to some French journals: some broken numbers of
the Times have been occasionally sent to Longwood. In consequence of the
demand made on board the Northumberland, some books have been sent, but
all those which relate to the transactions of late years have been
carefully kept back. It was since intended to open a correspondence with
a London bookseller for the purpose of being directly supplied with
books which might be wanted, and with those relative to the events of
the day; that intention was frustrated. An English author, having
published at London an account of his travels in France, took the
trouble to send it as a present to the Emperor, but you did not think
yourself authorized to deliver it to him, because it had not reached you
through the channel of your government. It is also said, that other
books, sent by their authors, have not been delivered, because the
address of some was—To the Emperor Napoleon, and of others—To Napoleon
the Great. The English ministry are not authorized to order any of these
vexations. The law, however unjust, considers the Emperor Napoleon as a
prisoner of war; but prisoners of war have never been prohibited from
subscribing to the journals, or receiving books that are printed; such a
prohibition is exercised only in the dungeons of the Inquisition.

“The island of St. Helena is ten leagues in circumference; it is every
where inaccessible; the coast is guarded by brigs; posts within sight of
each other are placed on the shore; and all communication with the sea
is rendered impracticable. There is but one small town, James Town,
where the vessels anchor, and from which they sail. In order to prevent
the escape of an individual, it is sufficient to guard the coast by land
and sea. By interdicting the interior of the island, one object only can
be in view, that of preventing a ride of eight or ten miles, which it
would be possible to take on horseback, and the privation of which,
according to the consultations of medical men, is abridging the
Emperor’s days.

“The Emperor has been placed at Longwood, which is exposed to every
wind; a barren spot, uninhabited, without water, and incapable of any
kind of cultivation. The space contains about 1200 uncultivated fathoms.
At the distance of 11 or 1200 fathoms, a camp has been formed on a small
eminence; another has been since placed nearly at the same distance in
an opposite direction, so that, in the intense heat of the tropic,
whichever way the eye turns nothing is seen but camps. Admiral Malcolm,
perceiving the utility of which a tent would be to the Emperor in that
situation, has had one pitched by his seamen at the distance of twenty
paces from the house; it is the only spot in which shade is to be found.
The Emperor, has, however, every reason to be satisfied with the spirit
which animates the officers and soldiers of the gallant 53d, as he had
been with the crew of the Northumberland. Longwood House was built for a
barn to the company’s farm; some apartments were afterwards made in it
by the Deputy-Governor of the island; he used it for a country-house;
but it was, in no respect, adapted for a residence. During the year that
it has been inhabited, people have always been at work in it, and the
Emperor has been constantly exposed to the inconvenience and
unwholesomeness of a house, in which workmen are employed. His
bedchamber is too small to contain a bedstead of ordinary size; but
every kind of building at Longwood would prolong the inconvenience
arising from the workmen. There are, however, in this wretched island,
some beautiful situations, with fine trees, gardens, and tolerably good
houses, among others Plantation House; but you are prevented by the
positive instructions of the ministry from granting this house, which
would have saved a great deal of expense laid out in building, at
Longwood, huts covered with pitched paper, which are no longer of any
use. You have prohibited every kind of intercourse between us and the
inhabitants of the island; you have, in fact, converted Longwood House
into a secret prison; you have even thrown difficulties in the way of
our communication with the officers of the garrison. The most anxious
care would seem to be taken to deprive us of the few resources afforded
by this miserable country, and we are no better off here than we should
be on Ascension Rock. During the four months you have been at St.
Helena, you have, Sir, rendered the Emperor’s condition worse. It was
observed to you by Count Bertrand, that you violated the law of your
legislature, that you trampled upon the privileges of general officers,
prisoners of war. You answered, that you knew nothing but the letter of
your instructions, and that they were still worse than your conduct
appeared to us.

                                      I have the honour, &c.

                                    (Signed)     COUNT DE MONTHOLON.

“P.S.—I had, Sir, signed this letter, when I received yours of the 17th,
to which you annex the estimate of an annual sum of 20,000_l._ sterling,
which you consider indispensable to meet the expenses of the
establishment of Longwood, after having made all the reductions which
you have thought possible. The consideration of this estimate can, in no
respect, concern us; the Emperor’s table is scarcely supplied with what
is necessary; all the provisions are of bad quality and four times as
dear as at Paris. You require a fund of twelve thousand pounds sterling
from the Emperor, as your government allows you only eight thousand
pounds for all these expenses. I have had the honour of telling you,
that the Emperor had no funds; that no letter had been received or
written for a year; and that he was altogether unacquainted with what is
passing or what may have passed in Europe. Transported by violence to
this rock, at the distance of two thousand leagues, without being able
to receive or to write any letter, he now finds himself at the
discretion of the English agents. The Emperor has uniformly desired and
still desires to provide himself for all his expenses of every kind, and
he will do so, as speedily as you shall give possibility to the means,
by taking off the prohibition, laid upon the merchants of the island, of
carrying on his correspondence, and releasing it from all kind of
inquisition on your part or on that of any of your agents. The moment
the Emperor’s wants shall be known in Europe, the persons who interest
themselves for him will transmit the necessary funds for his supplies.

“The letter of Lord Bathurst, which you have communicated to me, gives
rise to strange ideas! Can your ministers then be so ignorant as not to
know that the spectacle of a great man struggling with adversity is the
most sublime of spectacles? Can they be ignorant, that Napoleon at St.
Helena, amidst persecutions of every kind, against which his serenity is
his only shield, is greater, more sacred, more venerable than on the
first throne of the world, where he was, so long, the arbiter of Kings?
Those, who fail in respect to Napoleon, thus situated, merely degrade
their own character and the nation which they represent!”


24th.—I went, at two o’clock, to the Emperor, in his apartment. He had
sent for my Atlas in the morning. I found him finishing his examination
of the map of Russia and of that part of America adjoining the Russian

He had suffered, and coughed a great deal, during the night. The weather
had, however, become milder. While he was dressing to go out, he often
dwelt upon the happy idea of the Atlas, the merit of its execution, and
the immensity of its contents. He concluded, as usual, with saying;
“What a collection! what details! How complete in all its parts!”

The Emperor went to the garden. I told him, that I had written, in the
morning, to England, and answered the letter which I had read to him two
or three days ago. “Your English family,” he then observed, “seem to be
very good kind of people; they are very fond of you, and you appear very
much attached to them.” I answered; “Sire, I took care of them in
France, during their ten years captivity, and they had taken care of me
in England, during my ten years emigration. It is altogether the
hospitality of the ancients which we exercise towards each other. I rely
upon them, in every respect, and they are at liberty to dispose of all I
possess.”—“This,” said he, “is a very happy connexion. How did you
obtain it? To what are you indebted for it?” I then told him how I
became acquainted with this family.

“Never was the plank, by the assistance of which an unfortunate person,
after shipwreck, preserved his life, dearer to him than this family is
to me. There are, Sire, no favours, no treasures, which can compensate
the kindnesses I have received from it, and the happiness it has
conferred upon me.

“When the horrible excesses of our revolution compelled us to take
refuge in England, our emigration produced the liveliest sensation in
that country; the arrival of so many illustrious exiles, their past
fortunes, and their then forlorn condition, were impressed on every
mind, and filled every heart. They became the subject of consideration
in political assemblies, in places of divine worship, in fashionable
circles, and in private families. That catastrophe agitated every class,
and excited every sympathy. We were surrounded by a generous and feeling
multitude. We were the objects of the most delicate attentions, and of
the most substantial favours. Such, it must be acknowledged, was the
affecting sight held out by a vast portion of English society, even in
spite of the difference of opinions. It is a testimony due from our
gratitude to the truth of history.

“I was then in London, with a cousin of my name, whose situation at the
court of Versailles had enabled her to be of some service to the most
distinguished persons in Europe, where she was a lady of honour to the
Princess Lamballe, who was herself sub-intendant of the Queen’s
household. That turned out a fortunate circumstance for our family. My
cousin experienced proofs of the greatest benevolence; a great number of
persons were eager to make a tender of their services, and, among
others, a certain young couple. The wife was charming, and distinguished
for the elegance and dignity of her manners; the husband was of an easy
temper, of a mild and honourable character. Their house was almost
instantly open to my cousin and to all her relations, who had every
reason to find themselves as much at their ease there, as if they had
been in their own families.

“This worthy couple took every occasion to oblige and to be of use to
our refugees. Their house was frequented by the most distinguished
emigrants. A great number of us there contracted a debt of gratitude
which, notwithstanding all its extent, I should not despair of paying,
were I alone left to discharge it. I shall leave it as a legacy to my
children, who, if they resemble me, will look upon it as sacred, and
deem themselves happy in redeeming the obligation.

“Elevation of soul, and the emotions of a French heart, characterized
the conduct of Lady .... When the Prince of Condé (arrived in London,)
was looking for a country residence, she sent me to offer him the superb
mansion which she possessed, in the county of Durham. The Prince, after
hearing the particulars, having remarked that it would, no doubt, cost
him a King’s ransom, was agreeably surprised at learning that it was
presented to him by a French woman, who would, she said, consider that
she had received an inestimable price, should a Condé condescend to
inhabit it. He went, instantly, to express his acknowledgments in

“This family visited Paris after the peace of Amiens, and it was in its
bosom, and through its protection, that I was enabled, a few days
sooner, to breathe the air of my country. I was exempted, through its
means, from the tedious and painful formalities required from me by the
act of amnesty on the frontier, and I felt it my duty to provide for
their accommodation at Paris, with much more facility and less
inconvenience than they could have done themselves. I had also the
happiness, when the measure for detaining the English residents was
carried into effect, and this family was placed among the number, of
alleviating their condition in my turn, and becoming their security.

“We were, at length, separated by time and circumstances; but they have
lost nothing in my recollection; and the needle is less constant to the
pole, and less faithful in its guidance, than are my thoughts and my
gratitude, with respect to those good and valuable friends. Such, Sire,
is what your Majesty is pleased to call my English family.”

We had, however, during my relation, walked to the stable, and called
for the calash. The Emperor ordered it to take us up at the bottom of
the wood. We waited for it a long time, because Madame de Montholon was
seized with a sudden indisposition. Her husband came to apologize for
the delay, and the Emperor made him get in.

The conversation turned, during our ride, upon General Joubert, whose
brother-in-law and aid-de-camp M. de Montholon had been.

“Joubert,” said the Emperor, “entertained a high veneration for me; he
deplored my absence at every reverse experienced by the Republic, during
the expedition to Egypt. He was, at that time, at the head of the army
of Italy; he had taken me for his model, aspired to imitate my plans,
and attempted to accomplish nothing less than what I afterwards effected
in Brumaire: he had, however, the Jacobins to assist him. The measures
and intrigues of that party, to place the means of executing that grand
enterprise in his power, had raised him to the command in Italy, after
the disasters of Scherer; of that Scherer who was an ignorant peculator,
and deserving of every censure. But Joubert was killed at Novi, in his
first rencounter with Suwarrow; any attempt of his, at Paris, would have
failed; he had not yet acquired a sufficient degree of glory, of
consistency, and maturity. He was, by nature, calculated for all these
acquirements, but, at that moment, he was not adequately formed; he was
still too young, and that enterprise was then beyond his ability.”

The Emperor could not take more than one round; he found himself too
much fatigued, and was far from being well.

At half past eight o’clock, the Emperor ordered me to be called. He told
me that he had been obliged to take a bath, and thought he was a little
feverish. He felt that he had suddenly caught cold, but he had ceased to
cough since he was in the bath. He continued for a long time in the
water. He dined in it, and a small table was laid for me by the side.
The Emperor reverted to the history of Russia. “Had Peter the Great,” he
asked, “acted with wisdom in founding a capital at Petersburgh at so
vast an expense? Would not the results have been greater, had he
expended all his money at Moscow? What was his object? Had he
accomplished it?” I replied: “If Peter had remained at Moscow, his
nation would have continued Muscovite, a people altogether Asiatic; it
was necessary that it should be displaced for its reform and alteration.
He had, therefore, selected a position on the very frontiers, wrested
from the enemy, and in founding his capital, and accumulating all his
strength, he rendered it invulnerable; he connected himself with
European society; he established his power in the Baltic sea, by which
he could with ease prevent his natural enemies, the Poles and the
Swedes, from forming alliances, upon occasion, with the nations situated
in their rear.”

The Emperor said that “he was not altogether satisfied with these
reasons. Be it as it may,” he observed, “Moscow has disappeared, and who
can compute the wealth that has been swallowed up there? Let us
contemplate Paris, with the accumulation of buildings and of industry,
the work of centuries. Had its capital, for the 1400 years of its
existence, increased but a million a year, what a sum! Let us connect
with that the warehouses, the furniture, the union of sciences and the
arts, the complete establishments of trade and commerce, &c., and this
is the picture of Moscow; and all that vanished in an instant! What a
catastrophe! Does not the bare idea of it make one shudder?... I do not
think that it could be replaced, at the expense of two thousand

He expatiated at great length on all these events, and let a word escape
him which was too characteristic not to be specially noted down by me.
The name of Rostopchin having been pronounced, I presumed to remark that
the colour at that time given to his patriotic action had very much
surprised me, for he had interested me instead of exciting my
indignation: nay, I had envied him!... The Emperor replied with singular
vivacity, and with a kind of contraction which betrayed vexation: “If
many at Paris had been capable of reading and feeling it in that way,
believe me, I should have applauded it! But I had no choice left me.”
Resuming the subject of Moscow, he said:—“Never, with all the powers of
poetry, have the fictions of the burning of Troy equalled the reality of
that of Moscow. The city was of wood, the wind was violent; all the
pumps had been taken away. It was literally an ocean of fire. Nothing
had been saved from it; our march was so rapid, our entrance so sudden.
We found even diamonds on the women’s toilets, they had fled so
precipitately. They wrote to us a short time afterwards that they had
sought to escape from the first excesses of a dangerous soldiery; that
they recommended their property to the generosity of the conquerors, and
would not fail to re-appear in the course of a few days to solicit their
kindness and testify their gratitude.

“The population was far from having plotted that atrocity. Even they
themselves delivered up to us three or four hundred criminals, who
escaped from prison, and had executed it,”—“But, Sire, may I presume to
ask, if Moscow had not been burnt, did not your Majesty intend to
establish your quarters there?”—“Certainly,” answered the Emperor, “and
I should then have held up the singular spectacle of an army wintering
in the midst of a hostile nation, pressing upon it from all points; it
would have been the ship beset by the ice. You would have been in France
without any intelligence from me for several months; but you would have
remained quiet, you would have acted wisely. Cambacèrés would, as usual,
have conducted affairs in my name, and all would have been as orderly as
if I had been present. The winter, in Russia, would have weighed heavy
on every one; the torpor would have been general. The spring also would
have returned for all the world. All would have been at once on their
legs, and it is well known that the French are as nimble as any others.

“On the first appearance of fine weather, I should have marched against
the enemy; I should have beaten them; I should have been master of their
empire. Alexander, be assured, would not have suffered me to proceed so
far. He would have agreed to all the conditions which I might have
dictated, and France would then have begun to enjoy all her advantages.
And, truly, my success depended upon a mere trifle. For I had undertaken
the expedition to fight against armed men, not against nature in the
violence of her wrath. I defeated armies, but I could not conquer the
flames, the frost, stupefaction, and death!... I was forced to yield to
fate. And, after all, how unfortunate for France!—indeed for all Europe!



  London: Published for Henry Colburn, March, 1836.

“Peace, concluded at Moscow, would have fulfilled and wound up my
hostile expeditions. It would have been, with respect to the grand
cause, the term of casualties and the commencement of security. A new
horizon, new undertakings, would have unfolded themselves, adapted, in
every respect, to the well-being and prosperity of all. The foundation
of the European system would have been laid, and my only remaining task
would have been its organization.

“Satisfied on these grand points, and every where at peace, I should
have also had my Congress and my Holy Alliance. These are plans which
were filched from me. In that assembly of all the sovereigns, we should
have discussed our interest in a family way, and settled our accounts
with the people, as a clerk does with his master.

“The cause of the age was victorious, the revolution accomplished; the
only point in question was to reconcile it with what it had not
destroyed. But that task belonged to me; I had for a long time been
making preparations for it, at the expense, perhaps, of my popularity.
No matter. I became the ark of the old and the new covenant, the natural
mediator between the old and the new order of things. I maintained the
principles and possessed the confidence of the one; I had identified
myself with the other. I belonged to them both; I should have acted
conscientiously in favour of each. My glory would have consisted in my

“And, after having enumerated what he would have proposed between
sovereign and sovereign, and between sovereigns and their people, he
continued: “Powerful as we were, all that we might have conceded would
have appeared grand. It would have gained us the gratitude of the
people. At present, what they may extort will never seem enough for
them, and they will be uniformly distrustful and discontented.”

He next took a review of what he would have proposed for the prosperity,
the interest, the enjoyment, and the well-being, of the European
confederacy. He wished to establish the same principles, the same
system, every where—a European code; a European court of appeal, with
full powers to redress all wrong decisions, as our’s redresses at home
those of our tribunals; money of the same value, but in different coins;
the same weights, the same measures, the same laws.

“Thus Europe,” he said, “would soon have formed, in reality, but one and
the same people, and every one, who travelled, would have every where
found himself in one common country.”

He would have required that all the rivers should be navigable in
common; that the seas should be thrown open; that the great standing
armies should, in future, be reduced to the mere guards of the

In short, a multitude of ideas fell from him, the greater part of which
were new; some of the simplest nature, others altogether sublime,
relative to the different political, civil, and legislative branches; to
religion, to the arts, and commerce: they embraced every subject.

He concluded: “On my return to France, into the bosom of my country, at
once great, powerful, magnificent, at peace, and glorious, I would have
proclaimed the immutability of boundaries; all future wars, as purely
_defensive_; all new aggrandizement, as _anti-national_. I would have
associated my son with me in the empire; my dictatorship would have
terminated, and his constitutional reign commenced.

“Paris would have been the capital of the world, and the French the envy
of nations!... My leisure and my old age would have been devoted, in
company with the Empress, and, during the royal apprenticeship of my
son, to visiting slowly and with our own horses, like a plain country
couple, every corner of the empire; to receiving complaints, redressing
wrongs, founding monuments, and doing good every where and by every
means!... These also, my dear Las Cases, were among my reveries!!!”

The Emperor conversed a great deal about the interior of Russia, of the
prosperity of which, he said, we had no idea. He dwelt, at great length,
upon Moscow, which had, under every point of view, much surprised him,
and might bear a comparison with any of the capitals of Europe, the
greater number of which it surpassed. Here unfortunately I can find but
bare outlines in my notes, which it is impossible for me to fill up now.

He was particularly struck with the gilded spires of Moscow, and it was
that which induced him, on his return, to have the dome of the Invalids
regilt; he intended to embellish many other edifices at Paris in the
same manner.[10]

Footnote 10:

  Since the first appearance of this work, it has been remarked to me
  that this is an anachronism; as the gilding of the dome of the
  Invalids was begun before the campaign in Russia. It was the minarets
  of Cairo and not the steeples of Moscow which must have suggested the
  idea to Napoleon; and this was no doubt what he meant to say: it is
  easy to imagine that a mistake of this kind might be made by him in a
  conversation without any special object: in fact every body is liable
  to such mistakes.

As the city of Moscow seems to have been so different from the idea
which we have generally entertained of it in our Western world, I am
inclined to think that a description of it in this place, supplied by an
eye-witness, a distinguished person, attached to the expedition, will
not prove disagreeable. It is by Baron Larrey, surgeon-in-chief to the
grand army. I take it from a work of that celebrated character (Mémoires
de la Chirurgie Militaire), in no great circulation, on account,
perhaps, of its peculiarly scientific nature.

The relation begins at the moment when the French army was setting out
for Moscow, after the battle of Mozaisk or of the Moskowa.

“We were hardly a few miles off from Mozaisk, when we were all surprised
at finding ourselves, notwithstanding the vicinity of the spot to one of
the greatest capitals in the world, on a sandy, arid, and completely
desert plain. The mournful aspect of that solitude, which discouraged
the soldiers, seemed an omen of the entire abandonment of Moscow, and of
the misfortunes which awaited us in that city, from the opulence of
which we had promised ourselves such advantages.

“The army marched, with difficulty, over that tract. The horses were
harassed, and exhausted with hunger and thirst, for water was as rare as
forage. The men had also a great deal to suffer. They were, in fact,
overwhelmed with fatigue, and in want of all subsistence. The troops had
not, for a long time, received any rations, and the small quantity of
provisions found at Mozaisk was only sufficient for the young and old
guard. A considerable number of the former corps fell victims to their
abuse of the spirits of the country. They were observed to quit their
comrades a few paces, to totter, whirl round, and afterwards fall on
their knees or sit down involuntarily; they remained immoveable in that
attitude, and expired shortly afterwards, without uttering a single
complaint. These young men were pre-disposed to the pernicious effects
of that liquor by languor, privations and excessive fatigue.

“We arrived, however, on the evening of the 14th of September, in one of
the suburbs of Moscow; we there learnt that the Russian army had, in its
passage through the city, carried off all the citizens and public
functionaries, some of the lower classes and servants alone were left;
so that, in going through the principal streets of that great city,
which we entered the following morning, we scarcely met any one; all the
houses were completely abandoned. But what very much surprised us was to
see the fire break out in several remote quarters, where none of our
troops had yet been, and particularly in the bazar of the Kremlin, an
immense building, with porticoes which have some resemblance to those of
the Palais Royal at Paris.

“After what we had witnessed on our passage through Little Russia, we
were astonished at the vastness of Moscow, at the great number of
churches and palaces which it contained, at the beautiful architecture
of those edifices, at the commodious disposition of the principal
houses, and all the objects of luxury which were found in the greater
part of them. The streets in general were spacious, regular, and well
laid out. Nothing had the appearance of discordance throughout that
city. Every thing announced its wealth, and the immense trade it carried
on in the productions of the four quarters of the world.

“The variety displayed in the construction of the palaces, houses, and
churches, was an infinite addition to the beauty of the city. There were
places which, by the peculiar kind of architecture of the different
edifices, indicated the nations that generally inhabited them; thus, the
residence of the Franks, Chinese, Indians, and Germans, was easily
distinguished. The Kremlin might be considered as the citadel of Moscow;
it is in the centre of the town, situated on an eminence sufficiently
elevated, surrounded by a wall with bastions, and flanked, at regular
distances, by towers, mounted with cannon. The bazaar, which has been
already noticed, usually filled with the merchandize of India, and
valuable furs, had become the prey of the flames, and the only articles
preserved were those which had been deposited in the vaults, where the
soldiers penetrated, after the fire that consumed the whole of the
exterior of that beautiful edifice. The palace of the Emperors, that of
the senate, the archives, the arsenal, and two very ancient churches,
occupy the rest of the Kremlin. These different buildings, of a rich
style of architecture, form a magnificent appearance about the parade.
One might imagine one’s self transported to the public place of ancient
Athens, where the Areopagus and the temple of Minerva on one side, and
the academy and the arsenal on the other, were the objects of
admiration. A cylindrical tower rises between the two churches, in the
form of a column, known by the name of Yvan’s tower; it is rather an
Egyptian minaret, within which several bells, of different sizes, are
hung. At the foot of this tower, is seen a bell of a prodigious
magnitude, which has been noticed by all the historians. The whole of
the city and its environs are seen from the top of the towers; it looks
like a star, with four forked rays. The city has a most picturesque
appearance, from the variegated colours of the roofs of the houses, and
from the gold and silver which cover the domes and the tops of the
steeples, of which there is a considerable number. Nothing can equal the
richness of one of the churches of the Kremlin (it was the burial-place
of the Emperors); its walls are covered with plates of silver gilt, five
or six lines thick, on which the history of the Old and New Testament is
represented in relievo; the lustres and candelabra, of massy silver,
were particularly remarkable for their extraordinary size.

“The hospitals, to which my attention was peculiarly directed, are
worthy of the most civilized nation in the world; I divide them into
military and civil. The great military hospital is divided into three
parts, forming altogether a parallelogram. The principal part was
constructed on the side of a great road, opposite to an immense barrack,
which may be compared to the military school at Paris. Two lateral
buildings, intersecting the first at right angles, inclose the court,
which communicates with a fine and extensive garden appropriated to the
use of the sick. A portico, with columns of the composite order, forms
the front of this building, which is two stories high. At the entrance
is a spacious lobby, with corresponding doors to the wards on the
ground-floor, and a large and magnificent staircase leading to the upper
stories. The wards occupy the entire length of the building, and the
windows on each side reach from the ceiling to the floor; they are made
with double sashes, as is customary throughout Russia, and are
completely closed in winter; stoves are placed in the inside at suitable
distances. The wards contain four rows of beds of the same kind,
separated by the requisite space for wholesomeness: each row consists of
fifty beds, and the total number may be estimated at more than three
thousand; the hospital contains fourteen principal wards of very nearly
the same extent. The offices, dispensary, kitchen, and other
accessories, are very commodiously situated, in separate places, at a
convenient distance from the wards.

“The civil hospitals are equally entitled to notice. The four principal
are those of Cheremetow, Galitzin, Alexander, and the foundlings.

“The first, remarkable for its form, its structure, and its internal
arrangements, was used to receive the sick and wounded belonging to the

“This hospital, which is three stories high, is built in the form of a
crescent; the requisite offices are situated in the rear. A beautiful
portico, projecting from the centre of the half-moon, forms the entrance
of a chapel which occupies the middle of the edifice; this chapel,
surmounted by a dome, is the central point of all the wards, and
contains the mausoleum of the Prince who founded the hospital: it is
adorned with columns in stucco, statues, and beautiful pictures. The
dispensary is one of the finest and best supplied that I know.

“The Foundling Hospital, situated on the banks of the Moscowa, and
protected by the cannon of the Kremlin, is indisputably the largest and
noblest establishment of the kind in Europe. It consists of two masses
of building; the first, where the entrance is placed, is appropriated to
the residence of the Governor, who is selected from the old generals of
the army, of the board of management, of the medical officers, and of
all those employed in the service of the hospital. The second forms a
perfect square. In the centre of the court, which is very spacious, is a
reservoir, that supplies the whole of the establishment with water from
the river. Each of the sides consists of four stories, round which runs
a regular corridor, not very broad, yet sufficiently spacious for the
admission of air, and the accommodation of persons passing through it.
The wards occupy the remainder of the breadth, and the whole length of
each wing of the building. There are two rows of beds with curtains in
each ward, their size corresponds with that of the children: the boys
are kept separate from the girls, and the greatest cleanliness and
regularity are observed.

“We had scarcely taken possession of the city, and succeeded in
extinguishing the fire, kindled by the Russians in the most beautiful
quarters, when, in consequence of two principal causes, the flames again
broke out in the most violent manner, spread rapidly from one street to
another, and involved the whole place in one common ruin. The first of
these causes is justly reported to have been the desperate resolution of
a certain class of Russians, who were said to have been confined in the
prisons, the doors of which were thrown open on the departure of the
army; these wretches, whether incited by superior authority, or by their
own feelings, with the view, no doubt, of plunder, openly ran from
palace to palace, and from house to house, setting fire to every thing
that fell in their way. The French patroles, although numerous and on
the alert, were unable to prevent them. I saw several of those
miscreants taken in the act; lighted matches and combustibles were found
in their possession. The pain of death inflicted upon those caught in
the actual commission of the atrocity made no impression on the others,
and the fire raged three days and three nights without interruption; in
vain houses were pulled down by our soldiers, the flames quickly
overleaped the vacant space, and the buildings thus insulated, were set
on fire in the twinkling of an eye. The second cause must be attributed
to the violence of the equinoctial winds, which are always very powerful
in those parts, and by means of which the conflagration increased and
extended its ravages with extraordinary activity.

“It would be difficult, under any circumstances, to imagine a picture
more horrible than that with which our eyes were afflicted. It was more
particularly during night, between the 18th and 19th of September, the
period when the fire was at the highest pitch, that its effects
presented a terrific spectacle: the weather was fine and dry, the wind
continuing to blow from East to North, or from North to East. During
that night, the dreadful image of which will never be effaced from my
memory, the whole of the city was on fire. Large columns of flames of
various colours shot up from every quarter, entirely covered the
horizon, and diffused a glaring light and a scorching heat to a
considerable distance. These masses of fire, driven by the violence of
the winds in all directions, were accompanied in their rise and rapid
movement, by a dreadful whizzing and by thundering explosions, the
result of the combustion of gunpowder, saltpetre, oil, resin, and
brandy, with which the greater part of the houses and shops had been
filled. The varnished iron plates, with which the buildings were
covered, were speedily loosened by the heat, and whirled far away; large
pieces of burning beams and rafters of fir were carried to a great
distance, and contributed to extend the conflagration to houses which
were considered in no danger, on account of their remoteness. Every one
was struck with terror and consternation. The guard, with the
head-quarters and the staff of the army, left the Kremlin and the city,
and formed a camp at Petrowski, a mansion which belonged to Peter the
Great, on the road to Petersburg. I remained with a very small number of
my comrades, in a house built of stone, which stood alone, and was
situated on the top of the quarter of the Franks, close to the Kremlin.
I was there enabled to observe all the phenomena of that tremendous
conflagration. We had sent our equipage to the camp, and kept ourselves
constantly on the look-out, to be prepared for, or to prevent, danger.

“The lower classes, who had remained at Moscow, driven from house to
house by the fire, uttered the most lamentable cries; extremely anxious
to preserve what was most valuable to them, they loaded themselves with
packages, which they could hardly sustain, and which they frequently
abandoned to escape from the flames. The women, impelled by a very
natural feeling of humanity, carried one or two children on their
shoulders, and dragged the others along by the hand; and, in order to
avoid the death which threatened them on every side, they ran, with
their petticoats tucked up, to take shelter in the corners of the
streets and squares; but they were soon compelled, by the intenseness of
the heat, to abandon those spots, and to fly with precipitation by any
way that was open to them, sometimes without being able to extricate
themselves from that kind of labyrinth, where many of them met with a
miserable end. I saw old men, whose long beards had been caught by the
flames, drawn on small carts by their own children, who endeavoured to
rescue them from that real Tartarus.

“As for our soldiers, tormented with hunger and thirst, they exposed
themselves to every danger, to obtain, in the burning cellars and shops,
eatables, wines, liquors, or any other article more or less useful. They
were seen running through the streets, pell-mell with the broken-hearted
inhabitants, carrying away every thing they could snatch from the
ravages of this dreadful conflagration. At length, in the course of
eight or ten days, this immense and superb city was reduced to ashes,
with the exception of the Kremlin palace, some large houses, and all the
churches: these edifices are built of stone.

“This calamity threw the army into great consternation, and was a
presage to us of more serious misfortunes. We all thought that we should
no longer find either subsistence, cloth, or any other necessary for
equipping the troops, and of which we were in the most urgent want.
Could a more dismal idea suggest itself to our imagination? The head
quarters were, however, after the fire, again established at the
Kremlin, and the guard sent to some houses of the Franks’ quarter, which
had been preserved. Every one resumed the exercise of his duties.

“Magazines of flour, meal, salt-fish, oil, wine and liquors, were
discovered by dint of perseverance. Some were served out to the troops,
but there was too great a wish to spare or hoard up these articles, and
that excess of precaution, which is sometimes a mere pretext, induced us
to burn or leave behind us, in the end, provisions of every kind, from
which we might have derived the greatest benefit, and which would have
even been sufficient for the wants of the army for more than six months,
had we remained at Moscow. The same conduct was pursued with regard to
the stuffs and furs, which ought to have been immediately worked up for
the purpose of supplying our troops with all the clothing capable of
preserving them, as much as possible, from the inclemency of the cold
that was at hand. The soldiers, who never think of the future, so far
from obviating, on their part and for their own advantage, that want of
precaution, were solely engaged in searching for wines, liquors, and
articles of gold and silver, and despised every other consideration.

“This unexpected abundance, which was owing to the indefatigable
researches of the troops, was attended with a bad effect on their
discipline and on the health of those who were intemperate. That motive
alone ought to have made us hasten our departure for Poland. Moscow
became a new Capua to our army. The enemy’s generals flattered ours with
the hopes of peace; the preliminaries were to be signed from day to day.
Meanwhile clouds of Cossacks covered our cantonments and carried off
every day a great number of our foragers. General Kutusoff was
collecting the wreck of his army and strengthening himself with the
recruits who joined him from all parts. Imperceptibly, and under various
pretences of pacification, his advanced posts drew near to ours.
Finally, the period of negotiation had arrived, and it was at the moment
in which the French ambassador was to obtain a first decision, that
Prince Joachim’s corps d’armée was surrounded. It was with difficulty
that our general, the ambassador, surmounted the obstacles which were
opposed to his return to Moscow. Several parties of our troops and some
pieces of cannon had been already carried off. The different corps of
this advanced guard, which were at first dispersed, were nevertheless
rallied, broke the Russian column that hemmed them in, took up a
favourable position, and charged successively the enemy’s numerous
cavalry, which they repulsed with vigour, retaking part of the artillery
and some of the soldiers made prisoners in the first onset. At length,
the arrival of General Lauriston, and of the wounded, was to us, at head
quarters, a confirmation that hostilities would be resumed. Orders were
immediately given for the sudden departure of the army; the drum beat to
arms, and all the corps prepared to execute that precipitate movement.
Some provisions were hastily collected and the march commenced on the
19th of October.”


25th.—The weather has become fine in every respect. The Emperor
breakfasted in the tent and sent for us all. The conversation turned
upon the ceremonies of the coronation. He asked for particulars from one
of us, who had been present, but was unable to satisfy him. He made the
same inquiries of another, but the latter had not seen it. “Where were
you then at that time?” asked the Emperor.—“At Paris, Sire.”—“How then!
you did not see the coronation!”—“No Sire.” The Emperor, then casting a
side glance at him, and taking him by the ear, said; “Were you so absurd
as to carry your aristocracy to that point?”—“But, Sire, my hour was not
come.”—“But at least you saw the retinue?”—“Ah! Sire, had my curiosity
prevailed, I should have hastened to witness what was most worthy and
most interesting to be seen. I had, however, a ticket of admission, and
I preferred presenting it to the English lady whom I lately mentioned to
your Majesty, and who, by way of parenthesis, caught a cold there, that
nearly killed her. For my own part I remained quietly at home.”—“Ah,
that is too much for me to put up with,” said the Emperor, “the
villanous aristocrat! How! And you were really guilty of such an
absurdity?”—“Alas! I was,” replied the accused, “and yet here I am near
you, and at St. Helena.” The Emperor smiled, and let go the ear.

After breakfast, a captain of the English artillery, who had been six
years at the Isle of France, called upon me. He was to sail for Europe
the next day. He entreated me in a thousand ways to procure him the
happiness of seeing the Emperor. He would, he said, give all he had in
the world for such a favour; his gratitude would be boundless, &c.

We conversed together for a long time; the Emperor was taking his round
in the calash. On his return, I was fortunate enough to fulfil the
English officer’s wishes. The Emperor received him for upwards of a
quarter of an hour; his joy was extreme, as he was aware that the favour
became every day more rare. Every thing about the Emperor had struck
him, he declared, in a most extraordinary manner; his features, his
affability, the sound of his voice, his expressions, the questions he
had asked; he was, he exclaimed, a hero, a god!...

The weather was delightful. The Emperor continued to walk in the garden
in the midst of us. He discussed the failure of a negotiation undertaken
by one of us; a business which the Emperor had judged very easy, but
which turned out to be of the most delicate nature for the person
entrusted with it. The object of it was to prevail upon some English
officers to publish a certain paper in England.

The Emperor expressed his disapprobation of the failure in his usual
mode of reasoning, and with the intelligence and point that are familiar
to him: he was, however, very much disappointed at it: his observations
were rather strong; he pushed them to a degree of ill humour of which
the person he found fault with had never, perhaps, before, received any
proofs. At length, he concluded with saying: “After all, Sir, would you
not have accepted yourself what you proposed to others, had you been in
their place?”—“No, Sire.”—“Why not? Well then,” he added, in a tone of
reproof, “you should not be my Minister of Police.” “And your Majesty
would be in the right,” quickly replied the other, who felt himself
vexed in his turn; “I feel no inclination whatever for such an office.”
The Emperor, seeing him enter the saloon, a little before dinner, said:
“Ah! there is our little Officer of Police! Come, approach, my little
Officer of Police;” and he pinched his ear. Although hours had passed
since the warm conversation took place, the Emperor recollected it; he
knew that the person who had been the subject of it was full of
sensibility, and it was evident that he wished to efface the impression
it had made upon him. These are characteristic shades, and those which
arise from the most trifling causes are the most natural and the most

After dinner, the Emperor was led, by the turn which the conversation
took, to review the special subject of his maritime quarrel with
England. “Her pretensions to blockade on paper,” he observed, “produced
my famous Berlin decree. The British council, in a fit of resentment,
issued its orders; it established a right of toll on the seas. I
instantly replied by the celebrated Milan decrees, which denationalized
every flag that submitted to the English acts; and it was then that the
war became, in England truly personal. Every one connected with trade
was enraged against me. England was exasperated at a struggle and
energy, of which she had no example. She had uniformly found those who
had preceded me more complaisant.”

The Emperor explained, on a later occasion, the means, by which he had
forced the Americans to make war against the English. He had, he said,
discovered the way of connecting their interests with their rights; for
people, he remarked, fight much more readily for the former than for the

At present, the Emperor expected, he said, some approaching attempt, on
the part of the English, on the sovereignty of the seas, for the
establishment of the right of universal toll, &c. “It is,” said he, “one
of the principal resources left them for discharging their debts, for
extricating themselves from the abyss into which they are plunged; in a
word, for getting rid of their embarrassments. If they have among them
an enterprising genius, a man of a strong intellect, they will certainly
undertake something of that kind. Nobody is powerful enough to oppose
it, and they set up their claim with a sort of justice. They may plead,
in its justification, that it was for the safety of Europe they involved
themselves in difficulties; that they succeeded, and that they are
entitled to some compensation. And then, the only ships of war in Europe
are theirs. They reign, in fact, at present, over the seas. There is an
end to existence of public rights when the ballance is the broken, &c.,

“The English may now be omnipotent, if they will but confine themselves
to their navy. But they will endanger their superiority, complicate
their affairs, and insensibly lose their importance, if they persevere
in keeping soldiers on the continent.”

                              BY NAPOLEON.

26th.—The Emperor went out early in the morning, before seven o’clock;
he did not wish to disturb any of us. He began to work alone in the
garden beneath the tent, where he sent for us all to breakfast with him.
He continued there until two o’clock.

At dinner, he conversed a great deal about our situation in the island.
He would not, he said, leave Longwood; he did not care for any visitors;
but he was desirous that we should take some diversion, and find out
some means of amusement. It would, he said, be a pleasure to him to see
us move about and get abroad more.

The narrative of the battle of Waterloo, which the Emperor had dictated
to General Gourgaud, was read by his desire. What a story! It is painful
to think of it. The destinies of France suspended by so slight a thread!

This production was published in Europe in 1820. The measures contrived
to transmit it clandestinely from St. Helena proved successful, in spite
of every kind of vigilance. The instant this narrative appeared, every
body was agreed as to its author. An exclamation burst from every
quarter that Napoleon alone was capable of describing in that manner,
and it is confidently stated that the Generalissimo, his antagonist,
expressed himself precisely in the same way. What noble chapters! It
would be impossible to attempt an analysis of them, or to pretend to
convey their excellence in terms adequate to their merits. We literally
transcribe, however, in this place, the last pages, containing, in the
shape of a summary, nine observations of Napoleon, on the faults with
which he has been reproached in that campaign.

They are points which will become classic, and we are of opinion that
our readers will not be displeased at again finding here subjects which
become, every time the occasion presents itself, topics of earnest and
important discussion.

We shall preface these observations with a description, also from
Napoleon’s dictation, of the resources which France still possessed
after the loss of the battle.

“The situation of France was critical, but not desperate, after the
battle of Waterloo. Every preparatory measure had been taken, on the
supposition of the failure of the attack upon Belgium. Seventy thousand
men were rallied on the 27th, between Paris and Laon; from 25 to 30,000,
including the depôts of the guard, were on their march from Paris and
the depots; General Rapp, with 25,000 men, chosen troops, was expected
on the Marne, in the beginning of July; all the losses sustained in the
_materiel_ of the artillery had been repaired. Paris, alone, contained
500 pieces of field-artillery, and only 170 had been lost. Thus an army
of 120,000 men, equal to that which had passed the Sambre on the 15th,
with a train of artillery, consisting of 350 pieces of cannon, would
cover Paris by the 1st of July. That capital possessed, independently of
these means, for its defence, 36,000 men of the National Guard, 30,000
sharpshooters, 6000 gunners, 600 battering cannon, formidable
entrenchments on the right bank of the Seine, and, in a few days, those
of the left bank would have been entirely completed. The Anglo-Dutch and
Prusso-Saxon armies, diminished, however, by more than 80,000 men, and
no longer exceeding 140,000, could not cross the Somme with more than
90,000; they would have to wait there for the co-operation of the
Austrian and Russian armies, which could not be on the Marne before the
15th of July. Paris had, consequently, twenty-five days to prepare for
its defence, to complete the arming of its inhabitants, its
fortifications, its supplies of provisions, and to draw troops from
every point of France. Even by the 15th of July, not more than 30, or
40,000 men could have arrived on the Rhine. The mass of the Russian and
Austrian armies could not take the field before a later period. Neither
arms, nor ammunition, nor officers were wanting in the capital; the
number of sharpshooters might be easily augmented to 80,000, and the
field artillery could be increased to 600 pieces.

“Marshal Suchet, in conjunction with General Lécourbe, would have had,
at the same time, upwards of 30,000 men before Lyons, independently of
the garrison of that city, which would have been well armed, well
supplied with provisions, and well protected by entrenchments. The
defence of all the strong places was secured; they were commanded by
chosen officers, and garrisoned by faithful troops. Every thing might be
repaired, but decision, energy, and firmness, on the part of the
officers, of the Government, of the Chambers, and of the whole nation,
were necessary. It was requisite that France should be animated by the
sentiment of honour, of glory, of national independence; that she should
fix her eyes upon Rome after the battle of Cannæ, and not upon Carthage
after that of Zama!!! If France had raised herself to that height, she
would have been invincible. Her people contained more of the military
elements than any other people in the world. The _materiel_ of war
existed in abundance, and was adequate to every want.

“On the 21st of June, Marshal Blucher and the Duke of Wellington entered
the French territory at the head of two columns. On the 22nd, the powder
magazine at Avesnes took fire, and the place surrendered. On the 24th,
the Prussians entered Guise, and the Duke of Wellington was at Cambray.
He was at Peronne on the 26th. During the whole of this time, the
fortresses on the first, second, and third line in Flanders were
invested. The two generals learned, however, on the 25th, the Emperor’s
abdication, which had taken place on the 22d, the insurrection of the
Chambers, the discouragement occasioned by these circumstances in the
army, and the hopes excited among our internal enemies. From that
moment, they thought only of marching upon the capital, under the walls
of which they arrived at the latter end of June, with fewer than 90,000
men; an enterprise that would have proved fatal to them, and drawn on
their total ruin, had they hazarded it in the presence of Napoleon: but
that Prince had abdicated!!! The troops of the line at Paris, more than
6000 men of the depôts of the guard, the sharpshooters of the National
Guard, chosen from among the people of that great capital, were devoted
to him; they had it in their power to exterminate the domestic enemy!!!
But in order to explain the motives which regulated his conduct in that
important crisis, which was attended with such fatal results both for
him and for France, the narrative must go back to an earlier period.

_First Observation._—“The Emperor has been reproached, 1st, With having
resigned the dictatorship, at the moment when France stood most in need
of a dictator; 2nd, With having altered the constitutions of the empire,
at a moment when it was necessary to think only of preserving it from
invasion; 3rd, With having permitted the Vendeans to be alarmed, who
had, at first, refused to take arms against the imperial government;
4th, With having assembled the Chambers, when he ought to have assembled
the army; 5th, With having abdicated and left France at the mercy of a
divided and inexperienced assembly; for, in fine, if it be true, that it
was impossible for the Prince to save the country without the confidence
of the nation, it is not less true that the nation could not, in these
critical circumstances, preserve either its happiness or its
independence without Napoleon.

_Second Observation._—“The art, with which the movements of the
different bodies of the army were concealed from the enemy’s knowledge,
on the opening of the campaign, cannot be too attentively remarked.
Marshal Blucher and the Duke of Wellington were surprised; they saw
nothing, knew nothing, of the operations which were carrying on near
their advanced posts.

“In order to attack the two hostile armies, the French might have
out-flanked their right or left, or penetrated their centre. In the
first case, they might have advanced by the way of Lisle, and fallen in
with the Anglo-Dutch army; in the second, they might have moved forward
by Givet and Charlemont, and have fallen in with the Prusso-Saxon army.
These two armies would have remained united, since they must have been
pressed the one upon the other, from the right to the left, and from the
left to the right. The Emperor adopted the plan of covering his
movements with the Sambre, and piercing the line of the two armies at
Charleroi, their point of junction, executing his manœuvres with
rapidity and skill. He thus discovered, in the secrets of the art, means
to supply the place of 100,000 men, whom he needed. The plan was
executed with boldness and prudence.

_Third Observation._—“The character of several generals had been
affected by the events of 1814; they had lost somewhat of that spirit,
of that resolution, and that confidence, by which they had gained so
much glory and so much contributed to the success of former campaigns.

“1st.—On the 15th of June, the third corps was to march at three o’clock
in the morning, and arrive at Charleroi at ten; it did not arrive until
three o’clock in the afternoon.

“2ndly.—The same day the attack on the woods in front of Fleurus, which
had been ordered at four in the afternoon, did not take place until
seven. Night came on before the troops could enter Fleurus, where the
Commander in Chief had intended to establish his head-quarters the same
day. The loss of seven hours was very vexatious on the opening of a

“3rdly.—Ney received orders to advance on the 16th with 43,000 men, who
composed the left under his command, in front of Quatre-Bras, to take up
a position there at day-break, and even to entrench himself; he
hesitated, and lost eight hours. The Prince of Orange, with only 9000
men, retained, on the 16th until three o’clock in the afternoon, that
important position. When at length, the Marshal received at twelve
o’clock at noon the order dated from Fleurus, and saw, that the Emperor
was on the point of attacking the Prussians, he advanced against
Quatre-Bras, but only with half his force, leaving the other half to
cover his retreat at the distance of two leagues in the rear; he forgot
it until six in the evening, when he felt the want of it for his own
defence. In other campaigns, that General would have made himself master
of the position in front of Quatre-Bras at six o’clock in the morning;
he would have routed and captured the whole of the Belgic division, and
either turned the Prussian army by sending a detachment on the Namur
road to fall on the rear of their line of battle; or, by moving rapidly
along the road to Gennapes, he would have surprised and destroyed the
Brunswick division on its march, and the fifth English division as it
advanced from Brussels. He would have afterwards marched to meet the
third and fourth English divisions, which were advancing by way of
Nivelles, and were both destitute of cavalry and artillery, and
overwhelmed with fatigue. Ney, who was always first in the heat of
battle, forgot the troops that were not directly engaged. The courage
which a Commander in Chief should display is different from that of a
general of division, as that of the latter ought to differ from the
bravery of a captain of grenadiers.

“4thly.—The advanced guard of the French army did not arrive on the
16th, in front of Waterloo, until six o’clock in the evening; it would
have arrived at three but for some vexatious hesitations. The Emperor
was very much mortified at the delay, and, pointing at the sun,
exclaimed, “What would I now give to have the power of Joshua, and to
stop its progress for two hours!”

_Fourth Observation._—“The French soldier never displayed more bravery,
cheerfulness, and enthusiasm; he was animated with the sentiment of his
superiority over all the soldiers of Europe. His confidence in the
Emperor was altogether unabated; it had, perhaps, increased: but he was
suspicious and distrustful of his other Commanders. The treasons of 1814
were always in his thoughts, and he was uneasy at every movement which
he did not understand; he thought he was betrayed. At the moment when
the first cannon-shots were firing near St. Amand, an old corporal
approached the Emperor and said: “Sire, beware of General Soult; be
assured that he is a traitor.”—“Fear nothing,” replied the Emperor, “I
can answer for him as for myself.” In the middle of the battle, an
officer informed Marshal Soult that General Vandamme had gone over to
the enemy, and that his soldiers demanded, with loud cries, that the
Emperor should be made acquainted with it. At the close of the battle, a
dragoon, with his sabre covered with blood, galloped up to him crying,
“Sire, come instantly to the division. General Dhénin is persuading the
dragoons to go over to the enemy.”—“Did you hear him?“—“No, Sire, but an
officer, who is looking for you, saw him and ordered me to tell your
Majesty.” During this time, the gallant General Dhénin received a cannon
shot, which carried off one of his legs, after he had repulsed the
enemy’s charge.

“On the 14th, in the evening, Lieutenant-General B——, Colonel C——, and
V——, an officer of the staff, deserted and went over to the enemy. Their
names will be held in execration as long as the French shall constitute
a nation. The uneasy feelings of the troops had been considerably
aggravated by that desertion. It appears nearly certain that the cry of
Sauve _qui peut_ was raised among the soldiers of the fourth division of
the first corps, on the evening of the battle of Waterloo, when Marshal
Blucher attacked the village of La Haye. That village was not defended
as it ought to have been.[11] It is equally probable that several
officers, charged with the communication of orders, disappeared. But, if
some officers deserted, not a single private was guilty of that crime.
Several killed themselves on the field of battle, where they lay
wounded, when they learned the defeat of the army.

Footnote 11:

  General Durutte, who was mutilated on that disastrous day, and who
  commanded the fourth division here mentioned, declares that there must
  be some mistake in regard to the number specified in this dictation of
  Napoleon’s; or that there was some inaccuracy or malice in the report
  that was made to him.

_Fifth Observation._—“In the battle of the 17th, the French army was
divided into three bodies; 69,000 men under the Emperor’s command,
marched against Brussels by the way of Charleroi; 34,000, under the
command of Marshal Grouchy, directed their operations against that
capital by way of Wavres, in pursuit of the Prussians; 7 or 8000 men
remained on the field of battle at Ligny, of whom 3000, belonging to
Girard’s division, were employed in assisting the wounded, and in
forming a reserve for any unexpected casualty at Quatre-Bras; and 4 or
5000 continued with the reserve at Fleurus and at Charleroi. The 34,000
men under the command of Marshal Grouchy, with 108 pieces of cannon,
were sufficient to drive the Prussian rear-guard from any position it
might take up, to press upon the retreat of the conquered army, and to
keep it in check. It was a glorious result of the victory of Ligny, to
be thus enabled to oppose 34,000 men to an army which had consisted of
120,000. The 69,000 men, under the Emperor’s command, were sufficient to
beat the Anglo-Dutch army, composed of 90,000. The disproportion which
existed on the 15th between the two belligerent masses in the ratio of
one to two, was materially changed, and it no longer exceeded three to
four. Had the Anglo-Dutch army defeated the 69,000 men opposed to it,
Napoleon might have been reproached with having ill-calculated his
measures; but it is undeniable, even from the enemy’s admission, that,
unless General Blucher had arrived, the Anglo-Dutch army would have been
driven from the field of battle between eight and nine o’clock at night.
If Marshal Blucher had not arrived at eight with his first and second
corps, the march on Brussels with two columns, during the battle of the
17th, would have been attended with several advantages. The left would
have pressed upon and kept in check the Anglo-Dutch army; the right,
under the command of Marshal Grouchy, would have pursued and restrained
the operations of the Prusso-Saxon army; and in the evening, the whole
of the French army would have effected its junction on a line of less
than five leagues from Mont Saint Jean to Wavres, with its advanced
posts on the edge of the forest. But the fault committed by Marshal
Grouchy, in stopping on the 17th at Gembloux, having marched scarcely
two leagues in the course of the day, instead of pushing on three
leagues more in front of Wavres, was aggravated and rendered irreparable
by that which he committed the following day, the 18th, in losing twelve
hours, and arriving at four o’clock in the afternoon in front of Wavres,
when he should have been there at six in the morning.

“1st,—Grouchy, charged with the pursuit of Marshal Blucher, lost sight
of him for twenty-four hours, from four o’clock in the afternoon of the
17th until a quarter past twelve at noon on the 18th.

“2dly,—The movement of the cavalry on the plain, while General Bulow’s
attack was not yet repulsed, proved a distressing accident. It was the
intention of the Commander in Chief to order that movement, but not
until an hour later, and then it was to have been sustained by the
sixteen battalions of infantry belonging to the guard, with one hundred
pieces of cannon.

“3dly.—The horse grenadiers and the dragoons of the guard, under the
command of General Guyot, engaged without orders. Thus, at five in the
afternoon, the army found itself without a reserve of cavalry. If, at
half past eight, that reserve had existed, the storm which swept all
before it on the field of battle would have been dispersed, the enemy’s
charges of cavalry driven back, and the two armies would have slept on
the field, notwithstanding the successive arrivals of General Bulow and
Marshal Blucher: the advantage would also have been in favour of the
French army, as Marshal Grouchy’s 34,000 men, with 108 pieces of cannon,
were fresh troops and bivouacked on the field of battle. The enemy’s two
armies would have placed themselves in the night under cover of the
forest of Soignes. The constant practice in every battle was for the
horse-grenadiers and the dragoons of the guard never to lose sight of
the Emperor, and never to make a charge but in consequence of an order
verbally given by that Prince to the General who commanded them.

“Marshal Mortier, who was Commander in Chief of the guards, gave up the
command on the 15th, at Beaumont, just as hostilities were on the point
of commencing, and no one was appointed in his stead, which was attended
with several inconvenient results.

_Sixth Observation._—“1st, The French army manœuvred on the right of
the Sambre, on the 13th and 14th. It encamped, the night between the
14th and 15th, within half a league of the Prussian advanced posts; and
yet Marshal Blucher had no knowledge of it, and when, on the morning of
the 15th, he learned at his head-quarters at Namur that the Emperor had
entered Charleroi, the Prusso-Saxon army was still cantoned over an
extent of thirty leagues; two days were necessary for him to effect the
junction of his troops. It was his duty, from the 15th of May, to
advance his head-quarters to Fleurus, to concentrate the cantonments of
his army within a radius of eight leagues, with his advanced posts on
the Meuse and Sambre. His army might then have been assembled at Ligny
on the 15th at noon, to await in that position the attack of the French
army, or to march against it in the evening of the 15th, for the purpose
of driving it into the Sambre.

“2dly.—Yet, notwithstanding this surprise of Marshal Blucher, he
persisted in the project of collecting his troops on the heights of
Ligny, behind Fleurus, exposing himself to the hazard of being attacked
before the arrival of his army. On the morning of the 16th, he had
collected but two corps, and the French army was already at Fleurus. The
third corps joined in the course of the day, but the fourth, commanded
by General Bulow, was unable to get up in time for the battle. Marshal
Blucher, the instant he learned the arrival of the French at Charleroi,
that is to say, on the evening of the 15th, ought to have assigned, as a
point of junction for his troops, neither Fleurus nor Ligny, which were
under the enemy’s cannon, but Wavres, which the French could not have
reached until the 17th. He would have also had the whole of the 16th,
and the night between the 16th and 17th, to effect the total junction of
his army.

“3dly.—After having lost the battle of Ligny, the Prussian General,
instead of making his retreat on Wavres, ought to have effected it upon
the army of the Duke of Wellington, whether at Quatre-Bras, where the
latter had maintained himself, or at Waterloo. The whole of Marshal
Blucher’s retreat on the morning of the 17th was contrary to common
sense, since the two armies, which were, on the evening of the 16th,
little more than three miles from each other, and had a fine road for
their point of communication, in consequence of which their junction
might have been considered as effected, found themselves, on the evening
of the 17th, separated by a distance of nearly twelve miles, and by
defiles and impassable ways.

“The Prussian General violated the three grand rules of war; 1st, To
keep his cantonments near each other; 2dly, To assign as a point of
junction a place where his troops can all assemble before those of the
enemy; 3dly, To make his retreat upon his reinforcements.

_Seventh Observation._—“1st, The Duke of Wellington was surprised in his
cantonments; he ought to have concentrated them on the 15th of May, at
eight leagues about Brussels, and kept advanced guards on the roads from
Flanders. The French army was for three days manœuvring close upon
his advanced posts; it had commenced hostilities twenty four hours, and
its head-quarters had been twelve hours at Charleroi, and yet the
English General was at Brussels, ignorant of what was passing, and all
the cantonments of his army were still in full security, extended over a
space of more than twenty leagues.

“2dly.—The Prince of Saxe-Weimar, who belonged to the Anglo-Dutch army,
was, on the 16th, at four o’clock in the afternoon in position before
Frasne, and knew that the French army was at Charleroi. If he had
immediately despatched an aide-de-camp to Brussels, he would have
arrived there at six in the evening; and yet the Duke of Wellington was
not informed that the French army was at Charleroi until eleven at
night. He thus lost five hours, in a crisis, and against a man, that
rendered the loss of a single hour highly important.

“3dly.—The infantry, cavalry, and artillery of that army were in
cantonments, so remote from each other that the infantry was engaged at
Waterloo without cavalry or artillery, which exposed it to considerable
loss, since it was obliged to form in close columns to make head against
the charges of the cuirassiers, under the fire of fifty pieces of
cannon. These brave men were slaughtered without cavalry to protect or
artillery to avenge them. As the three branches of an army cannot, for
an instant, dispense with each other’s assistance, they should be always
cantoned and placed in such a way as to be able to assist each other.

“4th.—The English General, although surprised, assigned Quatre-Bras,
which had been, for the last four-and-twenty hours in possession of the
French, as the rallying point of his army. He exposed his troops to
partial defeats as they gradually arrived; the danger which they
incurred was still more considerable, since they came without artillery
and without cavalry; he delivered up his infantry to his enemy
piece-meal, and destitute of the assistance of the two other branches.
He should have fixed upon Waterloo for his point of junction; he would
then have had the day of the 16th, and the night between the 16th and
17th, an interval quite sufficient, to collect the whole of his army,
infantry, cavalry, and artillery. The French could not have arrived
until the 17th, and would have found all his troops in position.

_Eighth Observation._—“1st, The English General gave battle at Waterloo
on the 18th; that measure was contrary to the interests of his nation,
to the general system of war adopted by the Allies, and to all the rules
of war. It was not the interest of England, who wants so many men to
recruit her armies in India, in her American colonies, and in her vast
establishments, to expose herself, with a generous vivacity, to a
sanguinary contest in which she might lose the only army she had, and
expend, at the very least, her best blood. The plan of the Allies
consisted in operating in a mass and in avoiding all partial actions.
Nothing was more contrary to their interests and their plan than to
expose the success of their cause in a doubtful battle with a nearly
equal force, in which all the probabilities were against them. If the
Anglo-Dutch army had been destroyed at Waterloo, of what use to the
allies would have been the great number of armies that were preparing to
cross the Rhine, the Alps, and the Pyrenees?

“2ndly.—The English General, in accepting the battle of Waterloo, placed
his reliance on the co-operation of the Prussians, but that co-operation
could not be carried into effect until the afternoon; he therefore
continued exposed alone from four o’clock in the morning until five in
the afternoon, that is to say, for thirteen hours; no battle lasts
generally more than six hours; that co-operation was therefore an

“But, if he relied upon the co-operation of the Prussians, he must have
supposed that the whole of the French army was opposed to him, and he
must consequently have undertaken to defend his field of battle, during
thirteen hours, with 90,000 men of different nations, against an army of
104,000 French. That calculation was evidently false; he could not have
maintained himself three hours; the battle would have been decided by
eight o’clock in the morning, and the Prussians would have arrived only
to be taken in flank. Both armies would have been destroyed in one
battle. If he calculated that a part of the French army had, conformably
to the rules of war, pursued the Prussian army, he ought, in that case,
to have been convinced that he could receive no assistance from it, and
that the Prussians, beaten at Ligny, having lost from 25 to 30,000 men
on the field of battle, having 20,000 scattered and dispersed over the
country, and pursued by from 35 to 40,000 victorious French, would not
have risked any fresh operation, and would have considered themselves
scarcely sufficient to maintain a defensive position. In that case, the
Anglo-Dutch army alone would have had to sustain the shock of 69,000
French during the whole of the 18th, and there is no Englishman who will
not admit that the result of that struggle could not have been doubtful,
and that their army was not so constituted as to be capable of
sustaining the attack of the imperial army for four hours.

“During the whole of the night between the 17th and 18th, the weather
was horrible, and the roads were impassable until nine o’clock in the
morning. This loss of six hours from day-break, was entirely in the
enemy’s favour; but could the English General stake the fate of such a
struggle upon the weather which happened in the night between the 17th
and 18th? Marshal Grouchy, with 34,000 men and 180 pieces of cannon,
found out the secret, which one would suppose was not to be found out,
of not being in the engagement of the 18th, either on the field of
battle of Mont St. Jean or of Wavres. But, had that Marshal pledged
himself to the English General to be led astray in so strange a manner?
The conduct of Marshal Grouchy was as unexpected as that his army
should, on its march, be swallowed up by an earthquake. Let us
recapitulate. If Marshal Grouchy had been on the field of battle of Mont
St. Jean, as he was supposed to be by the English General and the
Prussian General, during the whole night between the 17th and 18th, and
all the morning of the 18th, and the weather had allowed the French army
to be drawn up in order of battle at four o’clock in the morning, the
Anglo-Dutch army would have been dispersed and cut in pieces before
seven; its ruin would have been complete, and if the weather had not
allowed the French army to range itself in order of battle until ten,
the fate of the Anglo-Dutch army would have been decided before one
o’clock; the remains of it would have been driven either beyond the
forest or in the direction of Hal, and there would have been quite time
enough in the afternoon to go and meet Marshal Blucher, and treat him in
a similar manner. If Marshal Grouchy had encamped in front of Wavres in
the night between the 17th and 18th, no detachment could have been sent
by the Prussians to save the English army, which must have been
completely beaten by the 69,000 French opposed to it.

“3dly.—The position of Mont St. Jean was ill chosen. The first requisite
of a field of battle is to be without defiles in its rear. The English
General derived no advantage, during the battle, from his numerous
cavalry; he did not think that he ought to be and would be attacked on
the left; he believed that the attack would be made on his right.
Notwithstanding the diversion operated in his favour by General Bulow’s
30,000 Prussians, he would have twice effected his retreat, during the
battle, had that measure been possible. Thus, in reality, how strange
and capricious are human events! the bad choice of his field of battle,
which prevented all possibility of retreat, was the cause of his

_Ninth Observation._—“It may be asked, what then should have been the
conduct of the English General, after the battle of Ligny and the
engagement of Quatre Bras? On this point posterity will not entertain
two opinions: he ought, in the night between the 17th and 18th, to have
crossed the forest of Soignes, by the road of Charleroi; the Prussian
army ought also to have crossed it by the road of Wavres; the armies
would have effected a junction by break of day in Brussels; left their
rearguards for the defence of the forest, gained some days in order to
give time to the Prussians, dispersed after the battle of Ligny, to join
their army; reinforced themselves with fourteen English regiments, which
were in garrison in the fortresses of Belgium, or had been just landed
at Ostend, on their return from America, and let the Emperor of the
French manœuvre as he pleased.

“Would he, with an army of 100,000 men have traversed the forest of
Soignes to attack in an open country the two united armies, consisting
of more than 200,000 men, and in position? It would have certainly been
the most advantageous thing that could have happened to the allies.
Would he have been content with taking up a position himself? He could
not have long remained in an inactive state, since 300,000 Russians,
Austrians, Bavarians, &c. were on their march to the Rhine; they would
have been in a few weeks on the Marne, which would have compelled him to
hasten to the assistance of his capital. It was then that the
Anglo-Prussian army ought to have marched and effected its junction with
the Allies, under the walls of Paris. It would have exposed itself to no
risk, suffered no loss, and have acted conformably to the interests of
the English nation, and the general plan of carrying on the war adopted
by the Allies, and sanctioned by the rules of the military art. From the
15th to the 18th, the Duke of Wellington invariably manœuvred as his
enemy wished; he executed nothing which the latter apprehended he would.
The English infantry was firm and solid; the cavalry might have
conducted itself better: the Anglo-Dutch army was twice saved, in the
course of the day, by the Prussians—the first time before three o’clock,
by the arrival of General Bulow with 30,000 men, and the second time by
the arrival of Marshal Blucher with 31,000 men. In that battle, 69,000
French beat 120,000 men; the victory was wrested from them, between
eight and nine, by 150,000 men.

“Let the feelings of the people of London be imagined, if they had been
doomed to hear of the destruction of their army, and the prodigal waste
of their best blood, in support of the cause of kings against that of
nations, of privileges against equality, of the oligarchs against the
liberals, and of the principles of the Holy Alliance against those of
the sovereignty of the people!!!”

                          SKETCHED BY HIMSELF.

Tuesday, August 27th.—About four o’clock I joined the Emperor in the
garden: he had been engaged in dictating during the whole of the
morning. The wind was very rough, and the Emperor declined riding out in
the calash: he therefore walked about for a considerable time in the
great alley through the wood, attended by all the persons of his suite.
He jokingly teased one of the party, by observing that he was sulky, and
accusing him of being very often discontented and ill-humoured, &c.

The Emperor, on rising from the dinner table, adverted to his recent
protest against the treaty of the 2d of August. He expatiated with
warmth on the subject, and remarked, while he walked rapidly about the
apartment, that he intended to draw up another protest, on a more
extensive and important scale, against the Bill that had been passed in
the British Parliament. He would prove, he said, that the Bill was not a
law, but a violation of every existing law. Napoleon was proscribed, and
not judged by it. The English Parliament had done, not what was just,
but what was deemed to be expedient; it had imitated Themistocles,
without hearing Aristides. The Emperor then arraigned himself before all
the nations in Europe, and proved that each would successively acquit
him. He took a review of the different acts of his reign, and justified
them all.

“The French and the Italians,” said he, “lament my absence; I carry with
me the gratitude of the Poles, and even the late and bitter regrets of
the Spaniards. Europe will soon deplore the loss of the equilibrium, to
the maintenance of which my French empire was absolutely necessary. The
Continent is now in the most perilous situation, being continually
exposed to the risk of being overrun by Cossacks and Tartars. And the
English,” said he in conclusion, “the English will deplore their victory
at Waterloo! Things will be carried to such a length that posterity,
together with every well-informed and well-disposed person among our
contemporaries, will regret that I did not succeed in all my

In course of his remarks, the Emperor occasionally rose to a pitch of
sublimity. I shall not follow him into all his details. He promised to
dictate the observations he had made, and said that he had already
sketched out a plan for his political defence, in fourteen paragraphs.


28th.—The Emperor did not go out until four o’clock; he had spent three
hours in the bath. The weather was very unpleasant, and in consequence
he merely took a few turns in the garden. He had just written to inform
the Governor that henceforth he would receive no strangers, unless they
were admitted to Longwood by passes from the Grand Marshal, as in the
time of Admiral Cockburn.

The Emperor proposed playing a game at chess; but, before he sat down to
do so, he took up a volume of Fenelon. It was _La Direction de
Conscience d’un Roi_. He read to us several articles, criticising them
with considerable spirit and gaiety. At length he threw down the volume,
saying that the name of an author had never influenced him in forming an
opinion of his writings; that he always judged of works according to the
sentiments with which they inspired him; being always equally willing to
praise or to censure. He added that, in spite of the name of Fenelon, he
had no hesitation in declaring that the work he had just looked through
was a mere string of rhapsodies; and truly it would be difficult to
refute this assertion.

After dinner, the Emperor conversed about the old marine establishment,
and alluded to M. de Grasse, and his defeat on the 12th of April. He
wished to learn some particulars on this subject; and he asked for the
Dictionary of Sieges and Battles. He looked over it, and it afforded him
matter for a multitude of observations. Catinat came under his
consideration, and the remarks he made on that commander lowered him
infinitely in our estimation. Napoleon said that he thought him very
inferior to the reputation he enjoyed, after viewing the scenes of his
operations in Italy, and reading his correspondence with Louvois.
“Having risen from the _tiers-état_,” said he, “and being educated for
the law, distinguished for urbanity of manners and moral integrity,
affecting the practice of equality, residing at St. Gratien, at the
gates of Paris, Catinat became the favourite of the _literati_ of the
capital and the philosophers of the day, who exalted him beyond his real
merits. He was in no way comparable to Vendôme.”

The Emperor said, that he had endeavoured, in the same manner, to study
the characters of Turenne and Condé, suspecting that they were also the
objects of exaggerated eulogy; but that he was convinced those two men
were fully entitled to all the commendation that has been bestowed on
them. With regard to Turenne, he remarked that his intrepidity encreased
in proportion as he acquired experience; as he grew old, he evinced
greater courage than he seemed to possess in early life. The contrary
was observable in Condé, who displayed so much dauntless valour at the
commencement of his career.

Now that I am alluding to Turenne, Condé, and other distinguished men, I
may mention, as a curious fact, that I never, by any chance, heard
Napoleon utter the name of Frederick the Great. Yet many circumstances
prove that Frederick held a high rank in Napoleon’s regard. The large
silver watch, a kind of alarum used by that Prince, which hangs by the
fire-place in the Emperor’s apartment at St. Helena;—the eagerness with
which Napoleon, on his entrance into Potzdam, seized the sword of the
Prussian hero, exclaiming, “Let those who will seek other spoil; I value
this beyond millions!”—finally, his long and silent contemplation of the
tomb of Frederick—sufficiently attest the deep interest which Napoleon
attached to every thing connected with that sovereign.[12]

Footnote 12:

  After my removal from Longwood, Napoleon undertook a special work on
  Frederick the Great, with notes and Commentaries on his Campaigns.

In the Dictionary of Sieges and Battles, which the Emperor was looking
over to-day, he found his name mentioned in every page; but connected
with anecdotes either totally false, or at least misstated. This led him
to exclaim against the whole swarm of inferior writers, and their
unworthy abuse of the pen. “Literature,” he said, “had become the food
of the vulgar, while it ought to have been reserved exclusively for
people of refined taste.

“For example,” said the Emperor, “it is affirmed that, when at Arcole, I
one night took the post of a sentinel who had fallen asleep. This idea
was doubtless conceived by a citizen, by a lawyer, perhaps, but
certainly not by a soldier. The author evidently wishes to represent me
in a favourable point of view; and he of course imagined that nothing
could reflect greater credit on me than the story he has invented. He
certainly wrote it with the view of doing me honour; but he knew not
that I was totally incapable of the action he describes. I was much too
fatigued for any such thing; and it is very probable that I should
myself have fallen asleep before the sentinel.”

We then enumerated about fifty or sixty great battles that had been
fought by the Emperor. Some one present having asked which was the
greatest, the Emperor replied that it was difficult to answer that
question, since it was first necessary to enquire what was meant by the
greatest battle. “Mine,” continued he, “cannot be judged of separately.
They had no unity of place, action or design. They formed merely a
portion of extensive plans. They can therefore only be judged of by
their results. The battle of Marengo, which was so long undecided,
procured for us the dominion of all Italy; Ulm annihilated a whole army;
Jena threw the whole Prussian monarchy into our hands; Friedland opened
to us the Russian empire; and Eckmühl decided the fate of a war. The
battle of Moscow was one in which the greatest talent was displayed, and
in which the fewest results were obtained. Waterloo, where every thing
failed, would, had every thing succeeded, have saved France and
re-established Europe.”

Madame de Montholon having asked what troops might be accounted the
best, “Those who gain victories, Madam,” replied the Emperor. “But,”
added he, “soldiers are capricious and inconstant, like you ladies. The
best troops were the Carthagenians under Hannibal; the Romans under the
Scipios; the Macedonians under Alexander; and the Prussians under
Frederick.” He thought, however, he might safely affirm that the French
troops were, of all others, those who could most easily be rendered the
best, and preserved so.

“With my complete guard of 40 or 50,000 men, I would have pledged myself
to march through all Europe. It may, perhaps, be possible to produce
troops as good as those who composed my army of Italy and Austerlitz;
but certainly nothing can ever surpass them.”

The Emperor, who had dwelt for a considerable time on this subject,
which was so interesting to him, suddenly recollecting himself, asked
what it was o’clock. He was informed that it was eleven.—“Well,” said
he, rising, “we at least have the merit of having got through our
evening without the help of either tragedy or comedy.”


29th. About two o’clock the Emperor desired me to attend him in his
chamber, and he gave me some private orders. At four I rejoined him. I
found him sitting under the tent, surrounded by all his suite; he was
swinging backward and forward on his chair, laughing, talking, and
making every effort to be cheerful, while, at the same time, he
continually repeated that he felt dull and languid. He rose and took a
drive in the calash.

After dinner, the conversation turned on romance writing. Some one
mentioned Madame Cottin’s Mathilde, the scene of which is laid in Syria.
The Emperor asked the person who had alluded to the work whether he had
ever seen Madame Cottin, whether she liked him (Napoleon), whether her
work was favourable to him, &c., but as he did not receive a ready
answer he thus continued: “But every body has loved me and hated me:
every one has been for me and against me by turns. I may truly say that
there is not a single Frenchman in whom I have not excited interest. All
must have loved me, from Collot d’Herbois (had he lived) to the Prince
of Condé; only not all at the same time but at different intervals and
periods. I was like the sun which crosses the equator to travel through
the ecliptic. According as my influence was felt in each different
climate, all hopes expanded, and I was blessed and adored; but when I
had departed, when I was no longer understood, unfavourable sentiments

Egypt next became the subject of conversation; and the Emperor again
sketched the characters of Kleber and Desaix. The latter joined the
First Consul on the eve of the battle of Marengo. Napoleon asked him how
he could have thought of signing the capitulation of Egypt; since the
army was sufficiently numerous to maintain possession of it. “We ought
not to have lost Egypt,” he observed.—“That’s very true,” replied
Desaix, “and the army was certainly numerous enough to enable us to
retain possession of the country. But the General-in-chief left us; and
at that distance from home, the General-in-chief is not a single man in
the army; he is the half, the three-fourths, the five-sixths of it. I
had no alternative but to resign the possession of the country. I doubt
whether I could have succeeded had I acted otherwise; besides, it would
have been criminal to make the attempt, for in such a case it is a
soldier’s duty to obey, and I did so.”

Desaix, immediately after his arrival at Marengo, obtained the command
of the reserve. Towards the end of the battle, and amidst the greatest
apparent disorder, Napoleon came up to him:—“Well,” said Desaix,
“affairs are going on very badly, the battle is lost. I can only secure
the retreat. Is it not so?”—“Quite the contrary,” said the First Consul;
“to me the result of the battle was never for a moment doubtful. Those
masses, which you see in disorder on the right and left, are marching to
form in your rear. The battle is gained. Order your column to advance:
you have but to reap the glory of the victory.”

The Emperor afterwards spoke of Sir Sidney Smith, He had, he said, just
read in the Moniteur the documents relating to the convention of
El-Arish, in which he remarked that Sir Sidney had evinced a great share
of intelligence and integrity. The Emperor said he bewildered Kleber by
the stories which he made him believe. But when Sir Sidney received
intelligence of the refusal of the English Government to ratify the
treaty, he was very much dissatisfied, and behaved very honourably to
the French army. “After all,” said the Emperor, “Sir Sidney Smith is not
a bad man. I now entertain a better opinion of him than I did;
particularly after what I daily witness in the conduct of his

It was Sir Sidney Smith who, by communicating the European journals to
Napoleon, brought about the departure of the General-in-chief, and
consequently the dénouement of Brumaire. The French, on their return
from St. Jean d’Acre, were totally ignorant of all that had taken place
in Europe for several months. Napoleon, eager to obtain intelligence,
sent a flag of truce on board the Turkish admiral’s ship, under the
pretence of treating for the ransom of the prisoners whom he had taken
at Aboukir, not doubting that the envoy would be stopped by Sir Sidney
Smith, who carefully prevented all direct communication between the
French and the Turks. Accordingly, the French flag of truce received
directions from Sir Sidney to go on board his ship. He experienced the
handsomest treatment; and the English commander, having among other
things ascertained that the disasters of Italy were quite unknown to
Napoleon, he indulged in the malicious pleasure of sending him a file of

Napoleon spent the whole night in his tent, perusing the papers; and he
came to the determination of immediately proceeding to Europe, to repair
the disasters of France, and, if possible, to save her from destruction.

Admiral Ganthaume, who brought Napoleon from Egypt in Le Murion frigate,
frequently related to me the details of his voyage. The Admiral remained
at head-quarters after the destruction of the fleet at Aboukir. Shortly
after the return from Syria, and immediately after a communication with
the English squadron, the General-in-chief sent for him and directed him
to proceed forthwith to Alexandria, to fit out secretly, and with all
possible speed, one of the Venetian frigates that were lying off that
port, and to let him know when the vessel was ready to sail.

These orders were executed. The General-in-chief, who was making a tour
of inspection, proceeded to an unfrequented part of the coast, with a
party of his guides. Boats were in readiness to receive them, and they
were conveyed to the frigate without passing through Alexandria.

The frigate weighed that very evening, in order to get out of sight of
the English cruisers and the fleet that was anchored at Aboukir, before
daylight. Unfortunately, a calm ensued while the vessel was still within
sight of the coast, and from the tops the English ships at Aboukir were
still discernible.

The utmost alarm prevailed on board the frigate. It was proposed to
return to Alexandria; but Napoleon opposed this suggestion. The die was
cast; and happily they soon got beyond the reach of observation.

The voyage was very long and very unfavourable. The idea of being
overtaken by the English frequently occasioned alarm. Though no one knew
the intentions of the General, each formed his own conjectures, and the
utmost anxiety prevailed. Napoleon alone was calm and undisturbed.
During the greater part of the day he used to shut himself up in his
cabin, where, as Ganthaume informed me, he employed himself in reading
sometimes the Bible, and sometimes the Koran. Whenever he appeared on
deck, he displayed the utmost cheerfulness and ease, and conversed on
the most indifferent subjects.

General Menou was the last person to whom Napoleon spoke on shore. He
said to him, “My dear General, you must take care of yourselves here. If
I have the happiness to reach France, the reign of ranting shall he at
an end.”

On a perusal of the papers furnished by Sir Sidney Smith, Napoleon
formed such an idea of the disasters of France that he concluded the
enemy had crossed the Alps, and was already in possession of several of
our Southern Departments. When therefore the frigate approached the
coast of Europe, Napoleon directed the Admiral to make for Collioure and
Port-Vendre, situated at the extremity of the Gulf of Lyons. A gale of
wind drove them upon the coast of Corsica. They then entered Ajaccio,
where they obtained intelligence of the state of affairs in France.

Ganthaume informed me that he saw, at Ajaccio, the house which was
occupied by Napoleon’s family, the patrimonial abode. The arrival of
their celebrated countryman immediately set all the inhabitants of the
island in motion. A crowd of cousins came to welcome him, and the
streets were thronged with people.

Napoleon again set sail, and the frigate now steered towards Marseilles
and Toulon. However, just as they were on the point of reaching the
place of their destination, a new source of alarm arose. At sunset, on
the larboard of the frigate, and precisely in the sun’s rays, they
observed thirty sail making towards them with the wind aft. Ganthaume
proposed that the long boat of the frigate should be manned with the
best sailors, and that the General should get on board, and under favour
of the night, endeavour to gain the shore. But Napoleon declined this
proposition, observing that there would always be time enough for that
mode of escape; and he directed the captain to continue his course as
though nothing had occurred. Meanwhile, night set in, and the enemy’s
signal-guns were heard, at a distance, and right astern: thus it
appeared that the frigate had not been observed. Next day they anchored
at Frejus. The rest is well known.

The Emperor concluded the evening’s conversation, by relating to us
three curious instances of the caprice of fortune, which took place in
the same quarter of the world, and about the same period.

A corporal, who deserted from one of the regiments of the army of Egypt,
joined the Mamelukes, and was made a Bey. After his elevation, he wrote
a letter to his former General.

A fat sutler’s wife who had followed the French army, became the
favourite of the Pasha of Jerusalem. She could not write, but she sent a
messenger with her compliments to her old friends, assuring them that
she would never forget her country, but would always afford protection
to the French and the Christians. “She was,” said the Emperor, “the
Zaire of the day.”

A young peasant-girl of Cape Corso, being seized in a fishing-boat by
corsairs, was conveyed to Barbary, and subsequently became the ruling
favourite of the King of Morocco. The Emperor, after some diplomatic
communications, caused the brother of this young girl to be brought from
Corsica to Paris, and, after having him suitably fitted out, sent him to
his sister; but he never heard of them afterwards.

It was late when the Emperor retired to rest; he had spent upwards of
three hours in conversation.

30th.—I attended the Emperor at four o’clock. He had been engaged in
dictating under the tent. The Governor had returned answers to the
letters which M. de Montholon addressed to him by the Emperor’s orders.

To the first communication, containing the protest against the treaty of
the 2d of August, and various other complaints, no answer was returned,
except that the Governor wished to be informed what letter he had kept
back. This we could not tell him, since we had not seen the letters. We
had asked _him_ that question; and he was the only person capable of
answering it.

To the second letter, which stated that the Emperor would not receive
strangers at Longwood unless they were admitted by the Grand Marshal’s
passes, as was usual in the time of Admiral Cockburn, the Governor
replied that he had been sorry to see General Bonaparte troubled by
intrusive visitors at Longwood, and that he wished to prevent such
importunity for the future. This was a most revolting piece of irony,
considering the situation in which the Emperor was placed, and the tenor
of M. de Montholon’s letter.

After dinner the Emperor retired to the drawing-room, and desired us all
to seat ourselves round the table, to form, as he said, an academic
sitting. He began to dictate to us on some subjects; but when the parts
that had been written were read over to him, he resolved to cancel them.
Conversation was then resumed, and was kept up for a considerable time,
partly in a serious and partly in a lively strain. It was near one
o’clock when the Emperor retired. For some time past we have sat up
later than we used to do. This is a good sign: the Emperor feels better,
and he is more cheerful and talkative than he lately was.


31st.—The Emperor rose very early, and took a turn round the park alone.
On his return, not wishing to have any one disturbed, he desired my son,
who had risen, to sit down under the tent, and write from his dictation:
in this manner he employed himself for two hours. We all breakfasted
with him.

We took an airing in the calash. The conversation turned on the doubts
that were attached to various points of history. The Emperor made some
very curious remarks on this subject, and concluded with a circumstance
relating to the Regent. “If,” said he, “Louis XV. had died in his
childhood, and nothing was more possible, who would have doubted that
the Duke of Orleans had poisoned the whole royal family? Who would have
ventured to defend him? Had not one child survived, that Prince would
not have had justice done him.” The Emperor then alluded to the
character of the Duke of Orleans, and particularly to his errors in the
affair of the legitimate princes. “There he degraded himself,” said
Napoleon; “not to say, however, that their cause was good. Louis XIV.
usurped a right in nominating them to the succession. On the extinction
of the Royal House, the choice of a Sovereign is unquestionably the
prerogative of the nation. The act of Louis XIV. was doubtless an error
into which that Monarch was betrayed by his own greatness. He conceived
that every thing emanating from him must necessarily be great. Yet he
seemed to entertain a suspicion that the world might not be exactly of
his opinion; for he took precautions to consolidate his work by giving
his natural children in marriage to the legitimate princes and
princesses of the royal family. As to the Regency, it is very certain
that it devolved by right on the Duke of Orleans. Louis XIV.’s will was
a downright absurdity: it was a violation of our fundamental laws.
France was a monarchy, and he gave us a republic for a Regency.”

The Emperor then mentioned Madame de Maintenon, whose career, he said,
was most extraordinary. She was, he observed, the Bianca Capello[13] of
her age; but less romantic, and not quite so amusing. Pursuing his
historical doubts, he said a great deal on the subject of Madame de
Maintenon’s marriage with Louis XIV. He declared that he was sometimes
inclined to regard the circumstance as very problematical, in spite of
all that was said about it in the Memoirs of the time.

Footnote 13:

  A noble Venetian lady of great beauty, whose adventures form a truly
  romantic and dramatic history. She eloped from her father’s house to
  follow a young Florentine pedlar, and was reduced to the greatest
  wretchedness. She subsequently became Grand Duchess of Tuscany, and
  she closed her career by coolly poisoning herself at table, in a fit
  of vexation at seeing the Grand Duke, her husband, partake of a
  poisoned dish, which she had prepared for her brother-in-law, Cardinal
  de Medicis, who, on his part, obstinately abstained from tasting it.

“The fact is,” observed he, “that there does not, and never did, exist
any official and authentic proof of the marriage. What could be Louis
XIV.’s object in keeping the measure so strictly secret, both from his
contemporaries and posterity? and how happened it that the Noailles
family, to whom Madame de Maintenon was related, suffered nothing to
transpire on the subject? This was the more singular considering that
Madame de Maintenon survived Louis XIV.”

The Emperor, feeling somewhat fatigued this evening, retired to rest
early. He seemed indisposed and low spirited.

                         FINERY AT ST. HELENA.

Sunday, September 1st.—The Emperor went out about three o’clock: he said
that he had felt feeble, languid, and dull the whole of the day. We all
felt indisposed in the same way: it was the effect of the weather. We
strolled out to the great path in the wood, while the calash was
preparing; but no sooner had we reached the extremity of the path than a
shower of rain came on. It was so heavy that the Emperor was obliged to
take refuge at the foot of a gum-tree, the scanty foliage of which,
however, afforded but little shelter. The calash soon arrived to take us
up; and we were returning home with all speed, when we perceived the
Governor, at some distance, making towards us. The Emperor immediately
ordered the coachman to turn, observing, that of two evils he would
choose the least; and we took a circuitous route homewards, in spite of
the wind and rain. We, however, escaped Sir Hudson Lowe: that was an

Before dinner, the Emperor, in his chamber, took a review of the
individuals who had been attached to his Household, the Council of
State, and the different ministerial departments. Alluding to M. Daru,
he observed that he was a man distinguished for probity and for
indefatigable application to business. At the retreat from Moscow, M.
Daru’s firmness and presence of mind were remarkable, and the Emperor
often afterwards said that he laboured like an ox, while he displayed
the courage of a lion.

Business seemed to be M. Daru’s element; he was incessantly occupied.
Soon after he was appointed Secretary of State, one of his friends was
expressing a fear that the immense business in which he would
thenceforth be absorbed might prove too much for him. “On the contrary,”
replied Daru, “I assure you that, since I have entered upon my new
functions, I seem to have absolutely nothing to do.” On one occasion
only was his vigour ever known to relax. The Emperor called him up,
after midnight, to write from his dictation: M. Daru was so completely
overcome by fatigue that he scarcely knew what he was writing; at length
he could hold out no longer, and he fell asleep over his paper. After
enjoying a sound nap, he awoke, and, to his astonishment, perceived the
Emperor by his side quietly engaged in writing. The shortness of the
candles informed him that his slumber had been of considerable duration.
While he sat for a few moments overwhelmed with confusion, his eyes met
those of the Emperor, who said to him: “Well, Sir, you see I have been
doing your work, since you would not do it yourself. I suppose you have
eaten a hearty supper, and passed a pleasant evening; but business must
not be neglected.”—“I pass a pleasant evening, Sire!” said M. Daru. “I
have been for several nights without sleep, and closely engaged. Of this
your Majesty now sees the consequence, and I am exceedingly sorry for
it.”—“Why did you not inform me of this?” said the Emperor, “I do not
want to kill you. Go to bed. Good night, M. Daru.” This was certainly a
characteristic trait, and one that was well calculated to remove the
false notions which were generally entertained respecting Napoleon’s
harshness of temper. But I know not by what fatality facts of this kind
were concealed from our knowledge, while any absurd inventions
unfavourable to the Emperor were so actively circulated. Was it because
the courtiers reserved their flattery for the interior of the palace,
and sought to create a sort of counterpoise, by assuming elsewhere an
air of opposition and independence? Be this as it may, had any
individual related traits of the above kind in the saloons of Paris, he
would probably have been told that he had invented them, or would have
been looked upon as a fool for giving credit to them.

The Grand Marshal and his lady came to dine at Longwood, which they were
accustomed to do every Sunday.

During dinner, the Emperor jokingly alluded to the faded finery of the
ladies. He said that their dresses would soon resemble the gay trappings
of those old misers who purchase their wardrobes from the dealers in
second-hand clothes; they no longer displayed the freshness and elegance
that characterized the millinery of Leroi, Despeaux, Herbault, &c. The
ladies craved indulgence for St. Helena; and their husbands reminded the
Emperor of his fastidiousness with regard to female dress at the
Tuileries, which, it was remarked, had proved the ruin of some families.
At this the Emperor laughed, and said that the idea of his scrupulous
taste in dress was a mere invention of the ladies of the Court, who made
it a pretence, or an excuse, for their extravagance. The conversation
then turned on our splendour at St. Helena. The Emperor said that he had
told Marchand he would wear every day the hunting-coat which he then had
on, until it was completely worn out: it was already very far gone.

Both before and after dinner the Emperor played a few games at chess: he
felt low-spirited and nervous, and retired to bed early.

&c. #/

Sept. 2.—To-day there was some horse-racing at the camp, at which one of
the Emperor’s suite was present.

The Emperor did not go out until late, and he walked to the calash. The
wind blew very hard, and he renounced his intention of taking a drive.
He sat down beneath the tent: but, finding it not very pleasant without
doors, he retired to his library, where he took up the Letters of Madame
de Chateauroux, looked through the Expedition to Bohemia, and analysed
the Life of Marshal de Belle-Isle. He again went out to take a walk in
the garden; but he returned almost immediately, and directed me to
follow him.

He took up a book relating to our last campaigns, and, after perusing it
for some time, he threw it down, saying, “It is a downright rhapsody—a
mere tissue of contradictions and absurdities.” He conversed for a
considerable time on the two celebrated campaigns of Saxony: his
observations were principally moral, and few or none military; I noted
down the following as the most remarkable: “That memorable campaign,”
said he, “will be regarded as the triumph of courage in the youth of
France; of intrigue and cunning in English diplomacy; of intelligence on
the part of the Russians; and of effrontery in the Austrian Cabinet. It
will mark the period of the disorganization of political societies, the
great separation of subjects from their Sovereigns; finally, the decay
of the first military virtues—fidelity, loyalty, and honour. In vain
people may write and comment, invent falsehoods and suppositions; to
this odious and mortifying result we must all come at last: time will
develop both its truth and its consequences.

“But it is a remarkable circumstance, in this case, that all discredit
is equally removed from sovereigns, soldiers, and people. It was
entirely the work of a few military intriguers and headlong politicians,
who, under the specious pretext of shaking off the foreign yoke and
recovering the national independence, purposely sold their own rulers to
envious rival Cabinets. The results soon became manifest: the King of
Saxony lost half his dominions, and the King of Bavaria was compelled to
make valuable restitutions. What did the traitors care for that? They
enjoyed their rewards and their wealth, and those who had proved
themselves most upright and innocent were visited with the severest
punishment. The King of Saxony, the most honest man who ever wielded a
sceptre, was stripped of half his territories; and the King of Denmark,
so faithful to all his engagements, was deprived of a crown! This,
however, was affirmed to be the restoration and the triumph of
morality!... Such is the distributive justice of this world!...

“To the honour of human nature, and even to the honour of Kings, I must
once more declare that never was more virtue manifested than amidst the
baseness which marked this period. I never for a moment had cause to
complain individually of the Princes our allies. The good King of Saxony
continued faithful to the last; the King of Bavaria loyally avowed to me
that he was no longer his own master; the generosity of the King of
Würtemburg was particularly remarkable; the Prince of Baden yielded only
to force, and in the very last extremity. All, I must render them this
justice, gave me due notice of the storm that was gathering, in order
that I might take the necessary precautions. But, on the other hand, how
odious was the conduct of subaltern agents! Military history will never
obliterate the infamy of the Saxons, who returned to our ranks for the
purpose of destroying us! Their treachery became proverbial among the
troops, who still use the term _Saxonner_ to designate the act of a
soldier who assassinates another. To crown all, it was a Frenchman, a
man for whom French blood purchased a crown, a nursling of France, who
gave the finishing stroke to our disasters! Gracious God!

“But in the situation in which I was placed, the circumstance which
served to fill up the measure of my distress was that I beheld the
decisive hour gradually approach. The star paled; I felt the reins slip
from my hands, and yet I could do nothing. Only a sudden turn of fortune
could save us: to treat, to conclude any compact, would have been to
yield like a fool to the enemy. I was convinced of this, and the event
sufficiently proved that I was not mistaken. We had, therefore, no
alternative but to fight; and every day, by some fatality or other, our
chances diminished. Treason began to penetrate into our ranks. Great
numbers of our troops sunk under the effects of fatigue and
discouragement. My lieutenants became dispirited, and, consequently,
unfortunate. They were no longer the same men who figured at the
commencement of the Revolution, or who had distinguished themselves in
the brilliant moments of my success. I have been informed that some
presumed to allege, in their defence, that at first they fought for the
Republic and for their country; while afterwards they fought only for a
single man, for his individual interests, and his ambition.

“Base subterfuge! Ask the young and brave soldiers, and the officers of
intermediate rank in the French army, whether such a calculation ever
entered their thoughts;—whether they ever saw before them any thing but
the enemy, or behind them any thing save the honour, glory, and triumph
of France! These men never fought better than at the period alluded to.
Why dissemble? Why not make a candid avowal? The truth is that,
generally speaking, the officers of high rank had gained every object of
their ambition. They were sated with wealth and honours. They had drunk
of the cup of pleasure, and they henceforth wished for repose, which
they would have purchased at any price. The sacred flame was
extinguished; they were willing to sink to the level of Louis XV.’s

If the words above quoted require any comment—if the sense here, or in
other similar passages of my Journal, should be found to be incomplete,
I must not be held responsible. I have literally noted down what
Napoleon uttered, and I am accountable for nothing more. I have already
several times mentioned that, when the Emperor spoke, I never ventured
to interrupt him by questions or remarks. On the subject of the
celebrated campaign of 1813, I may mention that, from various detached
conversations of Napoleon, which I have not noted down at the time when
they occurred, he was far from being deceived as to the crisis which
threatened France, and he correctly estimated the full extent of the
risk by which he was surrounded in the opening of the campaign. Ever
since his return from Moscow, he had seen the danger, he said, and
endeavoured to avert it. From that moment he resolved on making the
greatest sacrifices; but the choice of the proper moment for proclaiming
these sacrifices was the difficult point, and that which chiefly
occupied his consideration. If the influence of material power be great,
he said, the power of opinion is still greater; it is magical in its
effects. His object was to preserve it; and a false step, a word
inadvertently uttered, might for ever have destroyed the illusion. He
found it indispensable to exert the greatest circumspection, and to
manifest the utmost apparent confidence in his own strength. It was,
above all, necessary to look forward to the future.

His great fault, his fundamental error, was in supposing that his
adversaries always had as much judgment and knowledge of their own
interests, as he himself possessed. From the first, he said, he
suspected that Austria would avail herself of the difficulties in which
he was placed, in order to secure great advantages to herself; but he
never could have believed that the Monarch was so blind, or his advisers
so treacherous as to wish to bring about his (Napoleon’s) downfall, and
thereby leave their own country henceforth at the mercy of the
uncontrolled power of Russia. The Emperor pursued the same train of
reasoning with regard to the Confederation of the Rhine, which, he
admitted, might, perhaps, have cause to be dissatisfied with him; but
which, he concluded, must dread still more the idea of falling under the
power of Austria and Prussia. Napoleon conceived that the same arguments
were not inapplicable to Prussia; which, he presumed, could not wish
entirely to destroy a counterpoise, that was necessary to her
independence, and her very existence. Napoleon made full allowance for
the hatred of his enemies, and for the dissatisfaction and malevolence
which, perhaps, existed among his allies; but he could not suppose that
either wished for his destruction, since he felt himself to be so
necessary to all; and he acted accordingly. Such was Napoleon’s ruling
idea throughout the whole of this important period. It was the key of
his whole conduct to the very last hour, and even to the moment of his
fall. It must be carefully borne in mind, for it serves to explain many
things, perhaps, all;—his hostile attitude, his haughty language, his
refusal to treat, his determination to fight, &c.

If he should be successful, he thought he could then make honourable
sacrifices, and a glorious peace; while the illusion of his superiority
would remain undiminished. If, on the contrary, he should experience
reverses, it would still be time enough to make concessions; and he
concluded that the interest of the Austrians and all true Germans must
secure him the support of their arms or of their diplomacy; for he
supposed they were convinced, as he himself was, that his power had
henceforth become indispensable to the structure, repose, security, and
existence of Europe. But that of which he had reason to doubt proved
most prosperous: victory continued faithful to him; his first successes
were admirable, and almost incredible. On the other hand, that which he
believed to be infallible was precisely what failed him:—his natural
allies betrayed him, and hastened his downfall.

In support of what I have just alleged, and with the view of throwing
light on the Emperor’s remarks above quoted, I shall here insert a brief
recapitulation of the events of that fatal campaign. In France, at the
time, we were made acquainted only with its results; the bulletins gave
us but little information, and we received no foreign publications.
Besides, the period is now distant, and so many important events have
since occurred to occupy public attention, that these details may be
partly forgotten by those who once knew them. They are here arranged in
chronological order.

I extract this recapitulation from a work written by M. de Montveran,
which was published in 1820. The author has bestowed great care on the
collection of official and authentic documents; and he has availed
himself of the information furnished by preceding writers. I am,
therefore, of opinion, that this work is, unquestionably, the best that
has been written on the subject. M. de Montveran is far from being
favourable to Napoleon; however, it is but just to admit that he
maintains a tone of impartiality which does credit to his character,
while, at the same time, it enhances the merit of his work.

“On the 2nd of May, Napoleon opened the campaign of Saxony by the
victory of Lützen, a most surprising event, and one which reflects
immortal honour on the conquerors. A newly embodied army, without
cavalry, marched to face the veteran bands of Russia and Prussia; but
the genius of the Chief, and the valour of the young troops whom he
commanded, made amends for all. The French had no cavalry; but bodies of
infantry advanced in squares, flanked by an immense mass of artillery,
presenting the appearance of so many moving fortresses. Eighty-four
thousand infantry, consisting of French troops, or troops of the
Confederation, with only 4,000 cavalry, beat 107,000 Russians or
Prussians with more than 20,000 cavalry. Alexander and the King of
Prussia witnessed the conflict in person. Their celebrated guards could
not maintain their ground against our young conscripts. The enemy lost
18,000 men; our loss amounted to 12,000, and our want of cavalry
prevented us from reaping the usual fruit of our conquests. However, the
moral result of the victory was immense. The enthusiasm of our troops
resumed its ascendency, and the Emperor recovered the full influence of
opinion. The Allies retreated before him without venturing the chances
of another battle.[14]

Footnote 14:

  At the victory of Lützen the Emperor sustained a severe loss in the
  death of the brave and loyal Marshal Bessières, Duke of Istria, who
  was so sincerely devoted to Napoleon. The King of Saxony raised a
  monument to his memory on the very spot where he received his
  death-blow. By a glorious coincidence the monument is similar to that
  of Gustavus Adolphus, and is placed not far distant from it. It
  consists of a simple stone surrounded by poplars. This is not the only
  instance in which foreigners have rendered that homage to the memory
  of brave Frenchmen, which their own countrymen have neglected.

“On the 9th, Napoleon entered Dresden as a conqueror, conducting back to
his capital the King of Saxony, who, from the consciousness of his own
interests, as well as the wish to remain faithful to his engagements,
had retired on the approach of the Allies, whose proposals he had
constantly rejected.

“On the 21st and 22d, Napoleon again triumphed at Würtzen and Bautzen.
The Allies had chosen their ground, which the brilliant campaigns of
Frederick had rendered classic. They had intrenched themselves, and they
thought their position impregnable: but every thing yielded to the grand
views and well-conducted plans of the French general who, at the very
commencement of the conflict, declared himself to be certain of the

“The Allies lost 18,000 or 20,000 men. They were unable to retain their
position, and they retired in disorder. The Emperor pursued them. He had
already passed through Lusatia, crossed Silesia, and reached the Oder,
when the Allies demanded an armistice to treat for peace; and Napoleon,
thinking the favourable moment had arrived, granted it.

“On the 4th of June, the armistice of Pleissvitz was concluded. This
event had the most decisive influence in producing our misfortunes; it
was the fatal knot to which were attached all the chances and destinies
of the campaign.

“Should the Emperor have granted this armistice, or have followed up his
advantages? This was, at the moment, a problem which time, and the
events that have proved so fatal to us, solved when too late. The
Emperor, crowned with victory, halted before his fallen enemies, to whom
he could now make concessions without compromising his dignity; his
sacrifices could be regarded only as moderation. Austria, hitherto
uncertain as to what course she should pursue, struck with our success,
rejoined us. Napoleon now reasonably hoped to see the ratification of a
peace which he wished for, and he would not let slip so favourable an
opportunity, to run the risk of a check that might have lost all, and
which was the more likely to take place since his army had marched
forward in haste and in the utmost disorder, and his rear was uncovered
and harassed by the enemy. He conceived that the armistice, at all
events, afforded him an opportunity of concentrating and organizing his
forces, and opening his communications with France, by which means he
should be enabled to receive immense reinforcements, and to create a
corps of cavalry.”

Unfortunately, in spite of all the Emperor’s calculations, this fatal
armistice proved advantageous only to our enemies: it was maintained for
nearly three months, and it served only to bring about their triumph and
our destruction. Austria, who was still our ally, by a deception, which
history will justly characterize, availed herself of that title to
oppose us with the greater advantage. Requiring delay, she obtained it.
The Russians, who were waiting for reinforcements, received them; the
Prussians doubled their numbers; the English subsidies arrived, and the
Swedish army rejoined. Secret associations were set on foot; a general
insurrection of the whole German population was excited; while, at the
same time, the defection of the Cabinets of the Rhenish Confederation,
and the corruption of the Allied officers, were effected. Treason also
began to creep into the superior ranks. General Jomini, the Chief of the
Staff of one of our army corps, went over to the enemy with all the
information he had been able to collect respecting the plans of the
campaign, &c.[15]

Footnote 15:

  A reference to Count Montholon’s Memoirs of Napoleon will shew that
  the Emperor admits the falsehood of this charge against Jomini, who he
  says was not even acquainted with his plans.

The result sufficiently proved to the Emperor all the errors of the
armistice, and convinced him that he would have done better had he
persisted in pressing forward; for had he continued successful, the
Allies, alarmed at finding themselves deprived of the aid of Austria,
with whom they could no longer have maintained intelligence, cut off
from the Prince of Sweden, who would have remained behind, seeing
blockades of the fortresses of the Oder raised, and the war carried back
to Poland, to the gates of Dantzick, amidst a people ready to rise in a
mass—the Allies, I say, would infallibly have treated. If, on the other
hand, we had sustained a reverse, the consequences could not have been
more fatal than those which were actually experienced. The judicious
calculations of the Emperor ruined him: that which seemed to be
indiscretion and temerity would probably have saved him.


“After two months of difficulties and obstacles, the Congress opened
under the mediation of Austria; if, indeed, the term Congress can be
properly applied to an assembly in which no deliberations took place,
and where one party had determined beforehand that none should be held.

“The mediator and the adversaries were equally our enemies; all
concurred in their hostility to us, and they had already decided on war.
Why then did they wait? Because Austria still possessed a shade of
modesty, and she wished, in the debates, to gain a pretence for
declaring war against us. Prussia and Russia, on their part, thought it
necessary to preserve their credit in Europe by this false manifestation
of their desire and their efforts to preserve peace. All were merely
affixing the seal to their Machiavelian system.

“For them the real Congress was not the assembly at Prague; it had
already taken place two months before. Time has since thrown into our
hands the authentic records of the intrigues, machinations, and even
treaties, in which they were engaged during that interval. It is now
evident that the armistice was resorted to by pretended friends and
avowed enemies, only for the sake of artfully cementing the union that
was to effect the overthrow of Napoleon, and creating the triumvirate
destined to oppress Europe while it pretended to deliver her.

“Austria had, from interested motives, long delayed the opening of the
Congress of Prague. Resolved to repair her losses at any price, she did
not hesitate to sacrifice her honour, the better to ensure her success.
She masked her perfidy under the disguise of friendship. Declaring
herself our ally, and eagerly complimenting us on every new triumph, she
insisted, with an air of the warmest interest, on being our mediatrix
when she had already entered into an agreement to make common cause with
our enemies. Her propositions were accepted. But she wished to gain time
for her preparations; and thus every day fresh obstacles were started,
while the utmost tardiness was evinced in settling them.

“Austria at first offered her services as a mediatrix; but, changing her
tone in proportion as her warlike preparations advanced, she soon
signified her wish to become an arbitress, at the same time intimating
that she expected great advantages in return for the services she might
render. At length, after an armistice of two months, when Austria
thought herself perfectly prepared, and when every thing was agreed upon
among the coalesced powers, they opened the Congress, not to treat of
peace and to establish amicable relations, but to develop their real
sentiments, and to insult us unreservedly. The Russians, in particular,
behaved with unusual ill grace. They were no longer the Russians who
anxiously solicited an armistice after the routs of Lützen, Würtzen, and
Bautzen. They now looked upon themselves as the dictators of Europe,
which, indeed, they have since really become, by the spirit of their
diplomacy, the blindness of their allies, their geographical situation,
and finally by the force of things. But whom did Alexander select as his
minister to this Congress? Precisely one who, by personal circumstances,
was, according to the laws of France, unqualified for such a post;—one
who was by birth a Frenchman. Certainly it would have been difficult to
offer a more personal and direct insult. Napoleon felt it; but he
concealed his resentment.

“Under such circumstances much could not be expected from the Congress:
during the few days of its sitting, our enemies merely drew up a series
of notes more or less acrimonious, while the conduct of Austria was
marked by the most odious partiality.

“On the 10th of August, only two days after the first meeting of the
negotiators, the Russians and Prussians haughtily withdrew; and on the
12th, Austria, that faithful ally, that obsequious and devoted friend,
who had shewn herself so eager to become our mediatrix and arbitress,
suddenly laid aside those titles to declare war against us, allowing no
interval save that required for the signature of the manifesto, which
she had been for two months secretly concerting with her new allies, and
which will ever remain a record of her shame and degradation, since it
acknowledges the sacrifice of an Archduchess to the necessity of
crouching before a detested ally. History will decide on these acts.
However, to the honour of the throne and of morality, there is reason to
believe that most of these transactions, and in particular the real
course of affairs, was unknown to the Emperor Francis, who is reputed to
be the most gentle, upright, moral, and pious of princes. It has been
affirmed that many of these acts were determined on without his
knowledge, and that others were represented to him under a totally false
colouring. The whole of these disgraceful proceedings must be attributed
to British gold, to the craftiness of Russian diplomacy, and to the
passions of the Austrian aristocracy, excited by the English faction
which at that time ruled Europe.

“The Congress broke up with mutual feelings of irritation. The Emperor
then expressed his sentiments in official and public documents, in the
most forcible language, and in a tone of the highest superiority. But
this he did with the view of creating a favourable impression on the
public mind; for he remained so far master of himself as that, though
hastening to take up arms, he nevertheless demanded a renewal of the
negotiations, which were resumed at Prague. He deemed it advisable not
to lose the advantages of constant communications: Austria would be
easily detached if we obtained advantages, and she would be easily
convinced if we sustained reverses. Such was the Congress of Prague.

“It will perhaps be asked whether Napoleon was duped by this Congress
and the circumstances arising out of it. The answer is that he was not,
or at least not entirely. If he had not a knowledge of every fact, he
was never for a moment mistaken as to the intentions and sentiments that
were really entertained.

“Napoleon, from the moment of his first victory at Lutzen, had
authentically proposed a general congress. This he conceived to be the
only means of treating for a general peace, insuring the independence of
France, and the guarantee of the modern system. Every other mode of
negotiation appeared to him merely a lure; and if he seemed to depart
from this principle, in accepting the mediation of Austria, and agreeing
to the conferences at Prague, it was because, as time advanced, affairs
became more complicated. The defeat of Vittoria, the evacuation of
Spain, and the spirit of the French people, which was declining, had
considerably diminished his prosperity. He anticipated the result of the
negotiations: but he wished to gain time, in his turn, and to await the
course of events. He was not deceived as to the part which Austria would
act; and, without knowing precisely how far she would carry her
deception, he could well discern, from her mysterious conduct and
delays, what was likely to be her determination. At Dresden, he had even
had personal conversations with the first negotiator of the Austrian
government, who had sufficiently indicated the line of conduct he
intended to pursue. The Emperor having remarked that he had, after all,
eight hundred thousand men to oppose the enemy, the negotiator eagerly
added, ‘Your Majesty may say twelve hundred thousand; for you may, if
you please, join our force to your own.’ But what was to be the price of
this advantage? Nothing less than the restitution of Illyria, the
cession of the Duchy of Warsaw, the frontier of the Inn, &c. ‘And after
all,’ said the Emperor, ‘what should I have gained by this? Had we made
all these concessions, should we not have been humbling ourselves for
nothing, and furnishing Austria with the means of making farther
demands, and afterwards opposing us with greater advantage?’ He never
relinquished the idea that the true interests of Austria being closely
connected with our danger, we should be more certain of regaining her by
our misfortunes than of securing her by our concessions. Napoleon was
therefore deaf to every demand; but he had so little doubt of the
engagements which Austria had already contracted with our enemies that
he is described as having said, half good-humouredly and half
indignantly, to the Austrian negotiator: ‘Come now, confess: tell me how
much they have paid you for this.’”

How severely did Napoleon suffer on this occasion! What trials of
patience did he not undergo! And yet he was accused at the time of not
wishing for peace! “How was I perplexed,” said he, “when conversing on
this subject, to find myself the only one to judge of the extent of our
danger and to adopt means to avert it. I was harassed on the one hand by
the coalesced Powers, who threatened our very existence, and on the
other by the spirit of my own subjects, who in their blindness, seemed
to make common cause with them; by our enemies, who were labouring for
my destruction, and by the importunities of my people and even my
Ministers, who urged me to throw myself on the mercy of foreigners. And
I was obliged to keep up a bold look in this embarrassing situation: to
reply haughtily to some, and sharply to rebuff others, who created
difficulties in my rear, encouraged the mistaken course of public
opinion, instead of seeking to give it a proper direction, and suffered
me to be tormented by demands for peace, when they ought to have proved
that the only means of obtaining it was to urge me ostensibly to war.

“However, my determination was fixed. I awaited the result of events,
firmly resolved to enter into no concessions or treaties which could
present only a temporary reparation, and would inevitably have been
attended by fatal consequences. Any middle course must have been
dangerous; there was no safety except in victory, which would have
preserved my power, or in some catastrophe, which would have brought
back my allies.”

I beg to call the reader’s attention to this last idea, which I have
already noticed on a former occasion. It will perhaps be thought I
attach great importance to it; but this is because I feel the necessity
of rendering it intelligible. Though I now enter into it completely, yet
it was long before I understood it, and it appeared to me paradoxical
and subtle.

“In what a situation was I placed!” continued the Emperor. “I saw that
France, her destinies, her principles, depended on me alone!”—“Sire!” I
ventured to observe, “this was the opinion generally entertained; and
yet some parties reproached you for it, exclaiming, with bitterness, Why
would he connect every thing with himself personally?”—“That was a
vulgar accusation,” resumed the Emperor warmly. “My situation was not
one of my own choosing, nor did it arise out of any fault of mine; it
was produced entirely by the nature and force of circumstances—by the
conflict of two opposite orders of things. Would the individuals who
held this language, if indeed they were sincere, have preferred to go
back to the period preceding Brumaire, when our internal dissolution was
complete, foreign invasion certain, and the destruction of France
inevitable? From the moment when we decided on the concentration of
power, which could alone save us; when we determined on the unity of
doctrines and resources which rendered us a mighty nation, the destinies
of France depended solely on the character, the measures, and the
principles of him whom she had invested with this accidental
dictatorship: from that moment the public welfare, _the State_, _was
myself_. These words, which I addressed to men who were capable of
understanding them, were strongly censured by the narrow-minded and
ill-disposed; but the enemy felt the full force of them, and, therefore,
his first object was to effect my overthrow. The same outcry was raised
against other words which I uttered in the sincerity of my heart: when I
said that _France had more need of me than I of her_. This profound
truth was declared to be merely excess of vanity. But, my dear Las
Cases, you now see that I can relinquish every thing; and as to what I
endure here, my sufferings cannot be long. My life is limited; but the
existence of France...!” Then, resuming his former idea, he said: “The
circumstances in which we were placed were extraordinary and
unprecedented; it would be vain to seek for any parallel to them. I was
myself the keystone of an edifice totally new, and raised on a slight
foundation! Its stability depended on each of my battles! Had I been
conquered at Marengo, France would have encountered all the disasters of
1814 and 1815, without those prodigies of glory which succeeded, and
which will be immortal. It was the same at Austerlitz and Jena, and
again at Eylau and elsewhere. The vulgar failed not to blame my ambition
as the cause of all these wars. But they were not of my choosing; they
were produced by the nature and force of events; they arose out of that
conflict between the past and the future—that constant and permanent
coalition of our enemies, which obliged us to subdue under pain of being

But to return to the negotiations of 1813. On a reference to the
documents and manifestoes published at the time by the two parties,
whether because we can now peruse them with more impartiality, or
because our eyes have been opened by the conduct of those who triumphed,
it is impossible to avoid feeling astonished at the two-fold error which
led the Germans to rise so furiously against him from whose yoke they
pretended to free themselves, and in favour of those whom they expected
to become their regenerators!

_Renewal of Hostilities—Battle of Dresden—26th and 27th of August._—“The
hostile powers again presented themselves on the field of battle. The
French, with a force of 300,000, of which 40,000 were cavalry, occupied
the heart of Saxony, on the left bank of the Elbe; and the Allies, with
500,000 men, of whom 100,000 were cavalry, threatened them in three
different directions, from Berlin, Silesia, and Bohemia, on Dresden.
This prodigious disproportion of numbers had no effect on Napoleon: he
concentrated his forces, and boldly assumed the offensive. Having
fortified the line of the Elbe, which had now become his _point
d’appui_, and, protecting his extreme right by the mountains of Bohemia,
he directed one of his masses on Berlin against Bernadotte, who
commanded an army of Prussians and Swedes, while another marched upon
Silesia, against Blucher, who commanded a corps composed of Prussians
and Russians, and a third was stationed at Dresden, as the key of the
position, to observe the great Austrian and Russian army in Bohemia.
Finally, a fourth mass was placed as a reserve, at Zittau, with the
threefold object:—1st, to penetrate into Bohemia, in case we should gain
advantages over Blucher; 2d, to keep the great body of the allied force
confined in Bohemia, through the fear of being attacked on their rear,
should they attempt to debouch by the banks of the Elbe; 3d, to assist,
if necessary, in assailing Blucher, or in the defence of Dresden; in
case that city should be attacked.

“The Emperor, who had already made a rapid movement against Blucher,
kept him in action before him, when he was suddenly called away for the
defence of Dresden, where 65,000 French troops found themselves opposed
to 180,000 of the allied forces. Prince Schwartzenberg, the
General-in-chief, had on the 26th made a faint attack upon Dresden,
instead of making a precipitate and decided assault; which, it was
affirmed, was the intention of the deserter Jomini, who so well
understood the real state of things. Napoleon came up with the rapidity
of lightning and he combined a force of 100,000 French troops to oppose
the 180,000 Allies. The affair was not for a moment doubtful; and to his
sagacity and penetration the whole success must be attributed. The enemy
was overwhelmed: he lost 40,000 men, and was for some time threatened
with total destruction. The Emperor Alexander was present at the battle,
and Moreau was killed by one of the first balls fired by our imperial
guard, only a short time after he had spoken with the Russian

Footnote 16:

  The death of the celebrated Moreau, while fighting under the Russian
  banner, and opposed to a French army, was and will ever continue to be
  a source of affliction to his sincerest friends and warmest partizans.

The happy chance, so anxiously looked for by Napoleon, which was
expected to re-establish our affairs, to procure peace, and to save
France, had at length arrived. Accordingly, on the ensuing day, Austria
despatched an agent to the Emperor with amicable propositions. But such
is the uncertainty of human destiny! From that moment, by an unexampled
fatality, Napoleon had to encounter a chain of disasters. At every
point, except that at which he was himself present, we sustained
reverses. Our army in Silesia lost 25,000 men in opposing Blucher; the
force which attacked Berlin was defeated by the Prince of Sweden with
great loss; and finally, nearly the whole of Vandamme’s corps, which,
after the victory of Dresden, was sent into Bohemia with the view of
assailing the enemy’s rear and accomplishing his destruction, being
abandoned to itself and to the temerity of its chief, was cut in pieces
by that part of the Allied army which was precipitately falling back.
This fatal disaster and the safety of the Austrians, were owing to a
sudden indisposition of Napoleon’s, who, at the moment, was supposed to
have been poisoned. His presence no longer excited the ardour of the
different corps in maintaining the pursuit; indecision and dejection
ensued; Vandamme’s force was destroyed, and all the fruit of the
splendid victory of Dresden was lost!

After these repeated checks, the spell was broken; the spirit of the
French troops became depressed, while that of the Allies was the more
highly excited. The hostile forces were now to be estimated only by
their numerical value; and a catastrophe seemed to be at hand. Napoleon,
in despair, made vain efforts; he hastened to every threatened point,
and was immediately called away by some new disaster. Wherever he
appeared, the Allies retreated before him; and they advanced again as
soon as his back was turned. Meanwhile, all the enemy’s masses were
constantly gaining ground; they had effected communications with each
other, and they now formed a semicircle, which was gradually closing
round the French, who were driven back upon the Elbe, and threatened
completely to surround them. On the other hand, our rear, which was
uncovered, was assailed by detached parties. The kingdom of Westphalia
was in open insurrection; our convoys were intercepted, and we could no
longer maintain free communications with France.

It was in this state of things that the negotiators of Prague submitted
to the Emperor the result of their new conferences. In addition to
numerous restitutions required from Napoleon and his allies, two
propositions were made: 1st, the surrender of all the influence and
acquisitions of France in Italy; 2nd, the resignation of the French
influence and acquisitions in Germany. Napoleon was to take his choice
of one of these two divisions of power; but the other was to be
consigned to the Allies, to be entirely at their disposal, without any
interference on his part. Neither friends nor enemies entertained a
doubt that Napoleon would eagerly accept these proposals. “For,” said
those about him, “if you choose Italy, you remain at the gates of
Vienna, and the Allies will soon dispute among themselves respecting the
division of Germany. If, on the contrary, you prefer the surrender of
Italy, you will thereby secure the friendship of Austria, to whose share
it will fall, and you will remain in the heart of Germany. In either
case you will soon re-appear in the character of a mediator, or a
ruler.” Napoleon, however, was not of this opinion: he rejected the
propositions, and persisted in following up his own ideas.

Certainly, said he to himself, such proposals in themselves, and in the
natural course of things, are most acceptable; but where is the
guarantee of their sincerity? He saw plainly that the Allies were only
endeavouring to lure him into the snare. They determined thenceforth to
abide neither by faith nor law. They did not conceive themselves bound
by any law of nations, or any rule of integrity in their conduct towards
us. In opposition to the suggestions of his counsellors, Napoleon said;
“If I relinquish Germany, Austria will but contend the more
perseveringly until she obtains Italy. If, on the other hand, I
surrender Italy to her, she will, in order to secure the possession of
it, endeavour to expel me from Germany. Thus, one concession granted
will only serve as an inducement for seeking or enforcing new ones. The
first stone of the edifice being removed, the downfall of the whole will
inevitably ensue. I shall be urged on from one concession to another,
until I am driven back to the Tuileries, whence the French people,
enraged at my weakness, and blaming me for their disasters, will
doubtless banish me, and perhaps justly, though they may themselves
immediately become the prey of foreigners.”

May not this be regarded as a literal prediction of the events which
succeeded the insidious declaration of Frankfort, the propositions of
Chatillon, &c.?

“It would be a thousand times better to perish in battle amidst the fury
of the enemy’s triumph,” continued the Emperor; “for even defeats leave
behind them the respect due to adversity, when they are attended by
magnanimous perseverance. I therefore prefer to give battle; for, if I
should be conquered, we still have with us the true political interests
of the majority of our enemies. But, if I should be victorious, I may
save all. I have still chances in my favour—I am far from despairing.”

_Intended movement on Berlin._—“In this state of things, the King of
Bavaria, the chief of the Confederation of the Rhine, wrote to the
Emperor, assuring him, confidentially, that he would continue his
alliance for six weeks longer. “This was long enough,” said Napoleon,
“to render it very probable that he would no longer find it necessary to
abandon us.” He determined immediately to attempt a great movement,
which he had long contemplated, and which plainly indicates the
resources of his enterprising mind. Pressed upon the Elbe, the right
bank of which was already lined by the great mass of the Allied force,
and nearly turned on his rear, he conceived the bold idea of changing
positions with the enemy, place for place; to penetrate the enemy’s
line, to form in his rear, and compel him to pass in his turn, with his
whole force, to the left bank of the river. If, in this situation, he
abandoned his communications with France, he would have in his rear the
enemy’s territory, a tract of country not yet ravaged by war, and which
was capable of maintaining his troops, Berlin, Brandenburg, and
Mecklenburg, he would recover his fortresses, with their immense
garrisons, the separation and the loss of which would be a great fault
after a reverse of fortune, and would be regarded as resources of genius
in case of triumph. Napoleon now looked forward to new combinations, and
a new prospect of future success: he beheld before him only the errors,
the astonishment, and the stupor of his enemies, and the brilliancy of
his own enterprise and his hopes.

_Battles of Leipsic_, (16th, 18th, and 19th Oct.)—“At first fortune
seemed to smile on the Emperor. But soon a letter from the King of
Würtemberg informed him that the Bavarian army, seduced by the intrigues
and the prevailing spirit of the moment, had joined the Austrians,
against whom it was intended to be opposed; that it was marching on the
Rhine to cut off the communication with France; and that the King of
Würtemburg was himself under the necessity of yielding to circumstances.
This unexpected event obliged Napoleon to suspend his preparations, and
to fall back, in order to secure his retreat. This complication of false
movements proved servicable to the Allies, who pressed and surrounded
us: a great battle seemed inevitable. Napoleon assembled his forces in
the plains of Leipsic. His army consisted of 157,000 men, and six
hundred pieces of artillery; but the Allies possessed 1000 pieces of
artillery, and 350,000 men. During the first day, the action was
furiously maintained: The French remained triumphant and the victory
would have been decisive, if one of the corps stationed at Dresden had
taken part in the battle, as the Emperor hoped it would. General Merfeld
was taken prisoner, but liberated on parole, with an intimation that the
Emperor was at length willing to renounce Germany. But the Allies, who
were encouraged by the arrival of an immense reinforcement, resumed the
engagement on the following day; and they were now so numerous that,
when their troops were exhausted, they were regularly relieved by fresh
corps, as on the parade. The most inconceivable fatality was now
combined with inequality of numbers; the most infamous treachery
unexpectedly broke out in our ranks; the Saxons, our allies, deserted
us, went over to the enemy, and turned their artillery against us.
Still, however, the presence of mind, energy, and skill of the French
general, together with the courage of our troops, made amends for all,
and we again remained masters of the field.

“These two terrible engagements, which history will record as battles of
giants, had cost the enemy 150,000 of his best troops, 50,000 of whom
lay dead on the field of battle. Our loss amounted to 50,000 only. Thus
the difference between our forces was considerably diminished: and a
third engagement presented itself, with changes much more favourable.
But our ammunition was exhausted; our parks contained no more than
16,000 charges; we had fired 220,000 during the two preceding days. We
were compelled to make arrangements for our retreat, which commenced
during the night, on Leipsic. At day-break the Allies assailed us; they
entered Leipsic along with us, and an engagement commenced in the
streets of the city. Our rear-guard was defending itself valiantly and
without sustaining great loss, when a fatal occurrence ruined all: the
only bridge across the Elster, by which our retreat could be effected,
was, by some accident or misunderstanding, blown up. Thus all our forces
on the Leipsic bank of the river were lost, and all on the opposite bank
marched in haste and disorder upon Mentz. At Hanau we were compelled to
force a passage through 50,000 Bavarian troops. Only the wrecks of our
army returned to France; and, to render the misfortune complete, they
brought contagion along with them.”

Such was the fatal campaign of Saxony, our last national effort, the
tomb of our gigantic power. Opposed to the united efforts of all the
forces of Europe, and in spite of all the chances that were accumulated
against us, the genius of a single man had, in the course of this
campaign, been four times on the point of restoring our ascendancy, and
cementing it by peace: after the victories of Lützen and Bautzen, after
the battle of Dresden, at the time of the last movement on Berlin, and
finally on the plains of Leipsic.

Napoleon failed only by a complication of fatalities and perfidies, of
which history furnishes no example. I here note down only those which
occur to me on a retrospective view of the events of this period.


(A.) Sudden indisposition of Napoleon.

(B.) Unexpected overflow of the Bober.

(C.) Confidential letter from the King of Bavaria.

(D.) Orders which did not reach the corps at Dresden.

(E.) Deficiency of ammunition after the two battles of Leipsic.

(F.) Blowing up of the bridge across the Elster.


(G.) Machinations and bad faith of Austria, the first and true cause of
our disasters.

(H.) Violation of the armistice of Pleisswitz, relative to our blockaded

(I.) Desertion of the chief of the staff of the 3d corps.

(K.) Defection of the Bavarian government.

(L.) Treachery of the Saxons.

(M.) Violation of the capitulation of Dresden, &c.

The following are a few lines of explanation:—

(A.) After the victory of Dresden, some one complimented Napoleon on his
great success. “Oh! this is nothing,” observed he, while his countenance
beamed with satisfaction; “Vandamme is in their rear, it is there that
we must look for the great result.” The Emperor was proceeding in person
to assist in accomplishing this decisive operation, when, unfortunately,
after one of his meals, he was seized with so violent a retching, that
he was supposed to have been poisoned, and it was found necessary to
convey him back to Dresden. Thus the operations were interrupted. The
fatal consequences that ensued are well known. How trivial was the
cause, and how calamitous were the results!

(B.) A sudden overflow of the Bober in Silesia was the principal cause
of the disasters of Marshal Macdonald. His corps, while in full
operation, were overtaken by the flood, which impeded their operations,
and caused the terrible losses which have been above described.

(C.) About the end of September, the King of Bavaria addressed a
confidential letter to Napoleon, stating that he would maintain his
alliance with him for six weeks or two months longer; and that during
that interval he would obstinately refuse every advantage that might be
held out to him. The Emperor, who was placed in a most critical
situation, and who, but for this circumstance, might, perhaps, have lent
an ear to the propositions that were made to him, now no longer
hesitated, but immediately determined on the bold movement which he had
contemplated on Berlin. He conceived that six weeks would be sufficient
to change the state of affairs, and to remove the fears of his allies.
Unfortunately, military intrigues proved more powerful than the wishes
of the King of Bavaria. Napoleon was forced to suspend his movement, and
to give battle at Leipsic with disadvantage. The consequences have
already been seen.

(D.) Napoleon, in making his arrangements for the battles of Leipsic,
had relied on a diversion of those corps of the army which he had left
in Dresden. Their co-operation might have rendered the victory decisive,
and have given a new turn to affairs. But, unfortunately the enemy’s
force was so numerous, and we were so completely surrounded, that the
Emperor’s orders could not be transmitted to Dresden.

(F.) After the two terrible engagements at Leipsic, the French were
effecting their retreat across the Elster by a single bridge. An officer
who was stationed to guard it was ordered to blow it up if the enemy
should present himself in pursuit of our rear-guard. Unluckily this
officer was, by some mistake or other, informed that the Emperor wanted
him. He immediately obeyed the summons, and in his absence a corporal of
sappers, at the first sight of some detached Russian corps, fired the
train and blew up the bridge, thus dooming to perdition that portion of
our force which still remained on the Leipsic bank of the river. The
whole of our rear-guard and baggage, two hundred pieces of artillery,
and thirty thousand prisoners (stragglers, wounded and sick), fell into
the hands of the enemy.

On the publication of the bulletins containing this intelligence, a
general outcry was raised by the discontented party in Paris. It was
asserted that the whole was a fabrication, and that the Emperor himself
had ordered the blowing up of the bridge, with a view to ensure his own
safety at the expense of the rest of the army. It was in vain to refer
to the statement of the officer, who confirmed the fact, while he
attempted to justify himself. This was declared to be another
fabrication or a piece of complaisance on the part of the officer. Such
was the language of the time.[17]

Footnote 17:

  When I visited London in 1814, public attention was occupied by the
  recent events of the Continent, and the battle of Leipsic was the
  general topic of conversation. It was related that, at the moment of
  the defeat, Napoleon’s presence of mind completely forsook him. He
  wandered about the city, and lost his way in a lonely street. Though
  on horseback, faintness obliged him to support himself against a wall,
  and in this situation he inquired his way of an old woman, and asked
  her for a glass of water. The blowing up of the bridge was not
  forgotten, and the story was related precisely as at Paris. These
  details, which were echoed in the drawing-rooms, and circulated about
  the streets, were credited among the higher ranks, as well as by the
  vulgar. Prints, representing the different events of the battle, were
  exhibited in the shop-windows. The subject of one of these engravings
  was the above described incident in the street of Leipsic. Such a
  multitude of absurdities was circulated that people of common sense
  had no resource but to shrug up their shoulders and patiently endure
  all that they heard.

(G.) The duplicity and bad faith of Austria, the numerous contradictions
between her acts and her professions, have already been mentioned.
Unmindful of the generosity of which she had been the object after the
battles of Leoben, Austerlitz, and Wagram, she discharged her debt of
gratitude according to the rules of policy, by eagerly seizing the
opportunity of repairing her losses at any price.

She ruined us by making us consent to the armistice of Pleisswitz; and
her conduct was the more odious, as she was determined to make war
against us; and a few days afterwards, though still our friend and ally,
and offering herself as a mediatrix, she entered into engagements
hostile to us. Her participation in the conventions of Rechembach about
the middle of June, and in the conferences of Trachenbergh, at the
commencement of July, is now well known. The necessity of maintaining a
certain appearance of decorum occasioned these matters to be kept a
secret for about a month after the commencement of hostilities. They
were at first proposed to Francis merely as eventual and precautionary
measures; and he was induced to affix his signature to them only by the
representations of his ministers, who described Napoleon as the scourge
of mankind, and attributed to him the delays in the opening of the
Congress, which in reality were occasioned by themselves. (_Montveran,_
vol. vi. p. 262.)

But, in spite of the conduct of Austria, Napoleon still cherished the
hope of seeing her resume her alliance with him; not that he could
calculate on any misunderstanding between her and the other coalesced
Powers, but because he supposed her to be sufficiently clear-sighted
with respect to her own interests. This idea never forsook him until the
moment of signing his abdication.[18]

Footnote 18:

  This supposition was not altogether ill-founded; for it still remains
  doubtful whether the consent of Austria to the dethronement of the
  Emperor was compulsory or voluntary. By one of those fatalities which
  attended the close of Napoleon’s career, a momentary success separated
  the Austrians and the Russians, and the order for marching upon Paris,
  as well as the famous declaration proscribing Napoleon and his family,
  proceeded solely from Alexander. When Francis presented himself, he
  had no alternative but to give his assent to measures which were
  already determined on; but many circumstances induce the belief that
  he did so with great repugnance and dissatisfaction.

(H.) The fortresses occupied by French troops in those places which were
in the possession of the Allied forces, were to have a clear circuit of
one league, and to receive supplies of provisions every five days; but
this article was not honestly fulfilled.

When the Armistice was prolonged, the French commissaries demanded that
officers of their army should be sent to the commanders of the
fortresses; but the Russian General-in-chief objected to this, and
circumstances were such that we were obliged to give up the point.
(_Montveran_, vol. vi. p. 270.)

(I.) The chief of the staff of the 3d corps, a Swiss by birth, but
educated in our ranks, went over to the enemy a few days before the
renewal of hostilities, taking with him all the information he could
collect. For this service the Emperor of Russia rewarded him with
particular favour and made him one of his Aides-de-camp. It has been
said that this officer, who was possessed of great talent, had reason to
complain of some injustice; but can any thing palliate such an act, or
remove the disgrace attending it?

(K.) Part of Napoleon’s plan of Campaign was that the Bavarian army,
stationed on the Danube, should act in concert with the army of Italy
stationed in Illyria, and that their combined efforts should be directed
upon Vienna. The important effect which these measures must have
produced on the fate of the Campaign may be easily conceived. But the
chief of the Bavarian army, under some pretence or other, but in reality
because he had entered into an understanding with the enemy, remained
constantly inactive, and thus paralyzed the efforts of the Viceroy, who
had to oppose the great bulk of the Austrian force. It has already been
stated that the open defection of the Bavarians, at the most critical
moment of the campaign, mainly contributed to bring about our disasters.

(L.) But nothing equalled the infamous and disgraceful treachery of the
Saxons, who, though they were then serving in our ranks and were our
companions in danger and glory, suddenly turned against us. Whatever
might be the fatal effects of their desertion, the disgrace attached to
themselves is greater than all the mischief they occasioned to us.

The conduct of Napoleon during this period, when he was described as a
monster of deception and bad faith, presents, on the contrary, an
example of singular magnanimity.

He had added a corps of Saxons to his Imperial guard; but, on the
desertion of their countrymen, he ranged them round their Sovereign,
whom he left at Leipsic,[19] releasing him from all his engagements.
There were also some Bavarians in his army, and he wrote to their chief,
informing him that, Bavaria having disloyally declared war against him,
this circumstance would authorize him in disarming and detaining
prisoners all the Bavarians in his service; but that such a measure
would destroy the confidence which Napoleon wished that the troops under
his orders should repose in him. He therefore ordered them to be
supplied with provisions, and dismissed.[20]

Footnote 19:

  The venerable and faithful King of Saxony followed his ally Napoleon,
  at whose head-quarters he established himself. The coalesced powers,
  on their entrance into Leipsic, seized the person of the King, and
  announced their design of disposing of his states. His misfortunes are
  known throughout Europe; they excited a deep interest in every
  generous heart.

Footnote 20:

  Amidst the general disloyalty, the conduct of the King of Würtemburg
  presents an honourable exception. That prince, though already at war
  with us, broke the brigade of cavalry, and the corps of infantry, who
  went over to the enemy, and at the same time withdrew the decoration
  of his Order from their officers.

(M.) I have before me the notes of a distinguished officer relative to
the capitulation of Dresden. Estimating the number of troops which we
had left behind us in the fortresses from which we were separated, he
concludes that they must have amounted altogether to 177,000. The
Emperor had but 157,000 men at Leipsic. How different, therefore, might
have been our fate, had those masses, or even a portion of them, been at
his disposal in this decisive event. But this unfortunate dispersion was
occasioned by extraordinary circumstances, and was not the result of any
regular system. The following particulars, relative to the violation of
the capitulation of Dresden, are literally quoted from the notes above
alluded to:—

“Above all, it is necessary to understand that it was determined in the
plan of the coalition against France, of which Prince Schwartzenberg had
the credit, that according as offers were made for the capitulation of
each of our numerous garrisons, the conditions should be fairly and
honourably granted, but without any intention of fulfilling them. This
point being established, the reason of the refusal of the capitulation,
signed at Dresden by Marshal St.-Cyr and Generals Tolstoy and Klenau,
was, that Prince Schwartzenberg could not ratify it, because the Count
de Lobau, Napoleon’s aide-de-camp, who was shut up in Dresden with the
Marshal, had protested against the capitulation. Some time after, the
capitulation of Dantzick, with General Rapp, was declined, under the
odiously false pretence that the garrison of Dresden, in spite of the
conditions of its capitulation, had entered into service immediately on
its arrival at Strasburg, and that, in consequence, the capitulation of
Dantzick could not be approved without incurring the risk of similar

“The following is an additional proof of the bad faith of the Allies.
The garrison of Dresden, which was composed of two _corps d’armée_,
forming altogether 45,000 men, capitulated on the 11th of November.[21]

Footnote 21:

  The determination to surrender had been far from unanimous in the
  garrison. Opinions were divided on this point. Some were for returning
  to France by means of a capitulation, which course was adopted; others
  were in favour of an enterprise of a much bolder nature. This was
  nothing less than to quit Dresden, with the chosen troops of the
  garrison, to descend the Elbe by successively raising the blockade of
  Torgau, where there were 28,000 men; of Wittemberg, where there were
  5000; of Magdeburg, where there were 20,000, and to proceed to Hamburg
  where there were 32,000. The army thus collected together, which would
  have amounted to 60 or 80,000 men, was to repair to France, cutting a
  passage through the enemy’s ranks, or compelling him to retrograde by
  manœuvring on his rear; while the levies in mass that might have
  advanced to assail our veteran bands would have been paralyzed. And
  even had this plan failed, the issue was not likely to be more fatal
  than the capitulation. This opinion was warmly advocated by the Count
  de Lobau, Generals Teste, Mouton-Duvernet, and others. The design was
  grand, worthy of our glory, and quite in harmony with our past acts.
  It was the Emperor’s intention to carry it into effect, and for this
  purpose he issued orders, which, however, did not reach the place of
  their destination. The despair occasioned by the thought of
  surrendering was such that a portion of the troops urged the officer
  who was at the head of the opposing party to take the command upon
  himself. Respect for discipline at length prevailed over enthusiasm;
  but the officer above alluded to expressed himself in the most violent
  way in the council. It is said that, in his indignation, he exclaimed
  to the General-in-chief;—“The Emperor will tell me that, pistol in
  hand, I ought to have taken the command upon myself.“

“According to the terms of the capitulation, the French were to evacuate
the fortress in six columns and in six successive days, and to repair to

“This capitulation was fulfilled, so far at least as regarded our
evacuation of the fortress and its occupation by the enemy; but our
sixth column had scarcely made a day’s march from the town when it was
announced that the capitulation was declined and rejected by the
General-in-chief, Prince Schwartzenberg, by an order of the 19th of

“When Marshal Saint-Cyr remonstrated against this conduct, it was
proposed, by way of compensation for the injustice, that he should be
permitted to re-enter Dresden with his troops, and be again placed in
possession of all the means of defence which he had before the
capitulation: this was merely a piece of irony.

“In vain did the Marshal negotiate for the literal fulfilment of the
articles agreed upon by Count Klenau, who had full powers for so doing;
the unfortunate garrison, broken up and dispersed, was under the
necessity of repairing to the different cantonments that were assigned
to it in Bohemia, instead of pursuing its march towards the Rhine.

“The Marshal, indignant at this flagrant breach of faith, despatched a
superior officer to communicate the circumstance to Napoleon; but the
Allies retarded his progress under various pretences, and he did not
reach Paris until the 18th of December. Subsequent events had by this
time rendered the evil past all remedy.”

After the series of deceptions and perfidies which I have here
disclosed, and which the Allies had established as a system, it is not
surprising that Napoleon should have placed no reliance on the famous
declaration of Frankfort, and that he should have felt indignant at the
blindness of our Legislative Body, the committee of which, either from
evil designs or mistaken views, completed the ruin of affairs. Napoleon
assured me that he was several times on the point of summoning the
members of this committee before him, in order to consult with them
confidentially and sincerely on the real state of things, and the
imminent danger with which we were threatened. Sometimes he thought that
he should undoubtedly bring them back to a right sense of their duty;
sometimes, on the contrary, he feared that obstinacy of opinion, or
mischievous intention, might have involved the affair in controversy,
which, considering the spirit of the moment, would have weakened our
resources and hastened our dissolution.

The Emperor frequently adverted to this critical point in the destinies
of France; but I have hitherto refrained from entering upon the detail
of a subject which presents nothing either agreeable or consolatory.


3rd. About three o’clock, the Emperor sent for me to attend him in his
chamber. He had just finished dressing; and, as it was raining at the
time, he went into the drawing-room, where he communicated to me some
very curious particulars, which, as it may be supposed, concerned him,
and in which I played a conspicuous part.

Some time afterwards the Emperor took a turn on the lawn contiguous to
his library; but, finding the wind very violent, he soon returned to the
house and played at billiards, a thing which he very seldom thought of

In the course of the day, the Emperor related that, as he was once
travelling with the Empress, he stopped to breakfast in one of the
islands in the Rhine. There was a small farm house in the neighbourhood,
and while he was at breakfast he sent for the peasant to whom it
belonged, and desired him to ask boldly for whatever he thought would
render him happy; and, in order to inspire him with the greater
confidence, the Emperor made him drink several glasses of wine. The
peasant, who was more prudent and less limited in his choice than the
man described in the story of the three wishes, without hesitation
specified the object which he was ambitious to possess. The Emperor
commanded the prefect of the district immediately to provide him with
what he had made choice of, and the expense attending the gratification
of his wish did not exceed 6 or 7000 francs.

Napoleon added that, on another occasion, when he was sailing in a yacht
in Holland, he entered into conversation with the steersman, and asked
him how much his vessel was worth. “My vessel!” said the man, “it is not
mine; I should be too happy if it were, it would make my
fortune.”—“Well, then,” said the Emperor, “I make you a present of it;”
a favour for which the man seemed not particularly grateful. His
indifference was imputed to the phlegmatic temperament natural to his
countrymen; but this was not the case. “What benefit has he conferred on
me?” said he to one of his comrades who was congratulating him; “he has
spoken to me, and that is all; he has given me what was not his own to
give—a fine present truly!” In the mean time Duroc had purchased the
vessel of the owner, and the receipt was put into the hands of the
steersman, who, no longer doubting the reality of his good fortune,
indulged in the most extravagant demonstrations of joy. The expense of
this purchase was about the same as that attending the present made to
the countryman. “Thus,” said the Emperor, “it is evident that human
wishes are not so immoderate as they are generally supposed, and that it
is not so very difficult to render people happy! These two men
undoubtedly found themselves completely happy.”

When the Emperor visited Amsterdam, the people, he said, were very
hostile to him; but he soon completely ingratiated himself in the public
favour. He declined being attended by any other guard than the guard of
honour belonging to the city; and this mark of confidence immediately
gained him the esteem of the Dutch. He constantly appeared among every
class of citizens. On one occasion he addressed a crowd of people in the
following blunt manner:—“It is said that you are discontented—but why?
France has not conquered, but adopted, you: you are excluded from no
benefits which are enjoyed by the French; you are a portion of the same
family, and participate in all its advantages. Consider now: I have
selected my Prefects, Chamberlains, and Councillors of State from
amongst you in a just proportion to the amount of your population, and I
have augmented my guard with your Dutch guard. You complain of distress;
but, in this respect, France has still greater reason to be
dissatisfied. We all suffer, and we must continue to do so until the
common enemy, the tyrant of the sea, the vampire of your trade, shall be
brought to reason. You complain of the sacrifices you have made; but
come to France and see all that you still possess beyond what we do, and
then, perhaps, you will deem yourselves less unfortunate. Why not rather
congratulate yourselves on the circumstances that have brought about
your union with France. In the present state of Europe, what would you
be, if left to yourselves?—The slaves of all the world. Instead of
which, identified as you are with France, you will one day possess the
whole trade of the great Empire.” Then, assuming a tone of gaiety, he
said:—“I have done every thing in my power to please you. Have I not
sent you as a Governor precisely the man who suits you—the good and
pacific Lebrun. You condole with him, he condoles with you: you bewail
your distresses together. What more could I do for you?” At these words
the assembly burst into a loud fit of laughter. The Emperor had secured
the good graces of the multitude.—“However,” said he, “let us hope that
the present state of things will not last long. Believe me, I am as
anxious for a change as you can be. Every man of discernment among you
must be aware that it is neither my wish, nor for my interest, that
matters should remain as they now are.”

The Emperor left the people of Amsterdam full of enthusiasm for him; and
he, on his part, carried away impressions decidedly in their favour.
Previously to his journey he had often complained that whosoever he sent
to Holland immediately became a Dutchman. After his return, that
circumstance occurred to his recollection in the Council of State, and
he said that he had himself become a Dutchman. One day, when a member of
the Council spoke slightingly of the Dutch, the Emperor said,
“Gentlemen, you may be more agreeable than they; but I can wish you
nothing better than to be possessed of their moral qualities.”

After dinner, some one happened to mention the date of the day, the 3rd
of September; upon which the Emperor made some very remarkable
observations; among which were the following:—“This,” said he, “is the
anniversary of horrid and appalling executions, of a repetition, in
miniature, of Saint-Bartholomew’s day: less disgraceful, certainly,
because fewer victims were sacrificed, and because the atrocities were
not committed under the sanction of the Government, which, on the
contrary, used its endeavours to punish the crime. It was committed by
the mob of Paris; an unbridled power, which rivalled, and even
controlled, the Legislature.

“The atrocities of the 3rd of September were the result of fanaticism
rather than of absolute brutality: the authors of the massacres put to
death one of their own party, for having committed theft during the
executions. This dreadful event,” continued the Emperor, “arose out of
the force of circumstances and the spirit of the moment. No political
change ever takes place unattended by popular fury; the people are never
exposed to danger, without committing disorders and sacrificing victims.
The Prussians entered the French territory; and the people, before they
advanced to meet them, resolved to take revenge on their adherents in
Paris. Probably, this circumstance was not without its influence on the
safety of France. Who can doubt that if, during recent events, the
friends of the invaders had been the victims of similar horrors, France
would have fallen under the yoke of foreigners? But this could not have
happened, for we had become legitimate. The duration of authority, our
victories, our treaties, the re-establishment of our old manners, had
rendered our government regular. We could not plunge into the same
horrors as had been committed by the multitude; for my part, I neither
could nor would be a King of the mob.

“No social revolution ever takes place unaccompanied by violence. Every
revolution of this kind is at first merely a revolt. Time and success
alone can exalt and render it legitimate; but still it can never be
brought about without outrage. If people enjoying authority and fortune
are required to relinquish these advantages, they of course resist:
force is then resorted to; they are compelled to yield. In France this
point was gained by the lantern and public executions. The reign of
terror commenced on the 4th of August, with the abolition of titles of
nobility, tithes, and feudal rights, the wrecks of which were scattered
among the multitude, who then, for the first time, understood and felt
really interested in the Revolution. Before this period there was so
much of dependence and religious spirit among the people that many
doubted whether the crops would ripen as usual without the King and the

“A revolution,” concluded the Emperor, “is one of the greatest evils by
which mankind can be visited. It is the scourge of the generation by
which it is brought about; and all the advantages it procures cannot
make amends for the misery with which it embitters the lives of those
who participate in it. It enriches the poor, who still remain
dissatisfied; and it impoverishes the rich, who cannot forget their
downfal. It subverts every thing; and, at its commencement, brings
misery to all and happiness to none.

“Beyond a doubt, true social happiness consists in the harmony and the
peaceful possession of the relative enjoyments of each class of people.
In regular and tranquil times, every individual has his share of
felicity: the cobbler in his stall is as content as the King on his
throne; the soldier is not less happy than the general. The best-founded
revolutions, at the outset, bring universal destruction in their train;
the advantages they may produce are reserved for a future age. Ours
seems to have been an irresistible fatality: it was a moral eruption,
which could no more be prevented than a physical eruption. When the
chemical combinations necessary to produce the latter are complete, it
bursts forth: in France the moral combinations which produce a
revolution had arrived at maturity, and the explosion accordingly took

We asked the Emperor whether he thought it would have been possible to
suppress the Revolution in its birth; and he replied that, if not
impossible, the attempt would at least have been difficult. “Perhaps,”
said he “the storm might have been laid or averted by some great
Machiavelian act; by striking with one hand the great ringleaders, and
with the other making concessions to the nation, granting freely the
reformation required by the age, part of which had already been
mentioned in the famous royal sitting. And yet, after all,” he observed,
“this would only have been guiding and directing the Revolution.” He
thought that some other plan of the same kind might perhaps have
succeeded on the 10th of August, if the King had remained triumphant.
“These two periods,” he said, were the only ones which afforded any
chance, however desperate; for, at the affair of Versailles, the people
had not yet entirely shaken off their allegiance, and on the 10th of
August they were already beginning to be tired of disorder. But those
who were chiefly interested in quelling the revolutionary spirit were
not adequate to encounter the difficulties of the moment.”

The Emperor then rapidly ran over the series of errors committed during
this period. “The line of conduct then pursued,” said he, “was truly
pitiable. Louis XVI. should have had a prime minister, and M. Necker
under him in the finance department. Prime ministers seem to have been
invented for the last reigns of the French monarchy; and yet the
prevailing false notions and vanity of the time caused them to be
dispensed with.”

A great deal was said respecting the equivocal conduct of several great
personages during this critical period, and the Emperor said: “We
condemn Louis XVI.; but, independently of his weakness, he was placed in
peculiar circumstances. He was the first monarch on whom the experiment
of modern principles was tried. His education, his innate ideas, led him
to believe sincerely that all that he defended, either openly or
secretly, belonged to him of right. There might be a sort of honesty
even in his want of faith, if I may so express myself. At a subsequent
period, the same conduct would have been inexcusable, and even
reprehensible. Add to all this that Louis XVI. had every body against
him, and one may form an idea of the innumerable difficulties which Fate
had accumulated on that unhappy Prince. The misfortunes of the Stuarts,
which have excited such deep interest, were not more severe.”

                        IN THE EMPEROR’S SUITE.

4th.—The Emperor sent for me after he had finished his breakfast. He was
stretched on a sofa, with several books scattered about him. He wore his
nightcap, and looked pale. “Las Cases,” said he, “I am unwell. I have
been looking over a great many books, but I can find nothing to interest
me. I feel wearied.” He fixed his eye on me; that eye, naturally so
animated, was now dim, and its expression told me more than his eye had
uttered. “Sit down,” said he, pointing to a chair that was beside him,
loaded with books, “and let us chat.” He spoke of the Island of Elba, of
the life he had led there, of some visits which he had received, &c. He
then put some questions to me concerning Paris and the French Court
during the corresponding period. The conversation having led to the
mention of the King’s body-guard, some one present remarked, as a
curious circumstance, that there was a deserter from the guard in
Napoleon’s suite at St. Helena. “How? explain yourself,” said the
Emperor.—“Sire,” continued the person who had just spoken, “at the time
of the restoration, one of the captains of the guard, for whom I
entertained great friendship, and who, in spite of the difference of our
opinions, had always evinced a high regard for me, proposed to enter my
son in his company, assuring me that he would treat him as though he
were his own. I replied that he was too young, and that the appointment
might retard the progress of his education; but my friend silenced all
my objections. I however requested some time to consider of the matter;
and on my mentioning it to some persons of my acquaintance, they were
astonished that I should have declined so good an offer, and assured me
that in a short time my son might attain great advancement, without any
interruption of his education. I then waited on the captain of the
guard, and acknowledged that I had not shewn myself sufficiently
grateful for his offer; and he replied that he was fully aware I had not
understood the extent of the advantage he proposed to me. However, by
one circumstance or another, your Majesty returned before my son had the
honour of being presented to his colonel, and as I took him from his
Lyceum on our departure for St. Helena, he is clearly and truly a
deserter.” The Emperor laughed heartily and said; “This is another
effect of revolutions! What new interests, connexions, and opinions do
they create! It is fortunate when they do not disunite families, and set
the best friends at variance with each other.” He then began to question
me concerning my family, and concluded by saying, “I saw in Alphonse de
Beauchamp’s work, your name mentioned among the individuals who, on the
30th of March, endeavoured to excite demonstrations in favour of the
Royal Family in the Place Louis XV. I know it was not you; I think you
once explained the matter to me, but I have forgotten the
particulars.”—“Sire,“ said I, “it was a cousin of mine, of the same
name. The circumstance vexed me a good deal at the time; I inserted
contradictions in the journals; and it was rather droll that my cousin,
on his part, addressed letters to the public prints, desiring that he
might be particularly specified as the individual alluded to. I believe
that the general way in which the name was introduced, in Alphonse de
Beauchamp’s work, was kindly meant on the part of the author, who
wished, by this means, to afford me an opportunity of ingratiating
myself in the favour of the ruling party, if I had a mind to do so. I
must do my cousin the justice to say that, when I obtained an
appointment about your Majesty’s person, I several times offered to
solicit for him a post in your household or elsewhere; but this he
constantly declined. I wish he may now enjoy the reward of his
fidelity.” The Emperor again repeated that all private interests were
subverted by revolutions. “And it is these private wounds,” said he,
“which occasion the general ferment, and render the shocks so acute and

The weather was so bad the whole of the day that it was impossible to go
out. The Emperor dismissed me and sent for General Gourgaud, to whom he
dictated in his library, from two to six o’clock, almost the whole of
Moreau’s campaign during the Consulate. After dinner, he read to us
Madame de Maintenon’s celebrated sumptuary letter to her brother, in
which she fixes her household expenditure at six thousand francs a-year.
The Emperor had several volumes of the _Grands Hommes_ brought to him,
and, after perusing some articles, he amused himself by looking at the
outline portraits at the end of each volume.

                           FOR OUR EXISTENCE.

5th.—To-day, in the course of my morning conversation with the Emperor,
I happened to mention some acts of oppression and injustice, which
excited dissatisfaction in the public mind, and rendered him unpopular,
because they were executed in his name, and were by many supposed to
emanate from him. “But how?” said he, “was there no one among the
multitude that surrounded me, none of my chamberlains, who had
sufficient spirit and independence to complain and bring these matters
to my knowledge? I would have rendered justice wherever it had been
withheld.”—“Sire, few would have ventured to call your attention to
these things.”—“Did you really stand so much in awe of me? I suppose you
dreaded my sharp rebuffs; but you ought to have known that I always lent
a ready ear to every one, and that I never refused to administer
justice. You should have balanced the reward of the good action against
the danger of the reprimand. After all, I confess that my reproofs were
in most instances the result of calculation. They were frequently the
only means I possessed of learning a man’s temper, of discovering by
stealth the different shades of his character. I had little time for
inquiry; and a reprimand was one of my experiments. For example, I
lately gave you a repulse, and this enabled me to discover that you were
somewhat headstrong, extremely susceptible, sufficiently candid, but
sullen; and, I may say, too sensitive,” he added, pinching my ear. “I
was,” continued he, “obliged to surround myself, as it were, with a halo
of fear; otherwise, having risen as I did from amidst the multitude,
many would have made free to eat out of my hand, or to slap me on the
shoulder. We are naturally inclined to familiarity.”

The weather continued very bad, and the Emperor spent the chief part of
the day in writing, as he did yesterday.

The Governor has renewed his cavilling on the subject of our supplies,
descending into petty details about a few bottles of wine, or a few
pounds of meat. Instead of eight thousand pounds, the sum fixed by
Government, he now applied for an allowance of twelve thousand, which he
himself declared to be indispensable; but he insisted on having the
surplus delivered into his own hands, or subjecting us to great
retrenchments. He bargained for our existence. When this was mentioned
to the Emperor he replied that the Governor might do as he pleased; but
he desired, at all events, that he might not be troubled about the

In the evening the conversation again turned on Madame de Maintenon, and
the Emperor made many remarks on her letters, her character, her
influence on the affairs of her time, &c. He asked for the Historical
Dictionary to read the articles on the Noailles family; and he retired
to rest at eleven o’clock.

                       DE MAINTENON AND SEVIGNÉ.

6th.—The weather proved as bad as it had been on the preceding day.
After finishing his toilet, the Emperor retired to his library, attended
by one of his suite, with whom he held a long confidential conversation
on a topic intimately concerning us.

“We have now,” said he, “been at St. Helena more than a year, and with
regard to certain points we remain just as we were on the first day of
our arrival. I must confess that I have hitherto come to no
determination in my own mind upon these subjects. This is very unlike
me; but how many mortifications have I to encounter! A victim to the
persecutions of Fate and man, I am assailed every where and on all
hands. Even you, my faithful friends and consolers, help to lacerate the
wound. I am vexed and distressed by your jealousies and
dissensions.”—“Sire,” replied the individual to whom he addressed
himself, “these things should remain unnoticed by your Majesty. In all
that concerns you, our jealousy is merely emulation; and all our
dissension ceases on the expression of your slightest wish. We live only
for you, and will always be ready to obey you. To us you are the _Old
Man of the Mountain_; you may command us in all things, except
crime.”—“Well,” said the Emperor, “I will think seriously of the subject
I have just alluded to, and each shall have his own particular task.” He
dictated a few notes, and afterwards went down to the garden, where he
walked about for a short time alone, and then withdrew to his own

The Emperor did not quit his chamber until the moment dinner was
announced. He resumed his remarks on Madame de Maintenon, whose letters
he had been reading. “I am charmed,” said he, “with her style, her
grace, and the purity of her language. If I am violently offended by
what is bad, I am at the same time exquisitely sensible to what is good.
I think I prefer Madame de Maintenon’s letters to those of Madame de
Sevigné: they tell more. Madame de Sevigné will certainly always remain
the true model of the epistolary style; she has a thousand charms and
graces, but there is this defect in her writings, that one may read a
great deal of them without retaining any impression of what one has
read. They are like trifles, which a man may eat till he is tired
without overloading his stomach.”

The Emperor then made some observations on grammar. He asked for the
grammar of Domairon, who had been our professor at the military school
at Paris. He glanced through it with evident pleasure. “Such is the
influence of youthful impressions,” said he; “I suspect that Domairon’s
is not the best of grammars, yet to me it will always be the most
agreeable. I shall never open it without experiencing a certain


7th.—The Emperor remained within doors the whole of the day. The
Governor appeared on the grounds accompanied by a numerous party; but we
fled at his approach. Several vessels have been observed out at sea.

I was summoned to attend the Emperor, and I found him engaged in
perusing a work on the state of England. This became the subject of
conversation; the Emperor said a great deal respecting the enormous
national debt of England, the disadvantageous peace she had concluded,
and the different means by which she might have extricated herself from
her difficulties.

Napoleon possesses in an eminent degree the instinct of order and
harmony. I once knew a man who, being much engaged in arithmetical
calculations, confessed that he could not enter a drawing-room without
being led irresistibly to count the people who were in it; and that,
when he sat down to table, he could not help summing up the number of
plates, glasses, &c. Napoleon, though in a more elevated sphere, has
also an irresistible habit of his own, which is to develop the grand and
the beautiful in every subject that comes under his attention. If he
happens to converse about a city, he immediately suggests improvements
and embellishments; if a nation be the object of his consideration, he
expatiates on the means of promoting her glory, prosperity, useful
institutions, &c. Many of his observations, that have already been noted
down, must have rendered this fact obvious to the reader.

Either the contents of the journals and other publications of the day,
or the nature of our situation here, occasioned the Emperor’s attention
to be constantly directed to the state of England. He frequently
adverted to what she ought to have done, as well as to what she still
had to do, and which might render her future condition more prosperous.
I subjoin here a few of the observations, on this subject, which escaped
him at various times:—

“The Colonial system,” said he one day, “is now at an end for all; for
England, who possesses every colony, and for the other powers, who
possess none. The empire of the seas now belongs indisputably to
England; and why should she, in a new situation, wish to continue the
old routine? Why does she not adopt plans that would be more profitable
to her? She must look forward to a sort of emancipation of her colonies.
In the course of time, many will doubtless escape from her dominion, and
she should therefore avail herself of the present moment to obtain new
securities and more advantageous connexions. Why does she not propose
that the majority of her colonies shall purchase their emancipation by
taking upon themselves a portion of the general debt, which would thus
become specially theirs. The mother-country would by this means relieve
herself of her burthens, and would nevertheless preserve all her
advantages. She would retain, as pledges, the faith of treaties,
reciprocal interests, similarity of language, and the force of habit;
she might moreover reserve, by way of guarantee, a single fortified
point, a harbour for the ships, after the manner of the factories on the
coast of Africa. What would she lose? Nothing; and she would spare
herself the trouble and expense of an administration which, too often,
serves only to render her odious. Her ministers, it is true, would have
fewer places to give away; but the nation would certainly be no loser.

“I doubt not,” added he, “that, with a thorough knowledge of the
subject, some useful result might be derived from the ideas which I have
just thrown out, however erroneous they may be in their first hasty
conception. Even with regard to India, great advantages might be
obtained by the adoption of new systems. The English who are here,
assure me that England derives nothing from India in the balance of her
trade; the expenses swallow up, or even exceed, the profits. It is
therefore merely a source of individual advantage, and of a few private
fortunes of colossal magnitude; but these are so much food for
ministerial patronage, and therefore good care is taken not to meddle
with them. Those nabobs, as they are styled, on their return to England,
are useful recruits to the aristocracy. It signifies not that they bear
the disgrace of having acquired fortunes by rapine and plunder, or that
they exercise a baneful influence on public morals by exciting in others
the wish to gain the same wealth by the same means; the present
ministers are not so scrupulous as to bestow a thought on such matters.
These men give them their votes; and, the more corrupt they are, the
more easily are they controlled. In this state of things, where is the
hope of reform? Thus, on the least proposition of amendment, what an
outcry is raised! The English aristocracy is daily taking a stride in
advance; but, as soon as there is any proposal for retrograding, were it
only for the space of an inch, a general explosion takes place. If the
minutest details be touched, the whole edifice begins to totter. This is
very natural. If you attempt to deprive a glutton of his mouthful he
will defend himself like a hero.”

On another occasion the Emperor said:—“After a twenty year’s war, after
the blood and treasures that were lavished in the common cause, after a
triumph beyond all hope, what sort of peace has England concluded? Lord
Castlereagh had the whole Continent at his disposal, and yet what
advantage, what indemnity, has he secured to his own country? He has
signed just such a peace as he would have signed had he been conquered.
I should not have required him to make greater sacrifices had I been
victorious. But, perhaps, England thought herself sufficiently happy in
having effected my overthrow; in that case, hatred has avenged me!
During our contest, England was animated by two powerful sentiments—her
national interest and her hatred of me. In the moment of triumph, the
violence of the one caused her to lose sight of the other. She has paid
dearly for that moment of passion!“ He developed his idea, glancing at
the different measures which demonstrated the blunders of Castlereagh,
and the many advantages which he had neglected. “Thousands of years will
roll away,” said he, “before there occurs such another opportunity of
securing the welfare and real glory of England. Was it ignorance, or
corruption, on the part of Castlereagh? He distributed the spoil
generously, as he seemed to think, among the Sovereigns of the
Continent, and reserved nothing for his own country; but, in so doing,
did he not fear the reproach of being considered as the agent rather
than the partner of the Holy Allies? He gave away immense territories;
Russia, Prussia, and Austria acquired millions of population. Where is
the equivalent to England? She, who was the soul of all this success,
and who paid so dearly for it, now reaps the fruit of the _gratitude_ of
the Continent, and of the errors or treachery of her negotiator. My
continental system is continued; and the produce of her manufactures is
excluded. Why not have bordered the Continent with free and independent
maritime towns, such, for example, as Dantzick, Hamburg, Antwerp,
Dunkirk, Genoa, &c., which would of necessity have become the staples of
her manufactures, and would have scattered them over Europe, in spite of
all the duties in the world. England possessed the right of doing this,
and her circumstances required it: her decisions would have been just,
and who would have opposed them at the moment of the liberation? Why did
she create to herself a difficulty, and, in course of time, a natural
enemy, by uniting Belgium to Holland, instead of securing two immense
resources for her trade, by keeping them separate? Holland, which has no
manufactures of her own, would have been the natural depôt for English
goods; and Belgium, which might have become an English colony, governed
by an English Prince, would have been the channel for dispersing these
goods over France and Germany. Why not have bound down Spain and
Portugal by a commercial treaty of long duration, which would have
repaid all the expenses incurred for their deliverance, and which might
have been obtained under pain of the enfranchisement of their colonies,
the trade of which, in either case, England would have commanded? Why
not have stipulated for some advantages in the Baltic, and to balance
the States of Italy? These would have been but the regular privileges
attached to the dominion of the seas. After so long a contest in support
of this right, how happened its advantages to be neglected at the moment
when it was really secured? Did England, while she sanctioned usurpation
in others, fear that opposition would be offered to hers? and by whom
could it have been offered? Probably England repents now, when it is too
late; the opportunity cannot be recovered; she suffered the favourable
moment to escape her!... How many _whys_ and _wherefores_ might I not
multiply!... None but Lord Castlereagh would have acted thus: he made
himself the man of the Holy Alliance, and in course of time he will be
the object of execration. The Lauderdales, the Grenvilles, and the
Wellesleys, would have pursued a very different course; they would at
least have acted like Englishmen.”

At another time the Emperor said;—“The national debt is the canker-worm
that preys on England; it is the chain of all her difficulties. It
occasions the enormity of taxation, and this in its turn raises the
price of provisions. Hence the distress of the people, the high price of
labour and of manufactured goods which are not brought with equal
advantage to the continental markets. England then ought at all hazards
to contend against this devouring monster; she should assail it on all
sides, and at once subdue it _negatively_ and _positively_, that is to
say, by the reduction of her expenditure and the increase of her

“Can she not reduce the interest of her debt, the high salaries, the
sinecures, and the various expenses attending her army establishment,
and renounce the latter, in order to confine herself to her navy? In
short, many things might be done, which I cannot now enter into. With
regard to the increase of her capital, can she not enrich herself with
the ecclesiastical property, which is immense, and which she would
acquire by a salutary reform, and by the extinction of titular dignities
which would give offence to no one? But if a word be uttered on this
subject, the whole aristocracy is up in arms, and succeeds in putting
down the opposition; for in England it is the aristocracy that governs,
and for which the Government acts. They repeat the favourite adage,
that, if the least stone of the old foundation be touched, the whole
fabric will fall to the ground. This is devoutly re-echoed by the
multitude; consequently reform is stopped, and abuses are suffered to
increase and multiply.

“It is but just to acknowledge that, in spite of a compound of odious,
antiquated, and ignoble details, the English constitution presents the
singular phenomenon of a happy and grand result; and the advantages
arising out of it secure the attachment of the multitude, who are
fearful of losing any of the blessings they enjoy. But is it to the
objectionable nature of the details that this result must be attributed?
On the contrary, it would shine with increased lustre if the grand and
beautiful machine were freed from its mischievous appendages.

“England,” continued the Emperor, “presents an example of the dangerous
effects of the borrowing system. I would never listen to any hints for
the adoption of that system in France; I was always a firm opposer of
it. It was said, at the time, that I contracted no loans for want of
credit, and because I could find no one willing to lend; but this was
false. Those who know any thing of mankind and the spirit of
stock-jobbing, will be convinced that loans may always be raised by
holding out the chance of gain and the attraction of speculation. But
this was no part of my system, and, by a special law, I fixed the amount
of the public debt at what had generally been supposed to be conducive
to the general prosperity, namely, at eighty millions interest for my
France in her utmost extent, and after the union with Holland, which of
itself produced an augmentation of twenty millions. This sum was
reasonable and proper; a greater one would have been attended by
mischievous consequences. What was the result of this system? What
resources have I left behind me? France, after so many gigantic efforts
and terrible disasters, is now more prosperous than ever! Are not her
finances the first in Europe? To whom and to what are these advantages
to be attributed? So far was I from wishing to swallow up the future,
that I had resolved to leave a treasure behind me. I had even formed
one, the funds of which I lent to different banking-houses, embarrassed
families, and persons who held offices about me.

“I should not only have carefully preserved the sinking fund, but I
calculated on having, in course of time, funds which would have been
constantly increasing, and which might have been actively applied for
the furtherance of public works and improvements. I should have had the
fund of the Empire for general works; the fund of the departments for
local works; the fund of the communes for municipal works, &c.”

In the course of another conversation, the Emperor observed:—“England is
said to traffic in every thing: why, then, does she not sell liberty,
for which she might get a high price, and without any fear of exhausting
her own stock; for modern liberty is essentially moral, and does not
betray its engagements. For example, what would not the poor Spaniards
give her to free them from the yoke to which they have been again
subjected? I am confident that they would willingly pay any price to
recover their freedom. It was I who inspired them with this sentiment;
and the error into which I fell might, at least, be turned to good
account by another government. As to the Italians, I have planted in
their hearts principles that never can be rooted out. What can England
do better than to promote and assist the noble impulses of modern
regeneration? Sooner or later, this regeneration must be accomplished.
Sovereigns and old aristocratic institutions may exert their efforts to
oppose it, but in vain. They are dooming themselves to the punishment of
Sisyphus; but, sooner or later, some arms will tire of resistance, and,
on the first failure, the whole will tumble about their ears. Would it
not be better to yield with a good grace?—this was my intention. Why
does England refuse to avail herself of the glory and advantage she
might derive from this course of proceeding? Every thing passes away in
England as well as elsewhere. Castlereagh’s administration will pass
away, and that which may succeed it, and which is doomed to inherit the
fruit of so many errors, may become great by only discontinuing the
system that has hitherto been pursued. He who may happen to be placed at
the head of the English cabinet, has merely to allow things to take
their course, and to obey the winds that blow. By becoming the leader of
liberal principles, instead of leaguing with absolute power, like
Castlereagh, he will render himself the object of universal benediction,
and England will forget her wrongs. Fox was capable of so acting, but
Pitt was not; the reason is, that, in Fox, the heart warmed the genius;
while, in Pitt, the genius withered the heart. But it may be asked, why
I, all-powerful as I was, did not pursue the course I have here traced
out?—how, since I can speak so well, I could have acted so ill? I reply
to those who make this inquiry with sincerity, that there is no
comparison between my situation and that of the English government.
England may work on a soil which extends to the very bowels of the
earth; while I could labour only on a sandy surface. England reigns over
an established order of things; while I had to take upon myself the
great charge, the immense difficulty, of consolidating and establishing.
I purified a revolution, in spite of hostile factions. I combined
together all the scattered benefits that could be preserved; but I was
obliged to protect them with a nervous arm against the attacks of all
parties; and in this situation it may truly be said that the public
interest, _the State, was myself_.

“Our principles were attacked from without; and, in the name of these
very principles, I was assailed in the opposite sense at home. Had I
relaxed ever so little, we should soon have been brought back to the
time of the Directory; I should have been the object, and France the
infallible victim, of a _counter-Brumaire_. We are in our nature so
restless, so busy, so loquacious! If twenty revolutions were to happen,
we should have twenty constitutions. This is one of the subjects that
are studied most, and observed the least. We have much need to grow
older in this fair and glorious path; for here our great men have all
shewn themselves to be mere children. May the present generation profit
by the faults that have hitherto been committed, and prove as wise as it
is enthusiastic!”

To-day the Governor commenced his grand reductions, and it was thought
proper to deprive us of eight English domestics, who had formerly been
granted to us. To the servants this was a subject of deep regret, and it
was gratifying to ourselves to observe that we won the regard of all who
were permitted to approach us. We are now absolutely in want of daily
necessaries, to supply which the Emperor proposes to dispose of his
plate; this is his only resource.

After dinner the Emperor read the _Cercle_, and retired immediately,
although it was very early in the evening. He was indisposed, and could
not sleep. He sent for me about midnight. By chance I had not retired to
rest, and I remained in conversation with him for two hours.


8th.—The Emperor sent for me very early: he was just finishing his
toilet. He had had no sleep during the night, and he seemed much
fatigued. The weather had become somewhat tolerable, and he desired to
have his breakfast under the tent. While it was preparing, he took a few
turns about the garden, and resumed the conversation he had had with me
on the preceding night.

He invited Madame de Montholon to breakfast, and afterwards we took a
drive in the calash, of which the Emperor had made no use for a
considerable time. He had scarcely breathed the fresh air for several

The conversation once more turned on the subject of the Emperor’s Court
at the Tuileries, the multitude of persons composing it, the spirit and
address with which Napoleon went through the ceremony of the
presentations, &c. I pass over many of the observations that were made,
for the sake of avoiding repetition.

“It is more difficult than is generally supposed,” said the Emperor, “to
speak to every body in a crowded assemblage, and yet say nothing to any
one; to seem to know a multitude of people, nine-tenths of whom are
total strangers to one.”

Again, when alluding to the period when he was in the plentitude of his
power, he observed that it was at once easy and difficult to approach
him, to communicate with him, and to be appreciated by him; and that it
depended on the merest chance in the world whether his courtiers made or
missed their fortune. “Now that I am myself entirely out of the
question,” said he, “now that I am a mere private individual, and can
reflect philosophically on the time when I was called to execute the
designs of Providence, without, however, ceasing to be a man, I see how
much the fate of those I governed really depended upon chance; and how
often favour and credit were purely accidental. Intrigue is so
dexterous, and merit often so awkward, and these extremes approximate so
closely to each other that, with the best intentions in the world, I
find that my benefits were distributed like prizes in a lottery. And yet
could I have done better? “Was I faulty in my intentions, or remiss in
my exertions? Have other sovereigns done better than I did? It is only
thus that I can be judged. The fault was in the nature of my situation,
and in the force of things.”

We then spoke of the presentation of the ladies at Court, their
embarrassment, and the plans, views, and hopes that were formed by some
of them. Madame de Montholon revealed the secrets of several of her
acquaintance, by which it appeared that if in the saloons of Paris some
were heard to exclaim against the Emperor’s coarseness of manners,
harshness of expression, and ugliness of person, others, who were better
disposed, better informed, and differently affected, extolled the
sweetness of his voice, the grace of his manners, the delicacy of his
smile, and above all, his famous hand, which was said to be ridiculously

These advantages, it was observed, combined with great power and still
greater glory, were naturally calculated to excite and to give rise to
certain romantic stories. Thus at the Tuileries how many endeavoured to
render themselves pleasing to the sovereign! How many sought to inspire
a sentiment which it is probable they themselves really felt!

The Emperor smiled at our remarks and conjectures; and he confessed
that, notwithstanding the mass of business and the cloud of flattery in
which he was enveloped, he had oftener than once observed the sentiments
to which we alluded. A few of the least timid among his admirers had, he
said, even solicited and obtained interviews. We now laughed in our
turn, and said that, at the time, these stories had been the subject of
a great deal of mirth. But the Emperor seriously protested that they
were void of foundation. In a more private conversation at the Briars,
during one of our walks by moonlight, the Emperor, as I have stated in a
former part of my Journal, made the same assertion, and contradicted
every report of this nature, except one.

Our next subject of conversation was the repugnance of women to let
their age be known. The Emperor made some very lively and entertaining
remarks. An instance was mentioned of a woman who preferred losing an
important law-suit to confessing her age. The case would have been
decided in her favour, had she produced the register of her baptism, but
this she could not be prevailed on to do.

Another anecdote of the same kind was mentioned. A certain lady was much
attached to a gentleman, and was convinced that her union with him would
render her happy; but she could not marry without proving the date of
her birth, and she preferred remaining single.

The Emperor informed us that a distinguished lady, at the time of her
marriage, had deceived her husband, and represented herself to be five
or six years younger than she really was, by producing the baptismal
register of her younger sister, who had been dead some time.

“However,” said the Emperor, “in so doing, poor Josephine exposed
herself to some risk. This might really have proved a case of nullity of
marriage.” These words furnished us with the key to certain dates,
which, at the Tuileries, were the subject of jesting and ridicule, and
which we then attributed wholly to the gallantry and extreme
complaisance of the Imperial Almanack.

About four o’clock the Emperor took a short walk. I did not accompany
him. On his return, he informed us that he had visited the Company’s
garden, where he had met several very pretty women. “But I had not my
interpreter with me,” he added, pointing to me. “The rogue left me, and
nothing could be more provoking, for I never felt more inclined to avail
myself of his assistance.” This little walk, however, did the Emperor no
good, for he was presently seized with a severe tooth-ache.

A vessel, which had come from the Cape some time ago, sailed for Europe
this day. Several English military officers, who were passengers in this
ship, had not been permitted to wait on the Emperor, in spite of their
repeated solicitations. This was a new instance of the Governor’s spite.
These officers were men of distinction, and their reports on their
return home might have had some influence. The Governor, in defiance of
all truth, informed them that Napoleon had determined to receive no one.

The Emperor some time ago analyzed to us a subject which he said he
intended to dictate in fourteen chapters, and which had forcibly struck
me by its truth, its force, its just reasoning, and its dignity. I
frequently alluded to it when I happened to be alone with him; and he
laughed more than once at the perseverance I shewed, which, he said, was
not usual with me. To-day he informed me that he had at length produced
something, though not in fourteen chapters, nor on the promised subject;
but that I must be content with it. I have read it, and it is certainly
a very remarkable fragment. I do not believe that the Revolution has
produced any thing more comprehensive and energetic on the governments
of the last twenty-five years in France, namely, the Republic, the
Consulate, and the Empire.

The exposition and development of the ten chapters which compose this
work may be regarded as a perfect outline of the subject. The style is
remarkably simple and nervous. Each chapter is full and forcible, and
the whole, which consists of fifty pages, is struck off and finished
with a masterly hand. I have understood that the substance of these
ideas was to have formed the Emperor’s manifesto at the time of his
landing from Elba.

Since my return to Europe, this little work has been published, under
the title of _Manuscrit de l’Ile d’Elbe_; though I have reason to
believe that at first another title was intended for it. Be this as it
may, since the work is but little known, and as those who have read it
may be ignorant of its real origin, I here transcribe almost literally
several chapters, which will serve to prove its source and its

CHAP. I.—In the sixteenth century, the Pope, Spain, and the Sixteen,
  attempt in vain to raise a fourth dynasty to the throne of France.
  Henry IV. succeeds Henry III. without an interregnum: he conquers the
  League; but finds that the only way to secure himself on the throne is
  by sincerely joining the party which constitutes the majority of the

”Henry IV. was proclaimed King at St. Cloud, on the day on which Henry
III. died. His sovereignty was acknowledged by all the Protestant
churches and by a part of the Catholic nobility. The Holy League which
had been formed against Henry III., in hatred of the Protestants, and to
avenge the death of the Duke of Guise, was master of Paris, and
commanded five-sixths of the kingdom. The Leaguers refused to
acknowledge Henry IV., but they proclaimed no other sovereign. The Duke
of Mayenne, the chief of the League, exercised authority under the title
of Lieutenant-general of the kingdom. The accession of Henry IV.
produced no change in the forms adopted by the League for exercising its
power; each town was governed as in disturbed and factious times, by
local or military authorities. At no period, not even on the day
succeeding his entrance into Paris, did Henry IV. acknowledge the acts
of the League, and the latter never set up any pretensions that he
should do so. No law, no regulation, emanated from the League. The
Parliament of Paris was divided into two parties; one for the Leaguers,
which sat at Paris, and the other for Henry IV., which assembled at
Tours. But these parliaments drew up and registered none but judicial
acts. The provinces retained their own organization and privileges, and
were governed by their own common laws. It has already been observed
that the League had not proclaimed any other sovereign; but it
acknowledged for a moment as King, the Cardinal de Bourbon, Henry’s
uncle. The Cardinal, however, did not consent to second the designs of
the enemies of his house. Besides, Henry had seized his person; no act
emanated from him, and the League continued subject to the authority of
the Lieutenant-general the Duke of Mayenne. There was therefore no
interregnum between Hen. III. and Hen. IV.

“The League was split into several parties. The Sorbonne had decided
that the rights of birth could confer no right to the crown on a Prince
who was an enemy to the Church. The Pope had declared that Henry IV.
having relapsed, had forfeited his rights for ever; and that he could
not recover them, even though he should return to the bosom of the
Church. Henry IV., King of Navarre, was born a Protestant; but on the
massacre of St. Bartholomew, he was compelled to marry Margaret de
Valois, and to abjure the reformed religion. However, as soon as he
withdrew from the Court, and found himself amidst the Protestants on the
left bank of the Loire, he declared that his abjuration had been wholly
compulsory, and he again embraced the Protestant faith. This step caused
him to be characterized as an obstinate renegado; but the majority of
the League were of opinion that it would be proper to summon Henry to
return to the bosom of the Catholic, Apostolic, and Romish Church; and
acknowledge him as sovereign, as soon as he should abjure Protestantism
and receive absolution from the Bishops.

“The leaguers convoked the States-general of the kingdom at Paris. The
Spanish ambassadors now unmasked the designs of their sovereign, and
urged the States to establish a fourth dynasty on the throne of France,
on the ground that Henry and Condé, having, by their apostacy, forfeited
their rights to the crown, the male line of the Capets was extinct. They
accordingly set forth the claims of the Infanta of Spain, the daughter
of Henry II. of France, who was the first in the female line. Even
supposing that, by the extinction of the male line of descent, the
nation possessed the right of disposing of the crown, they still
insisted that its choice ought to fall on the Infanta, for two reasons:
first, because it was impossible to select a princess of more
illustrious family; and secondly, because France was indebted to Philip
II. for his exertions in supporting the cause of the League. The Infanta
was to marry a French Prince, and mention was even made of the Duke of
Guise, the son of the Duke who had been assassinated at Blois. There was
already a body of Spanish troops in Paris, commanded by the Duke of
Mayenne; and it was proposed that an army of 50,000 Spaniards should be
maintained in Paris by the Court of Madrid, which would devote its whole
power and resources to ensure the triumph of this fourth dynasty. The
sixteen supported these propositions, which were sanctioned by the Court
of Rome, and seconded by the utmost efforts of the Legate. But all was
vain; public spirit was roused at the idea of a foreign nation disposing
of the throne of France. That part of the Parliament which sat at Paris
addressed remonstrances to the Duke of Mayenne the Lieutenant-general of
the kingdom, and urged him to enforce the observance of the fundamental
laws of the monarchy, and of the Salic law in particular. Had the
designs of the Spanish faction succeeded; had the Statesgeneral declared
the crown forfeited by the descendants of Hugues Capet; had a fourth
dynasty been raised to the throne, accepted by the nation, and
sanctioned by the religion acknowledged among the powers of Europe, the
rights of the third dynasty would have been extinct.

“Henry conquered the League at Arques and on the plains of Ivry, and he
then besieged Paris. However, he was convinced of the impossibility of
reigning in France, unless he joined the national party. He had
conquered with an army composed entirely of French troops: if he had
under his command a small corps of English, the Leaguers had a still
more considerable number of Spaniards and Italians. On both sides,
therefore, the contest had been maintained by Frenchmen against
Frenchmen; the foreigners were merely auxiliaries; the national honour
and independence could not be compromised, whichever party might be
declared victorious. _Ventre Saint-gris! Paris vaut bien une messe!_
were the exclamations by which Henry used to sound the opinion of the
Huguenots; and when, at the Council of Beauvais, he assembled the
principal leaders of the Protestant party, to deliberate on the
resolution which it was most expedient to adopt, the majority, and in
particular the most intelligent persons among them, advised the King to
abjure his faith and to join the national party. Henry pronounced his
abjuration at Saint-Denis, and received absolution from the Bishops; the
gates of Paris were thrown open to him, and his authority was
acknowledged by the whole kingdom. He now frankly espoused the national
party. Almost all the public posts were occupied by the Leaguers. The
Protestants, those who had constantly served the King, and to whom he
was indebted for his victories, frequently raised complaints against
him, and taxed him with ingratitude. Still, however, in spite of all the
discretion that was observed, the nation continued long to mistrust the
secret intentions of Henry. It was remarked that _what is bred in the
bone will never be out of the flesh_.

CHAP. II.—The republic sanctioned by the will of the people, by
  religion, by victory, and by all the Powers of Europe.

Hugues Capet ascended the throne by the choice of the Parliament,
consisting of Lords and Bishops, which two classes then constituted the
nation. The French monarchy was never absolute; the intervention of the
States General has always been necessary for sanctioning the principal
acts of the Legislature, and for levying new taxes. Subsequently, the
French Parliaments, under the pretence of being States General on a
small scale, and seconded by the Court, usurped the rights of the
nation. In 1788, the Parliaments were the first to acknowledge them.
Louis XVI. convoked the States General in 1789, and the nation exercised
a portion of the sovereignty. The Constituent Assembly framed a new
constitution for the state, which was sanctioned by the approval of the
whole French people, and which Louis XVI. accepted and swore to
maintain. The Legislative Assembly suspended the King. The convention,
which consisted of the deputies of all the primary assemblies in the
Kingdom, and which was invested with special powers, proclaimed the
abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of the Republic. The
adherents of the royal party fled from France, and solicited the aid of
foreign arms. Austria and Prussia signed the convention of Pilnitz; and
Austrian and Prussian armies, joined by the French royalist forces,
commenced the war of the first coalition to subdue the French people.
The whole nation took up arms; and the Austrians and Prussians were
conquered. The second coalition was afterwards formed by Austria,
England, and Russia; but this was destroyed like the first, and all the
Powers in Europe acknowledged the French Republic.

1st.—The Republic of Genoa, by an extraordinary embassy, on the 15th of
June, 1792.

2d.—The Porte, by a declaration, on the 27th of March, 1793.

3d.—Tuscany, by the treaty of the 9th of February, 1795.

4th.—Holland, by the treaty of 16th of May, 1795.

5th.—The Venetian Republic, by an extraordinary embassy, on the 30th of
December, 1795.

6th.—The King of Prussia, by the treaty signed at Bâle, on the 5th of
April, 1795.

7th.—The King of Spain, by the treaty signed at Bâle, on the 22nd of
July, 1795.

8th.—Hesse-Cassel, by the treaty of the 28th of July, 1795.

9th.—Switzerland, by the treaty of the 19th of August, 1795.

10th.—Denmark, by a declaration, on the 18th of August, 1795.

11th.—Sweden, by an embassy, on the 23rd of April, 1795.

12th.—Sardinia, by the treaty of Paris, on the 28th of April, 1796.

13th.—America, by an extraordinary embassy, on the 30th of December,

14th.—Naples, by the treaty of the 10th of October, 1796.

15th.—Parma, by the treaty of the 5th of November, 1796.

16th.—Wurtemburgh, by the treaty of the 7th of August, 1796.

17th.—Baden, by the treaty of the 22d of August, 1796.

18th.—Bavaria, by the treaty of the 24th of July, 1797.

19th.—Portugal, by the treaty of the 19th of August, 1797.

20th.—The Pope, by the treaty signed at Tolentino on the 19th of
February, 1797.

21st.—The Emperor of Germany, by the treaty of Campo-Formio, on the 7th
of October, 1797.

22d.—The Emperor of Russia, by a treaty signed on the 8th of October,

23d.—The King of England, by the treaty signed at Amiens on the 27th of
March 1802.

“The government of the Republic sent ambassadors to all the Powers of
Europe, and received envoys from those powers in return. The
tri-coloured flag was acknowledged in every sea, and throughout the
world. At Tolentino, the Pope had treated with the Republic as a
temporal sovereign; but he acknowledged and treated with it as head of
the Catholic religion, by the Concordat which was signed at Paris on the
18th of April, 1802. Most of the Bishops, who had followed the Royalist
party abroad, now submitted to the Republican government, and those who
refused forfeited their sees. In short, the French Republic, which was
sanctioned by the citizens, and victorious by its armies, was
acknowledged by every sovereign, every power, and every religion, in the
world, and in particular by the Catholic Church.

“Not only was the Republic acknowledged by all the powers in the world,
after the death of Louis XVI., but none of these powers ever
acknowledged a successor to him. In the year 1800, therefore, the third
dynasty was ended as completely as the first and second. The rights and
titles of the Merovingians were extinguished by the rights and titles of
the Carlovingians; the rights and titles of the Carlovingians were
extinguished by the rights and titles of the Capetians; and the rights
of the Capetians were, in like manner, extinguished by the Republic.
Every legitimate government supersedes the rights and the legitimacy of
the governments that have preceded it. The Republic was a government, in
fact and in right, rendered legitimate by the will of the nation,
sanctioned by the Church, and by the adhesion of all the world.

CHAP. III.—The Revolution rendered France a new nation:—it emancipated
  the Gauls from the tyranny of the Franks: it created new interests,
  and a new order of things conformable with the welfare and rights of
  the people, and the justice and knowledge of the age.

“The French Revolution was not produced by the jarring interests of two
families disputing the possession of the throne; it was a general rising
of the mass of the nation against the privileged classes. The French
nobility, like that of every country in Europe, dates its origin from
the incursion of the barbarians, who divided the Roman Empire among
them. In France, nobles represented the Franks, and the Burgundians, and
the rest of the nation, the Gauls. The feudal system which was
introduced established the principle that all land should have a lord.
All political privileges were exercised by the Priests and the Nobles;
the peasants were slaves, and in part attached to the glebe. The
progress of civilization and knowledge emancipated the people. This new
state of things promoted industry and trade. The chief portion of the
land, wealth, and information, belonged to the people in the eighteenth
century. The nobles, however, still continued to be a privileged class:
they were empowered to administer justice, and they possessed feudal
rights under various denominations and forms: they enjoyed the privilege
of being exempt from all the burdens of the state, and of possessing
exclusively the most honourable posts. These abuses roused the
indignation of the citizens. The principal object of the Revolution was
to destroy all privileges; to abolish signorial jurisdictions, justice
being an inseparable attribute of sovereign authority; to suppress
feudal rights, as being a remnant of the old slavery of the people; to
subject alike all citizens and all property, to the burdens of the
state. In short, the Revolution proclaimed equality of rights. A citizen
might attain any public employment, according to his talent and the
chances of fortune. The kingdom was composed of provinces which had been
united to the Crown at various periods: they had no natural limits, and
were differently divided, unequal in extent and in population. They
possessed many laws of their own, civil as well as criminal: they were
more or less privileged, and very unequally taxed, both with respect to
the amount and the nature of the contributions, which rendered it
necessary to detach them from each other by lines of custom-houses.
France was not a state, but a combination of several states, connected
together without amalgamation. The whole had been determined by chance
and by the events of past ages. The Revolution, guided by the principle
of equality, both with respect to the citizens and the different
portions of the territory, destroyed all these small nations: there was
no longer a Brittany, a Normandy, a Burgundy, a Champagne, a Provence,
or a Lorraine; but the whole formed a France. A division of homogeneous
territory, prescribed by local circumstances, confounded the limits of
all the provinces. They possessed the same judicial and administrative
organization, the same civil and criminal laws, and the same system of
taxation. The dreams of the upright men of all ages were realized. The
opposition which the Court, the Clergy, and the Nobility, raised against
the Revolution and the war with foreign powers, produced the law of
emigration and the sequestration of emigrant property, which
subsequently it was found necessary to sell, in order to provide for the
charges of the war. A great portion of the French nobility enrolled
themselves under the banner of the princes of the Bourbon family, and
formed an army which marched in conjunction with the Austrian, Prussian,
and English forces. Gentlemen who had been brought up in the enjoyment
of competency served as private soldiers: numbers were cut off by
fatigue and the sword; others perished of want in foreign countries; and
the wars of La Vendée and of the Chouans, and the revolutionary
tribunals, swept away thousands. Three-fourths of the French nobility
were thus destroyed; and all posts, civil, judicial, or military, were
filled by citizens who had risen from the common mass of the people. The
change produced in persons and property by the events of the Revolution,
was not less remarkable than that which was effected by the principles
of the Revolution. A new church was created; the dioceses of Vienne,
Narbonne, Frejus, Sisteron, Rheims, &c., were superseded by sixty new
dioceses, the boundaries of which were circumscribed, in the Concordat,
by new Bulls applicable to the present state of the French territory.
The suppression of religious orders, the sale of convents and of all
ecclesiastical property, were sanctioned, and the clergy were pensioned
by the State. Every thing that was the result of the events which had
occurred since the time of Clovis, ceased to exist. All these changes
were so advantageous to the people that they were effected with the
utmost facility, and, in 1800, there no longer remained any recollection
of the old privileges and sovereigns of the provinces, the old
parliaments and bailiwicks, or the old dioceses; and to trace back the
origin of all that existed, it was sufficient to refer to the new law by
which it had been established. One-half of the land had changed its
proprietors; the peasantry and the citizens were enriched. The
advancement of agriculture and manufactures exceeded the most sanguine
hopes. France presented the imposing spectacle of upwards of thirty
millions of inhabitants, circumscribed within their natural limits, and
composing only a single class of citizens, governed by one law, one
rule, and one order. All these changes were conformable with the welfare
and rights of the nation, and with the justice and intelligence of the

CHAP. IV.—The French people establish the Imperial throne, to
  consolidate the new interests of the nation. The fourth dynasty did
  not immediately succeed the third; it succeeded the Republic. Napoleon
  is crowned by the Pope, and acknowledged by the Powers of Europe. He
  creates kings, and the armies of all the Continental Powers march
  under his command.

The five members of the Directory were divided. Enemies to the Republic
crept into the councils; and thus men, hostile to the rights of the
people, became connected with the government. This state of things kept
the country in a ferment; and the great interests which the French
people had acquired by the Revolution were incessantly compromised. One
unanimous voice, issuing from the plains of France and from her cities
and her camps, demanded the preservation of all the principles of the
Republic, or the establishment of an hereditary system of government,
which would place the principles and interests of the Revolution beyond
the reach of factions and the influence of foreigners. By the
constitution of the year VIII. the First Consul of the Republic became
Consul for ten years, and the nation afterwards prolonged his magistracy
for life: the people subsequently raised him to the throne, which it
rendered hereditary in his family. The principles of the sovereignty of
the people, of liberty and equality, of the destruction of the feudal
system, of the irrevocability of the sale of national domains, and the
freedom of religious worship, were now established. The government of
France, under the fourth dynasty, was founded on the same principles as
the Republic. It was a moderate and constitutional monarchy. There was
as much difference between the government of France under the fourth
dynasty and the third, as between the latter and the Republic. The
fourth dynasty succeeded the Republic, or, more properly speaking, it
was merely a modification of it.

No Prince ever ascended a throne with rights more legitimate than those
of Napoleon. The crown was not presented to him by a few Bishops and
Nobles; but he was raised to the Imperial throne by the unanimous
consent of the citizens, three times solemnly confirmed. Pope Pius VII.
the head of the Catholic religion, the religion of the majority of the
French people, crossed the Alps to anoint the Emperor with his own
hands, in the presence of the Bishops of France, the Cardinals of the
Romish Church, and the Deputies from all the districts of the Empire.
The sovereigns of Europe eagerly acknowledged Napoleon: all beheld with
pleasure the modification of the Republic, which placed France on a
footing of harmony with the rest of Europe, and which at once confirmed
the constitution and the happiness of that great nation. Ambassadors
from Austria, Russia, Prussia, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, and America, in
fine, from all the powers of Europe, came to congratulate the Emperor.
England alone sent no ambassador: she had violated the treaty of Amiens,
and had consequently again declared war against France; but even England
approved the change. Lord Whitworth, in the secret negotiations which
took place through the medium of Count Malouet, and which preceded the
rupture of the peace of Amiens, proposed, on the part of the English
government, to acknowledge Napoleon as King of France, on condition of
his agreeing to the cession of Malta. The First Consul replied that, if
ever the welfare of France required that he should ascend the throne, it
would only be by the free and spontaneous will of the French people. In
1806, when Lord Lauderdale came to Paris to negotiate peace between the
King of England and the Emperor, he exchanged his powers, as is proved
by the protocol of the negotiations, and he treated with the Emperor’s
plenipotentiary. The death of Fox broke up the negotiations of Lord
Lauderdale. The English Minister had it in his power to obviate the
Prussian campaign,[22] to prevent the battle of Jena. When, in 1814, the
Allies presented an _ultimatum_ at Chaumont, Lord Castlereagh, in
signing this _ultimatum_, again acknowledged the existence of the Empire
in the person and the family of Napoleon. If the latter did not accept
the propositions of the Congress of Chatillon, it was because he did not
conceive himself at liberty to cede a portion of the Empire, the
integrity of which he had, at his coronation, sworn to maintain.

The Electors of Bavaria, Wurtemberg, and Saxony, were created Kings by

The armies of Saxony, Bavaria, Wurtemberg, Baden, and Hesse, fought in
conjunction with the French armies; and the Russian and French troops
fought together in 1809, in the war against Austria. In 1812, the
Emperor of Austria concluded at Paris an alliance with Napoleon, and
Prince Schwartzenburg commanded, under his orders, the Austrian
contingent in the Russian campaign, in which he attained the rank of
Field Marshal, on the application of the French Emperor. A similar
treaty of alliance was concluded at Berlin, and the Prussian army also
fought with the French in the campaign in Russia.

Footnote 22:

  While Lord Lauderdale was in Paris, and negotiating with the Emperor’s
  plenipotentiaries, Prussia took up arms and assumed a hostile
  attitude. Lord Lauderdale seemed to disapprove of this conduct, and to
  consider the contest very unequal. Being informed that Napoleon
  intended to march at the head of the army, he enquired whether the
  Emperor would consent to defer his departure, and to enter into
  arrangements with Prussia, if England would accept the basis of the
  negotiations, that is to say, the _uti possidetis_ on both sides,
  including Hanover. The discussion was maintained on the subject of
  Hanover, which England wished to recover independently of this basis.
  By the reply of the Cabinet of St. James’s, Lord Lauderdale was
  recalled. The Emperor set out, and the battle of Jena took place: Fox
  was then dead.

  We were, at this period, eye-witnesses to the regret and repugnance
  which Napoleon evinced at the necessity of going to war with Prussia.
  He was disposed to leave Hanover in the possession of that power, and
  to recognise a Confederation of the North of Germany. He felt that
  Prussia, having never been beaten or humbled by France, and her power
  being still unimpaired, she could have no interests hostile to his;
  but that, if once she were subdued, she must be destroyed.

The Emperor healed the wounds which the Revolution had inflicted: the
emigrants returned, and the list of proscription was obliterated.
Napoleon enjoyed the glory most gratifying to a monarch, by recalling
and re-establishing in their homes upwards of 20,000 families: their
unsold property was restored to them; and, the veil of oblivion being
thrown over the past, persons of every class, whatever line of conduct
they might previously have pursued, were admitted to all public
employments. Families who had distinguished themselves by the services
they had rendered to the Bourbons, those who had shewn themselves most
devoted to the Royal Family, filled places about the Court, and in the
ministry, and held commissions in the army. All party denominations were
forgotten: aristocrats and Jacobins were no longer spoken of; and the
institution of the Legion of Honour, which was at once the reward of
military, civil, and judicial services, placed on a footing of unity the
soldier, the man of science, the artist, the prelate, and the
magistrate; it became the badge of concord among all classes and all

CHAP. V.—The blood of the Imperial dynasty mingled with that of all the
  monarchical Houses in Europe; with those of Russia, Prussia, England,
  and Austria.

The Imperial House of France contracted alliances with all the sovereign
families of Europe. Prince Eugéne Napoleon, the adopted son of the
Emperor, married the eldest daughter of the King of Bavaria, a princess
distinguished for her beauty and her virtues. This alliance, which was
contracted at Munich on the 14th of January, 1806, afforded the highest
satisfaction to the Bavarian nation. The Hereditary Prince of Baden, the
brother-in-law of the Emperor of Russia, solicited the hand of Princess
Stephanie, the adopted daughter of the Emperor Napoleon: this marriage
was celebrated at Paris on the 7th of April, 1806. On the 22d of August,
1807, Prince Jerome Napoleon married the eldest daughter of the King of
Wurtemburg, cousin-german of the Emperor of Russia, the King of England,
and the King of Prussia. Other alliances of this nature were contracted
with sovereign princes of Germany, of the House of Hohenzollern. These
marriages have proved happy, and all have given birth to princes and
princesses, who will transmit to future generations the recollection of
the Imperial government of France.

“When the interests of France and the Empire induced the Emperor and the
Empress Josephine to break bonds which were equally dear to them both,
the greatest sovereigns in Europe courted the Alliance of Napoleon. Had
it not been for religious scruples, and the delays occasioned by
distance, it is probable that a Russian princess would have occupied the
throne of France. The Archduchess Maria Louisa, who was married to the
Emperor by procuration granted to Prince Charles, at Vienna, on the 11th
of March, 1810, and at Paris on the 2d of April following, ascended the
throne of France. As soon as the Emperor of Austria learned that
Napoleon’s marriage was in agitation, he expressed his surprise that an
alliance with the House of Austria had not been thought of. The choice
was hitherto divided between a Russian and a Saxon princess: Francis
explained his sentiments on this subject to the Count de Narbonne, the
Governor of Trieste, who was then at Vienna; and, in consequence,
instructions were forwarded to the Prince of Schwartzenberg, the
Austrian ambassador at Paris. In February, 1810, a Privy Council was
convoked at the Tuileries: the Minister for Foreign Affairs submitted to
the Council the despatches of the Duke of Vicenza, the French ambassador
at the Court of Russia. These communications shewed that the Emperor
Alexander was very much disposed to give his sister, the Grand-duchess
Anne, in marriage to Napoleon; but he seemed to make it a point of
importance that the Princess should be allowed the public exercise of
her religious worship, and a chapel appropriated to the Greek rites. The
despatches from Vienna developed the insinuations and the wishes of the
Austrian Court. There was a division of opinions in the French Council:
the Russian, the Saxon, and the Austrian alliance, all found supporters;
but the majority voted for the choice of an Archduchess of Austria. As
Prince Eugéne had been the first to propose the Austrian alliance, the
Emperor, breaking up the sitting at two in the morning, authorized him
to make overtures with Prince Schwartzenberg. He at the same time
authorized the Minister for Foreign Affairs to sign, in the course of
the day, the contract of marriage with the Austrian ambassador; and, to
obviate all difficulties with respect to the details, he directed him to
sign, word for word, the same contract as that which had been drawn up
for the marriage of Louis XVI. and the Archduchess Marie-Antoinette. In
the morning, Prince Eugéne had an interview with Prince Schwartzenberg:
the contract was signed the same day, and the courier who conveyed the
intelligence to Austria agreeably surprised the Emperor Francis. The
peculiar circumstances attending the signature of this marriage contract
led the Emperor Alexander to suspect that he had been trifled with, and
that the Court of the Tuileries had been conducting two negotiations at
once. But this was a mistake: the negotiation with Vienna was begun and
concluded in one day.[23]

Footnote 23:

  A report was pretty generally circulated that the marriage of the
  Archduchess Maria-Louisa with the Emperor Napoleon was a secret
  article of the treaty of Vienna: this idea is void of foundation. The
  treaty of Vienna is dated Oct. 15, 1809, and the marriage contract was
  signed at Paris on the 7th of Feb. 1810.

  Every individual who was present at the deliberations of the Privy
  Council can attest that the circumstances of the marriage were such as
  they have been above described; that no idea of the Austrian alliance
  was entertained before the contents of the Count de Narbonne’s
  despatches were made known; and that the marriage with the Archduchess
  Maria-Louisa was proposed, discussed, and determined on in the
  Council, and signed within the space of twenty-four hours.

  The members of the Council were—the Emperor, the great Dignitaries of
  the Empire, the high Officers of the Crown, all the Ministers, the
  Presidents of the Senate and the Legislative Body, and the Ministers
  of State, Presidents of the sections of the Council of State;
  amounting, in all, to 25.

“Never did the birth of any Prince excite so much enthusiasm in a
people, or produce so powerful a sensation throughout Europe, as the
birth of the King of Rome. On the firing of the first gun, which
announced the delivery of the Empress, the whole population of Paris was
in the most anxious suspense. In the streets, the promenades, at the
places of public amusement, and in the interior of the houses, all were
eagerly intent on counting the number of guns. The twenty-second excited
universal transport: it had been usual to discharge twenty-one guns on
the birth of a Princess, and a hundred and one on the birth of a Prince.
All the European Powers deputed the most distinguished noblemen of their
Courts to present their congratulations to the Emperor. The Emperor of
Russia sent his Minister of the Interior; and the Emperor of Austria
despatched Count Clary, one of his highest officers of the crown, who
brought, as presents to the young King, the collars of all the Orders of
the Austrian Monarchy set with diamonds. The baptism of the King of Rome
was celebrated with the utmost pomp, in the presence of the French
bishops, and deputies from all parts of the Empire. The Emperor of
Austria was sponsor to the young king by proxy; he was represented by
his brother, the Archduke Ferdinand, Grand-Duke of Tuscany.

CHAP. VI.—Containing some account of the campaign of Saxony,[24] and
  shewing that the league of 1813 was in its object foreign to the

Footnote 24:

  I did not choose to suppress this summary of the campaign in Saxony,
  although the same subject has already been particularly treated of at
  the commencement of this volume. If, however, some readers should
  consider it merely a repetition, others will find in it the means of
  comparing and verifying what has been before stated: one of the
  accounts is drawn up from documents published in Europe, whilst the
  other was dictated at St. Helena by Napoleon himself.

“The victories of Lützen and Würtzen, on the 2nd and 22nd of May, 1813,
had re-established the reputation of the French arms. The King of Saxony
was brought back in triumph to his capital; the enemy was driven from
Hamburg; one of the corps of the grand army was at the gates of Berlin,
and the imperial head-quarters were established at Breslau. The Russian
and Prussian armies, disheartened by their defeats, had no alternative
but to repass the Vistula, when Austria interfered and advised France to
sign an armistice. Napoleon returned to Dresden, the Emperor of Austria
quitted Vienna and repaired to Bohemia, and the Emperor of Russia and
the King of Prussia established themselves at Schweidnitz.
Communications took place between the different Powers. Count Metternich
proposed the Congress of Prague, which was agreed on; but it was merely
the shadow of a Congress. The Court of Vienna had already entered into
engagements with Russia and Prussia, and intended to declare itself in
the month of May, when the unexpected success of the French army
rendered greater circumspection necessary. Notwithstanding all the
efforts which Austria had exerted, her army was still inconsiderable in
number, badly organized, and ill prepared to enter upon a campaign.
Count Metternich demanded, on the part of Austria, the surrender of the
Illyrian Provinces, one half of the kingdom of Italy, (that is to say,
Venice, as far as the Mincio,) and Poland. It was moreover required that
Napoleon should renounce the Protectorate of Germany, and the
departments of the thirty-second military division. These extravagant
propositions were advanced only that they might be rejected. The Duke of
Vicenza proceeded to the Congress of Prague. The choice of Baron
d’Anstetten, as the Russian plenipotentiary, shewed that Russia wished
not for peace, but was merely anxious to afford Austria time to complete
her military preparations. The unfavourable augury, occasioned by the
selection of Baron d’Anstetten as a negotiator, was confirmed: he
declined entering upon any conference. Austria, who pretended to act as
mediatrix, declared, when her army was in readiness, that she adhered to
the coalition, though she did not even require the opening of a single
sitting, or the drawing up of a single protocol. This system of bad
faith, and of perpetual contradictions between words and acts, was
unremittingly pursued, at this period, by the Court of Vienna. The war
was resumed. The brilliant victory gained by the Emperor at Dresden, on
the 27th of August, 1813, over the army commanded by the three
Sovereigns, was immediately followed by the disasters which Macdonald,
through his ill-concerted manœuvres, brought upon himself in Silesia,
and by the destruction of Vandamme’s force in Bohemia. However, the
superiority was still on the side of the French army, which supported
itself on three points, viz: Torgau, Wittenberg, and Magdeburg. Denmark
had concluded a treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive, and her
contingent augmented the army of Hamburg.

“In October, the Emperor quitted Dresden to proceed to Magdeburg, by the
left bank of the Elbe, in order to deceive the enemy. His intention was
to recross the Elbe at Wittenburg and to march on Berlin. Several corps
of the army had already arrived at Wittenburg, and the enemy’s bridges
at Dessau had been destroyed, when a letter from the King of Wurtemburg
informed the Emperor that the King of Bavaria had suddenly gone over to
the enemy; and that, without any declaration of war or any previous
intimation, the Austrian and Bavarian forces, cantoned on the banks of
the Inn, had formed themselves into one camp; that these forces,
amounting to 80,000, under the orders of General Wrede, were marching on
the Rhine; that he (the King of Wurtemberg), seeing the impossibility of
his opposing this united force, had been obliged to add his contingent
to it. The letter farther added that 100,000 men would soon surround
Mentz, the Bavarians having made common cause with Austria. Upon
receiving this unexpected intelligence, the Emperor found himself
compelled to change the plan of the campaign which he had projected two
months previously, and for which he had prepared the fortresses and
magazines. This plan had for its object to drive the Allies between the
Elbe and the Saale; and, under the protection of the fortresses and
magazines of Torgau, Wittemberg, Magdeburg, and Hamburg, to establish
the seat of war between the Elbe and the Oder (the French army being at
that time in possession of the fortresses of Glogau, Cüstrin, and
Stettin), and, according to circumstances, to raise the blockades of the
fortresses of the Vistula, Dantzick, Thorn, and Modlin. It was
anticipated that the success of this vast plan would have been the means
of breaking up the coalition, and that, in consequence, all the German
Princes would have been confirmed in their allegiance and their alliance
with France. It was hoped that Bavaria would have delayed for a
fortnight to change sides, and then it was certain that she would not
have changed at all.

“The armies met on the plains of Leipsic, on the 16th of October. The
French were victorious; the Austrians were beaten and driven from all
their positions; and Count Meerfeld, who commanded one of the Austrian
corps, was made prisoner. On the 18th, notwithstanding the check
sustained by the Duke of Ragusa on the 16th, victory was still on the
side of the French, when the whole of the Saxon army, with a battery of
sixty guns, occupying one of the most important positions of the line,
passed over to the enemy, and turned its artillery on the French ranks.
Such unlooked-for treachery could not but cause the destruction of the
French army, and transfer all the glory of the day to the Allies. The
Emperor galloped forward with half his guard, repulsed the Swedes and
Saxons, and drove them from their positions. This day (the 18th) was now
ended: the enemy made a retrograde movement along the whole of his line,
and bivouacked in the rear of the field of battle, which remained in the
possession of the French. In the night, the French army made a movement,
in order to take its position behind the Elster, and thus to be in
direct communication with Erfurt, whence were expected the convoys of
ammunition that were so much wanted. In the engagements of the 16th and
18th, the French army had fired more than 150,000 discharges of cannon.
The treachery of several of the German corps of the Confederation, who
were seduced by the example of the Saxons on the preceding day, and the
destruction of the bridge of Leipsic, which was blown up by mistake,
occasioned the French army, though victorious, to experience the losses
which usually result from the most disastrous engagements. The French
re-crossed the Saale by the bridge of Weissenfeld: they intended to
rally their forces, and await the arrival of the ammunition from Erfurt,
which had abundant supplies.

“Intelligence was now received of the Austro-Bavarian army, which, by
forced marches, had reached the Maine. It was necessary therefore to
repair thither, in order to come up with the Bavarians; and, on the 30th
of October, the French fell in with them, drawn up in order of battle
before Hanau and intercepting the Frankfort roads. The Bavarian force,
though numerous, and occupying fine positions, was completely routed,
and driven beyond Hanau, which was in the possession of Count Bertrand.
General Wrede was wounded. The French forces continued their movement
with the view of falling back behind the Rhine, and they re-crossed the
river on the 2nd of November. A parley ensued: Baron de St. Aignan
repaired to Frankfort, where he had conferences with Counts Metternich
and Nesselrode and Lord Aberdeen, and he arrived at Paris with proposals
for peace on the following bases:—That the Emperor Napoleon should
renounce the Protectorship of the Confederation of the Rhine, Poland,
and the departments of the Elbe; but that France should retain her
boundaries of the Alps and the Rhine, together with the possession of
Holland, and that a frontier line in Italy should be determined upon,
for separating France from the States of the House of Austria. The
Emperor agreed to these bases; but the Congress of Frankfort, like that
of Prague, was merely a stratagem employed in the hope that France would
reject the terms which were proposed. It was wished to have a new
subject for a manifesto to operate on the public mind; for at the moment
when these conciliatory propositions were made, the Allied army was
violating the neutrality of the cantons, and entering Switzerland.
However, the Allies at last developed their real intentions; they named
Chatillon-sur-Seine, in Burgundy, as the seat of the Congress. The
battles of Champ-Aubert, Montmirail, and Montereau, destroyed the armies
of Blucher and Witgenstein. No negotiations took place at Chatillon; but
the coalesced Powers presented an _ultimatum_, the conditions of which
were as follows:

“1st, That France should surrender the whole of Italy, Belgium, Holland,
and the departments of the Rhine; 2nd, that France should return to her
limits as they existed previously to 1792. The Emperor rejected this
_ultimatum_. He consented to sacrifice Holland and Italy to the
circumstances in which France was then placed; but he refused to resign
the limits of the Alps and the Rhine, or to surrender Belgium and
particularly Antwerp. Treason secured the triumph of the Allies,
notwithstanding the victories of Arcis and St. Dizier. Hitherto the
Allies had intimated no design of interfering in the internal affairs of
France; this is proved by the _ultimatum_ of Chatillon, signed by
England, Austria, Russia, and Prussia. At length, however, some of the
returned emigrants, excited by the presence of the Austrian, Russian,
and Prussian armies, in whose ranks they had long borne arms, imagined
that the moment had arrived in which their dreams were to be realized:
some mounted the white cockade, and others displayed the cross of St.
Louis. This conduct was disapproved by the Allied Sovereigns; and it was
even censured by Wellington at Bourdeaux, though in reality he secretly
favoured all who endeavoured to raise the ensigns of the House of
Bourbon. In the transactions which detached Prussia from her alliance
with France, and bound her to Russia by the treaty of Kalisch; in the
treaty which united Austria with the coalition; in the diplomatic
proceedings, public and private, which took place down to the treaty of
Chatillon; and even in that concluded in France, in 1814, the Allies
never made any reference to the Bourbons.”

The VIIth, VIIIth, and IXth Chapters shew that the Bourbons after their
return ought to have commenced a fifth dynasty, and not to have
endeavoured to continue the third. The first course would have rendered
all easy, the second has involved every thing in difficulty.

The Xth Chapter closes with a passage of a few lines which forcibly
describe the magical effect of the Emperor’s return on the 20th of
March. These last chapters contain the most nervous and energetic
writing, but the applications are direct, and indeed often personal. I
have suppressed the details, because I wish not to afford any ground for
my being accused of bringing forward a hostile statement. Time, which
modifies all things, will render this work merely an historical
document, which is the only light in which I wish it to be considered
here, as well, indeed, as all works of a similar nature that I may think
it necessary to quote. I have written in France and other countries,
under different laws and circumstances, and I have always found the
liberty of the press existing for me.

I hope to experience its influence on the present occasion, although my
subject is one of a most delicate nature. I now look forward to the
speedy termination of my voyage; the port is within sight, and I hope to
reach it safely, in spite of all the shoals I may encounter.

                            HIS MUNIFICENCE.

9th—10th. The Emperor passed a bad night. He desired me to be called
early in the morning. When I went to him, he told me that he was half
dead, that he had had no rest, and was feverish. He has continued very
ill for these two days, and has reclined almost constantly on his couch,
which in the evenings is drawn near the fire. He has been unable to eat,
and has drunk nothing but warm lemonade. I have been in continual
attendance on him during these two days; he has enjoyed a little sleep
at intervals, and the rest of the time he has spent in conversing with
me upon various subjects. He spoke of the expense of giving parties in
Paris; and, passing from that subject to my domestic affairs, he
expressed a wish that I should make him acquainted with the minutest
details on that point.

I told him that my income had amounted only to 20,000 francs a year,
15,000 of which were derived from my own property, and 5000 from my
salary as a Councillor of State. On hearing this he exclaimed: “You must
have been mad! How could you venture to approach the Tuileries with so
straitened an income? The expenses of attending the Court were
enormous!”—“Sire,” I replied, “I contrived to keep up my dignity as well
as the rest: and yet I never solicited any thing from your Majesty.” The
Emperor observed, “I do not say you did; but you must have been ruined
in less than four or five years.”—“No, Sire,” I rejoined, “I had been an
emigrant during the greater part of my life; I had lived amidst
privations, and, with a few exceptions, I still subjected myself to
them. It is true that, in spite of all my economy, I ran through 7 or
8000 francs of my capital every year. But I calculated thus: it was well
known that every person about you must, by dint of zeal and attention to
their duties, sooner or later, attract your notice, and that he who once
gained your favour might consider his fortune made. I had still four or
five years left to try this chance; at the expiration of which, if
fortune did not smile on me, I was determined to renounce the illusions
of the world, and to retire from the capital with an income of ten or
twelve thousand livres; poor enough, to be sure, but, nevertheless,
richer than ever I had been in Paris.”—“Well,” said the Emperor, “your
scheme was not a bad one, and the moment had just arrived when you would
have been indemnified for all your losses. I was just about to do
something for you, and it was wholly your own fault that you did not
make a more rapid and brilliant fortune. I believe I have told you
before that you did not know how to avail yourself of favourable
opportunities for securing your own advancement.”

This conversation led us to speak of the enormous sums which the Emperor
had lavished on the persons about him, and, gradually becoming animated,
he said:—“It would be difficult to estimate all that I bestowed in this
way. I might, on more than one occasion, have been accused of profusion,
and I am grieved to see that it has been of little use in any respect.
There must certainly have been some fatality on my part, or some
essential fault in the persons whom I favoured. What a difficulty was I
placed in! It cannot be believed that my extravagance was caused by
personal vanity. To act the part of an Asiatic monarch was not a thing
to my taste. I was not actuated either by vanity or caprice; every thing
was with me a matter of calculation. Though certain persons might be
favourites with me, yet I did not lavish my bounty on them merely
because I liked them: I wished to found, through them, great families,
who might form rallying-points in great national crises. The great
Officers of my Household, as well as all my Ministers, independently of
their enormous salaries, often received from me handsome
gratuities,—sometimes complete services of plate, &c. What was my object
in this profuseness? I required that they should maintain elegant
establishments, give grand dinners and brilliant balls!—And why did I
wish this? In order to amalgamate parties, to form new unions, to smooth
down old asperities, and to give a character to French society and
manners. If I conceived good ideas, they miscarried in the execution:
for instance, none of my chief Courtiers ever kept up a suitable
establishment. If they gave dinners, they invited only their party
friends; and when I attended their expensive balls, whom did I find
there? All the Court of the Tuileries: not a new face; not one of those
who were offended at the new system—those sullen malcontents, whom a
little honey would have brought back to the hive. They could not enter
into my views, or did not wish to do so. In vain I expressed
displeasure, intreated, and commanded: things still went on in the same
way. I could not be every-where at once, and they knew that;—and yet it
was affirmed that I ruled with a rod of iron. How, then, must things go
under gentle sovereigns?”


11th.—The Emperor continued unwell. I found him very low-spirited. He
had ordered the situation of his bed to be changed—that bed, so long the
constant companion of his victories, was now a couch of sickness. He
complained that it was too small for him, that he could hardly turn
himself in it; but his chamber would not have afforded room for a longer
one. He ordered the camp-bed to be carried into his cabinet, and placed
beside a couch; so that the two combined formed a bed of tolerable size.
To what an extremity is he reduced! The Emperor stretched himself on his
sofa, and entered into conversation, which revived him a little.
Speaking of his accession to the Consulship, and of the dreadful
disorders which he found existing in all the branches of the public
service, he said that he had been compelled to adopt numerous measures
of reform, which caused a great outcry, but which had not a little
contributed to strengthen the bonds of society. These measures extended
to the army, among the officers, and even among the generals, who, he
said, had become such, Heaven knows how. Here I took the liberty to
relate an anecdote which had at one time afforded great amusement to the
circle in which I moved. One of my friends, (who was as dissatisfied
with the then existing government as I was myself,) travelling in one of
the small Versailles diligences with a soldier of the guard, maliciously
excited him to express his opinions. The man complained that every thing
went wrong, because it was required that a soldier should know how to
read and write before he could be advanced from the ranks. “So you see,”
he exclaimed, “the _tic has returned again_.”[25] This phrase pleased
us, and was often repeated among us. “Well,” observed the Emperor, “what
would your soldier have said when I created the Guards of the Eagle?
That measure would, doubtless, have re-established me in his good
opinion. I appointed two sub-officers to be the special guards of the
Eagle in every regiment, one of whom was placed on either side of the
standard; and, lest their ardour in the midst of the conflict might
cause them to lose sight of the only object which they ought to have in
view, namely, the preservation of the Eagle, they were prohibited from
using the sabre or the sword: their only arms were a few braces of
pistols; their only duty was coolly to blow out the brains of the enemy
who might attempt to lay hands on the Eagle. But, before a man could
obtain this post, he was required to prove that he could neither read
nor write, and of course you guess the reason why.” “No, Sire.” “Why,
simpleton! Every man who has received education is sure to rise in the
army, but the soldier who has not these advantages, never attains
advancement except by dint of courage and extraordinary circumstances.”

Footnote 25:

  TIC is the French term for any bad habit.

As I was in the humour for gossiping, I related another anecdote, which
had also produced merriment in the saloons of Paris. It was said that, a
regiment having lost its Eagle, Napoleon harangued the men on the
subject, and expressed great indignation at the dishonour they had
brought upon themselves by suffering their Eagle to be taken. “But we
tricked the enemy,” exclaimed a Gascon soldier, “they have only got the
staff, for here is the _cuckoo_ in my pocket;” and he produced the
Eagle. The Emperor laughed and said, “Well, I could not venture to
affirm that this circumstance, or something very like it, did not
actually take place. My soldiers were very much at their ease and made
very free with me; often addressing me familiarly by the pronoun

I mentioned having heard that on the eve of the battle of Jena, or some
other great engagement, as Napoleon was passing a particular station,
accompanied by a very small escort, a soldier refused to let him pass,
and, growing angry when the Emperor insisted on advancing, swore that he
should not pass even though he were the _Little Corporal_ himself. When
the soldier ascertained that it was really the Little Corporal, he was
not at all disconcerted. The Emperor observed, “That was because he felt
the conviction of having done his duty; and indeed the fact is that I
passed for a terrible tyrant in the saloons, and even among the officers
of the army, but not among the soldiers: they possessed the instinct of
truth and sympathy, they knew me to be their protector, and, in case of
need, their avenger.”

                    PROVISIONS, EXECRABLE WINE, &C.

12th.—To-day the Emperor, although no better than he had been for some
days past, determined, as he said, to nurse himself no longer. He
dressed and repaired to the drawing-room, where he dictated, for two or
three hours, to one of his suite. He had eaten nothing for three days:
he had not yet been relieved by the crisis which he expected, and which
is usually produced by the singular regimen which he prescribes for
himself. He continued drinking warm lemonade. This circumstance led him
to inquire how long a person might live without eating, and how far
drink might supply the place of solid food. He sent for the
_Encyclopedia Britannica_, in which he met with some very curious facts:
for instance, he found that a woman had existed for fifty days without
solid food, and drinking only twice. Another instance was mentioned of a
person who had lived twenty days upon water alone.

Somebody observed, in reference to this subject, that Charles XII., out
of pure contradiction to the opinions of those around him, had abstained
from eating for the space of five or six days, at the expiration of
which, however, he devoured a turkey and a leg of mutton, at the hazard
of bursting. Napoleon laughed at this anecdote, and assured us that he
felt no wish to run to such extremes, however attractive the model might
be in other respects.

The Emperor played a game at piquet with Madame de Montholon. The Grand
Marshal having entered, he left off playing, and asked him how he
thought he looked. Bertrand replied, “Only rather sallow;” which was
indeed the case. The Emperor rose good-humouredly, and pursued Bertrand
into the saloon, in order to catch him by the ear, exclaiming, “Rather
sallow, indeed! Do you intend to insult me. Grand Marshal? Do you mean
to say that I am bilious, morose, atrabilarious, passionate, unjust,
tyrannical! Let me catch hold of your ear, and I will take my revenge.”

The dinner-hour arrived, and the Emperor for some time was undecided
whether he would sit down to table with us, or dine alone in his own
room. He decided upon the latter plan, lest, as he said, he should be
tempted to imitate Charles XII. if he sat at the great table: but he
would have found it difficult to do that. He returned while we were at
dinner, and, from the scanty way in which our table was served, he said
he really pitied us, for in fact we had scarcely any thing to eat. This
circumstance induced the Emperor to resort to a painful extremity: he
instantly gave orders that a portion of his plate should be sold every
month, to supply what was necessary for our table. The worst thing
connected with our wretched dinner was the wine, which had for some days
been execrable, and had made us all unwell. We were obliged to send for
some to the camp, in the hope that that which had been furnished to us
would be changed, as we could not drink it.

In the course of a conversation which took place respecting the wine,
the Emperor stated that he had received a great number of instructions
and directions from chemists and physicians, all of whom had concurred
in declaring that wine and coffee were the two things respecting which
it was most necessary he should be on his guard. Every professional man
had cautioned him to reject both wine and coffee if he found any
unpleasant flavour in them. Wine, in particular, he was advised to
abstain from, if he found any thing _uncommon_ in the taste of it. He
had always been in the habit of getting his wine from Chambertin, and
had therefore, seldom occasion to find fault with it; but the case is
different now, if he had refused wine whenever he found any thing
_uncommon_ in it, he must have abstained from it for a considerable time


13th.—The weather is very bad; and it has continued so for three weeks
or a month. The Emperor sent for me before one o’clock: he was in his
saloon; our Amphitryon had paid me a visit, and I took him to the
Emperor, who spoke to him on matters of a private and personal nature.

Napoleon is much altered in his looks.—To-day he wished to set to work.
I sent for my son, and he went over the chapters relating to the Pope
and Tagliamento. He continued thus employed until five o’clock. He was
very low-spirited, and appeared to be suffering much; he retired, saying
he would try to eat a little.

Two ships came within sight, one was supposed to be the Eurydice, which
was every moment expected to arrive from Europe, having touched at the
Cape: they proved to be, however, one of the Company’s ships and another
vessel that was accidentally passing the island.

The Emperor came to us while we were at dinner; he said he had eaten
enough for four persons, and that this had quite restored him.

He wanted something to read, and looked over his brother Lucien’s poem
of Charlemagne. He analysed the first canto, and afterwards glanced over
a few others: he then examined the subject and the plan of the work, &c.
“How much labour, ingenuity and time,” he observed, “have been thrown
away upon this book! what a wreck of judgment and taste! Here are twenty
thousand verses, some of which may be good, for aught I know; but they
are destitute of interest, design, or effect. It might have been
regarded as a compulsory task, had it been written by a professed
author. Why did not Lucien, with all his good sense, consider that
Voltaire, master as he was of the French language and the art of poetry,
failed in a similar attempt, though that attempt was made in Paris, in
the midst of the sanctuary! How could Lucien suppose it possible to
write a French poem, when living at a distance from the French capital?
How could he pretend to introduce a new metre? He has written a history
in verse, and not an epic poem. An epic poem should not be the history
of a man, but of a passion or an event. And, then, what a subject has
Lucien chosen! What barbarous names has he introduced! Does he think he
has succeeded in raising the religion which he conceived to be fallen?
Is his poem intended as a work of re-action? It certainly bears the
stamp of the soil on which it was written: it is full of prayers,
priests, the temporal authority of the Popes, &c. How could he think of
devoting twenty thousand lines to absurdities which do not belong to the
present age, to prejudices which he could not enter into, and opinions
which he could not entertain! What a misapplication of talent! He might
undoubtedly have produced something more creditable to himself; for he
possesses judgment, facility, and industry. He was in Rome amidst the
richest materials, and with the means of satisfying the deepest
research. He understands the Italian language: and, as we have no good
history of Italy, he might have written one. His talents, his situation,
his knowledge of affairs, his rank, might have enabled him to produce an
excellent classic work. It would have been a valuable acquisition to the
literary world, and would have conferred honour on its author. But what
is Charlemagne? What reputation will it gain? It will be buried in the
dust of libraries, and its author will obtain at most a few scanty and
perhaps ridiculous notices in biographical dictionaries. If Lucien could
not resist the temptation of scribbling verses, he should have prepared
a splendid manuscript, embellished with elegant designs and superb
binding, with which he might now and then have gratified the eyes of the
ladies, occasionally allowing a few quotations from it to creep into
publicity; and finally he should have left it to his heirs, with a
severe prohibition against committing it to the press. One might then
have been able to understand his taste.”

He laid the work aside, and said: “Let us turn to the Iliad.” My son
went to fetch it, and the Emperor read a few cantos, stopping at various
passages, in order, as he said, to admire them at his ease. His
observations were copious and remarkable. He was so deeply interested in
what he read, that it was half-past twelve before he retired to rest.


14th.—The terrible state of the weather still continued, and confined us
to our miserable huts. We are all indisposed.

The Emperor dictated during part of the day, and he felt himself much

At dinner we had literally scarcely any thing to eat. The Governor
continued his successive reductions. The Emperor ordered some additional
provisions to be purchased and paid for out of the produce of the sale
of his plate.

The Governor intimated that the allowance of wine should continue fixed
at one bottle for each person, the Emperor included. Will it be
credited? _One bottle for a mother and her children!_ these were the
words used in the note.

The Emperor retired to his own apartment, and sent for me to attend him.
“I am not inclined to sleep,” said he, “and I sent for you to help me to
keep my vigil; let us have a little chat together.” The turn of the
conversation led us to speak of the Island of Elba, of the Emperor’s
occupations, sensations, and opinions while he continued there; finally,
his return to France, and the brilliant success which attended him, and
which, he said, he never for a moment doubted. Many observations were
repeated, which I have already noted down at different times. At one
moment he said: “They may explain this as they will: but I assure you, I
never entertained any direct or personal hatred of those whose power I
subverted. To me it was merely a political contest: I was astonished
myself to find my heart free from animosity, and, I may add, animated by
good will towards my enemies. You saw how I released the Duke
d’Angoulême; and I would have done the same by the King, and even have
granted him an asylum of his own choosing. The triumph of the cause in
no way depended on his person, and I respected his age and his
misfortunes. Perhaps also I felt grateful for a certain degree of
consideration which he in particular had observed towards me. It is true
that, at the moment to which I am now alluding, he had, I believe,
outlawed me and set a price upon my head; but I looked upon all this as
belonging to the _manifesto style_. The same kind of denunciations were
also issued by the Austrian government, without, however, giving me much
uneasiness; though I must confess that my dear father-in-law was rather
too hard with the husband of his beloved daughter.”

Since I have once more had occasion to mention the Emperor’s return from
the Island of Elba, this is, perhaps, the proper place to fulfil the
promise I have made of giving a narrative of the circumstances connected
with that extraordinary event. I here combine together the statements
that fell from him at different times.

Napoleon was residing at the Island of Elba, on the faith of treaties,
when he learned that at the Congress of Vienna some idea was entertained
of transporting him from Europe. None of the articles of the treaty of
Fontainebleau were fulfilled. The public papers informed him of the
state of feeling in France, and he accordingly formed his determination.
He kept the secret until the last moment;[26] and, under one pretence or
another, means were found for making the requisite preparations. It was
not until they were all on board that the troops first conceived a
suspicion of the Emperor’s purpose: a thousand or twelve hundred men had
set sail to regain possession of an empire containing a population of
thirty millions!

Footnote 26:

  I must take this opportunity of correcting an error which has
  occasioned considerable pain to an individual whom I greatly esteem.
  In a former part of this Journal it is mentioned that, _eight days_
  before the Emperor quitted Elba, General Drouot communicated his
  intentions to the Princess Borghesse, &c. General Drouot, however,
  affirms that he was not honoured with the Emperor’s confidence until
  the _very last moment_, and that consequently he could not have
  divulged the secret at the time alluded to. General Drouot must of all
  others be the best informed, as well as most interested, with regard
  to these facts: for my own part I have only to observe, that, in this
  instance, I merely noted down a current report, which was repeated
  without any ill design, and which had never been contradicted.

There were nearly five or six hundred men on board the brig in which
Napoleon embarked; this was, he said, the crew of a seventy-four. They
fell in with a French brig of war, which they spoke. It was asserted
that the captain of the French brig recognised them, and at parting
cried out three times, “A good voyage to you!” At all events, the
officer who commanded the Emperor’s vessel, proposed to pursue and
capture the brig. The Emperor rejected the idea as absurd; such a
proceeding could only have been excusable, had necessity demanded it.
“Why,” said he, “should I introduce this new incident into my plan? What
advantage should I derive from its success? To what risks would its
failure expose me!”

After the check they experienced on landing, by the capture of twenty
men who had been sent to summon Antibes, a variety of opinions was
advanced, and urged with some warmth. Some proposed that they should
make immediately an attack and carry Antibes, in order to obviate the
evil consequences which might ensue from the resistance of that place
and the imprisonment of the twenty men. The Emperor replied that the
taking of Antibes would be no step towards the conquest of France; that,
during the brief interval that would be occupied in the execution of
that project, a general alarm would be raised throughout the country;
and that obstacles would be opposed to them in the only course which it
was expedient they should pursue. He added that time was valuable; and
that the ill consequences of the affair of Antibes might be effectually
obviated by marching forward with sufficient speed to anticipate the
news. An officer of the guard indirectly hinted that it was not right
thus to abandon the twenty men who had been made prisoners; but the
Emperor merely observed that he had formed a poor idea of the magnitude
of the enterprise; that, if half of his followers were in the same
situation, he would not scruple to abandon them in the same manner; and
that if they were all made prisoners, he would march forward alone.[27]

Footnote 27:

  It must not, however, be supposed that he shewed any unfeeling
  disregard of these men; for he directed the war commissioner, Charles
  Vautier, who was with him, to repair with all haste to Antibes, and to
  release the prisoners by attempting to take the garrison. When Vautier
  set out, he several times called after him: “Take care you do not get
  yourself made prisoner too.”

A few hours before nightfall he landed at the gulf of Juan, where he
bivouacked. Soon after, a postilion in splendid livery was conducted to
him. It turned out that this man had formerly been in the Imperial
household. He had been a domestic of the Empress Josephine’s, and was
now in the service of the Prince of Monaco, who himself had been equerry
to the Empress. The postilion, on being questioned by the Emperor,
informed him, after expressing his great astonishment at finding him
there, that he had just come from Paris, and that he was sure he would
every where be joyfully greeted. He affirmed that all along the road, as
far as Avignon, he had heard nothing but regret for the Emperor’s
absence; that his name was publicly in every mouth, and that, when once
fairly through Provence, he would find the whole population ready to
rally round him. The man added, that his splendid livery had frequently
rendered him the object of odium and insult. This was the testimony of
one of the common class of society: it was very gratifying to the
Emperor, and entirely corresponded with his expectations. The Prince of
Monaco himself, on being presented to Napoleon, was less explicit.
Napoleon refrained from questioning him on political matters: there were
persons present, and he did not wish to incur the risk of eliciting any
detail which might create unfavourable impressions on those about him.
The conversation therefore assumed a lively character, and turned
entirely on the ladies of the Imperial court of the Tuileries,
concerning whom Napoleon made the minutest inquiries.

As soon as the moon had risen, which was about one or two o’clock in the
morning, the bivouack broke up, and Napoleon gave orders for proceeding
to Grasse. There he expected to find a road which he had ordered during
the Empire. However, the design had not been executed, and he was
reduced to the necessity of passing through narrow defiles filled with
snow. He therefore left behind him, in the charge of the municipality of
Grasse, his carriage and two pieces of cannon, which had been brought
ashore: this was termed a capture in the bulletins of the time.

The municipality of Grasse was devoted to the royalist party; but the
sudden appearance of the Emperor afforded little time for hesitation,
and they came to make their submission to him. The Emperor, having
passed through the town, halted on a little height at some distance
beyond it, where he breakfasted. He was soon surrounded by the whole
population of the town: and went through this multitude as though he had
been in the midst of his Court circle at the Tuileries. He heard the
same sentiments and the same prayers as before he quitted France. One
complained of not having received his pension, another solicited an
addition to his allowance, a third represented that his cross of the
legion of honour had been withheld from him, a fourth prayed for
promotion, &c. A number of petitions had already been drawn up and were
presented to him, just as though he had come from Paris, and was making
a tour through the departments.

Some enthusiastic patriots, who were well acquainted with the state of
affairs, secretly informed Napoleon that the authorities of the place
were very hostile, but that the mass of the people were devoted to him,
and that they only waited until his back should be turned, in order to
rid themselves of the miscreants. “Be not too hasty,” said the Emperor.
“Let them have the mortification of seeing our triumph, without having
any thing to reproach us with. Be tranquil and prudent.”

The Emperor advanced with the rapidity of lightning. “Victory,” said he,
“depended on my speed. To me France was in Grenoble. This place was an
hundred leagues distant, but I and my companions reached it in five
days,[28] and by what roads and what weather! I entered the city just as
the Count d’Artois, warned by the telegraph, was quitting the

Footnote 28:

  March 1st. The Emperor landed at Cannes, at the Gulf of Juan.

  2d. Entered Grasse.

  3d. Slept at Barême.

  4th. Dined at Digne, and slept at Maligeai.

  5th. Slept at Gap.

  6th. Slept at Corps, and a little beyond the town on the following
  day, the Emperor harangued and rallied the troops of the 5th. A few
  hours afterwards he was joined by Labédoyère, at the head of the 7th.

  7th. Arrived at Grenoble and halted.

  9th. Slept at Bourgouin.

  10th. Reached Lyons, where he remained three days.

  13th. Slept at Macon. Ney’s famous proclamation issued.

  14th. Slept at Chalons.

  15th. Slept at Autun.

  16th. At Avalon.

  17th. At Auxeres, where he remained for a day, and was joined by the
  Prince of the Moskowa.

  20th. Arrived at Fontainebleau, at four in the morning, and entered
  the Tuileries at nine in the evening.

Napoleon himself was so perfectly convinced of the state of affairs, and
of popular sentiment, that he knew his success in no way depended on the
force which he might bring with him. A piquet of gendarmerie, he said,
was all that was necessary. Every thing turned out as he had calculated:
“Victory advanced _au pas de charge_, and the national Eagle flew from
steeple to steeple, till at length it perched on the towers of Notre
Dame.” The Emperor, however, admitted that at first he was not without
some degree of alarm and uncertainty. As he advanced, it is true, the
whole population enthusiastically declared themselves in his favour; but
he saw no soldiers: they were all carefully removed from the places
through which he passed. It was not until he was between Mure and
Vizille, within five or six leagues of Grenoble, and on the fifth day
after his embarkation, that he met the first battalion. The commanding
officer refused even to parley. The Emperor, without hesitation,
advanced alone, and one hundred of his grenadiers marched at some
distance from him, with their arms reversed. The sight of Napoleon, his
costume, and in particular his grey military great coat, produced a
magical effect on the soldiers, and they stood motionless. Napoleon went
straight up to a veteran, whose arm was covered with _chevrons_, and
very unceremoniously seizing him by the whisker, asked him whether he
would have the heart to kill his Emperor. The soldier, his eyes
moistened with tears, immediately thrust the ramrod into his musquet, to
shew that it was not loaded, and exclaimed, “See, I could not have done
thee any harm: all the others are the same.” Cries of _Vive l’Empereur!_
resounded on every side. Napoleon ordered the battalion to make half a
turn to the right, and all marched on to Paris.

At a little distance from Grenoble, Colonel Labédoyère, at the head of
his regiment, came to join the Emperor. The impulse was then confirmed,
and the question was nearly decided.

The peasantry of Dauphiny lined the road-sides: they were transported
and mad with joy. The first battalion, which has just been alluded to,
still shewed some signs of hesitation; but thousands crowded on its
rear, and by their shouts of _Vive l’Empereur!_ endeavoured to urge the
troops to decision; while others, who were in Napoleon’s rear, excited
his little troop to advance, declaring that no harm whatever would be
done to it.

In a valley through which they passed, a very affecting spectacle
presented itself: many communes were assembled together, accompanied by
their mayors and curates. Amidst the multitude was observed a handsome
young man, a grenadier of the Guard, who had been missing since the time
of Napoleon’s landing, and whose disappearance had given rise to
suspicion. He now advanced and threw himself at the Emperor’s feet: the
tears glistened in his eyes, and he supported in his arms an old man of
ninety, whom he presented to the Emperor:—this was his father, in quest
of whom he had set off as soon as he landed in France. The Emperor,
after his arrival at the Tuileries, ordered a picture of this
circumstance to be painted.

It was night when Napoleon arrived before the walls of Grenoble: his
promptitude defeated all the measures that were to have been taken to
oppose him. There was no time to cut down the bridges, nor even to put
the troops in motion. He found the gates of the city closed, and the
colonel commanding the fortress refused to open them. “A peculiar
circumstance attending this extraordinary revolution,” said the Emperor,
“was that the soldiers were not deficient, to a certain degree, in
discipline and obedience to their commanding officers: their only
resistance was by inert force, of which they availed themselves as of a
right.” Thus the first battalion performed all the movements that were
ordered, retired and refused to communicate; but the men did not load
their guns, and they would not have fired. When Napoleon arrived before
Grenoble, the whole garrison, assembled on the ramparts, shouted _Vive
l’Empereur!_ They shook hands with Napoleon’s followers, through the
wickets; but they would not open the gates, because the commander had
forbidden them to do so. The Emperor found it necessary to force the
gates; and this was done under the mouths of ten pieces of artillery on
the ramparts, loaded with grape-shot. To complete this union of singular
circumstances, the commander of the first battalion and the colonel, who
had so openly opposed the Emperor, when asked by him whether he could
depend on them, replied that he could;—that their troops had deserted
them, but that they would never desert their troops; and that, since the
men had declared themselves for Napoleon, they also would be faithful to
him. The Emperor retained these officers in his service.

In none of his battles did Napoleon ever imagine himself to be in so
much danger as at his entrance into Grenoble. The soldiers seemed to
turn upon him with furious gestures; for a moment it might have been
supposed that they were about to tear him in pieces. But these were
merely transports of love and joy. The Emperor and his horse were both
borne along by the multitude; and he had scarcely time to breathe in the
inn where he alighted, when an increased tumult was heard in the
streets: the inhabitants of Grenoble came to offer him the gates of the
city, since they could not present him with the keys.

“Being once established in Grenoble,” said the Emperor, “and having
attained a positive power, I could have maintained hostilities had it
been necessary to do so.”

Napoleon, at this time, very much regretted not having got his
proclamations printed at the Island of Elba; but of course this could
not have been done without the risk of promulgating his secret designs.
He dictated his proclamations on board the brig, where every man who
could write was employed in copying them. It was found necessary to
transcribe them over again during the Emperor’s march to Paris, that
they might be circulated on the road, so eager was the demand for them.
They were then very scarce, often incorrect and even illegible; and yet
the necessity of promulgating them was felt at every step, for wherever
they were read they produced an immediate and powerful sensation. The
events of the last twenty years have contributed in a high degree to
enlighten the mass of the people, for, notwithstanding the joy they felt
at the Emperor’s return, they eagerly enquired what was his object. All
were satisfied with the national sentiments contained in the
proclamations; and the utmost joy was evinced when it was understood
that Napoleon had brought no foreign troops with him. His advance had
been so rapid and his movements so unexpected, that a thousand reports
had been circulated respecting the amount and nature of his forces. It
was said that he was accompanied by Neapolitans, Austrians, and even

From Grenoble to Paris, Napoleon may be said to have made a triumphal
march. During the four days of his stay at Lyons, there were continually
upwards of twenty thousand persons assembled before his windows, and
their acclamations were incessant. It would never have been supposed
that the Emperor had for a moment been separated from his subjects. He
signed decrees, issued orders, reviewed troops, &c.; all military corps,
all public bodies, all classes of the citizens, eagerly came forward to
offer him their homage and demonstrate their attachment. Even the
national horse guards, a corps composed of men who had shewn themselves
most ardent in the Royalist cause, solicited the honour of forming his
escort; but these were the only persons whom the Emperor treated with
coldness. “Gentlemen,” said he, “I thank you for this offer of your
services; but your conduct towards the Count d’Artois sufficiently
proves how you would act by me, were fortune to forsake me. I will not
subject you to this new trial.” On quitting Lyons, the Count d’Artois,
it is said, found only one of the guards willing to follow him to Paris.
The Emperor, whose heart was so keenly alive to every generous
sentiment, on hearing of the fidelity of this volunteer, ordered the
decoration of the legion of honour to be presented to him.

At Lyons, Napoleon issued orders, through the medium of proclamations,
with all that precision, firmness, and confidence, which usually attend
established and uninterrupted power. His conduct indicated no trace of
the terrible reverses he had so lately sustained, or the great risks he
had yet to encounter. If it were possible to mention every circumstance,
that took place, I could relate a very pleasant private anecdote
indicative of the calmness of mind evinced by Napoleon, during the great
crisis which was about to change the face of France and to rouse all

As soon as the Emperor quitted Lyons, he wrote to inform Ney, who, with
his army, was at Lons-le-Saunier, that he must immediately march with
his forces to join him. Ney, amidst the general confusion, abandoned by
his troops, confounded by the Emperor’s proclamations, the addresses of
Dauphiny, and the defection of the garrison of Lyons, overpowered by the
enthusiasm of the people of the surrounding provinces—Ney, the child of
the Revolution, yielded to the general impulse, and issued his famous
order of the day. But the recollection of the events of Fontainebleau
induced him to write to the Emperor, informing him that, in his recent
conduct he had been guided principally by a view to the interests of his
country; and that, convinced he must have forfeited all claim to
Napoleon’s confidence, he solicited permission to retire from the
service. The Emperor again wrote, desiring that he would immediately
come and join him, and that he would receive him as he had done the day
after the battle of the Moscowa. Ney, on presenting himself before the
Emperor, was much embarrassed; and repeated that, if he had lost his
confidence, he asked for nothing but to be reduced to the rank of one of
his grenadiers. “Certainly,” said the Emperor, “he had behaved very ill
to me; but how could I forget his brilliant courage, and the many acts
of heroism that had distinguished his past life! I rushed forward to
embrace him, calling him the ‘_bravest of the brave_’—and from that
moment we were reconciled.”

The Emperor went nearly post haste all the way from Lyons to Paris. He
no where experienced opposition, and no fighting took place. Literally
his presence produced merely a theatrical change of scene. His advanced
guard was composed of the troops which happened to be before him on the
road, and to which couriers were sent forward. Thus Napoleon entered
Paris, escorted by the very troops who in the morning had been sent out
to oppose him. A regiment posted at Montereau spontaneously crossed the
bridge, repaired to Melun, and charged a party of the body guards who
were stationed at the latter place: this circumstance, it is said,
occasioned the sudden departure of the Royal family.

The Emperor frequently told us that, if he had chosen, he might have
brought with him to Paris two millions of peasants. On his approach the
people every where rose in a mass; and he often repeats that there were
no conspirators excepting opinion.

On the day after Napoleon’s arrival at the Tuileries, some one having
remarked to him that his life was a succession of prodigies, but that
the last surpassed all the rest, I heard him say in reply, that his only
merit, in this instance, consisted in having formed a just opinion of
the state of affairs in France, and in having been able to penetrate
into the hearts of Frenchmen. At another time he said to us, when
conversing on this subject: “If I except Labédoyère, who flew to me with
enthusiasm and affection, and another individual who freely rendered me
important services, nearly all the other generals whom I met on my route
evinced hesitation and uncertainty: they yielded only to the impulse of
their troops, if indeed they did not manifest a hostile feeling towards

“It is now clear to every one,” said he, “that Ney quitted Paris quite
devoted to the King, and that if he turned against him a few days
afterwards, it was because he thought he could not do otherwise.

“I was so far from relying at all on Massena that, on my landing in
France, I felt it necessary to get past him with all speed; and on my
asking him some time after, at Paris, how he would have acted, had I not
left Provence so precipitately as I did, he was frank enough to reply
that he should feel some embarrassment in answering me; but that the
course I had pursued was, at all events, the safest, and the best.

“Saint-Cyr found himself in danger by attempting to restrain the
soldiers under his command.

“Soult confessed to me that he had conceived a sincere regard for the
King, so much did he admire his government; and he would not return to
my service until after the _Champ de Mai_.

“Macdonald never made his appearance, and the Duke of Belluno followed
the King to Ghent. Thus,” said he, “if the Bourbons have reason to
complain of the complete desertion of the soldiers and the people, they
certainly have no right to reproach with infidelity the chiefs of the
army, those pupils or even leaders of the Revolution, who, in spite of
twenty-five years’ experience, proved themselves, in this instance, mere
children in politics. They could neither be looked upon as emigrants nor

Napoleon seemed instinctively attached to his grand principle of acting
only on masses and by masses. Both at the commencement of the
enterprise, and after his landing in France, he was repeatedly urged to
treat with some of the authorities, but he constantly returned the same
excellent answer: “If I still hold a place in the hearts of the people,
I need concern myself but little about persons in authority, and if I
could only rely on the latter, what service could they render me in
opposing the great mass?”

The following fact will shew how little communication Napoleon had
maintained with the capital. On the morning of his entry into Paris,
after his return from the Isle of Elba, a hundred and fifty half-pay
officers quitted St. Denis, where they had been stationed by the
Princes, and marched to the capital, bringing with them four pieces of
artillery. They were met on the road by some generals, who placed
themselves at their head; and the little troop thus proceeded to the
palace of the Tuileries, where they assembled together the heads of the
different departments of the ministry, who all agreed to act in the name
of the Emperor. Thus Paris was tranquilly governed that day by the
torrent of opinion and the transport of private affections. None of the
great partisans of the Emperor, none of his former ministers, having
received any communication from him, dared sign an order, or assume any
responsibility. The public papers would not have appeared next day but
for the zeal of private individuals, who, spontaneously and without
authority, filled them with expressions of the feelings by which they
were animated, and with the statements of passing events. In the same
manner Lavalette took possession of the post-office. Paris was that day
without police and without government, and yet never did greater
tranquillity prevail in the capital.

The Emperor entered the Tuileries about nine o’clock in the evening,
with an escort of a hundred horse, just as if he had come from one of
his country residences. On alighting, he was almost squeezed to death by
a crowd of military officers and citizens, who thronged around him, and
fairly carried him in their arms into his saloon. Here he found dinner
ready, and he was just sitting down to table, when the officer who had
been despatched in the morning to Vincennes to summon the fortress,
arrived. He brought intelligence of the capitulation of the commandant,
whose only conditions were, that he should receive a passport for
himself and his family.

It is a very singular circumstance that, on the morning after the
Emperor’s arrival at the Tuileries, while a messenger had gone out to
procure a tri-coloured flag, one was found at the pavilion Marsan,
during the search that was made, as a matter of prudence, through the
palace. This flag was immediately hoisted. It was quite new, and larger
than the usual size. No one could guess how it had got into the
Tuileries, and for what purpose it had been intended.

In fact, the more light there is thrown on the subject, the more evident
it must be that there was no other conspiracy than that of the nature of
things. Party-spirit alone can seek in the present age to raise a doubt
on this point; history will have none.



  London: Published for HENRY COLBURN, December, 1835.

A few days after Napoleon’s removal to Longwood, his return from Elba
became the subject of conversation among the officers who were presented
to him, when one of them observed that that astonishing event presented
to the eyes of Europe the contrast of all that was most feeble and most
sublime, the Bourbons abandoning a monarchy, and flying on the approach
of a single man, who by his own individual efforts boldly undertook the
conquest of an empire. “Sir,” said the Emperor, “are mistaken, you have
taken a wrong view of the matter. The Bourbons were not wanting in
courage; they did all they could. The Count d’Artois flew to Lyons; the
Duchess d’Angoulême proved herself an amazon in Bourdeaux, and the Duke
d’Angoulême offered as much resistance as he could. If, in spite of all
this, they could attain no satisfactory object, the fault must not be
attributed to them, but to the force of circumstances. The Bourbons,
individually, could do no more than they really did; the contagion had
spread in every direction.”


15th.—To-day the Emperor took advantage of a short, interval of fine
weather to walk to the Company’s garden. I was alone with him, I made
certain representations to him, after which, I ventured to suggest some
ideas, but he rejected them as absurd. “Go, my dear Las Cases,” said he;
“you are a _simpleton_. But be not offended at the epithet,” he added,
“I do not apply it to every one; with me it is nearly synonymous with an
honest man.”

After dinner, the Emperor attempted to read a part of the poem of
Charlemagne, which he had taken up yesterday evening, and again laid
aside. This evening, like the two preceding, was divided between
Charlemagne and Homer. The latter the Emperor said he read for the sake
of recruiting his spirits, and he again resumed his censure of Prince
Lucien, and his admiration of Homer.

Some one present informed the Emperor that Lucien had ready for the
press another poem, similar to his Charlemagne, to be entitled “Charles
Martel in Corsica.” It was added that he had likewise written a dozen
tragedies. “Why, the devil’s in him,” exclaimed the Emperor.

He was then informed that his brother Louis was the author of a novel.
“His work may possess spirit and grace,” said he, “but it will not be
without a mixture of sentimental metaphysics, and philosophic

It was mentioned that Princess Eliza had likewise written a novel, and
that even Princess Pauline had produced something in literature. “Yes,”
said the Emperor, “as a heroine perhaps, but not as an authoress. At
that rate,” continued he “all my brothers and sisters must be authors,
except Caroline. The latter, indeed, in her childhood was regarded as
the fool and the Cinderella of the family; but she grew up to be a very
beautiful and a very clever woman.”


16th.—In the morning, my servant came to tell me that there was neither
coffee, sugar, milk, nor bread, for breakfast. Yesterday, some hours
before dinner, feeling hungry, I asked for a mouthful of bread, and was
told that there was none for me. Thus we are denied the very necessaries
of life. This fact will scarcely be credited, and yet I have stated
nothing but the truth.

The weather has now become fine. For some time the Emperor has been
unable to walk out; but to-day he went into the garden, and he
afterwards ordered the calash, with the intention of taking his usual
drive, which had been so long suspended. As we were walking about,
Madame de Montholon drove away a dog that had come near her.—“You do not
like dogs, Madam?” said the Emperor,—“No, Sire.”—“If you do not like
dogs, you do not like fidelity; you do not like those who are attached
to you; and, therefore, you are not faithful.”—“But ... but....” said
she—“But ... but....” repeated the Emperor, “where is the error of my
logic? Refute my arguments if you can!”

One of the suite having a few days ago proposed making some chemical
experiments, the Emperor enquired whether he had been successful. The
other complained of not having the necessary apparatus. “A true child of
the Seine,” said Napoleon, “an absolute Parisian cockney! Do you think
you are still at the Tuileries? True industry does not consist in
executing by known and given means; the proof of art and genius is to
accomplish an object in spite of difficulties, and to find little or no
_impossibility_. But what do you complain of? The want of a pestle, when
the bar of any chair might answer your purpose? The want of a mortar?
Any thing is a mortar that you choose to convert to that use; this table
is a mortar; any pot or kettle is a mortar. Do you think you are still
in the Rue Saint-Honoré, amidst all the shops in Paris?”

The Grand Marshal here remarked that this circumstance reminded him of
something that had occurred the first time he had the honour of being
presented to Napoleon, and of the first words he had received from him.
When Bertrand was about to leave the army of Italy, to proceed on a
mission to Constantinople, the young General, perceiving that he was an
officer of engineers, gave him a commission relative to that department.
“On my return,” said Bertrand, “I came up with you at a short distance
from head quarters, and I informed you that I had found the thing
impossible. On this your Majesty, whom I had addressed with great
diffidence, said with the most familiar air—‘But let us see how you set
to work, Sir: that which you found impossible may not be so to me.’
Accordingly,” continued Bertrand, “when I mentioned the means by which I
had proposed to execute what your Majesty wished, you immediately
substituted others. In a few moments I was perfectly convinced of the
superiority of your Majesty’s plans; and this circumstance furnished me
with sentiments and recollections which have since proved very useful to

The Emperor retired to rest early. We observed that he is very much
altered in his looks, particularly since his last illness. He grows very
weak, and feels fatigued after two turns round the garden.

                          ISRAELITES IN EGYPT.

17th—18th. The fine weather has now completely set in. The Emperor went
into the garden, attended by all his suite. After walking about for a
short time, he proceeded to the wood.

On his return from his walk, we all breakfasted together under the tent;
and, the weather being very favourable, the Emperor expressed his wish
to take a drive in the calash.

About five o’clock, he desired me to attend him in his closet, to assist
in searching for some documents on the interior of Africa, bordering
upon Egypt. This is a point on which he has been engaged for some days
past, as he intends to make it the subject of some chapters in his
Campaign of Egypt.

He complained of being unwell, and desired me to order some tea for him.
This was something extraordinary. The Grand Marshal soon after came to
take my place in writing from his dictation.

After dinner, the Emperor was engaged with the pen in his hand, in
investigating the comparative production of the soils of Egypt and
France. He found the production of France to be greatly inferior to that
of Egypt. This calculation was made from Peuchet’s “Statistical Surveys
of France.” The Emperor was satisfied with the result at which he had
arrived; it corresponded with the opinion he had previously formed. This
naturally gave rise to the consideration of several other subjects; for
instance, what was the probable and possible population of Egypt in
ancient times?—what might have been the population of the Israelites,
if, during the short period that they remained in captivity, they had
increased to the degree mentioned in Scripture? &c. The Emperor desired
me to present to him next day something on this latter subject. A great
deal was said on the probabilities of human life, the tables of which
were also found in Peuchet’s work; and on this subject the Emperor made
some very ingenious, novel, and striking remarks.

I presented to the Emperor the calculation I had made on the problem
which he had given to me the preceding day. The result surprised him not
a little; and it furnished a subject for considerable discussion. The
following is the substance of what I presented to him.

The Israelites remained two hundred years in Egypt, during which time we
may calculate ten generations. They married early, and their marriages
were very fruitful. I supposed the children of Jacob, the twelve chiefs
of tribes, to be all married; I also supposed each of them to have had
the same number of children, or six couples, and so on in succession.
The tenth generation would then have amounted to 2,480,064,704 persons.
But the ninth generation and even the eighth was still in existence.
Hence what an awful number of figures. At any rate, let an ample
deduction be made from the number of children, for the mortality
occasioned by accidents, disease, &c., and still it is very certain that
no calculation can be brought forward to contradict the account of
Moses. The Emperor amused himself for a considerable time in detecting
and shewing the errors of my reasoning.

During dinner, he exercised himself in English, by asking my son
questions in that language, in history and geometry. After dinner the
Emperor took up the Odyssey, the reading of which afforded a treat to us

                      STRENGTH.—SALE OF HIS PLATE.

19th.—Napoleon spent the morning in collecting information on the
sources of the Nile, from the works of several modern authors, Bruce,
&c.... I assisted him in this labour. At three o’clock, he dressed and
went out. The weather was tolerably fine. He ordered the calash, and
then went into the wood on foot, and we walked till we came within sight
of the Signal Hill. He conversed with me on our moral position, and the
vexations which even circumstances arising from our intimacy with him
could not fail to cause him. The calash came up with us, and Monsieur
and Madame Montholon were in it. The Emperor was very glad of this, as
he said he did not feel strong enough to walk back to the house. He
evidently grows feeble, his step becomes heavy and lagging, and his
features alter. His resemblance to his brother Joseph is now striking;
so much so, that, on going to meet him the other day in the garden, I
could have sworn it was Joseph, until the very moment when I came close
to him. Others have remarked the likeness, as well as myself; and we
have often said, that, if we believed in the _second sight_ of the
Scotch Highlanders, we should be inclined to expect that something
extraordinary would happen to Joseph or to the Emperor.

On our return, 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 retrenchments of the Governor.

We knew that captains in the East India Company’s service had offered as
much as a hundred guineas for a single plate. This circumstance induced
the Emperor to order the arms to be erased and the pieces to be broken,
so as to leave no trace of the plate having belonged to him. All the
dish covers were topped with small massive eagles; these were the only
things he wished to save, and he had them put by. These last fragments
were the objects of the wishes of every one of us; we looked upon them
as relics. There was something religious, and at the same time mournful,
in this feeling.

When the moment came for breaking up this plate, it had produced a most
painful emotion and real grief amongst the servants. They 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. After dinner, the Emperor continued the Odyssey, and
afterwards read some passages of Esmenard’s poem, “La Navigation,” which
he was pleased with.

                               OF ITALY.

20th.—The Emperor sent to wake me before eight o’clock, desiring that I
should join him with the calash in the wood, where he was already
walking with M. de Montholon, conversing about the household expenses of
the establishment. The weather had at last become fine once more, it was
like a delightful spring morning. We took two turns.

We have experienced to-day a fresh and inconceivable vexation from the
Governor. He has forbidden us to sell our plate, when broken up, to any
other person than the one he should appoint. What can have been his
intention in committing this new act of injustice? To make himself more
obnoxious, and to give another instance of the abuse of authority.

The Emperor breakfasted under the tent; immediately afterwards, he
dictated the account of the Battle of Marengo to General Gourgaud. He
bade me remain with them and listen. About twelve o’clock he retired to
his apartment to endeavour to rest himself.

Towards three o’clock, the Emperor came into my room again. He found my
son and myself engaged in comparing and looking over the account of the
Battle of Arcole. He knew that it was my favourite chapter, and that I
called it a canto of the Iliad. He wished to read it again, and
expressed himself also pleased with it.

The perusal of this account of Arcole awakened the Emperor’s ideas
respecting what he called “that beautiful theatre, Italy.” He ordered us
to follow him into the drawing-room, where he dictated to us for several
hours. He had caused his immense map of Italy, which covered the
greatest part of the drawing-room, to be spread open on the floor, and
having laid himself down upon it, he went over it on his hands and his
knees, with a compass and a red pencil in his hand, comparing and
measuring the distance with a long piece of string, of which one of us
held one of the ends. “It is thus,” said he to me, laughing at the
posture in which I saw him, “that a country should be measured in order
to form a correct idea of it, and lay down a good plan of a campaign.”


21st.—Admiral Malcolm called upon me to-day. He came to take leave of us
all; he was to sail the next day for the Cape, and would be two months

We are sorry to lose the Admiral; his manners, always polite, and a kind
of tacit sympathy existing between us, contrast him continually in our
mind with Sir Hudson Lowe, who is so unlike him.

The Admiral had seen the Emperor, who is also partial to him. They had
taken together some turns in the garden, and the Admiral told me had
collected some excellent information respecting the Scheldt and the
Nievendip, a maritime establishment in Holland which was entirely
unknown to him, and which was founded by Napoleon.

After dinner, the conversation turned upon what the Emperor termed the
celebrated bills of St. Domingo. It gave rise to the following curious
details.—“The administrator of St. Domingo,” said the Emperor, “took it
into his head one day to draw from the Cape, without authority, for the
sum of sixty millions, in bills, on the treasury in Paris, which bills
were all payable on the same day. France was not then, and had, perhaps,
never been, rich enough to meet such a demand. Besides, where and by
what means had the administration of St. Domingo acquired such a credit?
The First Consul could not command any thing like it in Paris; it was as
much as M. Necker could have done at the time of his greatest
popularity. Be that as it may, when these bills appeared in Paris, where
they arrived before the letters of advice, the First Consul was applied
to from the treasury, to point out what was to be done. ‘Wait for the
letters of advice,’ said he, ‘in order to learn the nature of the
transaction. The treasury is like a capitalist; it possesses the same
rights, and should follow the same course. These bills are not accepted,
they are, consequently, not payable.’ However, the necessary
information, and the vouchers, arrived. These bills stated value
received, but the receipts of the officers in charge of the chest, into
whose hands the money had been paid, were for only one tenth, one fifth,
one third of the amount of the respective bills. The treasury,
therefore, would only acknowledge and refund the sum really and _bona
fide_ paid; and the bills in their tenour were declared to be false.
This raised a great clamour, and produced a terrible agitation amongst
the merchants. A deputation waited upon the First Consul, who, far from
endeavouring to avoid it, opened the business at once, and asked
‘whether they took him for a child, whether they thought he would sport
thus with the purest blood of the people, or that he was so indifferent
a guardian of the public interest? What he refused to give up,’ he said,
‘did not affect him personally, did not trench upon his civil list, but
it was public property, of which he was the guardian, and which was the
more sacred in his eyes on that account.’ Then, addressing the two
persons at the head of the deputation, he said: ‘You, gentlemen, who are
merchants, bankers, men of business, give me a positive answer. If one
of your agents abroad were to draw upon you for very large sums contrary
to your expectations and to your interests, would you accept, would you
pay his bills?’ They were obliged to admit they would not. ‘Then,’ said
the First Consul, ‘you, who are simple proprietors, and in the right of
your majority responsible for your own actions only, you would wish to
possess a right which you refuse to allow to me, proprietor in the name
of all, and who am in that quality always a minor and subject to
revision! No, gentlemen, I shall enjoy your privileges in the name and
for the benefit of all; the actual amount received for your bills shall
be repaid you and no more. I do not ask the merchants to take the bills
of my agents: it is an honour, a mark of credit, to which I do not
aspire; if the merchants do take them, it must be at their own risk and
peril; I only acknowledge and consider as sacred the acceptance of my
Minister of the Treasury.’ Upon this they again expostulated, and a
great deal of idle talk ensued. They should be obliged, they said, to
declare themselves bankrupts; they had received these bills, for ready
money; their agents abroad had committed the error of taking them,
through respect for, and confidence in, the government. ‘Very well,’
said the First Consul, ‘become bankrupts. But they did not,’ observed
the Emperor, ‘they had not received these bills for ready money, and
their agents had not committed any error.’

“The members of the deputation left the First Consul, convinced in their
own minds of the validity of his reasons; nevertheless, they filled
Paris with their clamours and with falsehoods, misrepresenting the
affair altogether.

“This transaction,” said the Emperor, “and its details, explain many
other transactions which have been much spoken of in Paris under the
Imperial administration.

“The commercial world had particularly said, and repeated, that this
proceeding was unexampled; that such a violation of credit was a thing
hitherto unheard of; but to that the First Consul replied that he would
set the question at rest by quoting precedents, and he recalled to their
minds the Bills of Louis XIV., the liquidations of the Regent, the
Mississippi Company, the liquidations of the wars of 1763 and of 1782,
&c.; and proved to them that what they contended to be a thing
unexampled had been the constant practice of the monarchy.”

From this affair the Emperor turned to different branches of the
administration. He defended the institution of the post of Inspectors of
Reviews. “It was only through them that the actual number of men present
could be ascertained; through them alone had this advantage been
obtained, and it was one of immense importance in the active operations
of war. And these inspectors were not less useful in an administrative
point of view; for, whatever trifling abuses might exist in the details,
and however numerous these abuses might be, it is on a general principle
that such things should be considered; and, in order to estimate fairly
the utility of this institution, it should be asked what other abuses
would have taken place if it had not existed? For myself,” said
Napoleon, “I must say that, checking the expenditure, by trying how much
the total number of troops ought to have cost according to their fixed
rates of pay, I have always found the sum paid by the treasury to fall
short of my estimate. The army, therefore, cost less than it ought to
have cost: what result more beneficial could be required?”

The Emperor quoted the administration of the navy as having been the
most regular and the most honest; it had become a master-piece. “In
that,” said he, “consisted the great merit of Decrès.” The Emperor
considered that France was too large to have only one minister for the
administration of the war department. “It was,” he said, “a task beyond
the powers of one man. Paris had been made the centre of all decisions,
contracts, supplies, and organizations; whilst the correspondents of the
minister had been subdivided amongst a number of persons equal to the
number of regiments and corps. The contrary ought to have been the case;
the correspondences should have been entered, and the resources
subdivided, by raising them on the spot where they were required. I had
long meditated a plan to establish in France twenty or twenty-five
military districts, which would have composed so many armies. There
would have been no more than that number of accountants; these would
have been twenty under-ministers; it would have been necessary to find
twenty honest men. The minister would have had only twenty
correspondents; he would have centralised the whole and made the machine
move with rapidity.

“Messieurs Gaudin and Mollien,” said the Emperor, “were of opinion that
it was necessary that the receivers-general, public financiers and
contractors, should have very large fortunes, that they should have it
in their power to make considerable profits, and openly avow them, in
such a manner as to retain a degree of consideration which they might be
careful not to endanger; and a character of honour, which they might be
anxious not to compromise. This could not be otherwise,” he said, “in
order to obtain from them support, service, and credit, in case of need.

“Another set of men, Defermont, Lacuée, and Marbois, thought, on the
contrary, that it was impossible to be too watchful, too economical, and
too strict. For my own part, I was inclined to be of the opinion of the
first, considering the views of the last to be narrow, and such as were
applicable to a regiment, but not to an army; to the expenses of a
private household, but not to the expenditure of a great empire. I
called them the Puritans and the Jansenists of the profession.”

The Emperor observed that the minister of the treasury, and the minister
secretary of state, were two of his institutions on which he most
congratulated himself, and from which he had derived the greatest
assistance. “The minister of the treasury concentrated all the
resources, and controlled all the expenses of the empire. From the
minister secretary of state all acts emanated. He was the minister of
ministers, imparting life to all intermediate acts; the grand notary of
the empire, signing and authenticating all documents. Through the first
I knew, at every moment, the state of my affairs; and through the second
I made known my decisions and my will in all directions and every where.
So that, with my minister of the treasury and my minister secretary of
state alone, and half-a-dozen clerks, I would have undertaken to govern
the empire from the remotest parts of Illyria, or from the banks of the
Niemen, with as much facility as in my capital.”

The Emperor could not conceive how affairs could go on with the four or
five secretaries of state of our kings. “And, indeed, how did they go
on?” said he. “Each imagined, executed, and controlled his own
operations. They might act in direct opposition one to another; for as
the kings only affixed their sign on the margin of the plans proposed,
or authenticated only the rough draft of their ordinances, the
secretaries of state could fill them up, or act as they pleased, without
fear of any great responsibility. Add to this that the secretaries of
state had the _griffe_[29], a contrivance, which they wanted to make me
adopt, but which I rejected as a tool appropriated to the _Rois
faineans_. Amongst these ministers, some might have money for which they
had no employment, and others might be unable to proceed for want of a
farthing. There was no common centre to combine their movements, provide
for their wants, and direct the execution of their measures.”

Footnote 29:

  A kind of seal on which a signature is engraved.

The Emperor said that a minister secretary of state was exactly suited
for kings without talents, but vain, who would want the assistance of a
prime minister and not like to own it. “Had my minister secretary of
state been made president of the council of state,” said he, “he would
have been from that moment a real prime minister, in the fullest
acceptation of the term; for he would have carried his plans to the
council of state to have them digested into laws, and would have signed
for the Prince. There can be no doubt that, with the manners and habits
of the first race of our kings, or with princes like them, my minister
secretary of state would have become in a very short time a Mayor of the


22d.—The Emperor resumed his researches respecting Egypt. He gave me
Strabo to look over; it was the edition which he had caused to be made.
He commended the care and pains bestowed upon it, and said that it had
been his intention to give us, in course of time, editions of all the
works of the ancients, through the official medium of the
Institute.—Before dinner the Emperor sent for me and my son, and spent
at least six hours with us, reading over and recasting the chapters on
the Tagliamento, Leoben, and Venice.

All is fine in these chapters on the Campaign of Italy. In that on the
Tagliamento, we see how one single disposition, made on the banks of
that river and hardly noticed, one of those movements which the Emperor
calls _the thought of the battle_, must inevitably lead to the gates of

The chapter on Venice is written after the manner of the ancients.
However, the last chapter read always seems to be that which pleases

I was extremely unwell and very tired, not so much from fatigue
occasioned by work, as from bodily indisposition. We amused ourselves
this evening by reading the description of Ulysses’ departure from the
Island of Calypso, and his arrival amongst the Pheacians.


23d.—This morning the Emperor, conversing in his room, after touching on
several subjects, spoke about sentiment, feelings, and sensibility, and
having alluded to one of us who, as he observed, never pronounced the
name of his mother but with tears in his eyes, he said, “But is this not
peculiar to him? Is this a general feeling? Do you experience the same
thing, or am I unnatural in that respect? I certainly love my mother
with all my heart; there is nothing that I would not do for her, yet if
I were to hear of her death, I do not think that my grief would manifest
itself by even a single tear; but I would not affirm that this would be
the case if I were to lose a friend, or my wife, or my son. Is this
distinction founded on nature? What can be the cause of it? Is it that
my reason has prepared me beforehand to expect the death of my mother,
as being in the natural course of events, whereas the loss of my wife,
or of my son, is an unexpected occurrence, a hardship inflicted by fate,
which I endeavour to struggle against? Perhaps also this distinction
merely proceeds from our natural disposition to egotism. I belong to my
mother, but my wife and my son belong to me.” And he went on multiplying
the reasons in support of his opinion, with his usual fertility of
invention, in which there was always something original and striking.

It is certain that he was tenderly attached to his wife and his son.
Those persons who have served in the interior of his household now
inform us how fond he was of indulging his feelings of affection towards
his family; and point out some shades in his disposition, the existence
of which we were far from suspecting at the time.

He would sometimes take his son in his arms, and embrace him with the
most ardent demonstrations of paternal love. But most frequently his
affection would manifest itself by playful teazing or whimsical tricks.
If he met his son in the gardens, for instance, he would throw him down
or upset his toys. The child was brought to him every morning at
breakfast time, and he then seldom failed to besmear him with every
thing within his reach on the table. With respect to his wife, not a day
passed here without his introducing her into his private conversations;
if they lasted any length of time, she was sure to come in for a share
in them, or to become the exclusive subject of them. There is no
circumstance, no minute particular relating to her, which he has not
repeated to me a hundred times. Penelope, after ten years’ absence, in
order to convince herself that she is not deceived, puts some questions
to Ulysses which he alone could answer. Well! I think that I should not
find it difficult to present my credentials to Maria-Louisa.

In the course of the conversation in the evening, the Emperor, speaking
of different nations, said he knew of only two,—the Orientals and the
people of the West. “The English, the French, the Italians, &c.” said
he, “compose one family, and form the western division; they have the
same laws, the same manners, the same customs; and differ entirely from
the Orientals, particularly with respect to their women and their
servants. The Orientals have slaves; our servants are free: the
Orientals shut up their women; our wives share in all our rights: the
Orientals keep a seraglio, but polygamy has never been admitted in the
West at any period. There are several other distinctions,” said the
Emperor; “it is said that as many as eighty have been reckoned. The
inhabitants of the East and of the West are therefore,” observed the
Emperor, “really two distinct nations:—with the Orientals every thing is
calculated to enable them to watch over their wives and make sure of
them; all our institutions in the West tend, on the contrary, to put it
out of our power to watch over ours, and to make it necessary for us to
rely upon them alone. With us, every man who does not wish to pass for
an idiot must have some occupation; and whilst he is attending to his
business, or fulfilling the duties of his situation, who will watch for
him? We must therefore, with our manners, rely entirely on the honour of
our women, and place implicit confidence in them. For my part,” added he
good-humouredly, “I have had both wives and mistresses; but it never
came into my head to use any particular precaution to watch over them,
because I thought that it was with these things as with the fear of
daggers and poison in certain situations of life; the torment of
guarding against them is greater than the danger we wish to avoid: it is
better to trust to one’s fate.

“It is, however, a very knotty question to decide, which is the best
method, ours or that of the Orientals; though, probably, not for you,
ladies,” said he, casting an arch-look upon those who were present. “Yet
it is certain that it would be a very great error to suppose that the
Orientals have fewer enjoyments than we have, and are less happy than we
are in the West. In the East, the husbands are very fond of their wives,
and the wives are very much attached to their husbands. They have as
many chances of happiness as we have, however different they may seem;
for every thing is conventional amongst men, even in those feelings
which, one would suppose, ought to be dictated by Nature alone. Besides,
the women in the East have their rights and privileges, as ours have
theirs: it would be quite as impossible to prevent them from going to
the public bath, as it would be to prevent our women from going to
church; and both abuse that liberty. You see, therefore, that the
imagination, feelings, virtues, and failings of human nature, are
circumscribed within a very narrow compass; and that the same things,
with few exceptions and differences, are to be found everywhere.”

He then proceeded to account for, or to justify, polygamy among the
Orientals in a very ingenious manner. “It never existed,” he said, “in
the West: the Greeks, the Romans, the Gauls, the Germans, the Spaniards,
the Britons, never had more than one wife. In the East, on the other
hand, polygamy has existed in all ages: the Jews, the Assyrians, the
Tartars, the Persians, the Turcomans, had all of them several wives.
Whence could this universal and invariable difference have arisen? Was
it owing to accident and to mere caprice? Did it depend on physical
causes in individuals? No. Were woman less numerous, in proportion,
among us than in Asia? No. Were they more numerous in the East than the
men? No. Were the latter of superior stature, to us, or differently
constituted? No. The fact is that the legislator, or that wisdom from on
high which supplies his place, must have been guided by the force of
circumstances arising from the respective localities. All the people of
the West have the same form, the same colour; they compose but one
nation, one family: it has been possible, as at the moment of the
Creation, to assign to them but one helpmate—happy, admirable,
beneficent law, which purifies the heart of the man, exalts the
condition of the woman, and assures to both a multitude of moral

“The Orientals, on the other hand, differ from one another as much as
day and night, in their forms and colours: they are white, black,
copper-coloured, mixed, &c. The first thing to be thought of was their
conservation, to establish a consanguineous fraternity among them,
without which they would have been everlastingly persecuting,
oppressing, exterminating one another: this could only be accomplished
by the institution of polygamy, and by enabling them to have at one and
the same time a white, black, mulatto, and copper-coloured wife. The
different colours now constituting part of one and the same family, thus
became blended in the affections of the chief and in the opinions of
each of the females relatively to the others.

“Mahomet,” he added, “seems to have been acquainted with the secret, and
to have been guided by it: otherwise how happened it that he, who treads
so closely in the steps of Christianity, and deviates from it so little,
did not suppress polygamy? Do you reply that he retained it only because
his religion was wholly sensual? In this case, he would have allowed the
Mussulmans an indefinite number of wives, whereas he limited it to four
only, which would seem to imply a black, a white, a copper-coloured, and
a mixed.

Besides, let it not be supposed that this favour of the law was put in
practice for the whole nation; or there would not have been wives for
them all. In fact, eleven twelfths of the population have but one,
because they cannot maintain more, but polygamy in the chiefs is
sufficient to attain the grand object: for, the confusion of races and
of colours existing, by means of polygamy, in the higher class, it is
enough to establish union and perfect equality among all. We must,
therefore admit,” he concluded, “that if polygamy was not the offspring
of a political combination, if it owed its origin to chance alone, that
chance has in this instance, produced as much as consummate wisdom.”

The Emperor said that he had seriously thought of applying this
principle to our colonies, in order to harmonize the welfare of the
Negroes with the necessity for employing them. He had even, he said,
consulted divines on this subject, to ascertain if there were not means,
considering local circumstances, of reconciling our religious notions
with this practice.

The Emperor continued conversing in this manner until after midnight.


24th.—The Emperor sent for me at about half-past twelve to his closet.
Our conversation turned upon the succession of authors through which the
light of history has been transmitted to us from the remotest antiquity
down to the present time. This led him to read that part of the first
table of the Historical Atlas which gives a recapitulation of them, and
presents the whole at one view.

The conversation turned on the diversities of the human species. The
Emperor sent for Buffon, to throw light upon the question; and continued
for some time employed in seeking information on the subject.

Having dressed, the Emperor sent for my son, and we worked three or four
hours at the chapters of the Campaign of Italy.

When this was completed, the conversation, through a variety of
subjects, turned upon Holland and King Louis, respecting whom he said
some things worthy of observation.

“Louis is not destitute of intelligence,” said the Emperor, “and has a
good heart; but even with these qualifications a man may commit many
errors, and do a great deal of mischief. Louis is naturally inclined to
be capricious and fantastical, and the works of Jean Jaques Rousseau
have contributed to increase this disposition. Seeking to obtain a
reputation for sensibility and beneficence, incapable by himself of
enlarged views, and, at most, competent to local details, Louis acted
like a Prefect rather than a king.

“No sooner had he arrived in Holland, than, fancying that nothing could
be finer than to have it said that he was thenceforth a true Dutchman,
he attached himself entirely to the party favourable to the English,
promoted smuggling, and thus connived with our enemies. It became
necessary from that moment to watch over him, and even to threaten to
attack him. Louis, then, seeking a refuge against the weakness of his
disposition in the most stubborn obstinacy, and mistaking a public
scandal for an act of glory, fled from his throne, declaiming against me
and against my insatiable ambition, my intolerable tyranny. What then
remained for me to do? Was I to abandon Holland to our enemies? Ought I
to have given it another King? But in that case could I have expected
more from him than from my own brother? Did not all the kings that I
created act nearly in the same manner? I therefore united Holland to the
empire; and this act produced a most unfavourable impression in Europe,
and contributed not a little to pave the way to our misfortunes.

“Louis was delighted to take Lucien as his model: Lucien had acted
nearly in the same manner; and if, at a later period, he has repented,
and has even nobly made amends for his errors, this conduct did honour
to his character, but could not produce any favourable change in our

“On my return from Elba in 1815, Louis wrote a long letter to me from
Rome, and sent an ambassador to me. It was his treaty, he said, the
conditions upon which he would return to me. I answered that I would not
make any treaty with him, that he was my brother, and that if he came
back he would be well received.

“Will it be believed that one of his conditions was that he should be at
liberty to divorce Hortense! I severely rebuked the negotiator for
having dared to be the bearer of so absurd a proposal, and for having
believed that such a measure could ever be made the subject of a
negotiation. I reminded Louis that our family compact positively forbade
it, and represented to him that it was not less forbidden by policy,
morality, and public opinion. I farther assured him that, actuated by
all these motives, if his children were to lose their state through his
fault, I should feel more interested for them than for him, although he
was my brother.

“Perhaps an excuse might be found for the caprice of Louis’s disposition
in the deplorable state of his health, the age at which it became
deranged, and the horrible circumstances which produced that
derangement, and which must have had a considerable influence upon his
mind; he was on the point of death on the occasion, and has, ever since,
been subject to most cruel infirmities: he is almost paralytic on one

“It is certain, however,” added the Emperor, “that I have derived little
assistance from my own family, and that they have severely injured me
and the great cause. The energy of my disposition has often been
extolled; but I have been a mere milksop, particularly with my family;
and well they knew it after the first moment of anger was over, they
always carried their point by perseverance and obstinacy. I became tired
of the contest, and they did with me just as they pleased. These are
great errors which I have committed. If, instead of this, each of them
had given a common impulse to the different bodies which I placed under
their direction, we should have marched on to the poles; every thing
would have given way before us; we should have changed the face of the
world; Europe would now enjoy the advantages of a new system, and we
should have received the benedictions of mankind! I have not been so
fortunate as Gengis Khan, with his four sons, each of whom rivalled the
other in zeal for his service. No sooner had I made a man a king, than
he thought himself king _by the grace of God_, so contagious is the use
of the expression. He was then no longer a lieutenant, on whom I could
rely, but another enemy whom I was obliged to guard against. His efforts
were not directed towards seconding me, but towards rendering himself
independent. They all immediately imagined that they were adored and
preferred to me. From that moment I was in their way, I endangered their
existence! Legitimate monarchs would not have behaved differently; would
not have thought themselves more firmly established. Weak-minded men!
who, when I fell, had occasion to convince themselves that the enemy did
not even do them the honour to demand the surrender of their dignities,
or even to allude to it. If they are now put under personal restraint,
if they are subject to vexation, it must proceed, on the part of the
conqueror, from a wish to impose the weight of power, or from the base
motive of gratifying his vengeance. If the members of my family excite a
strong interest amongst mankind, it is because they belong to me and to
the common cause; but assuredly there is not the least danger of any
movement being produced by any of them. Notwithstanding the philosophy
of several of them (for some of them had said, after the fashion of the
chamberlains of the Faubourg St-Germain, that they were _forced_ to
reign,) their fall must have been sensibly felt by them, for they had
soon accommodated themselves to the pleasures and comforts of their
station; they were all really kings. Thanks to my labours, all have
enjoyed the advantages of royalty; I alone have known its cares. I have
all the time carried the world on my shoulders; and this occupation,
after all, is rather fatiguing.

“It will perhaps be asked, why I persisted in erecting states and
kingdoms? The manners and the situation of Europe required it. Every
time that another country was annexed to France, the act added to the
universal alarm which already prevailed, excited loud murmurs, and
diminished the chances of peace. Then why, will it be farther said, did
I indulge in the vanity of placing every member of my family on a
throne? (for the generality of people must have thought me actuated by
vanity alone:) why did I not rather fix my choice upon private
individuals possessing greater abilities? To this I reply that it is not
with thrones as with the functions of a prefect; talents and abilities
are so common in the present age, among the multitude, that one must be
cautious to avoid awakening the idea of competition. In the agitation in
which we were involved, and with our modern institutions, it was proper
to think rather of consolidating and concentrating the hereditary right
of succession, in order to avoid innumerable feuds, factions, and
misfortunes. If there was any fault in my person and my elevation,
consistently with the plan of universal harmony which I meditated for
the repose and happiness of all, it was that I had risen at once from
the multitude. I felt that I stood insulated and alone, and I cast out
anchors on all sides into the sea around me. Where could I more
naturally look for support than amongst my own relations? Could I expect
more from strangers? And it must be admitted that if the members of my
family have had the folly to break through these sacred ties, the
morality of the people, superior to their blind infatuation, fulfilled
in part my object. With them their subjects thought themselves more
quiet, more united as in one family.

“To resume: acts of that importance were not to be considered lightly;
they were involved in considerations of the highest order; they were
connected with the tranquillity of mankind, the possibility of
ameliorating its condition. If, notwithstanding all these measures,
taken with the best intentions, it seems that no permanent good has been
effected, we must admit the truth of this great maxim, that to govern is
very difficult for those who wish to do it conscientiously.”

The following letter, of a very old date, will serve to throw great
light upon the words of Napoleon, mentioned a few pages back, respecting
the conduct of his brother in Holland.

At a later period, King Louis published a sort of account of his
administration, addressed to the Dutch nation; it is particularly
interesting, after having read the above paragraph and the accompanying
letter, to take up that document of King Louis, in order to be able to
form an opinion on the subject founded on a due knowledge of all the

                                “_Castle of Marach, 3d April, 1808._

“Sir and brother.—The auditor D——t delivered to me an hour ago your
despatch, dated 22d March. I send a courier who will take this letter to
you in Holland.

“The use you have just made of the privilege of mercy cannot but produce
a very bad effect. This privilege is one of the finest and noblest
attributes of the sovereign power. In order not to bring it into
discredit, it must be used only in cases when the royal clemency is not
detrimental to the ends of justice, or when it is calculated to leave an
impression of being the result of generous feelings. The present case is
that of a number of banditti, who attacked and murdered several
custom-house officers, with the intention of smuggling afterwards
without interruption. These people are condemned to death; and your
Majesty extends the royal mercy to them ... to a set of murderers, to
men whom nobody can pity. If they had been caught in the act of
smuggling; if, in defending themselves, they had killed some of the
officers, then you might perhaps have taken into consideration the
situation of their families, and their own; and have shewn an example of
a kind of paternal feeling, by modifying the severity of the law, by a
commutation of punishment. It is in cases of condemnation for offences
against the revenue laws, it is more particularly in cases of
condemnation for political offences, that clemency is well applied. In
these matters the principle is that, if it is the Sovereign who is
attacked, there is a certain magnanimity in pardoning the offender. On
the first report of an affair of that kind, the sympathy of the public
is immediately excited in favour of the offender, and not of him who is
to inflict the punishment. If the Prince remits the sentence, the people
consider him superior to the offence, and the public clamour is directed
against those who have offended him. If he follows the opposite system,
he is thought vindictive and tyrannical. If he pardons atrocious crimes,
he is looked upon as weak, or actuated by bad intentions.

“Do not fancy that the privilege of mercy can always be used without
danger, and that society will always commend the exercise of it in the
Sovereign. The Sovereign is blamed when he applies it in favour of
murderers or great malefactors, because it then becomes injurious to the
interests of the community. You have too frequently, and on too many
occasions, extended the royal mercy. The kindness of your heart must not
be listened to when it can become prejudicial to your people. In the
affair of the Jews, I should have done as you did; but in that of the
smugglers of Middelburg, I should not have pardoned on any account. Many
reasons ought to have induced you to let justice take its course, and
give the example of an execution which would have produced the excellent
effect of preventing many crimes by the terror which it would have
inspired. Public officers are murdered in the middle of the night—the
murderers are condemned. Your Majesty commutes the punishment of death
into a few years’ imprisonment! How much will this not tend to
dishearten all the persons employed in the collection of your revenue!
The political effect produced by it is also very bad, for the following
reasons:—Holland was the channel through which England had, for many
years, introduced her goods on the Continent. The Dutch merchants have
made immense profits by this trade; and that is the reason why the Dutch
nation is partial to England, and fond of smuggling, and why it hates
France, who forbids smuggling and opposes England. The mercy which you
have extended to these smugglers and murderers is a kind of compliment
which you have paid to the taste of the Dutch for smuggling. You appear
to make common cause with them,—and against whom? Against me.

“The Dutch love you: your disposition is amiable, your manners are
unaffected, and you govern them according to their inclination; but you
would make a beneficial use of the influence you possess if you shewed
yourself positively determined to suppress smuggling, and if you opened
their eyes to their real interests: they would then think that the
system of prohibition is good, since it is observed by the King. I
cannot see what advantage your Majesty can derive from a species of
popularity which you would acquire at my expense. Certainly Holland is
no longer what it was at the time of the treaty of Ryswick; and France
is not in the situation in which it was placed during the last years of
the reign of Louis XIV. If, therefore, Holland is unable to follow a
system of policy independent of that of France, it must fulfil the
conditions of the alliance.

“It is not to the present alone that sovereigns must accommodate their
policy; the future must also be the object of their consideration. What
is at this moment the situation of Europe? On one side, England, who
possesses, by her sole exertions, a dominion to which the whole world
has been hitherto compelled to submit. On the other side, the French
Empire and the Continental States, which, strengthened by the union of
their powers, cannot acquiesce in this supremacy exercised by England.
Those states had also their colonies and a maritime trade; they possess
an extent of coast much greater than England; but they have become
disunited, and England has attacked the naval power of each separately:
England has triumphed on every sea, and all navies have been destroyed.
Russia, Sweden, France, and Spain, which possess such ample means for
having ships and sailors, dare not venture to send a squadron out of
their ports. It is, therefore, no longer from a confederation amongst
the maritime powers—a confederation which it would be besides impossible
to maintain, on account of the distance, and of the interference of the
various interests of each with those of the others—that Europe can
expect its maritime emancipation, and a system of peace, which can be
established only by the will of England.

“I wish for peace; I wish to obtain it by every means compatible with
the dignity of the power of France; at the expense of every sacrifice
which our national honour can allow. Every day I feel more and more that
peace is necessary; and the sovereigns of the Continent are as anxious
for peace as I am. I feel no passionate prejudice against England; I
bear her no insurmountable hatred: she has followed against me a system
of repulsion; I have adopted against her the Continental system, not so
much from a jealousy of ambition, as my enemies suppose, but in order to
reduce England to the necessity of adjusting our differences. Let
England be rich and prosperous; it is no concern of mine, provided
France and her allies enjoy the same advantages.

“The Continental system has, therefore, no other object than to advance
the moment when the public rights of Europe and of the French Empire
will be definitively established. The sovereigns of the North observe
and enforce strictly the system of prohibition, and their trade has been
greatly benefited by it: the manufactures of Prussia may now compete
with ours. You are aware that France, and the whole extent of coast
which now forms part of the Empire, from the Gulf of Lyons to the
extremity of the Adriatic, are strictly closed against the produce of
foreign industry. I am about to adopt a measure with respect to the
affairs of Spain, the result of which will be to wrest Portugal from
England, and subject all the coasts of Spain, on both seas, to the
influence of the policy of France. The coasts of the whole of Europe
will then be closed against England, with the exception of those of
Turkey, which I do not care about, as the Turks do not trade with

“Do you not perceive, from this statement, the fatal consequences that
would result from the facilities given by Holland to the English for the
introduction of their goods on the continent? They would enable England
to levy upon us the subsidies which she would afterwards offer to other
powers to fight against us. Your Majesty is as much interested as I am
to guard against the crafty policy of the English Cabinet. A few years
more, and England will wish for peace as much as we do. Observe the
situation of your kingdom, and you will see that the system I allude to
is more useful to yourself than it is to me. Holland is a maritime and
commercial power; she possesses fine sea-ports, fleets, sailors, skilful
commanders, and colonies, which do not cost any thing to the
mother-country; and her inhabitants understand trade as well as the
English. Has not Holland, therefore, an interest in defending all those
advantages? May not peace restore her to the station she formerly held?
Granted that her situation may be painful for a few years; but is not
this preferable to making the King of Holland a mere governor for
England, and Holland and her colonies a vassal of Great Britain? Yet the
protection which you would afford to English commerce would lead to that
result. The examples of Sicily and Portugal are still before your eyes.

“Await the result of the progress of time. You want to sell your
spirits, and England wants to buy them. Point out the place where the
English smugglers may come and fetch them; but let them pay for them in
money and never in goods, _positively never!_ Peace must at last be
made; and you will then conclude a treaty of commerce with England. I
may perhaps also make one with her, but in which our mutual interests
shall be reciprocally guaranteed. If we must allow England to exercise a
kind of supremacy on the sea, a supremacy which she will have purchased
at the expense of her treasure and her blood, and which is the natural
consequence of her geographical position and of her possessions in the
three other parts of the globe; at least our flags will be at liberty to
appear on the ocean without being exposed to insult, and our maritime
trade will cease to be ruinous. For the present we must direct our
efforts towards preventing England from interfering in the affairs of
the Continent.

“I have been led on, from the consideration of the mercy which you have
granted, to the above details, and I have entered into them because I
feared that your Dutch Ministers may impress your Majesty’s mind with
false notions.

“I wish you to reflect seriously upon the contents of this letter, and
to render the different subjects it treats upon objects of the
deliberations of your councils, in order that your Ministers may give a
proper direction and tendency to their measures. Under no pretence
whatever will France allow Holland to separate herself from the
Continental system.

“With respect to these smugglers, since the fault has been committed, it
cannot be undone. I advise you, however, not to leave them in the prison
of Middelburg; it is too near the spot where the crime was perpetrated:
send them to the remotest part of Holland. The present having no other
object, &c.

                                           (Signed)      “Napoleon.”

During dinner the Emperor asked his groom how his horse was; the groom
answered that it was well fed, in good spirits, and in excellent
condition. “I hope he does not complain of me,” said the Emperor, “if
ever horse led the life of a canon, it is assuredly this.” It is now two
or three months since the Emperor was on horseback.


25th—27th. The Emperor for some days past has been remarkably assiduous.
All our mornings have been spent in making researches concerning Egypt,
in the works of the ancient authors. We have looked over Herodotus,
Pliny, Strabo, &c., together, without any other intermission than that
which we required to eat our breakfast, which was served on his small
table. The weather continued unfavourable, and the Emperor dictated
every day and the whole day.

At dinner he told us that he found himself much better, and we then
observed to him that for some time past, however, he had not been out of
the house, and was occupied eight, ten, or twelve hours a day. “That is
the very reason of my being better,” said he: “occupation is my element;
I was born and made for it. I have found the limits beyond which I could
not use my legs; I have seen the extent to which I could use my eyes;
but I have never known any bounds to my capability of application. I
nearly killed poor Ménéval; I was obliged to relieve him for a time from
the duties of his situation, and place him for the recovery of his
health near the person of Maria Louisa, where his post was a mere

The Emperor added that, if he were in Europe and had leisure, his
pleasure would be to write history. He complained of the very
indifferent manner in which history was written every where. The
researches in which he had lately been engaged had proved this fact to
him to a degree beyond any thing he could ever have suspected.

“We have no good history,” observed he, “and we could not have any; and
the other nations of Europe are nearly in the same predicament as
ourselves. Monks and privileged persons, that is to say, men friendly to
abuses and inimical to information and learning, monopolized this branch
of writing; they told us what they thought proper, or rather that which
favoured their interests, gratified their passions, or agreed with their
own views!—He had formed,” he said, “a plan for remedying the evil as
much as possible; he intended, for instance, to appoint commissions from
the Institute, or learned men whom public opinion might have pointed out
to him, to revise, criticize, and re-publish our annals. He wished also
to add commentaries to the classic authors which are put in the hands of
our youth, to explain them with reference to our modern institutions.
With a good programme, competition, and rewards, this end would have
been accomplished; every thing,” he said, “can be obtained by such

He then repeated, what I believe I have mentioned before, that it had
been his intention to cause the history of the last reigns of our kings
to be written from the original documents in the archives of our Foreign
Office. There were also several manuscripts, both ancient and modern, in
the Imperial Library, which he intended to have printed, classifying and
embodying them under their different heads, so as to form codes of
doctrine on science, morality, literature, fine arts, &c.

He had, he said, several other plans of a similar nature. And could any
other period be found equally favourable to the execution of such plans?
When will there be again united in the same man the genius to conceive
and the power to execute them?

In order to check the production of the immense number of inferior works
with which the public was inundated, without however trenching upon the
liberty of the press, he asked what objection there could have been to
the formation of a tribunal of opinion, composed of members of the
Institute, members of the University, and persons appointed by the
government, who would have examined all works with reference to these
three points of view, science, morality, and politics; who would have
criticized them, and defined the degree of merit possessed by each. This
tribunal would have been the light of the public; it would have operated
as a warranty in favour of works of real merit, insured their success,
and thus produced emulation; whilst, on the contrary, it would
necessarily have discouraged the publication of inferior productions.

All our evenings were devoted to the Odyssey, with which we are
delighted. Polyphemus, Tiresias, and the Syrens, have quite charmed us.

The following details relate to M. Ménéval, to whom the Emperor alluded
above; they will be considered invaluable, as they will serve to exhibit
Napoleon in the sphere of his private life.

The Emperor, when First Consul, complained that he had no Secretary. He
had just dismissed the one he had had during the campaigns of Italy and
the expedition in Egypt; he was an old college acquaintance of the
Emperor’s, a man full of intelligence, and to whom he was very much
attached; but he had been obliged to part with him. His brother Joseph
then offered him his own secretary, whom he had only had for a short
time: Napoleon accepted the offer, and acquired a treasure. This the
Emperor has repeated several times since. It was Ménéval, whom he has
since made a baron, _Maître des Requêtes_, and _Secrétaire des
Commandemens_ to the Empress Maria Louisa.

Ménéval’s title, when attached to the First Consul, was Secretary of the
Portfolio; a long regulation was even made expressly regarding him; the
principal article of which was that he should never, under any pretence
whatever, have a secretary, or employ an amanuensis; which condition was
strictly observed.

M. Ménéval was a man of gentle and reserved manners, very discreet,
working at all times and at all hours. The Emperor never had reason to
be dissatisfied or displeased with him, and was very much attached to
him. The Secretary of the Portfolio had generally all the current
business, all affairs that arose on a sudden emergency, or from a sudden
thought. How many affairs, plans, and conceptions, have been discussed
and transmitted through his medium! He opened and read all letters
addressed to the Emperor; classed them for the Emperor’s examination,
and wrote under his dictation.

The Emperor dictated so fast that, most frequently, in order to save
time, the Secretary was obliged to endeavour to recollect the words,
rather than attempt to write them down at the moment they were
pronounced. In this, Ménéval particularly excelled. In the course of
time, Ménéval was authorized himself to return answers on many subjects.
He might easily have acquired great influence; but it was not in his
disposition to seek to obtain it.

The Emperor was almost always in his closet; it might be said that he
spent the whole day and part of the night in it. He usually went to bed
at ten or eleven o’clock, and rose again about twelve, to work for a few
hours more. Sometimes he sent for M. Ménéval, but most frequently he did
not; and, aware of his zeal, he would sometimes say to him, “You must
not kill yourself.”

When the Emperor went into his closet in the morning, he found bundles
of papers already arranged and prepared for him by Ménéval, who had been
there before him. If the Emperor sometimes allowed twenty-four hours, or
two days, to elapse without going into it, his Secretary would remind
him of it, and tell him that he would suffer himself to be overwhelmed
with the mass of papers that were accumulating, and that the closet
would soon be full of them. To this the Emperor usually answered
good-humouredly: “Do not alarm yourself, it will soon be cleared;” and
so indeed it was, for in a few hours the Emperor had despatched all the
answers, and was even with the current business. It is true that he got
through a great deal by not answering many things, and throwing away all
that he considered useless, even when coming from his Ministers. To this
they were accustomed; and when no answer appeared they knew what it
meant. He himself read all letters that were addressed to him; to some
he answered by writing a few words in the margin, and to others he
dictated an answer. Those that were of great importance were always put
by, read a second time, and not answered until some time had elapsed.
When leaving his closet, he generally recapitulated those affairs that
were of the greatest consequence, and fixed the hour at which they must
be ready for him, which was always punctually attended to. If at that
hour the Emperor did not come, M. Ménéval followed him about from place
to place through the palace to remind him of it. On some of these
occasions the Emperor would go and settle the affair, at other times he
would say, “To-morrow; night is a good adviser.” This was his usual
phrase; and he often said that he had indeed worked much harder at night
than during the day; not that thoughts of business prevented him from
sleeping, but because he slept at intervals, according as he wanted
rest, and a little sufficed for him.

It often happened that the Emperor, in the course of his campaigns, was
roused suddenly upon some emergency; he would then immediately get up,
and it would have been impossible to guess from the appearance of his
eyes that he had just been asleep. He then gave his decision, or
dictated his answer, with as much clearness, and with his mind as free
and unembarrassed, as at any other moment. This he called the
_after-midnight presence of mind_; and he possessed it in a most
extraordinary degree. It has sometimes happened that he has been perhaps
called up as often as ten times in the same night, and each time he was
always found to have fallen asleep again, not having as yet taken his
quantum of rest.

Boasting one day to one of his ministers (General Clarke) of the faculty
which he possessed of sleeping almost at pleasure and how little rest he
required, Clarke answered in a jocular tone, “Yes, Sire, and that is a
source of torment to us, for it is often at our expense; we come in for
our share of it sometimes.”

The Emperor did every thing himself and through the medium of his
Cabinet. He appointed to all vacant situations, and most frequently
substituted new names to those of the persons proposed to him. He read
the plans of his Ministers, adopted, rejected, or modified them. He even
indited the notes of his Minister for Foreign Affairs, which he dictated
to Ménéval, from whom he kept no secret. It was through Ménéval also
that he wrote to the different sovereigns; in addressing whom he
observed a formula which he had had drawn up from the reports of former
times, and to the strict observance of which he attached great
importance. All the Ministers transacted business with the Emperor
together on one day of the week, appointed for that purpose, unless
something occurred to prevent it. The business of each Minister was
transacted in the presence of all the others, who were allowed to give
their opinions respecting it, and each of them thus emptied his
portfolio. A register was kept of the deliberations, of which there must
be many volumes. Those documents that had been decided on were left to
have the signature affixed to them, which was done through the medium of
the Minister Secretary of State, who countersigned them. Sometimes some
of these papers, after they had been thus decided on, were still sent to
the Emperor’s cabinet to be revised and modified before the signature
was put to them. The Minister for Foreign Affairs was the only one who,
independently of his share in the general business transacted by the
other Ministers, had besides, from the secret nature of his functions,
other business to despatch in private with the Emperor.

One of the favourite aides-de-camp of the Emperor was entrusted with all
that related to the _personnel_ of the war-department. For a long time
Duroc occupied this confidential post; afterwards Bertrand and
Lauriston; Count Lobau was the last who filled it.

M. Ménéval, being in a very indifferent state of health, worn down by
fatigue from application, and requiring some interval of repose, the
Emperor gave him a situation in the household of the Empress Maria
Louisa, which was, he said, quite a sinecure. However, the Emperor only
parted with him on condition that he should come back to him as soon as
he was well; and he never failed to remind him of it every time he saw

After Ménéval’s retirement, the business of the Emperor’s cabinet ceased
to be conducted by one person only; Ménéval had a great many successors
at the same moment, and the cabinet became a kind of office, in which
several persons were employed. One of these persons, whom the Emperor
had taken on the recommendation of others who had thought they could
answer for him as for themselves, received an order, at the time of the
disasters of 1814, to burn the documents that were in the closet; but,
instead of obeying this order, he so far forgot his duty as to take them
away with him: and, after the King’s restoration, he wrote to one of his
Ministers to offer them to him. The Emperor found the proof of his
treachery amongst the papers left at the Tuileries at the period of the
20th of March; and one morning having gone into his closet before any
body was come, he wrote several times on a piece of paper, as if he had
been trying his pen, _Such a one (naming him) is a traitor_—_Such a one
is a traitor_; and laid it on the table where sat one of those who had
recommended him, and who was himself, said the Emperor, a man on whose
zeal and fidelity every reliance could be placed. This was the only
reproach he ever addressed to him, and the only revenge he ever
exercised on the offender.

Several traces may therefore still be found, and several documents must
exist, of the business transacted in the Emperor’s cabinet. Some of
these documents have been alluded to in the debates of the British
Parliament; but Napoleon solemnly declared, on his return at the period
of the 20th of March last, that these documents had been falsified. And
they are not the only documents that are left of that ever-memorable

There must be twenty or thirty folio volumes, and as many in quarto,
containing the correspondence of the campaigns of Italy and of Egypt,
collected and regularly classed.

There must be also about sixty or eighty folio volumes of the
deliberations of the Council Ministers, collected by the Secretaries of
State, the Duke of Bassano and Count Daru; and lastly, the minutes of
the sittings of the Council of State, written and arranged by M. Locré.

These are real and proud titles of glory for Napoleon. Upon these
immortal monuments, all subsequent governments have modelled and
directed their administration; and from them all future governments, of
every country, will henceforth inevitably seek and derive information:
so sure and solid have been the foundations which he has laid—so
judiciously placed the landmarks—so deep are the roots—so much, in one
word, does the whole bear the stamp of genius, and the character of
rectitude and of duration.


28th.—The Emperor to-day availed himself of an interval of fine weather
to take two turns in the calash: he said he wanted a little jolting. His
left cheek was still swelled. About three o’clock he returned; and, a
short time afterwards, having nothing to do, he sent for me, and we
walked round the garden for some time. Having perceived the Doctor, he
beckoned to him. The Doctor came up to us, and from him Napoleon heard
that the Russian and Austrian Commissioners had come the day before to
the entrance to Longwood, from which they had been turned away by the
centry placed by the Governor.

When we were alone, the Emperor, after having conversed upon a variety
of subjects, spoke of my wife, conjecturing what she might be doing,
what had become of her, &c.

“There is no doubt,” said he, presently afterwards, “that your situation
at St. Helena inspires a lively interest, and must tend to cause your
wife’s company to be sought after. Every thing relating to me is still
dear to many persons. From this rock I still bestow crowns!... Yes, my
dear friends, when you return to Europe, you will find yourselves

Then, speaking again of my wife, he said, with an expression of the
utmost kindness, “The best thing she could do would be to go and spend
the time of her separation from you with Madame, or some other members
of my family. They would undoubtedly feel much pleasure in taking care
of her,” &c.

When we went back into the house, the Emperor sat down to work. The
Campaign of Italy was nearly finished but he provided me with a new

“_Note, write_:”—These were the words which the Emperor uttered abruptly
when a new idea occurred. What follows is literally what he dictated to
me, in this instance: nothing has been altered in it, and he has never
read it over.

“Note.—The Campaign of Italy being completed, Las Cases will, in the
course of a week, undertake the period from the breaking of the treaty
of Amiens to the battle of Jena. In 1802 all Europe is at peace; shortly
afterwards all Europe begins war: the Republic is changed, and becomes
the Empire; the maritime question becomes the chief cause of the rupture
of the peace of Amiens.

“Las Cases will begin by causing extracts to be made from the Moniteur
of that time, by little Emanuel, under his directions: he must get
through at least six or seven a-day, which will make one hundred and
eighty, or a period of six months in one month.—There must be at least a
period of six months extracted before we begin.

“The periods preceding and following that period will be prepared and
arranged by the other gentlemen. In making the extracts, the plan
already prescribed to M. Montholon must be followed; that is, of
extracting all that relates to one event, and referring to the page and

_The following will be the great events of this period_:—

 “1st, History of the flotilla.
 “2d, Declaration of Austria.
 “3d, Movements of the fleets.
 “4th, Battle of Trafalgar.
 “5th, Ulm—Austerlitz.
 “6th, Peace of Vienna.
 “7th, Negotiation of Lord Lauderdale at Paris.
 “8th, Battle of Jena.
 “_To be inserted in their respective places_:—
 “1st, Conspiracy of Georges.
 “2d, Affair of the Duc d’Enghien.
 “3d, Coronation of the Emperor, by the Pope.
 “4th, Imperial organization.

“This will be one of the most glorious periods of the history of France;
for it exhibits, in the space of one year, on one side a Pope coming to
France to crown an Emperor,—an event which had not taken place for one
thousand years before; and, on the other, the French flag waving over
the capitals of Austria and Prussia, the Roman empire dissolved, and the
Prussian monarchy destroyed.”

I take pleasure in transcribing literally the above dictation of the
Emperor’s, with his first ideas and in his first words, in order to shew
his style and manner.

It will be easily conceived with what zeal and ardour both my son and
myself devoted ourselves to this our task, the importance of which we
fully appreciated. We had not yet completed the analysis of our six
months, when I was torn from Longwood.

                        ON A HOLE IN THE GARDEN.

29th.—During dinner somebody mentioned a pool which stands in our
garden, not far from the house, and which is deep enough to admit of a
lamb having once been drowned in it, in attempting to drink. The Emperor
said on that occasion, to one of the inmates of the house: “Is it
possible, Sir, that you have not yet had this pool filled up? How guilty
you would be, and what would not your grief be, if your son were to be
drowned in it, as it might easily happen!” The person thus censured
answered that he had often intended to have it done, but that it was
impossible to get workmen. “That is not an excuse,” said the Emperor
sharply: “if _my_ son were here, I should go and fill it up with my own

The Emperor was already in bed when he sent for me: he wished, he said,
to put some questions to me, and to inquire concerning some dates
connected with matters which concerned us materially. . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . .

                       DETAILS, AND PARTICULARS.

30th.—Whenever the Emperor took up a subject, if he was in the least
animated, his language was fit to be printed. He has often, when an idea
struck him forcibly, dictated in an off-hand way to any one of us who
happened to be in his way, pages of the most polished diction. The other
gentlemen of his suite must possess a great many of these dictations,
which are all most valuable. Unfortunately for me, the weak state of my
eyes, which prevented me from writing, most frequently deprived me of
this advantage.

On one occasion, when the English ministerial newspapers adverted to the
treasures which Napoleon must possess, and which he, no doubt,
concealed, the Emperor dictated as follows:

“You wish to know the treasures of Napoleon? They are immense, it is
true, but they are all exposed to light. They are: The noble harbours of
Antwerp and Flushing, which are capable of containing the largest
fleets, and of protecting them against the ice from the sea,—the
hydraulic works at Dunkirk, Havre, and Nice,—the immense harbour of
Cherbourg,—the maritime works at Venice,—the beautiful roads from
Antwerp to Amsterdam; from Mentz to Metz; from Bordeaux to Bayonne;—the
passes of the Simplon, of Mont Cenis, of Mont Genevre, of La Corniche,
which open a communication through the Alps in four different
directions; and which exceed in grandeur, in boldness, and in skill of
execution, all the works of the Romans: in these alone you will find
eight hundred millions;—the roads from the Pyrenees to the Alps, from
Parma to Spezzia, from Savona to Piedmont,—the bridges of Jena,
Austerlitz, the Arts, Sevres, Tours, Rouanne, Lyons, Turin, of the
Isere, of the Durance, of Bordeaux, of Rouen, &c.—the canal which
connects the Rhine with the Rhone by the Doubs, and thus unites the
North Sea with the Mediterranean; the canal which connects the Scheldt
with the Somme, and thus joins Paris and Amsterdam; the canal which
unites the Rance with the Vilaine; the canal of Arles, that of Pavia,
and the canal of the Rhine—the draining of the marshes of Burgoing, of
the Cotentin, of Rochfort—the rebuilding of the greater number of the
churches destroyed during the Revolution—the building of others—the
institution of numerous establishments of industry for the suppression
of mendicity—the works at the Louvre—the construction of public
warehouses, of the Bank, of the canal of the Ourcq—the distribution of
water in the city of Paris—the numerous sewers, the quays, the
embellishments, and the monuments of that large capital—the works for
the embellishment of Rome—the re-establishment of the manufactures of
Lyons—the creation of many hundreds of cotton manufactories for spinning
and for weaving, which employ several millions of hands—funds
accumulated to establish upwards of 400 manufactories of sugar from
beet-root, for the consumption of part of France, and which would have
furnished sugar at the same price as the West Indies, if they had
continued to receive encouragement for only four years longer—the
substitution of woad for indigo, which would have been at last brought
to equal in quality, and not to exceed in price, the indigo from the
Colonies—numerous manufactories for all kinds of objects of art,
&c.—fifty millions expended in repairing and beautifying the palaces
belonging to the Crown—sixty millions in furniture for the palaces
belonging to the Crown in France and in Holland, at Turin, and at
Rome—sixty millions in diamonds for the Crown, all purchased with
Napoleon’s money—_the Regent_ (the only diamond that was left belonging
to the former diamonds of the Crown) withdrawn from the hands of the
Jews at Berlin, with whom it had been pledged for three millions—the
Napoleon Museum, valued at upwards of four hundred millions, filled with
objects legitimately acquired either by money or treaties of peace known
to the whole world, by virtue of which the master-pieces it contains
were given in lieu of territory or of contributions—several millions
amassed for the encouragement of agriculture, which is the paramount
consideration for the interest of France—the introduction into France of
Merino sheep, &c.——these form a treasure of several thousand millions,
which will endure for ages! these are the monuments that will confute

History will say that all these things were accomplished amidst
perpetual wars, without having recourse to any loan, and whilst the
national debt was even diminishing every day, and that nearly fifty
millions of taxes had been remitted. Very large sums still remained in
his private treasury; they were guaranteed to him by the treaty of
Fontainebleau, as the result of the savings effected on his civil list
and of his other private revenues. These sums were divided and did not
go entirely into the public treasury, nor altogether into the treasury
of France!!

On another occasion, the Emperor reading in an English newspaper that
Lord Castlereagh had said, at a meeting in Ireland, that Napoleon had
declared at St. Helena that he never would have made peace with England
but to deceive her, to take her by surprise, and to destroy her; and
that, if the French army was attached to the Emperor, it was because he
was in the habit of giving the daughters of the richest families of his
empire in marriage to his soldiers: the Emperor, moved with indignation,
dictated as follows: “These calumnies uttered against a man who is so
barbarously oppressed, and whose voice is not allowed to be heard in
answer to them, will be disbelieved by all persons well educated and
susceptible of feeling. When Napoleon was seated on the first throne in
the world, then no doubt his enemies had a right to say whatever they
pleased; his actions were public, and were a sufficient answer to them;
at any rate, that conduct now belonged to public opinion, and history;
but to utter new and base calumnies against him at the present moment is
an act of the utmost meanness and cowardice, and which will not answer
the end proposed. Millions of libels have been and are still published
every day, but they are without effect. Sixty millions of men, of the
most polished nations in the world, raise their voices to confute them,
and fifty thousand English, who are now travelling on the Continent,
will, on their return home, publish the truth to the inhabitants of the
three kingdoms of Great Britain, who will blush at having been so
grossly deceived.

“As for the Bill, by virtue of which Napoleon has been dragged to this
rock, it is an act of proscription similar to those of Sylla, and still
more atrocious. The Romans unrelentingly pursued Hannibal to the utmost
extremities of Bithynia; and Flaminius persuaded King Prusias to assent
to the death of that great man; yet at Rome Flaminius was accused of
having acted thus in order to satisfy his personal hatred. It was in
vain that he urged in his defence that Hannibal, yet in the vigour of
life, might still become a dangerous enemy, and that his death was
necessary; a thousand voices were raised, and answered that acts of
injustice and ungenerous actions can never be useful to a great nation;
and that, upon such pretences as that now set forth, murder, poisoning,
and every species of crime might be justified! Succeeding generations
reproached their ancestors with this base act. They would have paid a
high price to efface the stain from their history, and, since the
revival of letters among modern nations, there is not a generation that
has not added its imprecations to those pronounced by Hannibal at the
moment when he drank the fatal cup: he cursed Rome, who, whilst her
fleets and legions covered Europe, Asia, and Africa, wreaked her
vengeance against a man alone and unprotected, because she feared, or
pretended to fear, him.

“The Romans, however, never violated the rights of hospitality: Sylla
found an asylum in the house of Marius. Flaminius, before he proscribed
Hannibal, did not receive him on board his ship and declare that he had
orders to treat him favourably; the Roman fleet did not convey him to
the Port of Ostia; and Hannibal, instead of placing himself under the
protection of the Romans, preferred trusting his person to a King of
Asia. When he was proscribed, he was not under the protection of the
Roman flag; he was under the banners of a king who was an enemy of Rome.

“If ever, in the revolutions of ages, a King of England should be
brought before the awful tribunal of his nation, his defenders will urge
in his favour the sacred character of a king, the respect due to the
throne, to all crowned heads, to the anointed of the Lord! But his
accusers will have a right to answer thus: ‘One of the ancestors of this
King, whom you defend, banished a man that was his guest, in time of
peace; afraid to put him to death in the presence of a nation governed
by positive laws and by regular and public forms, he caused his victim
to be exposed on the most unhealthy point of a rock, situated in another
hemisphere, in the midst of the ocean, where this guest perished, after
a long agony, a prey to the climate, to want, to insults of every kind!
Yet that guest was also a great Sovereign, raised to the throne on the
shields of thirty-six millions of citizens. He had been master of almost
every Capital of Europe; the greatest Kings composed his Court; he was
generous towards all; he was during twenty years the arbiter of nations;
his family was allied to every reigning family, even to that of England;
he was twice the anointed of the Lord; twice consecrated by the august
ceremonies of religion!!!’”

This passage is certainly very fine, for its truth, its diction, and
above all, for its historical richness.

The Emperor always dictated without the least preparation. I never saw
him, on any occasion, make any research respecting our history or that
of any other nation; and yet no man ever quoted history more faithfully,
more _apropos_, or more frequently. One might have supposed that he knew
history by quotations only, and that these quotations occurred to him as
by inspiration. And here I must be allowed to mention a fact which has
often struck me, and which I never could satisfactorily account for to
myself; but it is so very remarkable, and I have witnessed it so often,
that I cannot pass it in silence. It is that Napoleon seems to possess a
stock of information on several points, which remains within him, in
reserve as it were, to burst forth with splendour on remarkable
occasions, and which in his moments of carelessness appears to be not
only slumbering, but almost unknown to him altogether. With respect to
history, for instance, how often has it happened that he has asked me
whether St. Louis reigned before or after Philip the Fair, and other
questions of the same kind. But, when occasion offered, when his moment
came, then he would quote without hesitation, and with the most minute
details; and when I have sometimes happened to be in doubt, and to go
and verify, I have always found him to be right and most scrupulously
exact: I have never been able to detect him in error.

Another singular peculiarity in him of the same kind is this:—In his
common intercourse of life, and his familiar conversation, the Emperor
mutilated the names most familiar to him, even ours; yet I do not think
that this would have happened to him on a public occasion. I have heard
him many times, during our walks, repeat the celebrated speech of
Augustus; and he has never missed saying, “Take a seat, Sylla.”[30] He
would frequently create names of persons according to his fancy; and,
when he had once adopted them, they remained fixed in his mind, although
we pronounced them as they should be, a hundred times in the day, within
his hearing; but he would have been struck if we had used them as he had
altered them. It was the same with respect to orthography: in general,
he did not attend to it; yet, if our copies had contained any faults of
spelling, he would have complained of it. One day the Emperor said to
me; “You do not write orthographically, do you?” This question gave rise
to a sarcastic smile from a bystander, who thought that it was meant to
convey a reproach. The Emperor, who saw this, continued:—“At least, I
suppose you do not; for a man occupied with public or other important
business, a Minister, for instance, cannot, and need not, attend to
orthography. His ideas must flow faster than his hand can trace; he has
only time for hieroglyphics; he must put letters for words, and words
for sentences; and leave the scribes to make it out afterwards.”—The
Emperor left a great deal for the copyists to do; he was their torment:
his handwriting actually formed hieroglyphics; he often could not
decipher it himself. My son was one day reading to him a chapter of the
Campaign of Italy: on a sudden he stopped short, unable to make out the
writing. “The little blockhead,” said the Emperor, “cannot read his own
writing!”—“It is not mine, Sire.”—“And whose then?” “Your
Majesty’s.”—“How, you little rogue! do you mean to insult me?” The
Emperor took the manuscript, tried a long while to read it, and at last
threw it down, saying, “He is right: I cannot tell myself what is
written.”—He has often sent the copyists to me, to try to read to them
what he had himself been unable to decipher.

Footnote 30:

  Instead of Cinna, in Corneille’s tragedy of _Cinna_, act v. scene
  1st.—_Eng. Ed._

The Emperor accounted for the clearness of his ideas, and the faculty of
extremely protracted application which he possessed, by saying that the
different affairs were arranged in his head as in a closet. “When I wish
to turn from any business,” said he, “I close the drawer which contains
it, and I open that which contains another. They do not mix together,
and do not fatigue me or inconvenience me.” He had never been kept
awake, he said, by an involuntary pre-occupation of mind. If I wish to
sleep, I shut up all the drawers, and I am soon asleep. So that he had
always, he added, slept when he wanted rest, and almost at will.


Tuesday, 1st October. When I entered the Emperor’s room, he had my Atlas
in his hands. He turned over several of the genealogical maps, whose
relation and correspondence with each other he now understands
remarkably well. On closing the book, he said, “What a concatenation!
how each part results from and corroborates what goes before it! How
every part unfolds itself and remains fixed in the mind! Las Cases, if
you had done nothing more than point out the true method for
instruction, you would still have rendered a most essential service.
Every one may now clothe the skeleton as they like; it will, no doubt,
be improved upon, but the first conception is yours,” &c.

Amongst the numerous subjects of conversation which followed,
predestination was mentioned. The Emperor made many remarkable
observations on that subject; amongst others, “Pray,” said he, “am I not
said to be given to the belief in predestination?” “Yes, Sire, at least
by many people.” “Well, well! let them say on; one may sometimes be
tempted to imitate, and it may occasionally be useful.... But what are
men!... How much easier it is to occupy their attention, and to strike
their imaginations, by absurdities than by rational ideas! But can a man
of sound sense listen for one moment to such a doctrine? Either
predestination admits the existence of free will, or it rejects it. If
it admits it, what kind of predetermined result is that which the mere
will, a step, a word, may alter or modify, _ad infinitum_? If
predestination, on the contrary, rejects the existence of free will, it
is quite another question; in that case a child need only be thrown into
its cradle as soon as it is born; there is no necessity for bestowing
the least care upon it; for if it be irrevocably determined that it is
to live, it will grow though no food should be given to it. You see that
such a doctrine cannot be maintained: predestination is but a word
without meaning. The Turks themselves, those patrons of fatalism, are
not convinced of the doctrine, or medicine would not exist in Turkey;
and a man residing in a third floor would not take the trouble to go
down by the longer way of the stairs, he would immediately throw himself
out of the window: you see to what a string of absurdities that will

At about three o’clock, the Emperor was told that the Governor wished to
communicate to him some instructions which he had just received from
London. The Emperor replied that he was unwell, that the instructions
might be sent to him, or communicated to some of his suite; but the
Governor insisted on being admitted, saying, that he wished to
communicate directly with the Emperor: he added that he had also a few
words to say to us in private, after having spoken to _the General_. The
Emperor again refused; upon which the Governor retired, saying that he
begged he might be informed when he _could_ see _the General_. This
period may be distant indeed; the Emperor, with whom I was at that
moment, having said to me that he was determined never to receive him

After dinner, the Emperor had Buffon and Valmont de Bomare brought to
him. He looked at what these authors say respecting the diversities in
the human species, the difference between a negro and a white; but he
was not much satisfied with what he found in them on the subject. He
retired early to his apartment: he was unwell.

2d. The Emperor having told me that he was determined to apply again to
the study of English, and that I must oblige him every morning to take
his lesson, I accordingly went to his apartment at about half-past
twelve. I was not fortunate in the choice of the moment, for he was
lying on his sofa asleep after his breakfast. I must have vexed him, and
was very much vexed myself. However, he would not let me go away, and
read a little English for about half an hour. He was not very well. He
dressed. Having told him that we had finished what he had given us to
do, he at first proposed to go to work on the chapters of the Campaign
of Italy; but he afterwards altered his mind, and was busy the whole day
on something else. At about five o’clock he attempted to walk out, but
found the weather too cold. After dinner, he tried to read, but in vain;
he could not go on: he felt tired, drowsy, indisposed, and withdrew
almost immediately.


3d. After breakfast, the Emperor took two or three turns in the garden.
We were all with him. He spoke of the communications which the Governor
had to make to us, and took a review of the different conjectures—some
good, some bad—which each of us formed on the subject. The weather was
tolerable; he ordered the calash, and we went round the wood. The heat
and the heaviness of the atmosphere, though the sun was obscured,
obliged him to go into the house again. He sat down and dictated to my
son until five o’clock.

We again tried to take a few turns in the garden; but the air was cold
and damp. He went in-doors again, and made me go to converse with him.
He turned over an English book, and stopped at a part relating to
jurisprudence, and the criminal codes of France and England,
endeavouring to compare them. Every body knows how extremely well versed
he is in our codes; but he has little knowledge of that of England, and,
with the exception of some general points, I could not answer his
questions. In the course of the conversation he said: Laws which in
theory are a model of clearness become too often a chaos in their
application; because men, with their passions, spoil every thing they
touch, &c.... Men can only avoid being exposed to the arbitrary acts of
the judge, by submitting to the despotism of the law, &c.... I had at
first fancied it would be possible to reduce all laws to simple
geometrical demonstrations; so that every man who could read, and
connect two ideas together, would be able to decide for himself; but I
became convinced, almost immediately that this idea was absurd.
However,” added he, “I should have wished to start from some fixed
point, and follow one road known to all; to have no other laws but those
inserted in the code; and to proclaim, once for all, that all laws which
were not in the code were null and void. But it is not easy to obtain
simplicity from practical lawyers: they first prove to you that
simplicity is impossible, that it is a mere chimera; and endeavour next
to demonstrate that it is incompatible with the stability and the
existence of power. Power, they say, is exposed alone to the unforeseen
machinations of all: it must therefore have, in the moment of need, arms
kept in reserve for such cases: so that, with some old edicts of
Chilperic or Pharamond, ferreted out for the occasion,” said Napoleon,
“nobody can say that he is secure from being hanged in due form and
according to law.

“So long as the subjects of discussion in the Council of State,” said
the Emperor, “were referable to the code, I felt very strong; but when
they diverged from it, I was quite in the dark, and Merlin was then my
resource—he was my light. Without possessing much brilliancy, Merlin is
very learned, wise, upright, and honest; one of the veterans of the good
old cause: he was very much attached to me.

“No sooner had the code made its appearance, than it was almost
immediately followed by commentaries, explanations, elucidations,
interpretations, and the Lord knows what besides. I usually exclaimed,
on seeing this: Gentlemen, we have cleaned the stable of Augeas; for
God’s sake do not let us fill it again!” &c.

During dinner, the Emperor made some very remarkable observations
respecting Egypt, which will be found in the chapters dictated to
Bertrand. He then reverted to his expedition to Syria, and declared that
the grand object of the expedition to Egypt was to shake the power of
England in the four quarters of the world, by effecting a revolution
capable of changing the whole face of the East, and giving a new destiny
to India. Egypt, he said, was to stand us in stead of St. Domingo, and
our American Colonies, to reconcile the liberty of the blacks with the
prosperity of our commerce. This new colony would have ruined the
English in America, in the Mediterranean, and even on the banks of the

Then, answering the reproach preferred against him of having deserted
his army, he said: “I merely obeyed the call of France, which summoned
me to save her, and I had a right to do so. I had received from the
Directory a _carte blanche_ for all my operations in the basin of the
Mediterranean, in Africa, and in Asia. I had full powers for treating
with the Russians, the Turks, the Barbary States, and the provinces of
India. I was at liberty to appoint a successor, to bring back the army,
or to return myself, if I thought proper.”

The Emperor thought that all he had seen in Egypt, and, particularly,
all those celebrated ruins so much talked of, were not to be compared
with Paris and the Tuileries. The only difference between Egypt and us
was, in his opinion, that Egypt, thanks to the pureness of its air and
the nature of its materials, preserved her ruins for ever; whereas the
nature of our European atmosphere would not admit of our having any for
any length of time, every thing being soon corroded and gone.

Vestiges of a thousand years’ date might be found on the banks of the
Nile; but not one would subsist on the banks of the Seine in fifty
years. He, however, regretted very much that he had not caused an
Egyptian temple to be erected at Paris: he could have wished to adorn
the capital with such a monument, &c.

                     COMMUNICATIONS.—NEW OFFENCES.

4th. At about twelve o’clock, I went to the Emperor’s apartment. He took
a good lesson of English in Telemachus: he resolved to take up my method
again; he approves of it, he said, and derives great benefit from it. He
observed that he thought I had excellent dispositions for being a very
good schoolmaster; I told him it was the fruit of my experience. He then
made me enter into a great many details respecting the time when I gave
lessons in London, during my emigration, and he was very much amused by
them. “However,” said he, “you gentlemen, must have done credit to the
profession, if not by your learning, at least, by your manners.” I then
told him that one of our Princes had taught mathematics during his
emigration. “And this alone,” said he, with animation, “would make a man
of him, and shew him to have possessed some merit; that is assuredly one
of the greatest triumphs of Madame de Genlis.”

I then related to him the following curious anecdote, which I had heard
on that subject. “The Prince was in Switzerland: and, being so
circumstanced as to find it advisable to conceal his existence, he
wished to take a name that might favour his disguise. One of our
Bishops, from the South of France, fancied that nothing could be better
than to give him the name of a young man from Languedoc then at Nismes,
who was a very zealous Protestant; which was just as it ought to be, the
Prince being in a Protestant canton. The Bishop added that there was no
appearance that the young man would ever be in the way to falsify the
Prince’s assumption of his name. But it had so happened that the young
man had gone into the army, and had become an aide-de-camp to M. de
Montesquiou, and that shortly afterwards he had emigrated precisely into
Switzerland with his general. What was his surprise to find himself at
the _table d’hôte_, at dinner with a person of his own name, of the same
religion, and who belonged to the same town! It was exactly like the
scene of the two Sosias.[31] But the best of the joke was that the young
man had also changed his name, and carefully concealed his own. Such
incidents are only to be met with in novels; they are thought of
impossible occurrence. Perhaps the present story has been rather
embellished; yet, I think, I can affirm that I heard it from the young
man himself.”

Footnote 31:

  In Moliere’s Comedy of Amphitryon. _Eng. Ed._

“But,” observed the Emperor afterwards, “those amongst you emigrants who
had created for yourselves resources abroad must have felt quite lost
when you returned to France, and ruined once more?”—“Certainly, Sire;
for we found nothing of what we had formerly left in France, and we had
just abandoned the little we had made ourselves. But we had not
calculated: our impatience to revisit our native land had over-balanced
every other consideration, and several amongst us soon found themselves
in the greatest distress, in want of every thing, although acquainted
and even intimate with many of the great personages of the day—with your
Ministers, Sire, your Councillors of State, and others. This
circumstance gave rise to a _bon mot_ from one of our _wits_. Meeting
one day, in the saloon of the Minister for Maritime Affairs, a friend
who like himself hardly knew how to manage to subsist, he exclaimed, by
way of consolation: “Well, my friend, if we die of hunger, we may still
have two or three Ministers at our funeral.” The Emperor laughed
heartily at the jest, and admitted that it gave an exact description of
the situation of affairs at the time.

After his lesson of English, and the conversation which followed, the
Emperor went out for a walk. We walked to the end of the wood, where the
calash drove up to us.

On the Emperor’s return, the Doctor came to inform him that Colonel
Reade, whom he had consented to receive instead of the Governor, wished
to be presented to him. Colonel Reade delivered to the Emperor a note of
considerable length; and I was sent for to translate it. It contained
the communications which Sir Hudson Lowe had for three or four days past
been vainly endeavouring to make in person. The note was couched in the
most offensive terms, and the Governor wished to have reserved to
himself the satisfaction of communicating its contents to the Emperor.
This is a characteristic trait, and it requires no comment. The harsh
terms in which it was expressed, and in particular the repeated threat
that we should be separated from the Emperor, vexed us exceedingly, and
put us out of spirits for the remainder of the day.


5th.—At an early hour this morning, before I had risen, I heard some one
softly open my chamber-door. My apartment is so encumbered with my own
bed and that of my son, that it is no easy matter to enter it. I
perceived a hand drawing aside my bed-curtain: it was the Emperor’s. I
was reading a book of geometry, a circumstance which amused him very
much, and, as he said, saved my reputation. I instantly rose, and soon
rejoined the Emperor, who was proceeding to the wood alone. He conversed
for a considerable time on the events of the preceding day. He then
returned to the house for the purpose of taking a bath: he was very ill,
and had passed a bad night.

He sent for me at one o’clock. He was in the drawing-room, and he
expressed a wish to take his English lesson. The weather was very hot
and close. The Emperor felt languid and dispirited: he could not bend
his mind to study, and several times fell asleep. At length he rose,
saying he was determined to shake off his lethargy, and he proceeded to
the billiard-room to breathe a little fresh air.

Conversing on the subject of the Campaigns of Italy, he enquired what I
had done with the first rough draughts, observing that all the chapters
had been several times re-copied. I told him that I had carefully
preserved them. He desired to have all the manuscripts brought to him,
and, laying aside two complete copies, he sent the rest into the kitchen
to be burnt.

I have already several times mentioned that the Emperor knew I kept a
Journal. This was a secret, and therefore he never spoke to me on the
subject, except when we happened to be alone together. He often asked me
whether I still continued my Journal, and what I could find to set down
in it. “Sire,” I replied, “all that your Majesty does and says, from
morning to night.” “Then,” said he, “you must have a monstrous deal of
repetition, and must tell many useless things! But no matter, go on,
some day we will look it over together.”

When he visited my chamber, he frequently found the faithful Aly engaged
in re-copying my Journal; for he had kindly offered to employ himself in
this way, during his leisure hours. The Emperor sometimes cast his eyes
upon Aly’s writing, and, after reading a few lines, that is to say, as
soon as he ascertained what it was, he would turn away and speak about
something else, without ever alluding to the subject. This is precisely
what had occurred this morning; and the Emperor, recollecting the
circumstance, said that he wished at length to have a sight of this
famous _jumble of trifles_. My son brought a portion of the manuscript,
and the Emperor spent upwards of two hours in perusing it. The
introduction, which relates to myself personally, fixed his attention;
he read it over twice, and then said: “Well, very well; this is a fine
inheritance for little Emanuel.” As to the Journal, he approved of its
form and general plan. He made several corrections with his own hand, on
those parts which related to his family and his childhood. He desired my
son to take the pen, and he dictated to him some details respecting
Brienne, Father Patrault, &c. When he had done, he desired me to
continue my labours, as he was pleased with them; and he promised to
furnish me with many anecdotes, particularly concerning Alexander and
the other sovereigns.

He afterwards took a drive in the calash, in which I accompanied him,
and the Journal again became the topic of conversation. The Emperor said
a great deal on the subject, and expressed himself very much pleased
with the idea. He gave me several hints respecting it, and concluded by
observing that, from the peculiar circumstances under which it was
produced, it might become a work truly unique in its character, and an
invaluable treasure to his son.

On our return to Longwood, we found the Grand Marshal, who had just
returned from Plantation House, where he had been to hold a conference
on the subject of the communications of yesterday. We anxiously awaited
the answer he might bring back. He informed us that a proposition had
been made, which was nothing less than that four of us should be
separated from the Emperor. There were many other minor points of a very
vexatious nature; but this one caused us to lose sight of all the rest.
The Governor had, however, finally agreed to remove only the Pole and
three of the domestics. According to the report of the Grand Marshal, I
was the individual upon whom the storm had lowered, of whom the Governor
most particularly complained, and whose removal, he said, he should
certainly have decided upon, had he not thought me too useful to the
Emperor. He complained that I was constantly writing to Europe,
declaiming against the Government and the injustice and oppression which
I alleged were exercised towards us. His other subjects of complaint
were, that I spoke of the Emperor to the strangers who visited Longwood
in such a way as to excite their interest; that I was constantly
endeavouring to establish communications with different individuals on
the island (and he mentioned the instance of Mrs. Sturmer); that I had
addressed, or endeavoured to transmit, various documents to Europe, &c.
However, after having spoken of me in the most angry terms, for some
reason or other, he endeavoured to soften down what he had said by a few
complimentary observations. He remarked that he could scarcely have
expected such conduct in a man possessing so much information, and whose
good character was established throughout Europe.

After dinner, the Emperor amused himself by solving some problems in
geometry and algebra: this, he said, reminded him of his youthful days;
and it surprised us all to find that the subjects were still so fresh in
his recollection.


6th—7th. During these two days, a circumstance has occurred, which is so
nearly connected with the nature of the present work, that I cannot omit
noticing it. I have just mentioned that the Emperor had expressed
himself well satisfied with my journal: he alluded to it several times
in the course of the day, assuring me that he should feel great pleasure
in perusing and correcting it. This information, as it may be supposed,
was highly gratifying to me. The moment which I had so long and ardently
looked for had at length arrived. That which I had hastily, and,
perhaps, inaccurately, collected, was now about to receive an
inestimable correction and sanction. Imperfect points would be
developed, chasms filled up, and obscurities explained. What a fund of
historical truths and political secrets was I about to receive! Elated
by these expectations, I the first day presented myself to the Emperor
at the usual hour, having my journal with me; but he began to dictate to
me on a totally different subject, and I was obliged to put up with the
disappointment. Next day, the same thing occurred again. I now wished to
call the Emperor’s attention to my Journal; but he did not appear to
understand me, and I took the hint. I know Napoleon so well! He
possesses in the highest degree the art of not seeming to understand; he
resorts to it frequently, and always for some particular object. In the
present instance I understood him sufficiently, and I did not again
attempt to draw his attention to the subject. At first I was much
puzzled to guess the motive that had induced him to act thus; and I made
several conjectures, which have probably occurred to the reader, as well
as to myself. A few days afterwards I was forced away from him, though I
had not the least cause in the world to anticipate this fatal event.

I have dwelt on this circumstance with scrupulous exactness, because I
conceive that it affords a new guarantee of my sincerity, and serves to
explain precisely the nature of my Journal. Of the great bulk of its
contents, and in particular the important events described in it, no
doubt can be entertained. Some involuntary errors may, however, have
crept into the details, from the hasty manner in which they were
collected, and from my being deprived of the advantage of having the
manuscript revised by the only individual who was capable of correcting
its inaccuracies.

The Emperor, while he was dressing and waiting for the Grand Marshal to
take his turn in writing, amused himself by conversing on different

He spoke of the influence of opinion, to which he so frequently alludes.
He traced its secret progress, its uncertainty, and the caprice of its
decisions. He then adverted to the natural delicacy of the French, which
he said was exquisite in matters of decorum, the laudable susceptibility
of our manners, and the graceful action and gentleness of touch which
authority must employ, if an attempt is made to interfere with the
national feeling.

“In conformity with my system,” observed he, “of amalgamating all kinds
of merit, and of rendering one and the same reward universal, I had an
idea of presenting the cross of the Legion of Honour to Talma; but I
refrained from doing this, in consideration of our capricious manners
and absurd prejudices. I wished to make a first experiment in an affair
that was unimportant, and I accordingly gave the Iron Crown to
Crescentini. The decoration was foreign, and so was the individual on
whom it was conferred. This circumstance was less likely to attract
public notice or to render my conduct the subject of discussion; at
worst, it could only give rise to a few malicious jokes. Such,”
continued the Emperor, “is the influence of public opinion. I
distributed sceptres at will, and thousands readily bowed beneath their
sway: and yet I could not give away a bit of ribbon without the chance
of incurring disapprobation; for I believe my experiment, with regard to
Crescentini, proved unsuccessful.” “It did, Sire,” observed some one
present. “The circumstance occasioned a great outcry in Paris; it drew
forth a general anathema in all the drawing-rooms of the metropolis, and
afforded ample scope for the expression of malignant feeling. However,
at one of the evening parties of the Faubourg Saint-Germain, a _bon-mot_
had the effect of completely stemming the torrent of indignation. A
pompous orator was holding forth, in an eloquent strain, on the subject
of the honour that had been conferred on Crescentini. He declared it to
be a disgrace, a horror, a perfect profanation, and inquired what right
Crescentini could have to such a distinction? On hearing this, the
beautiful Madame G—— who was present, rose majestically from her chair,
and, with a truly theatrical tone and gesture, exclaimed, ‘_Et sa
blessoure Monsieur!_ do you make no allowance for that?’ This produced a
general burst of laughter and applause, and poor Madame G—- was very
much embarrassed by her success.”

The Emperor, who now heard this anecdote for the first time, was highly
amused by it. He often afterwards alluded to it, and occasionally
related it himself.

At dinner, the Emperor informed us that he had worked for twelve hours;
and we observed that his day was not yet ended. He seemed to be ill and


8th. When I entered the Emperor’s apartment this morning, I found him
engaged in reading the files of the _Journal des Debats_, which had
lately arrived. At three o’clock he began to dress. His first valet de
chambre was ill; and he observed that those who acted as his substitutes
were not equal to him in address.

The weather was tolerable, and we walked to the extremity of the wood,
where the calash was to take us up.

I had a disposable sum of money in London, which I had conveyed thither
in 1814. The recollection of the privations I had endured during my
emigration, and the chance of being exposed to future want, had prompted
me to this act of prudence, and I was now reaping the fruits of it.
Owing to this circumstance, I was more at my ease, as to pecuniary
affairs, than any other individual of the Emperor’s suite at St. Helena;
but what led me to regard this sum as an inestimable treasure was the
happiness of being able to lay it at the feet of the Emperor. I had
already several times proposed that he should accept it; and I now once
more repeated the offer, while I adverted to the renewed outrages which
we had just experienced from the Governor. At this moment we were joined
by Madame de Montholon, who had set out after us. She observed that the
Emperor walked so fast that she should certainly have lost sight of him,
had not my gesticulations enabled her to keep her eye upon us; and that
she had been puzzled to guess the cause of my vehemence of manner.
“Madam,” said the Emperor with the most captivating grace, “he has been
trying to make me accept his bounty; he has been offering to support us

We returned almost immediately to the house, as the weather was very
damp and the Emperor complained of tooth-ache. For some time past he has
been troubled with a profuse secretion of saliva.

After dinner he resumed the reading of the Odyssey: we had arrived at
the passage describing the combat between Ulysses and Irus, on the
threshold of the palace, both in the garb of beggars. The Emperor very
much disapproved of this episode, which he pronounced to be mean,
incongruous, and beneath the dignity of the King. “And yet,” continued
he, “independently of all the faults which, in my opinion, this incident
presents, I still find in it something to interest me. I fancy myself in
the situation of Ulysses, and then I can well conceive his dread of
being overpowered by a wretched mendicant. Every prince or general has
not the broad shoulders of his guards or grenadiers; every man has not
the strength of a porter. But Homer has remedied all this by
representing his heroes as so many giants. We have no such heroes
now-a-days. What would become of us,” he added, glancing round at us
all, “if we lived in those good times when bodily vigour constituted
real power? Why, Noverraz (his valet-de-chambre) would wield the sceptre
over us all. It must be confessed that civilization favours the mind
entirely at the expense of the body.”


9th.—As we were walking to come up with the calash, we received
information that the Pole had just been put under arrest by the
Governor. This was, of course, merely a first step—a warning of what we
all had to expect. Intimidation seems to be the system to which the
Governor has resorted since the arrival of his last instructions, which
he endeavours to fulfil to the utmost of his ingenuity. We shall see how
far he will go.

When I waited on the Emperor, before dinner, I found him dull and
apparently absent. The conversation led him to mention Austria, and he
alluded to the wrongs which he had received from that Power, and the
errors of her policy. He described the weakness of the monarch, who, he
said, had never evinced energy, except when it tended to ruin him in the
estimation of his subjects. He dwelt on the venality and want of
principle which distinguished the men who had advised and executed the
measures of the Austrian cabinet. He spoke of the blind policy of
Austria, and described her dangerous situation. “She now stands,” said
he, “in the most imminent peril, advancing to meet the embraces of a
colossus in her front, while she cannot recede a single step, because an
abyss is yawning on her flank and rear.”

This turn of the conversation naturally led the Emperor to speak of his
son. “What education will they give him?” said he. “What sort of
principles will they inculcate in his youthful mind? On the other hand,
if he should prove weak in intellect—if they should inspire him with
hatred of his father! These thoughts fill me with horror! and where is
the antidote to all this? Henceforth there can be no certain medium of
communication—no faithful tradition between him and me! At best my
Memoirs, or perhaps your Journal, may fall into his hands. But to subdue
the false precepts imbibed in early life, to counteract the errors of a
bad education, requires a certain capacity, a certain strength of mind
and decision of judgment which fall not to the share of every one.” He
appeared deeply affected; and, after a pause of a few moments, he said,
suddenly and with emphasis, “But let us talk of something else;”
however, he still continued silent. I sat down to write, and after an
hour or two the Grand Marshal came and took my place.

Just after I had quitted the Emperor’s apartments, I was again sent for
to translate to him a large packet of papers which had been received
from the Governor. The state of my eyes, which are now altogether
failing me, obliged me to avail myself of M. de Montholon’s assistance
in reading the papers.

Their contents were 1. Some of the new restrictions that have been
imposed on us, in which the Emperor is treated in a way that may be
termed curious; for indecency and indecorum are carried so far as to
prescribe the nature and limits of the conversations which he is to be
permitted to hold. This will scarcely be credited!

2. The form of the declaration which was presented for our signature.
This was merely a series of arbitrary and useless vexations, heightened
by every irritating circumstance that vengeance could suggest.

3. Finally a letter from the Governor to the Grand Marshal, founded on
the note presented by Colonel Reade, which I translated to the Emperor,
and which the colonel had refused to leave behind him; the reader will
recollect my having already noticed it. However, in the letter now
transmitted to the Emperor certain essential points were very
ingeniously suppressed or modified: the Emperor frequently remarked that
the Governor possesses a peculiar talent for business of this sort. I
will here retrace this note from recollection. Though I read it only
once, namely, at the time when I translated it to the Emperor, yet I
think I can vouch for the following being an accurate representation of
its contents.

“The Frenchmen who wished to remain with General Bonaparte, were
required to sign the formula which should be presented to them, and by
which they would subject themselves to all the restrictions imposed on
the General. This obligation was to be regarded as perpetual. Those who
should refuse to enter into this agreement were to be sent to the Cape
of Good Hope. Four individuals were to be removed from the suite of
General Bonaparte. Those who might remain were to be considered as
though they were Englishmen by birth, and to be subject to the laws
established for securing the safe custody of General Bonaparte; that is
to say, they would incur the punishment of death by conniving at his
escape. Any Frenchmen who might use insulting language or reflections,
or behave so as to give offence to the Governor or the Government, would
be immediately removed to the Cape of Good Hope, without being provided
with the means of returning to Europe: the whole expense of the voyage
devolving on himself.”

During dinner, and the greater part of the evening, these documents
became the subject of conversation.

We were much amused by that passage in the Governor’s letter which
transmitted the ministerial instructions, and informed us that those who
might be wanting in respect for the Governor, or render themselves
obnoxious, would be removed to the Cape, and the expense attending their
return to Europe was to be defrayed by themselves. We thought this very
droll, and the Emperor said, “Of course this threat appears to you very
extraordinary and ridiculous; but no doubt it was perfectly natural to
Lord Bathurst. I dare say he could not imagine a more terrible
punishment. It is a true shopkeeper idea!”

The Emperor concluded the evening by reading to us Adelaide Duguesclin,
which contains a fine rhodomontade upon the Bourbons.

After reading it, the Emperor said, “During the time of my power, an
order was given for suppressing the performance of this drama, under the
idea that it would be offensive to me. This circumstance accidentally
came to my knowledge, and I ordered the piece to be revived. Many things
of the same kind took place; people often acted very unwisely under the
idea that they were serving or pleasing me.”

I transcribe here the restrictions to which I have just alluded. They
are curious in themselves, and will serve better than volumes of
description, to give a just idea of our situation; but what enhances the
value of this document is that the observations which accompany each
article were made by the Emperor himself.

RESTRICTIONS drawn up by Sir Hudson Lowe, and transmitted to Longwood on
the 19th of October, 1816, but which he had already put into execution
by different secret orders, since the preceding month of August, though
he never communicated them to the English officers on duty, doubtless,
because he was ashamed of them.

                       TEXT OF THE RESTRICTIONS.

“1st.—Longwood, with the road by Hut’s Gate, along the hill, as far as
the signal-post near Alarm-House, are to be fixed as boundaries.“

OBSERVATION. Sir Hudson Lowe’s predecessor had extended the boundary
line to the summits of the hills; but in about a fortnight, he perceived
that, by removing the sentinels to a little further distance, the house
and garden of Secretary-general Brook would be included within the
boundaries, and he immediately gave orders for the change.

At about forty fathoms from the road-side is Corbett’s garden, which
contains about eight or ten oak trees and a fountain; thus affording a
cool and agreeable shade.[32] According to the new restrictions, which
confined him to the high-road, a line is substituted for a surface, and
the secretary’s house and Corbett’s garden are excluded from the

Footnote 32:

  In the very spot here described by Napoleon is his grave.

“2d.—Sentinels will mark the boundary lines, which nobody must pass to
approach the house or grounds of Longwood, without the Governor’s

OBSERVATION. By the regulations which were first laid down, respecting
our establishment at St. Helena, and which were approved by the English
Governor, persons were admitted to Longwood in the following manner: The
Governor, the Admiral, the Colonel commanding the regiment and the camp,
the two members of the East India Company’s Council, and the
Secretary-general, who were the persons highest in authority on the
island, might pass the line of sentinels without any order or permission
whatever. The inhabitants of the Island were required to have a pass
from the Governor; naval men to be furnished with one from their
Admiral, and military with one from their colonel; and finally, the
inhabitants, sailors, and officers might all come to Longwood by the
permission of Count Bertrand, when the Emperor wished to receive them.
This arrangement, which continued for eight months, was attended by no
inconvenience. By the present regulation (which has been in force since
the month of August, though it was not formally communicated to us until
we were furnished with the list of new restrictions,) we may be said to
be kept in solitary confinement, and cut off from all intercourse with
the inhabitants. The latter, the officers and seamen are all equally
averse to the idea of being obliged to solicit the Governor’s permission
to visit Longwood, and to subject themselves to an interrogatory
respecting the motive of their visit. Strangers, whether civil or
military, officers, touching at St. Helena on their passage from India,
and who might be desirous of seeing the Emperor, usually applied to
Count Bertrand, who appointed the day and the hour when they would be
received. During their stay in the island they were regarded as
citizens, and with the permission of Count Bertrand, they might when
they pleased visit Longwood; and it may once more be observed that this
arrangement subsisted for eight months without being attended by any
inconvenience. If any strangers touching at the island might excite the
suspicion of the Governor, he could prevent them from landing, or
passing the first post. Finally, the Governor, by the report of the
sentinels, was daily made acquainted with the names of the persons who
visited Longwood. But in the month of August, the Governor sought to
impose on us the obligation of receiving strangers, to whom he wished to
render himself agreeable, and also of receiving them at the time he
might think proper to appoint. This was putting the finishing stroke to
all his offensive conduct! To put a stop to all these insults, the
Emperor found himself obliged to declare that he would in future receive
no one.

“3d.—The road to the left of Hut’s Gate, which turns off by Woodridge to
Longwood, never having been frequented by General Bonaparte since the
arrival of the Governor, the post by which it was observed, will be in a
great measure withdrawn. But whenever the General may wish to ride on
horseback in this direction, on giving timely notice to the officer he
will experience no obstacle.“

OBSERVATION.—In the first observation it was proved that the limits had
been contracted in this quarter; and, by this third article, they are
still more circumscribed. To say that the valley has not been frequented
for six months is a strange reason for adopting this decision. It is
certainly true that Napoleon has for several months declined going out,
in consequence of the harassing conduct of the Governor; but it must
also be observed that one part of the valley is not accessible in rainy
weather, and that in the other part a camp has been formed. Yet Lord
Bathurst stated, in his speech in Parliament, that “this road had been
prohibited, when it was found that he (General Bonaparte) had abused the
confidence which had been reposed in him, and had endeavoured to corrupt
the inhabitants of the island.” But here Lord Bathurst contradicts Sir
Hudson Lowe. The offer of permission to ride in the valley, whenever it
may be wished, is a mere pretence; the forms prescribed for the
attainment of this permission render it impossible. This offer never has
been, and never can be, fulfilled. The ride in the valley being thus
prohibited, it has become impossible to visit Miss Mason’s garden, in
which there are some large trees which afford agreeable shade. Within
the boundaries to which the captives are now restricted, there is not a
single spot in which they can enjoy the sight of trees or water:
sentinels are posted at different distances throughout the boundaries;
and, under the pretence of misunderstanding in the orders, &c., any
individual may be arrested. This has frequently happened to the French

“4th. If he (General Bonaparte) should wish to prolong his ride in any
other directions, an officer of the Governor’s staff (if he receives
timely notice) will be in readiness to attend him. If the notice should
be short, the officer on duty at Longwood may take the place of the

“The inspecting officer has orders not to approach General Bonaparte, at
least unless he be asked for; and not to watch him in his rides, except
so far as his duty requires; that is to say, he must observe that the
established rules are not violated; and if they should be transgressed,
he must intimate the circumstance in a respectful way”

OBSERVATION. This regulation is useless. The Emperor will not go out so
long as he sees there is a wish to subject him to direct and public
inspection. Besides, the staff-officers have orders to report all that
the French may say when in conversation with them. This affords
opportunities for calumny. Several English officers have refused to act
this dishonourable part, declaring that they would not degrade
themselves to the level of spies, and repeat the conversations that may
take place in the unguarded confidence of a ride or walk.

“5th. The rules already in force, for preventing communications with any
one whatever, without the Governor’s permission, must be strictly
enforced. Consequently, it is requisite that General Bonaparte should
abstain from entering into any conversation (except such as the
interchange of customary salutations may demand) with the persons whom
he may happen to meet, unless it be in the presence of an English

OBSERVATION.—Hitherto this extremity of insult had been avoided. The
Emperor does not acknowledge, either in the Governor or his agents, the
right of imposing any restrictions on him. But what is the object of
this article? To insult and degrade the character of the captives!—to
give rise to disputes between them and the sentinels. To prohibit them
from speaking to any one, or entering any house, is, in fact, a moral
annulment of the circuit allowed them. This is so extraordinary that we
are now actually induced to believe, what many persons have already
suspected, that Sir Hudson Lowe is occasionally subject to fits of

“6th.—Those persons who, with the consent of General Bonaparte, may
receive the Governor’s permission to visit him, must not communicate
with any individual of his suite, unless a permission to that effect be
specially expressed.”

OBSERVATION.—This is useless; for nobody has been received since the
present Governor abolished the regulations which were established by his
predecessor. However, the consequence of this restriction is that, if
Napoleon should receive a stranger, as none of his officers can be
present, and none of his servants in attendance, he would be reduced to
the necessity of opening the doors himself. Besides, as the Emperor does
not understand English, it follows, if the individual admitted to him
should not speak French, that they must both remain mute, and thus the
interview would be reduced to a mere exhibition.

“7th.—At sunset, the garden round Longwood is to be regarded as the
extent of the boundaries. At that time sentinels will be posted at the
limits of the garden; but so as not to incommode General Bonaparte by
observing his motions, should he wish to continue his walks. During the
night, sentinels will be stationed close to the house, as they formerly
were; and all admission must be prohibited until the sentinels are
withdrawn from the house and garden on the following morning.”

OBSERVATION.—During the excessively hot season, the only time when it is
possible to walk is after sun-set. In order to avoid meeting the
sentinels, the Emperor finds it necessary to return to the house while
it is still broad day-light; though the heat of the sun has rendered it
impossible for him to go out during the day, as the grounds round
Longwood are without shade, water, or verdure. According to this new
restriction, the Emperor cannot enjoy a walk in the evening; while he is
likewise deprived of the exercise of riding on horseback. He is confined
in a small house, in all respects insufficient for his accommodation,
badly built, unwholesomely situated, and without a supply of water; and,
in addition to all this, every opportunity is taken to expose him to
insult and disrespect. His constitution, though naturally robust, is
very much enfeebled by the treatment he experiences.

“8th.—Every letter for Longwood will be enclosed by the Governor in a
sealed envelope, and forwarded to the officer on duty, to be delivered,
sealed, to the officer of General Bonaparte’s suite to whom it is
addressed, who by this means will be assured that nobody except the
Governor knows its contents.

“In like manner, letters from any of the residents of Longwood must be
delivered to the officer on duty, enclosed in a second sealed envelope
and addressed to the Governor, which will be a security that no
individual except the latter can peruse its contents.

“No letter can be written or sent, and no communication of any kind
whatever can be made, except in the manner above mentioned. No
correspondence can be maintained with any individual in the island,
except for the necessary communications to the purveyor. The notes
containing these communications must be delivered open to the officer on
duty, who will forward them to the proper quarter.

“The above-mentioned restrictions will be observed from the date of the
10th inst.

                                                          “H. LOWE.“

“_St. Helena, October 9th, 1816._“

OBSERVATION.—This last restriction has no reference to the Emperor, who
neither writes nor receives letters. A simple explanation is, therefore,
all that is required. Will the observations that may be contained in the
confidential letters from the Emperor’s officers to their friends be
regarded as offensive? When those who may read these letters shall be
convinced that they are in no way hostile to the safety or policy of the
state, will they forget their contents, so that they may never become
the subject of conversation or abuse? This explanation will decide
whether all correspondence is, or is not, to be considered as
prohibited. The seizure of the person of Count Las Cases completely
justifies this observation.

The object of the 8th article of the restrictions, as the inquisitorial
system established on the island sufficiently proves, is to prevent the
European journals from giving publicity to the criminal conduct that is
pursued here. A vast deal of trouble is taken to secure this object: it
would have been far easier to have acted in such a way as to render
concealment unnecessary. A letter addressed to Count Bertrand, dated the
1st of July, 1816, goes to still greater lengths; for it prohibits even
verbal communications with the inhabitants of the island. This is the
delirium of fury and hatred; or rather, it may be said to be a proof of
downright madness. The regulation here alluded to is but a trifling
example of the vexations to which we are exposed, and the invention of
which seems to be the sole occupation of the present Governor. Can Lord
Bathurst now affirm that Sir H. Lowe has imposed no restriction; that
the instructions of the English ministry were of a nature advantageous
to Napoleon and his suite, and had no other object than that of securing
their safe custody? In consequence of this absurd and insulting
treatment, the Emperor has not enjoyed exercise without doors for
several months. His medical attendants foresee that this confinement
will prove fatal to his constitution. It is a more certain, and far more
inhuman, mode of assassination, than poison or the sword. [What a
horrible prophecy!]


10th.—This morning we had agreed to meet together at the Grand
Marshal’s, to deliberate on the restrictions which the Governor had
recently transmitted to us, and to adopt a uniform resolution. I was
unwell, and could not attend. I, however, wrote down my opinion: I
stated that in the delicate situation in which I was placed I could do
nothing; I could arrive at no positive conclusion; I always found 0—0.

The point in question was, indeed, of the most serious and difficult
nature. We were required to subject ourselves to new restrictions, to
place ourselves under the dependence of the Governor, who shamefully
abused his power, employed the most insulting language towards the
Emperor, and announced that we must submit to every grievance, under
pain of being immediately separated from Napoleon, sent to the Cape, and
thence to Europe.

On the other hand, the Emperor, indignant at the mortifications to which
we were exposed on his account, insisted that we should no longer submit
to them. He urged us rather to quit him, and to return to Europe, to
bear witness that we had seen him absolutely buried alive.

But how could we for a moment endure this thought! Death was preferable
to separation from him whom we served, admired, and loved; to whom we
daily became more and more attached, through his personal qualities, and
the miseries which injustice and hatred had accumulated upon him. This
was the real state of the question. In these distressing circumstances,
we knew not what determination to adopt. I closed my letter by stating
that, if left to myself alone, I would sign, without scruple, any thing
that the Governor might present to me; and that, if a collective
resolution were taken, I would implicitly adopt it.

The Governor had now found out a method of attacking us in detail: he
declared his intention of removing any individual of Napoleon’s suite
according to his will and caprice.

The Emperor was indisposed: the Doctor has observed incipient scurvy. He
desired me to attend him, and we conversed on the subjects which chiefly
occupied our attention at the moment. He wanted something to amuse him,
and he took up the chapter of Leoben, which happened to be beside him.
When he had finished reading it, the conversation turned on the
conferences which brought about the treaty of Campo-Formio. I refer to
the chapters on that subject for the portrait and character of the first
Austrian negotiator, M. de Cobentzel, whom Napoleon surnamed the “_great
northern bear_,” on account of the influence which, he said, his heavy
paw had exercised on the green table of the conferences.

“M. de Cobentzel was at that time,” said the Emperor, “the agent of the
Austrian monarchy, the main spring of its plans, and the director of its
diplomacy. He had been appointed on all the principal European
embassies, and had been long at the Court of Catharine, whose peculiar
favour he enjoyed. Proud of his rank and importance, he doubted not that
his dignified and courtly manners would easily overawe a General who had
just issued from the revolutionary camp. Thus,” observed Napoleon, “he
shewed a want of respect in addressing the French General; but the first
words uttered by the latter sufficed to reduce him to his proper level,
above which he never afterwards attempted to rise.”

The conferences at first proceeded very slowly; for M. de Cobentzel,
according to the custom of the Austrian Cabinet, proved himself very
skilful in the art of retarding business. The French General, however,
determined to bring matters to an issue: the conference, which he had
declared should be the last, was maintained with great warmth. Napoleon
came, resolved to have a decisive answer to his propositions; they were
rejected. He then rose in a fit of passion, and exclaimed energetically:
“You wish for war then?—You shall have it:” and laying his hands on a
magnificent piece of porcelain (which M. de Cobentzel used with great
complacency to boast of having received as a present from the great
Catharine), he dashed it with all his force on the ground, where it was
broken into a thousand pieces. “There,” he exclaimed, “such, I promise
you, will be the fate of your Austrian monarchy in less than three
months:” and so saying, he rushed out of the apartment. M. de Cobentzel
stood petrified; but M. de Gallo, who was of a more conciliatory temper,
followed the French General to his carriage, endeavouring to detain him.
“He almost dragged me back by main force,” said the Emperor, “and with
so pitiable an air, that, in spite of my apparent anger, I could not
refrain from laughing in my sleeve.”

M. de Gallo was the ambassador from Naples to Vienna, whither he had
conducted the Neapolitan Princess, the second wife of the Emperor
Francis. He possessed the full confidence of the Princess, and she, in
her turn, ruled her husband: thus the ambassador enjoyed great influence
at the Court of Vienna. When the army of Italy, marching on Vienna,
dictated the armistice of Leoben, the Empress, at this critical
juncture, cast her eyes on her confident, and charged him to avert the
danger. He was to gain an interview with the French General, as if
accidentally, and to endeavour to prevail on him to accept his services
as a negotiator. Napoleon, who was well acquainted with every
circumstance, determined to turn his knowledge to a good account.
Accordingly, on receiving M. de Gallo, he inquired who he was. The
favourite courtier, disconcerted to find himself under the necessity of
telling his name, replied that he was the Marquess de Gallo, and that he
had been charged by the Emperor of Austria to make overtures to
Napoleon. “But,” said the latter, “your name is not German.” “True,”
replied M. de Gallo,” I am the Neapolitan ambassador.” “And how happens
it,” said Napoleon drily, “that I have to treat with Naples? We are at
peace. Has the Emperor of Austria no negotiators of the old school? Is
the old aristocracy of Vienna extinct?” M. de Gallo, alarmed at the idea
of such observations being officially communicated to the Cabinet of
Vienna, now became intent on ingratiating himself into the favour of the
young General.

Napoleon enquired what news had been received from Vienna, and spoke of
the armies of the Rhine, the Sambre, and the Meuse. He obtained all the
intelligence he could; and, when he was about to withdraw, M. de Gallo,
in the most suppliant tone, inquired whether he might hope to be
accepted as a negotiator, and whether he should proceed to Vienna to
obtain full powers. Napoleon had no wish to decline this proposal; he
had gained an advantage which he was not willing to lose. M. de Gallo,
who subsequently became ambassador from Naples to the First Consul, and
also ambassador from Joseph to the Emperor Napoleon, frequently
mentioned this scene, and frankly avowed that he had never been so
frightened in the whole course of his life.

In the French negotiations, Clarke acted the same kind of secondary part
which M. de Gallo maintained with regard to Austria. “Clarke,” said the
Emperor, “had been sent to Italy by the Directory, which had begun to
consider me as dangerous. He was charged with an ostensible and public
mission; but he had secret orders to keep an eye upon me, and to
ascertain if, in case of necessity, it would be possible to arrest me.
But little reliance could have been placed on the officers of my army,
in an affair of this kind, and therefore the first inquiries were
addressed to the Cisalpine Directory. The answer was that it would be as
well to spare trouble on this point, and to give up all idea of it. As
soon as I was made acquainted with Clarke’s real instructions, I frankly
told him all I knew; at the same time assuring him that I should concern
myself but very little about any reports that might be made. He was soon
convinced of this. When, on his mission to Austria, he was dismissed, by
that Power, I offered to find employment for him, and he afterwards
remained with me; though perhaps there was, in reality, but little
sympathy between us. I should undoubtedly have again taken him into my
service, after my return, if I had found him in the ranks along with the
rest. You know that I could not easily rid myself of those to whom I had
become accustomed: when people had once embarked with me, I could never
prevail on myself to throw them overboard. Nothing but absolute
necessity could force me to such a course. Clarke’s chief merit was that
of being a good man of business.”

After Brumaire, Clarke naturally came in contact with the First Consul
as his aid-de-camp, &c. There was then little etiquette observed at the
palace; the duties were not distinctly separated, and the whole
presented a kind of family circle. The officers immediately connected
with the Consul dined at a general table. Clarke, who was extremely
susceptible and punctilious, got involved in quarrels with one of these
persons. The circumstance having reached the ears of the First Consul,
he appointed Clarke ambassador to Florence, to the court of the Queen of
Etruria. This post was in itself highly agreeable; but Clarke had been
appointed to it by way of disgrace. He urgently solicited his recal;
and, at length, to his great satisfaction, he received an order to
return to France. But his punishment was not yet at an end. The First
Consul took but little notice of him: he sent him to the Tuileries, to
St. Cloud, and to the camp of Boulogne, without explaining his
intentions, or granting him any thing. Clarke, in despair, told one of
his friends that he had no alternative but to throw himself into the
Seine, as he could no longer endure the contempt to which he was
exposed, added to the mortification of being deprived of his situation.
Just at this time he was unexpectedly made Secretary of the
Topographical Cabinet, Councillor of State, and appointed to some other
posts, which altogether produced him a salary of 60 or 80,000 francs.
This was Napoleon’s way: his first favour was usually followed
immediately by several others. In these cases his bounty was
overwhelming. But it was necessary to take advantage of the interval of
favour; it might be endless, or it might be instantly and irretrievably

I knew General Clarke well; he had been my comrade at the Military
School. He informed me that, some days before the battle of Jena, the
Emperor, from whose dictation he had just written numerous orders and
instructions, entering into a familiar conversation, while he walked up
and down his chamber, said: “In three or four days I will fight a
battle, which I shall gain: it will bring me at least as far as the
Elbe, and perhaps to the Vistula. There I will fight a second battle,
which I shall also gain. Then ... then ...,” said he, with a meditative
air, and placing his hand on his forehead ... “but that is enough; it is
useless to invent romances,—Clarke, in a month you will be Governor of
Berlin; and history will record that, in the space of one year, and in
two different wars, you were Governor of Vienna and Berlin; that is to
say, of the Austrian and Prussian monarchies. By the bye,” continued he,
smiling, “what did Francis give you for governing his capital?”—“Nothing
at all, Sire.”—“How, nothing at all?—That was hard indeed! Well, in that
case, I must pay his debt.” And he gave him, as far as I can recollect,
a sum sufficient to purchase an hotel in Paris, or a country house in
the vicinity of the capital.

The course of events exceeded even Napoleon’s expectations. He fought
but one battle, which brought him to Berlin, and enabled him to advance
to the Vistula.

“Clarke,” said Napoleon, “possessed a strong taste for family
parchments. At Florence he spent a great portion of his time in
investigating my genealogy. He also took great pains to trace out his
own, and I believe he at length persuaded himself that he was related to
the whole Faubourg Saint-Germain. Doubtless he has a much higher opinion
of his own dignity, now that he is the Minister of a legitimate King
than he had when he was merely the Minister of an upstart Emperor. It is
said that he at present enjoys great favour; I wish it may last. It
commenced a few days before my arrival at Paris, when the cause of the
King was desperate. It certainly appeared useless to accept a ministry
when all was lost; but I have nothing to say against that. This sort of
conduct may have its fair side; yet it is necessary to observe some
degree of decorum, and in that Clarke was wholly wanting. However, I
willingly forgive him in all that concerns me.... In 1813 and 1814 some
persons endeavoured to inspire me with doubts of Clarke’s fidelity; but
I never would listen to any thing of the kind. I always believed him to
be an honest man.” The intimate friends of the Duke de Feltre can bear
witness that Napoleon was correct in the opinion he had formed of the
character of his minister.

The Duke de Feltre, on communicating to the Emperor the intelligence of
the arrival of the Count d’Artois in Switzerland, advised him to make
peace. Napoleon replied, under date of 22d of February, 1814:—“As to
your advice of making peace, it is too absurd: it is by cherishing such
notions as this that public spirit is destroyed. Besides, it is
supposing me either mad or stupid to imagine that, if I could conclude
peace, I would not immediately do it. To the prevailing notion that it
has been in my power to make peace for four months past, but that I
declined doing so, must be attributed all the misfortunes of France. I
expected, at least, to have been spared the pain of hearing such
sentiments expressed.”

The Emperor, reverting to the events of Campo-Formio, alluded to the
arrest of the Count d’Antraigues, the papers that were found upon him,
and the discoveries to which they gave rise; he also mentioned the
indulgence which the Count experienced, and the treachery with which
that indulgence was repaid.

The Count d’Antraigues, who was a man of considerable talent, fond of
intrigue, and endowed with personal advantages, had acquired a certain
degree of importance at the commencement of our Revolution. He was a
member of the right hand side of the Constituent Assembly, and he
emigrated at the time of its dissolution. At the period when the French
were about to assail Venice, the Count d’Antraigues was residing there,
where he held a diplomatic appointment from the Russian Government, and
was the main spring and agent of all the machinations that were plotting
against France. On seeing the danger of the Venetian Republic, he
attempted to escape; but he fell in with one of our posts, and was
seized, with all his papers. The General-in-chief appointed a special
commission to examine these documents, and the secrets which they
unfolded were the subject of great astonishment. They contained, among
other things, full proof of the treason of Pichegru, who had sacrificed
his troops to facilitate the operations of the enemy. “Pichegru,”
exclaimed the Emperor indignantly, “was guilty of the most odious crime
that can possibly be conceived, that of coldly sacrificing the men whose
lives had been entrusted to his honour and discretion.”

The Count d’Antraigues, finding that all his secrets were discovered,
conducted himself with so much address and apparent candour, that
Napoleon, conceiving he had gained him over, or, to speak more properly,
suffering himself to be gained over by the Count, treated him with the
utmost indulgence. He defended him against the proceedings of the
Directory, which insisted on having him shot, and the Count was allowed
to proceed to Milan on his parole. But what was Napoleon’s surprise on
learning that M. d‘Antraigues had escaped to Switzerland, and had
published an infamous libel against him, reproaching him with
ill-treatment, and complaining of having been confined in chains? These
falsehoods occasioned so much indignation that several foreign
diplomatists, who knew how Napoleon had really acted towards the Count,
spontaneously made a public declaration of what they had witnessed.

So late as the year 1814, the Count d‘Antraigues died in England, in a
horrible way, being assassinated by his valet-de-chambre in the presence
of his wife, who was the celebrated singer Saint Huberti.

At the time of the seizure of the Count d‘Antraigues‘ papers, Pichegru
was at the head of the Legislative Body, and was almost at open war with
the Directory. It may well be supposed that the members of the Directory
were highly gratified by thus obtaining important and authentic
documents against their adversaries. This discovery greatly influenced
Napoleon in the course which he adopted in the events of Fructidor: it
was one of the principal causes of his famous proclamation, which
brought about the triumph of the Directory.

Desaix, who was serving under Moreau in the army of the Rhine, having
taken advantage of the armistice to introduce himself to the
General-in-chief of the army of Italy, for whom he had conceived the
highest admiration, was with Napoleon at the time of the important
discovery above mentioned. Napoleon having informed him of the treason
of Pichegru, Desaix observed; “But we knew all this on the Rhine three
months ago. A waggon, belonging to General Klinglin’s corps, which fell
into our hands, furnished us with all Pichegru’s correspondence with the
enemies of the Republic.”—“And did Moreau give no intimation of this to
the Directory?” “No.”—“Then he is very blameable,” exclaimed Napoleon;
“when the safety of one’s country is at stake silence is guilt!” After
Pichegru’s fall, Moreau communicated to the Directory all he knew
respecting the conspiracy, at the same time pronouncing a severe
reprobation on those who were concerned in it. “This was but another
instance of misconduct,” said Napoleon; “by not speaking earlier, he
betrayed his country; and by speaking so late, he merely struck a blow
at one who was already fallen.”

                          THE EMPEROR’S DREAM.

11th—12th. The produce of the sale of a portion of plate, amounting to
6000 francs, was this day received. This sum the Emperor considered
indispensible to make up our deficiencies at the expiration of every
month; and he ordered the sale to be repeated regularly.

The Emperor continues very ill, and is in very low spirits. To-day he
did not leave his room until dinner-time. He conversed very little, and
did not apply himself to any kind of occupation. I remained with him the
greater part of the day. He spoke frequently of the situation in which
we stood with respect to the Governor, and made some very remarkable
observations on that subject. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

After dinner he mentioned a dream which he had had during the night. A
lady with whom he had been but little acquainted (Madame Clarke, Duchess
de Feltre) appeared to him in his dream, and told him she was dead, at
the same time adding several observations which were expressed in
language perfectly connected and intelligible. “Every thing was so clear
and distinct,” said the Emperor, “that it has made a forcible impression
on me; so much so that if I were really to hear of the death of the
Duchess de Feltre, I must confess that my established ideas would be
shaken; and perhaps,” said he, smiling and looking at one of the
company, “I too should become a believer in dreams and apparitions.”

The Emperor ate little; his spirits were depressed, and he was evidently
very ill. He retired almost immediately, and his manner affected us
greatly. We could not help remarking how much he was altered.

                        CLAIMS ON PRINCE EUGENE.

13th.—The Emperor came to me about ten o’clock. He looked in at my
room-door, and blamed me for not having risen earlier. He found me using
the foot-bath for I was not well. I soon joined him beneath the tent,
where he wished to breakfast. He told me he had given orders for drawing
up some notes relative to the new restrictions, to prevent condemnation
being passed on us without a sort of responsibility being attached to
those who passed the sentence. He then proceeded to calculate the lots
of plate which remain to be sold, and the period during which they would
serve to maintain us. I repeated the offers which I have already several
times made, telling him that it was hard he should be reduced to the
necessity of disposing of his plate; but he replied,—“My dear Las Cases,
under whatever circumstances I may be placed, those articles of luxury
are never of any importance to me; and as far as regards others, that is
to say, as far as regards the public, simplicity will always be my best
ornament.” He added that he could, after all, claim the assistance of
Prince Eugène; and that he was even inclined to write to him for the
loans which would be necessary for his subsistence when the plate should
be exhausted. He also expressed his intention of commissioning Eugène to
forward to him some important books which he wished to have sent from
London, together with a small quantity of choice wine, which it was
necessary he should take as a medicine. “This commission for wine,” said
he, will make our enemies in Europe say that we think of nothing here
but eating and drinking.” He said that he should feel no hesitation in
addressing himself on this subject to Eugène, who owed to him every
thing he possessed; and that it would be insulting the character of the
Prince to doubt his readiness to serve him, particularly as he had,
besides, a legal claim upon him for about ten or twelve millions.

While we were at breakfast, the Emperor sent for the Pole, who is soon
to leave us. After breakfast he wished to employ himself in reading or
dictating; but he felt very drowsy, and fell asleep several times. He
retired to his chamber, to lie down for a while, desiring me to attend
him at one o’clock for his English lesson. But when the appointed hour
arrived, he was still in the same state of drowsiness; and he only
succeeded in rousing himself by taking a bath, in which, according to
custom, he remained for a long time. It is surprising that this
practice, joined to that of taking very hot baths, does not prove
injurious to him.

The Emperor ate but little dinner, and he complained of not enjoying
regular and sound rest. He conversed for some time on the subject of
balloons, and laughed at those biographical notices which represent him
as having forced himself, sword in hand, into the balloon of the
military school. He mentioned, as a sort of prodigy, the circumstance of
the balloon which ascended at his coronation having fallen, in the space
of a few hours, in the neighbourhood of Rome, bearing intelligence of
the ceremony to the inhabitants of that city.

The Emperor took up Don Quixote; but he closed the book in about half an
hour: he cannot now apply himself to reading for a longer interval. His
health visibly declines. He often observes to me that we are both
growing very old, and that he is much the older of the two: these words
tell a great deal.


14th.—To-day the Grand Marshal forwarded to the Governor the new
declarations which he required us to make. They were all alike, and were
as follows:

“I, the undersigned, hereby declare that I wish to remain at St. Helena,
and to share the restrictions which are imposed on the Emperor Napoleon

About one o’clock I went to attend the Emperor in his chamber. I gave
him an account of some private commissions. He was reading a work on
the government of France. He thought it very indifferent, and observed
that, since he had been in the habit of perusing new publications, he
had found them, for the most part, to be merely matters of
speculation,—things got up for sale by booksellers. The world, he
said, was now threatened with a deluge of bad books, and he saw no
remedy that could effectually counteract so great an evil.

After having dressed, the Emperor repaired to the drawing-room, where he
looked over a few English newspapers, and read some lines of Telemachus.
But he felt fatigued and low-spirited, and suspended his reading. We
discoursed on several subjects which intimately concerned the Emperor,
who closed the conversation by several times repeating,—“_Poor human

During another interval of conversation, Napoleon, taking a review of
several well-known individuals, on whom he pronounced his opinion,
alluded to one, whom he represented as being a most immoral and base
character. I happened to be acquainted with this person, and I observed
that I knew him to be quite the reverse of what I had just heard
described. I was defending the individual in question with considerable
warmth when the Emperor interrupted me, saying: “I give full credit to
what you say; but I had heard a different account of him: and though I
generally made it a rule to hear things of this kind with suspicion, yet
you see I could not always avoid retaining some impression of what I
heard. Was this my fault? When I had no particular motive for inquiry,
how could I arrive at the knowledge of facts? This,” continued he, “is
the inevitable consequence of civil commotions: there are always two
reputations between the two parties. What absurdities, what ridiculous
stories, are related of the individuals who figured in our
Revolution![33] The saloons of Paris are full of them. I have had my
full share of this kind of scandal. After me who can have any right to
complain? Yet I protest that nothing of this sort ever produced any
influence on my mind, or occasioned me in any instance to alter my
determinations, &c.”

Footnote 33:

  I take this opportunity of correcting an error of the nature here
  alluded to. In a preceding part of this work, it is stated that M.
  Monge ascended the Jacobinical tribune, &c. The friends and relatives
  of that distinguished man have, however, assured me that all who knew
  him at the time in question can bear witness that he never appeared
  among them, and that he never spoke in any public assembly. I feel
  pleasure in mentioning this circumstance; for nothing affords me
  greater happiness than to be the means of developing truth.

After alluding to several military officers, the Emperor mentioned
General Maison. “His manœuvres,” said he, “round Lille, in the crisis
of 1814, attracted my attention, and fixed him in my recollection. He
was not with us in 1815. What became of him? Where was he at that
time?”—I could not answer these questions, as I did not know the


15th. For some time past I have found it impossible to sleep; and I have
passed whole nights without closing my eyes. About eight o’clock this
morning, as I was endeavouring to compose myself to rest, the Grand
Marshal entered my chamber, to inform me that the Governor had sent back
our declarations, and was coming himself to oblige us to sign that which
he had sent as a model, and which differed from ours only with respect
to the title which we gave to the Emperor. It was wished that we should
designate him merely by the name _Bonaparte_.

The Grand Marshal proceeded to the Emperor’s apartments, whither I was
almost immediately summoned. On entering, I found the Emperor walking
about and expressing himself with great warmth. All the individuals of
the suite were assembled together. “The insults,” said he, “which are
daily heaped upon those who have devoted themselves to me, insults
which, it is very probable, will be multiplied to a still greater
extent, present a spectacle which I cannot and must not longer endure.
Gentlemen, you must leave me; I cannot see you submit to the
restrictions which are about to be imposed on you, and which will
doubtless soon be augmented. I will remain here alone. Return to Europe,
and make known the horrible treatment to which I am exposed; bear
witness that you saw me sinking into a premature grave. I will not allow
any one of you to sign this declaration in the form that is required. I
forbid it. It shall never be said that hands which I had the power to
command were employed in recording my degradation. If obstacles are
raised respecting a mere foolish formality, others will be started
to-morrow for an equally trivial cause. It is determined to remove you
in detail; but I would rather see you removed altogether and at once.
Perhaps this sacrifice may produce a result.” With these words he
dismissed us, and we withdrew overwhelmed with dismay.

In a few moments the Emperor again sent for me. He was walking up and
down, through the whole length of his two little rooms. There was a
peculiar tenderness in the tone of his voice, and I never observed more
easy familiarity in his manner. “Well, my dear Las Cases,” said he, “I
am going to turn hermit,” “Sire,” said I, “are you not one already? What
resources does our society present to you? We can only offer you prayers
and good wishes; which, though they can contribute but little to your
consolation, are every thing to us. Our present situation is the most
distressing that can possibly be conceived; for, in the question under
consideration, we now perhaps, for the first time, find it difficult to
obey your Majesty. You hold the language of reason; while we are guided
only by sentiment. The arguments which you just now addressed to us
admit of no reply. Your determination is in unison with your character;
it will astonish no one, but its execution is beyond our power. The
thought of leaving you here alone exceeds in horror all that our
imagination can picture.”—“Such, however, is my fate,“ replied the
Emperor calmly, “and I must prepare for the worst: my mind is strong
enough to meet it. They will cut short my life; that is
certain.”—“Sire,” I observed, “the step which you command is not to be
thought of. To the last moment I will speak out as your Majesty has
done: on this point I will resist to the utmost; but I shall find it
impossible to act as I speak.”

The Emperor seated himself, and desired me to sit down beside him. He
observed that he was much fatigued; and he ordered breakfast, desiring
me to stay with him. For a considerable time past, I had not been in the
habit of dining with him; he told me the reason why I had been denied
this happiness; and I considered it as a favour that he should
condescend to tell me. When the coffee was brought in, there was no cup
for me. Marchand was going to fetch one; but the Emperor called him
back, saying: “Take that one from the mantel-piece: he shall drink out
of my handsome gold cup.”[34]

Footnote 34:

  This was the cup belonging to his dressing-table, which stood on the
  chimney-piece as an ornament.

  I have now the happiness of possessing the saucer belonging to this
  cup. M. Marchand, that faithful servant, to whom Napoleon declared
  himself so much attached, on his return from St. Helena, came and
  presented this saucer to me, in a manner that forcibly roused my
  gratitude and sensibility. “The beautiful cup,” said he, “out of which
  you sometimes drank, belonged to the Emperor’s dressing-table, and was
  accordingly restored to its place. The saucer, however, among other
  articles, fell to my share; and I now present it to you, being assured
  that you will feel as much pleasure in receiving as I have in giving

Just as breakfast was over, the Grand Marshal entered and told us that
the Governor had arrived, and had expressed a wish to see him at his
(Bertrand‘s) new house, which is a very short distance from our
establishment, and is at length on the point of being completed. The
Emperor desired him to attend the Governor. The Grand Marshal, as he was
about to withdraw, seemed desirous to know whether the Emperor still
persisted in the orders he had given us this morning, in case the
Governor should not yield. The Emperor sharply observed: “I am not a
child; when I have once thoroughly considered a question, I no longer
entertain two opinions upon it. I have directed battles which have
decided the fate of empires, and the orders I issued were always the
result of my mature deliberation. In this instance I am alone concerned.

The Grand Marshal soon returned with an account of the interview, which
he had closed by his refusal. The Governor, he said, had desired to see
the other three persons of the suite together; but we thought that it
would be more proper to present ourselves in succession.

I went to wait on the Governor. I found him, surrounded by several of
his attendants, in the garden, near the path leading to the Grand
Marshal’s house. He withdrew on perceiving me; but I joined him in the
court before the house.

As he had expressed himself very much irritated against me, I went as
well fortified as I possibly could. He, however, conducted me with great
politeness into the house, leaving the officers of his suite on the
outside; and, having told me that he awaited the arrival of Messrs. de
Montholon and Gourgaud, to enter upon the business, I asked him whether
he had any objection to treat immediately with me. He replied that he
had not; and, calling in his officers, he told me, in their presence,
that I had no doubt learned from the Grand Marshal what he had to
propose on the subject of my declaration. I replied in the affirmative,
at the same time observing that I regarded the Grand Marshal as my model
and guide, on account of his rank, as well as the respect and esteem I
entertained for him, and therefore it was natural to expect that my
answer should correspond with his. I added that I could not conceive why
so much importance was attached to a mere matter of form, which was so
painful to our feelings, while it could be of no service to those who
insisted on it. “It is out of my power,” said the Governor, “to make the
alteration you wish. I am directed to present to you for signature the
declaration written in my hand: now I, being an Englishman, cannot write
the title you wish.”—“I was not aware of that,” replied I; “to that
argument I have no reply to make. You, as an Englishman, must write
thus; but I, being a Frenchman, must sign in my language; that is to
say, with the translation from yours. Allow me, therefore, to add to my
signature any phrase that you may think proper to dictate to me, in
which I can express myself in my own language. You may now judge,” added
I, “whether I deal candidly, and whether I seek to create difficulties.”
This proposal seemed to claim his attention. “We are now,” I continued,
“merely disputing about words, which may appear very silly, considering
the important circumstances in which we are placed; but, Sir, who
created these difficulties? Who will suffer from them? Your refusal
places us in a most distressing situation! You see me reduced to the
utmost despair! To me separation from the Emperor would be worse than
death; yet I would rather submit to it than suffer my hand to be the
instrument of his degradation. The Emperor unites in himself all that
constitutes an august character, in the eyes of God and man: to deny
this would be to deny the light of the sun.”

The Governor observed that he, as an Englishman, could not acknowledge
the Emperor; and I replied that I could urge no objection to that. I
added that however much I might be hurt by his mode of designating the
Emperor, yet I did not mean to question his right of using whatever
terms he might think proper; and that, for the same reason, he ought not
to object to my opinions and expressions, considering that I was a
Frenchman, and that he demanded my signature.

Here Sir Hudson Lowe angrily alluded to some past circumstances relating
to himself personally; and he observed that, after all, moral character
was the only real title to respect. “At that rate, Governor,” replied I,
with some warmth, and turning to the Officers who were in attendance,
“the Emperor may divest himself of all his titles, and he will but gain
in the opinion of the world, if his character be estimated by the scale
to which you allude.” The Governor was silent: then, after a pause of a
few moments, he observed that we still treated our General as though he
were an Emperor. “And how can we treat him otherwise?”—“I mean to say,
that you continue to look upon him as a Sovereign.”—“Governor, you talk
of revering him as our Sovereign; we do more—we worship him! We now
consider the Emperor as removed from this world; we view him as though
he were in Heaven!... When you leave us a choice that is in opposition
to him, it is like the choice given to martyrs, when they are commanded
to renounce their faith or die. “Death, therefore, must be our
alternative.” These words produced a visible impression on the officers
who were present, and even on the Governor. Contrary to custom, his
countenance assumed a mild expression, and the tone of his voice was

“Our situation here,” continued I, “is so horrible as to be almost
beyond endurance. You know this;—but what we now suffer is nothing to
the misery which is reserved for us. What I ask will be no sacrifice to
you, and it will be every thing to us. I implore you to grant what I
request; and this is something, for you know I am not in the habit of
soliciting favours from you. Make but this one concession, and you will
claim my eternal gratitude. Besides, consider that a responsibility
rests with you; that there is a public opinion in Europe, which you may
forfeit without gaining any advantage in return. You cannot be a
stranger to the sentiments which animate me; they must, I am sure, go to
the hearts of all who listen to me.”

Here the Governor appeared somewhat moved; the officers were evidently
affected. Sir Hudson Lowe, after a few moments‘ silence, bowed to me,
and I took my leave.

Messrs. de Montholon and Gourgaud had each an interview in their turn;
and we all four attended the Emperor during his toilet, without,
however, being able to tell him whether any decision had been formed on
the subject that so deeply interested us.

The Emperor expressed a wish to go out, though the wind was extremely
boisterous: we all walked to the extremity of the wood. He took a review
of the Governor’s conduct, making remarks upon it in the rapid and
copious way peculiar to himself; and he concluded by saying that if
to-day we should agree to sign the declaration, in order to avoid being
separated from him, to-morrow another ground of expulsion would be
brought forward; and that he should wish our removal to be effected
forcibly and at once, rather than tranquilly and in detail. Then,
suddenly assuming a tone of pleasantry, he said that, after all, he
could hardly believe the Governor wished to reduce his subjects to one
only; and what sort of subject would that one be! added he—an absolute
porcupine, on which he would not dare to lay a finger.

During our walk, two strangers approached pretty near to us. The Emperor
made some one enquire who they were, and he was informed that they
belonged to a vessel which was about to sail to-morrow for Europe. The
Emperor asked whether they were likely to see any of the Ministers on
their arrival in London; and they replied that they should see Lord
Bathurst. “Tell him,” said Napolean, “that his instructions with respect
to my treatment here are most odious, and that his agent executes them
with scrupulous fidelity. If he wished to get rid of me, he should have
despatched me at a blow, instead of thus killing me by inches. This
conduct is truly barbarous; there is nothing English in it; and I can
only attribute it to some personal hatred. I have too much respect for
the Prince Regent, the majority of the Ministers, and the English
nation, to suppose that they are responsible for my treatment. Be this
as it may, their power extends only to the body; the soul is beyond
their reach: it will soar to Heaven even from the dungeon.”

The Emperor, on his return home, took a bath; he was fatigued and
harassed by the events of the day. He fell asleep, and I watched beside
him, meditating on our new grievances.

At dinner he ate but a little. Some one made an observation, and the
Emperor, not having heard it distinctly, asked what had been said—a
thing which frequently happens. The words were then repeated in a louder
tone, upon which he observed: “I am certainly growing deaf, for I
occasionally miss hearing what is said, and I feel inclined to be angry
when people speak louder than usual.” He concluded the evening by
reading a part of Don Quixote. He was much amused at some comic
passages; and, laying down the book, he remarked that we certainly
showed a great deal of courage, since we could laugh at such trifles
under our present circumstances. He paused for some moments, and seemed
deeply wrapped in thought: then rising, he withdrew, saying: “Adieu, my
dear friends.”

During dinner, a letter had been delivered to me from the Grand Marshal;
but I had kept it concealed, conceiving that it augured no good. I
opened it as soon as the Emperor withdrew. It enclosed a letter from the
Governor, announcing that if we still persisted in our refusal to sign
the declaration, he would immediately give orders for our removal to
Europe. We yielded to the dictates of our hearts: to determine on
leaving the Emperor was beyond our power; while at the same time it
would have been going beyond his wishes, and perhaps too beyond his
orders. With unanimous sentiments, we eagerly signed the declarations in
the form in which they were presented to us, and delivered them to the
English officer on duty at Longwood, together with a letter to the Grand
Marshal, acquainting him with what we had done without his
participation. We had been guided solely by our feelings, and we trusted
that those feelings would afford us consolation, even though the Emperor
should disapprove of the step we had taken.

We have now reached the consummation of our absolute slavery and
dependence on the will and caprice of Sir Hudson Lowe; not merely by the
signature we have just given him, but because he now knows our secret,
and therefore it is in his power to compel us to submit to any thing he


16th.—The Emperor sent for me about noon. He had been reading and was
just finishing his coffee. He desired me to sit down, and he entered
into conversation. Not a word escaped him that could lead me to suppose
he knew the determination we had adopted yesterday evening; he made no
allusion to the subject, and it was not mentioned throughout the whole
of the day. After breakfast, the Emperor walked about his apartments.
The turn of the conversation introduced some anecdotes of former times,
of which Sieyes was the subject. The Emperor related that while Sieyes
was chaplain to the Princes of Orleans, being one day engaged in
performing mass, something unexpectedly occasioned the Princes to
withdraw during the service; upon which the Abbé, looking up and seeing
only the valets present, immediately closed his book, observing that he
was not engaged to perform mass to the rabble.

“Your Majesty,” said I, “was the first who made me acquainted with the
name and person of Sieyes. A few days after my presentation at Court,
your Majesty, at one of your audiences, having passed by me, stopped to
speak to the person who stood next to me, addressing him by name. All my
emigrant prejudices were yet in full force and I thought myself polluted
by coming in contact with one whom I regarded as an absolute monster,
and whom I had never heard mentioned except as an object of the
bitterest imprecation.” “Doubtless,” said the Emperor, “you were
thinking of the _mort sans phrase_. But I have heard it affirmed that
Sieyes denied that.”

I now repeated an anecdote which used to be circulated in the Faubourg
Saint-Germain, and on which, the first time I related it, the Emperor
made no observation. Sieyes was described as having used the epithet
_tyrant_ in speaking of Louis XVI., to which Napoleon was said to have
replied, “Monsieur l‘Abbé, if he had been a tyrant, I should not be
here, and you would still be performing mass.” “I might have thought
so,” said the Emperor, on my relating this anecdote for the second time;
“but I should certainly not have been fool enough to say so. This is one
of the absurd stories invented in the drawing-rooms of Paris. I never
committed blunders of that kind: my object was to extinguish, and not to
feed, the flame. The torrent of hostility was already too forcibly
directed against certain leaders of the Revolution. I found it necessary
to support and countenance them; and I did so. Some one having
procured—God knows where—a bust of Sieyes in his ecclesiastical
character, it was publickly exhibited, and occasioned a universal
uproar. Sieyes, in a furious passion, set out to make a complaint to me;
but I had already given the necessary reprimand, and the bust was again
consigned to obscurity.

“My great principle was to guard against re-action, and to bury the past
in oblivion. I never condemned any opinion, or proscribed any act. I was
surrounded by the men who had voted for the death of Louis XVI.: they
were in the Ministry, and in the Council of State. I did not approve of
their doctrines; but what had I to do with them? what right had I to
constitute myself their judge?” Some had been actuated by conviction,
others by weakness and terror, and all by the delirium and fury of the
moment. The fatality of the Greek tragedy was exemplified in the life of
Louis XVI.”

I told the Emperor that it was reported in the Faubourg Saint-Germain
that Sieyes had been detected in a conspiracy against him, in the affair
of M. Clement de Ris; and that he (Napoleon) had pardoned him, on
condition of his entirely withdrawing himself from any participation in
political affairs. “This is another idle story, for which there is not
the slightest foundation,” said the Emperor. “Sieyes was always attached
to me, and I never had any cause to complain of him. He was probably
vexed to find that I opposed his metaphysical ideas; but he was at
length convinced that it was necessary for France to have a ruler, and
he preferred me to any other. Sieyes was, after all, an honest and a
very clever man: he did much for the Revolution.”

The Emperor mentioned that at one of the first public festivals that
took place during the Consulate, as he was viewing the illuminations
in company with Sieyes, he asked him what he thought of the state of
affairs. Sieyes replied in a cold and even a disheartening tone. “And
yet,” resumed Napoleon, “I had this morning very satisfactory proofs
of the spirit of the people.”—“It is seldom,” replied Sieyes, “that
the people shew their real spirit, when the man who is possessed of
power presents himself to their gaze. I can assure you they are far
from being satisfied.”—“Then you do not think the present government
firmly established?”—“No.”—“And when do you suppose we shall be
settled?“—“When I see the Dukes and Marquises of the old court in your
ante-chamber.“—“Sieyes,” added the Emperor, “little dreamed that this
would so soon be the case. He was short-sighted, and could not see
very far before him. I thought, as he did, that all could not end with
the Republic; but I foresaw the establishment of the Empire.
Accordingly, two or three years afterwards, the circumstance I have
just related being still fresh in my recollection, I said to Sieyes,
at one of my grand audiences: Well, you are now pell-mell with all the
old Dukes and Marquises; do you think all is settled now?”—“Oh, yes,”
replied Sieyes, bowing profoundly; “you have wrought miracles, which
were never before equalled, and which I never could have foreseen.”

During the Consulate, Napoleon was once standing in front of the Hotel
de la Marine, viewing a public illumination. Beside him was a lady, who
to all appearance had formerly moved in a distinguished sphere,
accompanied by her daughter, a very pretty girl, to whom she was
pointing out all the persons of note, as they passed to and fro in the
apartments. Calling her daughter’s attention to a certain individual,
she said: “Remind me to go and pay my respects to him some day. We ought
to do so, for he has rendered us great service.” “But, mother,” replied
the young lady, “I did not know that we were expected to shew gratitude
to such people. I thought they were too happy in being able to oblige
persons of our quality.” “Certainly,” said the Emperor, “La Bruyere
would have turned this incident to good account.”

Napoleon sometimes went out in disguise early in the morning, traversing
the streets of the capital alone, and mingling with the labouring
classes of the people, with whose condition and sentiments he wished to
make himself acquainted. In the Council of State I have often heard him
advise the Prefect of Police to adopt this plan. He called it the
_Caliph system of police_, and said he esteemed it to be the best.

On his return from the disastrous campaigns of Moscow and Leipsic,
Napoleon, in order to maintain the appearance of confidence, frequently
appeared amidst the multitude with scarcely any attendants. He visited
the market-places, the faubourgs, and all the populous districts of the
capital, conversing familiarly with the people; and he was every where
received and treated with respect.

One day, at La Halle, a woman with whom he had been holding a little
dialogue, bluntly told him he ought to make peace. “Good woman,” replied
the Emperor, “sell your greens, and leave me to settle my affairs. Let
every one attend to his own calling.” The bystanders laughed, and
applauded him.

On another occasion, at the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, when surrounded by
an immense concourse of people, whom he was treating very
condescendingly, some one asked whether affairs were really as bad as
they were represented to be? “Why, certainly,” replied the Emperor, “I
cannot say that things are going on very well.” “But what will be the
end of this?” “Heaven knows!” “Will the enemy enter France?” “Very
possibly; and he may even march to Paris if you do not assist me. I have
not a million of arms. I cannot do all by my own individual efforts.”
“We will support you,” exclaimed a number of voices. “Then I shall beat
the enemy, and preserve the glory of France.” “But what must we do?”
“You must enlist and fight.” “We will,’ said one of the crowd; “but we
must make a few conditions!” “What are they?” “We will not pass the
frontier.” “You shall not be required to do so.” “We wish to serve in
the guards,” said another. “You shall do so.” The air instantly
resounded with acclamations. Registers were immediately opened, and two
thousand men enlisted in the course of the day. Napoleon returned to the
Tuileries; and, as he entered the Place Carousel on horseback,
surrounded by the multitude, whose acclamations rent the air, it was
supposed that an insurrection had broken out, and the gates were about
to be closed.

On his return from the Island of Elba, the Emperor made another visit to
the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, where he was received with equal enthusiasm,
and conducted back to the palace in a similar manner. As he passed
through the Faubourg Saint-Germain, the multitude who escorted him
halted before the principal hotels, and manifested their disapprobation
by angry words and gestures. The Emperor observed that he had scarcely
ever been placed in so delicate a situation. “How many evils might have
ensued,” said he, “had a single stone been thrown by the mob. Had a
single imprudent word, or even an equivocal look, escaped me, the whole
Faubourg might have been destroyed; and I am convinced that its
preservation was to be attributed wholly to my presence of mind, and the
respect which the multitude entertained for me.”

To-day I attended the Emperor at his toilet. Santini was cutting his
hair, and a large tuft fell at my feet. I stooped to pick it up, and the
Emperor, observing me, asked what I was doing. I replied that I had
dropped something, upon which he smiled and pinched my ear: he guessed
what I had picked up.

Speaking of the depravity and corruption of manners which prevailed at
the time when he commanded the army of the interior in Paris, Napoleon
mentioned that a contractor came to solicit some signatures from him,
and to beg that he would give his support to certain appointments and
supplies: this he promised to do without hesitation, conceiving that
there was nothing unfair in the proposal. Before he withdrew, the
contractor dextrously took an opportunity of leaving on the
chimney-piece two rouleaux containing a hundred Louis. This was an
enormous sum in specie, for at that time paper money was chiefly in use.
Fortunately, the General was the first to discover the circumstance, and
the visitor was called back before he had gone far. He at first
attempted to deny having left the money; but he afterwards acknowledged
it, observing that every one must live, and that the method he had
adopted was, he believed, the general one. He, however, hoped that he
might be forgiven if he had unintentionally done wrong, adding that it
was very seldom necessary to ask pardon for such offences.

At the hour at which the Emperor generally takes his walk, he found
himself very drowsy; but he was determined to rouse himself, and he went
out though the wind was blowing violently. After walking a short
distance, he returned to the house, and we entered Madame de Montholon’s
apartment. The Emperor had no sooner seated himself on the sofa, than he
felt inclined to fall asleep. He rose and proceeded to the drawing-room.
He complained of great internal heat, and asked for a glass of toast and
water. His drowsiness still continued, and he retired to his chamber to
lie down.

About seven o’clock he sent for me, and gave me the following note,
which he desired me to keep along with the rest of the official papers.
It was the copy of a note which he had sent that morning to the

_Note._—“I recollect that in a conversation which took place between
General Lowe and some of the gentlemen of my suite, (alluding to the
conversation of the 15th,) some observations were made respecting my
situation, which were not conformable with my ideas. I abdicated to the
Representatives of the people and in favour of my son. I proceeded with
confidence to England, with the intention of living either there or in
America, in profound retirement, and under the name of a Colonel who was
killed in battle by my side. _I had resolved to have nothing to do with
political affairs of any kind whatever._

“When I went on board the Northumberland, I was informed that I was a
prisoner of war, that I was to be transported beyond the Line, and that
I was to be called _General Bonaparte_. This obliged me to retain
ostensibly the title of the Emperor Napoleon, in opposition to the name
of General Bonaparte, which was thus to be forced upon me.

“About seven or eight months ago, Count Montholon proposed to obviate
the little difficulties that are continually arising, by my adopting an
ordinary name. The Admiral thought it necessary to write to London on
this subject, and there the matter rested.

“The name which is now applied to me has the advantage of not prejudging
the past; but it is not in unison with the forms of society. _I am still
disposed to assume a name that may be conformable with custom_; I once
more repeat that whenever I may be released from my cruel captivity, _I
am still willing to continue a stranger to all political affairs,
whatever may take place in the world_. Such is my determination; and no
other declaration, on this subject, has my sanction.”

The Emperor ate but little dinner; there was something very
extraordinary in the lethargy that had come over him. He had been
overpowered by drowsiness during the whole of the day; and yet when he
withdrew he said he was afraid he should not sleep, his sensations were
so extraordinary. He generally rests soundly when he is inclined to
sleep, but he had been dozing all day long without being able to get any

To-day a frigate sailed for Europe.

                         PRINCESS DE LAMBALLE.

17th. About noon the Emperor sent for me; he had just finished his
breakfast. He was no better than he had been yesterday. He endeavoured
to converse a little, and then read in English a few pages of the Vicar
of Wakefield. He still complained of drowsiness, and, after several vain
efforts to rouse himself, he retired to his chamber to try to get a nap.
He was the more astonished that this heaviness should continue, as he
said he had slept well during the night.

He did not leave his chamber until dinner was ready, and after dinner he
tried to read a little of Don Quixote; but he almost immediately laid
down the book, and retired. As it was very early, he sent for me after
he had gone to bed, and I remained with him nearly an hour conversing on
different subjects.

We spoke of Louis XVI., the Queen, Madame Elizabeth, their martyrdom,
&c. He asked me to tell him what I knew of the King and Queen, and what
they had said to me on my presentation. The forms and ceremonies of the
Court were, I informed him, the same as those which were adopted during
the Empire. As to character, I observed, it was generally admitted that
the Queen had disappointed public expectation. During the first moments
of the revolutionary storm, there was every reason to suppose her to be
a woman of great talent and energy; but subsequently these qualities
seemed entirely to forsake her. With regard to the King, I mentioned the
opinion formed of him by M. Bertrand de Molleville, with whom I had been
well acquainted, and who was Minister of Marine to Louis XVI. at the
height of the crisis. He pronounced the King to have possessed
considerable information, sound judgment, and excellent intentions; but
there it all ended. He lost himself by the multiplicity of advice which
he solicited, and by his irresolute and wavering mode of following that

The Emperor, in his turn, retraced the portrait of the Queen, by Madame
Campan, who, he observed, having been her confidante, and having served
her with zeal, affection and fidelity, might be expected to have known a
great deal about her, and deserved to be considered as good authority.
Madame Campan, he said, had communicated to him many details of the
private life of the Queen; and he related some particulars which he had
derived from that source.

The Queen, according to Madame Campan, was a fascinating woman, but
destitute of talent: she was better calculated to be a votary of
pleasure than a participator in affairs of State. She possessed an
excellent heart, was parsimonious, rather than extravagant, and by no
means possessed strength of character equal to the trying circumstances
in which she was placed. She obtained regular information of the schemes
that were carrying on abroad; and she never entertained a doubt of her
deliverance, even up to the fatal 10th of August, the catastrophe of
which was brought about solely by the intrigues and hopes of the Court,
which were developed to the world through the imprudence of the King and
those who surrounded him.

“On the terrible night of the 5th of October,” said the Emperor, “a
person for whom the Queen entertained a high regard, and whom I
afterwards treated very ill at Rastadt, hastened to join the Princess at
Versailles: whether he had been sent for, or whether he went of his own
accord to share her dangers, I know not. It is in these trying moments,”
continued the Emperor, “that we feel most in need of the advice and
consolation of those who are devoted to us. At the moment of the
catastrophe, when the palace was stormed, the Queen fled for refuge to
the King’s apartments; but her confident was exposed to the greatest
dangers, and only escaped by leaping out of a window.”

I informed the Emperor that the Queen had greatly fallen in the
estimation of the emigrants, by her conduct during the events of
Varennes; she was reproached for not having allowed the King to set out
alone, and for having betrayed a want of skill and energy during the
flight of the Royal family. Nothing indeed, could be more ill managed
and confused than the journey to Varennes. A curious circumstance
connected with that event was, that Leonard, the Queen’s famous
_coiffeur_, found means to pass, in his cabriolet, through the midst of
the tumult; and he arrived at Coblentz, bringing with him the Marshal’s
baton, which, it was said, the King had carried away from the Tuileries,
in order to deliver it to M. de Bouillé, when he should join him.

“It was,” said the Emperor, “an established rule with the members of the
House of Austria to observe profound silence respecting the Queen of
France. Whenever Marie Antoinette was mentioned, they cast down their
eyes, and dexterously changed the conversation, as if to avoid a
disagreeable and embarrassing subject. This rule,” continued the
Emperor, “was adopted by all the members of the family, and recommended
to their agents abroad. The efforts lately made by the French Princes in
Paris to revive the interest attached to the memory of the unfortunate
Queen must certainly have been displeasing to the Court of Vienna.”

The Emperor next asked me some questions concerning the Princess de
Lamballe, of whom he said he knew nothing. I was enabled to answer his
questions, as I had known the Princess well. One of my cousins had been
her lady of honour; and, on my arrival at Aix-la-Chapelle, at the
commencement of my emigration, I was received as one of her household,
and treated with the utmost kindness.

At Aix-la-Chapelle the Princess de Lamballe had assembled round her many
of the wrecks of Versailles: she was surrounded by nobles and persons of
fashion, who had been connected with the old Court. She was also visited
by many illustrious foreigners; and while I remained with her, I
frequently saw Gustavus III., King of Sweden, who went by the name of
the Count de Haga; Prince Ferdinand of Prussia, and his children, the
eldest of whom (Prince Louis) was killed just before the battle Jena;
the duchess of Cumberland, widow of a brother of the King of England,

When Louis XVI. solemnly accepted the Constitution, and thus recomposed
the nation, the Princess received an official letter from the Queen,
inviting her to return to her situation. She consulted her old friends,
who declared themselves of opinion that the Queen was not free, and,
conceiving that there would be no safety in Paris, they advised her to
take no notice of the Queen’s letter, and to let it be supposed that it
had never come to hand. The Princess, however, having asked some other
individuals, how they would advise her to act, they unfortunately
replied: “Madam, you shared the prosperity of the Queen, and you have
now a noble opportunity of proving your fidelity, particularly since you
are no longer her favourite.” The Princess possessed lofty sentiments,
warm affections, and was of a rather romantic turn of mind. She declared
her intention of setting out next day for Paris. The unfortunate lady,
therefore, returned to the capital, with a full knowledge of the danger
to which she was exposed; and she fell the victim of generosity and
noble sentiment. When the Princess determined on proceeding to Paris, my
friends proposed that I should accompany her as one of her suite. My
youth, together with the circumstance of my being almost a stranger in
Paris, would have enabled me to pass unnoticed, and I might perhaps have
been serviceable to her; but at the moment of her departure, some
difficulties arose which prevented me from accompanying her. However, I
became her correspondent; and every other day I transmitted to her the
absurd stories of every kind, which served to feed our hopes, and to
which we failed not to give implicit credit. I continued my
correspondence while we remained in the country; I even continued it
after she had ceased to exist!

The extreme affliction in which I was plunged, on hearing of her
dreadful fate, was occasionally augmented by the fear that my letters
might perhaps have had some share in producing it. I happen to have now
in my possession some lines which she wrote a few days before the
horrible catastrophe that closed her existence. They are dated _from my
dungeon_; for so she called the Pavilion of Flora, which she at that
time occupied in the Tuileries.

                            END OF VOL. III.





                           Transcriber’s Note

Certain conventions of the text have been modified. For instance, a
series of dots (....) were employed where a name was elided. These have
been replaced with long dashes (———) in order to avoid awkward line

Given the publication date, spelling has been generally allowed to stand
as printed. For instance, the words ‘somnabule’ and ‘somnabulism’, on p.
43, are apparently in error, but are consistent with one another.
However, errors deemed most likely to be the printer’s have been
corrected, and are noted below.

There were a number of instances in the text where quoted words were
missing either an opening or closing quotation mark. The proper
placement is not always obvious, but the most plausible choice has been
made, based on the context and voice. Among the most challenging is the
author’s recounting of Napolean’s recollection of an interchange with
the Pope on p. 130.

The issues tabulated below should be noted, along with the resolutions.
The references below are to the page and line in the original.

  25.25    “In obta[in]ing possession of Illyria          Added.
  43.25    [somnabule], who, at night runs along the roof _sic_
  43.29    on his [somnabulism],                          _sic_
  52.32    The Emperor rema[r]ked                         Added.
  63.15    that adulation w[sa/as] not pushed so far      Transposed.
  66.35    a suitable match for your Princess.[’]         Added.
  72.20    [“/‘]You will see me again shortly             Replaced.
  77.33    while we[re / re]tained possession of it.      Moved space.
  81.19    [‘]How’, exclaimed he,                         Added.
  90.33    the 13th Vend[e/é]miaire                       Replaced.
  95.38    under which [b/h]e suffers                     Replaced.
  102.5    and altogether useless.[”]                     Added.
  105.18   even when that great E[x/m]press seated on her Replaced.
  107.41   unless it was agreeable to me[,/.]             Replaced.
  108.30   might have incited him in his blindness.[”]    Added.
  108.31   [“]At the end of this                          Removed.
  116.40   or a pain in my stomach.[’/”]                  Replaced.
  120.7    will be guilty of my destruction[’]”           Added.
  121.15   she exclaimed, [‘]but a single moment left;    Added.
  121.24   he published a pamph[l]et                      Added.
  130.16   if it be feasible.’[”] It was, however,        Added.
  130.26   [“]‘I shall never,’ he remarked,               Added.
  131.2    whatever I wished.[”]                          Added.
  140.28   [“]Sire,” I answered,                          Added.
  147.17   [‘]Thousand and One Nights’                    Added.
  151.30   as do all the principles of sound[,] morality. Removed.
  154.38   at Lodi, at Castiglione, a[t] Rivoli, at       Added.
  155.32   the[ir/re] existed on this rock                Replaced.
  155.37   [“]Permission could not be obtained to         Added.
  155.40   In conse[se]quence of the demand               Removed
  159.6    Those, who, who> fail in respect to Napoleon,  Removed.
  159.38   said he, [“]is a very happy connexion.         Added.
  163.11   with the nations situated in their rear.[”]    Added.
  166.32   [“]My leisure and my old age would have been   Removed.
  168.1    The army marched, with difficulty, over that   Added.
           tract tract[.]
  171.22   supplies the whole of the establis[h]ment with Added.
  174.17   to some houses of the Franks[,/’] quarter      Replaced.
  189.36   four[-]and-twenty hours                        Added.
  199.15   only not all at the same[,] time               Removed.
  230.34   ar[r]angements for the battles of Leipsic      Added.
  232.31   co[ /a]lesced Powers                           Restored.
  239.28   ra[t]her congratulate yourselves               Added.
  259.39   when I happene[n]d to be alone with him        Removed.
  260.35   The Holy League which[ which] had been formed  Removed/
           against Henry III.
  261.15   But these parli[a]ments drew up                Added.
  214.1    beat 107,000 Russians or Prussians[’]          Removed.
  219.25   insuring the independ[a/e]nce of France        Replaced.
  265.30   by the treaty of Camp[i]o-Formio               Removed.
  267.38   a Burgundy, a Champa[n]gne                     Removed.
  279.26   from the States of the House of Austria[.]     Restored.
  284.15   in one of the small Versailles[,] diligences   Removed.
  292.29   as far as Avi[n]gnon, he had heard nothing but Removed.
  292.39   he several times called after him.[”/:]        Replaced.
  294.12   [“]depended on my speed.                       Added.
  294.17   was quitting the Tuileries.[”]                 Added.
  298.19   all public bodies, all classes[,] of the       Removed.
  300.36   the safest, and the best[.]                    Added.
  301.41   with expressions of the [f]eelings             Added.
  302.39   the Bourbons ab[o/a]ndoning a monarchy         Replaced.
  304.9    ON IMPOS[S]IBILITIES.                          Added.
  305.22   [“]Accordingly,” continued Bertrand,           Removed.
  312.15   the Mississippi Company[,]                     Added.
  315.13   in a very short time a Mayor of the Palace.[”] Added.
  319.13   [“]The Orientals, on the other hand, differ    Added.
  321.37   [“]On my return from Elba                      Added.
  332.30   _M[âi/aî]tre des Requêtes_                     Replaced.
  337.1    the[ the] Council of State                     Removed.
  346.22   and I am soon asleep.[”]                       Removed.
  357.26   observed he, [“]of amalgamating all kinds of   Added.
  371.36   in less than three months[: “]/:”] and so      Replaced.
  375.19   th[e/a]n he had when he was merely the         Replaced.
  376.34   who had sacrificed his troops to facili[t]ate  Added.
           the operations
  376.39   [D/d]’Antraigues>, finding that all his        Replaced.
  383.9    I will remain her[e] alone.                    Added.
  386.1    “I was not aware of that[,]” replied I;        Added.
  386.27   yet I d[l/i]d not mean to question his right   Replaced.
  388.21   “Tell him,” said [“]Napoleon, [“]that his      Moved.
  390.8    He had bee[d/n] reading                        Replaced.
  399.10   on my arrival at Aix-la[-]Chappelle            Restored.
  400.5    my friends proposed that I should[a’/          Replaced.
           a]ccompany her
  400.9    but at [i]the moment of her departure,         Removed.

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